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#41 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 11:46 PM

Dear Mr Papoutsis and others,

While it is beginning to seem clear from the continuing defensiveness of your responses that perhaps there is little fruit to be had in terms of the hope for an open and constructive critique of this work with you as its author/translator, I trust it will nonetheless remain helpful to others to read some engaged reflections and responses on these matters. With that in mind, it is worth returning to some of the criticisms vis-a-vis English usage, and the responses to these that have since been made.

In response to the comment that '....neither the global spread nor the changes and developments that come from regional variations in the language, provide a 'carte blanche' for simply re-writing or re-creating the language in one's own ideological image, nor to abandoning the grammatical rules for the functioning of the language itself', Mr Papoutsis wrote:

That is exactly what is happening to English. for example Greek was developing naturally and quite well until the after Greek War of Independence and then the Greek intelligencia wanted to purify the language and created the artificial Greek Language of Kathirevousa that has done nothing but confuse and bewilder modern Greeks to this day.


I'm afraid that, the flat claim to the contrary notwithstanding, it remains true that this is not what is happening in English, and that the actual phenomenon (which happens in all languages) of the organic development of expression, style and form does not provide a 'carte blanche' for simply re-writing or re-creating the language in one's own ideological image, as I indicated before. The attempt to use the observation of a genuine, organic development of language to provide oneself with a supposed authenticity in simply making up one's own linguistic usage and calling it 'English', is simply neither authentic, nor appropriate, nor English.

When I speak of a defensiveness encountered in the response to careful critique and criticism, I am thinking for example of such exchanges as follow: I pointed out in my first comments on this translation, that the confusion of second-person singular and plural forms between personal pronouns and verb conjugations had riddled the translation with bizarre mistakes of non-English (a point repeated in my more recent summary). When this was essentially denied to be a flaw, and argued instead as a kind of development of English, I replied with a post in which I noted that this is a misunderstanding and misuse of the concepts of linguistic development, and in point of fact amounted to a linguistic absurdity. As an example, I provided a parallel. Here is precisely what I wrote:


'Without wishing to sound too facetious, this is comparable to someone simply saying, 'I am going to conjugate all forms of the first person with third person plural verb forms "for reasons of dignified expression" -- hence "I are going to Church", "I are happy to see you"', etc. Whatever the personal motivation for the usage may be, the end-result is simply nonsense.'



Unfortunately, rather than engage with the actual issue, the response given was simply defensive and dismissive:

Again a complete over exaggeration as I have not done this nor ever translated this. I have never written "I are going to Church." So set up a stray man arguement and expect me to fall for it. No thank you.


It is very clear from my words that I was not suggesting you have written 'I are going to Church' -- my comments very specifically indicated that your misuse of verb forms 'is comparable to someone simply saying' that they will conjugate in such a manner. The absurdity of those phrases in my example ('I are going to Church', 'I are happy to see you') are equally as absurd as the phrases that occur in the translation we are discussing.

In that translation, we do not find 'I are going to Church', no; but we do find the following, equally as absurd phrases:
  • 'And God said to him, Who told the that thou was naked...' (Gen 3.11)
  • 'And the Lord God said to the woman, Why has thou done this?' (Gen 3.13)
  • 'And wherever thou dies, I will die...' (Ruth 1.17)
  • 'Why calls ye me Noemin...?' (Ruth 2.21)
  • 'Thou shall herd them with a rod of iron; Thou shall shatter them...' (Psalm 2.9)
  • 'Arise, O Lord, save me, O my God, for Thou has struck all who without a cause are mine enemies' (Psalm 3.8)
  • 'Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings have Thou perfected praise...' (Psalm 9.3)
  • 'And Jesus fell on his face upon the earth, and said to Him, Master, what commands thou thy servant?' (Jesus 5.14)
These are merely a few selections drawn at random; such phrases appear everywhere throughout every chapter of every book in this translation that I have examined. And so it seems pertinent to repeat that this does represent a situation that is comparable to someone simply saying, 'I am going to conjugate all forms of the first person with third person plural verb forms'; the only thing different here is that you have said that you are going to conjugate the wrong forms of the second person, rather than the first.

It is disheartening to hear such little interest in learning from constructive criticism, when quite demonstrable and obvious faults are pointed out in a spirit of cooperation and correction; however, this seems to be something of the standard faire. When it was pointed out that others have also made, out of ignorance, etc., the same errors of English usage when attempting to utilise the distinctions of older second-person forms without fully understanding how they work, the response was as follows:

So English-Speaking Orthodox did not understand and driffed off into confusion and heresy? I do not believe so. This is somehwhat hyperboly and put too fine a point on it. Basically you are canning people stupid. English-Speaking People are NOT stupid.


I'm afraid this kind of reply demonstrates a marked failure to have read the criticism as offered. The point was not to suggest that everyone has used the language incorrectly 'and drifted off into confusion and heresy' (which was never even hinted at!); the point was precisely to point out that the vast majority of English writers and translators who have worked with the older second-person distinction have done so correctly, since these are forms that can and should be used properly, but that there have also been some who have not understood these principles and have made, in a far less widespread way, the kinds of errors that are rather systematic in your project. You are not the only person to have been confused by the forms and used them incorrectly; however, you are the first who I have encountered who has done so deliberately in such a widespread way.

As to the comments in the latter portions of your recent reply, I'm afraid that -- despite the claim to the contrary made in them -- they are simply defensive retorts that don't engage with the actual issues. Despite the strange claims there written, my assertion has never for a moment been that 'English speakers are ... stupid or dense'; quite the opposite. My claim has been that the non-English employed in this translation is immediately apparent as precisely that to the vast majority of English speakers, which is precisely why this translation will have so limited an appeal and value to the vast majority -- because English speakers aren't stupid or dense, and will immediately recognise this as something that isn't correct.

What is the real issue here? The attempt to create a style that is reverent yet accessible has unfortunately been carried out by a dramatic misuse of the grammar of English, yielding a translation that, to native English speaking ears (even those who aren't studied in older grammar) sounds odd and, frankly, comical. To my mind, this makes the translation essentially unreadable -- though obviously some might find it interesting nonetheless. However, as a translator concerned with texts and language, it is clear that this is a serious issue of non-English usage that should be corrected. Such a large-scale project deserves to be presented widely and employed -- something that has the potential to happen with this project, but only if such mistakes are corrected.

INXC, ​Hieromonk Irenei

#42 Panayioti Papoutsis

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 07:02 PM

Hiermonk Irenaues:

I'll tell you what IS very clear is this - I directly responded to your crticisms of my translation of the underlying Greek crtiticism by criticism and now you have no response? You say it would be fruitless to continue? For who, you and me? There are others on this board that would like to know what we think and how we translate certain Greek words and phrases. You directly attacked and maligned my translation and when I confronted you point by point criticism by criticism with well reasoned responses you do nothing to respond to me but retreat to your old arguments without presenting a well-reasoned reply/rebuttal. I find that very telling.

I can present you with article after article from English liguists, like I previously did, and you never responded to their arguements, but simply stuck to your refuted arguments and made no attempt to engage the subject matter. Then you attempted to shut down the debate by framing me as "Defensive." I DEFEND! I am proud of my work, because it is MY work! I put thought and consideration behind it, and stuck with it all these years to produce a resource that Greek and English experts like yourself never saw fit to give the English-Speaking Orthodox Christians for the last THREE CENTURIES!

