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Thread: Translation Discussion

  1. #21
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    I fail to see how "then" makes the passage any clearer than "after that". "Then" can contain the meaning after that but after that does not usually contain the meaning of then.

    In regards to the article by Moises Silva, I do think he makes some good points but seems to miss quite a few things as well.

    Actually I recommend Fagle's translation of Homer's Odyssey which also is not very literal but an enjoyable read. But I see a vast difference between translating Homer and the Bible. Homer is telling a story and if the story is translated wrong it is of no eternal importance.

    Even when reading Plato in Greek though there seemed to be alot of ideas that did not come through in the English translations due to the paraphrasing of the translator at least in the Grube translation I was using. Plato's sarcasm came through so much more clearly in my more literal English translations and was completely absent from the paraphrased one.

    Breaking up long sentences in the Bible only adds to a problem that already exists. People already tend to read individual verses as if they are not part of a larger sentence but the dividing up of sentences only adds to this problem as well as the removal of "and" and "for" from many modern translations.

    Idiomatic phrases but certainly be dealt with in a way that is intelligible to English readers.

    The poety of certain passages of Scripture may be lost by using a formal equivalence method, but I would much rather see the true meaning of the passage conveyed that some of the misleading translations I found in Homer's Odyssey.

  2. #22
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    Originally posted by wildboar
    I fail to see how "then" makes the passage any clearer than "after that". "Then" can contain the meaning after that but after that does not usually contain the meaning of then.
    Merriam Webster

    Main Entry: then
    2 a : soon after that : next in order of time <walked to the door, then turned> b : following next after in order of position, narration, or enumeration : being next in a series <first came the clowns, then came the elephants>

    http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=then

    then - Next in time, space, or order; immediately afterward: watched the late movie and then went to bed.

    then - Soon afterward, or immediately; next; afterward.

    the above is clearly the meaning in the 1 Thess passage, though i'd be interested in hearing why you think that then should be taken in any other sense than subsequent occurence.

    Breaking up long sentences in the Bible only adds to a problem that already exists. People already tend to read individual verses as if they are not part of a larger sentence but the dividing up of sentences only adds to this problem as well as the removal of "and" and "for" from many modern translations.
    do you realize that the original manuscripts did not have accents or punctuation? they had no periods? so objecting to the breaking up of long sentences is to object to something that was not even utilized in the original autographs by the writers. if this is your objection then you should also object to having any punctuation whatseover! we mustn't have any periods, question marks, exclamation points, commas, etc.!! in fact, if we were to be fully accurate, we'd have no spaces either since the early manuscripts no doubt were uncials (no spaces between words written in all caps). this again seems to communicate a lack of understanding of the issues. here is what silva said:

    But that explanation does not get to the heart of the linguistic problem. As already suggested, an exclusive (or nearly exclusive) acquaintance with the simple narrative of the Gospels or with the unassuming discourse of the Pauline letters, combined with the instinctive tendency (confirmed and encouraged by the instructor) to represent the text by means of one-to-one English correspondences whenever possible, creates a conception of the workings of the Greek language that is derived from an alien structure. On the other hand, intensive training translating clauses and sentences that cannot be rendered word-for-word and thus require restructuring would give students an entrée into the genius (i.e., the authentic character) of the foreign tongue. It would also help them see much more clearly that such restructuring could be the preferable method of rendering even when it may not appear “necessary.” The point here is that a nonliteral translation, precisely because it may give expression to the genius of the target language (in this case English), can do greater justice to that of the source language (Greek).
    as you know (or should know) from being a greek major, the structures of the two languages are different. their systems of grammar and the way they spoke and thought are different. to miss this fact is to miss the genius of the foreign tongue. simply copying the structure because it seems to make some sense in the target language does not mean that it really does make sense or that it communicates accurately.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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  3. #23
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    disciple:

    I am well aware that the originals contained no punctuation, however there are instances where it is clear that the certain sections are all part of a single sections and to divide them up into several sentences in no way conveys the thought present in the original.

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    Originally posted by wildboar
    disciple:

    I am well aware that the originals contained no punctuation, however there are instances where it is clear that the certain sections are all part of a single sections and to divide them up into several sentences in no way conveys the thought present in the original.
    can you give me an example of where this is done where it unambigiously destroys the message, flow, thought, etc. of the original? how about just an unambiguous case from the NIV...
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
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    A room without books is a body without soul.
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    Just for one example the NIV completely destroys the flow of language found in Eph. 1:3-14. The KJV divides this single sentence up into three sentences while the NIV divides this up into eight making Paul's dramatic burst into praise unrecognizable.

    Also as another example of the chiliastic tendencies of the NIV notice how the following is translated:

    KJV Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

    NIV Matthew 24:30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

    The KJV allows for more than one interpretation but the NIV is fixed on the idea that a sign appears in heaven rather than the alternate interpretation that there is a sign that the Son of Man is in heaven.

    In Heb. 11:11 Abraham is inserted into the verse with no support from any manuscript and his faith rather than the faith of Sarah is pointed to.

    NAU Hebrews 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

    NIV Hebrews 11:11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-- and Sarah herself was barren-- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.

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    Originally posted by wildboar
    Just for one example the NIV completely destroys the flow of language found in Eph. 1:3-14. The KJV divides this single sentence up into three sentences while the NIV divides this up into eight making Paul's dramatic burst into praise unrecognizable.
    perhaps you could be more specific here. i think it reads just fine. what exactly makes this praise unrecognizable in the NIV?

