Why translators have failed

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Van, Aug 16, 2011.

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  1. Van

    Van
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    A lack of concordance is evident in all modern translations because they reflect the word choices of the pre-computer age predecessors.

    Recently several "examples" of how the NKJV departed from the TR were posted in a thread, starting with an example from Matthew 5:37, where the KJV translated "logos" as communication, but the NKJV omitted translating "logos" because the idea was implied in the context, let your yes be yes, referring to communicating with clarity, rather than using vague and deceptive language.

    C4K seems to have ruled that discussion of this "derails" the thread. Therefore I have started this new thread.

    End users of any work product are more than qualified to comment of the problems they experience in trying to use the product. Feedback is a well know key to improvement. Some called expert posting on this board have asserted that end users, like myself, cannot comment on the work product because we are not qualified to produce the end product. That dog will not hunt.

    Two Greek words, rhema and logos, are used primarily to refer to words, statements, what was said etc. In addition, John uses logos, translated Word, to refer to the second person of the trinity, i.e. the word became flesh.

    Logos appears about 330 times in the NT, and rhema about 68 times. Often, they are translated in the same English words, i.e. word, words, etc.

    This produces confusion when reading an English translation, because the underlying distinctive of one word over the other is lost in translation, and such blurring is unnecessary.

    Rhema appears to me to primarily refer to what a person says, or what is said about a person, hence utter, utterance, utterances, remark, remarks, charge and "what was said" seems to capture the basic meaning of Rhema.
    Now, as John of Japan pointed out, sometimes a particular Greek construction, such as using the word in a particular grammatical way or in conjunction with another word or words, additional English words may be required.

    My position is that most Greek words are translated into far too many English words unnecessarily. Rhema is translated into about 20 different English words, when six or so would seem to do the trick.
     
    #1 Van, Aug 16, 2011
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  2. jbh28

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    Words have multiple meanings. So while in some cases an English word will be a fine translation of the Greek term, in other places it won't be because it has a different meaning in the context. Words also have different nuances so a translator might use a different English word to reflect the different shade of meaning of the Greek term.
     
  3. JesusFan

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    translaters though have "not failed, rather its that to do a proper translation from original languages texts into language of the intended reader, one has to take into account syntex, grammer construction, word vocabulary, context, etc

    LOT more than just a simple way of doing a 'strict" word for word glossing!

    That is why NO transaltion is totally literal or dynamic, but a blending of the 2!
     
  4. Van

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    Below for your perusal are about half the occurrences of rhema in the NT. As you can see, rhema may be translated with 4 or 5 words while not using the words used to translate logos. Thus these renderings demonstrate how simple and easy it is to stick with the basic meaning of words.

    Matt. 4:4 But He answered and said, "It is written, 'MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY [WORD>Utterance] THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.' "

    Matt. 12:36 "But I tell you that every careless [word>utterance] that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.

    Matt. 18:16 "But if he does not listen to you, take one or two more with you, so that BY THE MOUTH OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES EVERY [FACT>charge] MAY BE CONFIRMED.

    Matt. 26:75 And Peter remembered the [word>utterance] which Jesus had said, "Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.

    Matt. 27:14 And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.


    Mark 9: 32 But they did not understand this [statement>remark], and they were afraid to ask Him.

    Mark 14: 72 Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him, "Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." And he began to weep


    Luke 1:38 And Mary said, "Behold, the bondslave of the Lord ; may it be done to me according to your [word>utterance."] And the angel departed from her.

    Luke 1:65 Fear came on all those living around them; and all these [matters>utterances] were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea.

    Luke 2:15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see [this thing>what was said] that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."

    Luke 2:17 When they had seen this, they made known the [statement>utterance] which had been told them about this Child.

    Luke 2:19 But Mary treasured all these [things>utterances,] pondering them in her heart.

    Luke 2:29 "Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, According to Your [word>utterance.]

    Luke 2:50 But they did not understand the [statement>utterance] which He had made to them.
    Luke 2: 51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these [things>utterances] in her heart.

    Luke 3:2 in the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the [word>utterance] of God came to John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness.

    Luke 5:5 Simon answered and said, "Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You [say>utter] and let down the nets."

