Re: Translation, Anglophiles and Ancient Texts

From: Noel Maddy (
Date: Mon Oct 13 1997 - 04:29:16 EDT

On 12 oct 1997, Clayton Bartholomew wrote:
> There seems to be an endless preoccupation on this list
> with questions of how to render this or that Greek word or
> phrase into English. Does this type of question really merit
> the kind of attention it receives? Do we really get any
> closer to the meaning of the ancient text by constantly
> fussing about which is the preferable English gloss for a
> particular Greek word?

Well, I can't speak for "the list" (being quite new here), but I know
that I appreciate the response to my recent query on LOGOS. Yes, a
number of terms have been bandied about, but the profitable thing for
me is the analysis of how close the term is to the original. That
helps me to better reach an understanding of the original, and also
helps me to better communicate the meaning of the original to those who
don't know much (or any) Greek.

> Is translation into ones mother tongue an essential part of
> exegesis? I am beginning to have strong doubts about this.
> I have a growing suspicion that translation into English
> teaches you more about English than it does about the
> ancient text.

I would rather say that translation into English teaches me more about
communication than it does about English or Greek. For me, translation
into English followed by evaluation of the translation's accuracy and
effectiveness in communicating the original idea forces me to think at
the basic conceptual level rather than in Greek or English terms.

This space intentionally left content-free.

Noel Maddy (

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