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Re: [GTh] Gender Translation Issues

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  • Mike Grondin
    Hi Jack, As you may know, I m basically a strict constructionist like yourself. For that reason, I ve written often here and even published (in The Gnostic)
    Message 1 of 23 , Dec 22, 2011
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      Hi Jack,
       
      As you may know, I'm basically a "strict constructionist" like yourself. For that reason,
      I've written often here and even published (in The Gnostic) against the Meyer-Patterson
      translations that eliminate the word 'man'. But you also say that you "want to know what
      was in the writer's head", and what they write isn't always what's in their head. Take an
      example that doesn't involve translation: what was in the head of the person (John Donne?)
      who wrote "No man is an island"? I'm sure you'd agree that he didn't intend to imply that
      some women are islands. If so, then I think you'd have to agree that "No one is an island"
      captures what was in his head at least as much as his actual words. This kind of thing,
      I think, is what the "middle-groupers" are trying to do, and I approve of that effort
      (without discounting overly much the approach taken by Lambdin and Blatz). The
      only translators who seem to have been trying for gender neutrality are Meyer and
      Patterson - two men. And they couldn't even get their colleagues at JSem to go along.
      (As a result, canonical parallels in the "Scholar's Version" of Thomas - composed by
      Meyer and Patterson - are gender-neutral while the SV canonical passage itself isn't.)
       
      Mike
    • Bob Schacht
      ... This is, of course, a standard translation issue. What do you do if the source language does not distinguish gender, but the target language does? No
      Message 2 of 23 , Dec 22, 2011
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        At 12:10 PM 12/22/2011, Mike Grondin wrote:
        ...But you also say that you "want to know what
        was in the writer's head", and what they write isn't always what's in their head. ...

        This is, of course, a standard translation issue. What do you do if the source language does not distinguish gender, but the target language does? No matter which choice you make, you have a 50/50 chance of being wrong. Actually, in many cases it would be a three-way split, because the writer of the source may intend gender neutrality or collectivity (is that a word?), so the translator has only a 33% chance of being right-- unless you try to guess gender/collectivity intent from the context, which should improve your odds a bit.

        This problem is worse because in some languages which are gendered, common practice dictates that when the writer intends gender neutrality, you use the male gender. In the English speaking world, we went over this issue many times in the 20th century, with traditionalists defending the use of the male gender either when "male" is meant quite literally, as well as when it is meant as a collective.

        Bob Schacht
        Northern Arizona University
      • Mike Grondin
        ... And as I see it, Jack, a plausible case can be made for either this position (ala Lambdin and Blatz) or for the position that one ought to distinguish
        Message 3 of 23 , Dec 22, 2011
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          > In the English speaking world, we went over this issue many times in
          the
          > 20th century, with traditionalists defending the use of the male
          gender either
          > when "male" is meant quite literally, as well as when it is meant
          as a collective.

          And as I see it, Jack, a plausible case can be made for either this position (ala
          Lambdin and Blatz) or for the position that one ought to distinguish different
          senses of the word 'man' (ala the "middle-groupers"). It's only the approach
          of Meyer and Patterson (expunging the word 'man' entirely - while keeping the
          word 'woman', BTW - hence not even "neutral") that I would rule out of court.
           
          Mike
          p.s. to Judy: I've started transcribing the Pagels-Meyer translation to send to
          you and to post to my website. This'll take some time, however. If someone
          can produce a scanned copy in the meantime, that'd be most welcome.
        • David Inglis
          BRUCE: Of course, there are problems. Translation is not as easy an art as we might like. Historical presents exist in colloquial English, but they are *very*
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 23, 2011
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            BRUCE:

            Of course, there are problems. Translation is not as easy an art as we might like. Historical presents exist in colloquial English, but they are *very* colloquial, and I have encountered them only in the speech of uneducated persons. Thus the neighbor lady, gossiping with my Mom over coffee of a morning, “So I says to her, I says . . .”  Does it demean the dignity of the translation to make Mark sound like that? Undoubtedly, to modern class sensibilities, it does.

            David I:

            I think the use of the historical present is growing (at least in the US) as a result of its common use in various ‘reality’ TV shows, e.g. the police relating the details of an investigation. This may be a deliberate attempt to give more ‘immediacy’ to the tale.