    Luke 7:1 When He had completed all His [discourse>remarks] in the hearing of the people, He went to Capernaum.

    Luke 9:45 But they did not understand this [statement>remark], and it was concealed from them so that they would not perceive it; and they were afraid to ask Him about this [statement>remark]

    Luke 18:34 But the disciples understood none of these things, and the meaning of this [statement>utterance] was hidden from them, and they did not comprehend the things that were said.

    Luke 20:26 And they were unable to catch Him in a [saying>remark] in the presence of the people ; and being amazed at His answer, they became silent.

    Luke 24:8 And they remembered His [words>remarks,]

    Luke 24:11 But these [words>utterances] appeared to them as nonsense, and they would not believe them.


    John 3:4 "For He whom God has sent speaks the [words>utterances] of God ; for He gives the Spirit without measure.

    John 5:47 "But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My [words>utterances?"]

    John 6:63 "It is the Spirit who gives life ; the flesh profits nothing ; the [words>utterances] that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.

    John 6:68 Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go ? You have [words>utterances] of eternal life.

    John 8:20 These [words>remarks] He spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple ; and no one seized Him, because His hour had not yet come.

    John 8:47 "He who is of God hears the [words>utterances] of God; for this reason you do not hear them, because you are not of God."
    John 10:21 Others were saying, "These are not the [sayings>utterances] of one demon-possessed. A demon cannot open the eyes of the blind, can he?"

    John 12:47 "If anyone hears My [sayings>remarks] and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world.

    John 12:48 "He who rejects Me and does not receive My [sayings>remarks,] has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day.

    John 14:10 "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The [word>utterances]s that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.

    John 15:7 "If you abide in Me, and My [words>utterances] abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

    John 17:8 for the [words>utterances] which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me
     
  5. Van

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    Many of us are well aware of the benefit of "fresh eyes" of having someone not emeshed in something to take a look and tell us what they see. We can get so far into the weeds, we cannot see the forest for the trees.

    No one is supporting a word for word substitution, but rather a meaning of a word being translated consistently. This is not glossing. And yes, there is nothing wrong with blending dynamic thought for though and meaning for meaning in with as close as word for word as possible. That is the idea. :) By minimizing the number of English words used to translate the same Greek word meaning, overlap is minimized where two different Greek words are translated into the same English word, obliterating any distinction the original author may have had in mind.
     
  6. Van

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    This post contains the remaining usages of rhema that I have found. Some of these seem not as sound as the original version, and a few seem better, but most are a push. Thus by playing with synonyms a bit the few problem verses could be mitigated. Perhaps one of the words used to translate logos would be shifted to Rhema such as message, or statement, or expression or the like.

    Hopefully this is enough to illustrate the concept of tightening up the translation so the underlying text comes into better focus.

    Acts 2:14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and [declared>remarked] to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.

    Acts 5:20 "Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole [message>utterance] of this Life."

    Acts 5:32 "And we are witnesses of these [things>utterances;] and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey Him."

    Acts 6:11 Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous [words>utterances] against Moses and against God."

    Acts 10:22 They said, "Cornelius, a centurion, a righteous and God-fearing man well spoken of by the entire nation of the Jews, was divinely directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and hear [a message>an utterance] from you."

    Acts 10:37 you yourselves know [the thing>what was said] which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed.

    Acts 10:44 While Peter was still speaking these [words>remarks,] the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.

    Acts 11:14 and he will speak [words>utterances] to you by which you will be saved, you and all your household.'

    Acts 11:16 "And I remembered the [word>utterance] of the Lord, how He used to say, 'John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.'

    Acts 13:42 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these [things>remarks] might be spoken to them the next Sabbath.

    Acts 16:38 The policemen reported these [words>remarks] to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans,

    Acts 26:25 But Paul said, "I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I [utter words > utter the] sober truth.

    Acts 28:25 And when they did not agree with one another, they began leaving after Paul had spoken one parting [word>remark,] "The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers,


    Rom. 10:8 But what does it say ? "THE [WORD>utterance] IS NEAR YOU, in your mouth and in your heart "-that is, the [word>utterance] of faith which we are preaching,

    Rom. 10:17 So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the [word>utterance] of Christ.

