b-greek-digest V1 #724

b-greek-digest              Sunday, 28 May 1995        Volume 01 : Number 724

In this issue:

        Re: "God's Word" - Acts 7:55
        Dynamic equivalence 
        Re: John the Baptist in Synoptics and John
        Re: "God's Word" - Acts 7:55
        Re: John the Baptist in Synoptics and John 


From: "L. Brown" <budman@sedona.net>
Date: Sat, 27 May 1995 15:31:54 700
Subject: Re: "God's Word" - Acts 7:55

> > Date:          Sat, 27 May 1995 13:59:03 -0700
> > From:          David Moore <dvdmoore@ix.netcom.com>
> > Subject:       Re: "God's Word" - Acts 7:55
> > To:            Carl W Conrad <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
> > Cc:            b-greek@virginia.edu

- ---[snip]---

>     There is a section on dynamic equivalent translation in _How to 
> Read the Bible For All Its Worth_ by Fee and Stuart.  It reads in part:

- ---[snip]---

Robert L. Thomas has an unpublished monograph, "An Introductory Guide 
for Choosing English Bible Translations" (1988) in which he defines 
dynamic equivalence thus:

"The dynamic equivalence approach is concerned primarily with
readabiliyt. It seeks to convey the thought of the original languages 
to the reader with no attempt to obtain a word-for-word 
correspondence between the original and the translation. It is geared 
rather to obtaining a correspondence of ideas between the two 
languages. The important consideration here is to produce an effect 
on the reader in the receptor language, equivalent to what was 
produced on the original recipients of the message in the source 

"A formal equivalence translation is concerned primarily with 
accuracy or faithfulness to the original text. In both form and 
content it focuses attention on the message being translated.

Hope that helps!
L. E. Brown                         budman@sedona.net
West Sedona Baptist Church
Sedona, Arizona  520-282-7478
- -----------------------------------------------------
Recursion: See Recursion


From: WINBROW@aol.com
Date: Sat, 27 May 1995 19:01:45 -0400
Subject: Dynamic equivalence 

I think that I remember having read a quote from Luther concerning his
translation from Hebrew to German.  It may have been in Gene Nida's little
book on the TEV.  It went something like this:  When I have found the meaning
of the Hebrew, I lay aside the Hebrew and state it in the best German I know.
 (Note: no quote marks.)  Nida discusses Dyn. Equ. as finding in the receptor
language those expressions that will cause the same understanding and
reactions as the original.  Obviously that could only be an ideal.

Carlton Winbery
Fogleman Prof. NT and Greek
LA College, Pineville, LA


From: Carl W Conrad <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Sat, 27 May 1995 20:08:55 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: John the Baptist in Synoptics and John

I apologize at the outset for the length of this post. Delete at once -- or
don't say you weren't warned!

On Sat, 27 May 1995,  "Gregory Jordan (ENG)" <jordan@chuma.cas.usf.edu>
> On Sat, 27 May 1995, Carl W Conrad wrote:
> > I'd readily consent to all the propositions hereabove cited (omitting 
> > intentionally the item with which Greg sought to provoke us, namely, a 
> > hint of the pre-existence of John the Baptist--although, I confess it, I 
> > am curious as to how he sees that potentially implied in the Greek text
> > of 1:6-8); 
> The first 5 verses, or at least, the first 3, of John are maintained at the 
> cosmic level in reference to primordial creation (as I see it).  Then it 
> seemingly abruptly mentions John the Baptist as having come into 
> existence (egeneto) like one of the things the pre-existent Logos created
> (v. 3 panta di' autou egeneto...). 

But would it not be true that everything entering existence AFTER the 
original creation could also be designated as something that EGENETO?
And the normal sense of EGENETO is "was born."

Moreover, it is commonly held (and I would certainly agree) that the 
abrupt mention of John the Baptist in vv. 6-8 constitutes a prose 
interpolation into what is a liturgical composition with a single
original focus on the LOGOS and its incarnation. There's no proving 
that, but it's as plausible (if not more so) than any notion of the
Baptist's pre-existence. If you really wanted to develop a notion of
the pre-destination of the Baptist's call, I should think the nearest 
thing to it would be the pronouncement of God that Jeremiah 
reports hearing at his own inaugural experience: "Before I formed
you in the womb, I called you to be a prophet ..." 

>                               John the Baptist is described as 
> having been sent by God (apestalmenos para theou), which could imply an 
> earthly historical call like that of one of the prophets.  But no NT book
> mentions such a late life "call" - cf., Luke has John the B prophesying 
> from the womb. 

What about one Saul of Tarsus, surnamed Paul (as in Rom 1.1 KLHTOS 
eloquently that Paul does not refer to his "conversion"but rather to his "call."

