Re: Translation versus commentary
Parallel Bibles (and there are a lot of them around) are certainly a help
in the absence of a firm foundation in Greek. But I still think, Vincent,
that you're over-sanguine. What do you put in column 1 for John 3.3? What
about Greek double-negatives: do you use "a translation which is as literal,
wooden, raw, and unfiltered as possible, while still making grammatical sense"
but which provides a meaning opposite to that intended? Won't the other
translation, in flat contradiction, then just *confuse* the naive reader?
Or do you interpret the sense, in which case what's happened to your principle?
I'd love to agree with Ken Litwak:
> surely we can be approximately close enough for it to be usable
> enough for it to be usable in communicating the basic gist of the
> original author(s) can't we?
But, to revert to a previous example, *if* John O'Neill is right (and no-
one has demonstrated that he isn't) then most Christians assume that the
"basic gist" of the NT message includes a mystical and comforting experience
of "being in Christ" which is merely a figment of later imagination.
As I recall, Larry tried to focus this debate on translations for "serious"
students of the Bible. Here the problem is relatively simpler: one can
indeed add copious footnotes reminding the reader that, even if God's word
is infallible and unambiguous, my understanding of it (still less my
translation of it) simply *cannot* be. But what of a Bible for public reading?
I wait with bated breat for someone to pick up David Mealand's gauntlet.
Douglas de Lacey, Cambridge UK.