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Thursday, August 14, 2008

In the beginning ...

On the NLT blog today, Tremper Longman writes about the reasons for knowing the identity of the translators of any Bible version. He writes,

The main value of knowing who translated the Bible you are reading is to let you know the theological perspective of the work. (Yes, it is also to tell you that the people who did it are highly trained specialists in the language and literature of the Old and New Testaments). But what difference does the theological perspective of the translator make?

A big difference. After all, as I like to say, a translation is a commentary without a note. Well, not quite, but what I mean is that to translate requires interpretation and interpretation means that exegetical decisions have to be made. Much of the Bible is crystal clear and easily rendered into a modern language like English, but not all of it.

Let me give an example from the very first verses of Genesis (1:1-2) and let’s do so by comparing the NLT and the NRSV.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. (NLT)

In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep…” (NRSV)
Notice the difference? In the NRSV at the time (when) God created the heavens and earth, the earth was formless and void. In other words, it was already there and ready for God to use. The NLT hints at a creation from nothing. There was nothing and then God created a formless earth which he then shaped into the habitable planet described in the rest of Genesis 1.
------

I am tempted to contribute my usual schtick. Here are an additional five translations of the first two lines of Gen. 1,
    In the beginnning of God's creating the heavens and the earth -
    when the earth was astonishingly empty Artscroll Series

    When God began to create heaven and earth -
    the earth being unformed and void JPS

    At the beginning of God's creating of the heavens and the earth,
    When the earth was wild and waste Fox

    When God began to create heaven and earth,
    and the earth then was welter and waste Alter

    In the beginning God formed the heavens and the earth.
    And the earth was desolation and emptiness, Julia Smith
As an addendum I would like to add that the rabbi that I studied with this summer explained that the Jewish translations are roughly distributed thus. Artscroll is Orthodox, JPS is Conservative, and Fox is Reform. If you disagree, take it up with her!

Thanks to Kurk Gayle for directing me to Julia Smith's translation.

36 Comments:

At Thu Aug 14, 08:59:00 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Does the NRSV really have this "evil" agenda or is this just the NLT people trying to scare evangelicals into buying their translation? I always thought the NRSV was considered a very good, true to the nuances and ambiguitys of the text, translation of the bible. It's not the only good translation, but a good one nonetheless.

So, what's your take? I'd like to hear your "schtick"

 
At Thu Aug 14, 11:18:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Rob asked:

Does the NRSV really have this "evil" agenda or is this just the NLT people trying to scare evangelicals into buying their translation?

Rob, can you quote anything from NLT folks that gave you that idea?

I always thought the NRSV was considered a very good, true to the nuances and ambiguitys of the text, translation of the bible. It's not the only good translation, but a good one nonetheless.

The NRSV is a good translation, highly respected by scholars. It is one of the ones I turn to when I want to check accuracy. But it is hampered by Bible English, as are several other recent versions. The NLT has the best quality English of all the best selling Bible versions today. And that should not be surprising given that it had a good editor (Mark Taylor) who ensured that it sounded like English, not like Biblish.

I hope that the NLT will sell well outside of evangelical circles. My impression is that the NLT translators removed much of the bias of the evangelical "lodestone" which was in the NLT's predecessor, the Living Bible.

 
At Thu Aug 14, 11:37:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Rob,

I don't have an agenda either way. My schtick is simply to provide other translations which are a useful background to understanding the NRSV translation.

I don't think Longman was indicating that anything was "evil" and I certainly was not trying to show that.

Perhaps the only observation I could make is that the NRSV is in line in some way with all the Jewish translations and Smith. I believe that Jewish tradition also had a basic belief in creatio ex nihilo, but are more open to a text which is divergent from that if that is what the text seems to say in Hebrew.

We should be open to what the Jewish translations are saying and not barricade ourselves into an evangelical mindset. Not that I am saying that anyone is doing this, but simply we should not want to do this.

