James 1:3

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sun Sep 2 03:41:04 EDT 2001


>
> Concerning James 1:3: GINWSKONTES hOTI TO DOKIMION hUMWN THS PISTEWS
> KATERGAZETAI hUPOMONHN
>
> What does hUMWN modify and why? The common translation is something like
> "knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance". Why could it
> not be "knowing that your testing [trial] of faith produces endurance"? I
> suppose that the meaning is similar, but perhaps the emphasis is a little
> different.

Supporting what Steve Lo Vullo mentioned, my own study of Greek word order,
for what it is worth, indicates "beyond reasonable doubt" that hUMWN
modifies TO DOKIMION. If it were to be connected with THS PISTEWS, the
fronting would indicate a contrast between YOUR faith and some OTHER
peoples' faith, and that is not supported by anything in the context. The
order as it stands indicates that the topic is faith-testing - and y'all are
the ones being tested.

I would probably still translate it into idiomatic English as "the testing
of your faith". The stress pattern of English allows for the stress to be on
both "testing" and "faith" rather than "your" in such a sentence. Your other
suggestion is an example of using English to talk about Greek grammar. This
is common and appropriate in a class of Greek students and on this list, but
should not be carried over into translations intended for "the common man".
It is harmless as long as no one thinks it is a good translation into normal
English.

Iver Larsen
SIL translation consultant




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