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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In the beginning was the Dao

I found a comment at ThinkChristian quite interesting relating to the recent difficulties of using the New Chinese Version of the Bible:

The gospel has grown in cities, not villages and as these families try to reach their villages (mostly Daoist) its awkward to read John 1:1 where it literally reads, "In the beginning was the Dao, and the Dao was with God and the Dao was God." Talk about culturally confusing!

Ranger also mentions the problem of lack of availability as being a factor in the slow acceptance of the new version. In Malawi a similar story is happening with regard to the Buku Loyera which was meant to replace the archaic Buku Lopatulika.

Read: Switching Chinese Bible Translations and check out Ranger’s comments.


At Wed Sep 24, 10:30:00 PM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

Why does this translation bother you? You have obviously retranslated it back into English - are you sure that this is how it would be 'seen' in Chinese?

At Wed Sep 24, 10:52:00 PM, Blogger David Ker said...

Well, the commenter lives in China so at the very least it's a worthwhile perspective.

At Thu Sep 25, 04:33:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

David, Ranger's comment seems to be about CUV, the old version, not NCV.

At Thu Sep 25, 06:16:00 AM, Blogger David Ker said...

Um, whoops. Let me go back and read that again. :)

At Sat Sep 27, 07:56:00 AM, Blogger Bob MacDonald said...

Your post got me thinking New Testament. First I do have a Chinese friend who has used this phrase with me years ago. He has 35+ books published in Chinese about Christ and the ancient Chinese classics. I will ask him more next time I see him. He taught me some of the Tao te Ching.

But back to the NT - What was in the beginning?

If you were translating John 1:1, how would you do it?

In the beginning was a source of negative entropy. And the information was with God, and the information was God. The same was in the beginning with God. Everything visible and invisible was made through information. And without that information nothing that has been made was made.

What would you pick to translate logos? What is the Hebrew connection? Is it a Hellenistic term?

How did you translate it and related uses in the NT in your own project and why?

Did you keep a poetic frame? Did you have to 'explain'? What was the history of the people that you would choose 'that word' and not another?

Did God translate God's word for us into our flesh?

At Sat Sep 27, 09:49:00 AM, Blogger J. K. Gayle said...

Bob asks, "What would you pick to translate logos? What is the Hebrew connection? Is it a Hellenistic term?"

Edward Schiappa's book, Protagoras and Logos: A Study in Greek Philosophy and Rhetoric, begins to offer some answers.

At Sat Sep 27, 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

"the information was God"

An interesting rendering which somehow seems a bit too appropriate in a modern age which idolises information.

At Fri Oct 03, 04:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

there is A LOT of similarity between taoist concepts and the concept of logos. maybe if you only read the book of john anachronistically, after two thousand years of history, and as some document existing only in a christian vacuum, then i can see if you have trouble with this translation -- but i say it's very much in the spirit of how john took his contemporary hellenistic understanding of the term and turn it on everyone's head, as a stepping stone to talk about the incarnation of christ. so it should be with tao. or other concepts. i hate to get too carried away, but i'm disappointed by a lot of contemporary gospel approaches to missionary work because of things like this. we don't adapt to the cultures anymore, like the believers of old did. instead, we try to hoist all kinds of western concepts on to the foreign culture. it shouldn't be so.


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