I am not arguing about whether the NRSV or the NLT are easier to read. I simply want to say that the NRSV is a good translation in the first few verses of Genesis, but these verse put a lot of people off the translation. I regret this.

Essentially, there was a lot in Longman's post that I liked but I am trying to stretch my mind a little at the same time. Making a Bible line up in all its essential creedal points seems a little too simplistic to me.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 04:15:00 AM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

I was talking about this verse with my Hebrew coach yesterday - he said the ending of the first word is unusual. What is it that gives rise to the constructs or possessives in the translations you have noted? Can you decompose the brshyt and get some relationship to the word rsh - head? Is God at the head of creation? (go Paul go) - Is the head of the letters, alef, taking a hidden second place to bet?

I am teaching letters to children - just planning my next 5 minute classes - see this blog and please leave a comment if you can help. Thanks

 
At Fri Aug 15, 05:24:00 AM, Blogger Paul Larson said...

So are you/Longman saying that the translators (we really have NO idea who they are, or what theological tradition they come from?) believe that the earth already existed, that God did not create it, i.e., that this was their theological agenda? Somehow, this just doesn't seem logical to me.

At any rate, it does say that God created the earth. I guess we need to know the meaning of the word create.

So am I to believe the earth existed but the heavens didn't and that God just modified the earth. Or....was formless and void the first stage in the creation when God began creating, in other words if didn't exist until he created it formless and on an on.
This is what scares me as a layman, that people really think such a small thing makes that big of a difference. So are we saying the the NSRV is not a good translation because of this one line.
How can we say that it isn't translated correctly because of bias if we can't agree that the sentence means.
Was the gender inclusive language an agenda too? Are we going to say we don't know because we don't know who translated it. Do we believe that the gender inclusiveness is an accurate translation or do we already know that it wasn't regardless of whether or not we know who translated it. Are we saying that we are not smart enough to know theological bias when we see it. Do we need to label people i.e., prejudge........ their work and translations because we think we know they are like us or not?

 
At Fri Aug 15, 06:54:00 AM, Blogger Paul Larson said...

WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTT!

All my beautiful and cleverly written proses have been rendered as formless and void by some simple research!!!!!!!!!

William A. Beardslee
Phyllis A. Bird
George Coats
Demetrios J. Constantelos
Robert C. Dentan
Alexander A. DiLella
J. Cheryl Exum
Reginald H. Fuller
Paul D. Hanson
Walter Harrelson
William L. Holladay
Sherman E. Johnson
Robert A. Kraft
George M. Landes
Conrad E. L'Heureux
S. Dean McBride, Jr.
Bruce M. Metzger
Patrick D. Miller
Paul S. Minear
Lucetta Mowry
Roland E. Murphy
Harry S. Orlinsky
Marvin H. Pope
J. J. M. Roberts
Alfred v. Rohr Sauer
Katharine D. Sakenfeld
James A. Sanders
Gene M. Tucker
Eugene C. Ulrich
Allen Wikgren

So now do we understand the NRSV better?

BTW Bruce Metzger is not a good editor?

 
At Fri Aug 15, 07:49:00 AM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

BTW Bruce Metzger is not a good editor?

Metzger was a top biblical scholar. I'm sure he could edit scholarly theological papers well. I'm sure he could spot problems in the English of his students' papers, theses, and dissertations.

When I referred to NLT having a good editor, I was referring to the fact that the NLT editor knows how to get a translation of the Bible to be expressed in natural English, as good authors and speakers naturally write and speak. Most English Bibles are written in Biblish, a form of English which uses much unnatural syntax and lexical combinations. The NRSV is written in Biblish as are most English Bible versions to one degree or another.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 09:25:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

I did not have an agenda in writing this post. However, I now appreciate the NRSV more for having an ecumenical translation committee,

The ecumenical NRSV Bible Translation Committee consists of thirty men and women who are among the top scholars in America today. They come from Protestant denominations, the Roman Catholic church, and the Greek Orthodox Church. The committee also includes a Jewish scholar.