>                        Then John says John the B came for the purpose of 
> testifying (v. 7 Elthen eis marturian) about the Light in order to make 
> everyone believe in it.  I admit, none of this adds up to explicit proof 
> that John is invoking John the B's pre-existence, but I would say it is 
> strongly implied.  ..... Not to be unduly provocative (heavens forbid! 
> Why else do I not give my snail-mail address? With my luck I'd get a 
> fattwa for my opinions & a nice package bomb in the mail...)

Come now, do you rally mean to deny that you were teasing us with
the suggestion of the pre-existence of John the Baptist? Forsooth, a
lapsed Pharisee, was he? And in what sense did the Pharisees hold such
a doctrine? Surely not the Pythagorean/Platonic sense? Are you relying 
on Josephus?

> > . . .                                         You say, "The Synoptics 
> > tend to indicate Jesus  was a follower of John the Baptist, and that he met
> > many of his disciples  first through his associations with him." But I 
> > see this happening only in John's gospel, 
> You're right about the call of the disciples - I should have said "in all
> 4 Gospels" not in the "Synoptics" since I was thinking of the combination

> of all of them.  John's gospel does seem to be the most comfortable with 
> John the B's important role, and it may be the other gospels have 
> attempted to underplay that role, but they have still left important

Personally, I will stick here with the assumption of Marcan priority. I
really think that the conception of the Baptist presented in both Matthew
and Luke is fundamentally a redaction of Mark's conception of the Baptist.

> In Matthew, as soon as the infant narrative is finished, John the B's 
> movement is given as the context of the first prediction of Jesus as 
> Messiah (3:11).  Jesus's baptism by John the B is his first public 
> appearance (3:13-17), and Jesus does not begin to make speeches until 
> John the B is imprisoned (4:12-17).

Exactly! Mt 3:1-4:17 follow closely the sequence of Mk 1:1-15 with 
the baptismal pericope significantly altered in the sense of Mt's theme
of "fulfilment of righteousness" and a fleshing out of Mk's lean
temptation narrative with the richer story contained also in Lk and
commonly thought to belong to the Q tradition.

> In Mark, the author can't get past what is apparently the title (1:1) 
> before s/he starts talking about John the B (1:2-8).  Again John the B 
> predicts the imminent coming of the Messiah, which Jesus will use to 
> catapult his own messianic career.  John the B's teachings (1:4-5) 
> prepared the kind of audience, charged by pietism, that would listen to 
> Jesus.  And again, Jesus does not begin to speak until John the B is 
> imprisoned (1:14), which implies (to historical-Jesus fans like me) 
> that Jesus might have considered himself a student of John the B, a 
> follower initiated by that baptism, and that only when John the B was 
> silenced by politicians did Jesus get inspired to take leadership 
> himself. In Matthew 14:2 Jesus is even considered John the B resurrected 
> from his execution.

A historical Jesus fan like you might well be wary of reading too much
biographical implication into Mk 1:14. This is precisely the META TO
PARADOQHNAI TON IWANNHN I spoke of before (more below). 
Since the onset of Redaction Criticism in the work of Willi Marxsen,
_Mark the Evangelist_ (1956, ET Abingdon,1969), pp. 38-40 this
phrase has been pinpointed as christological in purpose: to denote the
fate of the proclaimer simultaneously with the inception of the procla-

> Luke's gospel, after a preface (1:1-4) elaborates John the B's birth as a
> prophesied miracle complete with angelic annunciations and testimonies to
> Jesus as Messiah from the womb.  John the B is even described as a 
> relative of Jesus's.  After narratives of Jesus's childhood, John the B 
> again takes center stage, creating the audience and political climate 
> that would determine Jesus's future career.  John the B's teachings are 
> also very similar to Jesus's (3:3-15, 17-18).  Jesus's baptism is 
> described as a common participating in John the B's movement (3:21).

I'm not sure that it's safe to say that being baptized by John should be 
equated with being a participant in his movement--at least, to the extent 
of joining a sectarian movement. What is very curious about Luke's
account of the "baptism" of Jesus, is (1) the decisive epiphany of the
dove (only Luke says "in bodily form," whatever that means) and the
voice from heaven occurs while Jesus is kneeling in prayer, AFTER
he and all others have been baptized (3:21-22) and (2) it is narrated
only AFTER Luke has told of the arrest of the Baptist (3:19-20). In
part, I think this is Luke's way of retaining Mk's META TO PARA-
DOQHNAI TON IWANNHN, and of retaining something also of that
distinctive "delivering up" theme.

