[B-Greek] translation strategies

Suttles, Andrew C. (GRC-DSI0) andrew.c.suttles at nasa.gov
Thu Jun 25 11:04:00 EDT 2009

I think the point is that we wouldn't call it anything.  We would just read it with understanding.

Cleveland, OH

>-----Original Message-----
>From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org [mailto:b-greek-
>bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Mark Lightman
>Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 10:48 AM
>To: 'B Greek'; Yancy Smith
>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] translation strategies
>By the way, would one call
> a "polemical genitive?"
>Mark L.
>--- On Thu, 6/25/09, Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com> wrote:
>From: Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] translation strategies
>To: "'B Greek'" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>, "Yancy Smith"
><yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
>Date: Thursday, June 25, 2009, 8:23 AM
>I'm looking forward to Eddie's response, but during this αναπνευσις
>ANAPNEUSIS POLEMOIO, as Homer might say, let me add a quick point
>which is neither original nor germane to Eddieʼs real point, since we
>still don't
>know exactly what that is yet.
>If we are going to retain terms like "Genitive of Purpose," can we at
>use the Greek term?  Randall was a forerunner in this, but now his
>FWNH EN THi ERHMΗi has been joined by Christophe Rico who includes
>six pages of grammatical terms in Greek.  In retrospect, it seems almost
>crazy that we did not all learn DOTIKH early on, since this would help us
>with DIDWMI when we came to it, and most of us had to learn what
>"dative" means anyway.  Plus, is "genitive" even used anywhere anymore
>other than in Greek or Latin.  Not in Hebrew or English, I know.
>There are two other advantages to using Greek not Latin GRAMMATIKAI.
>It would force us to decide which terms to keep.  If hH GENIKH TOU TELOU
>is not helpful in Greek, throw it out.  Two, and more importantly, and
>outside the realm of this thread, it would give us early experience with
>more Greek in the classroom.  I think one of the reasons Hebrew may be
>easier to internalize than Greek is that there are many Hebrew terms which
>are commonly spoken by Americans during linguistic and theological
>e.g.  TORAH, SHABAT, MISHKAN, HA SHEM, BAT QOL, etc.  These are
>mixed in with English by Jews and Gentiles alike.  We all say "read from
>the Torah," but who ever says read the Graphe or the Biblion.  It's harder
>to do in Greek because of the EGLISEIS and the accents, but Buth and Rico
>show it can be done.
>I've got to be careful not to sound like an obnoxious convert to living
>methods,  I've have been an obnoxious defender of Old School Methods on
>the list and reserve my right to do so in the future.  But using
>Aitiatike instead of Accusative
>is one reform I would be in favor of right away. I wonder how Wallace's
>book would
>be different if he were to use more Greek.
>Now let the MAXH resume.
>Φωσπορος Μαρκος
>--- On Thu, 6/25/09, Yancy Smith <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net> wrote:
>From: Yancy Smith <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] translation strategies
>To: "'B Greek'" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
>Date: Thursday, June 25, 2009, 7:20 AM
>I want to add two pence to this discussion from the far left field. My
>teacher, Mr. Robert Johnston of Abilene Christian University, used to tell
>his students that the didactic categories of Greek grammar taught to
>middling students were like the scaffolding built around a building. At
>point in the construction process, the scaffolding becomes a bother and
>be removed. Before that point the scaffolding is probably necessary. I say
>"probably," because it all depends on the method of learning. For example,
>many students of living foreign language don't get this kind of stuff
>they take a "Contrastive Grammar" course sometime late in the language
>learning process. We become hopelessly confused, however, when we think
>our didactic grammar categories represent something like (universally?)
>normative grammar rules and binding us to them some sort of description of
>reality. Didactic grammatical tags are rather ad hoc for the most part.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
>[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Carl Conrad
>Sent: Thursday, June 25, 2009 6:47 AM
>To: Eddie Mishoe
>Cc: B Greek
>Subject: Re: [B-Greek] translation strategies
>Let's start all over again with this, please. I've re-read the
>original question as posted below and I think now, as I did when I
>first read it, that it is a reaction to (against) my fervent hope that
>we were not going to add a new subcategory of "genitive of purpose" to
>the numerous subcategories of Wallace's GGBB.
>Unless I really am off my rocker (Eddie suggests "early signs of
>dementia" and later comments that I am out in left field (while Mike
>Aubrey is out in right field, neither of us two  having grasped what
>Eddie is really trying to say), let me try a strategy (that word will
>get me into trouble again, I'm sure) I once learned that was supposed
>to foster effective communication in meetings and make meetings
>shorter and more efficient: make sure that you understand what the
>other guy is saying; state in your own words what you think the other
>guy's saying, then let him tell you if that's what he really meant.
>I and perhaps a few others have frequently complained (verily, ad
>nauseam) about the "multiplication of grammatical subcategories" in
>Wallace's GGBB, with special frequency and vehemence directed toward
>the interpretive subcategories of the adnominal genitive (including
>that most curious beast, the "aporetic genitive" -- a term that seems
>to point roughly to something like Abbot and Costello's "Who's on
>first, What's on second, I Don't Know's on third."). I have even
>suggested, and I think some others have concurred with me, that
>Wallace's subcategories such as these subcategories of the adnominal
>genitive, do not really represent grammatical constructions that would
>have meant anything to a native Greek speaker or writer; rather these
>subcategories are explanatory terms designed to help the intermediate
>Greek student understand how the meaning of the Greek construction in
>each particular instance would find expression in English. I think