Where are people like you, and others the so-called experts to sit down and produce an Englsih Bible for Orthodox Christians. The Protestants and the Catholics put us to shame, and when I, Mr. David James, Michael Asser and Fr. Cleerwick stick our necks out to do something that should have been done by the so-called experts years and centuries ago all be get is criticisms and static!

Further, you directly attacked my translation, BUT YOU HAVE SAID NOTHING ABOUT THE ORTHODOX STUDY BIBLE! In fact, every example you gave as a mistake or a wrong translation in the HOB can also be found in the Orthodox Study Bible, and yet I have seen no criticism from you in regards to the OSB, and no extensive criticism of the OSB like you have engaged in with my translation. Now if you have done such a criticism let us see it and post it on this board, otherwise I find your comments and the singling out of my translation as some how defective as offensive and biased. (i.e. You helped translate the OSB debacle care to explain that mess?)

It would be wise to learn the difference between being defensive and DEFENDING as there is a difference. When I and most other adult people are faced with criticism that we believe is unfounded we DEFEND ourselves and our work. I am sorry you cannot see this.

When you are ready or others are ready to engage in further debate and discussion on this matter I will be ready, willing and able. Until then have a good day and enjoy the upcoming Feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary.

Peter (panayioti) Papoutsis
Chicago, Illinois

#43 Paul Cowan

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Posted 06 August 2011 - 08:53 PM

I am jumping in the deep end here and will jump out just as quickly. As an english speaking and reading Orthodox Christian, one who got out of college by the skin of his teeth no less, I can tell you I couldn't care less about verb conjugation, past or future participle or first, second, third or fourth person points of view. When I read, I read for ease of reading. If I have to sit and think who or what the sentence is talking about it detracts from what I am reading and hinders my understanding of the text. I don't read the KJV. I do read the NJKV. Thee and thou and thine and all the other old english words IMO are outdated and make learning the bible and it's concepts (for me) almost impossible. I never know who is being spoken to or who is doing the speaking.

From some of the examples above I could never read this work for any period of time. The words may or may not be correct. I don't care. If I can't keep a good "flow" when reading, I won't read it. I am obviously not the target audience for this work being discussed above. Perhaps I am not smart enough or enlightened enough. I am very thankful for any person(s) who take it upon themselves to create any literature. I can only be impressed by any one(s) who are linguists and can help my 21st century brain relate to 1st century texts. When it comes down to me picking up a book and reading it, I need to be able not to be distracted from the words.

Mr. Papoutsis: Who is your target audience? You said you have a calling to do this? You also say above multiple times over this is "YOUR" work.

I am proud of my work, because it is MY work!

May God bless you. But you seem to my pitiful self to not being open for ANY critic of YOUR work. I can understand after years and years of working on a piece alone and the time and dedication it has taken you, but if there is any sliver of potential error or just an "oops" moment, I don't see you even willing to consider it. Why are you so dogmatic to your translation? Is there no fear of falling into prelest? I said above I don't like Thee and Thou and the like, but from my inexperienced ear, it sounds like what Fr. Irenaeus is saying is correct.

I am sorry, you ask above for others on these boards to pipe in. Forgive me. I am not looking to debate you and I will not. These are just my thoughts.

Paul

#44 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 12:41 AM

Dear Mr Papoutsis,

I'm sorry to read your latest reply, but suspect its tone has demarcated a certain line in this discussion. I do not wish to become involved simply in an enflaming of the passions; and if this has happened in any way due to what I have written, then I ask your forgiveness for this.

However, defensive misrepresentations won't do. I have already made very clear that I am in the midst of travels and will not be able to sit down and respond to your comments in reaction to my criticisms of your Greek usage until I am finished with my journey. Please do not make this out to sound as if I am not willing to engage with your views on these matters: I have already explicitly stated that I would when I am finished travelling and able to do so.

It is similarly unhelpful to characterise open, constructive criticism as 'directly attacking and maligning' your work. Criticism is meant to engage critical discussion, so that works can be improved. This is what I and others have attempted to offer; and several of us have repeated more than once that our hope is that the project might be improved. However, this seems increasingly unlikely given the manner in which you respond to any and all criticism of your work.

As to my criticism of your English usage: I invite you to re-read my posts above, in which, quite to the contrary accusation of simply falling on stock arguments and not engaging with the subject matter, I have responded on a point-by-point basis to all the questions of variation and development that you have provided, and then have rather meticulously drawn out examples from your work that demonstrate serious grammatical and linguistic flaws. I have done this to point out errors such that these might be improved and your work strengthened; if, however, your response is simply to stand your ground and accuse those who offer constructive criticism as 'retreating to old arguments' or 'not engaging' with a 'well-reseasoned reply/rebuttal', and 'attacking and maligning' your work, then I'm afraid you are demonstrating also a confusion between 'defending' and 'defensiveness' -- for critically defending a work is intrinsically to be open to correction, counterpoint, critique, etc. Simply stating that your way is right, no matter what comments are made or evidence might be provided to the contrary, is a textbook definition of being defensive.

An example of a constructive way forward on the matter of English usage might be this: I have provided you with a listing of concrete examples in your work where English grammar and usage has been clearly, unequivocally distorted in a manner that, in my characterisation, makes it 'non-English'. If your assertion is in fact that it is, somehow, within the scope of developing English to concoct such phrases, please provide some examples of this from other texts and translations, which might give us some substance for your view. Can you offer some examples of similar distortions of the second-person singular/plural distinction that substantiate your usage as anything other than a new language of your own creation? If you can, this might provide us with some concrete definition to your position, and the basis for some further conversation.

Next, please allow me just to say that your queries as to why we haven't raised questions of the Orthodox Study Bible's translation have quite a simple answer: we are not discussing the Orthodox Study Bible at present; we are discussing your translation. Deflecting criticisms by simply pointing to other texts that may have their own flaws, is -- forgive me for repeating the necessary term -- simply defensiveness. It is a way of avoiding dealing with the actual criticism. On a personal level, I have plenty of criticisms of the OSB's translation; the reason I have not raised these in this thread is, again, because the OSB is not the translation we are discussing. If we have a thread in which we do, then I may make my comments there.

Finally, I would like to encourage you to think quite carefully before descending into ad hominem characterisations and attacks (e.g. your phrases beginning 'Where are people like you...?'), particularly when you have no idea of what efforts and work have been engaged in by the people you seek to characterise and implicitly denigrate. You, and the others you have mentioned, are far, far from the only Orthodox translators who have worked with the sacred Scriptures, and it is a clear form of prelest to suggest, as you quite openly do, that those whom you term 'the so-called experts' have failed to provide such materials as they should have done 'years and centuries ago', while you and those whom you site are those to 'stick our necks out' -- and thus apparently are to be treated as outside the realm of constructive criticism and correction.

The first sign of good Orthodox translation (as opposed to either secular-scholarly translation on the one hand, or personal-selfish translation on the other) is humility. Far more concerning than errors of Greek translation or English usage, is a lack of humility before fraternal discussion, criticism, and constructive engagement. Without this, a translation will never be Orthodox, however precise the language.

