John 14:2 and Italicized Additions in KJV

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by InTheLight, May 27, 2013.

  1. InTheLight

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    John 14:2 is one of my favorite verses. I was reading it the other day and noticed the italicized word additions to the KJV. This is also present in the NKJV, and curiously it is carried over into the NIV.

    2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

    So what is wrong with simply?:

    2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if not, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

    Why did the translators choose to make the text unnecessarily wordy with the phrase "if it were not so" instead of leaving it as "if not," ?
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    This is your characterization and preference. It is not a fact. Just personal preference.
     
  3. Deacon

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    Young's Literal Translation shows a bit of what is going on.

    Translation is not a word by word process.

    The italicized words are not found in the original Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek text but are either 1) implied by the text or 2) added to have the sentence make sense grammatically in the English translation.

    The AV1611 was quite spotty in their use of this witness to the original text.

    I'd suggest looking in the preface of the version you use for a fuller explanation.

    Rob
     
    #3 Deacon, May 27, 2013
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  4. Van

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    Here is the footnote from the NKJV:

    John 14:2 "NU-Text adds a word which would cause the text to read either if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? or if it were not so I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you."

    So it appears to be based on a variant reading.

    Here is the NET footnote:

    5tc A number of important mss (Ì66c א A B C* D K L W Ψ Ë13 33 565 579 892 al lat) have ὅτι (Joti) here, while the majority lack it (Ì66* C2 Θ Ï). Should the ὅτι be included or omitted? The external evidence is significantly stronger for the longer reading. Most Alexandrian and Western mss favor inclusion (it is a little unusual for the Alexandrian to favor the longer reading), while most Byzantine mss favor omission (again, a little unusual). However, the reading of Ì66*, which aligns with the Byzantine, needs to be given some value. At the same time, the scribe of this papyrus was known for freely omitting and adding words, and the fact that the ms was corrected discounts its testimony here. But because the shorter reading is out of character for the Byzantine text, the shorter reading (omitting the ὅτι) may well be authentic. Internally, the question comes down to whether the shorter reading is more difficult or not. And here, it loses the battle, for it seems to be a clarifying omission (so TCGNT 206). R. E. Brown is certainly right when he states: “all in all, the translation without ὅτι makes the best sense” (John [AB], 2:620). But this tacitly argues for the authenticity of the word. Thus, on both external and internal grounds, the ὅτι should be regarded as authentic.
     
  5. jonathan.borland

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    Hey Van,

    The variation you mention has nothing to do with the "if it were not so" question of the OP. That question is entirely translational and not textual.

    The textual question you bring up has to do with the following clause in that verse (John 14:2):

    Most manuscripts (around 1600):
    ... I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
    OR (translational preference)​
    ... I would have told you, "I go to prepare a place for you."
    OR (translational preference)​
    ... would I have told you, "I go to prepare a place for you?"

    A few manuscripts (around 25):
    ... I would have told you. For I go to prepare a place for you.
    OR (translational preference)​
    ... I would have told you that I go to prepare a place for you.
    OR (translational preference)​
    ... I would have told you, "I go to prepare a place for you."
    OR (translational preference)​
    ... would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
    OR (translational preference)​
    ... would I have told you, "I go to prepare a place for you?"

    First of all, this is making a mountain out of a molehill. Why? Because the translational options with or without the οτι are basically identical.

    Second, the presence of οτι after verbs of speaking is extremely common, and this in itself could have induced a few scribes to add it here with a view to the most common form of syntax. (This is a very basic observation of textual criticism.)

    Third, a minority of scribes at any given place may either add or delete such instances of οτι. See this blog post where I have culled many such instances from the Gospel of Matthew.

    Fourth, the οτι is not present in the earliest manuscript, p66. This manuscript is 125–150 years earlier than the earliest manuscript that adds οτι. This shows not only that the reading of most manuscripts was present 125–150 years earlier than the earliest Alexandrian manuscripts that add it, but also that later on there was an active attempt to correct the text away from the Byzantine reading and toward the Alexandrian reading (observed in the later correction of p66 to include the οτι).

    Fifth, the earliest writer, Origen (before 250), who predates the earliest Alexandrian witness for the addition of οτι by 100 years, also agrees with the vast majority of witnesses and does not have it.