(Only one! )

But for this verse, it is hard to say if it is simple literalness that is driving the translation. I simply wanted to show that the NRSV is part of a tradition of literal Bibles.

I am concerned that the NLT is a safe bible that will not challenge, but that seems to be part of its success. I am not persoanlly very familiar with it. I have no trouble with the style of language, but I am concerned if verses are translated in order to conform to other verses in the Bible on the same topic. That just does not seem to be the way the Bible was composed.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 10:07:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Was the gender inclusive language an agenda too? Are we going to say we don't know because we don't know who translated it. Do we believe that the gender inclusiveness is an accurate translation or do we already know that it wasn't regardless of whether or not we know who translated it. Are we saying that we are not smart enough to know theological bias when we see it. Do we need to label people i.e., prejudge........ their work and translations because we think we know they are like us or not?

What questions, Paul. What good questions!

Longman's questions are as rhetorical, I think:

"So why does the NLT list the names of its ninety translators? It’s not to stroke the egos of the scholars."

"But what difference does the theological perspective of the translator make?"

He goes on: "Much of the Bible is crystal clear and easily rendered into a modern language like English"

And then there's the rub:
"Much of the Bible is crystal clear and easily rendered into a modern language like English, but not all of it.

The sex and gender questions in the Bible are not neutral even if they were clear. To say any translator is without "an agenda" is a problem.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 10:36:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

But for this verse, it is hard to say if it is simple literalness that is driving the translation. I simply wanted to show that the NRSV is part of a tradition of literal Bibles.

Walter Wink (regardless of whether many of us can go along with all of his views on N/RSV or the Bible in general) does offer a helpful observation. It may confirm your understanding of the literal tradition of the NRSV, Suzanne. In his review of the NRSV, he says the following:

"In many cases the RSV’s footnotes have migrated into the NRSV text. It took some courage to change the revered reading of the Isaiah servant song from 'Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows' to 'Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases' (Isa. 53:4), though the RSV note indicates that its translators already knew which was the more correct. So also Genesis 1:1 now follows what was a note in the RSV: 'In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth.'"

The RSV has:

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void,..."

The RSV footnote (acknowledging ambiguity or lack of clarity which the NRSV translators seek later to disambiguate or lock down as if absolutely clear) says this:

"OR When God began to create..."

 
At Fri Aug 15, 10:39:00 AM, Blogger Iyov said...

Nope -- her characterization is unforgivably shallow. The ArtScroll translation is an afterthought (illuminating the points in the commentary), the NJPS was translated by mixed team (and is heavily used in Conservative and Reform congregations) and Fox is an independent scholar.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 12:12:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Iyov,

I think you are right on about the translations. I was hoping you would provide an alternate description.

Kurk,

Thanks for showing that "when" was already in the notes of the RSV. The actual history of an interpretation will often prove to be quite different from a retrospective assumption.

I have understood it to be a move in the direction of becoming more literal.

Paul,

You present gender inclusiveness as a tension between accuracy and agenda. What if there are two equally legitimate ways to translate something but you still have to decide one way or the other. English and Hebrew don't line up with a one-to-one correspondence - decisions have to be made.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 01:44:00 PM, Blogger R. Mansfield said...

It looks like HarperCollins has let NRSV.net lapse after only a year and a half of its existence. Sheesh.

Was that by design or oversight on the part of someone in marketing?

 
At Fri Aug 15, 02:55:00 PM, Blogger Paul Larson said...

"two equally legitimate ways to translate something but you still have to decide one way or the other"

that would of itself create tension, but not necessarily about gender.

The Genesis verse in question was genderless.

My concern was about whether or not it necessarily implied an earth already in existence and whether or not translator names made any difference. I am surprised that Mr. Longman didn't bother to do a simple google.

Why is it necessary to discuss gender and for you to question my agenda?

