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

Albert Pietersma albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
Wed Apr 28 10:43:22 EDT 2010


Here is my note, which I had sent to Mark.
As a blanket statement, no, I would not agree with Blue. One needs to  
distinguish between the text of the LXX as produced , on the one hand,  
and the text of the LXX as received, on the other.

Judging from the textual-linguistic make-up of the vast majority of  
the translated books (i.e. (a) relationship to the source text and (b)  
character as a Greek document),there is good reason to conclude that  
it was designed as ancillary to the Hebrew.  Moreover, that a  
translation of the Bible would automatically be a biblical  
translation, i.e. replace its original poses serious sociological  
problems.

That at some point in its reception history the translation replaced  
its original as authoritative text is clear (a) from the Letter of  
Aristeas (late 2c. B.C.E) and (b) from the role of the LXX in the NT.
Albert
On Apr 28, 2010, at 10:14 AM, Blue Meeksbay wrote:

> Hi Mark –
>
> I will be interested in Albert’s response, but I guess I should  
> clarify that I was speaking in very general terms. While the Hebrew  
> always maintained an honored place among the Jews, even Hellenistic  
> Jews, the LXX, in time, eventually became the preferred OT of the  
> Eastern or Greek Orthodox Church, (obviously since their mother  
> tongue was Greek), even to the point where I believe, subsequent  
> translations were based on it rather than the Hebrew.
>
> Sincerely,
> Blue Harris
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
> To: Albert Pietersma <albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca>
> Cc: bluemeeksbay at yahoo.com
> Sent: Wed, April 28, 2010 5:35:15 AM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios  
> and Galatians 6:18
>
>
> Hi, Albert and Blue,
>
> Albert, do you agree with Blue that the LXX was never meant to  
> replace the Hebrew?  Did it
> replace the Hebrew for Hellenistic Jews?  For Christians?  Do we know?
>
> Mark L
>
>
>
> FWSFOROS MARKOS
>
>
>
>
> ________________________________
> From: Albert Pietersma <albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca>
> To: Mark Lightman <lightmanmark at yahoo.com>
> Cc: Albert Pietersma <albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca>
> Sent: Wed, April 28, 2010 6:28:54 AM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios  
> and Galatians 6:18
>
> ?
>
> On Apr 27, 2010, at 8:26 PM, Mark Lightman wrote:
>
>
>>  Mark L
>>
>>
>>
>> FWSFOROS MARKOS
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
> ________________________________
> From: Albert Pietersma <albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca>
>> To: Blue Meeksbay <bluemeeksbay at yahoo.com>
>> Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
>> Sent: Tue, April 27, 2010 6:03:39 PM
>> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios  
>> and Galatians 6:18
>>
>> If one uses  Nida's categories, there is no doubt that most of the
>> translated LXX falls  into the category of formal correspondence/
>> equivalence, though books like Job and Proverb are characterized by
>> dynamic equivalence.
>> It should be remembered, however, that just because the LXX  
>> functioned
>> as the OT to the NT church does not retroactively alter its textual-
>> linguistic make-up.
>> Al
>> On Apr 27, 2010, at 6:45 PM, Blue Meeksbay wrote:
>>
>>> First, an apology – this has been an interesting thread, and per Dr.
>>> Conrad’s *appropriate* chastisement in his post *Linguistics without
>>> sweat or tears (was "A Semantic Frame in II Cor. 4")* I will not be
>>> so silly in the future as to try to apply any linguistic terminology
>>> without having first spent some years studying the science.
>>>
>>> With that out of the way – you have been discussing E. A. Nida,
>>> *meaning,* dynamic equivalence, etc.  I was wondering, for those of
>>> you who have been discussing this, and for those of you who have an
>>> in-depth knowledge of not only Greek, but also of the Hebrew
>>> language – how would you categorize the LXX using today’s standards
>>> of dynamic and formal equivalence? After all, it was the accepted
>>> *translation* of the early church, although, I realize it was never
>>> meant to be a replacement for the Hebrew Bible.
>>>   Is there a consensus of judgment on this, or is there a wide
>>> divergence of opinion?
>>>
>>> Sincerely,
>>> Blue Harris
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> ________________________________
>>> From: Dr. Don Wilkins <drdwilkins at verizon.net>
>>> To: Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
