I have a friend who suggested that I should get a Hebrew Bible because of supposed corruption with the translations. While I find his reasoning questionable, are there any current Bibles with the original Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages that are trustworthy?

This is a good question!  I believe that you will not find your friend’s advice useful for a few reasons, although in principle it is not bad advice.  Here is why.

First of all, virtually anyone today who reads the Bible is reading it, not in the original languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic), but in a translation.  I believe that for nearly all purposes, reading a good translation is absolutely sufficient to get the principle meaning of the text.  However, there are subtleties of language for which an expert inj the ancient tongues may find it useful to use the original languages.  One reason I believe your friend’s advice to you is not particularly useful is that I assume you do not read Hebrew!  If you cannot read the text, it will not do you any good at all to have it in hand.  Those familiar with the question of ancient languages have shared with me the thought that unless one is an extremely well-trained in the language, there is relatively little advantage of using the original tongue.  We generally stand a better chance of getting a good sense of the original by using the translation of an expert.  A little knowledge of Hebrew can be dangerous!

Let us assume you had a Hebrew Bible.  What would you do with it?  Translate each word one at a time and try to reconstruct the meaning of the sentences?  Without knowing the grammar, including the tenses, you would be stuck!  Alternatively, you could get a Hebrew/English interlinear, which has the English translation directly underneath each of the Hebrew words.  However, in this case, you are still relying on a translator of the individual words.  I have often used a Greek interlinear to get the sense of New Testament texts and have, at times, found it helpful.   However, I have found that generally, having access to a number of good translations and comparing the different versions is as good or better than using an interlinear.

I disagree with your friend that the Hebrew translations are corrupted.   By definition, a translation cannot be corrupted.  What can be corrupted is the original.  In other words, we do not have a perfect manuscript of the original Hebrew text. 
Translations can vary in quality, but even a fairly poor translation, technically, is not a corruption.  The question of textual criticism and how scholars attempt to reconstruct the best possible combined Hebrew manuscript is large one.  You can read entire books on this subject.   Let me give the briefiest of summaries.  With the New Testament we have a Greek text with is virtually identical to the original, but with the Hebrew text, because copying occurred over a much greater time, our current Hebrew text is not as close to perfect as the Greek.  There is some "corruption," not in our translations, but in the original text.  A comparison of the Masoretic Text (approx. AD 900) and the Dead Sea Scrolls (approx 100 BC) reveals that a significant number of relatively minor corruptions have entered into the Hebrew, but that generally the meaning of the original has been preserved.

In summary your friend is wrong that there are corruptions in the translations of the Hebrew Bible.  A translation cannot be corrupt.  Only a change in the original language is a corruption, by definition.  The available translations are of varying quality, but we have at our disposal in English several excellent translations, based on the scholarship of thousands who have given their lives to this task.  There has been a small but significant amount of corruption in the Hebrew text which occurred from when it was originally written to our oldest manuscripts, but in general our manuscripts are quite good.  Unless you are highly skilled, both in the history of the Jews and in ancient Hebrew, it is very unlikely that having a Hebrew Bible will be helpful to you in gaining access to the intent of the original writers.  You should feel quite confident that, with a number of good translations to compare, you can get an excellent feel for the meaning of the original writers of the Old Testament.  Unless you are prepared to spend many years dedicated to studying Hebrew and the Jewish culture, your best bet is to use a number of good English translations of the Jewish Bible.

So the answer to your question is yes, you can get a scholarly best reconstruction of the Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic texts which is relatively uncorrupted.  The problem is that as long as you do not actually know the languages, possession of these texts would be of no value to you.  Your best bet is to gather a variety of very good English translations, combine this with a couple of good scholarly commentaries, and you can get an excellent sense of the original inspired Word of God.
John Oakes

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