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Three Gender-Balanced Translations

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  • Mike Grondin
    The list being too quiet for too long, it seemed a good time to work on a post I ve long delayed, namely a comparison of three translations that attempt to
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 19, 2012
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      The list being too quiet for too long, it seemed a good time to work on a post
      I've long delayed, namely a comparison of three translations that attempt to
      determine when the Gk word 'rwme' should be translated 'man/men' and when
      it shouldn't. The three translations in mind are those of Layton in The Gnostic
      Scriptures, DeConick in The Original Gospel of Thomas in Translation, and
      Pagels (with Meyer) in Beyond Belief. The contexts in question are the 31
      occurrences of 'rwme' uniformly translated as 'man/men' in Lambdin and Blatz, 
      but only rarely (4 of 31) so translated in Meyer and Patterson translations.
       
      Group 1a: unanimity on ungendered translation (12)
      L07.1:  'the person/human/human being will eat the lion ...'
      L07.2:  'the lion will eat the person/human/human being ...'
      L16.1:  'perhaps people are thinking ...'
      L21.9:  'let there be a wise person among you'
      L28.3:  'my soul was pained over human beings / children of humanity'
      L45.2:  'good person/persons/people bring forth good ...'
        45.3:  'bad/evil person/persons/people bring forth evil ...'
      L47.1:  'no person can ride two horses'
        47.3:  'no one / no person drinks old wine, then immediately drinks new'
      L58:    'blest is the one / the person / whoever is troubled'
      L83.1:  'the images are revealed to people / human beings'
      113.4:  'the kingdom is spread on the earth, but people don't see it'
       
      Group 1b: unanimity on gendered translation (5+2=7)
      L61.2:  'Who are you, man/sir?'*
      L63.1:  'A rich/wealthy man ...'
      L64.1:  'A man had visitors ...'
      L72.2:  'Oh, man/mister/my good fellow, who has made me a divider?'*
      109.1:  'The kingdom is like a man who had a hidden treasure ...'
      (*as also in Meyer translations)
       
      Special case: L57.1, 57.3 (man/person who had good seed)
      Layton & DeConick have 'man' in both places; Pagels has 'person' in
      the first, 'man' in the second, which isn't consistent. Counted as 'man',
      but if not, then these two cases go into group 2b below.
       
      Group 2a: split decision in favor of ungendered (7)
      L07.1:  'the lion becomes human (man)'
      L07.2:  (same)
      L08.1:  'Human beings (man) like a fisherman'
      L65.1:  'A creditor/userer (kind man) owned a vineyard'
      L72.1:  'A person (man) said to him ...' [note inconsistency with 72.2 above]
      L78.2:  'to see a person (man) dressed in soft clothes?'
      L98.1:  'kingdom is like a person/someone (man) wanting to kill..'
       
      Group 2b: split decision in favor of gendered (5)
      L04.1:  'the man (person) old in his days'
      L86.2:  'the son of man (human being) has no place of rest'
      L98.1:  '... to kill a powerful man '
      L103:   'blest is the man (those) who know ...'
      106.1:  'you will become sons/children of man (ch. of humanity)...'
       
      With respect to kingdom similes, there are two (96, 97) likened to a woman
      and translated by everyone as such, three (57, 98, 109) likened to a 'rwme',
      but with differing gender decisions, as follows:
      L109: all three translations under comparison favor 'man'
      L98:   only one of three uses 'man'
      L57(1&3):  all use 'man' in 57.3, and two do the same in 57.1. Pagels 
      has 'person' in 57.1, but since she uses 'man' for the same person in 57.2,
      I've counted this as unanimity, though her intentions are unknown.
       
      Pagels' inconsistency above is not the only one. As mentioned earlier, if one
      translates J's response in 72.2 as "Oh, man ..." (or 'mister' or 'sir'), what
      sense does it make to shy away from the obvious implication by translating
      72.1 as "A person said to him..."?
       
      Oh well, hope there's something of interest here for some of y'all.
       
      Mike Grondin
      Mt. Clemens, MI
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