[B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios and Galatians 6:18

Elizabeth Kline kline_dekooning at earthlink.net
Mon Apr 26 16:34:47 EDT 2010

On Apr 26, 2010, at 12:10 PM, Carl Conrad wrote:

> I personally would
> agree with Yancy's view that a serious student of the Bible who
> cannot read Greek would do best to read several different versions
> rather than any single one. Like it or not, those who DO read Greek
> with some competence are hardly of one mind about what any
> particular Biblical Greek text must mean. Nor are they of one
> mind about which is/are the better translation(s). One who does not have
> any competence in Biblical Greek will have to discern for herself
> which supposedly-competent "expert" she chooses to trust. I would
> want to do my own picking and choosing, but I don't think I would
> lay the burden trustworthiness all on any single so-called "expert."

Ok, I'm going to break my promise and post again on this. In the English speaking world where there are versions of the bible for every peculiarity of personal taste and sub-culture, reading multiple versions will go some of the distance for nullify the built in problems with "meaning based translation". 

Textual meaning is indeterminate (K. Vanhoozer). A text only comes to mean something in a particular social cultural religious framework at particular place and time for members of a community of shared meaning. This is one of the implications of scenario theory. Why should we give a third party the responsibility for determining the meaning of a text? The idea that meaning is only actualized for an individual within a very narrow time, location, cultural, historical, religious context makes it difficult to accept the idea that we should turn over the responsibility of determining meaning to "experts" who are not even members of our community of shared meaning.[1] 

I have no objection to people reading whatever bible version they want to read. But versions should not take on the authority of telling me what the text means. If they do, they should be treated like commentaries.  In a culture that has had no bible and no ecclesiastical tradition, meaning based translations have the very real danger of becoming the "virtual-KJV" for that particular language community.  The dangers associated with attempts to unpack the meaning and freezing that meaning in the form of a version for a language community which will have no other versions are very real. 

I have other problems with E.A. Nida, but they can wait. 

Elizabeth Kline
[1] [aside: The idea that words like "evangelical" solve this problem or imply a community of shared meaning is without any basis in fact.]

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