Better Bibles Blog has moved. Read our last post, below, and then
click here if you are not redirected to our new location within 60 seconds.
Please Bookmark our new location and update blogrolls.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

What's the joke?

One of the things about living in an environment where you regularly hear (and see) languages that you understand other than your native language is that you are constantly noticing things about what it really means to translate.

For example, being on sabbatical here in Austria I take the bus to the university every day, about a half an hour ride from my apartment. At every bus stop they have free newspapers, OK and Heute, which have sudokus. OK, I’ll fess up. I’m a sudoku addict. I grab a copy of each and see how much I can get done on the lurching and bumpy ride to campus. I also skim through the papers, which are pretty much worth what they cost, and I read the cartoons. Cartoons are great fodder for the translation theorist. Heute carries Perscheid, Germany's answer to Gary Larson. Monday last, they ran this cartoon:


Since most of you don’t speak German, you’d like to know what the joke is. Well, let’s apply the kinds of principles that most Bible translations use. If we translate word by word, we get an understandable English sentence. (We wouldn’t want to change the meaning by changing the structure.)
“Oh my God! I can see no oil!”
Not a joke.

Well, you say, the object of a German sentence attracts the negative, so the negative should be associated with the verb in English.
“Oh my God! I can’t see any oil!”
Still not a joke.

By now all the German speakers reading this blog are squirming. But, but, but …

You see the German word sehen can also be used in contexts where English requires us to say look at rather than see, so a better translation would be:
“Oh my God! I can’t look at oil!”
Close, but no cigar.

If you really want to know what Perscheid meant, you have to know that this wording is the way squeamish German speakers talk about blood, so to have a translation that passes muster you need to say about oil what squeamish English speakers say about blood.
“Oh my God! I can’t stand the sight of oil!”
Now you have a joke.

And in case you haven’t realized it, translating Ich kann kein Öl sehen. with I can’t stand the sight of oil. demonstrates exactly what is meant by dynamic equivalence. Here the fact that it is a joke is what keeps us honest. If we get the translation right, we have a joke. If we don’t, it’s not a joke.

Our long use of translations that only approximate the meaning of the Greek (or Hebrew) has dulled our senses. It’s only in live cross-linguistic situations that we are confronted with the fact that language is regularly used with a precision we fail to appreciate from the inside. And it’s that precision that gets washed away in most Bible translations by our preference for literalness. Ironically, that preference all but guarantees that we will get it wrong.

Not a joke.

28 Comments:

At Sun Oct 15, 02:49:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Rich,

You may enjoy some of these quotes from reviews of Don Carson's book on translation.

One of my favorite chapters is #3: `Translation and Treason'. I spent a year in Germany as a teen, so I had experiential understanding of what Carson refers to as `the impossible task of translation'. I know jokes in German that just don't work in English. One can't translate them and preserve the humor. (One can't translate American puns into French or German either; which is something Columbia clothing company needs to think about on their tags.) This is just a basic illustration of a more fundamental point: ANY translation of the Bible from its original languages doesn't live up to the original. Contrary to what people may expect, there are no one-to-one correspondences for every word in every language. So translators face innumerable difficult choices, including gender usage.

--------

A highlight is Carson's account of his bilingual childhood, and his discovery of the peculiarities inherent in a particular Bible version, when he tried to preach a sermon in French, having prepared it with an English Bible, and vice versa.

I also enjoyed Carson's sometimes cheeky ways of showing that our language has changed.

Carson has a helpful article in a new book called The Challenge of Bible Translation, in which there are lots of other helpful articles on the issue of translating with a view to firstly preserving the form of the original, or its meaning.

Here he refers to presuppositions guiding the production of the ESV and TNIV translations, and gives very helpful guidelines for thinking about issues of bible translation. Well worth investigating that book, too.

---------

I use to tell people that unless one speaks a foreign language and has read other Koine Greek material besides the New Testament, they shouldn't offer an opinion on Bible translations.
Far too many people who speak un poco Spanish and work from an Interlinear weigh in on this subject.
After reading this book, I am going to tell people that unless they have done expository preaching in a foreign language they shouldn't weigh in on this subject.


