Translation, Anglophiles and Ancient Texts

From: Brian E. Wilson (
Date: Mon Oct 13 1997 - 06:24:38 EDT

>Clay 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?
>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.

Yes. It seems to me that the important question so often is not what
exactly does a word or phrase mean, but why the word or phrase was used
by the writer at that point.

Why did John use LOGOS in John 1:1?
Why did Luke use LOGOS in Acts 1:1?
Why did Mark use LOGOS in Mark 2:2?

If we can answer these questions, will we not have found out a great
deal about the meaning of these passages, even if we leave the term
LOGOS untranslated in them?

Brian E. Wilson

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