 
At Fri Aug 15, 03:03:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Paul,

I don't want to discuss gender either, so relief all around. :-)

I can't answer your question - I just found this an interesting and provocative post. I agree that all translation is interpretive. At the same time, some translators do choose one alternative over another because they think it is more accurate or more literal. Sometimes two different alternatives have an equal weight, and sometimes one seems more literal than the other.

That is the real question. how do we decide if it was for accuracy sake or interpretive choice between two equal alternatives.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 03:27:00 PM, Blogger Keith Williams said...

I can't speak for Tremper, but his post doesn't impugn the NRSV, or claim that they have "hidden" their translator list. It simply takes one example of where the NLT differs from another translation and points out that there are issues beyond just Hebrew vocabulary, grammar, and syntax in play.

The NRSV and Gen. 1:1 were chosen as his example, but any number of other translations and verses could also have been pointed out. The point was certainly not to say that the NRSV is untrustworthy because their printed editions don't contain a list of their translators. So it is overly simplistic to accuse Dr. Longman of "not bothering to do a simple google."

Also, the NLT certainly wasn't created to be a "safe Bible" that fits into an easy theological grid; it has actually been accused of being "Reformed," "Arminian," "conservative," and "liberal," among other labels. Perhaps too much is being read into the broader point Tremper is trying to make: translation is (at some level) interpretation, and so it is helpful to know who is doing the interpreting.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 03:30:00 PM, Blogger Paul Larson said...

Why is there relief all around?

Because now you don't think what you originally suspected was true, wasn't?

Why would that make me feel relief?

 
At Fri Aug 15, 03:47:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Keith,

Perhaps too much is being read into the broader point Tremper is trying to make: translation is (at some level) interpretation, and so it is helpful to know who is doing the interpreting.

It is certainly helpful to know the translators. What concerns me is that Longman concludes,

The NLT (and other translations by evangelical scholars) base their rendering on other, later Scripture passages that clearly teach creation from nothing.

The NRSV rather takes its cue from the cultural environment. The surrounding cultures (Egyptian, Canaanite, Mesopotamian) all describe primeval waters from which creation derives.


I did not cite this part in my post, my bad. This sounds somewhat critical of the NRSV to my ears. I am also not too sure that I want a translation that bases "their rendering on other, later Scripture passages." This is what I meant by "safe." It sounds as if the translation was possibly deliberately molded to have one part of scripture confrom with other parts even if, at first blush, they don't.

However, I want to make it clear that I did not link to Longman's post to criticize it. I linked in order to think about it further and promote dialogue.

I tend to be more in favour of a translation open to an ecumenical commiittee, but we each have our personal preferences.

Paul,

I am truly sorry. If I jumped to a false conclusion, please forgive me. I have lost the thread of our conversation - it seems I never had the thread. :-)

 
At Fri Aug 15, 06:51:00 PM, Blogger Charles Dog said...

Keith,
"The main value of knowing who translated the Bible you are reading is to let you know the theological perspective of the work."

Now, I would have to say the converse is certainly implied. If you don't know who translated the Bible you are reading then you don't know the theological. perspective of the work.

He goes on to say, "But what difference does the theological perspective of the translator make?

A big difference."

Yes, I know, it really doesn't do us much good to know the names unless we know the theological perspectives of the translators.

So how are we supposed to know the theological perspectives of all 90 translators of the NLT, or the 30 translators of the NSRV.

He did, however, leave me with the impression that we did know for the NLT but not the NSRV. I did think to myself, well, that IS strange so I looked it up and as we both know it wasn't the case.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 07:27:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Bob,

Does this help?

Since RaSHI, it has been widely understood that the conventional sequential translation, "In the beginning.." is inaccurate. Bereshit is a construct, not absolute form, so a temporal "When [God] began..." is better. So already on the merely syntactical level the word has its complexities.