    Also as another example of the chiliastic tendencies of the NIV notice how the following is translated:

    KJV Matthew 24:30 And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

    NIV Matthew 24:30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory.

    The KJV allows for more than one interpretation but the NIV is fixed on the idea that a sign appears in heaven rather than the alternate interpretation that there is a sign that the Son of Man is in heaven.
    but certainly this isn't a case of breaking a larger unit into sentences and destroying meaning, is it?

    with this case you do recognize the grammatical/translational issue which makes the difference, don't you? do you honestly think this is merely a theological issue here? the question is whether to take EN OURANWi as modifying/qualifying TO SHMEION (the subject of the sentence) or modifying/qualifying the genitive phrase TOU hUIOU TOU ANQRWPOU (which itselfs modifies/qualifies TO SHMEION). the grammatical question is whether it is "the sign of the Son of Man that appears in heaven" or "the sign of the 'Son of Man in heaven' that appears". so the question is, does EN OURANWi go with TO SHMEION or does it go with TOU hUIOU TOU ANQRWPOU? i honestly don't know which i'd opt for as they are both grammatical possibilities. do you not see this?

    In Heb. 11:11 Abraham is inserted into the verse with no support from any manuscript and his faith rather than the faith of Sarah is pointed to.

    NAU Hebrews 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

    NIV Hebrews 11:11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-- and Sarah herself was barren-- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
    i'll have to look this one up when i get home.
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

  7. #27
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    Originally posted by wildboar
    The KJV divides this single sentence up into three sentences while the NIV divides this up into eight making Paul's dramatic burst into praise unrecognizable.
    are you a KJV-Only type? if it is wrong for the NIV to break this passage up into eight sentences then why is it OK for the KJV to break it up into three? what is the threshold? how about if i broke it into five sentences? would that be acceptable? is there some cut off for acceptability or do you just have something against the NIV?
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

  8. #28
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    Grace Ambassador states"

    It is not uncommon in most evangelical churches today to see ministers very well prepared intellectually and scholarly who will give you a near perfect translation of any text of the Bible. It is not so common to see preachers being capable of executing most of what the very text they are disclosing to their congregates is saying. As a result, we have a flock of parrots, ready to recite texts in the Greek and Hebrew any time, anywhere and under any circumstances, quick in responding to any theological question with a glib of theological verbiage that is in its shell, enviable, but in its application, despiteful. If I may repeat what an evangelist that I know says about the area where I live, with its 120 churches or more: "I have not seen the devil running for cover yet."

    What I mean is that with all this knowledge, with all these tremendous resources we have available today, I still find churches that turn away and would prefer not to have in their pews those whose problems are too much of a hot potato for them to face. Problems such as sexual perversions, spousal abuse, substance abuse, demon possession, violence, etc.
    I question: "what is all this knowledge for?" What are you going to do to these suffering ones? Will you send them to a shrink, who happens to be a Christian? If all this knowledge does not provide answers for these people and you still send them to another professional who does not possess this knowledge, then why the knowledge in the first place? If anyone thinks that these unfortunate ones are not outhere, sitting in church pews every Sunday, waiting for an answer for their lives, he is certainly not paying much attention.

    Mr. Silva asserts that "the less one knows, the quicker he is in forming an opinion". I agree. But I believe that if all this knowledge is unuseful to do the work that the Congress, or Assembly--not the churchian church--was called to do, I question if all the time I spent in acquiring this knowledge is only good for exibition in Internet Forums, or if it really has any valid application as I do the Work of the Ministry on behalf of a sin benighted world. Then, perhaps it is better to be less knowlegeable and quicker in forming an opinion, but at least, be effective in doing what a minister is expected by God, not men, to do.

    Solomon says: ...neither make over wise; why should you destroy yourself.

    No, I do not abhor nor despise knowledge. Knowledge, however, has to have a purpose. If I do know all the implications and connotations of what God is saying because I am such an avid student of linguistics, then it should be expected of me a degree of servitude and ministry proportional to the knowledge I have. To whom is much given, much is required. I do not see that in the ministry today. As such, lengthy discussions and debates about generalities and relevants issues on interpretations, unaccompanied by a history of practical ministry, to me is the "destruction" that Solomon did forecast would accompany "an over wise man".


    Amen and amen! An OT prophet stated that people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, because they have rejected knowledge! I have no doubt that the people prophesied about were great intellectuals and thought that they had the answer for everything--just like those of today! There was never a time when more information was available, and also never a time when godly wisdom was so absent from the world.

    GA, you spoke to my heart on this one!
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

  9. #29
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    Originally posted by wildboar
    In Heb. 11:11 Abraham is inserted into the verse with no support from any manuscript and his faith rather than the faith of Sarah is pointed to.

    NAU Hebrews 11:11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

    NIV Hebrews 11:11 By faith Abraham, even though he was past age-- and Sarah herself was barren-- was enabled to become a father because he considered him faithful who had made the promise.
    here's what the NET bible says:

    Heb 11:11 By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to procreate,[13] because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy.