So: forgive me if I have caused you offence. If you still wish to engage with discussion on your translation, you are of course most welcome to enter into the details and queries I've provided.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#45 Panayioti Papoutsis

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 03:24 AM

Hiermonk Irenaeus:I defend myself and my translation, and you can it defensive. According to your logic then I should just take my criticism and enjoy it. Sorry I don't do that. I don't step back I step up, and I give as good as I get. You want humility, why not show some first.If you truly wanted to give me, Michael Asser, David James constructive criticism you would have contacted me privately and discussed my translation in an instructive and scholarly tone. You intentionally dragged me and my translation out into a public forum and proceeded to attack my translation and my abilities.When the OSB OT LXX was being translated I privately offered my advise when I saw the private drafts, and never once publicly attacked any translator. Only after the OSB came out and the criticism of many was not heeded did I and others openly criticize the OSB, which you have yet to do when it has many of the same so-called mistakes that the HOB contains. So please do not talk to me about humility or respect because you have shown none to me.Second, I answered your criticisms point by point and you have yet to answer them point my point via a rebuttal. I will continue to wait.As for me being critical of the so-called experts not giving us an Orthodox English translation of the Bible. You and others have had 3 centuries, and I don't see anything yet. Proof is in the pudding, and, guess what? Nothing! So yeah I am critical, and I have a right to be and so does every other English-speaking Orthodox Christian. The Protestants have done it, the Catholics have done it, and the Orthodox? Nothing. Sorry that's not being defensive, that's not being rude, that's stating the facts.In any event, do or say what you want, but until you openly criticism the OSB, like you have the HOB, EOB, The Asser LXX English translation, etc., your points ring of open bias, and of protecting YOUR OSB translation.Good nightPeter Papoutsis

#46 Ryan

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 03:35 AM

Mr. Papoutsis-
I, for one, think Michael Asser and David James are doing great work. Their translations have the advantage of being beautiful, as well as conforming to proper English grammar. I know Michael Asser responds favorably to friendly critique and in fact seeks it out. You could learn a great deal from those two.

As for Fr. Irenei somehow owning the OSB, I have seen quite a few criticisms of the OSB on this forum and I don't recall Fr. Irenei defending it. It seems to me he was one scholar among many, and not even in a central role, and can hardly be held responsible for the final product. I have reservations with the OSB myself and would be glad to share them but as Fr. Irenei says, that's not the translation currently under discussion.

#47 Father David Moser

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 04:10 AM

Hiermonk Irenaeus: You intentionally dragged me and my translation out into a public forum and proceeded to attack my translation and my abilities.


I would like to point out that it was not Fr Irenei who brought up your translation on this forum, rather that it was initially commented on by others. Fr Irenei's was about the 15th comment on the topic. He was not the one who brought the translation into a public forum but rather responded to a conversation already in progress. Let me also point out that by publishing a work it is implicitly opening the way for evaluations and criticisms of all kinds - public and private.

I would also like to remind all the participants in this discussion that while comments about the text are one thing but that it is important to refrain from making comments on the personal motivations, traits and qualities of any other person. Please keep the comments here on discussing the qualities of the text/translation - not on the personality and qualities of the translator.

Fr David Moser

#48 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:51 AM

Dear Mr Papoutsis,

Please consider learning more about what you speak before you make pronouncements: I, for one, have been openly critical of the OSB's translation in many public conferences and discussions, and have commented upon the various flaws in its translation and form in many places. But, as before, this thread was begun to discuss the merits, progress, style, etc. of this particular translation project (i.e. yours), not the OSB; so please do not attempt to side-step such constructive discussion by simply claiming that such critiques 'ring of open bias' simply because they focus on the text actually being discussed, rather than some other. If you wish to begin a thread whose focus is the OSB and the merits of its translation, you are more than welcome to do so -- and I will gladly engage with it there.

On more relevant matters, I'm afraid that perceiving critical engagement and detailed criticism as equivalent to an aim 'to attack my translation and my abilities', really is as strong an indication as one could receive of your unwillingness to submit your efforts to the constructive, critical dialogue with others -- an approach that is most unfortunate and sadly threatens to sideline your efforts even further (and which is certainly not representative of the attitudes of other Orthodox translators, including some of those you have mentioned). Yet genuine criticism (including the critical comments I have made of your project) is offered precisely so as to identify problems, deficiencies or other issues that have the potential to be redressed, corrected, improved through discussion, deliberation and action upon various points that are refracted through dialogue with others. If you are willing to genuinely, openly engage with such criticism and discussion, it might have the effect of helping you produce a better product. If you perceive it simply as 'attack' and 'maligning', it of course will not influence an improvement of your end results at all; but in such a case it will then serve well to help others identify and appreciate issues and questions with which you were not yourself willing to engage.

So, rather than your continuing with ad hominem remarks, I would encourage and invite you and others into constructive dialogue with the same words I used in my last posting:


"I have provided you with a listing of concrete examples in your work where English grammar and usage has been clearly, unequivocally distorted in a manner that, in my characterisation, makes it 'non-English'. If your assertion is in fact that it is, somehow, within the scope of developing English to concoct such phrases, please provide some examples of this from other texts and translations, which might give us some substance for your view. Can you offer some examples of similar distortions of the second-person singular/plural distinction that substantiate your usage as anything other than a new language of your own creation? If you can, this might provide us with some concrete definition to your position, and the basis for some further conversation."



INXC, Hieromonk Irenei

#49 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 08:48 AM

Dear friends and readers,

I have only limited time this evening, and can respond at this point only to one of the Greek instances I identified in an earlier posting as problematic, in a promised return to Mr Papoutsis' response.

The passage in question is Genesis 1.3, there the Greek is: καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός Γενηθήτω φῶς. καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς. On the Holy Orthodox Bible project's translation of this phrase, I originally wrote:

"For Gen 1.3, the [HOB] translation is rendered “And God said, Let light be created, and light was created.” The awkwardness of the passive form in English seems to be caused by the translator’s desire to keep strictly to the voice of the Greek; however, this doesn’t work, as the Greek alternates voices between the two occurrences of the verb in that sentence (καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός Γενηθήτω φῶς. καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς). So the translation fails to render the Greek as written. But it also fails to translate accurately the key term itself, which is not ‘to create’, but ‘to come into being’. The verse would more accurately be translated, “And God said, ‘Let light come into being; and light came into being’."


There are two distinct issues identified in this short criticism: (1) the fact that the HOB translation translates both occurrences of the verb in the passive, when in the Greek they are not both passive (for those interested in the technical terminology, the first is an aorist passive imperative; the second is an active aorist middle deponent); and (2) that the HOB translation uses 'to create' as the base rendering of the root verb γίγνομαι, rather than 'to come into being'.

