What About the Greek? Part 1

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Herb Evans, Dec 16, 2006.

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  1. Herb Evans

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    A GREEK TRAGEDY


    A certain Bible college Professor was teaching the "original" Greek to his eager students. The students were supposed to translate some Greek passages on their own. The Ground rules were. (1.) Translation must be uniform. (2.) You must correct the English with the Greek. (3.) You must not correct the Greek with the English (4.) The passages to be translated must contain the word "PNEUMA." (5.) A rationale' must be given for the resulting translation.

    1. Student Ron translated Matt 12:43 as follows, his reasoning being that flatulence was a problem in Bible times, so when a man broke wind, he tried to get away from folks.

    When the unclean WIND is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places . . . -- Matt. 12:43

    2. Student Doug translated Mark 1:2 as follows, his reasoning being that a tornado developed and drove Jesus into the desert.

    And immediately the WIND driveth him into the wilderness. -- Mark 1:12

    3. Student Jerry with Charismatic connections, translated Matt. 11:7 as follows, his reasoning being that they were undergoing revival and folks were expecting John to get the shakes, but they were told not to expect it.

    And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the SPIRIT? -- Matt. 11:7

    4. Student Robert translated Mark 4:39 as follows, his reasoning being that an evil spirit caused the sea to be turbulent.

    And he arose, and rebuked the SPIRIT, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the SPIRIT ceased, and there was a great calm. -- Mark 4:39

    5. Student Bob translated Acts 2:2,4 as follows, his reasoning being that the context of verse four inferred the uniform translation in verse two.

    And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty SPIRIT, and it filled all the house where they were sitting . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. -- Acts 2:2,4

    6. Student Truman translated Acts 27:7 as follows, his reasoning being that the Spirit, as in other passages, directed them away from Cnidus.

    And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the SPIRIT not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; -- Acts 27:7
     
  2. Herb Evans

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    What About the Greek - Part 2

    A Greek Tragedy (continued)


    All agreed that the Greek was much more superior and clearer than the English and that learning it was ever so helpful in understanding and communicating the word of God. They also agreed that students of the Greek were superior to those, who only knew English. Then Professor Whatchmahamaczysz gave them a much more difficult passage, and this is the way that they translated it.

    Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the WIND, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the WIND is WIND. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The SPIRIT bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the WIND. -- John 3:5-8

    The students' reasoning went something like this. If a man is born of water, it makes sense that the elements are being discussed. Wind like water is also an element. John 3:8 discusses a subject that does what it wants or desires to do. Since the wind cannot desire or want to do something, it must be the Spirit that does what He desires. The professor gave them all an "F" on this one, because they did not uniformly translate the word "PNEUMA." He said that they should have chosen "SPIRIT" in every place or "WIND" in every place, so that the translation would be uniform.

    Professor Whatchamahamaczysz, unhappy with his students' last translation study, decided to give them another chance. The Professor told them that there are certain Greek words that are translated by certain English words in some places and different English words in other places. Bound to correct this unscholarly situation, the professor gave his Greek class an interesting new assignment, using a King James Bible.

    The professor instructed his students to choose a Greek word, then take two passages and uniformly translate, writing down a brief conclusion. The professor promised greater appreciation for language study and a deeper insight to the real meanings of the Bible. Here are some of the results:

    1. Student Stewart read James 1:17, "Every good and perfect gift . . . is from above" and decided that "ANOTHEN" in John 3:3 should be rendered, "Except a man be born from above." He concluded that when Nicodemus said afterwards, "Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb?" that Nicodemus did not fully understand the word "ANOTHEN," thinking that it meant "again."

    2. Student Mike copied Stewart's passage and rendered Acts 26:5, "The Jews knew me from above" instead of "ANOTHEN" reading "the Jews knew me from the beginning" His reasoning was that the Jews knew about Paul's trip to the third heaven.

    3. Student Robby read Luke 1:3, "having had perfect understanding of all things 'from the very first'"and decided that "ANOTHEN"should be translated, "the coat was . . . woven from the first" in John 19:23 instead of "woven from the top." His reasoning was that the coat was predestined to be woven.

    4. Student Jim read Mike's passage, Acts 26:5, "which knew me from the beginning" and decided that "ANOTHEN" in James 1:17 should be translated, "Every good and perfect gift . . .is from the beginning" instead of "Every good and perfect gift . . . is from above." His reasoning was that spiritual gifts are all initially given at the moment of salvation.

