Logos/Dao-Cindy Smith

Steven Cox scox at Mail.Sparkice.COM.CN
Tue Jul 13 23:24:53 EDT 1999

Hi Cindy
I don't see why this isn't an appropriate question for the list. There are
after all enough questions based on how a greek word is rendered in a
minority language like English :-)

The answer, as Ted has already said is yes, LOGOS is rendered DAO (as also
is Greek hODOS in Acts24:14), but I think your Chinese commentator was
overlooking the fact that in the 1870s, which is when the choice of DAO for
Word in John1:1 was made people (at least those who could read) were more
aware of another use in classical Chinese of the DAO character which is
"spoken word". This use is still found today in poetry and set idioms. I
very much doubt whether the original Scottish and American presbyterians who
made this translation choice had any more awareness of DAO's meaning in
Taoism than a first century Jewish writer would have of LOGOS meaning in
pagan Greek religious thought.

If one was going to pick fault with the Chinese rendering of the Greek in
John1:1 it would not be DAO, it would be TAICHU (big beginning) for Greek
ARCH but QICHU (little beginning) for the same word in 1John1:1 and
elsewhere in John's writings where the Luke1:3 style "little beginning" is
felt to be required.

Hiya Ted, how's things :-)
That translation your daughter in law mentions which says "Hua" ("At the
creation of the earth was the Chatter") is the loathesome Chinese Living
Bible which is the Bible that western Christians persist in smuggling into
China ----  while keeping quiet the fact that the official (and much more
accurate) Union Version is freely available in every city in China for less
than a dollar. I mention this is the hope that noone on this list will ever
donate a cent to such a cause....


Please update address book to <stevencox at altavista.net>
from <scox at mail.sparkice.com.cn> which will expire in August
-----Original Message-----
From: Theodore H Mann <thmann at juno.com>
To: Biblical Greek <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
Date: Tuesday, July 13, 1999 9:01 PM
Subject: Re: Logos/Dao-Cindy Smith

>Hi Cindy:
>My daughter-in-law, who is Chinese, tells me that Logos is indeed
>translated as "dao" in the NT (as, for example, in John 1:1).  She says
>that Chinese lacks a really good term for Logos, and "dao" is about as
>close as they can get.  She translates the term into English as "way," or
>"method."  She also says that she has a translation that uses the term
>"wha," which is the simple Chinese word for "word."  This translation,
>however, is not the one that is commonly used in China and Taiwan.
>For whatever it's worth.
>Dr. Theodore "Ted" Mann
>thmann at juno.com
>On Mon, 12 Jul 1999 21:32:14 -0500 Cindy Smith <cms at dragon.com> writes:
>>I read a Chinese commentator some time back who argued that, just as
>>the Logos in pagan Greek religious thought is the organizing force
>>through which the universe was created, so the Dao (Tao) in Chinese
>>religious thought is the organizing force through which the universe
>>was created.  Therefore, a dynamic translation of Logos into Chinese
>>is Dao.  Does anyone know both Greek and Chinese who can tell me if
>>Chinese translations of the Bible actually translate Logos with the
>>word Dao?
>>If this is not an appropriate question for this mailing list, just
>>email me.  Thanks!
>>Cindy Smith
>>   Spawn of a Jewish Carpenter
>>GO AGAINST THE FLOW! \\ _\\\_     _///_ //
>>                      >IXOYE=('> <`)=  _<< A Real Live Catholic in
>>cms at dragon.com       //  ///       \\\  \\
>>cms at star-nets.com
>>cms at romancatholic.org
>>Delay not your conversion to the LORD,
>>Put it not off from day to day
>>   Ecclesiasticus/Ben Sira 5:8
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