Mr Papoutsis, your response to these comments was as follows:

RESPONSE: The Greek phrase in question is: "και είπεν ο Θεός γενηθήτω φως και εγένετο φως" (or kai eipen ho Theos genēthētō phōs kai egeneto phōs). literally this is translated as: "And said God, "Be born light, and born was light, or light was born." I translated the Phrase as: "And God said, Let light be created (i.e. Born), and light was created (i.e. Born). I understand your point between being born and being created, but being born and being created, IMHO, hold the same connotation. in fact, if we look to the English translation of the Latin Vulgate (Douay-Rheims) we find the following transation of Gen. 1:3 - "And God said: Be light made. And light was made." The full phrase in latin is "dixitque Deus fiat lux et facta est lux" ("And said God Be light made, and light was made"), from the Greek "και είπεν ο Θεός γενηθήτω φως και εγένετο φως." Since fiat lux would be literally translated as "let light be made" (fiat is from fieri, the passive form of the verb facere, "to make" or "to do"). Both the Greek and the subsequent Latin bear out the authenticity of my translation as an accurate rendering of the underlying Greek. Again, you and others may not like it, but to say its incorrect or inaccurate is just plain false.



The first thing one needs to say here is that this response doesn't fully reply to point (1) of my criticism, namely the distinction of voice between Γενηθήτω and ἐγένετο​. There is a nuanced difference between a passive imperative and a middle deponent (i.e. active) indicative verb: namely, the one suggests a passive condition of being acted upon, and the other an active condition of acting. Thus the Greek text seems to be making a nuanced and theologically insightful point: God commands (by His own active power) that light 'come into being' -- i.e. that it be the passive result of His own power and work; and following this command, light, being made active by God's creative Word, actively obeys the command and so becomes. The point here is not that one cannot make a stark, insistent stand that both forms might in theory be translated synonymously; my point is that the Greek preserves a nuance, a distinction, and so a solid translation should reflect this distinction, rather than simplify and generalise it. Translating both terms as if they were synonymous forms is a loss of the nuance and insight of the original -- something which ought to be seen as a deficiency of a translation, if there is (as indeed there is) a way to effectively represent it in English.

As to point (2), on the question of whether γίγνομαι ought to be rendered 'to create' (as in your HOB translation) or 'to call into being/come into being', this really raises some deeper questions of just what we are speaking of when we talk about an 'Orthodox translation'. In purely lexical terms (i.e. dictionary definitions and comparisons with how the term is translated in other works), you can certainly make a case for translating this verb as 'to create' (and this is the approach you have taken in your reply, above). However, an Orthodox rendering of what became a key term in the early Church, ought to take into consideration the nearly two centuries of debate the Church Fathers engaged in over just what this term meant, and how it related to closely-associated terms (e.g. γεννάω, γεννήσομαι). The Church Fathers, for example, clearly understood γίγνομαι (the verb we have in this verse) to be different in its nuance and technical meaning from 'to create' (ποιέω), and so, for example, made sure to distinguish them when writing the Creed:


γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί, δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο



Again, the question here is what an Orthodox translation into English of the Scriptures ought to look like. Surely, the translation rendered should be founded on the usage of the Church and her Fathers, not simply on lexical comparisons; and if the Fathers took such deliberate pains to emphasise that there is a distinction, a difference, between γίγνομαι ('to come into being') and ποιέω ('to create'), why are you -- in what aims to be an Orthodox translation -- disregarding their nuance and collapsing the distinction? Calling upon the Latin edition (as you do in your response) is interesting, perhaps; but the Latin verbs here do not possess the same degree of nuance and distinction (interestingly, this was precisely one of the points that caused confusion between the Greek-speaking and Latin-speaking Church in later centuries); but in this case we are dealing with the Greek text of the Scriptures, which employs terms which the Fathers deliberated in detail, and whose nuanced differences were considered so central and important that they found their way into no less a cardinal document than the Creed itself.

So, where does this leave us? Firstly, the fact remains that to translate Γενηθήτω and ἐγένετο in Genesis 1.3 as if they were parallel in grammatical voice, is to lose the nuance of the Greek -- and this cannot be written off as something inevitably lost in moving from Greek to English, as it is perfectly possible to represent this nuance in the English language. And secondly, the choice to translate γίγνομαι as 'to create' on grounds that 'being born and being created, IMHO, hold the same connotation', is to make a personal choice that dramatically goes against the whole testimony of the Church Fathers of the first three centuries, for whom 'to be born' and 'to be created' most emphatically did not hold the same connotation -- a point of radically important theological nuance for which many were ready to become confessors and martyrs in the dispute with the followers of Arius. These Fathers have taught us something, and our responsibility is to receive what they have taught, and allow it to inform us in our own understandings and work; and in this case, this means that we ought to preserve that which they so ardently distinguished and defended. For this reason, my comments here are aimed to encourage your re-thinking of your approach to this verse on these two key issues, so that what is currently a translation that loses the nuance of the original Greek and apparently takes no account of the patristic reading of the key terminology, might be re-worked both to effectively convey the nuance of the original, as well as relay its terminology within the perspective of the Church Fathers' illumined definition of the vocabulary.

If this seems to some like a great deal of attention over small matters (this whole response, for example, over only nine words in the Greek text of one verse of Genesis 1), perhaps this might go to show how careful, attentive, ascetical and committed to the testimony of the Fathers (in addition to careful, attentive and accurate in the grammar of the languages) we must be when attempting truly Orthodox translation. At more than a few points in history, the Fathers of our Church fought long and hard-won battles 'over a single iota', over single words read from the Scriptures, employed in theological writings. We cannot engage in work with our sacred texts in an authentically Orthodox manner without submitting ourselves not simply to the linguistic and grammatical issues in their own right (which none the less must occupy us, as they occupied them, to the finest details), but also with the theological, contextual, and other precisions handed down to us through their testimony. So let us rise to the challenge, and the standard of perfection set before us in the Gospel!

INXC, Hieromonk Irenei

EDIT / Additional comment (added after above was originally posted): If further support for the fact that γίγνομαι ('to come into being') should carefully be rendered as distinct from ποιέω ('to create, to make'), we might simply point out that the LXX of Genesis 1 itself makes and maintains this distinction by employing the two different words at differing points in the creation verses: so in Genesis 1.3 (the verse in question) as well as 1.6, etc., we have γίγνομαι; but in 1.7, 1.16, etc. we have ποιέω. Indeed, the transition from 1.6 to 1.7 is telling: in 1.6 God says 'Let a firmament... come into being' (Γενηθήτω), and in the next verse 'God created the firmament' (καὶ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ στερέωμα). Even internally, the LXX text of Genesis 1 makes absolutely clear that 'to come into being' and 'to create' are not synonyms, and have distinct meanings. This cannot be overlooked when making a translation.

Edited by Archimandrite Irenei, 07 August 2011 - 04:46 PM.
Added additional comment at end


#50 Panayioti Papoutsis

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:51 PM

Dear friends and readers,

I have only limited time this evening, and can respond at this point only to one of the Greek instances I identified in an earlier posting as problematic, in a promised return to Mr Papoutsis' response.

The passage in question is Genesis 1.3, there the Greek is: καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός Γενηθήτω φῶς. καὶ ἐγένετο φῶς. On the Holy Orthodox Bible project's translation of this phrase, I originally wrote:



There are two distinct issues identified in this short criticism: (1) the fact that the HOB translation translates both occurrences of the verb in the passive, when in the Greek they are not both passive (for those interested in the technical terminology, the first is an aorist passive imperative; the second is an active aorist middle deponent); and (2) that the HOB translation uses 'to create' as the base rendering of the root verb γίγνομαι, rather than 'to come into being'.

