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#21 Guest_Razhden

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Posted 16 April 2002 - 02:20 AM

Greetings in Christ,
To quote from some of my acquaintances in the "Good Ol' New Hess Hay" ,"I like the Saint James Bible. If it was good enough for Peter and Paul,It's good enough fer' me."
God bless us one and all,
ICXC,
Razhden


#22 Guest_Mark T. Kern

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Posted 17 April 2002 - 02:07 PM

Greetings in Christ,

I have a question for the discussion group along similar lines. I have been helping to post the Gospel and Epistle Readings, and the Troparion and Kontakion for the day at the www.antiochian.org web site, where the webmaster is Michael Srour. The intent was for congregations to be able to download this directly to their Sunday bulletins, and the text we use is that of the Gospel Book and the Epistle Book. Beginning with Holy Week, we're adding Old Testament Readings also, and the text I chose to use is the Brenton Septuagint text. My question for the group is what is the consensus regarding the choice of Old Testament text. I preferred the Septuagint text because it is the Old Testament of the Church. But its old English does not appeal to me.

Your brother and servant,
Mark

#23 Richard McBride

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 01:33 AM

Blessed of the Lord, Mark:

You asked (April 17, 2002):
“what is the consensus regarding the choice of Old Testament text. I preferred the Septuagent text because it is the Old Testament of the Church. But its old English does not appeal to me.”

Many on the list have expressed a similar hesitation (as yours) to what I would call a 19th Century Elizabethan translation, as Brenton’s LXX (but it is not Old English); more so, they refer to a dislike for the KJV. I’m sure they will mention as much in their welcoming response to your message.

What they are less likely to mention is the recall that your Antiochean Archdiocese typically uses a modern version of the Elizabethan English in much of its prayers, liturgical texts, etc., seen principally in the use of the Familiar pronouns long purged from Modern English. I assume, that for consistency’s sake, this Antiochean practice would not “appeal” to you either, Mark? I ask because of my experience with Greek Orthodox translations which have given free reign to all manner of new English language meanings.

Apparently, the Greek Archdiocese long ago decided it did not care for either the Antiochean or other English versions of any texts. Thus lacking appeal, and in typically modernist fashion, the Greek Archdiocese now re-translates everything (they have left the Our Father in the Elizabethan form, but all else is up for grabs). That is meant literally, for much of today’s Typikon will be re-translated again in next year’s version (if past habits hold true). Of course, what does NOT change, is the Greek Typikon. Thank God, the modernizers have been kept out of that pail.

Unhappily, this is too easily the fate of translations. The unchanging guide from the past, in its old and unpopular language, seems to beg for modernization to the change-hungry exegete. But why not? The doors are always thrown open to every new exegetic invention, perversion and preference once the necessity for a new translation flicks its tongue from the Tree of Knowledge. Translation is re-writing. That which is re-written is newly invented, hopefully based upon references to the past; but such reference are vague at best (the KJV itself), and at worst they result in some horror as The Inclusive Version.

That much I say in general terms. More to the point, I am surprised that even more invention was not exercised on The (NT) Orthodox Study Bible -- and I mean such even though it was not itself translated, being (as I know you know) from the NKJV. But the NKJV was already a product of Reform, was it not? (You may correct me on any of this, for, ”I know nothing”, even as Manuel claimed on Fawlty Towers.)

My impression is that the Vulgate was flawed, the LXX was merely Greek and thus passed over Hebrew texts, which themselves ignored Aramaic, and so enter the Masoretic Texts as a basis for the NKJV Psalms. But were the Masoretic texts not compiled over a millennium after the LXX? What looms at me in all this is that anyone with an exegetic mind may find all the excuses needed to launch into a new frenzy of re-writings.

