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PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:40 am  Translation vs. Interpretation Reply with quote

When choosing a translation, what kinds of interpretations by the translators are legitimate and what aren't?

Aside from acknowledged paraphrases, most Bible translations present themselves as being some combination of accurate and readable. What kinds of decisions sacrifice accuracy beyond what is reasonable? When is it reasonable for a translator to interpret potentially confusing ambiguity?
Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 31: Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:21 am
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Re: Translation vs. Interpretation

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Elijah John wrote:

It should be noted as well, (if it hasn't already) that even the originals, the autographs are based on oral tradition. So original intent may be even more obscure. So it seems that instead of simply studying the original languages, (or in addition to) one should consider cultural, religious and historical context, as the HJ scholars do.

That's true. In addition, the NT autographs were presumably written in Greek. However, Jesus spoke Aramaic. So, there's some things lost when recording what Jesus said into the gospels. Even if we did have the autographs, it would be an approximation of what Jesus said.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 32: Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:26 am
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I just came on a passage today that all translators seem to insert their own interpretation.

[Mat 28:17 KJV] 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/mat/28/17/t_conc_957017

In the Greek, I don't see the word "some". A more literal translation would be, "And when they saw him, they worshipped him, yet doubted."

Checking all the major modern translations, all of them say "some".

Am I missing something?

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 33: Sun Nov 10, 2019 12:53 pm
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otseng wrote:

I just came on a passage today that all translators seem to insert their own interpretation.

[Mat 28:17 KJV] 17 And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.

https://www.blueletterbible.org/kjv/mat/28/17/t_conc_957017

In the Greek, I don't see the word "some". A more literal translation would be, "And when they saw him, they worshipped him, yet doubted."

Checking all the major modern translations, all of them say "some".

Am I missing something?



What (if anything) is indicated by the word order and the conjugation of the verb? I dont know greek but if you are working on a translation then I take it you do (I probably won't understand your answer but a couple one of my (Christian) brothers are Greek scholars so I can run it by them).

What can be gleaned from the source language? Are there variants in available texts, have you had the occassion to travel to view any of the great manuscripts researching your translation? ...(Chester Beaty collection)... I have to say I'm a little jealous, I'd love to see some of these manuscripts for real....

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 34: Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:10 pm
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[Replying to otseng]

Matt. 28:17 is talking about two different groups, some "did obeisance", others didn't do that, BUT other different thing: "doubted". We don't see a "clear" word for the difference among both groups, but there is a contrast.

When something like this happens, we can see that there is something that we are missing about the Greek ... in this case it could be one of the uses of the greek particle δε, that normally introduce another discurse, a different approach, another side, another event ... in a contrastive way, or connective, or continuative, etc. It is like it is the context what indicates how to translate, not the words used, and so going back to the wording we look for the correspondence of the words and the meaning we see in the event as narrated, so we learn something new we didn't understand before about the meaning or use of some Greek words, syntax, etc.

I like to understand that particle as meaning "on the other hand", like something different needs to be specified. It is a very interesting particle, normally like an adversative conjunction ... Louw Nida says "a marker of contrast", like when we use BUT in English, but it can have other uses.

The article in the expression οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν in Matt. 28:17 can be understood as a demonstrative like "others, the others" or so. Scholars say that the Greek definite article is a remnant of the demonstrative pronoun in its ancient use, and so it is used in ocassions.

The word "some" is considered normally a translation of the article, but it can be a word added to supply the contrast of the second group of persons, the group that did not "homage" Jesus, but the ones (some) that doubted.

The text says:

Matt. 28:17 καὶ ἰδόντες αὐτὸν _ and seing him
προσεκύνησαν, _ did obeisance ...
οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν. _ in the other hand the ones (who) doubted

You can see the same use in Matt. 26:67.


