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Depth And Breadth Oceanographers No one knows...  every verse...  of every translation...  in every language...  over a 3400 year period.

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Presentation on theme: "Depth And Breadth Oceanographers No one knows...  every verse...  of every translation...  in every language...  over a 3400 year period."— Presentation transcript:

1 Depth And Breadth Oceanographers No one knows...  every verse...  of every translation...  in every language...  over a 3400 year period

2 Old Scottish Proverb “Greek, Hebrew, and Latin all have their proper place. But it is not at the head of the cross, where Pilate put them, but at the foot of the cross, in humble service to Christ”

3 Truth is never settled or proven by Greek words or grammar alone In any language, a text out of context is a pretext  “If only I knew the Greek…”  We don’t have to know Greek to know God…but somebody did

4 NT Writers & Foreign Words Talitha koum Mk.5:41 Siloam Jn.9:7 Tabitha Ac.9:36 Melchizedek Hb.7:1-2

5 I. Difficulties Of Translating

6 1. Traduttori, traditori Translators are traitors Traitors betray their country Translators inevitably betray the mean- ing of the author. A translation does not give complete meaning of original Mt.26:41, English – Russian – English:  “The vodka is fine but the meat is rotten”

7 Angels on horseback British Edition of 4 Maccabees 4:10, “angels on horseback” British expression forced translators to change it: “angels mounted on horses” In England, “angels on horseback” is a culinary expression: savoury of oysters wrapped in slices of bacon

8 Dust of Snow The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued The way a crow Sprinkled me With the snowy powder From a linden tree Gave my heart A changing spirit And saved one part Of the day which I bewailed

9 Dust of Snow The way a crow Shook down on me The dust of snow From a hemlock tree Has given my heart A change of mood And saved some part Of a day I had rued The way a crow Sprinkled me With the snowy powder From a linden tree Gave my heart A changing spirit And saved one part Of the day which I bewailed

10 Illustration: Ga.3:24 No single English word can define function of Jewish law  Schoolmaster & tutor imply a teacher  Pedagogue: a household slave whose duty was to conduct boys of the family to and from school and to superintend their conduct generally  Custodian or attendant are better. Mr. French‘School bus’

11 2. Lexical problems Many words have multiple meanings  “Set”: 194 different meanings [noun 58x; verb 126x; adjective 10x]  “Ball”: sphere; game to play; Cinde- rella; on the ball; have a ball Latin, ago: drivedodiscuss livespend

12 Lk.23:23 Lit., with great (mega) voices Stone Mt.27:60 Wind Jn.6:18 Fish Jn.21:11 City Rv.11:8

13 Translators’ choices In English, a great voice refers to quality, not volume. A singer... Literal translation of Lk.23:23 confuses Secondary meaning conveys thought of original writer, but not w. exact word [N]KJV et al.: with loud voices

14 hUPOLAMBANW welcome Take up, welcome, catch up (in speech), suppose  Ac.1:9, take up (literal meaning) welcome  3 Jn.8, welcome, receive (take up from under, i.e., support, brace up, undergird, show hospitality to)  Lk.10:30, catch up (“Taking him up on this….”)  Ac.2:15, suppose

15 Translation difficulties Some words in target language are unfamiliar to translators Target language has no such word that corresponds to the Greek or Hebrew  Algonquians: no word for “love”

16 How to say “wheat” in an area where it doesn’t grow? Substitute “grain”? (Cf. figs, camels, ice, snow, etc.) “Denarius” (Mt.18:28)  Substitute “peso”? [Might give impression that events took place recently in their own context]  Footnotes help: A denarius was a day’s wage for a laborer” – ESV

17 Context clarifies meaning Vulgate of Mt.11:5, series of opposites  caeci... vident, et  claudi... ambulant  leprosi... mundantur et  surdi... audiunt et  mortui... resurgunt et  pauperes... evangelizantur

18 Collection Collection, 1 Co.16:1-2 (logeia) “…not found in profane authors” [Thayer, 379]  Thayer lists “Biblical words” [705]  Thayer correctly defines it collection (based on context)  2 nd Century B.C. papyri use the word in this sense (M-M, xv)

19 3. Grammatical problems Passive voice  Jack was hit by the ball. Contrast: The ball hit Jack.  Many West African languages have no passive voice. Translators must supply an agent and an active verb

20 4. Discourse Some languages use indirect speech Jn.14:6 in indirect speech–  “Jesus said that He was the way, the truth, and the life”  “ Something is lost in translation”

21 5. Cultural context Job 2:7-9, Job laments unfortunate life. Tonga (Central Africa): blame such woes on evil spirits  They would expect Job & family to supplicate his ancestral spirits  His odd behavior would make them think he was bewitched, probably by Mrs. Job

22 Ex.7:13, Pharaoh’s hard heart hard heart In some languages, hard heart means “to be courageous” – a virtue stubborn Translators must find a way to convey the idea that he was stubborn

23 6. Idioms A saying that cannot be understood by the individual words that compose it. “My girlfriend is cool” Uduks of Ethiopia: “worry”  “Do not shiver in your livers; you believe in God, believe also in me” (Jn.14:1) “Peace” in some languages must be translated, “to sit down in one’s heart”

24 Biblical Idioms stingyEvil eye, Dt.15:9 fertile Flow w. milk and honey, Ex.3:8 restore to honor; execute Lift up the head, Gn.40:13; 19 sexual relationsKnow, Gn.4:1

25 prepare Gird up loins of mind, 2 Pt.1:13 inconsistent, fickle Double-minded, Ja.1:8 cause trouble Turn world upside down, Ac.17:6 live (influence) Went in and out, Ac.1:21 become angry Enlarged nostrils, Ps.76:7

26 II. The Septuagint I. Difficulties Of Translating

27 Translated 200+ B.C. Met needs of Jews in Egypt who spoke Greek, not Hebrew Autographs are actually inspired; accurate translations are virtually inspired  Acts 2:38 – Greek / English  The key: Ac.2:11, faithfully represent the original

28 Why is LXX so important? 1. First attempt to reproduce the Scriptures in another language  Style: Koine  Before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1947), LXX was 1000 years older than earliest Hebrew MS

29 2. Majority of NT writers quote it More than 300 quotations Approved examples of quoting from a translation  1 Pt.2:7 (LXX), 8 (MT). Ac.2:11

30 3. NT reflects LXX influence Both content and vocabulary Augustus and Tiberius scorned the title “Lord”; it contradicted Roman concep- tion of the empire as a principate  LXX: times of JHVH  NT: In reign of Nero (Ac.25:26) “Lord” increases in frequency in NT as title of Jesus (cf. Ph.2:9, 11)

31 4. LXX helped evangelize world Alexander spread the Greek language around the world. LXX prepared people for the coming Messiah  Jews rejected the LXX about AD 100  Ac.8:32-33, word for word from LXX of Is.53:7-8

32 5. Clarifies many NT words “Church” does not occur in OT, but the same Greek word, so common in NT, occurs about 100 times (LXX)

33 6. Contributes to understanding of OT passages Gn.3:15, seed of woman who would defeat Satan in LXX is “he,” not “it” Is.7:14, LXX uses term that undoubt- edly means virgin “let all the angels of God worship Him” Dt.32:43, quoted in Hb.1:6, “let all the angels of God worship Him” (LXX and DSS; not in MT)


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