My sense is that the use of when is dependent on a grammatical understanding of this phrase, not on the taking surrounding culture into consideration.

The missing aleph is sometimes considered the ehad or "one" and the beit "two" a human number, we are two. God, the one, precedes creation and creation begins with beit. Aleph is not second to beit, but is the preexistant God. Just one explanation.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 07:44:00 PM, Blogger Bible Reader's Museum said...

I decided after my first self published "Bible Version Encyclopedia" to take a stronger interest in the translators, editors and boards of Bible translations. I have included as many of the names as possible for every testament, full Bible and many other translations. So far I've got 2,177 names in the database. It's nearly double the size of the book just to mention each one. I think knowing the translators and their backgrounds can be helpful. But it sure is a lot of work!

 
At Fri Aug 15, 08:01:00 PM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

Suzanne - it is delightful and satisfying (and I don't use that word lightly). Confidence allows the creation of such humour. Thanks for the help with the letters.

Now about the construct - or adjacency, as my Hebrew coach called it today. What word is brshyt in construct with? It must be br) as a noun. So the reading must be different from hearing it as a qal perfect verb. Also in this thought there is then no verb. So if br) is verb, then construct applies in a noun-verb adjacency structure too.

 
At Fri Aug 15, 08:13:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

That's where Artscroll and Fox come in. "At the beginning of God's creating."

 
At Fri Aug 15, 08:19:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Bob,

More here.

 
At Sat Aug 16, 04:16:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

I'm trying to recapture a thread in this discussion by excerpting some of your comments below. I think it's important that there is 1 Jewish scholar among 2 teams of Bible translators (approx. 120 people total). It's not unimportant that a team has 1 woman among 90 with a less ecumenical diversity in the group, and that the other team has 4 women among 30 with various backgrounds and includes the 1 with the Jewish background.

Julia Smith certainly had an agenda! In the 1870s, 3 teams of 101 men, and 0 women, began work in England and America on the “Revised Version.” Smith was absolutely excluded from involvement or consideration. Equally ignored was her complete translation of the Bible into English from the Hebrew, the Greek (including the Septuagint), and the Latin (particularly the Vulgate). So these men certainly did have an interpretation about women, an agenda, that affected [that "barricaded"] the practice of translation.

A Jew, a translation scholar, like Willis Barnstone certainly has an agenda. He's written much about the Christian translator appropriation of "Jesus" as an antisemitic move. For translators who claim to be Christian to ignore Barnstone's scholarship and claim is also an agenda. Why not welcome Jewish scholars more onto teams of Christian Bible translation?

>Charles: So how are we supposed to know the theological perspectives of all 90 translators of the NLT, or the 30 translators of the NSRV.

>Bible Reader's Museum: So far I've got 2,177 names in the database...I think knowing the translators and their backgrounds can be helpful.

>Keith: the broader point Tremper is trying to make: translation is (at some level) interpretation, and so it is helpful to know who is doing the interpreting.

>Ivoy: her [this one particular rabbi's] characterization [of the various translations] is unforgivably shallow.

>Paul: Why is it necessary to discuss gender and for you to question my agenda?

>Suzanne: in line in some way with all the Jewish translations and [with the translation by the woman Julia] Smith. I believe that Jewish tradition also had a basic belief in creatio ex nihilo, but are more open to a text which is divergent from that...We should be open to what the Jewish translations are saying and not barricade ourselves into an evangelical mindset.

 
At Sat Aug 16, 05:42:00 AM, Blogger Charles Dog said...

Thanks for the summary JK, kinda long and lotsa people, huh?.

So lets say we know the backgrounds of all the people (museum, I'm impressed) does it really make that much difference in the ultimate translation?Do they endup, overall saying something much different in the text?

I am not convinced that the NLT and NSRV are all the different in the verse suggested.