Last edited by Eloi on Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:20 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 35: Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:19 pm
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Adding to Eloi's point above (he beat me to it), the NET translator's notes are useful here:

NET wrote:


The Greek text reads here οἱ δὲ ἐδίστασαν (hoi de edistasan). Some scholars argue that the article is functioning like a personal pronoun, thus “they doubted” (e.g., D. A. Hagner, Matthew [WBC], 2:884). If so, then all the disciples would be in view. The translation of the text takes οἱ as an alternative pronoun which has a partitive notion (i.e., some of the disciples doubted, but not all). The difficulty with the personal pronoun view is that there are no examples of it in Matthew in which the same subject immediately precedes with its own verb (as would be the case in “they worshiped…they doubted”). Such, in fact, would be quite awkward, for the article would be unnecessary since the pronominal referent is already embedded in the verb. The only reason for the article here would be to distinguish the subject in some way; but if the same subject is in view, no distinction is being made.


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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 36: Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:09 pm
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JehovahsWitness wrote:

I dont know greek but if you are working on a translation then I take it you do

I'm working on a translation in order to learn Greek. I'm not claiming to be any expert. I'm just using BLB to look at the Greek.

Eloi wrote:

in this case it could be one of the uses of the greek particle δε, that normally introduce another discurse, a different approach, another side, another event

It could be either another side in terms of different people or in terms of a different reaction.

One thing strange about the translation of including some is there is no Greek word behind it, yet it is not in italics. Typically, if there's an implied word with no Greek word behind it, the translators will note it. In this case, there is no separate word behind it and it is not italicized. Words that can be used for some are: allos, ek, heis, hos men, and tis. None of these are there. I think at a minimum they should've italicized some.

I did find one translation that does not use the word some.

New American Bible
Matt 28:17
"When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted."
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PW1.HTM

NABRE
"When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted."
https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=matt+28%3A17&version=NABRE

Also, I don't think doubt is probably not the best word to use, waver would be a better word.

Anyways, don't want to make a mountain out of a molehill. It was just something interesting that I noted during my devotion time today.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 37: Fri Nov 15, 2019 1:19 am
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[Replying to otseng]

The word "some" in that passage is not spuriously added. It is a correctly added word, and there's not need to mark it as an extra adition, since it goes there, as I explained two different reasons in my last post.

Not all added words are "spuriously" added and need to be marked as it. In English, for example, there is the need to add the personal pronoun all the time when there is not other subject specified, even if the pronoun is not in the original text and in Greek is only used when an enfasis in the person is intended (Spanish functions as Greek does in this matter). There is need to specify in English a Direct Object sometimes when the text does not include it, so the translators try to look for it in the context to apply the rules of a correct English text, according to the grammar of this language when the grammar of the original text is Greek Koine, not English.

Translators only need to mark a word when it can confuse somehow the meaning intended and there is a debatable grammatical reason to add it ... but that is not always the case. For a translator to apply these rules about adding and marking as added, needs to know very well the grammar of both languages, specially the correspondence of the rules about the specific aspect at the time it appears when translating or analyzing an specific text or expression. To translate is not as easy as it may seem.

The word "some" is legally added, either as a necessary complement of the particle δὲ or as the correct translation of the definite article in this kind of greek construction. Please, go to Matt. 26:67 and check the translation the same way, so you can notice the reason why "some" is added in this other text, since it is the same kind of sintactic construction, and EVEN THOSE TWO versions you mentioned before add the word "some" in this other place. The question is why in one place they do and not in the other one if in both cases it is the same construction. Question

NABRE Matt. 26:67 with "some" https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26&version=NABRE
New American Bible Matt. 26:67 with "some" http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0839/__PVZ.HTM

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 38: Fri Nov 15, 2019 4:35 am
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I think the answer is obvious. At least for Christians. If there is any text that shows Christianity as false then change it. Omission, addition, twisting, twirling...whatever acrobatics need done to turn that light off just do it. The light is painful on the eyes.

Translation vs. Interpretation? That would indicate the translations and interpretations are accurate. Most are. But it sure is amazing that the gross mistranslations are those texts that oppose Christian doctrine or beliefs.