    This is not to say that the reading of the majority of witnesses should be accepted simply because it is also the earliest attested reading in both the Greek manuscript tradition and the church fathers. What it does demonstrate, however, is the rather hypocritical, or at least uncritical, use of a manuscript's or father's age simply to argue for your preferred reading when it suits your fancy.

    Since you blatantly reject the earliest attested reading here, I will therefore take this as your tacit admission of the impotence of the argument that the earliest attested reading is inherently better, and further in the future I will reject your arguing this as any qualitative criterion to arrive the original text.

    Now the translational preference for the question ("would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?") is somewhat problematic in that Jesus hadn't yet told them that he was going to prepare a place for them! Why do so? Why not choose from one of the many other valid options?
     
    #5 jonathan.borland, May 27, 2013
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  6. DrJamesAch

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    I could list all of the mss that contain the "εἰ δὲ μή (γε)" but it seems pointless. What many don't understand about translation and or even transliteration is there some languages have certain nomenclatures that convey meaning in their language that you may have in one word that covers them ALL in English (like..ahem...LOVE). It is often moot to get the MEANING at the expense of deviating from the text because you will always THINK in English (or whatever your native language).

    Secondly, certain words have several different ways that they can be translated, none of which are wrong. But what the critic does it select another variation and then builds a straw man argument against the KJV choice and calls it a mistake.

    In John 14:2:

    ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ πατρός μου μοναὶ πολλαί εἰσιν εἰ δὲ μή εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν πορεύομαι ἑτοιμάσαι τόπον ὑμῖν

    This is used by even the critics because there is no transition from ei de ma (if) that would make any grammatical sense if left alone against "I would have told you.

    "In my Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you." ASV

    "My Father’s house has room to spare. If that weren’t the case, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you?" CEB

    " There are many rooms in my Father’s house. I wouldn’t tell you this, unless it was true. I am going there to prepare a place for each of you." CEV

    "In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" ESV

    "In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you." NASB

    "My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? NIV

    In the NET sited by Van, the reading distorts the message:

    "There are many dwelling places in my Father’s house. Otherwise, I would have told you, because I am going away to make ready a place for you." NET

    The NET leaves 'otherwise' as a "rebel conjunction without a clause".

    The NET Greek Version is:

    " ἐν τῇ οἰκίᾳ τοῦ πατρός μου μοναὶ πολλαί εἰσιν· εἰ δὲ μή, εἶπον ἂν ὑμῖν ὅτι πορεύομαι ἑτοιμάσαι τόπον ὑμῖν;"

    So the NET, quoted by van, uses the exact same Greek particle that the KJV uses, but is virtually the only translation that renders it differently than the KJV and virtually every other translation.

    The NIV ms has only εἰ μή particle, and yet follows the KJV on this one.
     
    #6 DrJamesAch, May 28, 2013
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  7. DrJamesAch

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    Um...the footnote you are referring to here is not the question that the OP was asking. The ὅτι in this verse is about the usage of "mansions" or "houses", this has nothing to do with the italicized words.

    I love your comments on the other threads, but your Greek needs a little work my friend :) LOL
     
  8. Van

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    I stand corrected, my bad.

    The variant readings, with and without the "joti" do not drive the additional words in the KJV. So again we come to the question, why not "if not" or "otherwise" rather than the added words if [it were] not [so].

    BTW, the NET is not the only translation that has "otherwise."

    In summary, if not or otherwise seems to best translate the text, and the added words simply make a clear statement wordy. The "joti" variant seems to drive in several but not all versions, translating the verse as a statement rather than a question. For example, "...if not I would have told you, for I go to prepare a place for you. Using the variant without the "joti" we get, "...if not would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? So whether in the form of a question, or in the form of a statement, the idea seems the same. :)

    Versions as a question, NIV, NLT, ESV, and GWT

    Versions as a statement without "joti", KJV, NKJV, HCSB, WBT, and YLT.

    Versions as a statement with "joti", Aramaic Bible in Plain English, ASV, Douay Rheims, Darby, ERV, WNT, and NET.
     
    #8 Van, May 28, 2013
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  9. InTheLight

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    The added words--and they are added words--does not clarify or alter the meaning of the phrase. It's wordy. Fact.
     
  10. DrJamesAch

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    I explained above why the "Otherwise" is not a good option. The "if it were not so, I would have told you" is not a question, it's a declarative rhetorical statement.

    And the KJV has 25 letters, the NET has 27 total, ditto the NIV. So actually, the NET is more "wordy", :)
     
  11. DrJamesAch

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    See response to Van above. The KJV is actually LESS wordy. The total word count in the KJV is less than the other translations.