If we read the NSRV vs the NLT are we going to come to a different conclusion as to what the mind and manner of Jesus was, and what he wanted for us

If the average person attending the average church on Sunday has just one translation, is their theological view going to be effected (affected?) by that version, or more by the vague idea of gaining forgiveness/access to heaven by doing some form of penance for their sins by attending church on Sunday, and maybe the "magic" of the communion?

Does the average Bible studier only have one version? Especially today with things like the e-sword.

Does the serious/obsessed amateur, with a bunch of Bibles like me not know that some Bibles are gender inclusive and others are not? Knowing this do I take the translators' backgrounds into consideration when I compare the various versions I have, or have I already made my decision relative to the gender issue based more on my world view and sex?

As I said before is it really going to change my theological view? I don't really think so. I think the notes may, for example I have a Concordia (Missouri Synod Lutheran) Study NIV Bible. Its notes are very different than the NLT notes. Although I dislike both sets of notes. These would the the potential to change the way I view theology more than the translation.

I can also tell you that I have had a greater change in my theological view coming from the Crossways International Bible Study course and one particular instructor than I have had by studying the various versions. While, I'm not really into the gender inclusiveness of the NSRV, I view it as a scholarly Bible and as accurate as I need, and will study it, if it is handy.

The Bible/s I take to class typically are the Message, because if its big picture view, the Stone Tanach, and that NIV, not for the notes but because I have already written all over it.

I really like the New Interpreters Bible series and the scholarly notes, but I'll go broke buying on volume at a time (I have Genesis and Matthew) and it has the NIV and NSRV in parallel, but $ (yes, how much to do LOVE Jezzuzz?) Well 12 volumes at $50 plus on a fixed income

As an aside I am excited by this new ESV Study Bible looks scholarly, is it?
(I don't have an ESV except on e-sword) (and I was brought up with the RSV and still like it) what agenda will I notice in the text vs the notes? Will I be forever lost to the forces of darkness it I read it?

BTW I and changing my email so CharlesPDog is me, Paul Larson

 
At Sat Aug 16, 05:55:00 AM, Blogger Dru said...

There's another interesting example of this. I have been looking for a commentary to have picked this up and explained it, but have so far not found one. Is there an expert out there who can say more about this? It has profound repercussions for what we think living the Christian life is about.

Matt 5:6 - the fourth Beatitude, AV followed by most Anglophone Bibles:-

"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled".

The Douai translation though is:-

"Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice ... ".

There are other variants. The NEB and REB for example both have 'to see right prevail'.

The GNB is 'whose greatest desire is to do what God requires'. In my view that is weak as it drops the vigour of 'hunger and thirst' in favour of a more abstract interpretation. But it is closer to the AV meaning than the Douai or REB ones.

'Justice' and 'see right prevail' have similar meanings. 'Righteousness' has a quite different one. It occupies in English a quite different territory of meaning. Although to some extent it can spread outwards, it belongs to the private sphere, 'living a good life', 'keeping the commandments'. 'Justice' and 'see right prevail' belong much more to the public sphere. Justice is something judges do. They decide between people and arguments.

The underlying Greek word is dikaiosune. But what does that mean? What was the word in Aramaic that Jesus might have actually used? What did that normally mean? And the really important question, the crunch one, WDJM ('What did Jesus mean')?

Either one or both of those translation traditions must be wrong or insufficient. Yet this single verse is itself so well known that 'righteousness' which has been used as a translation here since at least the C14 (Wycliffe uses it), has almost certainly developed its English meaning based on what people think Jesus was talking about.

It may also be true that people may have too narrow an idea of what 'righteousness' ought to encompass, but as an explanation that is insufficient

The late John Paul II often used the word 'justice'. One can still hear in ones mental ears, his Polish accent saying it. Yet to some Anglophone ears, particularly proddy ones, I suspect that sounded a bit 'social gospel', 'leftist', a touch of Arrupe.

However a bit of research reveals something else interesting. The Vulgate at this point is:-

Beati qui esuriunt et sitiunt justitiam quoniam ipsi saturabuntur.

