Brethren and Sisterin

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Greektim, Feb 9, 2015.

?

How would you translate (lit. "brothers")?

  1. Formally/literally "brothers"

    8 vote(s)
    53.3%
  2. Functionally "brothers & sisters"

    4 vote(s)
    26.7%
  3. Alternatively "siblings"

    1 vote(s)
    6.7%
  4. Something else (?)

    2 vote(s)
    13.3%
  1. Greektim

    Greektim
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    So often the plural of αδελφος, αδελφοι ("brothers") is used to greet believers.

    According to your translation philosophy, how would you proceed?

    Do you translate it formally or literally "brothers" and thus denotatively exclude female believers?

    Do you translate it functionally "brothers and sisters" since that is certainly the concept communicated?

    Do you translate it in another fashion to avoid the problems yet in order for "clarity" as well as "literalness" you opt for the non-personal "siblings" which hardly fits the relational greeting the writers were looking for.
     
  2. Rippon

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    Take a wild guess.



    Indeed I would.

    In a few short years just about all English translations will have that rendering --the majority already have that reading presently.

    There was a stink about losing the words "thee", "thou","thine",and "ye" a few decades ago. Now that's forgotten. The same will be the case here. Bye bye brethren.

    By the way, the NIV has "brothers" several times in the New Testament.

    So will the ESV or HCSB be the first of big ones to put it in the text. The ESV already has about 151 footnotes saying :"Or, brothers and sisters." The HCSB doesn't even have any notes about --bullet or otherwise. So I will venture to guess the ESV will include "brothers and sisters" in a future edition before 2020.

    Yet for the ESV to go the route I predict would mean for the PR arm to lose its distinctive anti-feminist jargon. Of course using "brothers and sisters" in the text has absolutely nothing to do with feminism. That's a fact many here don't seem to realize because common sense has flown away.
     
    #2 Rippon, Feb 9, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 9, 2015
  3. Deacon

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    Definitely "Brethren and Slytherin"

    Rob
     
  4. Reformed

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    Typically it means brethren regardless of gender. But, as always, context rules.
     
  5. Rippon

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    That itself is in need of rephrasing. You meant that the word 'brethren' is inclusive of male and female believers.
    Yes, and most of the time in the New Testament the words "brethren" and "brothers" which are used in the older translations mean fellow believers i.e. brothers and sisters. There is no harm in spelling it out.
     
  6. Van

    Van
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    Note the underlying premise here is to claim if G80 is not translated brothers or brethren, then the translation is not formal or literal.

    But the range of meanings for G80 includes referring to anyone born anew in Christ, where there is no difference, male or female. So a transparent effort to claim word or word formal equivalence does not allow translating differing meanings using different words or phrases. Fiddlesticks. If a blood relationship is in view, then brothers or brothers and sisters if context dictates, would suffice. However, if our spiritual relationship within the family of God is in view, siblings works.
     
  7. Rippon

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    Fellow believers are in view in New Testament usage. It has nothing to due with early blood-ties. It has everything to do with the blood-ties of those who are united in the Faith and blood bought by the Lord.
    No it doesn't work. Saying "siblings" is as awkward as can be.

    As Greektim stated, it"hardly fits the relational greeting the writers were looking for."
     
  8. The American Dream

    The American Dream
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    I agree with you. Siblings is a good word for any translation in the spiritual realm, and brothers and sisters in the physical. I saw twice the word awkward, but the posters fail to say why or justify the comment.
     
  9. Greektim

    Greektim
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    You're new here, so I'll let your agreement with Van pass. ;) You are sure to learn quickly. :D

    Then you must not be reading. I would call it awkward because there is no relational connotation of the word "sibling" in the English language. It misses the purpose of the greeting or reference. Sibling connotes a physical relationship much like kinsman. But it does not connote the close personal that "brothers" or "brothers and sisters" has.
     
  10. The American Dream

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    Well you are correct about one thing. I do not know all the personalities here. I read quite a bit. No, never heard of this issue. I can see your logic. There is no single English word to convey brothers and sisters in a close spiritual manner.
     
  11. Greektim

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    :BangHead:

    Except maybe "brothers and sisters"...