    Rom. 10:18 But I say, surely they have never heard, have they? Indeed they have; "THEIR VOICE HAS GONE OUT INTO ALL THE EARTH, AND THEIR [WORDS>remarks] TO THE ENDS OF THE WORLD."


    2 Cor. 12:4 was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible [words>utterances,] which a man is not permitted to speak

    2 Cor. 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. EVERY [FACT>charge] IS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES


    Eph. 5:26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with [the word>what was said,]

    Eph. 6:17 And take THE HELMET OF SALVATION, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the [word>utterance of God.


    Heb. 1:3 And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the [word>utterance] of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,

    Heb. 6:5 and have tasted the good [word>utterance] of God and the powers of the age to come,

    Heb. 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the [word>utterance] of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.

    Heb. 12:19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of [words>utterances] which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them.


    1 Pet. 1:25 BUT THE [WORD>Utterance] OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER." And this is the[word>utterance] which was preached to you.


    2 Pet. 3:2 that you should remember the [words>utterances] spoken beforehand by the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken by your apostles.


    Jude 1:17 But you, beloved, ought to remember the [words>utterances] that were spoken beforehand by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ,
     
  7. Martin Marprelate

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    The chief factor in determining the meaning of a word is the context.
    To give a rather facile illustration, the word well in English can mean either and exclamation ("Well I never!"), the opposite of ill or a hole in the ground with water at the bottom. If you were translating well into another language, the the context that will tell you which word to use.

    In John 3:3, the word translated 'Again' is anothen. Almost everywhere else in the NT, anothen is translated 'From Above' or 'From the top' (John 3:31; James 1:17; Matt 27:51) or (once) 'From the beginning.' The reason that almost every ranslator has rendered anothen as 'again' in John 3:3 is the context. That is what Nicodemus understood our Lord to mean, as his reply in v4 indicated ("A second time").

    In Matt 5:37, the context is one of oaths. 'Word' would be OK, but it's a little clumpy. I think 'communication' is fine. The question of rhema simply doesn't come into it. I certainly prefer 'Communication' to leaving logos altogether untranslated as the NKJV and NIV do.

    Steve
     
  8. TCGreek

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    Van, what are your credentials as a translator. You've presumed too much in this post. Just saying.
     
  9. JesusFan

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    In this area, really only "Experts" are really qualified to speak and adress this issues and concerns!
     
  10. TCGreek

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    In the way you have pontificated, then I say, YES.
     
  11. JesusFan

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    trust me, I am NOT one of those experts, so I DO know my limitations!
     
  12. Van

    Van
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    Thanks Martin for actually addressing the topic, and I appreciate your comments.

    I do not agree with the idea of determining a word meaning my content. Words have meanings, and so the author chose that word to convey that meaning. Now when a word has more than one meaning, then content must be used to discern which of the accepted meanings appears to fit best. So, using your illustration of "well" we agree that several English words might be chosen to translate a Greek word with the range of meanings you illustrated with "well."

    Now lets consider John 3:3 and the accepted translation "born again." The Greek word does not mean again so it is a mistranslation in my opinion. According to the lexicons I have available to me, the word can mean from above, or higher, from the beginning, or anew. So either born from above, or born anew might fit the context. As Thayer points out since Nick did not ask how a person could be born from heaven, born anew wins the debate. If we look at John 3:7, again we see that born anew fits the context. And if we look at the related idea in 1 Peter 1:3 and 1:23 we see born anew also fits. So why did the translators pull off the meaning "anew" and create a new meaning for the word? Notice that if John had wanted to say again, he would have used "palin" which is translated 142 times as again! For example, see John 4:3.

    As for translating logos as communication (i.e. message transmitted) that certain falls within the logos range of meanings. But since "communication" can be understood to mean "message received" the translation introduces ambiguity needlessly. Why not statement, or message which puts the whole onus on the person speaking.
     
    #12 Van, Aug 16, 2011
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  13. Mexdeaf

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    Van,

    What makes you think that you have any standing to correct men and women who have years of studies in linguistics and the original languages? Seriously?

    I get the impression that you believe it is a miracle that we even had understandable Bibles before you came around to set us all straight.

