Re: (textual theory) Jn21:15-17

From: Steven Cox (
Date: Tue Apr 21 1998 - 10:32:42 EDT

        (misleading subject line; nothing to do with love or sheep)

Hi Rolf,
let be me the second to thank you for your mail on Louw-Nida etc. I
particularly found the last paragraph echoed, and nothing more than the
comment on "different target groups".

An "informed choices" translation sounds like an admirable aim, though IMHO
many translations do at least aim to leave choices for the reader, in some
areas anyway. Whether they succeed or not is another question. I'd think
your book and others like it will help to reform the reader rather than
reform the translator.

Normally (I mean away from holy texts) the issue of a translation agenda
doesn't arise. The genre rather than the "target group" decides the
translation technique (with some deliberate exceptions, such as mass market
versions of War and Peace etc. abridged or otherwise).

But how would you feel about adopting varying translation techniques
book-by-book, or better chapter by chapter, according to the varying "target
group" and genre of the original writers.

The NT (and OT more so) presents a wild variety of different literature
styles. To have one set translation technique might not be appropriate [even
if appreciated from the practical usage of the modern Bible purchaser who
wants one for reading and one for reference]

Just as we would expect a biography, a travelogue, a polemic, or poetry to
recieve different translation styles today, why should 27 (or 66 or..) books
recieve a uniform translation style simply because of being bound together?
What would be so wrong if a translator chose to render different books with
radically different translation techniques? Some versions do give lip
service to this, but the result is
still suspiciously monotone.

As an illustration of this (crude examples only):

- the core of Romans as a legal or medical text. e.g. try some strict
establishment of technical terms with specification of the referent: SARX
and PNEUMA treated as polemic antonyms; even to capitalisation as the Party,
the Contract, the Company in legal texts - and why not apply heavy
punctuation, bracketing and bullet numbering to reflect the complexities of
the structure.

- while in Acts giving a relaxed colourful travel-historical account (with
occasional eye catching exoticisms in italics like: areopagus, politarchs,
stratopedarch), a bit like Paul Theroux, or more to the point, a bit like
Luke the Physician.

Sorry if the above is a bit off topic. I just find it odd how NIV and other
august committees can sit down and decide "Our Translation Policy" for such
a varied slice of life and literature. (Almost strikes one like the 2nd
Epistle of Aristeas).

Best regards

At 14:14 98/04/21 +0200, Rolf Furuli wrote:
>Dear Michael,
>The source is J.P. Louw and E.A. Nida, 1988, "Greek-English Lexicon of the
>New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, 2 v

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