[B-Greek] Jn 2.4 and translation practices

Steve Westfall steve.westfall at comcast.net
Sun Nov 26 15:36:39 EST 2006


I don't think we are disagreeing.  Obviously we should recognize that
meanings change over time, and that what was once a suitable translation may
no longer be so.  (For example, the KJV has examples of English words that
have shifted or even reversed their meaning since 1611.)  It seems to me
that this is an issue of mapping between the semantic domain of the ancient
word and candidate semantic domains of modern words, with a view to finding
the modern one(s) (if any) that most coincide(s) with that of the ancient
word.
 
If having a feeling that a particular word conveys disrespect motivates us
to research the meaning of that word more thoroughly, that's great, as long
as it doesn't predetermine the results of the study.
 
Steve Westfall

  _____  

From: George F Somsel [mailto:gfsomsel at yahoo.com] 
Sent: Friday, November 24, 2006 8:05 AM
To: Steve Westfall; b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Jn 2.4 and translation practices


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
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> >B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
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> >
> >
>
> ---
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