But truly, I know nothing. I sadly wonder what ever happened to the true notion of Tradition (not mere lip sinking)? Does anyone believe as I do, that a mind which avoids the urge for newness and change, may yet find solace in struggling with Tradition, with an attempt to merely reproduce that which is traditional in this new language -- not to rewrite it. Alas! What a word game it all becomes. It is logomaxia. For there are so many urges to re-write; for instance: In the name of diversity; In the name of women’s rights; In the name of the sacredness of the individual. There are so few pressures to ignore being relevant using these heresies; there seems no urging at all to wish for the namelessness of mere copying -- attempting to truly reproduce the old into the new. No glamour in that, I suppose.

All of which is lost on this new generation. I know that. Still, I feel that I needed to say as much; and to say even more pointedly, that I am convinced that the last thing needed in re-doing the LXX is any concern -- any concern at all -- for that which I personally feel; or that which appeals to me. Even from an aesthetic viewpoint, such personalisms are out of place to a truly (philosophically) aesthetic nature, much more so to a Traditional Mind.

Forgive not what I say, but my poor ability to express these thoughts: richard



#24 Guest_Razhden

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 02:19 AM

Greetings in Christ,

And in all of this translating what becomes of the "Qumran" documents?

I guess I have to draw the line when I get to "Our Patron, who resides elsewhere.Provider is your name....."

God guide us into all truth,
ICXC,
Razhden

#25 Guest_Chad Duskin

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 08:13 AM

I guess if I could sum up some of why I would like to see an Orthodox Translation of the LXX into English and an Orthodox translation of the New testament into English it would be:

1. The Bible of the New Testament church was the Greek LXX. I have read various stories as to how the translation came about, but what is important to me is that the translation was done before the coming of the Messiah and by people who had access to the Jewish scriptures and knew the traditional way of understanding the Hebrew and Aramaic languages written without vowel markings. They read the scriptures with the hope of the Messiah forefront in their minds. They put into Greek (a very precise written language) the Hebrew scriptures. And if the stories are correct (that all 70 individual translators came up with the same translation) then the Holy Spirit superintended the translation work. The Law and the Prophets pointed to the Messiah. On the other hand, the Masorites translated and interpreted the Jewish scriptures through the eyes of denying that Jesus was the Messiah. They weren't looking at the scriptures to find the Messiah, but reject the true Messiah.

2. No good translation of the LXX exists in the English language. By "good" I mean a translation that is checked and rechecked for accuracy and fluency in English. Not just the scholarly work of one person 130 years ago. It has to be done with the same purpose the the original 70 translators had to bring the Word of God to the people in the language of the people. By Word of God I mean both the written message and the second person of the Holy Trinity. It has to have as its goal a revealing of the Messiah to the reader. If the Bereans searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was telling them about Jesus was true then I want to use the same scriptures they did: the LXX.

3. The majority of English New Testament translations are done by Protestant groups that mis-translate words and passages to hide or erase the liturgical, sacramental and episcopal history of the early church. The Greek word for tradition is translated as tradition when used as the traditions of men but is translated as that which is passed down when it refers to the Tradition of the Apostles. The Greek word for doing the liturgy (liturgizing) is translated as ministering. There are other examples and different translations out there will give different results. I am just giving a broad example of what I've seen.



Just some thoughts.

Chad


#26 John Curtis Dunn

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 12:06 PM

Chad Duskin Posted on Thursday, April 18,

If the Bereans searched the scriptures to see if what Paul was telling them about Jesus was true then I want to use the same scriptures they did:


Acts 17:11 "These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so."

The key word seems to be "readiness of mind [prothumia {proth-oo-mee'-ah}].} I prefer the King James translation here for it does capture the Greek with much more vitality of thought than most (if not all, some just follow the KJV) modern English versions.

NKJV: readiness
NASB: great eagerness
CEV: gladly accepted
TEV: great eagerness
RSV: eagerness

The issue in translation (IMO) is much more than a matter of exact literalness. Matthew has in a previous post referred to the beauty of the KJV, and beauty] should always be a contributing factor. But, the beauty in the KJV choice is the consistent imagery to which the translators strived (again not always perfect, but IMO superior). Indeed, in reading the KJV it appears (again IMO) that the translators approached their task with "readiness of mind."