Want to know what is more amazing...that even when a Christian learns that a translation is wrong they choose to speak the lie if it apeals to them. Case in point: Without a shadow of a doubt the oldest biblical texts that exist are the Dead Sea Scrolls. And the Dead Sea Scrolls predate Christianity. I mention that because the Jews have been accused of changing any texts that point to Jesus. Nonsense. No one even knew of Jesus at the time those scrolls were made. Anyway...

So the Dead Sea Scrolls have the final say. They decide if a translation is accurate. The scrolls tell us that it DOES NOT say a virgin will bare a son. It says YOUNG WOMAN.

HOW DO CHRISTIANS RESPOND TO THE TRUTH?

Do they demand bible publishers to correct the error? No In fact I heard that a Bible was issued after the discovery of the scrolls and they issued their next Bible and changed "virgin" to 'young woman.' The people were so outraged apparently that they were forced to put the lie back in.

So how DO Christians respond? They will tell you that it not a lie. Because young women were usually virgins.

How should Christians respond? If they really wanted the truth they would read the text the way it was written. And demand their bibles to read YOUNG WOMAN. BUT THEY DON'T.
They can argue about the purity of a young woman all day if they want to.

The bottom line is this: the word VIRGIN is a lie. They prefer the lie. Those who prefer lies we call liars. If they don't like to be called liars then they shouldn't speak lies. And if they are offended by this truth I dont care. And I don't care if the majority of the world is Christian and that they LIKE the word virgin better. If their religion was true it could stand in the truth and truth alone. But it can't. IT CAN NOT STAND ON TRUTH. Christianity has thrived BECAUSE of the translations. The truth has been twisted in translations. Twisted and manipulated. Ahhhh...why waste my time writing anymore. They live off lies and could give a tinkers dam about any of this.

I can hear them yelling at me now "it says virgin!!"
My response to that - I quote from scripture:
"Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding."
"

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 39: Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:03 pm
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Avoice wrote:
I think the answer is obvious. At least for Christians. If there is any text that shows Christianity as false then change it. Omission, addition, twisting, twirling...whatever acrobatics need done to turn that light off just do it. The light is painful on the eyes.

Just so we're clear, I agree in general with this assessment. The rest of your post ran a bit off the rails, though.

Avoice wrote:
Want to know what is more amazing...that even when a Christian learns that a translation is wrong they choose to speak the lie if it apeals to them. Case in point: Without a shadow of a doubt the oldest biblical texts that exist are the Dead Sea Scrolls. And the Dead Sea Scrolls predate Christianity. I mention that because the Jews have been accused of changing any texts that point to Jesus. Nonsense. No one even knew of Jesus at the time those scrolls were made. Anyway...

So the Dead Sea Scrolls have the final say. They decide if a translation is accurate. The scrolls tell us that it DOES NOT say a virgin will bare a son. It says YOUNG WOMAN.

In this verse, the Dead Sea Scrolls say the same thing as the Masoretic text, so it can't inform the translation in any meaningful way. The question has never been whether or not any Hebrew text we have uses a word other than ha-almah, but whether that word can justifiably mean "the virgin." The Dead Sea Scrolls thing is a total red herring and I don't know why you brought it up in the context of Isaiah 7.

Leaving almah untranslated, the Hebrew reads more-or-less literally as:
Quote:
Behold! The pregnant almah and she bears a son!

The Hebrew, as I have told you several times now, is ambiguous. Pregnant isn't a verb and modifies almah, but Hebrew nouns don't change for what we would call accusative or dative cases (although there's a word, eth, that sometimes indicates that). It's therefore ambiguous if we are to behold the pregnant almah now who will give birth in the future, or if we're beholding the entire scene in the future when the almah will be pregnant whether or not she is now.

Almah seems to work the same way that maiden does in English. Though it often just means a young woman in general, it sometimes means a woman that hasn't been married and, by implication, has never had sex. Song of Songs 6:8 is an example of the latter.

The translator of the Septuagint made a few editorial decisions that aren't wrong, but they do add a note of certainty that isn't in the Hebrew. Among them, he chose to translate almah as parthenos, which means a woman that has never had sex. Matthew quotes exactly the Septuagint that we have, a literal English translation of which would read:
Quote:
Behold, the parthenos will get in-belly, and will bear, a son!

