Doug Moo On What We Don't Get

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Rippon, Jan 28, 2015.

  1. Rippon

    Rippon
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    http://www.thenivbible.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/We-Still-Dont-Get-It.pdf
    To suggest in our discussion of translations among a general
    audience that “word-for-word” is a virtue is to mislead people about
    the nature of language and translation.
    at the same time, the fact that translations transfer meaning, not words, makes clear that it is
    foolish to claim that the doctrine of inspiration entails a “word-for-word”
    translation approach. Such a claim effectively removes the inspiration
    from those many words and forms that cannot be carried over
    More importantly, it badly misunderstands the doctrine
    itself. Plenary inspiration claims that every word of the original text
    was inspired by God: and this is why CBT labors over every single
    word of the original texts, working hard to determine how each of
    those words contributes to what the text is saying.

    And yet... We still
    write about and talk about the “literal” meaning of a word. To be sure,
    probably most modern linguists hold to some form of the view called
    monosemy: that is, that words have a basic sense of some kind. But
    this “basic” sense is often an abstract concept that cannot be expressed
    in a single English word or phrase.

    Linguists note that “literal” itself has a range of meaning in the
    literature, denoting everything from the "original" meaning to
    “most usual” meaning to “logically basic" meaning.

    the “original” meaning of a
    word has little to do with its meaning in a given context.
     
    #1 Rippon, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 28, 2015
  2. Yeshua1

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    Except that the doctrine of verbal plenary inspiration assumes that each word was intended by God, as the Spirit made sure each word was there in the Originals just as God intended, so would not a translation philosophy of word for word convey what God intended better then thought by thought approach?
     
  3. Rippon

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    In a word --No.
     
  4. Van

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    Spot on Yeshua1 ;)
     
  5. MNJacob

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    Not necessarily. How's that for equivocation (my own)? I do believe that word for word translations are useful. That's why I have a tendency to do my own. Every translation carries the language and cultural biases and experiences of the translator/translation committee. The KJV as wonderful as it is carries the ecclesiastical biases and organization of the 17th century Anglican church and scripturalizes them. You just have to recognize these issues and deal with them.

    It's hard to take figures of speech in Hebrew or Koine Greek and bring them to today's English, or Chinese, or Japanese. There has to be a middle ground approach. It's even harder to take the intended parallelism of Hebrew poetry and have it make sense in another language. Functional, formal, optimal: equivalence is hard.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    Yes it would.
     
  7. Van

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    Certainly translation is difficult. But presenting what is fundamentally Bible commentary and calling it translation is hardly the answer. As Robert Frost said about "free verse" it is like playing tennis with the net down.

    If you start with a word for word philosophy translation like the NASB95, you can certainly find flaws. But generally, they can be fixed without deviating from the formal equivalence approach.
     
    #7 Van, Feb 5, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 5, 2015
  8. MNJacob

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    If they are readable. :)
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    The so called "readability" excuse is just that. They are all readable.This nitpicking over insignificant words under the "guise" of readability is just not honest.
     
  10. Rippon

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    Your infamous "word studies" were notorious for their flagrant agenda-driven commentary.
     
  11. Rippon

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    As is usual, there is a continued deliberate twisting of "thought-for-thought." It means going clause, phrase and sentence by sentence. Meaning isn't expressed in single micro word chunks.

    John Purvey and others have recognized that a sense-by-sense approach is very reasonable.
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    It is commentary not translation.
     
  13. Rippon

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    Based on your commentary I guess you are ignorant how much your favorite translations use thought-by-thought far more than you are aware.
     
  14. Rippon

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    From Dr. Moo's article:

    "The principle that meaning resides in larger clusters of words means that we should no longer talk in terms of 'word-for-word' as a translation value. To suggest in our discussion of translations among a general audience that 'word-for-word' is a virtue is to mislead people about the nature of language and translation."

    "Do we continue to require our second-year language students to translate 'word-for-word,' perpetuating a simplistic and ultimately quite false view of language? It is no wonder that the discourse about translation so often rests on such linguistically naive premises."
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    And why do we need to care what moo says?


    Did the scribes copy thoughts or words?
     
  16. Rippon

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    Oh I don't know. He'sa world class New Testament Bible scholar with respected commentaries on James and Romans. The latter is considered to be the very best written on the Pauline epistle. He and D.A. Carson have worked togther on joint projects such as a New Testament commentary. Dr. Moo has been the head of the NIV translation for a while now. Things like that.

    Of course if the aforementioned items leave you feeling bored and unimpressed then you have no right to talk in the first place.

    Both.

    But you do realize that translation is from one language to another. New Testament scribes copied what they heard in Greek and Aramaic. Since your translations of choice are in English you are not reading the exact words of the original. I really don't think you have thought it through.
     
  17. Van

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    Yet another presentation of a logical fallacy, attacking me with a slanderous accusation, from a person who seems not even to know how to do a word study.

    Back to the topic, all of the so-called weaknesses of word for word translation philosophy versions, i.e. NKJV and NASB, can be strengthened by revising the translations.

    For example, in John 3:16, both still use the archaic "begotten" but "one of a kind" could be used for monogenes. Thus still adhering to the word for word philosophy and improving readability.
     
  18. Rippon

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    All translations --each and every one of them, need constant revision.

    The term 'word-for-word' needs to be retired since no translation lives up to that simplistic and naive ideal.

    But you gave two examples --the NKJV and the NASB. They certainly would be strengthened with thorough revisions. And when completed they would no longer be considered remotely 'word-for-word.' They would then be in the category of mediating translations --a very fine place to be --actually a sweet spot.

    Listen, all translations do to varying degrees what the NIV states in its preface.

    "Faithful communication of the meaning of the writers of the Bible demands frequent modifications in sentence structure and constant regard for the contextual meanings of words."

    All Bible translations do that in greater or lesser degrees. It's just that the translators of the NIV are more honest than most PR departments of various competing Bible versions. 'Optimal equivalence' and 'essentially literal' also need to vanish as ways of describing translational methodology.
     
    #18 Rippon, Feb 6, 2015
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  19. Van

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    I see Mr. Rippon now proclaims he is a prophet, telling us the future.

    Notice how general claims are made but no verse is cited where a word for word philosophy (also termed formal equivalence) translation cannot be made. None, zip, nada.

    Basically we have claims that are unsubstantiated to push for versions that tell us what they think it means, rather than what it says.
     
  20. Greektim

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    "that tell us what they think it means, rather than what it says."

    This is a meaningless juxtaposition: what something says as opposed to what someone thinks it means. What something says is not in a vacuum. Someone has to read it and interpret it all the same. To set off translation philosophies as formal vs function equivalence is to simplify to obfuscation. I literally live in a bi-lingual culture (not just Spanish or English but both/and all the time). I know there is more to translation than these simplistic "what someone thinks something means" vs. "what it says". My guess is that Van has little to no experience w/ a second language (although I readily admit I could be wrong). What is more, he doesn't know the biblical languages. So his opinion on the matter has little to no authority behind it. Don't bother, Rippon. You can't let his posts bother you. You need to be secure enough with what you believe to be true and realize the fact that some people will cling to their ways no matter the amount of evidence and reason is set before them.
     
    #20 Greektim, Feb 8, 2015
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