IMO, there is something lost in the translation alternatives exampled above. The KJ translators give something to the reader and LISTENER (for in the Orthodox Church reading of Scripture is consumated in the hearing which we know is more than audio reception). What then is being imaged for the LISTENER in the KJ which is not actively present within the alternative readings?

Let us examine 2 Cor. 8:11 which reads in the KJV as: "Now therefore perform the doing [of it]; that as [there was] a readiness (prothumia) to will, so [there may be] a performance also out of that which ye have." And in the same chapter verse 19: "And not [that] only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and [declaration of] your ready mind (prothumia):"

The word eagerness does not elevate the attention of the hearer in the same manner as <u>readiness of mind</u>. There is a sound value in the English language which our linear thought process fails to apprehend, but which our attentive comprehension in listening is waiting to be engaged. If the sound value becomes monotone or bovine our attention becomes passive and perhaps even deaf.

The phrase "readiness of mind" introduces a sound value which is rarely articulated in English (I am referring to the hearing of Scripture): "red'i ness. There are few English words which have this sound; which is the sound of a color: RED. (there's a concept for you). The whole KJV phrase images an active mind.

Perhaps it is coincidence but, modern neurological studies have shown the brain is most active when it is filled with blood (and forgive me if this sounds like a stretch), that is the color RED. In the phrase readiness of mind there is expressed a mind which is already active towards the truth. This phrase expresses an active synergism is taking place between the speaker and the hearer (let him who has ears, hear). The mind of the Bereans was made active or engaged by the preaching of the Apostle. It was the synergism between the Apostle and the Bereans which motivated them to 'search the Scriptures."

The word eagerness does NOT communicate this same state of mind. The term eagerness expresses a different kind of blood activity elsewhere in the body. This term has more to do with sensual desire. Or to be blunt: "A dog can be eager, but never will it possess a "readiness of mind" (sorry dog owners). The word eager also describes a 'sudden swell" or rise in tide. This also corresponds to the passions.

So, IMO, the task of the Orthodox English Translator is much more arduous than for those who are busy filling the coffers of publishing houses. For the Orthodox Translator must always be of a "ready mind" towards the hearer as well as towards the reader. For Orthodoxy is communicated much more in the hearing than in the reading.

That last statement is clearly apparhent in the case of the Bereans. When they searched the Scriptures their minds were already actively engaged in receiving the truth. Thus, when they read the texts of the Scriptures, they were able to understand the Scriptures Spiritually having just had their minds filled with the sound of a Spirit-filled Apostle/Preacher. Their apprehension to the truth of Christ as found in the Scriptures was directly related to their having been engaged synergistically with the Apostle's voice. Or to state it another way, "They read the Scriptures with the Apostle's voice ringing in their ears."

As an aside; this is why the task of the Reader is so viberant in the Divine Services of Orthodox worship. If he reads as one who himself has a "ready mind" the hearers are made capable towards synergistically participating by having "readiness of mind." Where the Scriptures are concerned in Orthodoxy, both the "reading' and the "hearing" are hypostatically joined, they become one.

Sincerely,
John Curtis








#27 John Curtis Dunn

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Posted 18 April 2002 - 10:10 PM

John Curtis Dunn posted on Thursday, April 18,

"Where the Scriptures are concerned in Orthodoxy, both the "reading' and the "hearing" are hypostatically joined, they become one."


Please note: I am amending my last statement. After re-reading it I am less certain that my use of "hypostatically joined" communicates clearly what I was describing concerning the synergistic relationship between "Reader and hearer." The question begs how the speaker and listener become one? While that is not precisely what I was intending to suggest, it may be that others will understand my choice of words to state just that.

Also, please forgive my accusative statement concerning 'translators.' I wrote: " So, IMO, the task of the Orthodox English Translator is much more arduous than for those who are busy filling the coffers of publishing houses." While working today my mind reflected back upon my choice of words, I then recalled that Matthew has noted that he personally knows several who have worked or are presently working on translating the Holy Scriptures. I have no excuse, I did not mean to be offensive, if I have offended, please forgive me.

