OK the whole of John is done now, as draft, of course. It should be moved to completed books but I don't want to accidentally delete all this by some mistake I might make, so I'll leave this to whoever does know what they're doing.--Jonathan Gallagher10 December 2007
There's a message that's coming up complaining that this page is getting too long and to consider cutting it down to 32kB--any advice? Also I invite some good editing to improve style and flow... Jonathan Gallagher
- Concerning that message. It is an automatic one that always comes up about 32kb pages. Nothing to worry about. :) Arlen22 (talk) 15:50, 15 June 2009 (UTC)
- Don't worry about it, you have enough breaks already (at the chapter places). If it takes too long to load on your computer, click on the edit next to the chapter marker, that will only load whatever is below there until the next marker.--Jdavid2008 03:07, 3 December 2007 (UTC)
- GOING BACKWARDS? Looks like this is not going forwards, but backwards! I took a brief look at the evolving process and just in the first few verses noted John 1:6 now reads "There came to be a man sent by God, by the name of John." Now I'm not complaining about people editing the text I produced if it enhances clarity and style, but who talks like this: "There came to be a man"??? Let's be helpful, and not insert such odd "revisions"! Jonathan Gallagher (talk) 01:06, 4 January 2009 (UTC)
From Jonathan Gallagher, this book's translator: "I'm using NESTLE-ALAND GREEK NEW TESTAMENT 27TH EDITION. After translating I do check back against other versions just in case I've missed something, but don't use them at all. My only other reference is the Analytical Lexicon of the Greek New Testament by Timothy Friberg, Barbara Friberg, Neva F. Miller"
Greek Text: Nestle-Aland 26th edition
- ευρισκει ουτος πρωτον τον αδελφον τον ιδιον Σιμωνα και λεγει αυτω ευρηκαμεν τον Μεσσιαν, ο εστιν μεθερμηνευομενον χριστος. (John 1:41)
Current Free Bible Translation:
- Immediately he went and found his brother Simon and told him, "We've found the Messiah!"
First of all, it seems like you missed 'ο εστιν μεθερμηνευομενον χριστος', is it not in the 27'th edition, or was it omitted for other reasons?
Secondly, Although in the history of translations of the New Testament, it has been common to translate Ιησους χριστος as Jesus Christ, I am thinking that perhaps a better translation would be anointed Jesus, or the anointed Jesus, or something of that sort? It seems like it was a decision that was made originally when they translated what had been said and thought originally in Aramaic into Greek as they wrote down the New Testament. As far as I know this is the only place that uses the Hebrew/Aramaic μεσσιαν, other times throughout the NT it isn't transliterated, it's translated as the anointed-- in Greek χριστος. Why has this not been followed when translating out of Greek into other languages? I would propose translating χριστος instead of transliterating it--or at least I would propose starting a discussion on it.--Jdavid2008 05:53, 17 December 2007 (UTC)
- I've added in the missing text--thanks for noticing that. And for the moment, put in both, since it either should be like that, or "Christ" explanation in a footnote. This actually brings up a wider question of consistency, both in the issue of Christ/Messiah, and also in kurios = Lord/master and other terms. I suppose we're looking for consistency (though not sure whether this is absolute or not). .--Jonathan Gallagher 18 December 2007
- Hey Jonathan!! Yes, I've been wondering about consistency also -- in the Old Testament some people have translated YWH as Lord, and others as Yahweh. It isn't really important, and things like that we could decide after the whole Bible has been translated, and mass fix things pretty easy. We might as well start discussing it now ... I guess some sort of consistency would be good?
- Christ vs. anointed has been something I've been thinking about for a while, as well as Yahweh vs. Lord ... master vs. Lord is one I hadn't thought about, but also seems like a difficult one to decide between--to me Lord has more literary beauty, and I kind of feel like it ought to be there (perhaps because that's the way that I'm used to hearing it) but I think the word has lost it's meaning. I've grown up with it only in religious literature, it doesn't really mean master to me ... I haven't been sleeping well lately--hopefully I make some sense :)--Jdavid2008 06:03, 19 December 2007 (UTC)
- Agreed that there probably can be a fix later after more discussion on some of these more general points. On master/Lord of course kurios is also used not only for Jesus but more generally so a search and replace wouldn't be a good idea here! I agree that Lord is a more generally-used term, and similarly Christ--which though a transliteration now has a definite connotation and would be hard to replace without confusing people. I'd be happy to keep that just because it now is so commonly used. Hope you're sleeping better!--Jonathan Gallagher 16:06, 3 January 2008 (UTC)
- I'm with the argument that the text explicitly seeks to translate the idea, not just words or sounds. As it explicitly translates Messiach into the receptor language, so should we. Additionally, since most references to this appellation are Christos in the NT, we should be rendering the idea in the receptor language as well -- Jesus the Anointed, like John the Baptist. King Jesus would also be fine, imo, or Jesus the Messiah, since Messiah is actually better understood in English than it was to Koine Greek readers. The problem with King Jesus is that although it is the normal English title, the rank is too low! Messiah means the unique promised King.
- I think it is ironic that some Christian groups cling to the title Christ, which in my opinion is almost meaningless to anyone but Christians. To non-Christians, Christ is just the word that goes with Jesus in "Christian-speak" that means they think he is "the best". Some, of course, think it is his surname! Imagine if Christians dumped using Christ and always said King Jesus, now that would be confronting, but honest, but there'd be no room for confusion.
- I think translation is influenced by who the translator is and who the audience are. Is the Free Bible aimed at making the words of Christians available to people who are interested in becoming Christians? I think it can't adopt that position. As such, it will have different priorities and provide a different result. If transliteration is recognizable in English, that is about as NPOV as you can get.
- Translating as a Christian for an English speaking market I would translate Jesus Christ as Jesus the Messiah for adults and King Jesus for children. As a Wikipedian, I'd merely transliterate christos, noting the issues in an introduction to the whole work. Alastair Haines 02:58, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
- I'm confused. When you say you would transliterate christos, does that mean that you would have the translation read "Jesus christos" or "Jesus Christ?" And another thing to consider: Sometimes the Greek has the article, and sometimes it doesn't, so we have a difference in the Greek between "Jesus Christos" and "Jesus the Christos." Not to be too picky, but do we want our translation to reflect that distinction as well?
- As to translating "Messiah", although it seems admirable, doesn't that open up the question to non-Christians as to what a Messiah is? Might it be better to just use the traditional "Jesus Christ" and explain meaning in the footnote? (Also, some people object to Messiah, as they think it's a butchered form of Maschiach, or some other Hebrew original). And what about Jesus the Anointed, which is (if I've been told correctly) the actual meaning of Messiah and Christ? Fontwords 21:09, 5 May 2008 (UTC)
- PS: At the top of this topic, we have a verse in Greek that contains both the titles christos (Christ) and messian (Messiah). If we are going to use "Messiah" as a translation of "christos", how will we treat this verse?
- Thank you. Yes, unless I misunderstand you, those are most of the points I, and the first poster made, in different words. As clarification, I can't see Christ being a translation of christos, perhaps it's not a transliteration either. This verse in John is special because it raises a wider issue. I suggested above the meaning of Messiah is much better understood by people outside the Judaeo-Christian tradition than is the meaning of Christ. Ask an outsider what they mean, and I predict the answers -- "Christ = another name for Jesus" and "Messiah = great leader who will come." Imagine a hyperbolic newspaper headline, Obama -- a new messiah? or Obama -- a new Christ?. I propose these would have very different meanings, the first is pretty generic, the second is very loaded. I really have no idea what policy should be adopted by The Free Bible, I've just tried to think outside the square a bit and raise some issues I've not heard discussed much. Serves me right if they're not too clear, I guess.
- But the hypothesis is: John's audience understood Christ better than Messiah, ours understand Messiah better than Christ.
- This influences translation doesn't it? Cheers. Alastair Haines 03:21, 6 May 2008 (UTC)
- I'd never really thought of it in terms of the newspaper illustration. I think you're right. If we can get a consensus behind it, maybe translating "Christos" as "Messiah" might not be that bad an idea. Fontwords 13:32, 8 May 2008 (UTC)
- Thank you for your open-mindedness. My hypothesis could be right, but still not the best choice for translation. The consensus process should help us work things out, I think you are right too. Alastair Haines 08:27, 11 May 2008 (UTC)
- I would agree with Alistair's main point on the importance of the relative meanings of Christ and Messiah in today's society, and that the objective of the translation should be to be as readily understandable as possible. So my vote is for "Messiah," in general, though of course for the verse in question the explanatory "Christ" from the Greek would need to be used, otherwise you have "'Messiah,' which means 'Messiah.'"! Jonathan Gallagher 13:15, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
John 3:16, 3:18
It seems an unidentified user 184.108.40.206 has changed these two verses, changing the phrasing from "one and only" to "only begotten." I don't know whether this is a good or bad change, as I haven't looked in any detail at these verses, but I thought that, especially because this is an anonymous change, it should be discussed openly. Which is better, "one and only" or "only begotten"?Fontwords 18:27, 26 February 2008 (UTC)
- This is a modestly big debate in academic literature on the Bible, and I think this project should anticipate extended discussion of the matter, until our discussion reflects that all the significant arguments already in the literature have been involved in any final consensus we reach. That is, until it is clear to people that this translation has listened to experts, people will change it back and forth depending on which experts they follow, or on their own preferences.
- The best thing I could do is give a quick literature review. I will get around to that because it interests me. But, just now, all I can do is say I agree with the change. I'll put a case for it.
- There are two ways of making the translation. One asks, "what is the Greek word itself most likely to mean?" I think the answer to that is unique. However, the other question to ask is: "If John wanted to say unique what would be the most natural Greek? If he wanted to say only begotten what would be the most natural Greek?" I think monos alone would be sufficient to say unique, in fact, we add the and only simply to account for the additional information in the word. It seems to be emphatic. However, begotten is a possible understanding of the rest of the word.
- The issue is resolving an ambiguity from the context by a compelling explanation. Personally, I think emphatic singular unique fits the context, because John has told us that those who trust God become his children. However, I also think if John wanted to describe the Word as contingent upon God in some way, he would not use gennao because it means birth too directly. Selecting ginomai which can suggest begotten more indirectly would be a clever and clear way of doing better. Hence, I run with only begotten. (But I am also influenced by the creeds which interpret it this way, and they spoke Koine Greek!)
- Sorry if that's not clear. It is a big subject. Over time, we need to accumulate discussion of the topic that shows engagement with reliable sources, so readers who care can appreciate the issues at this point in the text.
- Talk pages are part of this translation -- they document it in a way that other translations cannot. I would argue this is ultimately what might make this translation distinctive and useful.
- charis kai eirene Alastair Haines 02:33, 4 May 2008 (UTC)
- Of course the problem with the word "begotten" is that a) it's hardly everyday modern English, and b) does clearly reference the process of "begetting" in the biological and sequential sense. The danger in using such a term is that if an equation is made between the "begats" of Matthew 1 and the "begotten" of John 3, the whole objective of John in writing the first chapter of his gospel is annulled. Jonathan Gallagher 01:51, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
I have taken up the task of reviewing the first chapter of John. I will amend the draft toward formal equivalence and I will be using the Nestle-Aland text as a basis.
Please feel free to review the changes and ask questions as they arise.
I will make every effort to begin updating my talk page with my credentials and background.
Thank you for your patience.
--Hieronymus 15:44, 30 May 2008 (UTC)
Issues with first verses
Current text: "In the beginning the Word was and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. 2 This one was."
There are three strong POVs reflected in these few words, and there is arbitrary inconsistency.
- Many thanks for pointing out your objections. I will try to be as concise as possible. I do disagree regarding what you call "arbitrary inconsistency"; as explained above, most of the changes made are in line with formal equivalence, the main purpose of which is to lift the major part of the exegetical burden of exegesis from the translator to the reader. This does affect the text's style to a certain extent, but hopefully not to the point of violating the language. I will be happy to work with you in achieving that goal; yet, may I point out at this point that formal equivalence does not equal interlinear translation. This should explain a number of your objections below. --Hieronymus 09:27, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- In the beginning the Word was
- Why capitalise Word? I agree, but the criteria are not clear.
