Re: Anthropology & Colossians 3:12-15

From: Richard Lindeman (
Date: Thu Mar 05 1998 - 15:57:00 EST

>>I don't object too much to the KJV rendering here of "bowels".
>> I dislike the NIV translation of "compassion" here.<<

>There are a few problems with your suggestion. For one, Biblical illitera=
>cy is on the rise. Most persons who read the Bible are not scholars, nor =
>do they have a knowledge of Greek. Therefore, the general populace must =
>be kept in mind. Secondly, most scholars know what the Pauline "bowels" =
>signify. So why render it in a literal sense?

Is this sort of like the argument... "Since lately college GRE scores are
down we
should make the tests easier. This should be easy to do, since those who
writing the test are well educated." ???

>>Paul's "bowels" presumably go back to the Hebrew where the "bowels
>>moved". One the one hand, one can make a good argument that "to feel
>>compassion towards" *is* the literal translation of the phrase, since
>>- --in a very real sense-- that is what it "means".<<
>This is how I would view it. SPLAGCNA may "mean" bowels. This may be its =
>unmarked meaning--but only when considering the usus loquendi are the "fu=
>zzy edges" taken off. We now experience semantic clarity and begin to gra=
>sp what the writer meant. Ralph Earle suggests straying away from a "lite=
>ral" translation of SPLAGCNA in Phil. 1:8 (i.e., "bowels). The usus loque=
>ndi suggests that "bowels" are not what Paul had in mind.

I do in fact follow the logic of both of you here... and yes I do agree with
you to a great extent.
However, I don't think I can agree entirely that when Paul says "bowels"
that he doesn't mean
"bowels". This is a subject of which all of us are intimately familiar
with, and I assume that it was
no different for Paul. In other words, by using this term... yes, of
course Paul intends to convey
"compassion" and "depth of feeling"... but I greatly doubt that the imagery
of the term escaped him
entirely. ;-) In any event, I am sure that the biblical translation teams
had great fun discussing
issues like this.

Rich Lindeman

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