Sincerely,
John Curtis.

#28 Guest_Chad Duskin

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Posted 19 April 2002 - 02:10 AM

Thank you John for those comments! You have said what I was trying to say above in a clearer way. I want a translation of the scriptures into English by people who have a readiness of mind for people who have a readiness of mind. I believe that the translators of the LXX were such people and why it has been the scriptures of the Church in the East since the beginning.

As for the New Testment....I am not extremely knowledgeable in what texts are considered better than others and it seems as if the Fathers quoted different manuscripts themselves within the same work. It didn't change the meaning of it for them. That is what I want in an English translation: a work that will reflect the Tradition of the Church as embodied in the Orthodox faith.

Chad


#29 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 21 April 2002 - 01:32 PM

Dear Chad, John and others reading and taking part in this discussion,

I continue to enjoy the dialogue on language and translation. Since the conversation is turning towards the conception of what it means to produce an Orthodox translation of a given text (most notably, of the sacred Scriptures), I thought I might offer my own thoughts via a few words I wrote on the subject a couple of years ago. I realise the risk of seeming self-aggrandizing in referencing my own work, but it saves my from having to type it again.

The document, 'On the Theory and Practice of Orthodox Translation', is available at:

http://www.monachos....ranslation.html

INXC, Matthew


#30 Guest_Mark T. Kern

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Posted 24 April 2002 - 02:39 PM

Greetings in Christ,

In my question of 4-17, I asked what English translation the discussion group preferred. The question was not just a "nice-to-know", but was directed toward what English translation we should be using for the Old Testament Readings that are posted on the Antiochian web site. The Scripture Readings, including the Gospel and Epistle Readings and now Old Testament Readings are being posted so that Churches can download them directly to their weekly bulletin. The text for the Gospel and Epistle Readings are a "corrected" RSV text, where major gaffs in the RSV "interpretation" are changed to reflect an Orthodox viewpoint. As Chad Duskin and John Curtis Dunn mentioned, the impact on the listener is considered, since the RSV text reads well to an English speaking audience.

Regarding a choice of an Old Testament text, I prefer the LXX, so I used the Brenton LXX text. Richard McBride seemed to prefer the LXX also, but I didn't sense a strong preference. Chad Duskin definitely preferred the LXX, but noted that no good English translation exist -- which includes the Brenton LXX that we've started using. So this comes back to the reason for my original post!!! What other choice is there?

In preparing the Gospel and Epistle Readings for posting on the web site, I download the RSV text from the BibleWorks5 software, since I can't find an electronic copy of the Gospel Book or the Epistle Book. Then I go through the text, comparing it to the Gospel Book and the Epistle Book word for word. I suppose that I could do the same with the RSV text (or some other text like the NASV or NKJV) and compare it with the Brenton LXX for major gaffs. This will be a lot of work (Has anyone noticed how many Old Testament Readings there are just for Holy Week??), and I would like to see a consensus of opinion in favor of that before embarking on such a huge task. I expect that all this will be solved with the publishing of the Orthodox Study Bible in 2005, but what should we use until then?

Razhden asked what became of the Qumran documents in all this translating. The Qumran documents are only fragments, and some of the fragments are the LXX. There now exists an English translation of the entire collection of Qumran documents. If anyone would like to know details of the publisher, etc., let me know.

Your brother and servant,
Mark

#31 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 25 April 2002 - 12:20 AM

Dear all,

Perhaps I should clarify one point regarding the Old Testament in Orthodox usage: as far as the Church is concerned, the only 'official' version of the Old Testament is the Septuagint (LXX) -- it is the only version of the OT authorised for full doctrinal clarification, hierarchical quotation, etc. All other versions of the OT, including any version drawn from the Hebrew text (thus including the NKJV, RSV, NRSV, NASB, KJV, NIV and almost every current English translation) is considered fundamentally disparate from the Church's Old Testament on every point in which it differs from the text of the LXX.