- I am really not sure how one can make the criteria clear within the translated text. I believe that the tradition of capitalising the "Word" is mainly related to a certain degree of exegesis, i.e. the perception of the "word" as a personage, which in turn renders the "word" a person's name, which grammatically requires capitalisation. Since translation cannot be done out of context, I believe that verses such as 1:14 definitely define the "Word" as a name. Your thoughts on this?--Hieronymus 09:27, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- Why place the verb at the end of the sentence, which is not English? This must be changed. Greek and English syntax do not map one-to-one, so misunderstanding will be inevitable for English readers who do not understand Greek syntax. Why translate vocab, but not syntax?
- I somewhat agree with you on that. I disagree that placing the verb at the end of the sentence is not English - it could be handled in English, providing that the style of the rest of the text supported it. Furthermore, it is grammatically correct, as we have a typical subject + verb affirmative structure. I believe that writing "In the beginning was the Word" is also not English, as in English we are not allowed to use the verb before its subject in affirmative syntax. If we were to do that, we would have to render "In the beginning, there was the Word", thereby stylistically altering the text. A possible improvement would be the introduction of a comma after "beginning", although I do not find it necessary.--Hieronymus 09:27, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- Why is there a comma after God but not after was? If we are being literal, we can reproduce original punctuation. I don't recommend that, because punctuation follows syntax. Differences in syntax require differences in punctuation.
- Again, I agree with you, as this was probably an omission on my part. Although I feel the need to note that "we are not being literal". Formal equivalence is not necessarily literalness. It is rather a measure that can be applied to the extent that the text permits. It does involve "literal" or "word-for-word" translation (a term I am not very happy with) from time to time, but only when the text does not strip the target language from the entirety of its "naturalness".--Hieronymus 09:27, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- The first clause should read "In the beginning was the Word,"
- and the Word was with God
- Why include "and"? If we are to include every word, we must also include "with the God". In fact, we should probably also not supply "the" in "In the beginning". The current translation is inconsistent. Some connectives and particles were necessary in Greek because of the flexibility of syntax. English is much more rigid, where English syntax constrains meaning, we do not need to reproduce Greek markers that gave the same sense. Likewise, where English syntax requires markers that Greek did not, these should be supplied, where they do so without altering the sense.
- The second clause should read "the Word was with God,"
- So, you are saying that leaving the 3 clauses of the first verse connected using "and", much as the Greek text does, is for some reason wrongful to the English? Please explain. I do not agree with the claim that "the" must be included before "God", if we are to leave "and" there, for the simple reason that whereas "and" is not grammatically wrong (although it does render the text less natural to a certain, in my opinion, tolerable, extent), entering "the" before God would make no sense at all in English. "God" is traditionally treated as a name in English and therefore cannot be constructed with "the". (Hence the difference with the "Word", which is not a traditional name and only capitalisation can convey John's usage of it as a name across to the English reader). Connecting these three clauses with "and" is essentially the same as dividing them with periods. Would you rather prefer that syntax? I personally cannot find more merit in it. In fact, it deprives the reader of a better impression of the original text.
- There is no inconsistency here; we translate sticking close to the text to the degree that our target language allows.--Hieronymus 09:27, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- and the Word was a god
- This is again selective, literally the words are "and god was the word". Are we to capitalise or not? On what basis? What significance is there that "god" has a definite article the first time, and not the second? Greek can supply indefinite particles if it wants to, it does not do so here, why do we?
- The third clause should read "and the Word was God." "And God was the Word" is not correct according to the grammars, the English is awkward, or easily misunderstood to say something different to the Greek. However, "and the Word was a god" is supported only by the New World Translation, which is provided by an explicitly Arian branch of New Testament based denominations. It is at least POV, and at worst simply wrong. It is certainly UNDUE weight for it to stand in the main text rather than a footnote.
- We are not capitalising "god" here on the basis that it is no longer treated by the original Greek as a name, but as a predicate noun assigning quality. Would you care to share with us some of the possible "indefinite particles" that Greek could have supplied but did not?
- There is a reason why John omits the definite article from the third clause, as well as a reason why he places the predicate first. As a native speaker of both English and (Modern, I'll grant you) Greek, this is the only viable translation that would convey not only the meaning of the original Koine Greek to the English reader, but also the indubitable difference between the structures of the first two clauses and the third.
- I am aware of the New World Translation, as I am also aware of a number of other translations, which, independent of religious biases choose to translate the third clause in the same or similar manner. I can provide a full listing of sources, if required. I do not intend to translate according to bias, only according to grammar, context and the intentions of the writer of the source text--which to me, having had near-native training in Ancient and Koine Greek, as well as being native in Modern Greek, cannot be conveyed in any other way into English (of which I am also a native speaker).
- Translating (as per tradition) "and the Word was God" is a purely wrong conveyance of the original Greek grammar/syntax, as well as the writer's intent, and all the more so as it makes no differentiation in the target language of "God" as used in the first two clauses and "God" as used in the third.--Hieronymus 09:27, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- This one was
- If we translate without imagination, which is precisely what translating by use of a demonstrative is, this is also a masculine. Which is more important, the demonstrative marker, or the masculine marker? Which loss would erase more meaning? Would either import unwarranted meaning? Are we limited to only one word to translate houtos? If so, why are two used? Why are singularity and demonstrativity translated, but masculinity not?
- "This male one was" is quite literally correct, but is heavy handed. "He was" provides singularity, masculinity and definiteness, as well as one-to-one correspondence. It doesn't draw unwarranted attention to minor details simply required by agreement systems in the more inflected system of Greek.
- We translate by use of a demonstrative, because this is what the source text uses. I do not see how imagination has anything to do with the case here, or why it is absolutely necessary to also convey the masculine attribute of the original Greek pronoun. Again, this is not intended as an interlinear translation, so as to have limitations as respects the amount of words we will use to translate the original word(s) or whether we will convey the masculine attribute or not. I have no serious objections to "he", apart from the fact that it lacks the stylistic poignancy of οῦτος. In a dynamically equivalent translation we could translate "It was/is he who...".
- Current text: "In the beginning the Word was and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god. 2 This one was in the beginning with God."
- Better text: "In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning."
I'm not too concerned about this particular verse. I'm concerned about establishing guidelines for translation. The sorts of issue I raise above are basic questions that come up all the time. Without consensus for how to deal with them, this project will always throw up inconsistencies and over-literalisms that confuse, rather than aid, both readers and editors contributing to this project.
- I fully agree that there need to be guidelines and this is the reason why I commenced the review of this chapter, having made express my intention to perform a formal rendering of the verses. If, at the end of the day, we find that this is not helpful to the reader, we may alter as necessary with a more dynamic rendering. But I feel I need to stress that I am not attempting a "literal" or "word-for-word" translation.--Hieronymus 15:19, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
Comments please? 220.127.116.11 03:53, 31 May 2008 (UTC)
- Agreed the better text than the disastrous current, so replacing with ""In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning." Jonathan Gallagher 13:23, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
Now, before we go into an edit war, which I really do not see why, would you like to justify the reason why you believe the previous rendering to have been "disastrous"? --Hieronymus 17:48, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
- I'm going to have to side here with the more traditional rendering. Leaving doctrine aside, and this verse is a huge doctrinal issue, I believe that the traditional rendering is less POV. Whether or not "and the Word was a god" correctly reflects the Greek texts, to the average reader this is going to appear as the following doctrinal statement: "The Word was a god, not God." However, using the traditional phrase and perhaps footnoting a disagreement would be the best way to leave interpretation to the reader.
- As a younger wikipedian (in terms of time spent on wikipedia and related projects), I don't think it is my place to just step in and revert, so I'm going to do my best to write a tasteful footnote which can remain in place regardless of which reading is chosen.
