[B-Greek] Jn 2.4 and translation practices

Elliot Poe Elliot.Poe at gmail.com
Sat Nov 25 10:31:41 EST 2006


I certainly agree with George.  As George pointed out, lexicographers' 
work must constantly be checked against our usage.  Although they have 
done us a tremendous service, their work is by no means infallible.  I 
would add the following to what George said.  The big LSJ (the most 
complete classical Greek lexicon in English) is a sterling example of 
the need to critically evaluate the work of lexicographers.  Presently I 
am a graduate student in Classics, and I have run across many, many 
words that the LSJ fails to gloss sufficiently in light of current 
English usage.  In fact, you can find numerous corrections (hundreds, if 
not thousands) to the LSJ, and my Greek professors often comment that a 
certain gloss in English is "too soft," "too harsh," etc. for their 
understanding of the Greek.

I fully realize the BDAG is more up-to-date than the LSJ, but the 
process of translating/interpreting a Greek text requires the 
translator/interpreter make use of lexicographical sources by critically 
evaluating their worth.  I highly admire the BDAG, and I am so very 
thankful for its editors' assiduousness.  But it needs to be evaluated 
critically by those who use it.

Does anything in the context of John 2:4 suggest Jesus disrespects his 
mother?  Does GUNAI ever suggest disrespect to the addressee in the NT?  
If not, I would agree with George; we need to remove every hint of 
disrespect from our English gloss.

Yours,
Elliot Poe


George F Somsel wrote:

>You are correct to a certain extent -- it is not a case of our sensitivities but a case of what would have been intended when it was written.  The problem lies in the fact that OUR language changes over time and that words have many different usages depending upon the context.  Let us get away from the passage in question for a moment.  It might be a fair assessment to say that my study is a shambles.  "Shambles:  informal -- a chaotic state."  When the translators of the AV translated Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, they used "shambles" to translate MAKELLON, a word derived from the Latin and meaning "meat market."  Thus the meaning of shambles has changed drastically over the intervening years.  Today it would not be good to translate MAKELLON as "shambles" since that is not the way the word "shambles" is used today.  It is not that MAKELLON has changed its meaning but rather that WE have changed.  Returning to our passage, do you consider that Jesus was showing
> a lack of respect for his mother?  Today is someone addresses a female as "woman", that is perceived as lacking respect.  If you think Jesus was being disrespectful, then you can continue to use "woman" as a translation.  If, however, you think he was not being disrespectful, you might want to find some other term.
> 
>george
>gfsomsel
>_________
>
>
>
>----- Original Message ----
>From: Steve Westfall <steve.westfall at comcast.net>
>To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>Sent: Thursday, November 23, 2006 9:59:58 PM
>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Jn 2.4 and translation practices
>
>
>I make no pretence of being a lexicographer, but it seems to me that talk
>about modern sensibilities and what sounds acceptable to us is completely
>irrelevant and misguided.  The question is, how was the word used at the
>time of composition?  What was the meaning conveyed by the word in the minds
>of the authors and listeners during the time when the texts were composed?  
>
>How we speak about women in the twenty first century may stir us to ask
>questions about ancient usage, but our usage is not determinative.
>Lexicographers appears to have documented meanings corresponding to a range
>of words in English or other languages.  Let's look at those for answers.
>
>Steve Westfall 
>
>-----Original Message-----
>From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
>[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Bryant J. Williams
>III
>Sent: Thursday, November 23, 2006 6:54 PM
>To: Elliot Poe; George F Somsel; b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Jn 2.4 and translation practices
>
>Probably the best way is to use, Ma'am. I use quite frequently with those
>who I know to be married. The term, Ms, is used here in the USA to refer to
>a woman who is not known whether she is married or not and actually prefers
>it that way. The term, Miss, is obvious. Lady maybe to formal. I know of
>some parts of the USA that say, "Woman," is equivalent to saying "female" in
>a derogatory fashion or in the inner-city areas equivalent to "HO" (don't go
>there and it is not referring to Christmas).
>
>>From where I was born and from where I was raised (not necessarily the 
>  
>
>>same)
>>    
>>
>Ma'am is the acceptable word/form of addressing a married woman, even if she
>was your mother!
>
>Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Elliot Poe" <Elliot.Poe at gmail.com>
>To: "George F Somsel" <gfsomsel at yahoo.com>; <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Sent: Thursday, November 23, 2006 8:02 AM
>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Jn 2.4 and translation practices
>
>
>  
>
>>Since no exact equivalent exists, "my dear" works for me (in most
>>cases).  It is far preferable to "woman," since "woman" connotes
>>disrespect when used as a form of address.
>>
>>A happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate it.
>>
>>Yours,
>>Elliot
>>
>>George F Somsel wrote:
>>
>>    
>>
>>>Meet Mr. Nobody.  In some situations (such as when Jesus is speaking to
>>>      
>>>
>his mother) I think it might be very appropriate.
>  
>
>>>george
>>>gfsomsel
>>>_________
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>----- Original Message ----
>>>From: Carl W. Conrad <cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu>
>>>To: RRedden604 at aol.com
>>>Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>>>Sent: Wednesday, November 22, 2006 7:35:56 PM
>>>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Jn 2.4 and translation practices
>>>
>>>
>>>Nobody's very comfortable with this. My suggestion: "my dear."
>>>
>>>On Nov 22, 2006, at 1:45 PM, RRedden604 at aol.com wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>      
>>>
>>>>The NET Bible leaves "woman" there, and wrestles with the
>>>>connotation in
>>>>English in a note.  There may be a significance for Jesus' use of
>>>>GUNAI in  Jn.
>>>>2:4, et al, and English readers need to face the challenges as well as
>>>>translators in my opinion.
>>>>
>>>>On the other hand, if this is unsatisfactory, I see no real
>>>>objection to  the
>>>>use of lady instead of woman, since M&W give, as the third
>>>>definition,
>>>>"WOMAN, FEMALE   often used in a courteous reference  *show the
>>>>lady to a seat* or
>>>>usually in the plural in address *ladies and  gentlemen*."  Once
>>>>again, in a
>>>>translation, a footnote would be  essential.
>>>>
>>>>Rob Redden
>>>>---
>>>>B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
>>>>B-Greek mailing list
>>>>B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>>>>http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>        
>>>>
>>>Carl W. Conrad
>>>Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
>>>1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
>>>cwconrad2 at mac.com
>>>WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/
>>>
>>>
>>>---
>>>B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
>>>B-Greek mailing list
>>>B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>>>http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
>>>
>>>---
>>>B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
>>>B-Greek mailing list
>>>B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>>>http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>      
>>>
>>---
>>B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
>>B-Greek mailing list
>>B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>>http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
>>
>>For your security this Message has been checked for Viruses as a courtesy
>>    
>>
>of Com-Pair Services!
>  
>
>>
>>-- 
>>No virus found in this incoming message.
>>Checked by AVG Free Edition.
>>Version: 7.5.430 / Virus Database: 268.14.14/548 - Release Date: 11/23/06
>>    
>>
>3:22 PM
>  
>
>>    
>>
>
>
>For your security this Message has been checked for Viruses as a courtesy of
>Com-Pair Services!
>
>---

>B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
>B-Greek mailing list
>B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
>
>---
>B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
>B-Greek mailing list
>B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
>
>---
>B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
>B-Greek mailing list
>B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
>
>  
>





More information about the B-Greek mailing list