Re: Translation, Anglophiles and Ancient Texts

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Mon Oct 13 1997 - 08:06:06 EDT

At 05:37 AM 10/13/97 -0500, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>Inasmuch as my proper area is Classics rather than Bible, it is not
>exegesis as done in the seminaries that I try to teach, but I do use a
>model that is not so very far removed from the exegetical process (I should
>add that I've used this most of all in classes dealing with Greek or Latin
>poetry): I ask first for a gracelessly literal (what Will would call a
>"hyperliteral") version of the target text in English, a version that
>conveys in intelligible English the structure and word-order of the
>original as nearly and clearly as possible; this enables the student to
>grasp the fundamental lexicology and syntax of the text in its essence and
>allows me to test the student's perception of the way the original text
>functions [The flaw in this method, of course, is that I may myself fail to
>grasp those elements properly in the original text]. I then ask the student
>to go through several stages of analysis of the text's diction, meter,
>word-order, sound-effects, possible allusions to other texts or information
>that we can assume the original author expected the reader to be sensitive
>to, assessment of the author's intention in expressing this content in this
>particular way, and finally, a re-formulation, in the best and most
>idiomatic English that the student can muster, of the substance both in its
>essential content and in all the devices exploited in the original to
>reveal, conceal, or slant the understanding of what was being said in the

I would be interested in trying this method with a sample verse to see more
concretely what you teach. Could you perhaps choose a text and walk us
through the process?


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703

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