Task of Translation (was Wallace: Beyond the Basics)

From: Carlton Winbery (winberyc@popalex1.linknet.net)
Date: Mon Aug 09 1999 - 10:33:19 EDT

Robert C. Jefferson wrote;

>Should a modern grammar of a "2000" year old dead language reflect the needs
>of the current audience or of the original writers?
>And what is the methodology of determining either of theses?

This question was in response to Carl Conrad's very thoughtful and
respectful comments on Wallace's syntax book. He has asked the question
that we have all struggled with for years.

I consider the basic purpose of all we do to be to get into the original
writer's head (some would seek to go behind the curtain to the mind of God
but that involves much more than is on the page). That alone would be
incomplete unless we can find ways to express those results so as to make
the understanding intelligible to modern persons. The methodology for doing
either task is the subject of our endless debates and cannot always (as we
see regularly) be isolated from the fruits of historical, socialogical,
linquistic, economic, political studies. We have chosen on b-Greek to focus
primarily on the Greek language of the first century (without clean
boundaries) in the Graeco-Roman world. Though we all regularly go further,
this part of the task gives us quite enough to chew on.

Dr. Carlton L. Winbery
Foggleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Ph. 1 318 448 6103 hm
Ph. 1 318 487 7241 off

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