    5. Student Thurman changed "ye desire again to bondage" (Gal 4:9) to "ye desire from above to bondage," reasoning that the Galatians had crossed the line, and God gave them up to believe a lie.

    6. Student Jonesey changed "Thou couldst have no power at all . . . except it were given thee from above" (John 19:11) to "Thou couldst have no power . . . except it were given thee again," reasoning that this was the second time power was given to Pilate.

    7. Student Marshal changed "He that cometh from above is above all" to "He that cometh from the first is from the first." (John 3:31). He reasons that Jesus was in the beginning, so He is first.

    8. Student Rossy remembered that the professor had said that "ANOTHEN" is better rendered "anew," so Bob rendered Luke 1:3 to read "having perfect understanding of all things anew" instead of "having perfect understanding of all things from the first." He concluded that Luke had a touch of Amnesia and had everything brought back to him supernaturally.

    9. Student Gary thought that Gal 4:19, "I travail in birth again" should be changed to, "I travail in birth from above" and concluded that it had something to do with a virgin birth but was not sure about it and did not have any more time, for he was late driving his truck.

    -- by Herb Evans
     
  3. Deacon

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    These students need to diligently pursue their studies and practicepracticepractice.
    Translation is not easy and errors are made.

    Would you suggest they should give up their studies because it's too hard?
    or accept a previous students work without question?

    They need to further study the principles of translation.

    It wouldn't hurt student Herb either.

    Rob
     
    #3 Deacon, Dec 17, 2006
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  4. Herb Evans

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    I think that they arrived at their conclusions rather easily, but 1. would you teach us and them the principles of translation? Also, 2. would you tell us where one can get the reliable principles of translation? 3. would you tell us how long after the writing of the N.T. did a grammar originate that contained these principles of translation? 4. how were these principles determined? --Herb Evans
     
  5. NaasPreacher (C4K)

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    Professor Whatchamahamaczysz needs to get a new job. Why would any teacher "require" students to correct English with Greek?

    If he were any kind of teacher he would have told them to leave the English alone where possible, and use Greek to clarify words and terms that are outdated.

    Did someone release another red herring into the debate?
    Or is that a straw man I see out in the field?
     
  6. HankD

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    Almost all languages have an abundance of homonyms and synonyms.
    It's a difficulty of almost any language.
    In English for instance the word "fast" can have opposite meanings.

    It is a fast boat which can cross the lake in 4 minutes.
    The boat was tied fast and could not move.

    The Scriptures are no exception, however with the Scriptures we have in existence ancient translations such as the Old Itala and the Vulgate (Latin), the Peshitto (Aramaic) and several others along with the writings of the early fathers in several languages who used these words of Scripture in a teaching context. Precise meanings can be found by the receptor word choices used in these translations and/or the context of the word itself.

    These and other tools along with the gifted men and women in the field of linguistics whom the Lord has provided us with, help us solve these difficulties.

    HankD
     
  7. Keith M

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    It's a straw man with a red herring down the bib of its overalls, Roger. That's why it's falling apart and smelling at the same time.
     
  8. Herb Evans

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    I guess it is a little of both in order to make a parabolic point. Professor Red H. Whatchamahamaczysz idolizes the Greek, and tries to correct the English at every step of the way and seeks disciples who will do the same. We are trying to expose his unorthodox teaching methods. -- Herb Evans
     
    #8 Herb Evans, Dec 17, 2006
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  9. Herb Evans

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    Now, Keith, let's try to be nice on someone else's thread. Besides, I have to be nice or get scolded. --Herb Evans
     
  10. Herb Evans

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    Believe it or not, I agree that much of that has happened in the past to give us our Bible. However, you are agreeing that the Greek is not the last word in translation, which means that some choices have to be made.

    Now, whether men of inetgrity make such choices or men without it, that leaves us at their mercy, whomever they are. Does God ever enter this picture, or are we really at the mercy of solely humanistic logic, rationalization, and reasoning? Moreover, can the internal scriptures themselves aid us in the choices and determination? -- Herb Evans
     
    #10 Herb Evans, Dec 17, 2006
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  11. gb93433

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    Sometimes yes and sometimes no. The language use din the NT is the same language used during that time period. To understand the language in itws context one must understand how its was used in the culture. Language is tied to culture.

    Nobody in America would use the phrase "bowels of mercy' today.
     
