Re: translation

From: David Rising (
Date: Mon Feb 26 1996 - 19:20:05 EST

On Mon, 26 Feb 1996, brent justin anduaga-arias wrote:

> The RSV in 1st John 5:13 states "I write THIS to you..." All of my
> other English translations have "I write THESE THINGS to you..." Is
> there a grammatical reason for the RSV's departure or is it just
> "translator's liberty?"

THIS comes from OUTOS (singular) in the form TAUTA (plural, Neut or Acc).
It appears as though the RSV translators were using THIS in a
plural/collective sense. We do that when we speak because it is more
smooth. For instance, I am writing THIS note to you, but I could have
send that I was writing THESE THINGS to you. I don't see any textual
variants showing the singular form. I don't have an RSV with me right
now, but it would be interesting to see how they treated TAUTA in other

> Also, in Hebrews 10:12 some of my English translations say "...offered
> FOR ALL TIME..." while others say "...sat down FOREVER..." The Greek word
> (which is being translated variously as indicated) seems to have
> ambiguity as to what its object is. Does the confusion arise purely from
> ambiguity of grammar or is context contributing to the translator's
> differences?

Verse 12 repeats a phrase form verse 1 "EIS TO DIHNEKES" which is a bit
awkward to bring into English as you pointed out. My perspective is that
this prepositional phrase should modify PROSENEGKAS < PROSFERW (as in
verse 1) since verse 10 is in direct contrast to verse 1. Thus, your
first example of "...offered FOR ALL TIME" gives me the best possible
contrast and meaning of the phrase. If it modifies "sat down," though, it
is not grammatically wrong, but it just doesn't make the best use of the
repetition of words as does the first example.

But the more I think of it, it also seems to be a play on words. To do
something CONTINUALLY or FOREVER carries the idea of doing something over
and over (the point of verse 1). Verse 10 uses an aorist participle to
describe how Christ made one sacrifice and it was FOREVER or FOR ALL

> Again, in Romans 3:25 the RSV says "... to be received BY faith." The
> Greek word here is DIA, which I have always presumed means "through" - by
> which other translations indeed render this word. Can someone tell me if
> there is a grammatic reason for "by" or is it again just "translator's
> liberty?"

BADG lists DIA with Gen in III as "means, instrument, agency--by means of,
through with" so it seems to be again a better/best choice of an English
equivalent--the ongoing "problem" of translation work. I think Ephesians
2:8 gives a good example of the dative/instrumental and genitive case used
side by side in relation to PISTIS.
David Rising

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:38 EDT