            David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA

          • Judy Redman
            BRUCE: Of course, there are problems. Translation is not as easy an art as we might like. Historical presents exist in colloquial English, but they are *very*
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 24, 2011
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              BRUCE:

              Of course, there are problems. Translation is not as easy an art as we might like. Historical presents exist in colloquial English, but they are *very* colloquial, and I have encountered them only in the speech of uneducated persons. Thus the neighbor lady, gossiping with my Mom over coffee of a morning, “So I says to her, I says . . .”  Does it demean the dignity of the translation to make Mark sound like that? Undoubtedly, to modern class sensibilities, it does.

              David I:

              I think the use of the historical present is growing (at least in the US) as a result of its common use in various ‘reality̵ 7; TV shows, e.g. the police relating the details of an investigation. This may be a deliberate attempt to give more ‘immediacy’ to the tale.

               

              [Judy:] I think that when producing a translation for younger people, you would have little difficulty using the historical present, without necessarily sounding uneducated. This is a very common way of telling stories: “Mary comes into the room and pours a jar of precious perfume over Jesus’ feet and wipes his feet with her hair. Then Judas, who is the keeper of the group’s purse, says that the perfume should have been sold and the money given to the poor, but Jesus says “Mary has done the right thing: you will always have the poor with you, but I will not always be with you….” I think that our problem is that we think that Scripture ought always to be ‘dignified’ so we can’t use this kind of construction because it’s informal, even though it is a more accurate rendering of the historical present.  (Please note that I have *not* looked at the Greek text for this particular passage, which may not actually be in the historical present.)

               

              Jack also says that translations are ‘supposed to be as accurate as possible, word for word, what the ancient scribe wrote’. I would suggest that there are definitely situations where a word for word translation does not accurately represent the meaning that the ancient scribe intended even though an accurate translation of the words that s/he used. For example, when we are translating idiom. The shift in usage in English can mean that what was an accurate rendition in the past is not necessarily so now. One example that springs to my mind is the way in which 1 Corinthians 13 was translated in the King James – it talks about charity where modern translations use ‘love’. Some of us would contend that a gender neutral translation is a more accurate representation of the intent of some parts of ancient texts (Mike’s middle-groupers) – definitely when the Greek word being translated is anthropos rather than aner and often when the Coptic is prwme.

               

              Judy

               

               

               

              --

              Rev Judy Redman
              Ecumenical Chaplaincy Co-ordinator
              Charles Sturt (Mon& Tue); La Trobe (Wed & Thurs)
              email: jredman@...; j.redman@...
              mobile: 0437 044 579

              web: http://borderchaplaincy.wordpress.com (Food for Life - the Blog)

               

               

              _

            • Judy Redman
              p.s. to Judy: I ve started transcribing the Pagels-Meyer translation to send to you and to post to my website. This ll take some time, however. If someone can
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 24, 2011
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                p.s. to Judy: I've started transcribing the Pagels-Meyer translation to send to

                you and to post to my website. This'll take some time, however. If someone

                can produce a scanned copy in the meantime, that'd be most welcome.

                [Judy:] Thanks, Mike.

                 

                Judy

                __

                --

                Judy Redman
                PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
                University of New England
                Armidale 2351 Australia
                ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
                mob: 0437 044 579
                web:  http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                email:  jredman2@...

                ._,_.___

              • Mike Grondin
                ... This may be somewhat confusing, Judy. When I myself referred to gender neutrality , I was imagining a complete elimination of any gendered terms from a
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 24, 2011
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                  > [Judy:]  Some of us would contend that a gender neutral translation is
                  > a more accurate representation of the intent of some parts of ancient texts
                  > (Mike’s middle-groupers) – definitely when the Greek word being translated
                  > is anthropos rather than aner and often when the Coptic is prwme.
                   
                  This may be somewhat confusing, Judy. When I myself referred to "gender
                  neutrality", I was imagining a complete elimination of any gendered terms from
                  a translation, which I don't think is what you're talking about here, because
                  that isn't what Layton, DeConick, and Pagels did. What they did was to try to
                  distinguish when the text was actually talking about a man, and when it was
                  using 'man' in a generic sense. I don't have a good word for this, but I definitely
                  wasn't thinking of their work as "gender neutral translation".
                   