Jerome was translating from NT Greek into Latin at a time when both were spoken languages. Greek would have changed over the three centuries or so between when the NT writers were writing, and when he was translating. But he presumably thought at the time that justitia was the best word to use to translate dikaiosune.

So three more questions:-

1. Was Jerome right?
2. What did justitia mean in the late C4?
3. Is it a false friend as regards the English word 'justice'?

The Douai version was translating the Vulgate, not Greek. I suspect that JP2 spoke often of 'justice' because his Bible was the Vulgate. This was a resonant word from Matt 5:6 in the version of the Bible that he knew best.

But are the NEB and REB onto something, or are they simply wrong?

 
At Sat Aug 16, 06:16:00 AM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

Dru's righteousness/right/justice does not raise for me 'the personal sphere' in any exclusive or individual sense, but word that was from the beginning: 'and it was good', 'shall not the God of all the earth do right?', or 'that you may be justified when you are judged'. So I wonder, repeating his question - just how much does our 'agenda' (polity, confession, party) prevent us from seeing the agenda of our opponent? (Hashem that is, Person in relation to our person.)

 
At Sat Aug 16, 10:33:00 AM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

Construct or not - can you have an object marker when there is no verb? Does the object marker say - you must have recognized that verb as requiring an object - therefore translate it as a verb with a direct object. I mused a bit more here

 
At Sat Aug 16, 11:15:00 PM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Charles (Paul)

I understand you to be saying that we develop our worldview independent of the Bible translation we use. Would that be an accurate way to describe what you are saying. Its worth thinking about.

Bob,

I don't have more to contribute on the grammar of the first few words of Genesis, but I have appreciated learning that there is more than one way to understand them.

Dru,

You raise a very interesting point about righteousness and justice. I may be wrong on this, but - doesn't Latin have only justitia and no other word for righteousness. Isn't the dichotomy between righteousness and justice purely a matter of English. Only righteousness existed in the early English Bibles, and the justice/righteousness contrast developed in Tyndale perhaps.

 
At Sun Aug 17, 02:16:00 AM, Blogger Dru said...

Suzanne, that's interesting, and that's part of why I was saying 'is there an expert out there?' Perhaps just as English has one word for 'love' and NT Greek has at least 4, English defines something more precisely that was not so precisely defined in Latin - or for that matter possibly koine. But I last actually did any Latin, and that at a fairly low level, in 1965.

But beyond all that WDJM?

 
At Sun Aug 17, 09:53:00 AM, Blogger Suzanne McCarthy said...

Dru

Its a little more complicated. Latin had judicium and justitia, for example, roughly the first is "justice as a right judgement" and "justice as righteousness."

Its not possible to do a concordant translation from Hebrew to Greek to Latin to English. Best treated in another post - maybe next week.

 
At Sun Aug 17, 03:18:00 PM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Bob,
Your post is well worth the read! Thanks!

Dru & Suzanne,
Did NT readers have Greek cultural literacy when it comes to Justice? Note Daniel's comments here and here. Suzanne, if you do write about Greek, Latin, Hebrew, to English, what of the cultural connotations in the languages?

Charles P Dog,
Some thoughts following your thoughtful questions.

 
At Wed Aug 20, 03:06:00 AM, Blogger Iyov said...

I have replied sharply to Longman III here.

 
At Wed Aug 20, 03:24:00 PM, Blogger Charles Dog said...

Iyov
Why, how are you so positive that the NSRV implies the earth was already there. It says created the earth. Why doesn't that mean that when he created it, the first step was void, then added the waters, and land, etc, on another day. I'm sure there is some great scholars that have used this to make some stretched theological point but to me created is created, modified, added to, are completely different concepts, that I don't see here. What am I missing?

 
At Wed Aug 20, 04:20:00 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Charles,

That's a good question. You could also address Iyov on his own blog, since the discussion is hot and heavy over there.

 

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