  12. Deacon

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    The bowels of the saints are refreshed by thee, brother. :laugh: (Philemon 7)

    Rob
     
  13. Herb Evans

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    You are agreeing that the Greek is not the last word in translation, which means that some choices have to be made.

    Now, whether men of integrity make such choices or men without it, that leaves us at their mercy, whomever they are. Does God ever enter this picture, or are we really at the mercy of solely humanistic logic, rationalization, and reasoning? Moreover, can the internal scriptures themselves aid us in the choices and determination? -- Herb Evans


    Do you have a grasp on this language/culture thing, and are you able to make language decisions on that basis? And would you care to elaborate on my other questions? -- Herb Evans
     
  14. Herb Evans

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    Act 1:18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels (4698) gushed out.

    Because no one would use this English term or the underlying Greek word, does that mean it should not be used? Now, do you prefer spleen or intestines in the above passage as you translate from the Greek? Seems like some folks support the degeneration of the Bible language as English degenerates. -- Herb Evans
     
  15. Amy.G

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    Bowels=entrails
    "bowels of mercy" is not the same as the word "bowels".
     
    #15 Amy.G, Dec 17, 2006
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  16. Herb Evans

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    Well, it is not very refreshing to have you hit, run, and hide regarding my answer and challenge to you. Or is it more comfortable to go into "one liner" mode. Teach us something, Deacon! -- Herb Evans
     
  17. Herb Evans

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    I beg to differ with you. Bowels of mercies Col. 3:12; bowels of compassion 1 John 3:17; refreshing my bowels Phil 1:7 all have the same Greek word (4698). Would you prefer entrails in those passages? Now, if you want to make a plea for an idiom in Greek, that is fine, but understand that it is also idiomatic in English. -- Herb Evans
     
    #17 Herb Evans, Dec 17, 2006
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  18. Ed Edwards

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    So the human heart is the figurative seat of love;
    while the large intestines are the figurative seat of compassion?

    A person with loose bowels is compassionate;
    while one whose bowels are bound won't share anything
    with anybody?
     
  19. Amy.G

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    Would you prefer "spleen of mercy" in Col 3:12? This is ridiculous. Unless you are saying that people who read MV's are not saved, you should keep your mouth shut and let others read whatever version God leads them to read. What you and other KJVO's do is divide the church over a silly and useless dispute. ALL scripture is God breathed. I don't understand what KJVO's worship about that particular version. Is it the King's english? Is it the texts that it was translated from? Is it the men who did the translating? If another version is published using the same underlying texts as the KJV why is that version invalid? I just don't get it. Since I came on this board I have seen so much anger and name calling among God's children and it's nothing short of shameful, and all over trivial things like"bowels". There is no doubt in my mind that God is grieved over this sort of thing in His church. Absolutely shameful.:tear:
     
  20. Deacon

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    Herb asks: 1. would you teach us and them the principles of translation?

    What are the goals of any translation?
    >>>To effectively communicate the message of the original author.
    In this aspect, translation is closely related to interpretation.

    You’d best learn from someone trained in the process, rather than a self-trained hack like myself.

    The principles of translation are usually stated in the preface in our Bibles (yes, you should read the preface to your Bible!)
    The actual practice of these principles vary from work to work.

    Here’s an example:
    THE PRINCIPLES OF TRANSLATION FOR THE INTERNATIONAL STANDARD VERSION [LINK]

    Herb asks: 2. would you tell us where one can get the reliable principles of translation?

    The troubling word here is “reliable”.
    Translating from one language to another requires a balance between literal and idiomatic forms. How that is done is as much of an art as it is a science.
    Scholars spend a lifetime practicing the art and continually refine their work.

    I would hazard to say one can rarely completely convey the message of the original author.
    Books: I’d suggest starting with a basic work on hermeneutics, “Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation” ($27 @ CBD) and point you to a chapter by Moisés Silva called “God, Language and Scripture”

    Herb asks: 3. would you tell us how long after the writing of the N.T. did a grammar originate that contained these principles of translation?

    The first grammar regarding the principles of translation happened long before the NT era and has been lost to antiquity.

    In biblical times it became a particular issue in the translating of the Hebrew scripture into popular Greek.
    There were a number of attempts of varying success, culminating in Jerome’s Vulgate.
    Even he was troubled by his ability to adequately convey the message without complaint arising.
    Herb asks: 4. how were these principles determined?
    Simple answer, by wisdom gained over the ages.

    Short answers, sorry, I'm no expert. But you already know that! :laugh:

    Rob
     
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