> > lake shore. Now while it could, I suppose, be argued that Mark's (1:14)
> > temporal reference preceding Jesus' Galilean ministry, META TO 
> > PARADOQHNAI TON IWANNHN, implies that Jesus had previously himself been a 
> > disciple of the Baptist following his own baptism, it seems to me that 
> > (1) Mark's indication (1:12) of the temptation episode (1:12) as ensuing 
> > IMMEDIATELY (EUQUS, 12) upon Jesus' baptism argues against any Marcan 
> > perception of a linkage between the Baptist and the call of the 
> > disciples; 
> True, and Mark might be downplaying Jesus's career as a student of John 
> the B (only John's Gospel dwells on Jesus as John the B's follower).  But

> then again, Mark could have ommitted the comment about John the B's 
> arrest triggering Jesus's career altogether if s/he had wanted to, like Luke
> does.
> (2) the real point of the PARADOQHNAI TON IWANNHN reference in 
> > Mark 1:14 is to introduce the distinctive Marcan theme that John, Jesus, 
> > and the disciples will, each in turn, as they set out on their mission of
> > proclamation, face the doom of arrest and execution; 
> I haven't noticed this theme.  When Mark sends out the 12, they have a 
> pretty easy time of it (6:6-13), and Mark's version of the "great 
> commission" doesn't imply the 11 will be in any real danger (16:15-20).

I wasn't referring to the Mission of the Twelve in chapter 6, but rather to
the Marcan apocalypse, 13:9-13 ... BLEPETE DE hUMEIS hEAUTOUS:

Thus PARADOQHNAI is the fate of John the Baptist 1:14, 6:14-29, 9:12-13 
(the word appears only in the first of these passages, but its implications are
clearly enough echoed in the other passages. It is the fate of Jesus (9:31,
10:33,14:42, 44) and it is to be the fate of the disciples/apostles (13:9). I
don't think I am alone, either, in viewing the sandwiching of the 
narrative of the execution of the Baptist in chapter 6 by the sending and 
return of the disciples as heavily symbolic in itself of their future fate.

> > (3) the attempt to 
> > read the PARADOQHNAI TON IWANNHN phrase as a link between an earlier 
> > ongoing association of Jesus with John the Baptist and the call of 
> > disciples whom Jesus had earlier met in that association with John the 
> > Baptist might theoretically serve the interest of harmonizing the 
> > contrasting data of John's gospel and the Synoptics, but it will not 
> > wash, because it distorts the function of the PARADOQHNAI phrase in 
> > Mark's gospel.
> It's true Mark's distinctive treatment must be considered as a separate 
> development of the John the B legend, but I was more interested in 
> drawing whatever similarities I could to the other 3 gospels, and I don't
> think that distorts Mark's received tradition, such as it was.  Or not?

Let us say that it raises serious methodological questions, at least for one
who wants to use the four gospels as sources for recovering trustworthy
evidence for the historical John the Baptist and for the historical Jesus.
I don't wish to renew the discussion that has been held more than once on 
our list on source criticism. There are those who are more or less satisfied
of the historical reliability of the gospels; there are others who feelthat
a plausible hypothesis regarding the relationship of the gospels to each
other must necessarily serve as a foundation for any endeavor to postulate
plausible historical/biographical theories. And there are those who feel
that the quest for any such plausible hypothesis is doomed to failure. 
I am in that unstable middle position, admitting ignorance but hopeful
that some plausible sketch may yet be drawn.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


From: Carl W Conrad <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Sat, 27 May 1995 20:19:32 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: "God's Word" - Acts 7:55

My thanks to David Moore and Phil Graber for pointing to the same very 
useful source and definition. It sounds like a marvelous ideal, but a 
nigh-unto hopeless one to realize. What a precarious thing is the effort 
to translate! Again I repeat the old Italian saw: TRADUTTORI TRADITORI, 
"Translators are Traitors." Two or three weeks ago on this list we were 
cataloging the failures of the NRSV committee, but I found myself forced 
to confess in the end that it really is, for the most part, an 
improvement over the RSV. And how ironic it is that it is hard enough to 
get a consensus of a committee in favor of a version of a small piece of 
text, so that often what the committee agrees upon is a compromise; yet, 
on the other hand, what a bold and seemingly arrogant thing it is to put 
forward a version of a single NT book, much less the whole NT or whole 
Bible as a lone individual. When it comes down to it, pace John Hall, I 
think it is a healthy phenomenon that we have a number of versions to 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


From: WINBROW@aol.com
Date: Sat, 27 May 1995 21:53:15 -0400
Subject: Re: John the Baptist in Synoptics and John 

Your long post on John the Baptist is a good one.  The use of Mark by both
Matthew and Luke makes good sense in the John the B. materials from Mark and

The theme of being delivered over is important to Mark's telling the story of
Jesus.  Other related themes are 1) the way (starting with the combining of
two OT quotes at the beginning containing "the way of the Lord" and
continuing until even his enemies admit that he teaches "the way of the
2) the theme of the failure of the disciples (Earnest Best has a good work on
this theme concerning Discipleship in Mark).  3) Jesus response to the
disciples' failure by teaching about discipleship in the section from
8:27-10:52. 4) the twice repeated statement that he is "going before" them
into Galilee (Marxsen made good use of this).

All of these themes combine along with the Messianic Secret motif to
emphasize the fact that a concept of a suffering Messiah means that there
must be a concept of a suffering discipleship.

Carlton Winbery
Fogleman Prof. NT & Greek
La College, Pineville, LA


End of b-greek-digest V1 #724


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