Yikes! These qualificatons are fairly restrictive. I have at least served as the leader for a French Bible Study group, and had a few other interesting escapades in other languages.

 
At Sun Oct 15, 07:47:00 PM, Blogger codepoke said...

Great illustration!

(Funny joke, too.)

 
At Sun Oct 15, 11:04:00 PM, Blogger John Dekker said...

Wow. This is fairly convincing. I've always been a formal equivalence man myself, but this might be enough to help me change my mind.

My question is, however, do jokes constitute a special case where dynamic equivalence is needed? And how many times in the Bible would we have the situation where we can translate a joke, but only with a paraphrase?

 
At Mon Oct 16, 06:58:00 AM, Blogger Iris Godfrey said...

Thank you for this post. I am a Bible teacher in the US and have read the Bible all my life. I, however, have just begun my language studies in K. Greek. I am learning so much. I have used most of the English translations for periods of time, but find them all inadequate -- in light of what I am learning in my elementary beginnings of Greek. I am amazed and wonder why it took me so long to get here.

Thanks for the thoughtful post.
Iris

 
At Mon Oct 16, 10:05:00 AM, Blogger M. J. Mansini said...

I have used most of the English translations for periods of time, but find them all inadequate -- in light of what I am learning in my elementary beginnings of Greek. I am amazed and wonder why it took me so long to get here.

See, I am the opposite. When I undertook to start learning Koine Greek, I came into a greater appreciation for the Bible translations (in English) than I had possessed before. Eventually, I gave up my deeply set admiration for the Greek language (especially ancient) and realized that both it, and English, had one delimiting factor that made them more similar than not: they are both underdeveloped in relation to the great subject they undertake to put captive in words.

So, while I lost the enamor that "foreign" and "ancient" have, I came into a greater understanding of the great allowance of God, that we should be given anything.

 
At Mon Oct 16, 10:41:00 AM, Blogger John Radcliffe said...

Hi Suzanne,

When you tell people "unless one speaks a foreign language and has read other Koine Greek material besides the New Testament, they shouldn't offer an opinion on Bible translations", I hope you’re at least half-joking.

I drive a car but I’m not an automotive engineer. Does that mean I should have no opinion on how (or if) it "works"? The nearest I come to a foreign language is the computer language Visual Basic. If I program an application for someone and they say that they don’t like how it works, how long would I keep my job if I told them "Until you know VBA you’re not entitled to an opinion – programmers always know best". So why should translation be any different?

I only speak English. I only dabble in Greek, but I can usually work out what the issue is as to why translations differ: does that mean I should have no opinion on which is "right" based on my 30 or so years of reading (and trying to understand and live) the Bible? Because translation always involves interpretation, it always demands more than just linguistic ability.

One problem with the attitude you quote is that taken to its logical conclusion we’d be back to something like the middle ages with the Latin-speaking priests telling us what the Bible means and expecting us to believe them regardless. I doubt that’s what you would really want. No, people with a lower level of knowledge should *always* be entitled to criticise the "experts". (It also keeps them humble!)

So I’m sorry Suzanne, but if I think the translator(s) got it wrong, I do think I have the *right* to say so; indeed, given how important translating the Bible is, perhaps its even my *duty*.

 
At Mon Oct 16, 11:01:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

John D, I am currently working through 2 Corinthians, and it is clear to me that, although this is not full of jokes, there are many places in it where this same kind of principle must apply, that Paul's complex rhetoric, irony etc is totally lost in a literal translation.

 
At Mon Oct 16, 11:44:00 AM, Blogger Billy V said...

Fantastic. I will refer to this blog and that cartoon the next time I discuss the differences in Bible translations.

 
At Mon Oct 16, 08:21:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

John R,

You write,

When you tell people "unless one speaks a foreign language and has read other Koine Greek material besides the New Testament, they shouldn't offer an opinion on Bible translations", I hope you’re at least half-joking.