    The NET has 109 letters, the KJV has 85.

    So by word count and letter count, the KJV is less wordy than the other translations.
     
  12. InTheLight

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    I'm not necessarily counting words and letters, I'm referring to these two phrases:

    if it were not so,

    is more wordy than

    if not,
     
  13. DrJamesAch

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    If not does not contain a subject. If not, if not what? The "it" is the antecedent that refers to the first clause of "I go to prepare a place for you". Simply leaving it as "if not" or "otherwise" does not show the relation between that particle, and the subject of the first clause. If IT were not so, is the best way to connect the 2, otherwise the grammatical structure does not add up.
     
  14. Logos1560

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    "If not" was used in other verses in the KJV [Luke 10:6, Luke 13:9, Gen. 18:21, 24:49; Exod. 32:32, Jud. 9:15, 20; 1 Sam. 2:16, 6:9; 2 Sam. 13:26, 17:6, etc.
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    You will have to prove that it does not give clarification for anyone else. Can't be done, what may help clarify or fail to clarify for you may work just the opposite for someone else. Your statement is a personal preference not a fact.
     
  16. Van

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    Hi DrJamesAch, yes I did read your complaint about using otherwise. However, otherwise refers back to the previous thought, so it is not an orphan. Your quibble is with the punctuation supplied. If the NET had a semi colon ";" or a colon ":" rather than a period, then it would be ok by you. I suppose 1 Kings 1:21, which starts a sentence with Otherwise, has the same error the NET has, or both are acceptable. :)
     
  17. Van

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    I think it is fair to say many translations are incestuous, they follow prior translation choices, thus we find "if it were not so" over and over, but just a few remove the wordy legacy words and render it "if not, or "otherwise."

    We find "if that were not so", if this were not so, and if it were not so,
    in almost all the translations. However, we find "if not" or "otherwise" in a few, i.e. HCSB, NET, Aramaic Bible in Plain English, Douray Rheims, and YLT. The WNT has it "were it otherwise."

    Lets count words, "My Father's house has many abodes, otherwise I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." I make that twenty words to translate John 14:2. If we use "if not" we get twenty one words. If we use "if it were not so" we get 24 words. If we go with In my Father's house are many abodes, we get even more words.

    The actual issue here is the translators have added needless words, and they do that a lot. Those that object are really defending the KJV as being without flaw. A horse of a different color.
     
    #17 Van, May 28, 2013
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  18. DrJamesAch

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    Totally different grammatical structure. In John 14:2, "it" is referring BACK to the subject, In 1 Kings 1:21, "Otherwise" is referring AHEAD to the subject.

    והיה כשכב אדני־המלך עם־אבתיו והייתי
    אני ובני שלמה חטאים׃
    "I and my son Solomon" are the subject. Sorry, can't move this to the right side of the screen, it keeps coming back to the left.
     
  19. Van

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    It was the English grammar that you objected to, otherwise being an orphan. Thus the underlying language difference does not alter the English grammar. In 1 Kings 1:21 Otherwise refers to the statement of verse 20. The idea is to differentiate between what was before with what is after.

    Bottom line, if a period and Cap create a grammar problem in English, in the NET, then the period and Cap create a grammar problem in English in the KJV. In my opinion, otherwise translates the idea of "if not" quite well.
     
  20. jonathan.borland

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    Indeed, the gloss "otherwise" and also "if not" are two of the renderings in the standard BDAG lexicon (A GREEK-ENGLISH LEXICON of the NEW TESTAMENT and other EARLY CHRISTIAN LITERATURE) under the word ει.

    Interestingly enough, if you look just 9 verses below in John 14:11, one sees the same ει δε μη translated as "or else" in the KJV, as also in Rev 2:5, 16. In Mark 2:21, 22 the KJV renders ει δε μη as "else" both times.

    In 2 Cor 11:16 the KJV renders the ει δε μη γε as "if otherwise." Also in Matt 6:1, the same expression is rendered "otherwise," while in Matt 9:17 it is "else."

    One interesting thing is that the KJV renders ει δε μη γε as "if otherwise" in Luke 5:36, but the exact same expression as "else" in the very next verse.

    Surely DrJamesAch will concede that the rendering of the expression is entirely up to the translational preference of the translators, as the expression has various legitimate renderings in English.
     

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