>that I myself may have to bear the responsibility and blame for
>calling these subcategories "translation strategies" rather than
>straightforward grammatical accounts of how the Greek construction
>functions in the mind of the Greek speaker/writer and what it means to
>the Greek speaker/writer.
>Now perhaps I am wholly mistaken here -- Eddie certainly seems
>convinced that I am --, but I had the impression that Eddie was using
>the term "translation strategies" to refer to Wallace's subcategories
>of the adnominal genitive in GGBB, objecting once again, as indeed he
>has done before, to my disparagement of these "grammatical"
>subcategories as explanations of the Greek construction in terms of
>how the Greek construction is best conveyed in English. If that is the
>case, then Eddie is insisting (more forcefully, in fact) that
>Wallace's subcategories -- including a putative "Genitive of Purpose"
>-- do indeed convey exactly -- no more and no less -- what the
>original Greek expression is actually saying/meaning.
>IS that what you actually meant, Eddie? Or have I really misunderstood
>you altogether, after all?
>Now I continue to disapprove of all those subcategories and I continue
>to think that the student of Greek really ought to read oodles of
>Greek and spend less time working with "Greek" grammars that focus on
>explaining how to turn Greek constructions into idiomatic English.
>BUT -- to be fair to Wallace's declared intent with regard to GGBB,
>Wallace has acknowledged openly -- recently in a comment on a blog
>(was it yours, Mike?) and even in the Introduction to GGBB (but who
>ever reads Introductions?) --, that these subcategories are NOT
>precise semantic content inherent in the syntactic structure of the
>adnominal genitive, but RATHER are interpretative/interpretive
>SYNTHESES  of the inherent semantic content of the adnominal genitive
>construction PLUS the contextual indicators ("pragmatic" factors)
>pointing to how the phrase formulated in this constrution in this
>particular context means what Walace believes it means.
>TO ME that means that GGBB's textbook explanation of Greek grammatical
>constructions in the GNT is in itself NOT a GRAMMAR of NT Greek but
>rather a METHODOLOGY FOR INTERPRETING the NT Greek text. And I surmise
>NT Geek text, it is impossible to EXPLAIN what the Greek text MEANS.
>Now IF that's what Eddie was trying to say, I understand it, even if I
>don't agree with it. I would rather approach the Greek text of the NT
>as freshly as I can every time I look at it, even if I'm looking at a
>passage I've looked at before, and try to understand it as it flows in
>its own sequence of words, phrases, and clauses, gathering my own
>grasp of the meaning of the passage as a whole before I ever begin to
>ANALYZE the construction in terms of WHY I think it means what I think
>it means. I really don't want to have all these algorithmic tools for
>calculating the pragmatic features of the context and pigeonholing the
>resultant construction into something called a "Genitive of Purpose."
>I don't want to read 2 COR. 1:24 OUC hOTI KURIEUOMEN hUMWN THS PISTEWS
>the need to analyze what kind of genitive is involved in the phrasing
>of  SUNERGOI ESMEN THS CARAS hUMWN. I am perhaps silly enough to
>imagine that it is reasonably clear that Paul is claiming to have
>played some part in bringing about the joy felt by the Corinthian
>IN SUM, I don't really think it is all about "translating,
>translating, translating." I think it's about "reading Greek and
>understanding the Greek that one reads" without giving thought to how
>the Greek phrasing would convert into the right phrasing for one or
>another target language. I continue to believe that one must
>understand the Greek text BEFORE one can ever translate it. And I
>continue to think that "explaining the Greek NT" is not ultimately a
>matter of "translation strategies" as it is a matter of understanding
>the text of the NT as a Greek text and being able to communicate what
>one understands.
>Now it may be that this is not at all what Eddie Mishoe was talking
>about. If it isn't, I apologize for being still out in left field, but
>I hope that I have made clear at least what I think about what I
>thought he was talking about.
>Carl W. Conrad
>Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
>On Jun 24, 2009, at 4:36 PM, Eddie Mishoe wrote:
>> I have spoken out in opposition to this, and feel compelled to
>> continue saying why I think translation strategies are the key to
>> explaining the GNT, no -- the only way to explain the GNT.
>> Translation strategies are when the translator brings the original
>> language concept into the target language. The concept being
>> explained is EXCLUSIVELY that found in the original language.
>> It is sheer nonsense to continue to gripe about translation
>> strategies as if they are somehow using the target language to
>> explain a target language concept. Idioms create their own set of
>> challenges, but for the rest of the text, the most effective way (no
>> -- the only way) to translate the meaning and nuance from the
>> original language to the target language is by translation strategy.
>> Translators are interpreters. Interpreters translate in the target
>> language the concept being discussed in the original language. The
>> many, many Genitive categories and sub-categories we find in GGBB is
>> only the tip of the iceberg of the many ways a Genitive can
>> function. If we included the Hellenistic literature, we would need
>> to add a couple hundred more; this is what the concept of "nuance"
>> means. If one were to give the nuances of the English word "in" to a
>> Greek reader, that Greek reader would have to learn more than 100
>> usages of this "simple" preposition. Other words are even worse. The
>> point is, each of the 100+ usages of "in" have a separate
>> grammatical categories and sub-categories.
>> Using this "purpose adnominal genitive" is an attempt to convey the
>> GREEK concept behind the GREEK structure to ENGLISH readers. We may
>> need a much larger literary corpus to analyze the legitimacy of this
>> "purpose adnominal genitive." However, until that is undertaken, we
>> have to continue following hunches.
>> One could argue that the sole function of a translator is to use
>> translation strategies to convey the meaning and nuances of the
>> original language into the target language.
>> Eddie Mishoe
>> Pastor
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