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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Scrambies: "Making Love" in the TNIV

10 Comments:

At Wed Dec 28, 08:29:00 AM, Blogger Talmida said...

I dunno, Wayne. I think I disagree with you here. Josh had a good point -- that the same verb was used of the rapists in Sodom.

"Make love" is not what a rapist does.

Why not "have sex" in both verses? Isn't "make love" a moral judgement? (it's love if you're married, sex if you're not).

I appreciate that every word cannot be translated the same way every time -- many Hebrew words have different meanings -- but I don't think that's true in this case.

We do not know that Elkana "made love" with Hannah. To me that implies romance and equal interest by both partners. Perhaps Elkana raped her (although I certainly hope not!). Maybe he just announced, I want you, roll over, and she just lay there thinking of England. ;-) We don't know. All we know is that he had sexual intercourse with her.

I appreciate that "have sexual intercourse" is probably too technical -- it breaks up the narrative -- but "have sex" seems to fit the bill perfectly.

 
At Wed Dec 28, 12:40:00 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Wayne, I remember having to get used to the TNIV rendering "made love to". I'm sure it will probably give a jolt to many of those who hear it (or read it) the first time.

But I think it's a good rendering. Words have to be translated contextually.

 
At Wed Dec 28, 12:41:00 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

...and I would think "made love to" as the normal, natural expression when occurring between a husband and wife.

 
At Wed Dec 28, 01:14:00 PM, Blogger Talmida said...

ted,

I would disagree. It's only the last 100 years that marriage for romantic reasons has been common. Before that, marriage was a matter of practicality, and was most often arranged without much attention being paid to the wishes of the couple themselves. The idea that love and sex are connected is, I believe, fairly recent.

Besides that, the very expression, make love "to" implies that it is something one party does to another, as opposed to an activity in which both parties participate.

"they had sex" seems to avoid these difficulties without excluding the possibility of love (which was obviously present in the marriage of Elkana and Hannah).

 
At Wed Dec 28, 01:40:00 PM, Blogger exegete77 said...

I have to agree with talmida on this one, and for all the same reasons.

 
At Wed Dec 28, 01:41:00 PM, Blogger KAT said...

"Make love to" conjures up the images and sounds of Barry White. :P Or maybe those novels with Fabio on the front cover.

I understand that the common translation "to know" may not have much meaning to modern ears, but this one is tricky.

 
At Wed Dec 28, 02:50:00 PM, Blogger Tim said...

It's also interesting to note that, in many 18th and 19th century English novels (e.g. Jane Austen), to 'make love to' someone actually means 'to sweet-talk' them, or what we used to call in my teenage years in England 'chatting her up'!

Tim Chesterton

 
At Wed Dec 28, 04:59:00 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

Talmida, Good points. You may be right.

I find it hard to believe that sex has been disconnected from love all along in marriage (I don't think you meant always, but as a rule). It just doesn't make sense to me when I consider the likes of Jacob and Rachel or even Elkanah and Hannah, not to mention the Song of Songs.

But unfortunately there is alot of truth in what you which we can find in Scripture (levirate marriages, etc.) as well as history and Christian thought.

I would be interested to know how the terms translated "slept with" or "knew" comes across in the Hebrew (and Greek) to the original hearers. And then how that compares to the metaphor we use today. For me that would get closer to answering this question.

 
At Wed Dec 28, 06:08:00 PM, Blogger KAT said...

"I would be interested to know how the terms translated "slept with" or "knew" comes across in the Hebrew (and Greek) to the original hearers. And then how that compares to the metaphor we use today. For me that would get closer to answering this question."


For starters, we know that they thought of sex as an act that made two people literally become one, and not merely something on the level of pleasure or companionship. It was far deeper than that.

The reason why I think that diverting from the translation "to know someone" is tricky is because that is probably the best linguistic description for how the biblical world, and ancient the Israelites, viewed sex.

"Knowing" fits very well within the framework described above, in my (admittedly uneducated) opinion. It's an extension of their understanding of sex being the act that makes "two people become one".

 
At Thu Dec 29, 05:16:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

One point worth remembering about 1 Samuel 1:19 is that this was not the first time Elkanah and Hannah had done this, they had been at it for years it seems although with no success before. So this act should not be understood or translated as something very special, not as the act that makes two people become one, because they were already one and only doing what they had been doing for years.

Actually, since Elkanah had two wives, it doesn't seem likely that in fact he "thought of sex as an act that made two people literally become one". This was the biblical teaching, of course (although we don't know if it was known in Elkanah and Hannah's time of apostasy), but as we know today just because something is in the Bible it is not necessarily how most of the population thinks.

 

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