Mr Papoutsis, your response to these comments was as follows:



The first thing one needs to say here is that this response doesn't fully reply to point (1) of my criticism, namely the distinction of voice between Γενηθήτω and ἐγένετο​. There is a nuanced difference between a passive imperative and a middle deponent (i.e. active) indicative verb: namely, the one suggests a passive condition of being acted upon, and the other an active condition of acting. Thus the Greek text seems to be making a nuanced and theologically insightful point: God commands (by His own active power) that light 'come into being' -- i.e. that it be the passive result of His own power and work; and following this command, light, being made active by God's creative Word, actively obeys the command and so becomes. The point here is not that one cannot make a stark, insistent stand that both forms might in theory be translated synonymously; my point is that the Greek preserves a nuance, a distinction, and so a solid translation should reflect this distinction, rather than simplify and generalise it. Translating both terms as if they were synonymous forms is a loss of the nuance and insight of the original -- something which ought to be seen as a deficiency of a translation, if there is (as indeed there is) a way to effectively represent it in English.

As to point (2), on the question of whether γίγνομαι ought to be rendered 'to create' (as in your HOB translation) or 'to call into being/come into being', this really raises some deeper questions of just what we are speaking of when we talk about an 'Orthodox translation'. In purely lexical terms (i.e. dictionary definitions and comparisons with how the term is translated in other works), you can certainly make a case for translating this verb as 'to create' (and this is the approach you have taken in your reply, above). However, an Orthodox rendering of what became a key term in the early Church, ought to take into consideration the nearly two centuries of debate the Church Fathers engaged in over just what this term meant, and how it related to closely-associated terms (e.g. γεννάω, γεννήσομαι). The Church Fathers, for example, clearly understood γίγνομαι (the verb we have in this verse) to be different in its nuance and technical meaning from 'to create' (ποιέω), and so, for example, made sure to distinguish them when writing the Creed:

γεννηθέντα οὐ ποιηθέντα, ὁμοούσιον τῷ Πατρί, δι' οὗ τὰ πάντα ἐγένετο



Again, the question here is what an Orthodox translation into English of the Scriptures ought to look like. Surely, the translation rendered should be founded on the usage of the Church and her Fathers, not simply on lexical comparisons; and if the Fathers took such deliberate pains to emphasise that there is a distinction, a difference, between γίγνομαι ('to come into being') and ποιέω ('to create'), why are you -- in what aims to be an Orthodox translation -- disregarding their nuance and collapsing the distinction? Calling upon the Latin edition (as you do in your response) is interesting, perhaps; but the Latin verbs here do not possess the same degree of nuance and distinction (interestingly, this was precisely one of the points that caused confusion between the Greek-speaking and Latin-speaking Church in later centuries); but in this case we are dealing with the Greek text of the Scriptures, which employs terms which the Fathers deliberated in detail, and whose nuanced differences were considered so central and important that they found their way into no less a cardinal document than the Creed itself.

So, where does this leave us? Firstly, the fact remains that to translate Γενηθήτω and ἐγένετο in Genesis 1.3 as if they were parallel in grammatical voice, is to lose the nuance of the Greek -- and this cannot be written off as something inevitably lost in moving from Greek to English, as it is perfectly possible to represent this nuance in the English language. And secondly, the choice to translate γίγνομαι as 'to create' on grounds that 'being born and being created, IMHO, hold the same connotation', is to make a personal choice that dramatically goes against the whole testimony of the Church Fathers of the first three centuries, for whom 'to be born' and 'to be created' most emphatically did not hold the same connotation -- a point of radically important theological nuance for which many were ready to become confessors and martyrs in the dispute with the followers of Arius. These Fathers have taught us something, and our responsibility is to receive what they have taught, and allow it to inform us in our own understandings and work; and in this case, this means that we ought to preserve that which they so ardently distinguished and defended. For this reason, my comments here are aimed to encourage your re-thinking of your approach to this verse on these two key issues, so that what is currently a translation that loses the nuance of the original Greek and apparently takes no account of the patristic reading of the key terminology, might be re-worked both to effectively convey the nuance of the original, as well as relay its terminology within the perspective of the Church Fathers' illumined definition of the vocabulary.

If this seems to some like a great deal of attention over small matters (this whole response, for example, over only nine words in the Greek text of one verse of Genesis 1), perhaps this might go to show how careful, attentive, ascetical and committed to the testimony of the Fathers (in addition to careful, attentive and accurate in the grammar of the languages) we must be when attempting truly Orthodox translation. At more than a few points in history, the Fathers of our Church fought long and hard-won battles 'over a single iota', over single words read from the Scriptures, employed in theological writings. We cannot engage in work with our sacred texts in an authentically Orthodox manner without submitting ourselves not simply to the linguistic and grammatical issues in their own right (which none the less must occupy us, as they occupied them, to the finest details), but also with the theological, contextual, and other precisions handed down to us through their testimony. So let us rise to the challenge, and the standard of perfection set before us in the Gospel!

INXC, Hieromonk Irenei


Question. Contrary to what you and others may think prior to your criticism on this thread people were DISCUSSING my translation. You and YOU ALONE without privately contacting me went onto a public forum and provided Constructive Criticism. Really? I did not know that the members of this board have any connection with the translation of the HOB. Guess who does? I DO! So if you wanted to provide constructive criticsm you did NOT provide it to me. So if you did not provide it to me, but to this board then its an attack, and has nothing to do with constructive criticism.

If you have been critical of the OSB like you have been of the HOB then show it! Post it! Because neither I nor anyone else have seen you very detailed criticism like you have done with the HOB. Until I see it I will continue to hold your opinions as biased!

I have been an honest translator. Just because you disagree is not my problem. As for the current Greek criticism in rebuttal that you have provided I find it very flawed and will deal with it as time permits.

Finally a clarification my calling was to translate the LXX into English and NOT to hit a target audiance. I am not hear to make a profit, but to translate the word of God. So again, if you do not like it, please do not buy it. It really is that simple.

Peter

#51 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 04:36 PM

My second example of an instance where the Greek is of questionable accuracy referred to Genesis 1.9, and as requested we can look a little more closely at this. My comment was as follows:

At Gen 1.9, the [HOB] translation reads “And God said, Let the water, which is under the sky be collected into one place…”. Here the translator begins to show what is an extremely common occurrence in the translation: mis-translation of significant terms based on expected idiom—for the Greek does not say ‘into one place’ but ‘into one gathering’ (Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός Συναχθήτω τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ὑποκάτω τοῦ οὐρανοῦ εἰς συναγωγὴν μίαν). This is an interesting phrase, and one that deserves to be rendered according to what the Greek actually says (there is, for example, something telling about the creation saga, in the organisation of the cosmos here not by ‘place’, but by communion/gathering).