- And one more request. Instead of writing bulleted answers and inserting our responses into eachothers comments (which confuses the Dickens out of me), can't we just talk one at a time?Fontwords 19:46, 4 June 2008 (UTC)
I agree that we should not try to impose any doctrinal POV here, but leave it as open as possible. In that the majority opinion is indicative of "God" not "a god" (with all that this may or may not imply), we should make this the rendering that is least problematic in the eyes of the majority, while still noting any dissenting opinions. So reverting. Jonathan Gallagher 12:10, 5 June 2008 (UTC)
- The footnote in the New English Translation has a interesting discussion on this verse that might be useful.
And God was the Word
I have to take exception with the assertion that "God was the Word" is the most literal translation. It most closely reproduces the word order in the Greek, but Greek and English syntax differ so substantially in the significance of word order that its strict maintenance often creates more problems than it solves. "God was the Word" actually implies that God is the subject, rather than the predicate. It makes it far more difficult for someone without Greek experience to understand the meaning of the verse.
The phrase in question is a predicate nominative. A predicate is something that is stated about the subject. In John 1:1c, ὁ λόγος is the subject, and θεὸς is the predicate. The question is, does the predicate here say something about an attribute of the subject, or does it make an identification with the subject. It has been asserted that predicate nouns (including definite nouns) are, as a rule, anarthrous, especially when they precede the copula, which would support a definite reading of θεὸς (The God). In both Classical Greek and in Koine, however, if a definite predicate noun is something already mentioned, or well known, it generally takes the article. See Blass & DeBrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1961), § 273; Smyth, Greek Grammar (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1984), § 1152; and Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1996), 257–59.
E. C. Colwell extrapolated a rule from his study of articles and predicate nominatives that asserts that "Definite predicate nouns which precede the verb usually lack the article. . . a predicate nominative which precedes the verb cannot be translated as an indefinite or a 'qualitative' noun solely because of the absence of the article; if the context suggests that the predicate is definite, it should be translated as a definite noun" (Colwell, "A Definite Rule for the Use of the Article in the Greek New Testament," Journal of Biblical Literature 52 : 20). This has been misinterpreted to mean an anarthrous predicate appearing before the copula is definite, when all it really means is that an anarthrous predicate before the copula is not precluded from being definite. His research only included samples he knew to be definite. Colwell's Rule does not preclude a qualitative or even indefinite predicate nominative here.
Definiteness is not very likely in this situation, though, since almost all of John's definite anarthrous predicate nouns appearing before the copula show up in entirely different constructions. Indefiniteness is also unlikely, since there are no indefinite anarthrous pre-verbal predicate nouns in John. The most likely conclusion, supported by the historical, textual, and grammatical context is that θεὸς in John 1:1c is qualitative, meaning it describes a quality of the subject. "Divine" would fit, grammatically, but in English it implies something not exclusively related to God the Father. The most clear rendering of the phrase in English would be, "the Word was what God was." This means he shares the qualities of God, but is not to be equated absolutely with the person of God the Father. See Wallace, Greek Grammar: Beyond the Basics, 266-69. Raymond Brown's Anchor Bible edition of the Gospel of John also promotes that reading. Whether that reading is adopted or not, "God was the Word" is unacceptable.
- Very clearly presented, based on some of the best known sources.
- Agreed, "God was the Word" reads as an identification in English, rather than a predication (description of property).
- English and Greek use word order differently, in cases like the third clause of the first verse.
- "Word" had property of being "at beginning"
- "Word" had property of being "with God"
- "Word" had property of being "God" (or perhaps God-like)
- In pragmatics, one would say the "topic" of all three clauses is the Word, and the "focus" shifts over three different predications on the topic.
- I really like "the Word was what God was". It captures the feel of the Greek according to the understanding of the best Greek syntacticians with a correspondingly subtle English form, while retaining maximum "formal" equivalence.
- I don't recall reading it suggested before. Please be bold and publish the change. Alastair Haines (talk) 21:32, 15 June 2009 (UTC)