Re: NASB italics

From: A. Brent Hudson (
Date: Wed Apr 03 1996 - 10:23:06 EST

-- [ From: A. Brent Hudson * EMC.Ver #2.5.02 ] --

        I question the entire notion of using italics (or square brackets) in a
translation. Translation is interpretation. Many translation decisions
cannot be reduced to simply adding a word or phrase. The use of italics
lends itself to the fallacious idea that everything else in the text is a
literal, word-for word representation of the underlying Greek; however, this
is not always the case. One example in the NASB is Rom 8:26. Literally the
text reads ALLA AUTO TO PNEUMA hUPERENTUGCANEI yet the NASB has "the Spirit
Himself intercedes for _us_." Regardless of whether this is the best
translation, the reader may get the impression that "us" is from the
translator while "Himself" is based on the underlying Greek text.
        More positively, italics (or square brackets) allows the reader to locate
some of the obvious biases of the translator(s). One example in the NASB is
Rom 1:17b (the righteous _man_ shall live by faith -NASB). Why the
translators decided to make this passage exclusively male is beyond me.
Since they understand the neuter TO PNEUMA as a simply grammatical gender,
one would have hoped for the same methodology to be used for hO DIKAIOS.
        In the end, I think the use of italics (or square brackets) clouds the
issue of what is from the translator and what is from the underlying Greek
text. In reality, they are both from the translator: it is only a matter of

Brent Hudson
Hamilton, ON,
At McMaster University

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