                  As to 'anthropos', I tried to find a pattern in the Greek of the NT some good while
                  back, thinking that it would always have been used generically. To my surprise,
                  that turned out not to be the case. It seems to have been used sometimes in one
                  sense, sometimes in the other. (As I recall, there were even some passages where
                  both 'anthropos' and 'aner' were used for the same person!) What I concluded
                  was that 'anthropos' in the Greek NT isn't amenable to any inflexible translational
                  rule. Those darn evangelists just weren't as precise as we'd like, apparently!
                   
                  Best,
                  Mike
                • E Bruce Brooks
                  To: GThos / GPG On: Translating Greek Historical Presents From: Bruce Judy Redman: I think that when producing a translation for younger people, you would have
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 24, 2011
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                    To: GThos / GPG

                    On: Translating Greek Historical Presents

                    From: Bruce

                     

                    Judy Redman: I think that when producing a translation for younger people, you would have little difficulty using the historical present, without necessarily sounding uneducated. This is a very common way of telling stories. . . [Judy goes on to retell a Jesus story entirely in the present tense].

                     

                    Bruce: Right. Unfortunately, this is not what Mark does. He has one historical present in an otherwise past narrative. The Woman of Bethany scene in Mark (more or less Judy’s example) is wholly in past tense, but here is the Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law, Mk 1:29-31, rendered with aspectual accuracy by the ASV people. I put in CAPS the historical present verbs, of which, as it turns out, there is only one:

                     

                    “And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [30] Now Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever; and straightway they TELL him of her, [31] and he came and took her by the hand, and raised her up; and the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”

                     

                    If we are going with a vividness and immediacy theory, we might expect that the moment of cure would be the place where vividness was most requisite, and where a historical present would be most likely. That is not what Mark does. What DOES Mark do? That question is still unanswered at the present time. What a faithful preservation of Greek historical presents does, in the meanwhile, is to keep that problem visible to those reading Mark that way, in Greek or any other language, and so accumulate impressions that may one day lead to its solution.

                     

                    I think Judy’s remark about child audiences has other uses too. Children (in my experience as a children’s storyteller) are as a whole much less verbally and substantively pedantic than their elders, much readier to accept the unusual word, or even the unintelligible situation, on its own terms. Or even to relish it specially. Jesus has a remark somewhat of this character, somewhere in the NT. Perhaps he was onto something. I leave that as my suggestion for Christmas Day.

                     

                    Bruce

                     

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project

                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst

                     

                    One helpful thing to keep in mind, while reading Mark for other purposes, is the question: At what points would a kid listener laugh out loud? One place is where the pigs run down into the sea and are drowned: the basic comeuppance situation.  Would anyone like to suggest a second?

                     

                  • Bob Schacht
                    ... How about gender inclusive ? Merry Christmas, everyone! Bob Schacht Northern Arizona University
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                      At 12:34 AM 12/25/2011, Mike Grondin wrote:
                      ...I don't have a good word for this, but I definitely
                      wasn't thinking of their work as "gender neutral translation"....

                      How about "gender inclusive"?

                      Merry Christmas, everyone!

                      Bob Schacht
                      Northern Arizona  University

                    • Jack Kilmon
                      From: Judy Redman Sent: Sunday, December 25, 2011 12:06 AM To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [GPG] RE: [GTh] Gender Translation Issues Jack also says
                      Message 10 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                        Sent: Sunday, December 25, 2011 12:06 AM
                        Subject: RE: [GPG] RE: [GTh] Gender Translation Issues
                         

                        Jack also says that translations are ‘supposed to be as accurate as possible, word for word, what the ancient scribe wrote’. I would suggest that there are definitely situations where a word for word translation does not accurately represent the meaning that the ancient scribe intended even though an accurate translation of the words that s/he used. For example, when we are translating idiom. The shift in usage in English can mean that what was an accurate rendition in the past is not necessarily so now. One example that springs to my mind is the way in which 1 Corinthians 13 was translated in the King James – it talks about charity where modern translations use ‘love’. Some of us would contend that a gender neutral translation is a more accurate representation of the intent of some parts of ancient texts (Mike’s middle-groupers) – definitely when the Greek word being translated is anthropos rather than aner and often when the Coptic is prwme.