Aside from the parthenos thing, the translator also made the adjective "pregnant" into phrase with a future tense, active verb. The Hebrew is ambiguous enough that it could be read this way. I don't think it's what Isaiah meant, but it could be. My point is that it's no less wrong as a translation than simply saying "young woman" without at least implying maiden or rendering "pregnant" as a state unambiguously reached before the statement was made. An interpretation of the text, even if it's an interpretation that I personally agree with, is still an interpretation.

That's not to say that Christians never change texts that they don't like. They do. Matthew, in fact, changed the clause in Isaiah 7:14 that immediately follows the one we've been discussing. The Hebrew reads that after her son is born, she will name him Immanuel. Matthew knew that didn't happen, so he changed it to read that they would call him Immanuel.

It's not limited to Christians, either. Jewish scribes have been slowly changing the text itself through time and not just in translation. One of these is apparent in Genesis 14, one of my favorite chapters in the Bible. Yahweh is only mentioned once in the Masoretic Text of Genesis 14. When Abram and Melchizedek are getting wasted and toasting the awesomeness of "God Most High" (El Elyon), there's a single Yahweh thrown in 14:22 to make sure we know that Melchizedek's god and Abram's god were the same guy. The problem is that Yahweh isn't there in the oldest texts. Neither the Septuagint nor the Peshitta has that little bit of "clarification." It was apparently added after those translations, but before the Masoretes published their, in modern parlance, "critical text."

This itself is suspicious, because we have other texts that paint El Elyon as the father of all the gods, including Yahweh. The Masoretic Text of Deuteronomy 32:8 tells us that when Elyon separated out the nations, they were "according to the children of Israel," apparently implying that Yahweh in verse 9 is to be identified with Elyon in verse 8. The Dead Sea Scrolls don't read that way, though. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, the nations are divided according to the children of El, among which Yahweh is counted.

The scribes have neglected Psalm 82, though. That one sill retains the idea that Yahweh is a child of El. Indeed, 82:1 reads in Hebrew:
Quote:
Elohim ("God") stands (singular verb, "he stands") in the assembly of El; He judges among ha-elohim ("the gods").

Read the rest of Psalm 82. It's a fun read because Elohim an epithet for "God," but the same word also means "gods." Looking at the Hebrew, the context makes perfect sense of the Psalm, though. "God" is judging among "the gods" in "El's assembly," all of whom are "sons of Elyon." After He judges the other gods and slays them "like men," He will inherit all of the nations.

This is very uncomfortable for strict monothists, Jewish and gentile alike. The Jewish Publication Society refuses to render "gods" as "gods," calling them "divine beings." The 1917 JPS calls them "judges." The NIV uses the word "gods," but puts it in scare quotes. Compare a few more and see for yourself.

As an aside, there's an absolutely fascinating discussion of this in chapter 5 of Richard Elliott Friedman's book The Exodus. In short, Friedman's speculative opinion is that the Bible acknowledges that at one time there were many gods (evidenced by the frequent epithet "children of the gods," often translated to "angels," even when it's obviously a mistranslation), but at some point, Yahweh killed them and remained as the sole remaining deity. I couldn't find it in any of the online previews, but that chapter alone justifies the price of the book, in my opinion.

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Post BBCode URL - Right click and save to clipboard to use later in post Post 40: Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:26 pm
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[Replying to Avoice]
Avoice, in Spanish, in Cuba, we use the word "señorita" (young or little lady) to intend the meaning "virgin". A mother can say to her woman-friend something like: My daughter is still "señorita" meaning her daughter is still a virgin, and yet we have the word "virgen". There could be very well the same kind of reasoning in the Greek mind about both ideas: a young woman and a virgin, and probably in Hebrew, when originally written Is. 7:14, they understood both concepts the same way.

A young woman is normally a virgin, and even if there is an specific word for "virgin", that word has a sexual connotation that could make the speaker to avoid it and use the alternative. As you can see, there is not any mistery, secret or hidden intention when the Greek word for "virgin" translates the Hebrew word "young woman" as a normal alternative.

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