    Just saying.
     
  14. Van

    Van
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    Hi Mexdeaf, why not try to address the topic. If not, why post? Folks are lining up to attack me personally, like a tribe defending its turf.

    I am an end user of a product and I am seeking to discuss my observations concerning the problems apparent in modern translations. Think of it this way, say a bridge goes down and people die. Someone you loved died. Have you no "standing" to ask "why did the bridge fail to do its job? Remember, just because you could not design it or build it, because you are a user, you have standing to question why it failed.
     
  15. Rippon

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    You're On A Bridge Too Far

    If,in your analogy,modern translations are bridges -- the "deaths" involve eternal damnation. Nobody is going to experience eternal condemnation because they read modern translations. Your analogy doesn't quite cut it.

    And,as I have repeatedly said,the KJV was not a concordant translation --so modern translations are not the only ones "guilty" of your charge.
     
  16. Van

    Van
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    Why are your repeating yourself, did you not see where I agreed that the KJV is not concordant?

    Matthew 5:37 certainly seems to say we should convey out positions with clarity, and not dispute another position by attacking the persons character or qualifications.

    The Bible is clear, we should present the pure gospel of Christ, and not muck it up with loose, and vague translation efforts.
     
  17. Van

    Van
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    What is wrong with "born again." Were we not spiritually conceived in sin, born in a separated from God, sinful, dead in our tresspasses state. Are we to repeat that again? Nope. When we are "originated again" (regenerated) we are made "alive" so we are spiritually born alive for the first time. Thus "born anew" actually best represents the idea, and does not conflict with being a "new creation" rather than a recycled one.
     
  18. Mexdeaf

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    Are you are saying that all modern translations have failed? Do you have proof of this conjecture? If so, please present it.

    If a bridge fails, I certainly would want to know why, but I would not expect to be on the panel of experts determining the cause because I know nothing about bridges- notwithstanding the fact that I have driven over thousands of them in my lifetime, and I own a book or two that have pictures of bridges in them.
     
  19. John of Japan

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    I promised Van if he started this thread I would interact with him. So I'm going to do so cautiously, waiting to see what Van's attitude is. I may or may not continue interacting with Van, depending on several factors.

    To begin with, there are several linguistic concepts that are vital to a discussion of the difference between logos and rhma that Van wants to discuss. Van will show his understanding of the issues by how he reacts to these concepts.

    1. Most words have a core meaning. Some linguists disagree with this, saying that context can force a changed meaning on a word. However, I believe this view is based on existentialism. I believe the Chinese written language proves conclusively that words can have a core meaning.

    2. Secondly, one word can mean more than one thing. In linguistics this is called polysemy.

    3. Thirdly, when the core meaning is not meant, a secondary meaning is possible (which usually has a direct connection to the core meaning). This secondary meaning is determined from context. Interestingly enough, there are two Japanese words for context which might help Americans understand this concept: zengokankei, or "before and after connection," and bunmyaku, meaning "the pulse of the sentence."

    4. Because of 3, in determining the meaning of a word in writing a dictionary or lexicon, or in translating, it is vital to examine how the word is used in the contemporary society which speaks the language. This is called contemporary usage. So to see how to translate a NT word you must sometimes check not only its usage in the NT, but in other 1st century koine documents.
     
  20. John of Japan

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    The core meaning of rhma (rhma) is "the spoken word." Context will determine which of these meanings should be translated. Sometimes the English should be "saying," or "teaching," etc. This word has a secondary meaning as a Hebraism of "thing, object, matter, event" (BAGD, P. 735).

    The core meaning of (logoV) is simply "word." However, the Greek logos has a very wide range of meaning, even more so than the English word. My BAGD lexicon has almost six columns on this word. For the meaning in another language of logos, it is absolutely imperative to look at the context. You simply can't translate this word by concordance, or even by only a couple of words. It may mean word, saying, message, communication, sentence, etc., etc. We have to translate logos on a case by case basis, depending on the context.

    To sum up, both Greek words mean "word" in a way, but with different nuances. But rhma has the nuance of having been spoken, and logos has a much wider range of meaning than rhma.
     
    #20 John of Japan, Aug 16, 2011
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