Re: Evangelicals and dynamic equivalence

Good friends,

James Sennett writes: "there is no such thing as paraphrase.
There is only good translation and bad translation."  I find myself at least
somewhat prepared to agree to this notion, but I still wish to ask, again: Then
what properties distinguish a good translation from a bad translation?

Also, in response to Professor Sennett's commendation of the NIV, I should like
to suggest that there is a certain "blandness" which seems to eminate from this
translation.  I don't *think* I'm referring to some lack of a certain lyrical
lilt found in more long-standing versions.  For example, take John 20.23

        an tinwn kratNte kekpratNntai.

Virtually every other English version translate the phrase in this manner:
        if you *retain* the sins of any, they are *retained.*

What does NIV do?  "If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven."

Now, it seems that kratew has an active sense to it -- to hold, to retain.  And
indeed, this appears to be how the church through her history has understood
this phrase -- to retain sins -- to bind sins of the unrepentant to their
consciousness.  What notion does the NIV evoke?  More like a "sin of omission"
on the part of the apostles -- kind of: "and if you don't get around to
forgiving some people, why, by golly, their sins are not forgiven."

Now, I grant that the *traditional* (or, as I prefer:  the *catholic*)
understanding can be assumed into the NIV rendering; but so can other
candidates for meaning.

I believe that the blandness to which I referred above is this propensity of
the NIV to level the mountains and the valleys of meaning into a sort of
"vanilla" translation.


Rev. Robert W. Schaibley, Sr. Pastor
Zion Ev. Lutheran Church
Fort Wayne, Indiana