    :tonofbricks:
     
  12. The American Dream

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    Since we like to play word games, last time I checked "brothers and sisters" is not a single English word.
     
  13. Van

    Van
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    Some of the posters often put up solid viewpoints. Some like to "bust on" others. So threads sometimes are like threshing floors, where we need to separate the wheat from the chaff. Search the NT for where brothers/brethren appears and when the context points to our spiritual relationship with other born anew believers, see if siblings would not better capture the actual message of God.
     
    #13 Van, Feb 13, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 13, 2015
  14. Greektim

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    My point is... why do we need a single word if the Greek word has a connotative meaning that neither simply "siblings" nor "brothers/brethren" can convey???

    Brothers and sisters
     
  15. Greektim

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    The nice thing about "sibling" is that it does put both sexes into 1 word. However, at least the part of the word I'm from, if I addressed my congregation as "Siblings, may the God of all grace bless you...", that would sound forced and unrelational. I think the function of its use in the NT is very much relational and not to the exclusion of any sex. Therefore, I prefer "brothers and sisters" over "siblings".

    Part of the point of this thread is to show that translation is a subjective enterprise full of preference over "what it should be" type of thinking.
     
  16. Getting it Right

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    It was "normal" for a man or men to be addressed exclusively in scripture, from Genesis through Revelation. Leave "Brethren" as it appears in the Bible: Brethren. Women were not ordinarily directly addressed.

    Today it is interpreted to encapsulate male and female alike; that does not mean we must change what was written by and in a male-dominated society 2,000 years ago and before.

    Today, if one is addressing an individual Christian male, it is obviously "brother"; an individual Christian female, "sister". If one is speaking to a Christian gathering of any description, then "brothers and sisters" is obviously appropriate.

    Just don't alter the proof text.

    Those who created gender-free Bibles are missing the boat.
     
  17. Rippon

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    As it appears in older English translations.
    You are mistaken. The word 'brethren' has an inclusive meaning much of the time.
    God. Glad you agree.
    The subject of the OP has nothing to do with gender-neutering or your term 'gender-free.' You had just acknowledged how apt it is to use the term 'brothers and sisters' when referencing a mixed group of Christians. So why in the world would you bring up 'gender-free' Bibles? By the way, can you name any mainstream 'gender-free' translations? Please give examples of gender-freeness. ;-)
     
  18. Van

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    Yes, often times, translation follows tradition, what sound right to the translator, because that was the way some Greek word was translated in the past. Also marketing plays a role, if a translation deviates from tradition too far, it may be rejected. How well would a Bible sell if Christ was removed and Anointed One put in its place, or Jesus removed, and Yeshua put in that place.

    As far as addressing fellow believers, as siblings, not feeling right, if our bibles had always, from our youth, said Christ was the firstborn of many siblings, then the address would seem better than brothers and sisters.

    As far as "altering" the message of God, changing brothers to siblings, certainly alters the translated message, but does it alter the underlying actual message of God, where there is no difference in Christ? To the possible extent our English translations (i.e. primarily the KJV) added patriarchal bias to the text, then removing the addition serves God.
     
  19. Van

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    If we look at G79, a female noun, it appears about 24 times in the NT, and is used to refer to sisters, see Matthew 19:29 where both G80 and G79 appear as brothers and sisters in the Greek. The vast majority of the times its usage refers to a sister by blood. However, sometimes it is used of a member of God's family who is female.

    So based on this we can construct translation principles:
    1) If the context refers to blood relations, then brother(s) should be used for G80, and sister(s) for G79.
    2) If the context refers to specific individuals, as members of God's family, then use brother or sister as indicated. See 2 John 1:13.
    3) If the context refers to non-specific members of God's family, then use siblings.​
     
  20. Greektim

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    I still object to "sibling" because it does not have the relational connotations that "brothers and sisters" have. It captures the denotative value of the plural "brothers/brethren" when referring to the family of God as you put it. But translation is more than transferring a denotation.

    If translation was only a enterprise of transferring denotation in one language to another, then there would be no need for translations at all since that would imply that each language would be equivalent in every ways (grammatical, semantically, syntactically, and so on) just different words used to say the same thing. But comparing even the 2 most similar languages, one learns that such a phenomenon is simply a myth.
     

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