Re: italics, etc.

From: A. Brent Hudson (
Date: Thu Apr 04 1996 - 11:21:15 EST

I have committed a cardinal rhetorical error: my illustration has eclipsed
my point! It seems the issue of gender in translation has hit a few raw
nerves. This was not my intention. I should have used Rom 14.9 or some
other passage where the italic font indicates an exegetical decision by the
translator. My qualm was that the vast majority of these exegetical
decisions are made without any such warning. Is this a bad thing? No, this
is translation. But the more tangible problem is consistency. Don Wilkins
noted a few days ago (with respect to 2 Thess. 2:6):
        First, it is one thing to add a word when good English does not
        demand it and the idea of the word is inferred from
        the context; this calls for italics. But when a word is necessary to make
        sensible English and there is virtually no doubt about the context, trans-
        lators often feel justified in using roman for the word in question.
I think Nichael Cramer's example yesterday (lucan genealogy) fits the second
part of this criterion very well, yet the word "son" is italicized
throughout. The line which separates interpretation from insertion is fuzzy
, indeed. The use of italics seems to indicate a false relationship between
English and Greek; that one can be represented exactly in the other without
any filtering. (IMO)

Brent Hudson

A. Brent Hudson
Hamilton, ON, 
At McMaster University

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