[B-Greek] Jn 2.4 and translation practices

Elliot Poe Elliot.Poe at gmail.com
Wed Nov 22 11:53:28 EST 2006

I agree that the translation of GUNH needs some work.  GUNAI is 
particularly troublesome.  "Woman" is too brusque or impertinent an 
address to translate "GUNAI."  "Ma'am" and "lady" (as in "my lady") 
might suggest a refined woman, and "miss" might suggest a young woman.  
"Lady," like "Woman," can also be too impudent. 

Perhaps the best strategy for approximating the word in English would be 
to translate GUNAI more specifically than the Greek states it.  In John 
2:4, for instance, perhaps "Mother" would be the best translation (as it 
might be in John 19:26).  Elsewhere, "girl" might be appropriate (Luke 
22:57).  "Wife" might be a good translation of GUNAI in 1 Corinthians 
7:16.  A good translation for generic women (i.e. women not specifically 
connected to the person making the address) eludes me.  Insofar as they 
are young women, "miss" might be the best we can do in (American) 
English.  I am not sure what to do for an older woman, but sometimes 
"mother" can be applied to the aged (an obsolete usage), even if the 
woman has no children.

Elliot Poe

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