    [13] tn Grk “power to deposit seed.” Though it is not as likely, some construe this phrase to mean “power to conceive seed,” making the whole verse about Sarah: “by faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and too old, she received ability to conceive, because she regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy.”
    here's what john macarthur's commentary on Hebrews says:

    If we study Hebrews 11:11 carefully, I believe we discover that the faith mentioned here does not apply to Sarah but rather for her. Received ability to conceive (KATABOLHN SPERMATOS) means literally "to lay down seed." A woman, however, does not lay down the seed that produce conception. This phrase, therefore, must refer to Abraham, making him the understood subject of the sentence. It seems best to construe the phrase AUTH SARRA as a dative of accompaniment or association. In other words, the verse could be saying that Abraham, in association with Sarah, received power to lay down seed. I believe the faith as Abraham's, not Sarah's. Through Abraham's faith God miraculously fulfilled His promise.
    i don't know which option i accept but knowing this makes me realize that there are more valid or potential exegetical options than just one. and it's not some theological reason or NIV conspiracy theory. here's what someone wrote on the Bible Translation email list:

    I had wanted to chew on this issue a little bit last night before I posted any of my thoughts on it. The NIV is not alone in taking the particular exegetical option it has. Briefly browsing the various translations I have, I can see that the NET, GOD'S WORD, NRSV, Good News Bible, et al. So to be fair to the NIV, it's choice is not merely a singular one (Not that I am at this point showing preference to any particular meaning at this point)

    Peter mentioned the existence of textual variants in this passage- my UBS4 shows 4 different variants. However, none of the variants seem to have any bearing on the issue, which I take to be, how did the NIV come up with the translation it did?

    The NET reads:

    By faith, even though Sarah herself was barren and he was too old, he received the ability to procreate, because he regarded the one who had given the promise to be trustworthy.

    where *Abraham* is related to be PARA KAIRON HLIKIAS "beyond the prime of life" and yet receiving DUNAMIN EIS KATABOLHN SPERMATOS. "ability to procreate/conceive children>"

    Complicating matters even more, there is debate whether the phrase KATABOLHN SPERMATOS means the man's role in contributing to procreation (impregnatation) or the female's role (conception) The NET translation (and accompanying note) argue for the former, while other sources such as Cleon Rogers Jr and Cleon Rogers III's Linguistic and ExegeticalKey to the Greek New Testament are for the latter.

    Context is also important. Hebrews 11:8-10,12 speak distinctly about Abraham and one clue that at least part of verse 10 talks about his is found in the phrase EPEI PISTON HGHSATO TON EPAGGEILAMENON. "since {so and so] took the One who promised to be faithful."

    In the original narrative of Genesis 18, where the author of Hebrews is drawing his material, Sarah's reaction to the promise of a child is amusement (she laughs) and disbelief:

    18:9 Then they asked him, “Where is Sarah your wife?” He replied, “There, in the tent.” 18:10 One of them said, “I will surely return to you when the season comes round again, and your wife Sarah will have a son!” (Now Sarah was listening at the entrance to the tent, not far behind him. 18:11 Abraham and Sarah were old and advancing in years; Sarah had long since passed menopause.) 18:12 So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, especially when my husband is old too?”

    It would seem that this would eliminate the likelihood of EPEI PISTON HGHSATO TON EPAGGEILAMENON applying to Sarah and it would be likely that this clause relates to Abraham.

    In light of everything I've mentioned, I would propose the following rough translation[1] and I welcome any and all critical comments:

    "As a result of faith, even Sarah herself became able to conceive though beyond her prime, because [Abraham] took the One who had promised as being faithful."

    I hope something I have contributed has proven beneficial in some way.

    [1] Following the reading attested by P13 (vid) Aleph, A, D2 33 424* 1175 1852 2200 Byz K L Lect Chrysostom Augustine
    When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.
    --Erasmus

    A room without books is a body without soul.
    --Cicero

  10. #30
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    If I may!

    Brethren:

    If I may, allow me to post this in here. It is off the subject of Biblical Translation, but it shows the difficulty in all types of translations, mainly when a translation requires the conveyance of a poetically expressed thought:

    Francis Arthur Jones relates another story in Famous Hymns and Their Authors (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1902):Francis Arthur Jones relates another story in Famous Hymns and Their Authors (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1902):

    A missionary…complained of the slow progress made in India in converting the natives on account of explaining the teachings of Christianity so that the ignorant people could understand them. Some of the most beautiful passages in the Bible, for instance are destroyed by translation. He attempted to have [Rock of Ages] translated into the native dialect, so that the natives might appreciate its beauty. The work was entrusted to a young Hindu Bible student who had the reputation of being something of a poet. The next day he brought his translation for approval, and his rendering, as translated back into English, read like this:
    (Note that he is attempting to translate "Rock of ages, cleft for me, let me hide myself in thee" - italics are mine.)

    Very old stone, split for my benefit,
    Let me absent myself under one of your fragments.
    source:
    The Cyber Hymnal
    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

  11. #31
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    Translative & Interpretive Difficulties

    I think the story that Milt just gave us shows that 'translation' or 'interpretation' alone will never save or 'straighten' a soul by itself.

    The high evangelical scholars still disagree on the most critical issues, even after a great deal of study and understanding of the biblical text in the original languages.

