Re: Task of Translation (was Wallace: Beyond the Basics)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Aug 09 1999 - 11:03:32 EDT

At 9:33 AM -0500 8/9/99, Carlton Winbery wrote:
>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.

After just (a moment ago) having told Carlton in a private message that I
am not (being, after all, a Presbyterian) the sort of person to say "Amen,
Brother," let me go right ahead and say, "Amen, Brother!" to Carlton's post.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

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