>>> Cc: B Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>; Steve Runge <academic_67 at yahoo.com
>>>> ; Randall Buth <randallbuth at gmail.com>
>>> Sent: Mon, April 26, 2010 2:14:49 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] referential complexity: frames & scenarios
>>> and Galatians 6:18
>>>
>>> Thanks for allowing further discussion of this thread, Carl.
>>>
>>> On Apr 26, 2010, at 12:10 PM, Carl Conrad wrote:
>>>
>>>> ...
>>>>
>>>> So far as I can see, the prevalent pedagogical method in Biblical
>>>> Greek employed in seminaries and denominationally-oriented
>>>> undergraduate schools is instruction in traditional analytical
>>>> terminologies and descriptions of morphology, syntax, and
>>>> lexicology and envisions the "proof of the pudding" of successful
>>>> instruction as capacity to produce a more-or-less woodenly-literal
>>>> version in the student's native language. I personally think this
>>>> methodology is bankrupt
>>>
>>> It certainly falls short of what we would like, possibly even into
>>> the category of a little knowledge being a dangerous thing. But I
>>> don't think there are any shortcuts to true competency, and we've
>>> been living in a world of fast instruction to go along with our fast
>>> food.
>>>>
>>>>> Elizabeth has once again refused further comment, but I appreciate
>>>>> her input and Yancy's. It appears that you all think that a
>>>>> translation that is "wooden" for analysis purposes is a bad idea.
>>>>> I'm
>>>>> not sure Steve Runge would agree, because he seems to see value in
>>>>> linguistic analysis of an English translation.
>>>>
>>>> Well, Steve can and should speak for himself. I don't see much  
>>>> value
>>>> in analysis of an English version other than as an analysis of  
>>>> how an
>>>> English text expresses its meaning. I don't see how one can analyze
>>>> a Greek text other than in terms of the elements constituting that
>>>> Greek text.
>>>
>>> I was raising the possibility of an English text that mirrored the
>>> Greek. Historically this has been attempted, always with  
>>> shortcomings
>>> and never with significant success, if any, in the marketplace
>>> because of the awkward English. Consider an interlinear to be both
>>> the extreme and the worst-case scenario. On the other hand, consider
>>> what people who are attempting to do Bible study with only an  
>>> English
>>> (or other modern language) translation are really doing. From your
>>> description, as I understand you, they are only analyzing how the
>>> translator chose to express the meaning of the original. In my view
>>> the translator's choices essentially are commentary, more or less
>>> close to the intended meaning of the original.
>>>>
>>>>> On that point,
>>>>> Randall, if you have the time, I would appreciate clarification of
>>>>> your question, "...should someone who reads Greek poorly at best  
>>>>> be
>>>>> doing Greek analysis from an English text?" I was not asking about
>>>>> Greek analysis, only linguistic analysis of an English text that  
>>>>> is
>>>>> "wooden" to accurately reflect the Greek text. Perhaps you don't
>>>>> believe it's possible to accurately represent the original. If you
>>>>> are saying that one has to master ancient Greek to properly  
>>>>> analyze
>>>>> ancient Greek, and similarly to do linguistic analysis of the  
>>>>> Greek
>>>>> text, I agree. And if you're saying that the best of bad
>>>>> alternatives
>>>>> is that the non-Greek reader is at the mercy of the translator,  
>>>>> I'm
>>>>> not sure this is best, but I think that it is reality for the
>>>>> average
>>>>> Bible student. Yancy's argument for using multiple translations in
>>>>> Bible study works better for someone who reads Greek than for  
>>>>> those
>>>>> who don't, because someone like us can view the different
>>>>> translations as commentaries, while those who don't read Greek  
>>>>> have
>>>>> no criteria for deciding the most accurate translation (i.e. the  
>>>>> one
>>>>> best representing the Greek). They need the guidance of a  
>>>>> proficient
>>>>> reader of the Greek (or the Hebrew for the OT). But this is way  
>>>>> off-
>>>>> topic (Carl, I apologize in advance).
>>>>
>>>> Randall too can and should speak for himself. 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."
>>>>
>>>> Carl W. Conrad
>>>> Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
>>>>
>>> But the non-Greek reader is in an "as good as it gets" situation, as
>>> Randall says. What you say about those of us who do read Greek is
>>> true; we have the ability to be critical of experts and to pick and
>>> choose intelligently. It's probably also true that the average  
>>> person
>>> will simply read and prefer what he likes, as Yancy pointed out. I
>>> suspect that a serious student is going to want to come as close as
