Compromise or Comprehension?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Deacon, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
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    A recently published article in ‘Christianity Today’ by Collin Hansen, entitled "The Son and the Crescent" (February, 2011: 19-23). concerns some how one translates Scripture.

    Here are some thoughts and quotes from Vern Poythress' critque of the article
    Bible Translations for Muslim Readers [LINK]


    The articles note a common Muslim misunderstanding concerning the meaning of the phrase “Son of God”.
    To the Muslim ear the expression means that God the Father had sexual relations with Mary, an abhorrent idea even in our ears.

    To properly translate the phrase so a Muslim audience would understand it means we need to select an expression that communicates not only the words but their meaning in a way that transfers the original meaning without the added baggage inherent in their culture.

    Dr. Poythress is critical of (un-footnoted) substitutions including: "spiritual Son of God", "beloved Son who comes from God" and "Beloved of God".

    An old friend of mine is back in the States for a bit on leave from ministering to the Muslim world.

    I’ll update this post with some of his experiences and opinions on the matter when I get the chance.

    Rob
     
  2. Deacon

    Deacon
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    I spoke to my friend this morning (he’s on a year and a day’s leave from the mission field - some administrative aspect of a foriegn country's retirement system).

    Re: the Muslim understanding of “Son of God”
    Rather early in their education, Muslim’s are trained to question the doctrine of the trinity.
    Apparently there is a recent modern translation that was written to be more acceptable to the Islamic ear.
    In his opinion, a modern translation that avoids the phrase may initially be helpful for evangelism but one quickly has to use a more literal translation.
    Eventually a Christian must deal with what the original author wrote and what it means.

    Rob
     
  3. franklinmonroe

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    Amen to that!

    My first reaction to your OP was that generally translations ought not to be very accommodating to specific circumstances; that would be a moving target that perhaps would serve only to cause more confusion.

    Then I read the article. My thoughts did not change.

    Actually, I think they may be looking at the whole "Son of God" issue backwards. The problem is not in the term translated "Son". In the article Mr. Hansen perpetuates the confusion of the KEY term (p.2 online, my bold) --
    No, Collin! God does NOT curse in the Qur'an, Allah does. The Bible is not talking about a 'son of Allah'. Scripture is talking about the "Son of God". There is a difference. The Muslims have a problem with Allah having a son. If they are led to understand that the Judeo-Christian triune YWYH (God) is not Allah then there is no internal Islamic conflict. We should not allow the perception to continue that makes God and Allah equivalent. Our God is not described in the Qur'an. Allah does not have a son [not to mention that Allah doesn't even exist]; the eternal living Father does have a Son. How about: "Son of YWYH" as a translation? Would that help?

    BTW, here is one online English translation of At-Tawba 9:30 (Sahih International) --
     
    #3 franklinmonroe, Feb 26, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 26, 2011
  4. Trotter

    Trotter
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    Allah =/= God.

    Allah = god only.
     

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