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RE: [John_Lit] John 1:1-10 - my proposed translation

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  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
    ... To Which Jeffrey B. Gibson responded with some questions: Let me add some additonal glosses to Jeffrey s notes/questions ... While every translation loses
    Message 1 of 34 , May 6, 2005
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      > billrossfamily wrote:
      > > I would appreciate any evaluation of the following, which is my
      > > proposed translation of John 1:1-10. Thank you.
      > >
      > > (1) In the beginning was the utterance
      > > And the utterance was in company with God
      > > And the utterance was divine [utterance].
      > > (2) This same [utterance] was in company with God
      > > (3) All [people] came to be through it
      > > And not even one [person] came to be without it
      > > What came to be (4) by it was a life
      > > And that life was the light of mankind
      > > (5) and the light is shining *in darkness*
      > > And the darkness has not supressed it
      > >
      > > (6) A man came to be, sent from God. His name was John
      > > (7) This one came to in order to be a witness
      > > That he might testify concerning the light
      > > In order that all might believe through it
      > > (8) {That one [John himself] was not the light
      > > But rather, in order to testify concerning the light
      > > (9) [this other] was, [the] true light that lights all
      > mankind} Coming
      > > into the lost community,
      > > (10) the lost community arose to him. The lost community came to be
      > > [in response to] him and the lost community did not recognize him.

      To Which Jeffrey B. Gibson responded with some questions:

      Let me add some additonal glosses to Jeffrey's notes/questions
      (Jeffrey's questions are the comments with markings):

      > Why "utterance" for LOGOS?

      While every translation loses something and gains something, the use of
      utterance here loses the possibility of the rich play that LOGOS has --
      word, logic, thought, reason,etc... Word is sufficiently broad to
      capture some of that multifaceted nature. I guess I am wondering in the
      face of this why "utterance" is attractive? While I can see some
      interesting reasons (perhaps based a bit on Bakhtin and Riceour's
      theories), I would really like to hear the rationale.

      > Why do you take QEOS in 1:1c as if it were QEOIS?
      This seems like a real translational problem. What the word is is not
      simply divine, but God.... It is difficult, maybe even nonsensical. But
      divine seems a distortion.

      > Why "all people" for PANTA.
      The plural neuter seems to be broader than simply people.... But all
      things (I think). I am interested in why you want to restrict the scope
      of the word's work here to humanity.
      > Why "not one person" for OUDE EN?
      Same problem as above....

      > Why "lost community" for KOSMOS?
      Yes, this is really an interesting question. What is your understanding
      of KOSMOS? This seems to be problematic for the entire ending of the

      I would concur with each of Jeffrey's questions, and probably could add
      more. But it would be really helpful to see what your rationale is for

      Just as an aside, there are so many reasons to translate -- sometimes to
      achieve some sense of the original, sometimes to accentuate some
      ambiguities or word-plays in the original, sometimes to achieve a very
      easy reading in today's idiom. They all function to a certain extent in
      every translation. And a certain ideology can't help but creep into
      every translation (they are, after all, simply our "readings" from our
      point of view. But it is really helpful to lay out what are primary
      reasons, what is guiding our ideology. That is half the fun in talking
      about interpretations.

      > Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean
      Milligan College
    • R. Robert Jenkins
      ... Can you provide us with any evidence for this statement? I have some handbooks on the Gospel of John written by translators, some commentaries in which the
      Message 34 of 34 , May 9, 2005
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        --- Bill Ross <BillRoss@...> wrote:

        > <B>
        > My stated premise for my translation of "utterance"
        > has not been addressed.
        > Let my restate it for closer scrutiny...
        > When John says "EN ARKH" ISTM that most translators
        > understand him to be
        > saying "Once upon a time..."

        Can you provide us with any evidence for this
        statement? I have some handbooks on the Gospel of John
        written by translators, some commentaries in which the
        commentators give their own translations and discuss
        what they mean by them, and some works by John scolars
        like C.H. Dodd who discuss Jn. 1:1, and none of them
        give any hint that they have the understanding you say
        "most translators" do.

        So could you produce something from a translator that
        shows that "Once upon a time" is what ytasnaltors
        understand John to be saying in 1:1?

        whereas I hear him
        > saying "Ladies and
        > gentlemen, if you would, please turn in you
        > Septuagint to page 1. I am going
        > to tell you who is being referred to by the word
        > "us" in "Let us make
        > man...".

        Now I'm really confused. Are you saying that it is
        John's intent to say that God made the world through
        the male and the female he created in Gen 1:26?

        > The main think that John is expounding, I believe,
        > is that in Gen 1,
        > everything that was made, without exception, was
        > made in conjunction with
        > the utterance, "let there be...".

        But this is expressly what he does not say about
        "man". There is a conspicuous absence of the let
        there be phrase in the section of Gen 1 where God
        creates "man, both male and female" in his image.

        > In the course of this discussion, I realize that my
        > objection to "the word"
        > (non-capitalized only) is not so much linguistic as
        > it is to the baggage
        > that the term is made to carry - that it is a
        > reference to something from
        > Greek philosophy rather than God's word(s).
        > So, I ask, is my fundamental interpretation, that EN
        > ARKH refers us to Gen
        > 1, and "PROS TON THEON" refers us to "let us
        > make..." and "by means of hO
        > LOGOS everything was made" refers us to "Let there
        > be..."?

        You are missing a clause here. Is your fundamental
        interpretaion what? Reasonable? I don't see how it
        could be. What possible lingusitic or allusive
        connection could there be between "he was with God"
        and the divibe declaration of intent to make humankind
        in God's image in Gen 1:26? And it becomes even more
        unlikely given how Dr. Gibson has shown how all that
        John says about the LOGOS in John 1:1 is what Jews
        were saying about the Torah.

        R. Robert Jenkins

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