[B-Greek] The Elephant on the List
lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Thu Feb 18 15:12:50 EST 2010
--- On Thu, 2/18/10, John M. Linebarger <jmlineb at comcast.net> wrote:
<I'd like to gently challenge one of the statements in Mark Lightman's post:
> The English Translations, taken as a whole, are always MORE clear than the Greek; they always convey MORE information about the underlying Greek text than the Greek text itself does.
How is this possible? If a translation is more clear than the original, surely it is because the translators have chosen one of the interpretive options allowed by the original and reflected it consistently in their translation. However, clarity is not the same as accuracy, and only an inspection of the original will reveal other interpretive options that are available. I would contend that in those situations, the "clear" translation is actually achieved by *reducing* the amount of information present in the original.
This phenomenon, in my mind, by itself justifies the heavy investment in learning Greek and studying the text in the original.
What say you?
John M. Linebarger
Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA>
Great question, John,
I did not say that a translation is more accurate than the
original, I said several good translations, (and of the GNT they
are all good) taken a a whole, are more precise than the
original, and can almost never be proven to be inaccurate.
Let me give you one quick example taken from Oun Kwon's
recent excellent post on 1 Cor 11:32, whether UPO TOU
KURIOU goes with KRINOMENOI or PAIDEUOMEQA or
both. I do not have access to the translations right now,
but Oun is absolutely right; some versions go one way,
some the other, some leave it ambiguous. The Modern
Greek makes it definitely go with both by switching
to the active with two direct objects. Taken as a whole,
the translations cover every option.
But you say, "yeah, but we need to know the original to
determine which translation is right." WRONG! No
matter how well you know Greek, the Greek will almost
never settle this. How often do we agree on the List?
I honestly do not think knowing Greek makes any
difference in this and maybe most passages.
The general meaning is established,
The precise meaning cannot be established:,
Certainly it can not be
by discussing the Greek in English.
Plus, as I have said, the "interpretive options," to
use your phrase, almost never effect the meaning
in any important way. We mess around around the
margins. And if the range of possible meanings is
important, i.e.. theological, well, then we all agree
that you should not use the Greek to settle this.
We don't anyway. Our preconceived theology settles this,
as it should.
But again, great question.
More information about the B-Greek