Monday, February 15, 2010

Retranslating, for the sake of argument

Isn't it frustrating when people argue from their own translation of Scripture, or from a non-standard rendering of Scripture, to prove a point!

I think we would all want to say Amen to that when someone else is doing it, but might want to support doing this in our own individual case!

Discussion can be tricky if your opponent only accepts one translation as authoritative, such as the King James Version or New World Translation, for example.

On Sunday, our minister preached a terrific message from 1 Samuel 17, the story of David and Goliath. He made the point that the whole passage is about Goliath and the Philistines defying God and that the Hebrew word translated defy, or a word related to it, occurs over and over in the passage.

Sometimes the word was translated with a different English word in most English versions [though, interestingly the New Living Translation used the word defiance in 1 Sam 17:26, where most other well-known versions don't].

In this case, it was helpful to be told what the original said, even though it didn't show up in our NIVs [or even, whisper, whisper ESVs].

But I think it is a fair point that if you have to retranslate a passage to make your point, you should think about making it from another passage which you don't have to retranslate.

No comments: