Re: More power to the reader

From: H. Fred Nofer (
Date: Sat Mar 08 1997 - 02:23:32 EST

I have a certain affinity with Rolf's position. IMHO modern day
translation has gotten completely out of hand. One of the best
illustrations I know revolves around a discussion some years ago, at one
of the ETS meetings, in which a paper describing translating the Bible
into a new receptor language was read. The presenter proudly asserted
that when they came to the 23rd Psalm, they demurred from using "The Lord
is my Shepherd," and came up with "The Lord is my pig-herder!" The
reasoning was that in that society a shepherd was usually a mentally
incompetent or of the lower class. Not so with pig herders. Hence the
choice! Regardless of what it did to the imagery of the Psalm!

To my objection, I was told that it would give the wrong impression. I
returned that the 23rd Psalm, as translated in most current English
translations, would give many Americans, for instance, the wrong
impression, if they knew that shepherding here is done dramatically
differently from the way it is done in the Near East. What makes the
Psalm significant to me? hO DIDASKALOS! Teachers have been given (Eph.
4:11, for instance) to explain such things, and thus I was taught that
the Psalmist lived in a society where sheep were led and not driven, etc.

But, after all that, I do have a question, Rolf. What relationship does
"bias" have with translating contextually? Certainly, every translation
should give due attention to the context. But what is "context?" A few
verses? The chapter (just to identify a larger section than a "few
verses)? The book (epistle, treaty, writing...whatever is appropriate)?
 What about the author's other writings, especially those of the same
time period and place of writing, etc.? Regarding the GNT, can the
whole be ruled out as being not contextually valid for study regarding
the translation of a given verse, phrase, etc.?

But, depending on how far out you go in the concentric circles, does not
doctrinal bias come in, defining "doctrinal bias" as that which is
confined to teaching derived from the text and precluding preconceived
notions. Does not the argument of the book, for instance, significantly
impact the translation of a given sentence? But is this not "doctrinal
bias?" Or is a line drawn between ecclesiastical (for want of a better
term) bias and biblical bias?

But, at this point, the focus seems to shift from the bias to the one who
is biased! And then we must declare, must we not that, being entirely
truthful, everyone is biased? Is there actually such a thing as complete
objectivity? Even your book, Rolf, is a bias!

The question really comes down to the matter of picking our biases!

My apologies, for I do not mean to progress from the sublime to the
ridiculous. I, myself, do not throw up my hands in despair at all.
But, in your theory, Rolf, where do you draw the line?

Now, I have not been able to follow the whole of this thread, so the
above may have already been dealt with, and, if so, please direct my
wayward steps to the appropriate section of the archives and accept my
humble apologies.

* H. Fred Nofer, Th.D "XARITI QEOU" *
* Pastor, Faith Bible Church
* P. O. Box 33425
* Reno, NV 89533 e-mail: *

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:08 EDT