Re: The word alone in Romans 3:28

From: David Haeuser (
Date: Mon Aug 24 1998 - 17:02:32 EDT

Dear B-Greek members,

The place where Luther deals extensively with the justification for his
translation "by faith alone" is his Sendbrief von Dolmetschen, or Open
Letter on Translation. It's worth reading as a major contribution on the
theory of translation. In this little treatise he argues for taking the
ideas of the original, and expressing them in the natural speech of the
target audience. He anticipates many of the discussions which take place on
this list from time to time about literal and dynamic equivalent
translation. He argues that though the word "alone" is not in Greek or
Latin, it is necessary to speak good German, that in German when one thing
is denied, one must say "allein" in the contrast. "When translating", he
says, "you must not ask how the Latin literally expresses it, to find out
how to say it in German, but you must ask the mother in the home, the
children in the street, the common man in the marketplace how they say it,
and translate it that way, then they will understand and recognize that you
want to speak German with them."

David Haeuser
Lima, Peru
-----Original Message-----
From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan <>
To: Biblical Greek <>
Cc: <>
Date: Monday, August 24, 1998 11:00 AM
Subject: Re: The word alone in Romans 3:28

>At 09:27 24/08/98 -0600, Benjamin Raymond wrote:
>>I believe that 'allein' is the word you're seeking. Would anyone offer a
>>concordant translation?
>In his Anchor Bible volume on Romans, Joseph Fitzmyer points out that:
>" At 3:28, Luther introduced the adverb 'only' into his iranslation of
>Romans (1522) 'alleyn durch den Glauben' " and he points to 'Aus der
>Bibel' (1546) where it is spelt: 'alleine durch den Glauben'.
>Fitzmyer goes on to point out that although 'alleyn/alleine' has no
>corresponding adverb in the Greek text, Luther made two arguments for the
>One, that it was demanded by the context
>Two, that 'sola' was used in the theological tradition before him.
>This latter point was borne out by Robert Bellermine, who listed eight
>earlier authors who used 'sola':
>John Chrysostom
>Cyril of Alexandria
>A later writer added two more, Theodoret and Thomas Aquinas
>The use of 'sola' was argued against by Pelagius, but as Fitzmyer points
>out, _that_ did indicate its presence in his tradition, too.
>Fitzmyer is quick to pick up the irony that " the adverb 'only' was derived
>from 'that right strawy epistle' Jas. 2:24" you see that a human being is
>justified by works and not by faith alone ( OUK EK PISTEWS MONON)"
>Hope this is of help.
>Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]
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