Missing Words or Adding Words

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Phillip, Nov 9, 2011.

  1. Phillip

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    Let's hear from some of our scholars on whether it is easier to lose a Word or add a Word and its result on collected manuscripts.

    Note: If the word was not there in the first place, then many manuscripts will not have it. If the word is added by a scribe, then the manuscripts with the added word or words would possibly originate from a single manuscript that a single scribe added the word.

    To me this is a good argument for the "shorter the better" and "older the better" theories.
     
  2. InTheLight

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    I'm no scholar but common sense would tell me that it is easier to add a word than to drop a word. The Textus Receptus was copied and copied and copied. I have to believe there is more chance for error to creep into the texts. Plus, over the centuries you might have copyists add a word here and there to augment the text. We know that Erasmus did this is several places.

    Just look at the KJV and notice all the words in italics. They were added by the translation committee for clarity.
     
  3. franklinmonroe

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    I am not a scholar, but I'd like to propose that the answer depends upon the inclination of the scribe: that it may be easier to lose a word from a document when the copyist is either neutral, disinterested, or unattached to the text before him; the corollary being that it might be easier for a word (or words) to be added by a copyist with feelings (whether negative or positive) toward the material.
     
    #3 franklinmonroe, Nov 9, 2011
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  4. John of Japan

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    Unquestionably, it is easier to lose a word than it is to add it. I speak from my experience as a translator. Over and over again I have accidently left out a word or even a phrase, but not one single time have I ever added a word to the translation, and this is in translating the entire Greek NT into Japanese. It is my view that adding to the text is usually going to be deliberate. This is true in the Western text of the Greek NT, I believe.

    The eclectic theory says that a text of the Gospels is harmonized when the scribe adds words. So for example the scribe of the book of Mark may add words to the text to make it identical to Matthew. However, in my Japanese NT translation work I have never done this, though I am very familiar with the synoptic Gospels, having taught a course on them in Japanese for years.

    Textual scholar Maurice Robinson has confirmed that adding words is much more likely by his research into scribal habits. (I believe this was his dissertation for his Ph. D. in textual criticism.)
     
    #4 John of Japan, Nov 9, 2011
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  5. John of Japan

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    No offense, but you are sadly misinformed about the TR. It was not copied over and over but printed over and over. Maybe you mean the mss of the Byzantine text type.

    And where did Erasmus add words to augment the text? I'd really like to know this one because I've never heard of it.
     
  6. franklinmonroe

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    John, there is a big difference between losing/gaining a word in the process of translation and losing/gaining a word in the process of transmission. The OP uses the word "manuscript(s)" at least four times.
     
    #6 franklinmonroe, Nov 9, 2011
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  7. InTheLight

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    I'm glad I started my post with, "I'm no scholar", because I'm not! I'm open to be corrected.

    I thought Erasmus used the Latin Vulgate to fill in words in Revelation that were missing in the Greek text he was translating (which would later become known as the Textus Receptus.) Also I understand that he added the phrase explicitly referring to the Trinity in 1 John 5:7 in later editions of the TR, whereas it wasn't in his first couple of editions.
     
  8. franklinmonroe

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    Erasmus was executing an early form of textual criticism to form a critical text; his activity is not the equivalent of the practice of copying manuscripts.

    Nor can textual transmission be compared to translation; translation virtually requires the addition of words in the receptor language.
     
  9. John of Japan

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    Sorry to disagree, but the processes of translation and copying a manuscript are very similar. They both involve putting a document word for word into another document. The difference is that translation is much harder since it does this into another language. And by the way, I've mentioned this view to a scholar in textual criticism, and he agreed with me.

    But I can give further proof. Before coming home on furlough, I was working with Uncle Miya on translating a missionary biography from English to Japanese. In the process, I had to copy the English from the book into a Word document, since my Japanese scanner couldn't handle the English. The same result occurred as in the translation process: in copying the English document, I never one time added a word, but often I inadvertantly left out words or even phrases or sentences.
    I'm entirely aware that the OP is about manuscript copying.
     
    #9 John of Japan, Nov 10, 2011
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  10. John of Japan

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    :thumbs:

    You are somewhat correct. What Erasmus did was to translate from the Vulgate into Greek to supply the missing Greek text. But this is not actually adding to the text, since there were Greek mss (manuscripts) that had the text--Erasmus just didn't posses them.

    In regards to the 1 John 5:7 text, once again Erasmus simply translated into Greek from the Vulgate. Some would argue that there were no Greek mss with that verse in them, but that's a different discussion, IMO.
     
  11. John of Japan

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    Nope, sorry, translation with a word for word method rarely requires adding words in the target language, depending on the grammatical forms of the target language.
     
  12. InTheLight

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    At the time that Erasmus used this technique was he aware that there were other Greek mss in existence that had the text?
     
  13. franklinmonroe

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    Every modern language version of the Greek New Testament that I know has more total words in the resulting translation (even formal ones) than the source document.
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Yes, he was aware of that, since all translations into Latin or English had those verses.
     
  15. John of Japan

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    Yes, that is true. Are you aware of the linguistic implications of my statement in my post, "depending on the grammatical forms of the target language"?

    Morphology is the study of the meaning of individual parts of words. A morpheme is the most basic unit with meaning in a given language. For example, "s" is not a word in the English language, but has the meaning of making certain words plural. So "s" is a morpheme in the English language.

    Now consider Greek. Greek verbs have the subject of the sentence in a verb ending. So pisteuw ("I believe") in Greek is only one word in Greek, but must be translated by two words in English. In addition to the Greek root verb, there is a morpheme meaning "I". Therefore, the English translation has not really added any lexical words to the source text. But the English translation will have more "words" than the original Greek. So this is not a parallel to the problem of copyist errors.
     
  16. Martin Marprelate

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    In my church we display the words of the hymns on a screen.
    These days, the deacon in charge of this cuts and pastes the words from the net, but back along he used to type them out himself from a hymn book.

    Occasionally he would accidentally miss out a word. Once, he missed out a whole line to the consternation of the congregation. Never to my recollection did he accidently add a word and never did he take the liberty of adding words intentionally.

    Steve
     
  17. franklinmonroe

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    I know that, which was the reason for my original statement: "translation virtually requires the addition of words in the receptor language".
    I know that also, which is what I meant by: "Nor can textual transmission be compared to translation."

    Look at the context of my post (#8): it was a response to "added" words italicized in the KJV text. The words that translators contribute are intentionally added and essentially required (in formal translation), but the OP clearly indicated a discussion of accidental loss or unnecessary gain by copyists.

    I believe now you've come full circle to supporting what I wrote in the original context!
     
    #17 franklinmonroe, Nov 10, 2011
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  18. Rippon

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    However a number of passages in the TR have additional wording not found in the oldest documents. The deletions of the ancient text by the TR are far fewer than its additions.
     
  19. franklinmonroe

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    Huh? His question specified asked about "Greek mss in existence". The answer would have to be-- No. There are places in Erasmus' (in Revelation, Acts 9:5-6) that are still not supported by any Greek manuscript.
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Raw number of words, yes. Lexical content, no. Therefore my statement stands as written: "Nope, sorry, translation with a word for word method rarely requires adding words in the target language, depending on the grammatical forms of the target language." Just look at an interlinear.

    But you see, in most cases I don't believe the italicized words were necessary. I don't use such a technique in my translation, and few translations other than the KJV do.

    Nope, not true. I continue to believe that my comparison of tranlation to copying, though not exact, is valid. The problem in both is elimination or addition of whole words, not of lexical units. "I believe" in the English is a single lexical unit translating a single lexical unit in the original. There is not addition or subtraction in either language.
     
    #20 John of Japan, Nov 10, 2011
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