Translator's New Testament

From: John M. Tait (
Date: Sun Nov 22 1998 - 16:11:09 EST

Dear B-Greekers,

EU CARISTW (looks more like Welsh than Greek in your orthography, but never

Thanks for the greetings and info re. I Cor 5:5. I see this list is not
averse to discussing exegetical as well as grammatical problems - and you
say the more talkative members are away partying!

The main concern behind my query was translation philosophy - ie, granted
that there are these interpretations of the passage, is the TNT justified
in supporting the physical death view so unequivocally - remembering that
this translation is intended for the use of translators into indigenous
languages, many of whom will not know Greek? The fact that Clayton and
Trevor disagree illustrates this, and I'm inclined to agree with Ben that
the TNT are being pre-emptive. After all, the word "flesh" is at least
adaptable to both views - especially, perhaps, to readers who are not _au
fait_ with the normal distinction between SARX and SWMA in Paul - whereas
"body" is not. And might not the use of "body" here give rise to a false -
gnostic - ("SWMA SHMA") impression of a dichotomy between body and spirit
which is alien to Pauline thought?

I wonder if the TNT are being too sophisticated for their own good here. In
their note on Flesh (Greek sarx) at the end of the translation, they state
"this word is not to be equated with the body." Perhaps, having made this
statement, they then did not feel that they could use the word "flesh" in I
Cor 5:5, where the meaning is not so clear cut. Perhaps they've fallen
between the two stools of trying to make a readable translation - where
"flesh" would have served - and at the same time a translation tool.

I've come across several instances where I wonder about the TNTs approach.
One is their treatment of the phrase MARTURIA IHSOU and related phrases. In
Revelations in particular they usually translate this as "the testimony
borne by Jesus" or similar - in 12:17 "given by Jesus" - except in 20:4
where they have "because they had witnessed _to_ Jesus". The NIV usually
just has "testimony of Jesus" or similar, and not even the NWT uses such
unequivocal translations, in spite of the fact that the "borne by Jesus"
interpretation would serve their theology. Admittedly the TNT does give
notes in some of these instances, but making explicit the choice between
objective and subjective genitive in such a phrase (which - although,
living a long way from the nearest Kittel, I don't have the resources to
investigate this - I would have thought was almost a stock phrase in the
NT, perhaps with a degree of intrinsic ambiguity) seems to be unduly
pre-emptive in a translation intended to be a basis for other translations.

John M. Tait.

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:40:08 EDT