John Smyth on Bible translation, 1608

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Jerome, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. Jerome

    Jerome
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    from John Smyth, Differences of the Churches of the Separation (1608):

    "The Holy Scriptures viz. the Originalls Hebrew & Greek are given by Divine inspiration & in their first donation were without error most perfect & therefore Canonicall.
    Ordinary men write bookes of divers kindes among the rest such as have the Word of God or Holy Scriptures for their object are called Theological writings: among them Translations of the Holy Scriptures into the mother tong are cheifly to be esteemed, as beeing the most principall, yet only as the streame is issuing from the fountayne, or as the greatest river of the mayne sea.
    No writinges of ordinary men how holy or good soever are given by inspiration, & therefore are subject to error & imperfect & so Apocrypha.
    ...
    A Translation of the holy originalls may expresse very much of the matter contayned in or signified by the originall characters: it can expresse also much of the Rhethorick as Tropes & Figures of sentence.
    No translation can possibly expresse all the matter of the holy originalls, nor a thousand thinges in the Grammar, Rhethorick, & character of the tong.
    A Translation so far forth as it doth truly & fully expresse any thing of the originals may be saide inspired of God & no further.
    Hence it followeth that a translation be it never so good is mixt with mens devises, imperfect, not equipollent to the originalles in a thousand particulars.
    ...
    A translation made verbatim from the originalls is absurd by reason of the difference of the dialects...
    ...
    A paraphrast...[can] contain...more of the contentes of the originalles & the holy ghostes meaning....[than] a translation of a chapter..."
     

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