UNTIL THE MIDDLE OF THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, all major English Bible translations were based on the premise that the goal of Bible translation is to take the reader as close as possible to the words that the biblical authors actually wrote.
Proverbs 6:26 This is a problematic verse to translate from Hebrew, but most commentators agree that the verse makes a contrast between the consequences of being with a prostitute and of being with an adulteress.
As some Christians have been studying their King James Version and comparing it to other modern translations, they have discovered that in the King James Version there are verses that these other translators removed, such as our Luke 17:36 under discussion herein, as well as Matthew 18:11; 23:14 that we discussed earlier this week, and...
1946 claims to be a revolutionary new film that chronicles how the misuse of a single word changed the course of modern history. The Supposed Mistranslation of "HOMOSEXUAL" at 1 Corinthians 6:9. Read here to defend against this Project 1946's misrepresentation of information.
The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) was one of the first major translations to adopt the gender-neutral language. The King James Version translated at least one passage using a technique that many now reject in other translations, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” (Matt. 5:9). One of the last bastions of literal translation philosophy, the New American Standard Bible, has given into the gender-neutral translation philosophy.
The reader needs and deserves to know what the passage actually says, even if it is difficult to understand. A contextual interpretation that ignores or deviates from the Original Language does not provide that, and since this kind of interpretation is a basic element of Dynamic Equivalent / Functional Equivalent translation, there is little or no “equivalency” to the OL in these passages at all. So on this score, the distinction between DE/FE translations and literal translations truly is a false dichotomy. The real distinction is between translations whose philosophies permit this kind of contextual interpretation in place of literal translation and translations that formally correspond to the OL as much as possible.
“Functional” equivalence as a philosophy assumes that it is possible to create a translation with the exact same meaning as the OL text, without matching the grammatical forms found in the original or using words that match the meanings of the OL words, as established or recommended by lexical research. Of course, it also assumes that a translation done as a formal equivalent differs from a functional equivalent to such an extent as to be contrasted with it. In other words, two such translations will belong to these two separate categories, and there is a dichotomy between them.
Theological bias has a negative connotation as something to be avoided, and in general, I think it is. But I do not think it would be realistic to argue that Bible translation can be done without theological bias. It is not simply a matter of whether the translator has a theological agenda or not; there are passages in which all the choices of wording necessarily reflect theological positions. Furthermore, if we are going to be completely objective, even orthodoxy is a bias. That is, it is by definition an opinion that inclines or prejudices the translator toward a particular choice of wording when his choices all have theological implications.
It may not take much to convince you of the premise of this chapter. The Bible is, after all, the Bible. But literal translation has no claim to priority unless the individual words of the Bible are very important.