    An understanding of tense does not correct this either. My intermediate and advanced Greek teacher in college (for whom I worked and wrote tests for) was very big on tense. He insisted that the perfect must always add 'once-for-all-time' to the translation. Also that the aorist should never add such a permanent notion. Plus that the present continuous should always state the tense specifically (John 3:16 as an example): whoever is 'presently believing and keeps on continuously believing' shall 'in the present state of continous belief' possess eternal life! The tense was supposed to defeat eternal security and show that entrance into eternal life was a revolving door, based on present faith or the lack of it (which status could change by the hour or moment)! He tried to defeat eternal predestination unto salvation based on tense. Other scriptures where the 'perfect' is used to indicate the eternal nature of salvation: these certainly defeat this notion, if consistently applied. So the bottom line is that each scholar uses the text to support his/her own religious bias.

    The imperfect tense, even, is used in prophecy to describe the certainty of God's future acts. Both in Hebrew and in Greek. The Hebrew often uses the perfect to describe the future (indicating certain fulfillment based on God's sovereignty--as if it were already past 'for all time'), but not always.

    Ultimately, the Holy Spirit has to be annexed to the Word. Without this act of God no soul is saved. No matter how perfect the translation or interpretation. With the Spirit present, God often works through the humblest of translations or interpretations (and this is no excuse for lazy scholarship!).
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

  12. #32
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    disciple:

    You asked for an example where the NIV clearly disrupted the flow and that is why I gave the Ephesians passage. I don't think the KJV should divide it up into 3 sentences either but further division takes us further away from the intent of the author.

    My argument for the KJV rendering of Matt. 24:30 is that it does not make this interpretive decision for the reader but allows him to make it for himself. The NIV forces an interpretation upon the reader. This must be done in some instances of course, but I believe it is best to leave the options open in the translation if it is possible to do so.

    In Heb. 11:11 although it is argued by some that it always means to deposit seed, the as Vincent's reads: In every other instance in N.T. καταβολή means foundation, and appears in the phrase καταβολὴ κόσμου foundation of the world. Originally it means throwing down; hence, the depositing of the male seed in the womb. The sentence may be explained either, “received strength as regarded the deposition of seed,” to fructify it; or, “received strength for the foundation of a posterity,” σπέρμα being rendered in accordance with Heb_2:16; Heb_11:18, and καταβολή in the sense of foundation, as everywhere else in N.T.

    The fact that the person spoken of is said to be beyond child bearing age also destroys the interpretation since we know that Abraham continued to have children with Keturah.

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    Originally posted by wildboar
    You asked for an example where the NIV clearly disrupted the flow and that is why I gave the Ephesians passage. I don't think the KJV should divide it up into 3 sentences either but further division takes us further away from the intent of the author.
    but you have yet to describe exactly how it takes away the intent of the author. i'm telling you that i think it reads fine. i'm looking for something specific in the translation that you feel is ruined...something that i somehow miss exegetically and more importantly, practically and applicationally, by breaking the section up into separate sentences. specifically, how is paul's praise unintelligible in the NIV? can you articulate this with specifics or is it more of a "feel", overall sense, or your opinion? so far, i have not seen or heard the real why of your objections here.

    plus i'm looking in the NA27 text and there are periods at the end of vv. 6, 10, 12, and 14. while we've both agreed that the originals did not have accents or punctuation (probably uncials, being all caps with no spaces), it is interesting that you object to any breaking anywhere in vv. 3-14. perhaps you could be more specific as to why you object here to any breaking up into sentences and give a specific MSS that you might have in mind that supports your objection. so far, i have seen no evidence to substantiate your objection as to why the author's intent and thought is destroyed. i look forward to any further evidence you may have to this end.

    My argument for the KJV rendering of Matt. 24:30 is that it does not make this interpretive decision for the reader but allows him to make it for himself. The NIV forces an interpretation upon the reader. This must be done in some instances of course, but I believe it is best to leave the options open in the translation if it is possible to do so.
    fair enough. i can understand your objection here. but i believe that silva deals with this objection as well:

    But there is an additional and serious problem with the argument that Bible versions should be more or less neutral with regard to texts where the interpretation is debatable. Or as it is usually put, “What is ambiguous in the original should be left ambiguous in the translation.” The main flaw in this principle (whatever truth it may contain) is the assumption that typical English readers recognize an ambiguity when they see one. Take 1 Corinthians 5:5, which the ESV renders quite literally, “You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” Some people object to the NIV rendering “sinful nature” instead of the literal “flesh” for various reasons, including their concern that the Greek word sarx is ambiguous, and that therefore the NIV immediately slants the text in a particular direction. But it would be delusion to think that the literal translation “flesh” does not slant the text for the average reader, who needs a book or a preacher to tell him or her what the options are (of course, a book or a preacher can clarify those options regardless of which version is being read). At least the NIV provides a footnote with the alternate renderings “his body” and “the flesh.”

    A different type of example is “your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess 1:3). That is the basically word-by-word rendering of the ESV. In contrast, the NIV interprets all the genitival constructions as follows: “your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (my emphasis). Now one may legitimately ask whether adding the italicized phrases is the most faithful way to represent the text, but it would be naive to think that the average believer in the pew immediately recognizes the ambiguities inherent in the Greek genitive—let alone that he or she has the means to reach an informed opinion regarding the meaning without at least consulting other translations. But if in either case (with the NIV or the ESV) it is necessary to consult something or someone, then what harm has been done by providing a more intelligible rendering that represents, at the very least, a defensible understanding of the text?
    In Heb. 11:11 although it is argued by some that it always means to deposit seed, the as Vincent's reads: In every other instance in N.T. καταβολή means foundation, and appears in the phrase καταβολὴ κόσμου foundation of the world. Originally it means throwing down; hence, the depositing of the male seed in the womb. The sentence may be explained either, “received strength as regarded the deposition of seed,” to fructify it; or, “received strength for the foundation of a posterity,” σπέρμα being rendered in accordance with Heb_2:16; Heb_11:18, and καταβολή in the sense of foundation, as everywhere else in N.T.

    The fact that the person spoken of is said to be beyond child bearing age also destroys the interpretation since we know that Abraham continued to have children with Keturah.
    here's what the UBS Handbook says:

    See Genesis 17.19; 18.11–14; 21.2. The textual difficulties of this verse are discussed in Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (pages 672–673); he refers to articles in which these problems are discussed in more detail. There is also a translational difficulty which involves the question of whether Abraham (TEV) or Sarah (RSV) is the subject of the sentence.

    The text of the UBS Greek New Testament (“D” rating) may be translated rather literally as follows, with implied words in parentheses: “By faith, even though Sarah was barren, (Abraham) received power to beget (children), even though (he was) too old.” This basic text is followed by TEV, FrCL, GeCL, and Brc, and is probably the best available, though it is by no means certain. The same text, slightly modified by marks which would not usually be part of the oldest manuscripts, could mean “By faith (Abraham) also, together with barren Sarah, received power to beget (children), even though (they were) too old.” If this text is chosen, “barren” may be omitted (as in DuCL), following many manuscripts, but it is included in the text of the UBS Greek New Testament. These choices, like TEV, make Abraham the subject of the sentence.

    If Sarah is the subject of the sentence, the possibilities are: (a) “By faith, even though Sarah was barren, she received power to conceive (children) even though (she was) too old.” This text is followed by Knox and TNT text. (b) “By faith, even Sarah received power to conceive (children), even though (she was) too old.” This text is followed by KJV, RSV, NEB, and many other translations. The main difficulty in taking Sarah as the subject is that “received power to beget” is a more natural meaning of the Greek than “received power to conceive.” In other words, the verb usually has a man as its subject. It is true that the reference to being “too old” applies more naturally to Sarah than to Abraham. In Genesis 18.12, 13, Sarah’s age is emphasized, but both are mentioned, and Abraham’s age is certainly mentioned in Genesis 18.12 as well as 21.2. On the whole it seems more likely that the subject is Abraham, and this fits in better with the passage as a whole.
    the whole point here is that there is a "real" and quite difficult textual and exegetical issue here. it is not as if NIV willy-nilly all by themselves just at a whim chose this rendering. there are other exegetical options beyond the KJV or renderings like it and to pretend as if there is not and object to the NIV on that basis is just not being fair and balanced. to represent it as if it were a deliberate misrepesentation of the actual text by the NIV translators or to imply some foul play is a bit sensationalist. if this is not what you were doing, then i apologize for understanding it this way. but i don't want anyone here to be misled that this is some NIV conspiracy issue and not an actual valid and quite difficult exegetical decision that needed to be made and this is shown to me even more in the answers to my question on the Bible Translation List.

    following is another post from someone on the B-Trans list:

    a short observation concerning this verse and the question as to who is the subject and who had faith ...

    It seems that throughout Heb 11 in the early parts where several verses speak of a person who is said to have faith is always "complete", and then the next person is describedm, the records concerning one person are never "interrupted" by going on to another person ...

    Thus, from the structure from the beginning of the chapter onward, it would seem to me that the whole section from 11:8-19 when speaking of events and actions relating to Abraham are speaking of Abraham's faith ... yes, in that particular section there is like a parenthetical statement from v.13-16 in which a number of emphatical general statements are made about "all these" who had been mentioned thus far, and the record returns to Abraham in v. 17, and then the list of examples of those who had faith continues on with Isaac in v. 20.

    Therefore, I would conclude that v. 11 has Abraham as the subject and describes what happened in answer to Abraham's faith ... (even though Sarah was barren, and even though Abraham also was quite old) she did conceive by Abraham because Abraham put his trust in what God had promised ...

    I do think this is also borne out by the text in Gen where we can read that the promise was not given to Sarah, but to Abraham (!) as well as by the record in Rom 4 which alludes to this when showing that Abraham believed God and judged Him faithful Who had promised....

    Translating Heb 11 with referrence to Sarah's faith seems to break the continuity of the section, as well as the not be in harmony with the remote context of the other passages in Scripture addressing this matter of the conception and birth of Isaac ...

    Could it actually be that some folks are "wanting to have Sarah" in this list more for emotional reasons (seeing that I have been confronted by some people when speaking of the above possibility that v.11 is speaking of Abraham's faith and not Sarah's, and people then accused me of wanting to get rid of the only woman in this line of named people and only keep the men) ? On the other hand, is perhaps the fact that basicaly only men are listed there and that Sarah would stick out as odd also an indication that v.11 should be translated in a manner which keeps Abraham as the subject of that faith, rather than switching to Sarah and then in v 17 switching back to Abraham?
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    Originally posted by wildboar
    In Heb. 11:11 although it is argued by some that it always means to deposit seed, the as Vincent's reads: In every other instance in N.T. καταβολή means foundation, and appears in the phrase καταβολὴ κόσμου foundation of the world. Originally it means throwing down; hence, the depositing of the male seed in the womb. The sentence may be explained either, “received strength as regarded the deposition of seed,” to fructify it; or, “received strength for the foundation of a posterity,” σπέρμα being rendered in accordance with Heb_2:16; Heb_11:18, and καταβολή in the sense of foundation, as everywhere else in N.T.

    The fact that the person spoken of is said to be beyond child bearing age also destroys the interpretation since we know that Abraham continued to have children with Keturah.
    more comments on Heb 11:11 from the B-Trans List:

    Taking variant readings of the Greek into consideration, together with the observations I mentioned before, I would think that the passage most likely read literally something like this:

    "by faith -- on the one hand, Sarah herself was barren -- he received strength for the deposition of the seed -- on the other hand, he was beyond the time of the strong age -- because he considered faithful Him who had made the promise"

    The main sentence being "by faith ... he received strength for the
    deposition of the seed ... because he considered faithful Him who had made the promise." There are two short "throwin" statements, each introduced by the *kai* --- (a) "on the one hand, Sarah herself was barren", and (b) "on the other hand, he was beyond the time of the strong age"

    The overall picture seems clearly to be talking about Abraham and the number of things that happened in his life on the ground of his faith in God

    Yes, Sarah grammatically is in the nominative and the subject of the sentence ... but what sentence ? I'd say "Sarah herself was barren". She is nowhere said to have "judged him faithful who promised", while such is repeated almost verbatum in another part of Scripture in reference to Abraham...

    (a) Can the part of the setence "received power for deposition of seed" havea female subject ? my answer is, No!Therefore "Sarah" (even though in the nominative) cannot be the subject to complete this sentence ...
    (b) with the above in mind, it seems to me that there is a short parenthetical statement, almost exclamation, inserted into the main sentence... and Sarah has to be the subject of this parenthetical statement, since Sarah cannot be the subject of the main sentence ...

    I would say the error is in attributing a clearly "male" action of a verb to a "female" subject ... since that is "logically" not possible, one has to consider a different "verb" or expression that is linked with the noun "Sarah" ... and I would say it is the "barren", with the expression "even (or "both") Sarah barren" being a parenthetical statement which we would complete in thought by adding "was" ...
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    disciple:

    I'm not suggesting a conspiracy, nor even in these cases a theological bias but merely cases where I believe that accuracy and transparency are sacrificed for the sake of readability. I don't find the Heb. 11:11 argument convincing but I don't think I'm going to convince you and doubt that you'll provide the evidence I would need to be convinced so I'll just leave it at that for now. I'm certainly not a KJV-onlyist and with the remarks I have made in this thread it doesn't make any sense for you to even suggest the idea. It seems that the constant tactic of those who want to deny the accuracy of the KJV is to lump all those who disagree with them in with the KJV onlyists. Most scholars I have spoken with view the KJV as an excellent translation. Most view the language as being out of date and the translation as being based upon inferior manuscripts but I don't think that most scholars would dispute the reliability of the translation itself.

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    Originally posted by wildboar
    I'm not suggesting a conspiracy, nor even in these cases a theological bias but merely cases where I believe that accuracy and transparency are sacrificed for the sake of readability.
    perhaps i shouldn't have used such emotionally charged language. it simply seemed to me that you had something against the NIV. i can understand the fact that you believe that accuracy and transparency are sacrificed for the sake of readability and you are entitled to your opinion here. my only point was that this is not an argument against the principle employed. we mustn't throw the baby out with the bathwater and urge others to not read a particular translation because of a few problems. all translations have their problems...none are perfect. the fact of the matter is that in FE translations the meaning is sometimes completely lost in the attempt to copy the alien grammatical structure into English (thinking that it will come closer to the meaning in the original as if translation were a matter of something like computer code). i think the question is, "are you using the version for reading or for study?" if you're using it for reading and comprehension, i would think that KJV or even NASB is a bad choice.

    I don't find the Heb. 11:11 argument convincing but I don't think I'm going to convince you and doubt that you'll provide the evidence I would need to be convinced so I'll just leave it at that for now.
    actually i haven't decided which way to take it. i lean toward the NIV because it seems to fit the flow and words used a bit better but i think it very well could be talking about Sarah's faith. my only purpose in posting all that i did in rebuttal is because you said:

    In Heb. 11:11 Abraham is inserted into the verse with no support from any manuscript and his faith rather than the faith of Sarah is pointed to.
    as if there was no real exegetical issue at hand. but since i have posted it at the B-Trans list there has not ceased to be debate about it. your presentation of it made it sound as if the NIV translators just willy nilly threw it in there because they had an itch. the problem is must larger than simply "Abraham is inserted into the verse with no support from any manuscript." as i have shown, there is much more to it than that. the job of a translator is much more complex than copying grammar. this whole issue ventures into the deeper issue of discourse analysis, pragmatics, etc. which when ignored it may faithfully copy the original structure but may completely miss the actual intent and meaning of the author (and Author = God).

    I'm certainly not a KJV-onlyist and with the remarks I have made in this thread it doesn't make any sense for you to even suggest the idea. It seems that the constant tactic of those who want to deny the accuracy of the KJV is to lump all those who disagree with them in with the KJV onlyists.
    and i did not mean to show that i was doing this. i seriously wondered since the translations you gave in opposition to the NIV were KJV. and most KJV-onlyists i know hate the NIV. i suggested it only because of the translation you chose to site in opposition to the NIV. it was merely a question born out of real curiosity. i did not mean to accuse you.