                         

                        You are absolutely correct, Judy.  The question is whether we should translate the words or translate a meaning which we do not fully understand.  If we translate it verbatim, the words are there that may be clarified by continued research or other texts or epigraphy that clarify the intent more accurately.
                        In the context of the New Testamant and specifically the Vox Iesu, originally voiced in Judean Aramaic, just as Jewish literary styles and genres, such as midrash and pesher, are misunderstood in gentile contexts...keeping in mind that I am the "follow
                        the Aramaic" guy.....so also is the Aramaic idiom. Idiom is a cultural
                        nuance to language which often does not cross cultural barriers. In 1st century
                        Aramaic "lachma" (bread) and "hamara" (wine) are idioms for a teaching.
                        Drinking and eating, in Aramaic, are idioms for learning from a teacher
                        whose teachings are "bread and wine." This imagery abounds in Jesus'
                        sayings with such phrases as:

                        Feed my sheep
                        I am the bread of life
                        What goes in the mouth (what you are taught) does not defile but what comes
                        out of the mouth (what you teach) can defile you.
                        Give us the bread (instruction) we need day to day (the Lord's Prayer)
                        It is not meet to take the children's (Jews) bread (teachings) and cast it
                        to the dogs (gentiles).
                        One of the better examples carried over from the synoptics to Thomas is:
                        Luke 14:26: EI TIS ERXETAI PROS ME KAI OU MISEI TON PATERA hEAUTOU KAI THN
                        MHTERA KAI THN GUNAIKA KAI TA TEKNA KAI TOUS ADELFOUS KAI TAS ADELFAS hETI
                        TE KAI THN YUXHN hEAUTOU OU DUNATAI EINAI MOU MAQHTHS.

                        The key Greek word is MISEI ("hate") which is the original language of Luke
                        but NOT the language of Jesus.

                        This same saying in the Gospel of Thomas (Logion 55) uses the Coptic MESTE which is the Middle Egyptian word for "hate." The Coptic translator chose it to represent the Greek word MISEI, from the Greek exemplar and as used by Luke. This is a very
                        difficult saying because it flies in the face of Judaic thought. What,
                        therefore was the Aramaic word used by Jesus? MISEI, of
                        course, is "hate" and was used to translate the Aramaic  סנא  SANA. The word
                        in Aramaic, however, is an idiom meaning "to set aside." The saying
                        was originally to SET ASIDE your mother, father, brothers, sisters, etc and
                        this was in keeping with past and current Jewish thought when a boy went off
                        under the direction of a rabbi.  This is what Paul meant (Acts 22:3) by
                        ἀνατεθραμμένος δὲ ἐν τῇ πόλει ταύτῃ παρὰ τοὺς πόδας Γαμαλιὴλ
                        “raised up in the city at the feet of Gamaliel.”.

                        Of the various forms of Aramaic interference in NT Greek, the Aramaism of
                        idiomatic mistranslation is common. So do we fix them in a translation or
                        do we let readers continue to wonder why Jesus would hate Mary and Joseph
                        and James, Joses, Jude and Simon and his two or more sisters?  This is the
                        dilemma.

                        I am grateful, however, that 1st century Aramaic..a very idiomatic
                        language...did NOT have the idiom "Let's hit the road." Had Jesus said that,
                        today there would be a bunch of people out on I-10 slapping on the tarmac and being
                        flattened by 18-wheelers.

                        Yes, there are passages in the Bible which cannot be understood without
                        grounding in the languages, and more difficult, the culture. The issue is whether the
                        awkward translations affect doctrine in a serious manner.
                        The idiom in Greek translation at 16:18 is the best proof text for this.
                        ὄφεις ἀροῦσιν κἂν θανάσιμόν τι πίωσιν οὐ μὴ αὐτοὺς βλάψει "They shall take
                        up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them" In
                        Aramaic:
                        וחוותא נשׁקלון ואן סמא דמותא נשׁתון לא נהר אנון
                        Phonetically (Judean Aramaic)
                        wa'xawawatha nashqlun win samma d'mawtha yishtun, la yahhar innon
                        Would the idiom  וחוותא נשׁקלון  wa'xawawatha nashqlun
                        "handling serpents" for engaging in a difficult or dangerous enterprise
                        cause not-too-bright people to pass rattlesnakes around in Sunday school?
                        Would the Aramaic idiom samo neshTON "drink poison" for taking in bad
                        teachings cause people to drink arsenic in church? Naaaah! <g>.