Clearly I was quoting someone; I didn't write that myself. Clearly I found it restrictive. Having said that yes, I agree with Don Carson on this. I believe that a translator, or someone offering an expert opinion on translation, should have been trained in translation, and in a secular university one would have to be bilingual first.

That leaves open the fact that everyone who speaks English may offer an opinion on how to best represent an agreed upon meaning in English, that is a matter of style.

As to Greek, here is a little quote by F.F.Bruce,

I have met students who claimed to ‘know Greek’ on the basis of their acquaintance with the Greek New Testament; even if that latter acquaintance were exhaustive, it would no more amount to a knowledge of Greek than acquaintance with the English New Testament would amount to a knowledge of English.

So I think that it is worth evaluating a translation by the scholars who have produced it, and recognizing expertise for what it is.

You also write,

So I’m sorry Suzanne, but if I think the translator(s) got it wrong, I do think I have the *right* to say so; indeed, given how important translating the Bible is, perhaps its even my *duty*.

I would think that we all have the right to ask or question a translation, but ultimately, how could a person who does not read the original languages with facility know if a translator has got it wrong. Maybe I have misunderstood.

 
At Mon Oct 16, 11:01:00 PM, Blogger John Dekker said...

Peter Kirk, I would love to hear a specific example. Can you think of an instance where a literal translation falls flat, but a paraphrase effectively communicates the irony, etc.?

 
At Tue Oct 17, 12:18:00 AM, Blogger M. J. Mansini said...

John R.: "If I program an application for someone and they say that they don’t like how it works, how long would I keep my job if I told them "Until you know VBA you’re not entitled to an opinion – programmers always know best"."

Well, really, if that happens you should reconsider your application development cycle. Full collaboration with the client is a must. And, it must be hashed out over and over again, both as the project starts, and as it is brought to completion.

Also, VBA is Visual Basic for Applications, so I hope you haven't been using that to create any Windows apps! ;P

 
At Tue Oct 17, 05:44:00 AM, Blogger John Radcliffe said...

M. J. Mansini:

Bearing in mind the Posting guidelines, "Do not question the … motives of anyone … Comments should relate directly to post content", I find it difficult to see the purpose of your response. I assume it is a "put down" (i.e. "this is a meant to be a scholarly debate; ignorant, critical comments from non-scholars aren't welcome").

Accordingly, I will retire (I hope) graciously: "once bitten twice shy". No doubt should have I remembered Proverbs 26:17: "Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own" (TNIV).

Anyway, here's another example of something that doesn't translate literally:
When a couple I know moved from the Isle of Man to England, they called their house "Thie Veg". When asked what this meant, they would usually just say, "It's Manx for Little House". Here on the Island, however, the expression is usually refers to "little house" at the bottom of the garden if a home had no inside toilet.

 
At Tue Oct 17, 07:54:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

John said:

Accordingly, I will retire (I hope) graciously: "once bitten twice shy".

John, as one of this blog's contributors I hope that you do not retire from commenting here. The language data you shared in your comment is much appreciated to illustrate points we are trying to make about translation. We need more comments like yours and more people like you commenting.

 
At Tue Oct 17, 07:58:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

John said:

Bearing in mind the Posting guidelines, "Do not question the … motives of anyone … Comments should relate directly to post content", I find it difficult to see the purpose of your response. I assume it is a "put down" (i.e. "this is a meant to be a scholarly debate; ignorant, critical comments from non-scholars aren't welcome").

John is right. Let's not have any comments on this blog be put downs or be comments which impact people as put downs whether they are intended to be put downs or not.

We could raise the comment level on this blog to a security level, that of moderated status. But that would reduce the degree of spontaneity which is nice to have, where blog visitors and contributors can all interact with each other as quickly as possible, in their own time zones.

Let's all take seriously the posting guidelines given in the margin of this blog.

 
At Tue Oct 17, 09:35:00 AM, Blogger codepoke said...

