Hades, Tartarus, Gehenna all rendered "hell"--Loyal translation?
rwburks at flash.net
Thu Dec 30 10:59:06 EST 1999
The word TARTAROW in 2 Peter as opposed to the other two words mentioned does have
some significance. Otherwise I suspect Peter would have used a different word. The
words translated hell in the KJV and some other versions of the New Testament do
have significantly different meanings. Therefore they should be translated
differently to show that difference in meaning intended by the author.
What you are proposing for Hadis, and Gehenna is not really translating but
transliterating these words. This has been done with several words throughout the
KJV and other versions. This tends to devalue the meaning of the original words.
After all is not the purpose of a translation to take words, syntax, and gramatical
forms of the words, phrases, and sentences with respect to the author's original
usage in one language and bring the original author's meaning into the receptor
The use of TARTAROW in 2 Peter presents a different issue to the translator, because
of its limited use in the text, the translator can not lean on other examples of its
usage in the New Testament when trying to determine its meaning. Sometimes a person
can look at other secular texts of the same period, or other periods and glean some
of a words meaning from its use in these settings. Also as with the use of words in
any language the context of the passage itself may shed much light on the author's
meaning in the usage of that word. Since I don't have a greek text in front of me,
nor even an English translation, I can not comment on the specific use of the word
TARTAROW in 2 Peter except from memory, so I won't hazard misquoting the context
Bill Burks (also just a student)
Steven Craig Miller wrote:
> To: Grant Polle, Dr. Theodore "Ted" H. Mann, et al.
> GP: << I have noticed for many years that some bible translators render
> Hades, Tartarus, and Gehenna all by the one word "hell." Despite
> theological meanings that we each may assign, doesn't it seem logical that
> a difference should be illustrated? >>
> THM: << If distinctions of meaning exist between terms in Greek, those
> distinctions should be reflected in English (or any other receptor
> language). >>
> How does one determine (for example) if the author of 2 Peter was using the
> Greek verb TARTAROW (which is only used once at 2 Peter 2:4) with a meaning
> significantly different from similar terms?
> And why should a translation's decision on this issue be a litmus test for
> determining whether or not a translation is a "loyal translation" (see
> subject header). Can't people have differences of opinion without someone
> questioning their loyalty?
> My own personal preference is that hAiDHS should be translated as "Hades,"
> and GEENNA should be translated as "Gehenna." Thus the English term "hell"
> would be dropped from my translation. I'm uncertain how TARTAROW should be
> translated. But I doubt there is one right way to translate these terms.
> This seems to me to be something of personal preference or taste.
> If I were creating a translation, I would probably add a footnote to
> "Gehenna" noting (something to the effect) that the Greek term GEENNA is a
> transliteration of the Aramaic 'gehinnam' which means 'Valley of Hinnom,' a
> shortened form of 'gebenhinnam' meaning 'Valley of the Sons of Hinnom.' It
> is located S-SW of Jerusalem and is today known as Wadi er-Rabebeh. It
> first became a place of infamy (according to Hebrew scripture) when Ahaz
> and Manasseh, two kings of Judah, sacrificed their children there (2 Kgs
> 16:3; 21:6; 2 Chr 28:3; 33:6). It was later used as a refuse dump and so
> fires would continually burn in the Valley of Hinnom in order to burn the
> trash. By at least the 1st century BCE, Gehenna became a metaphor for a
> place of judgement by fire for the wicked.
> Perhaps a similar footnote should be made for the term "Hades."
> -Steven Craig Miller
> Alton, Illinois (USA)
> scmiller at www.plantnet.com
> Disclaimer: "I'm just a simple house-husband (with no post-grad degree),
> what do I know?"
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