                        I think the translations should be verbal and where there is an understanding of idiom where that idiom is universal such as ὅτι ἐξέστη  “He is beside himself” (Mark 3:21) to so note it in a footnote (They thought Jesus was one brick short of a load).
                         
                        Merry Christmas everyone
                        חנוכה שמח
                        Καλά Χριστούγεννα
                        聖誕快樂
                         
                        Jack
                      • Mike Grondin
                        ... No, I don t think that does it. It s not gender exactly, since none of the translations eliminate or limit the word woman . But with respect to the word
                        Message 11 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                          > [Bob]: How about "gender inclusive"?
                           
                          No, I don't think that does it. It's not gender exactly, since none of the translations
                          eliminate or limit the word 'woman'. But with respect to the word 'man' (which
                          traditionally corresponds to the Coptic word rwme), they differ markedly. The
                          best way I can think of to label the three groups is to use the words I coined in
                          my essay (bearing in mind about 30 relevant occurrences of rwme):
                           
                          "manful" - Lambdin, Blatz - almost all translated as 'man'
                          "mansome" - Layton, DeConick, Pagels - about 50-50, dependent on context
                          "manless" - Meyer, Patterson - almost none translated as 'man'
                           
                          (BTW, the most common word used in "manless" translations is 'person'.)
                           
                          Mike G.
                           
                        • steve oxbrow
                          We need both a verbatim translation and an interpretation of the idiom to even approach an understanding of the scribe s intentions. We must always note the
                          Message 12 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                            We need both a verbatim translation and an interpretation of the idiom to even approach an understanding of the scribe's intentions. We must always note the words may not have been his own but those of his employer [master]. If the text was written as poetry [iambic metre has been in use longer than  writing itself] should we translate as poetry, in the original metre? Recited to an audience the regular rhythm, with occasional breaks is very effective in holding the attention. Gospels were/are for the masses, not just for the teachers. Dialect and the vernacular, even in one's own language can be difficult to understand. I invite any of my American contacts to understand our Geordie or Glasgow speech. I sometimes have trouble with them.
                            [Steve Oxbrow]
                          • Judy Redman
                            ... Mike: This may be somewhat confusing, Judy. When I myself referred to gender neutrality , I was imagining a complete elimination of any gendered terms
                            Message 13 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                              > [Judy:]  Some of us would contend that a gender neutral translation is

                              > a more accurate representation of the intent of some parts of ancient texts

                              > (Mike’s middle-groupers) – definitely when the Greek word being translated

                              > is anthropos rather than aner and often when the Coptic is prwme.

                               

                              Mike: This may be somewhat confusing, Judy. When I myself referred to "gender

                              neutrality", I was imagining a complete elimination of any gendered terms from

                              a translation, which I don't think is what you're talking about here, because

                              that isn't what Layton, DeConick, and Pagels did. What they did was to try to

                              distinguish when the text was actually talking about a man, and when it was

                              using 'man' in a generic sense. I don't have a good word for this, but I definitely

                              wasn't thinking of their work as "gender neutral translation".

                              [Judy:] I have just had a quick look at definitions, and ‘gender neutral’, ‘inclusive language’ and ‘gender sensitive’ seem to be used more or less interchangeably. However, when *most* people use them, they are not talking about the removal of all gendered terms, just ones where the use of a gendered term might be considered to exclude people of one gender in a way that results in discrimination. Thus, most people working on what they would term  a gender neutral translation would want to change “I will draw all men to me” (and since the Greek only uses a pronoun here, I will draw everyone to me is actually a more accurate translation anyway, just not so poetic sounding, and translators seem to use ‘all people’ or something similar in deference to what we are used to hearing in the KJV, rather than faithfulness to the Greek text), but would not feel the need to change something like “women will bear children”, because clearly only women can.

                               

                              Further, if I were writing a history of the Australian army, I would write “if a man was conscripted into the army, he could expect…” because there is no point in the history of the Australian army where women have been conscripted. On the other hand, I would write “if someone joins the army she or he can expect …” because women have been able to *volunteer* for the army for many decades. Thus, in situations where there is no evidence that both genders were involved in some kind of activity in the times and the text is clearly describing an historical situation, rather than something that is generalizable, it would be possible to use he or she and still have an English text that could be described as gender neutral/inclusive/gender sensitive, although the particular sentence/passage contains gendered terms.

                               

                              What the Patterson-Meyer translation seems to do is to aim for a non-gendered version – it is almost as though they went through the text using a spell-checker and replaced the male-specific words with gender-neutral terms wherever they occurred, without looking at the context.

                               

                              [Judy:] Mike: As to 'anthropos', I tried to find a pattern in the Greek of the NT some good while

                              back, thinking that it would always have been used generically. To my surprise,

                              that turned out not to be the case. It seems to have been used sometimes in one

                              sense, sometimes in the other. (As I recall, there were even some passages where

                              both 'anthropos' and 'aner' were used for the same person!) What I concluded

                              was that 'anthropos' in the Greek NT isn't amenable to any inflexible translational

                              rule. Those darn evangelists just weren't as precise as we'd like, apparently!

                              [Judy:]

                              One possibility is that the authors were interested in making their text more variable, but I would be looking at the text of each book rather than trying to find an overall principle. You might well find that some books are consistent in their usage and others aren’t. The issue, I think, is not whether ‘anthropos’ is ever used for just a man or just men, but rather whether ‘aner’ is ever used to describe mixed groups or groups of just women. I would certainly describe myself as “a person who believes in equality” and I would describe my husband Bruce as “a person who believes in equality” even though it would be quite accurate to use woman in my case and man in Bruce’s and there might be other situations where I would use woman or man because the point I was trying to make was different.

                               

                              Regards

                               

                              Judy

                               

                              --

                              Judy Redman
                              PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
                              University of New England
                              Armidale 2351 Australia
                              ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
                              mob: 0437 044 579
                              web:  http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                              email:  jredman2@...
                               

                               

                               

                            • Judy Redman
                              Bruce says: Bruce: Right. Unfortunately, this is not what Mark does. He has one historical present in an otherwise past narrative. The Woman of Bethany scene
                              Message 14 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                                Bruce says:

                                Bruce: Right. Unfortunately, this is not what Mark does. He has one historical present in an otherwise past narrative. The Woman of Bethany scene in Mark (more or less Judy’s example) is whol ly in past tense, but here is the Healing of Peter’s Mother-in-Law, Mk 1:29-31, rendered with aspectual accuracy by the ASV people. I put in CAPS the historical present verbs, of which, as it turns out, there is only one: 

                                “And straightway, when they were come out of the synagogue, they came into the house of Simon and Andrew, with James and John. [30] Now Simon's wife's mother lay sick of a fever; and straightway they TELL him of her, [31] and he came and took her by the hand, and raised her up; and the fever left her, and she ministered unto them.”

                                [Judy:] I would suggest that this is just an aberration in the text.

                                If we are going with a vividness and immediacy theory, we might expect that the moment of cure would be the place where vividness was most requisite, and where a historical present would be most likely. That is not what Mar k does. What DOES Mark do? That question is still unanswered at the present time. What a faithful preservation of Greek historical presents does, in the meanwhile, is to keep that problem visible to those reading Mark that way, in Greek or any other language, and so accumulate impressions that may one day lead to its solution.

                                I think Judy’s remark about child audiences has other uses too. Children (in my experience as a children’s storyteller) are as a whole much less verbally and substantively pedantic than their elders, much readier to accept the unusual word, or even the unintelligible situation, on its own terms. Or even to relish it specially. Jesus has a remark somewhat of this character, somewhere in the NT. Perhaps he was onto something. I leave that as my suggestion for Christmas Day.

                                [Judy:] Bruce, I wasn’t talking about children. I was talking about younger adults. People in their twenties and thirties also tell stories as I was describing. And even those with university qualifications don’t necessarily see this as a problematic way of writing. J

                                Judy

                                 

                                --

                                Judy Redman
                                PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
                                University of New England
                                Armidale 2351 Australia
                                ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
                                mob: 0437 044 579
                                web:  http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                                email:  jredman2@...
                                 

                              • Judy Redman
                                Jack says: You are absolutely correct, Judy. The question is whether we should translate the words or translate a meaning which we do not fully understand.
                                Message 15 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                                  Jack says:

                                  You are absolutely correct, Judy.  The question is whether we should translate the words or translate a meaning which we do not fully understand.  If we translate it verbatim, the words are there that may be clarified by continued research or other texts or epigraphy that clarify the intent more accurately.

                                  [Judy:] At the risk of sounding elitist – it would seem to me that attempting to produce clarifications on the basis of a translation is likely to be doomed to failure. It is impossible to see the potential nuances and differences in the original version from a translation, or to see where extra nuances and possibilities have been added. This is why biblical literalists who work from an English translation make me very, very nervous.

                                   

                                  In the context of the New Testamant and specifically the Vox Iesu, originally voiced in Judean Aramaic, just as Jewish literary styles and genres, such as midrash and pesher, are misunderstood in gentile contexts...keeping in mind that I am the "follow
                                  the Aramaic" guy.....so also is the Aramaic idiom. Idiom is a cultural
                                  nuance to language which often does not cross cultural barriers.

                                  [Judy:] large amount cut

                                  Of the various forms of Aramaic interference in NT Greek, the Aramaism of
                                  idiomatic mistranslation is common. So do we fix them in a translation or
                                  do we let readers continue to wonder why Jesus would hate Mary and Joseph
                                  and James, Joses, Jude and Simon and his two or more sisters?  This is the

                                  dilemma.

                                  [Judy:] and more cut here


                                  I think the translations should be verbal and where there is an understanding of idiom where that idiom is universal such as
                                  ὅτι ἐξέστη  “He is beside himself” (Mark 3:21) to so note it in a footnote (They thought Jesus was one brick short of a load).

                                  [Judy:] If I understand you correctly, I disagree with you – I think that translations should convey the meaning of the idiom  and note the literal translation in the footnote, on the basis that psychological research shows that first impressions often stick with people, despite their being presented with quite compelling information to the contrary later.

                                   

                                  Judy_

                                   

                                   

                                  --

                                  Judy Redman
                                  PhD Candidate, School of Humanities
                                  University of New England
                                  Armidale 2351 Australia
                                  ph:  +61 2 6773 3401
                                  mob: 0437 044 579
                                  web:  http://judyredman.wordpress.com/
                                  email:  jredman2@...
                                   

                                   

                                • Jack Kilmon
                                  From: Judy Redman Sent: Sunday, December 25, 2011 6:52 PM To: gthomas@yahoogroups.com Subject: RE: [GPG] RE: [GTh] Gender Translation Issues Jack says: You are
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                                    Sent: Sunday, December 25, 2011 6:52 PM
                                    Subject: RE: [GPG] RE: [GTh] Gender Translation Issues
                                     


                                    Jack says:

                                    You are absolutely correct, Judy.  The question is whether we should translate the words or translate a meaning which we do not fully understand.  If we translate it verbatim, the words are there that may be clarified by continued research or other texts or epigraphy that clarify the intent more accurately.

                                    [Judy:] At the risk of sounding elitist – it would seem to me that attempting to produce clarifications on the basis of a translation is likely to be doomed to failure. It is impossible to see the potential nuances and differences in the original version from a translation, or to see where extra nuances and possibilities have been added. This is why biblical literalists who work from an English translation make me very, very nervous.

                                     

                                    In the context of the New Testamant and specifically the Vox Iesu, originally voiced in Judean Aramaic, just as Jewish literary styles and genres, such as midrash and pesher, are misunderstood in gentile contexts...keeping in mind that I am the "follow
                                    the Aramaic" guy.....so also is the Aramaic idiom. Idiom is a cultural
                                    nuance to language which often does not cross cultural barriers.

                                    [Judy:] large amount cut

                                    Of the various forms of Aramaic interference in NT Greek, the Aramaism of
                                    idiomatic mistranslation is common. So do we fix them in a translation or
                                    do we let readers continue to wonder why Jesus would hate Mary and Joseph
                                    and James, Joses, Jude and Simon and his two or more sisters?  This is the

                                    dilemma.

                                    [Judy:] and more cut here


                                    I think the translations should be verbal and where there is an understanding of idiom where that idiom is universal such as
                                    ὅτι ἐξέστη  “He is beside himself” (Mark 3:21) to so note it in a footnote (They thought Jesus was one brick short of a load).

