polus ischuw deaysis

From: DWILKINS@ucrac1.ucr.edu
Date: Mon May 27 1996 - 14:23:46 EDT

I have been away from my e-mail for a couple of days, so I apologize if this
question has already been answered. The difference between the NIV trans-
lation of James 5:16 and the NASB is, as usual, the difference between a
version that aims at providing a good dynamic equivalent and one that aims
for literal translation. The literal Greek is something like "the prayer of
a righteous man (or person), being effective (set into action), is able (or
powerful) in respect to much". The word "much" is loosely covered in the
NIV's "powerful and effective", though the translation does not really ac-
count for it (e.g. the NIV's version probably wouldn't be different if "much"
were not it the Greek). The Greek "being effective" is more of an adverbial
idea--when (if) the prayer is put into action--than an adjective. The NIV
makes no attempt to convey this thought, but simply treats the Greek parti-
ciple ("being effective, or put into action") as an ordinary predicate adjec-
tive. The NASB makes it a qualifying adjective, singling out "effective
prayer" from other prayers which theoretically might not be "effective". One
can interpret this in different ways, but one thought is that God must "acti-
vate" a prayer, even that of a righteous man. Finally, the NASB trys to do
something more literal with "much", making it the direct object of "can ac-
complish", which is used to translate "is powerful". The NIV manages to use
"is powerful" but misses the other details.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside

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