The heart of this point is this: the Greek συναγωγή (which is the same word from which we obtain the English 'synagogue', which is essentially but a transliteration of the Greek) has a nuanced meaning, provided by the fact that it a compound of two terms: ἄγω (to lead, to draw, to gather) and σύν (together) -- thus συναγωγή means 'a gathering, an assembly'. It is quite a different word from τόπος, which means 'place, position, locale'. To translate Genesis 1.9 using 'place' is to use the meaning of τόπος where the LXX actually provides συναγωγή, which represents a loss of the nuance of the Greek text, and -- as I said in my original comments -- for the sake of expected idiom loses the significance of the actual Greek expression.

Here is your response, Mr Papoutsis, to my comment:

RESPONSE: The phrase in question is Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Θεός· συναχθήτω τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ὑποκάτω τοῦ οὐρανοῦ εἰς συναγωγὴν μίαν, καὶ ὀφθήτω ἡ ξηρά. καὶ ἐγένετο οὕτως. καὶ συνήχθη τὸ ὕδωρ τὸ ὑποκάτω τοῦ οὐρανοῦ εἰς τὰς συναγωγὰς αὐτῶν, καὶ ὤφθη ἡ ξηρά. Now your criticism here is a bit disingenuous because you give only the phrase you want to give and not the whole phrase which is "collected into one place" which means very clearly "a gathering," which again means its an accurate translation of the underlying Greek. If someone or something is to gather, where does its gather but to a specific place. In fact, if you look up the term "Gather" you will see that it means to assemble or collect into a certain place." Again, this is an accurate transation of the underlying Greek, and to say that it is inaccurate is again false.


Again, I suspect that what is at part at play here is a desire to suggest that simply because by brute force of interpretation, one might be able to suggest that two terms are synonyms, therefore they should be used as such; and so you are defending 'a place' as essentially equivalent to 'an assembly, a gathering'. However, in both Greek and English these terms are distinct, and the fact that the Greek has maintained that distinction (i.e. by using συναγωγή instead of τόπος) should be reflected in the English translation, particularly as English itself also has the ready capability of conveying the same nuanced distinction.

As to the question of whether the longer phrase (provided in Greek in your response) somehow makes the meaning clearer than only the key phrase (εἰς συναγωγὴν μίαν) which I provided in my original comment: perhaps it does -- but only in terms of emphasising my point. The translators of the Septuagint (i.e. into Greek) very expressly and purposefully used συναγωγή ('a gathering, an assembly') in both instances in this longer phrase, which is a term that in the Greek of their time (as well as in Classical Greek usage and in later ecclesiastical usage) really never means 'a place' but always specifically indicates the act of coming together / bringing together / drawing together, etc. When the Septuagint wants to say 'in one place', it consistently uses τόπος ('place') to do it -- e.g. Genesis 28.11, or perhaps more obviously Ecclesiastes 3.20, where a gathering (there, of creatures, of all creation) is referred to as going 'to one place': τὰ πάντα εἰς τόπον ἕνα. Given the fact that the Septuagint, therefore, does use τόπος ('place') to mean 'place', as we would expect, and even includes a precisely parallel expression to Genesis 1.9 at Ecclesiastes 3.20 to speak (in the latter case) of gathering 'in one place' by using τόπος, the fact that Genesis 1.9 makes a point of deliberately using a different word (συναγωγή, 'gathering, assembly') must be seen as significant and should be reflected in a translation into English. It seems entirely fair to say that, had the translators of the LXX wanted Genesis 1.9 to read 'in one place', they would have written as such (given that they used that phrasing elsewhere); however, they wrote something different.

What is the significance of all this? The Septuagint conveys the creation of the earth in remarkably nuanced, insightful terms. Already in Genesis 1.3 we have seen how this nuance says something quite remarkable about how God's creative Word is the power that gives creative force to creation itself (in this case light) by the delicate usage of verb voices. Now in 1.9, when God commands the separation of the waters, they are 'gathered together into one assembly' -- i.e. those which were spread out, expansive, in a sense representative of chaos, are now assembled, brought into purposeful gatherings.

Is it possible just to convey the basic idea that the waters which weren't in one place now were? Fine. But this is not in fact what the Greek does. The careful, deliberate vocabulary makes clear that what is being emphasised (twice) is the gathering together, the calling unto unity, the drawing into assembly -- not an emphasis on place or location. And we might go further, to see how this nuanced distinction beautifully relates the creation of the cosmos to the life of the Church -- for συναγωγή is also an ecclesiastical term that describes the assemblies of God's followers (the faithful of Israel in the ancient days; the New Israel of the Church later), which describes precisely the assembly/gathering of the faithful, not the place. So once again, the translators of the LXX have provided a nuance that not only brings wonderful clarity to the account of creation in its own right, but also speaks to the relationship of creation to the life of the Church in a most powerful way.

Should this not be represented in an Orthodox translation of the Scriptures?

INXC, ​Hieromonk Irenei

#52 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 05:33 PM

Dear readers,

Forgive another thorough posting or two today; but as I have a rare moment to write at length, and in order to avoid further suggestions that specific points are not being replied to, I am attempting to do as bid and follow up on the responses made to the small sample of points of Greek translation problems I made long ago.

I think that the criticisms I originally made of the translation of Genesis 1.10 and 1.20 can be taken together, as in both cases we are dealing with what is at root the same issue: namely, whether one's own interpretive desire to find a basic meaning warrants renderings in English which actually fail to reproduce a nuanced distinction of terms present in the Greek. With regard to Genesis 1.10, I originally wrote the following:

"[A]t Gen 1.10, the [HOB] translation imposes the term ‘gathering’ (which had been present in 1.9, but not translated as such) where it does not exist in the Greek, and therefore fails to translate the LXX’s shift in nuance. Papoutsis’ translation reads: “And God called the dry land Earth, and the gatherings of the waters He called Seas”; but in fact the Greek does not say ‘gatherings of the waters’ but ‘systems of the waters’ (καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ὁ θεὸς τὴν ξηρὰν γῆν καὶ τὰ συστήματα τῶν ὑδάτων ἐκάλεσεν θαλάσσας). The LXX has presented an interesting and revealing reading: The waters under the sky are gathered into an ‘assembly’, and the ‘systems’ of this assembly are called seas—an interesting (if perhaps confusing!) nuance which the translation fails entirely to present, since it does not actually translate what the Greek says.


Again, to clarify, the root issue here is that in the actual Septuagint text, we have two different terms being used: συναγωγή ('an assembly, a gathering together') in 1.9, and here in 1.10 σύστημα ('system, an organised composite'). While obviously the two terms have elements of overlapping meaning (which is why they are being used in tandem in the text), the plain fact of the matter is that the LXX uses them as discrete and different terms, and as such they should be represented as discrete and different terms in English, so as to preserve the nuance and insight of the Greek itself. So here we have a situation in which συναγωγή (which does not mean 'place', but 'gathering', as I pointed out in my last posting) is united in phrasing but held as distinct and different from σύστημα; thus to render σύστημα as 'gathering' is entirely to lose the distinction and the nuance of the original text.

