The Vocative Can Be Quite Provocative...

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by TCGreek, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. TCGreek

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    1. In Greek the vocative is the case of address.

    2. In question here is the vocative adelphoi, "brother" or "brothers and sisters."

    3. So when Paul addresses the Galatians with the fimiliar vocative adelphoi:

    a. Is he addressing only the "brothers,"

    b. Or is he addressing both "brothers and sisters"?

    3. Last month I visited one of the founding members of the church I pastor. She's 94; her body is failing her, but her mind is as sharp as can be.

    While visiting with her, she said to me thinks and prays for her "brothers and sisters" in the Lord.
     
    #1 TCGreek, Feb 4, 2008
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  2. StefanM

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    Both. It's an inclusive term.
     
  3. TCGreek

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    1. It is quite true that the form we have in our Greek text is the vocative adelphoi, but what does it mean?

    2. Get this: forms in original text are functional. Forms are to function.

    3. So the form adelphoi, when we allow it to function, actually means "brothers and sisters."

    4. So the ESV translators didn't want to put "brothers and sisters" in the text, so the footnoted the term.

    5. It will be good if the HCSB can put "brothers and sisters" in the text in their revision. :thumbs:
     
  4. TCGreek

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    Despite the translation I use, when I walk into a room with both men and women, I don't address them as "brothers."
     
  5. StefanM

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    I don't mean that it literally means "Brothers and sisters," but that it is used in an inclusive sense in the context you discussed. Apologies.

    Also, in contemporary English, we do not use "brothers" inclusively.
     
  6. Rippon

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    Many of you have heard pastors who use the older versions ( including the KJV ,NEWKJ , NEWASU and ESV ) say something along the lines of :"Welcome brethren and sistren ." ( They say it with a wink and a smile .) That's because those preachers have known that it is awkward to address a mixed multitude with the antiquated "Brethren" or "Brothers" .
     
  7. TCGreek

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    A word's meaning is determined by its context. So what are you really saying here? (I'm not being contentious, and I hope you understand that).
     
  8. StefanM

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    I'll try to make it clearer.

    I think a legitimate translation of adelphoi in this context is "Brothers and sisters," as that is his intended meaning, IMO.
     
  9. TCGreek

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    Now you're crystal clear. Thank you. :thumbs:
     
  10. TCGreek

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    But somehow we leave it at that, even when our speech betrays the translations we use.
     
  11. Chessic

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    I'll save my disagreement for another thread, but it is interesting that Christians seem to be more sensitive on this issue than even that bulwark of feminism, academia. In academic circles, it is still acceptable, even preferred by many professors and scholars, to use "brothers," etc.
     
  12. Deacon

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    So I guess the question is how do you want your translation to translate,

    ...word-for-word (then you'd translate adelphoi as "brothers")

    ...or thought-for thought (in which case you'd translate it as "brothers and sisters").

    I personally like the former, perhaps with a footnote.

    The problem is not unique to the Greek language.

    Check out Deuteronomy 15:12

    If your brother, a Hebrew man or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, he shall serve you six years, and in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.
    ESV

    If your kinsman... NASB

    If your fellow Hebrew... HCSB

    If a fellow Hebrew... NIV/NLT

    Rob
     
    #12 Deacon, Feb 4, 2008
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  13. TCGreek

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    Too restricted a circle.
     
  14. TCGreek

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    1. Word-for-word is artificial at best and quite misleading.

    2. No translation is truly word-for-word, not even my beloved NASB.

    3. What really is the goal in translation?
     
  15. John of Japan

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    This is very perceptive. I hope you don't mind if I expand on it.

    This is not just a matter of word-for-word vs. thought-for-thought translation methods. It is a cultural and philosophical choice to translate adelphoi as "brothers and sisters." As proof of this contention, think about thought-for-thought type translations from the time before feminism was radicalized in the 1960's. The New English Bible (1961), Williams (1937) and the TEV (1966) all translate "Brothers" or "My brothers."

    Consider this. I was busy growing up in the 1960's when "women's lib" appeared. It was a form of radical feminism far beyond the struggle for women's suffrage of a previous time. This form of feminism then invaded evangelicalism through such books as In Search of God's Ideal Woman, by Dorothy Pape (1976; alas, a former missionary to Japan). I highly recommend The Feminist Gospel (subtitle: "The Movement to Unite Feminism With the Church)" by Mary Kassian if you want to know more about this invasion of a secular, anti-Biblical philosophy into evangelicalism. (Note to TC: It's recommended by D. A. Carson inside the front cover. :thumbs:)

    To translate as "brothers and sisters" then, is to follow the conventions of late 20th and early 21st century feminism. It is reading back into first century culture the American culture (not even the broader Western culture) of 2008.

    Does anyone imagine for an instant that 1st century Judaism or Christianity or Roman society would be considered anything but completely sexist by the typical 2008 feminism-tainted American? Of course not! So to translate as "Brothers and sisters" in my view is cultural chauvinism (to coin a phrase).
     
    #15 John of Japan, Feb 4, 2008
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  16. TCGreek

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    Hi John,

    1. Isn't ironic that the sensitivity of these anti-groups can lead to faithful translation of Scripture? Of course, we will disagree here.

    2. DA Carson is a scholar par excellence and he's in full support of a versions who render adelphoi as "brothers and sisters." In fact, he gives the TNIV kudos.

    3. In the 1st century they knew that adelphoi meant "brothers and sisters."

    4. If "brothers" is an accurate rendering of adelphoi in today's world, then by all means we should employ it.

    5. But on a general readership level, I don't think "brothers" is a faithful rendering of adelphoi.

    6. It is my conviction that the Word of God should be translated in the vernacular of the time.

    7. The Word of God in no way is compromise by translating adelphoi as brothers and sister when the context demands such.
     
  17. Deacon

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    John, the same thought was expressed in the Preface to the NLT but with a different conclusion.

    Many of the modern translations specifically address this issue in their preface.

    Rob
     
  18. TCGreek

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    John,

    Speaking of cultural influence on Bible translation is the reason most versions don't render doulos/oi as slave(s).

    Rendering doulos/oi as slave(s) is being faithful to the original text.

    When the ESV people were asked about this issue, their response was because of the sting of the term "slaves."
     
  19. John of Japan

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    I referred to Carson on his recommendation of that book, not on this translation issue. And I hasten to add that Carson did not say that he agreed with all of the book, only that it "is an important and original contribution to debates over feminist theology."
    Please prove this. I'd be happy to change my view if you can give linguistic evidence, not just surmise.
    Then are you comfortable with your translation being influenced by feminism? What about neo-orthodoxy? Materialism? Humanism? Where does it stop?
     
  20. John of Japan

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    This is all well and good, but then I have to ask, how come they are just now realizing that? Why didn't the pre-feminist translators realize this? Were they all linguistic dummies? I dare anyone to show me a pre-1970's translation that translates "Brothers and sisters."

    It is fairly recent in US history that feminism has had a pervasive influence all through American society. I shouldn't even have to point out the fact that its influence is rife in evangelicalism.
     

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