>>> she can to the original text. Then just consider the issue of  
>>> lexical
>>> study. Are all translations equally accurate? Does it make sense to
>>> use an unabridged English dictionary to get an "in-depth" meaning  
>>> for
>>> a special term in one or more English versions? Or do we think it
>>> would be better to look up the word of interest in BDAG or KB etc.?
>>> Here again, we can be critical of what we find in the standard
>>> lexicons, but wouldn't the reader who does not read the original
>>> languages be better off if she were pointed to one (or more) of the
>>> lexicon definitions? At least she would be pointed in the right
>>> direction for further investigation, unless perhaps we are going to
>>> say that the lexicons are not sufficiently reliable. I think we  
>>> would
>>> agree that access to the lexicons is better than having to rely
>>> solely on what we find in different Bible versions.
>>>
>>> Don Wilkins
>>>
>>>>
>>>>> On Apr 25, 2010, at 2:11 AM, Randall Buth wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>>> The end
>>>>>>> product would not be a "Study Bible," but (to use an old term) a
>>>>>>> thought-for-thought translation whose accuracy depends  
>>>>>>> entirely on
>>>>>>> the understanding of the translator.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Having spent twenty years in Bible translation, I would say that
>>>>>> all good
>>>>>> translation is done this way and is always similarly limited. Yet
>>>>>> it is
>>>>>> as good as it gets.
>>>>>> The alternative--to list glosses that mimic the structure of the
>>>>>> source
>>>>>> language (Greek, in this case), is to guarantee less accuracy.  
>>>>>> The
>>>>>> reader/audience has no alternative but to interpret the 'glosses'
>>>>>> according
>>>>>> to the target language, and will correspondingly be more distant
>>>>>> from
>>>>>> a fullly accurate interpretation. Any 'Greek' [SIC] training will
>>>>>> just
>>>>>> compound the issue, because they won't have the necessary breadth
>>>>>> to
>>>>>> qualify the training that they get and will again woodenly apply
>>>>>> 'rules'
>>>>>> to a language whose cadence they do not hear.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> However, the above quote was not made for translation purposes  
>>>>>> but
>>>>>> for analysis purposes. That brings one back to the question--
>>>>>> should someone who reads Greek poorly at best be doing Greek
>>>>>> analysis from an English text? I just can't see it, and have
>>>>>> heard far
>>>>>> too many 'radio-preachers' to believe that the good will outweigh
>>>>>> the
>>>>>> bad. I think that the bad outweighs the good. Students will be
>>>>>> better
>>>>>> off, more on-target and in-the-ball-park, working from multiple
>>>>>> English
>>>>>> translations done by qualified, skilled translators. And with a
>>>>>> little
>>>>>> training in order to appreciate the various translations vis-a- 
>>>>>> vis
>>>>>> 'wooden glosses'.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Personally, I don't see any other route than to learn Greek  
>>>>>> well if
>>>>>> someone wants to be a skilled, lifelong, interpreter of ancient
>>>>>> Greek literature and the NT in particular.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> If you love Cervantes, learn Spanish fluently. If you love
>>>>>> Schiller,
>>>>>> learn German fluently. If you love the Bard, learn English
>>>>>> fluently.
>>>>>> If you love Jesus, learn Greek fluently (Hebrew fluently too).
>>>>>> And learn analytical tools in parallel to the language skills.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ERRWSQE
>>>>>> IWANHS
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
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>>>
>>>
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>>
>>>> Albert Pietersma PhD
>> 21 Cross Street,
>> Weston ON Canada M9N 2B8
>> Email: albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
>> Homepage: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/%7Epietersm
>>
>> ---
>> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
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>>
>>
>
>> Albert Pietersma PhD
> 21 Cross Street,
> Weston ON Canada M9N 2B8
> Email: albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
> Homepage: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~pietersm
>
>
>
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
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—
Albert Pietersma PhD
21 Cross Street,
Weston ON Canada M9N 2B8
Email: albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
Homepage: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~pietersm




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