The response made to this critical point was as follows:

RESPONSE: The phrase at issue is: "καὶ ἐκάλεσεν ὁ Θεὸς τὴν ξηρὰν γῆν καὶ τὰ συστήματα τῶν ὑδάτων ἐκάλεσε θαλάσσας. καὶ εἶδεν ὁ Θεός, ὅτι καλόν. Literally transated as: "And Godd called the dry (land) earth (ground, land), and the systems (gatherings/collections)of the waters (He) called seas." The bone literal transation of συστήματα τῶν ὑδάτων is Systems of water. However, we are taking about the collection of the Seas, NOT their necessary movements! In English we sea the definition of System as: System (from Latin systēma, in turn from Greek σύστημα systēma, meaning "a whole compound of several parts or members, system", literary "composition" or "gathering." given this understanding I again fail to see the validity of your allegation that I this is an inaccurate translation (or approximation) or that I have failed to express this nuance. I would argue that not only have I properly expressed this nuance through the "word" gathering," but have properly translated the underlying Greek word συστήματα. To simply translate the word as simply system is, IMHO, ambiguous. "System" of the Waters, OK, what does that mean? But "Gathering of the Waters, which in the context given which is the calling of them "SEAS makes the word choice of "Gathering" the best option that balances accuracy with the imparting of proper contexual meaning.

While you have done a good job of demonstrating that taken solely in its own right and in exclusion of all other considerations, the Greek σύστημα might effectively be translated as 'gathering', you have not engaged with the real substance of the point, which is that to translate it in such a way here, in light of the LXX's deliberate distinction of the term from συναγωγή, which means 'gathering', is to collapse the distinction maintained in the Scriptures and lose the nuance it provides. If you do not like the English word 'systems' (which it is your perfect right not to), there are other English words or phrases you might try -- but the option that cannot be seen as effective or accurate is to make the word a synonym for συναγωγή, which means 'gathering', for in such a case you remove the nuance the Greek provides.

As I hinted at before, my criticism of the translation of Genesis 1.20 is based on a similar fundamental issue, though taking a slightly different form. My original comments on this verse were as follows:

"There are also problems that move away from the relatively simple matter of not translating the Greek words actually present, to a mis-translation of Septuagintal grammatical constructions that render odd (and incorrect) readings. So, for example, at Gen 1.20 we find [in the HOB]: “And God said, Let the waters bring forth reptiles having life…”; but this is not possible from the Greek phrase (Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεός ᾿Εξαγαγέτω τὰ ὕδατα ἑρπετὰ ψυχῶν ζωσῶν). If the Greek meant to say ‘reptiles having life’, it would have had to use an accusative participial construction, which it does not. The translator has tried to take ψυχῶν ζωσῶν as a participial construction nonetheless, which it decidedly cannot be in this phrase in this form; it is clearly (and must be) a genitive, so the phrase should read ‘reptiles [or “creeping things”] among living creatures’. This is a tremendous reading that the LXX offers! ‘Among living creatures, the waters brought forth creeping things’—something quite different than what is presented in the translation!


For clarity, the point of criticism here is that ἑρπετὰψυχῶν ζωσῶν is not a participial construction (as it has been translated in the HOB), and to take it as such makes it say something different from what is said in the Greek. Your response, Mr Papoutsis, was as follows:

RESPONSE: The phrase at issue here is the following: "Καὶ εἶπεν ὁ Θεός· ἐξαγαγέτω τὰ ὕδατα ἑρπετὰ ψυχῶν ζωσῶν καὶ πετεινὰ πετόμενα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς κατὰ τὸ στερέωμα τοῦ οὐρανοῦ. καὶ ἐγένετο οὕτως." Now the term ψυχῶν ζωσῶν in this context to me is having life otherwise the translation makes no sense. It can be a monumental reading, but are the Reptiles dead? No, they are alive and are having life. Literally the phrase would be translated as Reptiles life living or Reptiles soul live. This, for me, along with the overall context of the phrase leands itself to Reptiles having live. Now can it be Reptiles among the living or souls? Sure, but to make a better translation I went with "Reptiles having life." It makes better sense in the context than Reptiles among the living or among living creatures. Again, not inaccurate, but a translation choice.


Once again, however, the phrase ψυχῶν ζωσῶν cannot mean 'having life' as a modifier of 'reptiles', as the declensions simply don't allow for it. It must be a partitive genitive, meaning that the reptiles are 'of those [creatures] having living souls' -- i.e. that there is a large collection of creatures 'having life', out of which the reptiles are one. This is eminently clear in the Greek construction (for ψυχῶν can only be a plural genitive; as a participle it would have to be singular, which clearly cannot be the case here).

What is the Greek really saying in this phrase? Out of the [creatures] having living souls, the sea brought forth the reptiles. When one thinks about it, what sense does it really make to translate [as the HOB does] '...bring forth reptiles having life'? What other kind of reptiles would it bring forth -- dead reptiles? The statement here becomes fairly pointless. However, what the Greek actually suggests is that there are categories of beings with 'living souls', and that among these, the sea brought forth the reptiles. That​ is an interesting and insightful revelation.

In both of these instances, as with some others on which I have commented, my basic criticism is not that you cannot simply insist that what you've translated cannot be forced out of the Greek by boiling its terms and constructions down to a rather generic level; my criticism is that by doing so, you are losing the clarity and nuance of what is actually present in the LXX text, and this is a real problem of translation. If you text is to accurately reflect the subtle and wonderful language of the Septuagint, of our Scriptures, it needs to reflect these things, not ignore them. As such, if you are able and willing to go back and look again at such issues, your project will be all the stronger for it.

INXC, ​Hieromonk Irenei

#53 Panayioti Papoutsis

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:06 AM

Nuance? Really? You have to make your arguments a lot harder to refute. I'll have a response(s) for you on Tuesday. See you then.

By the way where are your extensive criticisms of The Orthodox Study Bible? You can just direct me in the right direction if you do not want to show everybody your extensive criticisms?

See you Tuesday.

Peter

#54 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:36 AM

Dear Mr Papoutsis,

If your intention is to engage with criticism (mine and/or others') in a constructive and productive way, then I shall look forward to your comments when you have time to make them. However, if your intention is simply to carry on with a mildly sarcastic tone and 'refute' any discussion and critical engagement with your project, then please don't feel the need to spend any considerable time doing so, as this is not helpful. I am quite sorry indeed that critical comments on your work have elicited such a hostile tone and negative approach as we have seen in your recent posts, particularly when, contrary to what you've suggested in recent postings, it was in fact you yourself who called this translation to our attention here in the Discussion Community and invited comments. You should be aware from reading this forum that its whole spirit is to engage in critical, open, constructive discussion about the topics and texts that are considered here. If you are not comfortable engaging constructively in such a critical discussion of your own works, you are under no obligation to carry on further; however, such engagement with the text will not be quashed simply because you choose to take forthright discussion as 'attacks'.

Finally, and forgive me for being blunt, I have no intention whatever of lowering the tone of this conversation to a tit-for-tat with comparisons to other translations, as this serves only to distract from the actual questions of the specific issues of this translation that we are discussing here -- so please do not ask further for me to address the OSB in this thread. I am not going to do so. I have already told you that if you wish to engage with my or anyone else's views on that translation, you are welcome to begin a thread addressing it, and I will be more happy to participate in that discussion. But it is not, and will not be, our focus here.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#55 Paul Cowan

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 12:53 AM

Please take your time. My eyes are starting to bleed.