This does not mean that these English versions drawn from the Hebrew cannot be used by Orthodox Christians; obviously they can, especially since an adequate translation of the LXX in English has yet to be produced (though it is under way in the OSB project). But it does mean that OT Scriptures as presented in these versions must always be taken somewhat generally: it is unwise to get into too intricate debates over precise wording or exact conceptual presentations in these versions, as often one finds that the debate centres over issues that simply aren't present in the LXX in the first place.

In terms of which English version of the Old Testament should be used in a given parish, this is entirely the decision of the bishop. Many jurisdictions or dioceses will have set policies (the RSV, NRSV and KJV are very common on large-scale terms), but certain bishops may require a certain translation. It should definitely be stressed that only the bishop has the authority to decide which version of Scripture should be used in a liturgical setting, and this is a question of such great import that it should be the bishop who decides which version is to be used. One generally finds that bishops are eager to receive such questions as these: if you are pondering which version of the OT to use in a website/download system, the sure route to follow is to ask him. Posted Image
INXC, Matthew


#32 Richard McBride

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Posted 09 May 2002 - 06:12 AM

Christos Anesti!

If anyone would like to see this article, send me an email and I'll mail it back

YESHUA OF NATZERET: Willis Barnstone's translation of the New
Testament aims to restore its Hebrew context
--> SEE http://chronicle.com...35/35a02001.htm

richard

Alithos Anesti!




#33 Guest_Clarence Dodd

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Posted 11 May 2002 - 12:43 PM

I really got a chuckle out of this piece of translation from Mark:

"Yohanan the Dipper appeared in the desert, preaching an immersion of repentance for the remission of sin. The whole land of Yehuda and all the people of Yerushalayim came out to him and were being immersed by him in the Yarden river" --*and among those people came "Yeshua," from "Natzeret in the Galil."


I am amuzed at the thought of commemorating "The first finding of the honorable head of our Father Yohanan the Dipper."

Clarence

#34 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 13 May 2002 - 09:17 AM

Hello Richard and Clarence,

This Hebraic translation of the New Testament sounds like an interesting project. It is not the first of its kind (it's actually a rather common task to assign to religion undergraduates, on a much smaller scale - say perhaps a chapter of one of the Gospels, etc), but it sounds like one of the most expansive.

Generally I find such things interesting as historical reminders and contextual aids: it is good to remember and be reminded of the Jewish context in which Jesus lived, and it is true that centuries of translation and transmission have largely buffeted this reality out of most people's minds. However, from the scant previews of Barnstone's translation that I've read, I'm not entirely certain that he's remained wholly accurate to the sense of the Hebraisms in all instances. Still, it is an ear-startling (and therefore reflection-inspiring) text.

Such things as this are useful for study. Not, of course, for general devotional and certainly not for liturgical use.

If anyone has actually read a copy of this work, I am sure that many on these message boards would be interested in reader 'reviews' of the text.

XB, Matthew


#35 Guest_Rev. Bartholomew Wojcik

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Posted 10 June 2002 - 04:00 AM

XC is risen!

This is a "tripartite" message.

PART ONE
Posted on Thursday, 25 April, 2002 - 1:20 am. by Matthew C. Steenberg
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
...as far as the Church is concerned, the only 'official' version of the Old Testament is the Septuagint (LXX) -- it is the only version of the OT authorised for full doctrinal clarification, hierarchical quotation, etc.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am curious as to whether there is any formal Church statement regarding the "official" status of the LXX. I'm curious because not all Orthodox Fathers have always relied exclusively on the LXX, noteably Semitic (e.g. Syriac) or Coptic Fathers, among others, who may not have even known Greek.

This query is obviously not intended to jettison the LXX, rather to find its "official" place among the various historic texts vis-á-vis those canonical fathers who used different texts-- though likely consistent with the LXX.

PART TWO
Has anyone the final word on the Apocalypse (Revelation)?

