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Friday, February 03, 2006

Interview with Dr. Packer: Update

Dr. Packer has agreed to be available for me to interview him for this blog on Friday, Feb. 1o at Regent College. Although I have significant differences with Dr. Packer relating to God's purpose in creating women, I will try to ask questions of academic interest.

I am particluarly intrigued by differences in translation traditions so I will want to discuss this first. After that I will ask him about the Colorado Springs Guidelines and the TNIV controversy. In fact, the latter is because of committment I made in response to the request of certain men who have contacted me. (Wayne, I do mean men here.)

Here are the first half of my questions.

1. Luther’s Bible translates Matt. 1:18 as 'Mary found herself pregnant', and the KJV 'Mary was found to be with child'. Is it accurate to say that Luther’s Bible is less literal and more down-to-earth in style than the KJV? How would you describe the difference between Luther’s Bible and the KJV?

2. The ESV departs from the KJV in its translation of Matt.5:9 using ‘sons of God’, instead of 'children of God'. This sounds more both more literal and more ritualistic in style than the KJV. What was your intent in making this change?

3. Some groups within the Christian community prefer the more literal ‘congregation’, German 'Gemeinde', instead of ‘church’ because of the ecclesiastical connotations of the word church. Could ‘saints’ also be considered a word with ecclesiastical connotations?

4. Which translations did the ESV team use as references, in addition to the ASV, RSV and NIV?

5. I have been reading Aristotle’s Politics in Greek this fall and have found very interesting references to 'logos', 'koinonia', and 'soteria'; also the three assymetrical household relationships, as well as the use of 'aner' in the generic sense for people. Were there people on the ESV translation team who would be familiar with this text of Aristotle's?

6. Do you consider the loss of the second person singular pronoun,“thou”, a serious loss doctrinally?

7. I am particularly interested in what is intended by the generic masculine pronoun ‘he’ in verses such as Rev. 3:20. Should one think of 'he' as referring to a 'person of unspecified gender', or should one think of it as 'referring to a male who represents the group'?

These are the questions which do not directly relate direstly to the Colorado Springs Guidelines and the statement against the TNIV May 28, 2002, which was signed by 100 Christian leaders including Dr. Packer. I shall post those questions in few days.

I would be very interested in comments, additions or amendents in the interest of brevity.

Update: The German 'fand sich's' is 'it found itself out that', an impersonal verb better translated into English as 'it became evident'.


At Sat Feb 04, 08:43:00 AM, Blogger KAT said...

If it's not too late, I would also like to know if there are any plans for revising and/or adding the deutero-canon of the RSV to the ESV.


No need to direct the following to Dr. Packer, but I'd like to comment:

If the ESV is marketed as a "Bible for Life", then I'd like to know whose "life" exactly? The lives of those who hold a similar Protestant persuasion on the canon as those who served on the ESV committee? The lives of men like Dr. Grudem who use the ESV as a springboard to advocate chauvinism (lets be honest here -- that's ALL it is)?

Whose life?

While I do think that the ESV does a fine job of revising some errors that the RSV and NRSV have made, I still think it misses the mark. I'll still rely on the NRSV, or even the NAB (not NASB), as the better choices among modern, formally equivalant translations.

At Sat Feb 04, 01:37:00 PM, Blogger Ted Gossard said...

I remember years ago that J.I. Packer warmly commended the NIV Bible.

The TNIV does some translational departures (no different than the NRSV or NLT) that don't set well with Dr. Packer evidnetly and others. (like changing "Jews" to "Jewish leaders" or the like in certain passages in John's gospel- the PCA cited that as one of its reasons for rejecting the TNIV)

But it seems to me that taken in context of the history of translating Scripture as well as the context of exegesis, these changes are arguably for the better, and at least not rendering a translation as unacceptable.

I look forward to your interview with Dr. Packer, Suzanne.

At Sat Feb 04, 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Suzanne, the inverted negative word orders retained from the RSV bother me greatly. The ESV translators updated some of them to the negative word order which has been standard in English since 1740 A.D. My question for Dr. Packer:

"What advantages are there to retaining the obsolete negative word orders found in the RSV, but not the NASB, NIV, or any other recent English translation? The ESV translators updated some of them to English word order which has been standard since 1740 A.D., but many still remain. Example: Pro 3:7 "Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil," instead of "Do not be wise in your own eyes; ..."

At Sat Feb 04, 02:06:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks, Wayne, that will go on my list. I haven't done the research in this area that you have.

Thanks, Ted and Straylight. I find that the change from Jews to Jewish leaders may be similar to the change from congregation to church. We know that is not the literal meaning of the original but it seems better anyhow.

At Sat Feb 04, 04:58:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

On "Jews", that is arguably not the literal meaning of Greek Ἰουδαῖοι Ioudaioi. It may be the etymological origin of English "Jews", but that is irrelevant to the meaning. English "Jew" refers to any member of the people of Israel. But the Hebrew יְהוּדִי yehudi, and the Greek Ἰουδαῖος Ioudaios derived from it, at least originally meant "Judahite", i.e. member of the tribe of Judah or perhaps citizen of the kingdom of Judah, and by extension seems to have come to mean "Judean", i.e. inhabitant of the area known in Roman times as Judea. Only later did the Greek word come to refer to all of the people we now call Jews. Now Paul seems to have used the term in the wider sense of all Jews, but how the word was used by John is a matter of real exegetical debate - a debate which cannot be sidestepped by a snap judgment that one rendering is literal and the other non-literal.

At Sat Feb 04, 07:40:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks Peter,

It is good to know the background on that since it is one of the formal complaints against the TNIV that was in the signed document.

At Tue Feb 07, 04:15:00 AM, Blogger David McKay said...

Hi Suzanne.
This is not connected with your interview, but I would like you to pass on my appreciation to Dr Packer for his book Keep in Step with the Spirit. I have only just read it, though it is about 20 years old.

He has some terrific things to say in this book.
I particularly appreciated:

"The need for constant meditation on the 4 gospels over and above the rest of our bible reading.
Gospel study enables us both to keep our Lord in clear view and to hold before our minds the relational frame of discipleship to him. The doctrines on which our discipleship rests are clearest in the epistles, but the nature of discipleship itself is most clearly portrayed in the gospels.
We should never let ourselves forget that the 4 gospels are the most wonderful books on earth."

At Tue Feb 07, 05:54:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks David, I will do so. That is a lovely quote.


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