Thank ya'll for being a friendly lot. I know that you put up with a lot of uninformed opinion tossing from my direction, and you do it with grace. :-)

As I read the discussion between John and Suzanne, I hear a what sounds like crossed meanings. John wants to complain (as I frequently do) about the English text being too bare or too rich, while Suzanne is saying that the user should not tell the VB(A) developer to implement the singleton pattern in the DB interface.

If I'm hearing rightly, then they are both making solid points.

 
At Tue Oct 17, 11:41:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

John D, as an example have a look at the first part of 2 Corinthians 11:21:

κατὰ ἀτιμίαν λέγω, ὡς ὅτι ἡμεῖς ἠσθενήκαμεν.

Literally: According to shame I say, as that we have been weak.

NASB (the most literal translation I have to hand): To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison.

Even the NASB translators realised that something was lost in a literal translation here. But their small additions have not been enough to bring out Paul's biting irony here. Compare for example:

TNIV: To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

Now TNIV is not "a paraphrase" here, but I never claimed that a paraphrase was necessary to bring out the irony (you put that word in my mouth), only that some departure from literal translation was necessary.

 
At Tue Oct 17, 01:27:00 PM, Blogger M. J. Mansini said...

I assume it is a "put down" (i.e. "this is a meant to be a scholarly debate; ignorant, critical comments from non-scholars aren't welcome").

Then, sir, you assume wrong. Perhaps you have taken me too serious. When, in fact, even I, the comment "maker", have not taken myself as serious as you have taken me. I am sorry that I have insulted you. You appear to have missed my "wink" face behind the comment!

I had to comment, Information Technology and Computer Systems is where I hold all of my degrees! It is misleading to insinuate that VBA is useful in the same fashion that VB2005 (the current “flavor” of VB) is useful. However, VBA can, on occasion, be converted to vanilla VB code, if there should be good reason to do so. Perhaps I take computer programming too serious. However, I feel the need to convey accuracy, whether we are on a technology blog or on a Bible blog such as we now find ourselves, especially when attempting to draw parallels.

I find a fundamental difference between application development and academic language pursuits (according to your example). In application development, the customer, or client, IS ALWAYS RIGHT. The application MUST work the way that they want it too and the way that they are PAYING to have it work. If it does not work the way they have specified the fault is with the programmer and their inability to adhere to the agreed upon requirements of the application. If part of the functionality that the customer has required is technically impossible, then it is the duty of the programmer to inform the client of this and to work out a different solution. Here is the clincher: If the client should somehow comment on the way the CODE is being designed, then they are probably out of their depth, although their suggestion MAY be taken into consideration. This adheres more closely to what Suzanne was talking about, how the translator knows best. The languages behind the English Biblical texts can be likened to the code that the programmer has written in order to make the application work (and for all practical purposes, most private individuals understand the Biblical languages about as well as the average computer user understands Visual Basic 2005 or C#, or even understands the entire .NET Framework). I find, in this case, that the trained professional typically does know best! It must be said, though, that professionals are fallible, and occasionally, the suggestions of those less immersed in the inner workings of the application can provide a birds eye view of what is going on, helping to alleviate the self imposed "blinders" of the programmer.

Applying VBA to this situation is more problematic, because it is specifically designed to enhance applications, not used to create rich, stand alone applications or connected web applications. The parallel between VBA and the biblical languages is not apparent.

So, you see, it was not a put down, nor my desire to be argumentative. But, in order to convey the situation correctly, I felt the need to correct your argumentation, which was not directly or accurately applicable to the language situation. I trust, with these clarifications, that the situation is now clear, and all parallels appear obvious.

Let’s not throw around the guidelines, until we ascertain that someone IS in fact in violation of them. Shall we?

Accept my humble apologies for not providing this information earlier.

 
At Tue Oct 17, 02:06:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Matthew requested:

Let’s not throw around the guidelines, until we ascertain that someone IS in fact in violation of them. Shall we?