The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers (second series, vol. 14) lists five distinct canons covering the list of true scripture. They are not unanimous. Canon XL of Laodicea excludes Revelation, while Canon XXIV (Gk: XXVII) of the Carthaginian/African Code includes it, though Apostolic Canon LXXXV (approved in Canon II of the Synod of Trullo) excludes Revelation. Two more from Trullo, St. Gregory the Theologian’s canon and St. Amphilochius’ canon seem to exclude it.

The commentaries of the various holy Fathers of the Church are equally mixed.

The Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol. 5, p. 695) concludes its discussion on the history of the canonicity of Revelation thus:

The Tullan Synod (or Quinisextine [Fifth-Sixth] Council) held by Eastern bishops in 692 affirmed the Laodicean canon that omits Revelation, but they also drew up a list including it…. The Byzantine list of canonical scriptures called the Stichometry of Nicephorus (ca. 810 C.E.) omits Revelation. The oldest surviving commentary in Greek was written either by Oecumenius or Andreas…. The archbishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, Arethas, wrote the third surviving Greek commentary ca. 900 C.E. These commentaries apparently won greater recognition for Revelation in the East. In the 10th and 11th centuries Revelation began to be included once again in Greek mss of the NT….

It seems that Revelation has a repeatedly “in and out” history of canonicity, though all Eastern Orthodox New Testament manuscripts have included it for last millennium or so.

Another point to consider is wether the book was used in the West's liturgical services as Scripture prior to the Great Schism and if this was accepted as orthodox and not viewed as an abberation, perversion, or corruption. If so, this would argue for canonicity.

PART THREE
Does anyone have enough familiarity with the relatively new English Standard Version Bible to offer a review or critique? You can see its web page at the ESV homepage.

in XC,
Fr. Bartholomew Wojcik


#36 Guest_John Wehling

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Posted 10 June 2002 - 08:55 PM

Christ is Risen!

Fr Bartholomew, I am unfamiliar with the ESV, but looking at the homepage and seeing the list of translators makes me wary. It is fundamentally an evangelical/fundamentalist Protestant project, and if the NIV is any sort of indicator, the ESV will be less than suitable for Orthodox Christians.

By the way, I am wondering if anyone can confirm a statement that I heard. The gist of it was that Billy Graham’s group produced a modern Russian translation of the Bible that used the word “icon” (in Russian) for the second commandment, so that it read “you shall not worship an icon…” Can anybody confirm this? I would be terribly disappointed if this were true

John



#37 Guest_Geoffrey Wind

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 02:19 PM

I am planning on buying a copy of the Bible for a friend, as he doesn't have one for studying (he is Orthodox). I recently saw the "NRSV Anglicised Edition" in the store: does anyone know anything about this? What exactly makes it "Anglicised"? Is it an accurate translation?

Thanks. Geoffrey


#38 Guest_John Wehling

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 04:14 PM

Geoffrey,

The New Revised Standard Version is an "updated" version of the RSV. What that means, among other things, is that it contains inclusive (non-gender specific) language for mankind, but not for God. Most Orthodox that I am aware of have frowned on this translation, for good reason I believe.

You might consider buying your friend the Orthodox Study Bible. It has notes accompanying passages of scripture, articles on key themes, morning and evening prayers, etc. It is a useful tool, especially for those who are new to the faith or not practiced in scripture reading.

Hope this helps,

John Wehling


#39 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 08 September 2002 - 06:28 PM

Dear Geoffrey and John,

With regard to the Anglicised edition of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), the 'anglicised' in the title means that the style of the English employed has been modified from that of the standard NRSV (which was the work predominantly of scholars fluent in American English) to that of current British English usage. This is apparent throughout in spelling differences ('honour' for the American 'honor'; 'centre' for 'center'; etc), as well as variations in standard English grammar (e.g., British English employs 'got' for the American past participle 'gotten', and so on). This text is not a re-translation from the original Greek and Hebrew, but rather an adjustment of the English used in the translation to conform to British usage.

I believe that the Introduction of the edition provides thorough details on the nature and extent of the changes.