    Most scholars I have spoken with view the KJV as an excellent translation. Most view the language as being out of date and the translation as being based upon inferior manuscripts but I don't think that most scholars would dispute the reliability of the translation itself.
    and neither do i (i.e., dispute the reliability of the KJV). it was a great translation for it's time. but it was no more accurate than the NIV in my opinion. and i think to urge people to read it today is to invite confusion and unneeded work just to understand what it's saying in English. the translators simply employed a different method of translating and sought to be more FE while the NIV seeks to be more DE. there are pros and cons for each method.

    the point is, no translation is perfect and most translations are very good. there are only a few that i'd say you should never consult because of the theological bias. NIV is not one of them and does not have a dispensational bias as you claim. i think i have amply demonstrated that this claim is specious (unless of course you are willing to say that the Geneva and Mace translations have dispensational bias before that system ever existed!!). my only purpose in opposing you here, is because i think you are misrepesenting the evidence and the issues. i'm not sure what your motive is or what may be behind your objections, but to me it seems that based on the evidence you have supplied this far, your bias against the NIV is unjustified.
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    Dear Disciple and Wildboar:

    I do not mean to appear willing to change the subject, but there is a very important, probably more important text, since it deals with one of the pillars of our Sovereign Grace faith, that the KJV renders one way and the NIV another way, (in my view incorrectly) that I submit here for your analysis:

    Gal 2:16-20, (KJV)
    16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.[/b]
    17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
    18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
    19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
    20 I am crucified with Christ: neverthless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    Gal 2:16-19, (NIV)
    16 know that a man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by observing the law, because by observing the law no-one will be justified.
    17 "If, while we seek to be justified in Christ, it becomes evident that we ourselves are sinners, does that mean that Christ promotes sin? Absolutely not!
    18 If I rebuild what I destroyed, I prove that I am a law-breaker.
    19 For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God.
    20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

    It appears to me that in the examples where I emphasized in boldface the original Greek backs up the KJV: faith of Jesus Christ, or the Faith that the elect receives by Grace, which is the only kind accepted by God as saving faith rather than the somewhat Arminian idea of "faith in Christ, which is always mentioned as some kind of human positive stance and mere understanding of the work of God, which one chooses without any need for the Holy Spirit regenerative work.

    If the translators rendered: works of the law, which has the same grammatical construction of faith of Christ, what would motivate a translator to translate the way the NIV renders this text, i.e. changing to observing the law to avoid the word play that Paul is apparently using here, and then, to completely destroy the meaning of the text rendering it "faith in Christ" rather than of Christ?

    Is there a bias here as well? An Arminian bias, perhaps?
    Doesn't the context support "faith of Jesus Christ"?

    Too many questions, I admit.

    Note, I am everything that the KJV only people dislike. So please, consider that although I love the KJV I am not a KJV only person and use mostly the NAS, and for some quick commentaries on the Greek I use Spiros Zodhiates, of all people. I maintain, however, that the KJV has the upper hand here.

    I could go on and on here citing authors that back up the KJV in this instance when in others instances these same authors prefer the NIV, but I would like to find out what is the opinion of both of you, as Greek students how you would render these verses:

    faith of Jesus Christ? - The faith that belong to Christ, or a supernatural saving faith, a faith that helped Him to obey until death and "commit His Spirit to the Father" even after the Father had forsaken him. (editorial comments are mine) or

    faith in Jesus Christ? - The faith that after two verses of "Just as I am" in a Billy Graham crusade one simply decides that he will have, at his own choosing and volition, without any need for the work of the Holy Soirit. (again, editorial comments are mine).

    Here is an example,. but here there is an agreement between the two translations:

    Mk 11:22, (NIV), "Have faith in God," Jesus answered.
    (a scripture abused by the Charismatics):

    Mk 11:22, (KJV), And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

    "Have faith in God", in which the Greek may be rendered as: Have the faith of God. Or, "have the God kind of faith", which is the only kind of faith that can indeed remove mountains

    I have my own opinion on that, of course, but I woud like to ask you and promise to use your renderings in my research files, if I may, how would you have rendered these scriptures?

    Again, I do not mean to interrupt this very interesting and relevant debate on Hebrews 11.

    Thanks!
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    Originally posted by GraceAmbassador
    If the translators rendered: works of the law, which has the same grammatical construction of faith of Christ, what would motivate a translator to translate the way the NIV renders this text, i.e. changing to observing the law to avoid the word play that Paul is apparently using here, and then, to completely destroy the meaning of the text rendering it "faith in Christ" rather than of Christ?

    Is there a bias here as well? An Arminian bias, perhaps?
    Doesn't the context support "faith of Jesus Christ"?
    i definitely don't think the first explanation always needs to be theological bias. that seems to be the first rock that everyone wants to throw rather than considering that there may perhaps be a real exegetical issue that is not so simple to solve. i think if we just stopped at first year greek and employed the tools taught there of copying the alien greek structure straight into enlgish then i see what you're saying. it was only after i found out that the "rule" of how to render the genitive is really only for first year greek (to not complicate things for the student teaching them to render it everywhere as "of NOUN") that i began to see the range of this case. the genitive is one of the most diverse and nuanced cases of the noun system. rendering it as "of..." is not always best and is usually quite ambigious. this is what we have here. here is what the NET bible note says:

    2:16 yet we know47 that no one48 is justified by the works of the law49 but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ.50 And51 we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by the faithfulness of Christ52 and not by the works of the law, because by the works of the law no one53 will be justified.