Matthew, it's a very fair request you have made. Unfortunately, we are often impacted by what people say regardless of whether or not the impact aligns with intention. And impact often feels like reality.

I have seen this kind of miscommunication play out so many times. None of us are to blame. It happens because we are human. I have tried to "guarantee" that miscommunication will not occur by being explicit and verbose, verbose to the point that people often wonder why I am taking so long to say something that could be said with far fewer words.

I myself have often made the same request you have, that we try to find out what someone's intention is before we state how what they have said has impacted us. But we often (usually?) assume that the way something impacts us is the way it was intended by the speaker.

It really is a wonder that we do understand each other as well as we do. I have been married for nearly 34 years and my wife and I misunderstand each other a great deal. We are learning to ask for clarification (as you requested) and we are learning to laugh more when we miscommunicate.

I think there are lessons in human miscommunication which are very relevant for Bible translation. Bible translators often assume that their audience will understand what they have translated with the meaning they have intended. But for a variety of reasons, that often does not occur. So revision is called for so that the communication will be more accurate. Of course, that revision often does not occur.

I want to assure you that I am speaking to all of us in this comment. And I hope most of us can see how relevant our own miscommunications are to how easy it is to miscommunicate the meanings of the biblical language texts.

May God help us all to communicate better and when we inevitably do not, may he help us give each other slack so that relationships are not hindered.

There, I was verbose again! It means it's a topic I care very deeply about. But it could impact you or others as my verbosity impacted our children, "Dad, you've already said that." (And it was interpreted as lecturing, scolding. I wish I could do my fathering over again!! :-)

 
At Tue Oct 17, 03:35:00 PM, Blogger John Dekker said...

Thank, Peter - that helps me to understand things better. Good example...

 
At Tue Oct 17, 09:55:00 PM, Blogger M. J. Mansini said...

Wayne, I agree with you completely. "Living" miscommunication such as this goes a long way towards demonstrating the repercussions that are involved when translators fail to communicate clearly. Except, history has shown that translations and their translators can be quickly black listed over translation errors, often over something as simple as communicating something in a way that could have been done better (though it still remains, more or less, correct).

 
At Tue Oct 17, 10:15:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Matthew noted:

history has shown that translations and their translators can be quickly black listed over translation errors, often over something as simple as communicating something in a way that could have been done better (though it still remains, more or less, correct).

So true, Matthew. And sometimes the errors are only ones perceived so by whoever is in power. Many have been strung up for telling the truth when it went against whatever was accepted doctrine at that time.

 
At Tue Oct 17, 10:58:00 PM, Blogger Molly said...

This was a GREAT post. Thank you so much.

 
At Wed Oct 18, 06:26:00 AM, Blogger teknomom said...

As a veteran of many message board wars, I concur that communication, especially in writing, is very much fraught with obstacles. Any time someone tries to use the multitude of Bible translations as 'proof' that the Bible is whatever we want it to mean, I point out that in that very message board we can find numerous examples of people failing to communicate-- even when they all speak the same language, in the same culture, at the same time in history.

Science and art must work together. We need experts to investigate ancient cultures and languages, to make those interlinears, to have discussions among themselves as to what the words **can** mean. But we also need people from all walks of life to read the work of the experts and say, "But could it not also mean such-and-such"--- which may have escaped the notice of the experts as they concentrated on the mechanics of translation. Only by the two working together can we find out what the words likely **do** mean.

Although I'm a programmer too, I think a good parallel would be that of doctor and patient. It used to be that the patient had nothing at all to say to the doctor, that the doctor was above reproach and not to be questioned. This resulted in many people getting worse or dying because they didn't speak up about something the almighty physician didn't see or know. Now, we have people working with their doctors (ideally anyway), taking a more active role in their own health care. We have to trust the doctor to know the technical means of carrying out a particular treatment, but we are responsible for questioning whether that treatment or another one might be preferable.