If there is something to what Fr. Iraneaus says then take the time to say "I'll look into that" and go look into it, if there isn't anything to what he says then say "so you say" and go complete your work and don't worry about the concerns of others.

Neither of you is willing to give any ground on this so all we have now is a back and forth [you say I say]. We're not getting anywhere and all this banter is taking time away from your translation. Your criticism is that he did not address you privately about his concerns but voiced them here. I seriously doubt there would have been any different outcome if it had been in private. You would still have felt attacked because you are not under authority of anyone to do this project and you are doing it all yourself. YOUR blood sweat and tears are being brought in to question. (is what I perceive you to be feeling/thinking). Your lashing out in your last post only confirms this.

Where is your team? Who is countering your thinking process? Are you bouncing thoughts off someone else or you all alone in your basement? Are these personal revelations of discernment? If you are the smartest person in the room, of course no one else will contest what you have written. If you are in the right, then you have no need to worry what Fr. Iraneaus has to say; but because you are pushing back so hard trying to prove your point so vehemently, it is noticeable to others you are insecure about what you have accomplished.

Either accept the suggested corrections or don't. It's that simple.

Paul

#56 Panayioti Papoutsis

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:01 PM

Please take your time. My eyes are starting to bleed.

If there is something to what Fr. Iraneaus says then take the time to say "I'll look into that" and go look into it, if there isn't anything to what he says then say "so you say" and go complete your work and don't worry about the concerns of others.

Neither of you is willing to give any ground on this so all we have now is a back and forth [you say I say]. We're not getting anywhere and all this banter is taking time away from your translation. Your criticism is that he did not address you privately about his concerns but voiced them here. I seriously doubt there would have been any different outcome if it had been in private. You would still have felt attacked because you are not under authority of anyone to do this project and you are doing it all yourself. YOUR blood sweat and tears are being brought in to question. (is what I perceive you to be feeling/thinking). Your lashing out in your last post only confirms this.

Where is your team? Who is countering your thinking process? Are you bouncing thoughts off someone else or you all alone in your basement? Are these personal revelations of discernment? If you are the smartest person in the room, of course no one else will contest what you have written. If you are in the right, then you have no need to worry what Fr. Iraneaus has to say; but because you are pushing back so hard trying to prove your point so vehemently, it is noticeable to others you are insecure about what you have accomplished.

Either accept the suggested corrections or don't. It's that simple.

Paul


Dear Paul:

Thank you for your thoughts and comments, but I think I need to clarify certain things. I started this project in 1996. Since then I have been contacted privately by Metropolitan Isaiah, Fr. Pantelemion of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, Mother Miriam, Bishop Gregory, a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch, Mr. Michael Asser, Mr. David James, Fr. Laurence Cleernewick, Prof. Albert Pietersma, and many others who have offered me great advice, suggestion and constructive criticism, and I have taken it all and have never been rude to them.

Further, I have welcomed discussion and dialogue, as I first came on to this site. However, neither I nor anyone else, except for Fr. Ireneaus, has every attacked so openly and blatantly anyone's translation efforts. When Fr. Irenaeus did so I pushed back and I pushed back hard. I defend myself, I am not being defensive. Especially when Fr. Irenaeus is so closely connected with the OSB translation.

Ask yourself: Why publicly attack me and my translation? Why not offer me privately constructive criticsm if that as his true intension? Why go public? I correctly believe he is biased in favor of his translation, as I am biased in favor of mine. If you find that so hard to believe I don't know what to tell you.

In any event, you are 100% correct that this discussion is getting us nowhere, so I will end it here. But know I have no great financial interest in the HOB. Its out there for people to use or not use. IT IS THAT SIMPLE! You do not like it and think its bad, then do not waste your time with it. I really do not care about my blood, sweat and tears as the HOB is NOT the Orthodox Church's official English Bible, but niether is the OSB. The Orthodox Church in the English-Speaking part of the world has yet to give us an English Bible of our own. We are still waiting.

Until then I voiced my opinion and that of others that the RSV with the Expanded Apocrypha (1977 edition) is still the best English Bible out there for Orthodox Christians. I also believe that Michael Asser's translation of the Psalms and those of David James are quite excellent and should be used. As for the HOB and EOB, well that's up to you. I like them and I use them with my RSV and I do quite nicely. This is, of course, until the Church acts and gives us a definitive edition. Only time will tell.

To spare your eyes from bleeding any further, as people do not like to see how the sausage is made, I will end it all here and bid you and Fr. Ireneaus peace, farewell, and ask for forgiveness for my rudness, but never for my defense. Always know that when you attack a man publicially do not be surprised that he attacks you back publically. Its only fair.

THE END!

Panayioti (Peter) A. Papoutsis
Chicago, IL

#57 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:34 PM

It is one thing to defend one's work, to explain or defend why a specific decision was made is fine and dandy. But to "defend" one's translation by referring to the mistranslations of people who do not speak English as a primary language as evidence of "development" of English to justify questionable aberrations is specious at best. To then resort to ad hominem attacks is "being defensive" by definition.

Or so it seems to this bear of admittedly little brain.

Herman the Pooh

#58 Archimandrite Irenei

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 12:07 AM

Dear friends,

It is an unfortunate thing to equate engaged criticism with 'attack'; but it can also be a hard thing to receive criticism in a constructive way, so it is in some sense understandable that this mistake could be made. In any case, Mr Papoutsis, I am quite sorry if you've taken such critical engagement as attack, as clearly you have, and been upset by it. I have never meant to attack -- nor do I think I have attacked -- you or your work: I've merely pointed out as carefully as I could some flaws with it which I feel are serious, and which should be considered and (ideally) corrected if the project is to gain strength and the end result be something stronger. I think all of these still stand, and if ever you wish to discuss them, you are more then welcome. Until then, or if not, I wish you peace in your work.

If others have ongoing questions about this translation, or any of the issues that have arisen in the discussion of it, the thread of course remains open and may be posted in freely.

INXC, Fr Irenei

#59 Panayioti Papoutsis

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 05:41 PM

It is one thing to defend one's work, to explain or defend why a specific decision was made is fine and dandy. But to "defend" one's translation by referring to the mistranslations of people who do not speak English as a primary language as evidence of "development" of English to justify questionable aberrations is specious at best. To then resort to ad hominem attacks is "being defensive" by definition.

Or so it seems to this bear of admittedly little brain.

Herman the Pooh


Ad hominen attacks? When did pointing out perceived bias become ad hominen? I do not believe I called him any dirty or offensive names? If I did I apoligize, but I was forceful and that's not defensive. Usually when I am in court arguing I am defending my client's position, as I was hear. So if you think I was being defensive try walking into a courtroom and see what happens.

Peter

#60 J.J. Morris

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 10:32 PM

This would be nice. I was interested in reading the point and counterpoint on the Greek-to-English. Admittedly, I was bored by some of the debate about the english language, however.

I don't think defending one's work amid criticism should be classified as a negative personality trait at all. It can be, but I think there is insight being given from differing points of view here - and I don't think one person's point of view will automatically change another person's point of view as well. While reading I've found myself picking sides on points being made, and it doesn't always come out that I pick the same side.




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