                                    [Judy:] If I understand you correctly, I disagree with you – I think that translations should convey the meaning of the idiom  and note the literal translation in the footnote, on the basis that psychological research shows that first impressions often stick with people, despite their being presented with quite compelling information to the contrary later.

                                     

                                    I understand your point, Yehudith, but I see a number of problems.  Using meanings in the principal translations would require we be certain about the meaning or idiom. The New Testament sayings and Gospel of Thomas were both translated from GREEK exemplars which were, in turn, translated from Aramaic logia.  Aramaic was a language with multiple meanings for one word.  Greek, on the other hand, is a language with multiple word forms for one meaning.  As a result, there are many occurrences  where variant Greek readings converge to one in Aramaic reconstruction.  The NH Thomas gets even hairier since there is Middle Egyptian to consider.  Attempting to convey the meaning of the idiom in the translation, rather than as a footnote, can be a text critical nightmare.

                                     

                                    I hope you had a good Christmas Day “down under.”

                                     

                                    Jack

                                  • Mike Grondin
                                    This sudden deluge of messages has been a welcome difference from what we ve experienced lately, but at the same time we seem to have gone off in several
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Dec 25, 2011
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                                      This sudden deluge of messages has been a welcome difference from what we've
                                      experienced lately, but at the same time we seem to have gone off in several
                                      different directions on this thread. Thanks to Bruce Brooks for changing the
                                      title of his message. Perhaps the same should be done for the Kilmon discussion,
                                      since that's also hitting on some topics not directly related to the original thread.
                                      Anyway, this is a response to Judy's latest, in hopes of determining whether "gender
                                      neutral" is even a useful term in this discussion:
                                       
                                      > [Judy:] I have just had a quick look at definitions, and ‘gender neutral’, ‘inclusive language’
                                      > and ‘gender sensitive’ seem to be used more or less interchangeably. However, when *most*
                                      > people use them, they are not talking about the removal of all gendered terms, just ones
                                      > where the use of a gendered term might be considered to exclude people of one gender
                                      > in a way that results in discrimination.
                                       
                                      The question here, of course, is what you mean by "results in discrimination". The examples
                                      you give following leave a lot of latitude:
                                       
                                      > Thus, most people working on what they would term  a gender neutral translation would
                                      > want to change “I will draw all men to me” (and since the Greek only uses a pronoun here,
                                      > ["] I will draw everyone to me["] is actually a more accurate translation anyway, just not so
                                      > poetic sounding, and translators seem to use ‘all people’ or something similar in deference
                                      > to what we are used to hearing in the KJV, rather than faithfulness to the Greek text), but
                                      > would not feel the need to change something like “women will bear children”, because clearly
                                      > only women can.
                                       
                                      I'd like to be clear on how a "gender neutral" translation would handle "The kingdom is like
                                      a man/woman who ...". Let's concentrate on L96-97 to start with. L96 says that the kingdom
                                      is like a woman who kneaded yeast into dough. L97 says that the kingdom is like a woman
                                      carrying a jar of flour. Is that "discriminatory"? Unlike childbirth, men can do these things, though
                                      maybe they were more usually done by women of that era. Does that justify keeping the word
                                      'woman' in L96-97 or not? Bear in mind that not even Meyer and Patterson eliminated 'woman'
                                      there, so if that's a consequence of "gender neutrality", then no Thomas translation is "gender
                                      neutral". On the other hand, if 'woman' is justified in these contexts because women did such
                                      things more usually than men in that time and place, isn't it also justified to use 'man' in contexts
                                      which involve drinking or killing, say, on the grounds that men more usually did those things?
                                       
                                      > What the Patterson-Meyer translation seems to do is to aim for a non-gendered version –
                                      > it is almost as though they went through the text using a spell-checker and replaced the
                                      > male-specific words with gender-neutral terms wherever they occurred, without looking
                                      > at the context.
                                       
                                      Yep. The translation in The Fifth Gospel strikes me as even more ham-handed in that respect.
                                      Patterson insisted in private email some long time back that they didn't follow a blanket rule
                                      for the SV, but Meyer was quite sure that (1) 'anthropos' should always be translated 'person'
                                      and that (2) Coptic 'rwme' was the equivalent of 'anthropos' (which is demonstrably false.)
                                       
                                      Best,
                                      Mike
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