Now here I am trying to communicate something, but did I succeed? I won't know until others read it and express either understanding or confusion. And as we can see here already, there will likely be both. It appears that communication is theoretically impossible! Take the bumblebee's theoretical inability to fly for example. The experts say they shouldn't be able to fly, yet they do. And by the same miracle, we somehow manage to communicate on occasion even thought the odds against it are so high.

So this matter of Bible translation is not some cut-and-dried laboratory formula, but more like a multi-faceted gem whose appearance changes with the lighting and angle of view. As long as both the experts and the laymen keep this in mind, I think we have a better picture of the whole issue.

 
At Wed Oct 18, 10:53:00 AM, Blogger John Radcliffe said...

Sorry for the long post. There are a number of responses, but I see them as interrelated.

(Apparently Winston Churchill once apologised for writing a long letter, saying that he hadn’t had time to write a short one. When I first became a Christian I tended to be impressed by people who could write huge commentaries. As I get older, I increasingly respect those with the ability to be concise and yet precise. As you can see, it’s not an ability I have.)

Wayne:

Your courteous response is appreciated (for the avoidance of doubt, I am *not* implying anything negative about anyone else’s responses).


Matthew:

I note and thank you for your response, and in turn apologise for any offence caused by me. Two explanations follow:

(1) My initial reaction was because you targeted my illustration rather than the main thrust of my post. I could see no *good* reason why you would do that. Perhaps I have visited too many of those Internet forums where that kind of thing happens all too often. I had thought that this blogsite would be different, but my initial reaction to your post was that I seemed to be wrong.

I’m sure everyone here is aware that not all discussions between Christians *are* conducted in the courteous way that we would expect. Those on which translation is “best” and issues such as “inclusive” language are cases in point, including some attacks on the TNIV, its translators and sponsors.

(2) You are right to say that VBA is used to enhance certain applications. That is what I use it for. That my descriptions were imprecise in computing-related terms is simply because that I wasn’t writing in those terms. So the word “application” was meant to have its ordinary, common-or-garden, meaning (relating to the business of applying something). I trust you won’t now “look down” on me from the heady heights of VB as a “mere” VBA user! (Of course VBA is, as its name implies, a form of VB; indeed, the title bar in the editor window I have open actually says “Microsoft Visual Basic”, so if I’m wrong on that point, so are Microsoft!)

I use VBA on a daily basis (both at work and at home) to help solve problems and, indeed, “to serve others”. I try to use my (admittedly very limited) knowledge of Greek (indirectly) to the same ends. I feel a need to get to grips with what the NT writers are saying, how that impacts on how I should live, and how that impacts on others. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that this makes me “better” than those who can just take things on trust, but as a natural sceptic I guess it’s my way of “touching the evidence” as “doubting Thomas” did (John 20:27).


Suzanne:

(1) The point I was trying to make (not, it seems, very successfully) was that, as translating the Bible involves more than an understanding of linguistics, there are stages in the process where even those with little or no knowledge of the original languages can (and indeed, I believe, should) comment (or “check up on”).

To give a concrete example: In Romans 1:17 and 3:21 NIV has “a righteousness from God”, but TNIV “the righteousness of God”. Perhaps some objected that NIV imposed one interpretation, while the TNIV leaves it more open. I think, however, that many readers will take the TNIV rendering as a reference to God’s righteous character, and not to “a way of being brought into a right standing with God that God himself has provided”. Maybe “God’s righteousness” would have been a better compromise, or they could have used a footnote. Of course my view could be wrong but, as I don’t think that linguistics *are* the deciding factor here (I believe the immediate and larger context is), I *do* believe I have a right to have an opinion, and even to express it without being told “you don’t know Greek: how would you know”. (That’s not what I take you to be saying, although I could be wrong on that too!)

Please be in no doubt, though, that I *do* have a very high regard for those who translate the Bible (and for those who interpret it, produce study aids on it, etc) and regularly thank God for them. While on the one hand I believe that God has given his Spirit to all believers to help lead them to a knowledge of the truth, I also believe that such people are one of the means that he uses to achieve that end.

