Hultberg, Alan alan_hultberg at
Wed Dec 2 10:52:12 EST 1998

Dr. Krentz,

Thanks for sharing this.  I have recently finished doctoral studies in NT, and
though I am teaching NT full-time now, I am painfully aware of my own
inadequacies in languages related to the study of the NT.  I can handle my
Greek NT ok and, to a lesser extent my Hebrew OT, but even after doctoral
studies I have had limited exposure to extra-biblical materials in the
original languages, not to mention formal studies in classical Greek or Latin
or Aramaic or Syriac or Coptic, etc.  I find this lack inexcusable, and though
I am committed to making up as much of it for myself as possible, I too fear
what this means for the future of textual criticism and Bible translation if
there are many others out there like me.

Alan Hultberg

>From: Edgar Krentz on Wed, Dec 2, 1998 7:23 AM
>Subject: Translators
>To: Biblical Greek
>This may be of interest to some members of b-Greek.
>At the recent Society of Biblical Literature meeting in Orlando the
>National Council of the Churches of Christ had its usual breakfast
>meeting for seminary professors interested in Bible translation. Two
>items will be of interest:
>1. There is ongoing interest in correcting and improving translations
>in the NRSV. As part of that process the NCC will be hosting two
>consultations. In 1999 a consultation on "Race, Gender, Class and
>Biblical Translation." In 2000 a consultation on "Religious Traditions,
>Ecclesiastical Authority and Biblical Translation." It is an attempt to
>"pick the brains of the exegetical guild" about these matters.
>They also announced that Oxford University Press is preparing what they
>call the ACCESS BIBLE, an edition for neophyte Bible readers; it will
>include maps, charts, definitions, comments designed with the reader
>who is ignorant of the biblical tradition. I think that this is a very
>promising development. Oxford also gave those attending who filled out
>a questionnaire about this plan a copy of the Apocrypha that has the
>Greek text and 7 English translations. While the type is small, it
>makes comparison of the translations easy and fruitful.
>2. More challenging--and disheartening--was the major presentation by
>Bruce M. Metzger on "Preparing the Next Generation of Translators."
>It was quite a Jeremiad. He began with Hanson and Heath's Who<italic>
>Killed Homer</italic>, a recent attack on the mores of classicists.
>That led him to give statistics about the decline of Greek in HS and
>University teaching. The University of Aberdeen abolished the classics
>departments under Margaret Thatcher. The University of Saskatchewam
>[spelling?] is doing it at the present time.
>Then he asked, "How can we stem the decline? And how prepare the next
>generation of translators?" Where is textual criticism being taught?
>And who knows any languages other than Greek needed for TC?
>Years ago, when the RSV was done, the director of the translation team
>had learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew in HS! Translation of the NT
>demands scholars who know the spread of the Greek language from Homer
>on! [That is Metzger talking, not Ed Krentz--though I share his
>opinion!] We need enthusiasm for learning the language, but where can
>such translators be prepared?
>In the discussion I noted that we needed to identify classicists who
>are also committed Christians. I mentioned Herbert Howe, Episcopalian
>who teaches [or taught] at the University of Wisconsin, Roger Bagnall,
>Lutheran at Columbia University and premier papyrologist, Carl Conrad,
>etc. Classicists are recovering the reading of the NT in Greek as part
>of the early Roman Empire's history and culture.
>Carl Conrad has cited the Italian proverb on this list, "Traditore
>tradutore," Translators are traitors. That is complicated a great deal
>when the translators do not know the original language well--and are
>also not sensitive to the target language. I learn that over again each
>week as I read with seminary students next Sunday's NT lessons from the
>three year lectionary cycle in Greek and translate.
>I will be interested in reactions from the list members to Metzger's
>remarks (recovered from my sketchy notes] and my own interpretive
>editorial comments.
>Edgar Krentz
>Acting Dean, Fall Quarter 1998
>Professor of New Testament Emeritus
>Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
>1100 E. 55th Street
>Chicago, IL 60615  USA
>e-mail:<color><param>FFFF,0000,0000</param> ekrentz at</color>
>        <color><param>FFFF,0000,0000</param>emkrentz at</color>
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