re: Re: Translating XRISTOS

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Sep 11 1995 - 12:05:16 EDT

At 10:32 AM 9/11/95, Eric Weiss wrote:
>Forwarded to: Internet[]
> cc:
>Comments by: Eric Weiss@OSP@ACF.DAL
> -------------------------- [Original Message] -------------------------
>THE JEWISH NEW TESTAMENT by David Stern uses Messiah instead of Christ, and
>also, if I recall correctly, uses other Jewish terms in place of "Christian"
>ones where possible.
>The argument could be extended beyond whether or not one should translate
>Christos as "Christ" or "Messiah" to whether or not one should translate all
>"Jewish" terms in the New Testament in as Jewish a way as possible:
> Should nomos be translated as "law" or as "Torah"?
> Should persons' names (including Jesus') be transliterated Hebrew forms,
> rather than anglicized Latin/Greek forms, so the readers will be properly
> reminded that they're reading JEWISH documents?
> Should wordplays which are only apparent in the Greek be transliterated,
> rather than translated (e.g., Jesus' calling Peter "Rock" and Nicodemus'
> confusion over Jesus saying one must be born "anwthen")?
> If you're going to say "Jesus the Messiah" rather than "Jesus Christ," why
> not say "Y'shua the Messiah" (or better yet, "Mashiach")?
> Should English names that use a soft "C" be rewritten with "K" to more
> properly reflect the pronunciation of the Greek (e.g., Acts 8:27
> "Kandake" rather than "Candace") and to remind one that these are
> documents from another time and place?

There's surely no single right answer here, but I might just note that in
Classics what Eric notes in his last paragraph is definitely taking place:
the new orthodoxy transliterates the Greek to yield as nearly as possible a
transliteration of the sound of the Greek: AISXULOS is "Aiskhulos,"
OIDIPOUS is "Oidipous," SWKRATHS is "Sokrates." I've no objection to this
on principle, but it seems to me that the Latinized forms of quite a few
ancient names have stabilized themselves in English as standard. On the
other hand, the upcoming generation doesn't encounter those in school
anymore, anyhow ... But that, of course, is not quite altogether true.

As to Eric's first question, however, I'm all for translating any of these
terms in a way that will raise the consciousness of a cultural distinction
that the reader should be conscious of in reading the NT text.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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