(2) Thank you for your F F Bruce reference, which led me to his article “Women In The Church: A Biblical Survey” – which impacts on the whole question of the biblical view of the sexes, which is one issue I am currently struggling with.

* * *

Anyone not familiar with F F Bruce’s “An Expanded Paraphrase of the Epistles of Paul” (which prints the RV alongside his own rendering) might be interested in this quote from the introduction:

“Of all English translations of the New Testament, the one which reproduces most accurately the nuances of Greek grammar and follows the idiom of the original as closely as possible without doing excessive violence to English literary usage – the translation which is therefore at the farthest remove from an expanded paraphrase – is the Revised Version of 1881.”

This shows that, while he believed such a literal translation *does* “do violence” to the receptor language, it also implies he thought such a version has value. I am also interested to note that he is careful to refer to his own rendering as a paraphrase rather than a translation, although others might judge differently.

 
At Wed Oct 18, 11:58:00 AM, Blogger M. J. Mansini said...

Maybe, in order to heal the rifts between the laymen and the expert the laymen should readjust their opinion of the "scholars"? My example: The experts are our tools for language studies. No, not "tools" in the condescending fashion, but in the New Yankee Workshop fashion.

Has anyone purchased Wayne Leman for the Bible study programs? Where can I download the Leman module for Bible Explorer, WordSearch doesn't have him listed under "Word Studies" or "Commentaries" for purchase?

;)
:P

 
At Wed Oct 18, 12:02:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Matthew asked:

Has anyone purchased Wayne Leman for the Bible study programs? Where can I download the Leman module for Bible Explorer, WordSearch doesn't have him listed under "Word Studies" or "Commentaries" for purchase?

I don't think he's an expert in any of those fields. :-)

It's a good point to make that there are scholars who need to be consulted when we work in various disciplines. Bible scholars have much to contribute to Bible translation.

 
At Wed Oct 18, 01:03:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

John R.,

Thanks for responding with more clarity. There are so many different layers involved in translation, in producing a final text. I don't think I have a distinct framework thought out for this, although I have worked with some in the past. I think now I would see it differently.

I would myself prefer an ambiguous text over an interpretive text and blogged on this extensively last spring. Here is one of my posts on the topic, which can be interpreted simply as thinking out loud.

What concerns me is when people take a position against a particular translation without a scholarly basis.

Here is another example of what I don't think too much of. Our minister decided last Sunday, after 13 years of silence on the subject of women in the church to preach on this topic. He introduced it by saying that a 'suitable' help is based on a Hebrew word meaning 'opposite'. The rest of his sermon was based on this doctrinal and Biblical truth, that whatever man is, woman is opposite. He ignored the distinct possibility that it means 'corresponding' or quite simply 'suitable' as the translation said.

That, I found, a little extreme, and after all, Paul calls women 'fellow workers' or coworkers who work 'alongside' him. Philippians 4. In fact, the gifts of the Spirit are not gender specific.

So that is the background to my response to you. Nothing to o with what you said at all!

 
At Wed Oct 18, 10:23:00 PM, Blogger M. J. Mansini said...

Suzanne: "What concerns me is when people take a position against a particular translation without a scholarly basis."

Or, might I add, with a "feigned" scholarly basis. I believe it has been blogged here, in relation to aner (if I remember correctly), and how some scholars cry scholarship, but have no real support from the texts themselves.

Suzanne: "That, I found, a little extreme, and after all, Paul calls women 'fellow workers' or coworkers who work 'alongside' him."

I have always found this passage to be particularly interesting:

1 Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. The twelve were with him,
2 as well as some women who had been cured of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out,
3 and Joanna, the wife of Herod's steward Chuza, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their resources.
Luke 8:1-3 (NRSV)

Read that last line: "...who provided for them out of their resources." God's Word has it: "They provided financial support for Jesus and his disciples."
Luke 8:3 (GW)

I imagine some people get a little queezy when they see that women provided financial means for our Lords (and his 12 disciples) ministry.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home