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Friday, March 30, 2007

Tent vs tabernacle cont.

I have assembled here a few more translations for John 1:14. I have tried to represent each significant variant once. This does not represent a popularity count for the different ways to translate σκηνοω.

My main question is whether σκηνοω should be translated in accordance with the Hebrew scriptures as translated in the LXX since this text was known to the authors of the Christian scriptures?

    And so the Word became flesh and took a place among us for a time; and we saw his glory--such glory as is given to an only son by his father--saw it to be true and full of grace. Bible in Basic English

    The Word became man and he lived among us. We saw with our own eyes that he is great. He is great the way God the Father made his only Son great. We saw that he is full of loving kindness and truth. Bible in Worldwide English

    And the word became flesh, and tented7 among us, and we observed his glory, glory as of [the] uniquely-begotten8 from [the] father, full of grace and truth (7 indicates a temporary, not permanent dwelling. May also refer to the Tabernacle) Faithful Translation

    And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. And we beheld His glory, glory as of an only begotten from the Father, full of grace and of truth. Green's Literal

    And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among vs (& we beheld his glory, the glory as of the onely begotten of the Father) full of grace and trueth KJV

    The Logos became incarnate, and had his tabernacle among us, being full of grace and truth; and we contemplated his glory, such glory as the Monogenes derived from the father. Mace

    And the Word became flesh and tented with us. And we gazed on his glory - glory as of the Father’s only Son - full of grace and truth. Montgomery

    And, the Word, became, flesh, and pitched his tent among us, and we gazed upon his glory,—a glory, as an Only-begotten from his Father. Full of favour and truth. Rotherham

    And the Word became flesh, and did tabernacle among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of an only begotten of a father, full of grace and truth Young's Literal

    And the Word came in the flesh, and lived for a time in our midst, so that we saw His glory--the glory as of the Father's only Son, sent from His presence. He was full of grace and truth. Weymouth

    Now34 the Word became flesh35 and took up residence36 among us. We37 saw his glory – the glory of the one and only,38 full of grace and truth, who came from the Father.
    (tn Grk “and tabernacled.”sn The Greek word translated took up residence (σκηνόω, skhnow) alludes to the OT tabernacle, where the Shekinah, the visible glory of God’s presence, resided. The author is suggesting that this glory can now be seen in Jesus (note the following verse). The verb used here may imply that the Shekinah glory that once was found in the tabernacle has taken up residence in the person of Jesus. Cf. also John 2:19-21...) NET Bible

    The Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. NIV 1977

    So the word of God became a human being and lived among us. We saw his splendour (the splendour as of a father's only son), full of grace and truth. JB Philipps

    And the message was embodied and lived among us, and we observed its glory: glory like from a father's only son, full of favor and truth. Non-eclesiasitical NT F. Daniels

    And the Word took human form and lived among us. We have seen his splendor, the splendor of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of favor and truth. Source
In preparing this post I have used texts found through the Bible Bureau and the Bible Tool. Are there any other ways of translating σκηνοω in John 1:14 that should be considered?


At Sat Mar 31, 06:46:00 AM, Blogger Mike Sangrey said...

One of the things a good author will do when seeking to convey an intended ambiguity (ie. double-meaning) is to use a somewhat unusual word. The salience increases the cognitive activity which enables the aquisition of the double-meaning. ISTM that σκηνοω works that way here.

Also, another thing to keep in mind when translating σκηνοω is that 1:14 reflects its chiastic partner, verse 1:9-10. I don't know, but I wonder if the expression "the true light that gives light to all people" (τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν ὃ φωτίζειπάντα ἄνθρωπον) was also an allusion to the temple. If that's true, then an association within the mind to the temple would have already been established (a cognitive effect). It would have been waiting in the wings (as it where) to be relighted by the pun. So, the chiastic structure enables the acquisition of the pun much more easily, too.

I'm just trying to provide more input to Suzanne's good question.

At Sat Mar 31, 02:13:00 PM, Blogger Damian said...

I just looked at about 30 german, french, italian, spanish and portugese transaltions and in all bar 2 exceptions they translate the first skenow as "to dwell." The Italian Nuova Riveduta adds "for a time" and the German Muenchner NT uses "to camp."

At Sat Mar 31, 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Thanks Damian,

The Latin vulgate has "habitare" so that must have been an important influence.

You haven't seen a full copy of the Olivétan Bible, have you?

At Sat Mar 31, 07:44:00 PM, Blogger Peter Smythe said...

In reading Metzger's The Bible Translation, he cites the Charles Thompson Bible as saying, "Now the Word became incarnate, and dwelt as in a tent among us." (pg. 89)


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