Re: post.prepared for anglican (reversible translation)

From: Paul Zellmer (
Date: Fri May 23 1997 - 00:22:50 EDT

Just a quick, yet more complete (I hope), explanation of what I said
[see below].

I am not, repeat, not calling for a revisitation of the "etymology v.
usage" question. I *do* feel, however, that we who are so cautious to
look at usage in determining the meaning of Greek words should be just
as careful to allow usage determine the meaning of words in other
languages, including English. When Lee agreed that translators use
"paraphase" to refer to second generation translations, his analysis
that this is misleading intimates that these native English speakers
either do not really know or are ignoring the "real" meaning of the
word. If this argument were presented for the meaning of a Greek word,
we would hear screams to let the context determine the meaning.

As Carl has responded, this discussion has again made me rethink the
issue, and I think I have a better grasp in my mind as to the
difference. Please do not ask me to try to put the concepts in writing,
because I see translation and paraphrase as being, in some ways, apples
and oranges, and in others, ranges on a spectrum. To explain the
pictures I have in mind would be both involved and boring to others.

BTW, my TDNT does not capture dust, but the discussion on that issue has
made me much more careful not to get carried away on etymology in my
translation and exegesis.

Sorry if I offended anyone,


Paul Zellmer wrote:
> Lee R. Martin wrote:
> >
> > Paul Zellmer wrote:
> > >
> > > Lee R. Martin wrote:
> > > >
> > > > Comparing "paraphrase" to "translation" is like comparing apples to
> > > > oranges. They do not belong in the same discussion. Paraphrase is the
> > > > attempt to restate a meaning in different words. This principle applies
> > > > only within the same language.
> > >
> > > Lee,
> > >
> > > In the purest form of the definition, I agree with your "same-language"
> > > definition. However, in actual practice, the word "paraphrase" has been
> > > used to describe translations based on translations, e.g.,
> > > Koine-->English-->minority language.
> >
> > Translators certainly use "paraphrase" in this way, but it is
> > misleading, as we can plainly see from the posts on this list. A
> > double-step translation is no more a paraphrase than a single-step
> > translation. It is a translation of a translation. Of course the
> > translators may then add the further process of paraphrasing their
> > retranslation.
> >
> Then, Lee, just a question that brings this back (somewhat) to the study
> of Greek. What determines the meaning of a word: its etymology, its
> original meaning, or how it is used in the context? Plainly, the line
> of the current posts are saying, "Don't worry about all the ways it IS
> currently being used. This is how it SHOULD be used."
> Perhaps it's time to put TDNT back on the list of approved sources of
> information. ;^> (Of course, I realize that the argument which put it
> "on report," so to say, was not the information it contained, but how
> that information was misused.)
> Paul

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