A brief word on the translation of the NRSV itself. This text is often criticised for being 'gender inclusive' in its rendition of gender-specific terms in both the Hebrew and the Greek sources. In a very strict sense, this is true: terms such as anthropos ('man') are translated most often as 'person' (though in each instance, the NRSV editors provide a footnote presenting the literal 'he'); and as John has pointed out, such gender-inclusivism is never applied to titles or pronouns relating to God.

But, taking it as a given that such a rendering of the original terms is, indeed, 'inclusive', it is so in a way that even the most traditionalist and fiercly Orthodox of scholars would recognise as inherent in the text. The Fathers themselves understood and accepted that such a term as anthropos in Greek decidedly does not refer just to a 'male', but to a human person - of either gender. This is readily apparent throughout the patristic witness, where quite often we find examples of such statements as 'The Lord Jesus Christ came to save all anthropoi', or 'The teachings of the sacred Scriptures are given for all anthropoi'. In both of these examples, the direct object is obviously (and in many cases in the texts, explicitly) both males and females. The simple point of the linguistical matter is that the term anthropos in Greek does not possess the gender-exclusivity of the English 'man'. There are those of us (and I am numbered among these) who are keen to retain the traditional sense of the English collective 'man' as a gender-inclusive term; but even we cannot object to the fact that translating anthropos as 'person' is entirely justifiable and in no way a 'modification' of the original text.

To translate a text 'inclusively' is, in this sense, nothing more than bringing out the truly inclusive sense of the original language(s); and there is nothing objectionable to such a methodology from an Orthodox viewpoint.

But there is another, far more insidious kind of 'gender inclusivism' which the Church is ardently against. This is the sort that genuinely modifies the obvious gender-specific meaning of an original text, in order to make it more 'paletable' to the modern-day hearer. To translate 'son' as 'child', when the original was specifically intended to mean a male child, is a form of this sort of 'inclusivism'. To translate 'Father' as 'Parent' is another. Such translations are not translations at all, but re-interpretations of a text that present a different meaning than that intended by the original source; and to this kind of Scriptural translation the Orthodox Church gives no welcome whatsoever.

Back to the NRSV: One will find in its pages plenty of the first kind of 'inclusivism', which is not of itself objectionable (there are a few other issues with the NRSV that raise some slight objections; but this isn't really one of them). One will not find in the NRSV the kind of 'gender inclusivism' that is forbidden by the Church. In actuality, the NRSV is one of the better translations of the New Testament and Hebrew Scriptures available in English, and is widely embraced by the OCA in America, parts of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, and also the various Orthodox jurisdictions in the UK. If one is unable to read the Scriptures in their original languages, the NRSV is, in fact, probably the best translation from which to study if one intends to grapple with the text itself.

(All of this keeping in mind that the Old Testament of the NRSV, as with almost every other English translation, is of the Hebrew Scriptures and not of the Church's Septuagint version. At present, there is no acceptible English version of the Septuagint; though this will soon be rectified by the publication of the Orthodox Study Bible's new edition of the LXX.)

INXC, Matthew


#40 Guest_John Wehling

Guest_John Wehling
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Posted 09 September 2002 - 12:16 AM

Matthew et al.,

Prior to coming into the Church, I was a Protestant who used the NRSV almost exclusively, and who found it to be, for the most part, a fine translation. I found your comments about the OCA's use of the NRSV interesting, though, because I was told by the priest who brought me into the Church that the OCA (of which he is a part) frowned on the NRSV. When I pointed out to him that the NRSV didn't use inclusive language for God but only for references to mankind generally (as you highlighted clearly in your post), he countered with the examples of the Psalms. Here the "Man" who keeps the law of the LORD is often understood prophetically/typologically by the fathers as Christ. So in Psalm 1, which we sing weekly at Resurrection Vigil: "Blessed is the Man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked..." In the NRSV this comes out:

"Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked..."

I am not saying that you are wrong, Matthew, only pointing out the discrepancy between your comments and my priest's. I would be interested in any clarification you can offer me.

Peace,
John





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