[B-Greek] Phil 1:29 -- getting off-topic

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue Jun 27 12:29:59 EDT 2006

This thread has moved completely away from the original question  
about the infinitives in Phil 1:29 and has become a discussion of  
translation philosophy and underlying hermeneutical presuppositions;  
that is to say: it has crossed over the boundaries of proper BG  
discussion. Those who want to discuss translation philosophy and  
hermeneutical presuppositions should take the discussion off-list or  
perhaps to the B-Translation list (https://lists.kastanet.org/Lists/ 

On Jun 27, 2006, at 11:27 AM, Marion Fox wrote:

> Marion Fox here,
> I disagree with the quote. In fact, a free translation is almost  
> certain to
> be biased by the theological presuppositions of the translator.  
> Whereas a
> literal translation is not. Now then, suppose that the original is  
> an idiom.
> I argue that the translation should still be translated in a  
> literal manner
> with the idiom being explained in a footnote. This allows the  
> reader to
> interpret the text for himself. It is not the function of a  
> translator to
> interpret the text, but to translate the text. What value is a literal
> translation of an idiom? The idiom can become an idiom of the target
> language. This allows the language of the Scriptures to become part  
> of the
> language of the target language. In English there are a number of  
> idioms
> that have been derived from the Scriptures: (1) good Samaritan law,  
> (2)
> eleventh hour decision, (3) apple of my eye, (4) etc.
> Yours in His service,
> Marion R. Fox
> On 6/27/06, Iver Larsen <iver at larsen.dk> wrote:
>> That is a wonderful quote. It describes quite well the predicament of
>> translators. If I translate literally, I know that
>> I am a liar, because I lose so much of the originally intended  
>> meaning. If
>> I am too free, I may introduce some ideas not
>> intended. On the other hand, I believe more heresies are based on  
>> literal
>> versions than understandable ones, unless the
>> translators deliberately alter the meaning to suit their own  
>> agenda. Doing
>> a free translation is much more demanding in
>> terms of knowing the whole Bible backwards and forwards as well as  
>> a high
>> level of linguistic awareness in both original
>> languages and target language.
>> In our Danish version we said in English back translation:
>> "By the grace of God you have been allowed to not only believe in  
>> Christ,
>> but also to suffer for him."
>> It sounds better in Danish than in English, though.
>> Iver Larsen
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "yancywsmith" <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
>> To: "Lillian Belt" <lillianlbelt at yahoo.com>; <b- 
>> greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
>> Sent: Tuesday, June 27, 2006 12:58 AM
>> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Phil 1:29
>> I quite agree, unfortunately it is very difficult to make a
>> translation in which the meaning of the Greek does not suffer, either
>> through over literalness or through too much freedom. The Talmud
>> Bavli (Qid. 49a) has this delightful mind bender: "He who translates
>> a verse verbatim is a liar. But he who alters it is a villain and a
>> heretic." Moral of the story? Don't translate, I guess!?! I just
>> checked the Spanish translation we did of Phil 1:29. We came up with:
>> "Dios les ha concedido el honor no sólo de creer en Cristo, sino
>> también de sufrir por él." English back translation: "God has granted
>> you the honor not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering
>> for him." I think translations that put in a subject of the verb
>> "have been given" (something like "honor," "opportunity,"  or
>> "privilege" GNB) are trying to get at the nuance of the CARIS root in
>> the verb (an implication of abundance, generosity, etc) in a way that
>> makes better sense to their reading audience than simply using the
>> Greek structure, which certainly cannot be used without retouching. I
>> also agree that there is certainly more meaning intended by Paul than
>> comes across in just about any translation I have seen, but trying on
>> new renderings for size is almost as rewarding as finding the  
>> right one.
>> Yancy Smith
>> yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
>> 5636 Wedgworth Rd.
>> Fort Worth, TX 76133
>> 817-361-7565
>> On Jun 26, 2006, at 3:50 PM, Lillian Belt wrote:
>>> Well, this is my first attempt at this so here goes:
>>> I think you are right, Yancy, in that the word ECARISQH is the key
>>> word to a proper translation, however, I depart from there.  I
>>> think it would be better interpretered in light of the NT writer's
>>> concept of the word, than what is "natural" in English. To be
>>> "granted" to do something accords to that person a higher honor,
>>> than to be given an opportunity.  I think your translation, "a
>>> grand opportunity has been given" is far enough "off the mark", as
>>> to diminish the power and force of the original language, thus the
>>> translation suffers harm.  Even in English if we "grant" something,
>>> it is by special permission, rather than just an opportunity.
>>> I hope I have kept to the guidelines of this web site, and
>>> addressed only lexiconical and not theological issues.
>>> I await replies.
>>> Lillian Belt
>>> PO Box 320
>>> Independence, KS USA
>> ---
>> B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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> -- 
> Marion Fox
> http://www.fivefpublishing.com
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
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Carl W. Conrad
Co-Chair, B-Greek List
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu or cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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