    • 50tn Or “faith in Jesus Christ.” A decision is difficult here. Though traditionally translated “faith in Jesus Christ,” an increasing number of NT scholars are arguing that pivsti" Cristou' (pisti" Cristou) and similar phrases in Paul (Rom 3:22, 26; Gal 2:16, 20; 3:22; Eph 3:12; Phil 3:9) involve a subjective genitive and mean “Christ’s faith” or “Christ’s faithfulness” (cf., e.g., G. Howard, “The ‘Faith of Christ’,” ExpTim 85 [1974]: 212-15; R. B. Hays, The Faith of Jesus Christ; Morna D. Hooker, “Pivsti" Cristou',” NTS 35 [1989]: 321-42). Noteworthy among the arguments for the subjective genitive view is that when pivsti" takes a personal genitive it is almost never an objective genitive (cf. Matt 9:2, 22, 29; Mark 2:5; 5:34; 10:52; Luke 5:20; 7:50; 8:25, 48; 17:19; 18:42; 22:32; Rom 1:8; 12; 3:3; 4:5, 12, 16; 1 Cor 2:5; 15:14, 17; 2 Cor 10:15; Phil 2:17; Col 1:4; 2:5; 1 Thess 1:8; 3:2, 5, 10; 2 Thess 1:3; Titus 1:1; Phlm 6; 1 Pet 1:9, 21; 2 Pet 1:5). On the other hand, the objective genitive view has its adherents: A. Hultgren, “The Pistis Christou Formulations in Paul,” NovT 22 (1980): 248-63; J. D. G. Dunn, “Once More, PISTIS CRISTOU,” SBL Seminar Papers, 1991, 730-44. Most commentaries on Romans and Galatians usually side with the objective view.
    • sn On the phrase translated the faithfulness of Christ D. B. Wallace, who notes that the grammar is not decisive, nevertheless suggests that “the faith/faithfulness of Christ is not a denial of faith in Christ as a Pauline concept (for the idea is expressed in many of the same contexts, only with the verb pisteuvw rather than the noun), but implies that the object of faith is a worthy object, for he himself is faithful” (Exegetical Syntax, 116). Though Paul elsewhere teaches justification by faith, this presupposes that the object of our faith is reliable and worthy of such faith.
    also, if one were to surmise theological bias or any bias other than a real exegetical issue then one would have to demonstrate that the following versions to name a few were also so influenced: NAS, ESV, CEV, GNT, NKJV, RSV, NRSV, HCSB, ISV. i think this reason is among the last that i would ever propose for a translational difference. and that has been my argument the whole time in regards to the previous claim of dispensational bias in the NIV.
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    Dear Doug:

    Thanks for your prompt and rich answer. I also appreciated the fact that you do not see bias as the first answer or motivation for every single difficult translation. I threw bias in there merely for rethorical purposes and to use it as an example for a possible motivation for the difference in translation.

    When I was confronted with this issue, as I was leaving the "freewillers" into Sovereign Grace (which I glorify God for and attribute it to a veritable 20th century miracle--it happened in 1993), I consulted my Greek texts and realized that the Greek uses the same construction for "works of the Law" as it does for "faith of Christ". As a student of the writings of Paul, both then (1993) and now, I found that Paul uses many literary tools, including, but not limited to, "word-plays", and perhaps he, Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, intended this to be "the works of one is not good but the faith of the other is" type of comparison. I teach that, because of the context of the text, and also because of the body of teachings from Paul, that "the faith of Christ" is a better translation for this text.

    Again, allow me to use your answer as research material, and thanks again for being so rich answering it.

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    Originally posted by disciple
    the genitive is one of the most diverse and nuanced cases of the noun system. rendering it as "of..." is not always best and is usually quite ambigious. this is what we have here.
    visit http://www.bcbsr.com/greek/gcase.html to get an idea of the range of this case. here's what it says:

    In the eight-case system, the genitive defines, describes, qualifies, restricts, limits. In this respect it is similar to an adjective, but is more emphatic. Under the five-case system, the genitive case may be defined as the case of qualification (or limitation as to kind) and ( occasionally) separation. The genitive is the most exegetically significant case to understand for exegesis and it must be mastered.
    and i think this is just a stab at it. from what i understand, at robertson has more in his grammar. the point being, that this case is not as simple as understanding it as "of..." this is a first year greek technique and while it may be good to leave it as a first year greek student would (and not deciding the particular nuance of the genitive) for a more FE based translation that does not mean that it is wrong for a translation to try and render the nuance that they believe it has in its rendering. they are simply different approaches. anyway, this is a very complex exegetical issue and i think i would probably prefer the rendering of the KJV though i wouldn't rule another nuance of the genitive out altogether and i certainly wouldn't be so bold as to attribute this to an arminian bias without some hard unambigious evidence to that fact. if there is nothing but conjecture and assumption and this is one's opinion then it is probably best to keep it to oneself that you may not be playing the role of the fool.
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