Difference between revisions of "Bible Retranslation Project"

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|nearly everyone is "abundantly supplied" today with food and entertainment, and "rich" has come to mean ''monetary'' wealth unknown at Jesus's time; continued use of "rich" is misleading in justifying laziness and socialism
 
|nearly everyone is "abundantly supplied" today with food and entertainment, and "rich" has come to mean ''monetary'' wealth unknown at Jesus's time; continued use of "rich" is misleading in justifying laziness and socialism
 
|miserliness to the point of laziness and being unproductive
 
|miserliness to the point of laziness and being unproductive
|replace "rich" with "miserly" or "idle miser"<ref>Often this term is used to criticize unproductive people who inherit wealth, as in the parable of the rich young man, and the [[Prodigal Son]]</ref> - but N.B. ''When the evening came, there came an '''idle miser''' of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple''.  It could work, though.
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|replace "rich" with "miserly" or "idle miser"<ref>Often this term was used by Jesus (assuming he spoke Greek) to criticize unproductive, self-absorbed people who inherit wealth, as in the parable of the rich young man, and the [[Prodigal Son]].</ref> - but N.B. ''When the evening came, there came an '''idle miser''' of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple''.  It could work, though.
 
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Revision as of 20:30, 26 December 2008

The Bible Retranslation Project recognizes that a modern language changes and devolves quickly. There are several reasons for this, including attempts by non-believers to dilute and distort powerful religious concepts for political ends, the corrosive effect of cultural changes on language, and the impact of politics on the meaning of terminology. Terms that were clear and meaningful to one generation are often unclear and less meaningful to the next.

The rate of devolution of language may be increasing as communications increase. If a word inevitably alters its meaning after an approximate number of uses, then the time period for the change in meaning will shorten due to improved technology, just as the length of a sound bite likewise shortens. In the internet era, combating the effect of language degradation on the understanding of the Bible becomes more important.

As a first step to the Bible Retranslation Project, it is useful to identify modern terms having changing, unclear or altered meaning, which appear in important passages in translations of the Bible into the corresponding modern language:

Original Term English Translation Usage Lack of Clarity Real meaning Suggested Improvement
Greek λόγος transliteration:"logos" "word" "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." John 1:1 (NIV) "Word" now means a short utterance of a single concept, which can include a vulgarity or a falsehood underlying logic or profound statement of the truth replace "Word" with "Truth" - but NB this gives And whoever speaks the truth against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him (Matt 12:32) and But he did not answer her the truth.(Matt 15:23)
הָֽאָדָם (note the definite article!) "Adam" Gen 2 &c. It's often transliterated into Adam rather than just kept as the man/person/human being. The connotation needs to be that of humanity rather than maleness; anthropos rather than aner; homo rather than vir. I feel this loses the sense of הָֽאָדָם as an Everyman, a universal figure prototypical of humanity. One might note also that חַוָּה "Eve", whilst it is undoubtedly a name, needs the connotaion of life (חָֽי) to adequately convey meaning to a reader. The man/person/human being
"grace" "From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another." John 1:16 (NIV) "grace" has become a female name and a sports term to refer primarily to smoothness in style spiritual and majestic gift-giving replace some instances of "grace" with "generosity"
Tahhash badger Describing the skins used in the construction of the Tabernacle It's now thought that this is certainly not a badger (or not a Melis one) Possibly "Hirax", though I'm not up on the most recent theories on this. One for an expert, I think.
מִּשְׂרָה "government" "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. ... Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end." Isaiah 9:6-7 (NIV) "government" now means officials paid by mandatory taxes and accountable to a democratic vote spiritual kingdom replace "government" with "kingdom" - I dislike this - I don't think that monarchy metaphors are really as strong or as relevant as they used to be in the days of the ubiquity absolute rulers. Also "kingdom" is an area of land, I think we want something like "rulership"? Though that sounds a bit ugly.
"peace" "... Jesus came and stood among them and said, 'Peace be with you!'" John 20:19 (NIV) "peace" now means an absence of war an inner peace and lack of personal fear or anxiety replace "peace" with "tranquility" - but this then gives possible issues for verses like I Kings 20:18, which now reads And he said, Whether they be come out for tranquility, take them alive; or whether they be come out for war, take them alive. Perhaps we could keep "peace" for shalom, and "tranquility" for eirene? Except Jesus, saying "Peace be with you", is presumably using shalom alechem, or Aramaic cognate, which leads to some interesting issues of consistency.
Greek πλούσιος transliteration: "plousios": "abundantly supplied"[1][2] "rich" "It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 19:24) nearly everyone is "abundantly supplied" today with food and entertainment, and "rich" has come to mean monetary wealth unknown at Jesus's time; continued use of "rich" is misleading in justifying laziness and socialism miserliness to the point of laziness and being unproductive replace "rich" with "miserly" or "idle miser"[3] - but N.B. When the evening came, there came an idle miser of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple. It could work, though.
"kill" "Thou shalt not kill" Exodus 20.13 (KJV) In Biblical times, as today, the bearing of arms to defend ones family and society was the hallmark of Judeo-Christian civilization. The commandment referred to unjustifiable homicides - murder and manslaughter - rather than advocating blanket pacifism, as many Leftists today interpret it. to murder or take up arms without sufficient justification replace "kill" with "commit murder" depending on the original text and the context - it'd not be sensible to use murder in the context of an animal doing it, for instance!
"meek" "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth" Matthew 5:5 (KJV) "meek" now means excessively mild, passive, pathetically submissive. showing humility before God replace "meek" with "God-fearing"
Mahlon and Chilion (e.g.) Ruth 1:2 Mahlon and Chilion The Hebrew forms mean nothing to a modern reader "Weak" and "Sick" I think we could afford to be bold and translate these names. Footnotes are a cowardly choice. If we had the name of his two sons were Feeble and Poorly, it'd make much more of an impression.
"liberal" "The liberal soul shall be made fat: and he that watereth shall be watered also himself" Proverbs 11:25 (KJV) "liberal" now means adhering to leftist or socialistic political or social doctrines showing generosity replace "liberal" with "generous", in line with most modern English versions
Greek ᾅδου transliteration: haidou, "Hades" "depths" "No, you will go down to the depths. If the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Sodom, it would have remained to this day." Matthew 11:23 (NIV) "depths" is now understood to mean the ocean. "Hades" was used by Matthew to help Greeks comprehend Christianity's Hell. The LXX use "haidon" in Psalm 115 to translate the hebrew "dumah", so it's applicable to other concepts as well. Hell/depths of Hell replace "depths" with "Hell" - How then do we distinguish between haides and geenna (sticking to the Gk. for the moment)? Perhaps keep haides for the general realm of the dead, and geenna for a place of punishment? That seems to me to be the difference in nuance.

References

  1. http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=4145
  2. James never used the term plousios to describe a believer.[1]
  3. Often this term was used by Jesus (assuming he spoke Greek) to criticize unproductive, self-absorbed people who inherit wealth, as in the parable of the rich young man, and the Prodigal Son.