translations

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StephenGoranson
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translations

Post by StephenGoranson »

As far as I know no translation is beyond question.
ABuddhist
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Re: translations

Post by ABuddhist »

Some translations, though, are so easy that they cannot be questioned by anyone with even basic understanding of the languages.
StephenGoranson
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Re: translations

Post by StephenGoranson »

passive aggressive nonsense aside
ABuddhist
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Re: translations

Post by ABuddhist »

I was not being passive-aggressive as far as I am aware, and my words were not nonsense.
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Leucius Charinus
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Re: translations

Post by Leucius Charinus »

StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 2:16 pm As far as I know no translation is beyond question.
I'd agree that in a progressive socio-political environment of open academic research this would be the case. However in the case of a socio-political environment governed by a dictator or some other type of ultra-authoritarian warlord, questioning the official translations might be suicide.

As an example (if you needed one) of the latter in his oration given at Antioch immediately after his military supremacy c.324/325 CE, Constantine basically declared that Socrates critical questioning was a menace to the state.
gryan
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Re: translations

Post by gryan »

StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 2:16 pm As far as I know no translation is beyond question.
I agree. In my study of Paul's letter to the Galatians, I have found that grammar and syntax vis-a-vis discernment of literary context make for a lot of decision points, all of which are contestable. Not only that, there is the choice of critical text. My own working translation of Galatians is different from each and every published translation of Galatians at maybe thirty exegetical points of decision.

StephenGoranson:

Would you expand on your initial statement a bit?
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mlinssen
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Re: translations

Post by mlinssen »

StephenGoranson wrote: Tue Aug 02, 2022 2:16 pm As far as I know no translation is beyond question.
As far as I know biblical academic, apologists, debaters and Stephen Goranson (I'm unsure to which extent any of those are mutually exclusive) prefer to elevate their own context onto a pedestal from which they expect to comfortably dictate the rules of the game over addressing the content at hand with sound and logical arguments

Because they know damn well that they can't even begin to hope to get on the upper hand otherwise
Stuart
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Re: translations

Post by Stuart »

There is no perfect translation, as words do not line up one for one, especially when speaking different language groups. And then there is the issue of context and secondary meanings of words, which certainly do not align across languages. Puns and poetic license taken by original authors is lost.

There is also the modern trend, which is pretty ancient, to give the "sense" of a passage. But often in doing so the alternative understanding, which would be clear in the Greek or the Hebrew is completely lost, presenting instead a text which only reflects the orthodoxy of the day. 2020 orthodoxy is not 1950 orthodoxy, is not 1800 orthodoxy, and so on back in history. The complaint by mlinssen frankly applies to all translators to some degree, arguably getting worse.

The greatest sin of sense translation, is that we lose the consistency of translation of words. In the Greek the same root word might have been chosen by the New Testament author to convey the commonality of a concept with an action or a thing or event. But in most all Scando-Germantic language translations this is completely lost. Also the switching from one choice of word to say something to another is lost, as the same English word is used for two different Greek words.

Also there is a tendency by translators to clean up the text, to smooth out abrupt and awkward sentences or thoughts. Also deliberately vague pronouns which could refer to God or Jesus or Joe down the street are assigned a singular reading.

My biggest fault with modern translations is one of methodology and inconsistency. Translations are increasingly singular and eclectic. Long gone are the days of the double blind translation committees and the insistence upon consistent translation. Whatever else the faults of the KJV (most notably the dreadful choice of manuscripts) the methodology and consistency is something that has vanished. The RSV did a good job up to about the 1950's, but inconsistencies had crept in (ASV was better in some parts).

Of course we are biased toward scholarly reading, so want the translations to be as consistent and carry through the quirkiness and as much as possible the puns and poetic sense as possible (nearly impossible given the divergence of English from Greek). But in truth the only way to really know what it's saying and the secondary meanings due to word choice, is to learn a little Greek and read it in Greek (or Hebrew for the OT).

All translations fall short and can only be a starting point.
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billd89
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Re: Deleted.

Post by billd89 »

** I deleted this Reply, re-posted it elsewhere. I'm not sure why it was still here. **
Last edited by billd89 on Wed Aug 03, 2022 11:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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mlinssen
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Re: translations

Post by mlinssen »

Stuart wrote: Wed Aug 03, 2022 9:27 am There is no perfect translation, as words do not line up one for one, especially when speaking different language groups. And then there is the issue of context and secondary meanings of words, which certainly do not align across languages. Puns and poetic license taken by original authors is lost.

There is also the modern trend, which is pretty ancient, to give the "sense" of a passage. But often in doing so the alternative understanding, which would be clear in the Greek or the Hebrew is completely lost, presenting instead a text which only reflects the orthodoxy of the day. 2020 orthodoxy is not 1950 orthodoxy, is not 1800 orthodoxy, and so on back in history. The complaint by mlinssen frankly applies to all translators to some degree, arguably getting worse.

The greatest sin of sense translation, is that we lose the consistency of translation of words. In the Greek the same root word might have been chosen by the New Testament author to convey the commonality of a concept with an action or a thing or event. But in most all Scando-Germantic language translations this is completely lost. Also the switching from one choice of word to say something to another is lost, as the same English word is used for two different Greek words.

Also there is a tendency by translators to clean up the text, to smooth out abrupt and awkward sentences or thoughts. Also deliberately vague pronouns which could refer to God or Jesus or Joe down the street are assigned a singular reading.

My biggest fault with modern translations is one of methodology and inconsistency. Translations are increasingly singular and eclectic. Long gone are the days of the double blind translation committees and the insistence upon consistent translation. Whatever else the faults of the KJV (most notably the dreadful choice of manuscripts) the methodology and consistency is something that has vanished. The RSV did a good job up to about the 1950's, but inconsistencies had crept in (ASV was better in some parts).

Of course we are biased toward scholarly reading, so want the translations to be as consistent and carry through the quirkiness and as much as possible the puns and poetic sense as possible (nearly impossible given the divergence of English from Greek). But in truth the only way to really know what it's saying and the secondary meanings due to word choice, is to learn a little Greek and read it in Greek (or Hebrew for the OT).

All translations fall short and can only be a starting point.
I couldn't agree more Stuart, hence my one-click fully normalised transliteration of Thomas - which still is not finished and gets refined by doing the Commentary as only understanding the whole of a text can lead to a best translation.
But it is the reason why I keep the two separate, and why I include the stages in the Commentary: translation, interpretation and explanation. Only when I lay the very last hand to the Commentary can I finish the first two stages, after which I can make a "pretty interpretation" as again that must be fully traceable back to the previous stage

So will it take a thousand pages to "merely translate" Thomas?
In essence, yes - or rather, I won't satisfy myself with less

And the beauty of it all is that with that magnificent level of detail and the astonishing ease of verifying it all, the naysayers still resort to stealth polemics and preaching from their own fully erect Babylonian towers of irrelevant context instead of addressing even a single word of the content itself.
Which at times greatly amuses me, I must admit - because I don't mind a bit of polemics sometimes, even when it is borne out of defence
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