Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.
 

Re: Charity (Was: Erasmus)

Expand Messages
  • Robert B. Waltz
    On Fri, 04 Jul 1997, Mr. Helge Evensen wrote: [ BTW -- I think we can keep the tone a little calmer this time. ] ... [ ... ] ... The
    Message 1 of 14 , Jul 3, 1997
      On Fri, 04 Jul 1997, "Mr. Helge Evensen" <helevens@...> wrote:

      [ BTW -- I think we can keep the tone a little calmer this time. ]

      >Robert B. Waltz wrote:

      [ ... ]

      >> 'Charity' may have meant 'love' in 1611, but we are not in 1611 today,
      >> and TODAY it means almsgiving NOT love.
      >> So WHY introduce this problem in todays versions??
      >
      >This is what I responded to, not something else. I was speaking of the
      >fact that the meaning of charity is still "love" today. And the *context*
      >of the discussion was the occurences of this word in the KJV, which is
      >a version of the *Bible*, not whether or not native speakers of English
      >use this word in the meaning "love" in everyday language.
      >My point was that the meaning is still intact today. I responded to the
      >blatant assertion that this meaning is *not* present in the word today.
      >It would have been better to say that "love" is not the *primary* meaning
      >of the word today (even though this would have been an overstatement).

      The primary meaning is surely what people understand it to mean. And they
      understand it to mean "charity."

      I do not argue that this is "good" -- in fact, I object to the way
      certain people use certain words. Very obvious example: "Gay."
      In my vocabulary, "gay" is a word meaning "chearful," and is applied
      primarily to ladies -- at least in traditional music. But it has
      now been -- er -- perverted to mean "homosexual." And for all that
      I wish it otherwise, when I hear the word "gay," I must usually
      interpret it as meaning "homosexual," not "cheerful."

      >I even used one of the standard Dictionaries to prove my point.
      >I doubt that the Birmingham University (on whose International Language
      >Database the Collins Dictionary is based) did not get this right.

      But if two dictionaries disagree, should we not investigate further?
      And we are finding that the English speakers on the list understand
      the word as "almsgiving."

      >(Or maybe they are trying to "deceive" students concerning the meaning of
      >this word?)
      >
      >In order for charity to have the meaning of "love" today, it does not
      >necessarily mean that it is to be spoken in everyday language. There are
      >*other uses* of words than just everyday language. This should be plain
      >enough.

      Not really. My interpretation of the above statement is that we are to
      speak some sort of code because that's what your dictionary says.

      [... ]
      >
      >Another thing to consider is that as long as this word occurs in a very
      >influential Bible translation, it *is* a currently used word in modern
      >English. Christians are using it in connection with teaching, witnessing,
      >counseling, etc. Is this not part of modern English?

      Really? Anybody want to tell me what a "blain" is (Ex. 9:9)? :-)

      >To state otherwise is to say that "theological language" is *not* part
      >of modern English. It *is* a known word today. It may not be used in the
      >meaning "love" on "the street", but does that mean that this use is not
      >part of modern English??

      In my experience, it is not. And my English (unlike my Greek) is
      quite good.

      [ ... ]

      >> The meaning "love" is the *second* subentity under the *sixth* definition,
      >> and is marked *specific to theology.* In other words, "love" and "charity"
      >> cannot be equated in ordinary conversation.
      >
      >(What is "ordinary conversation"? Is it "non-religious" conversation?)

      "Ordinary conversation" is anything people say without trying to sound
      affected.

      [ ... ]

      >That is all this dictionary has to say about this word.
      >Note that while it indicates that the word is "Biblical", it does not
      >separate between that and the modern usage, but rather lumps it all
      >together.

      But -- trust me -- most people *don't* speak "Biblical English" in
      ordinary life, and can't be expected to understand it. Certainly they
      aren't taught it. In fact, any attempt to teach it in American
      public schools would be unconstitutional.

      >But since you referred to a "standard" dictionary, let me refer to
      >another one which is *certainly* a standard: The Oxford Advanced
      >Learner`s Dictionary, New Edition (fourth edition), Oxford 1989.
      >On the title page it is called a dictionary "of *Current* English"
      >(emphasis added).
      >This one better be right, for it is responsible for thousands of
      >students` understanding of English language and usage all over the world.

      The ultimate authority, perhaps, is the Oxford English Dictionary.
      Anybody out there have an OED to check?

      >When I open this dictionary I expect to find definitions according to
      >*current* English. And what do I find when I open it at the word
      >charity? Yes, you guessed it again, here it is:
      >"_n_ 1 [U] loving kindness towards others. 2 [U] tolerance in judging
      >others; kindness; leniency: _judge people with charity_. 3 [U] (a)
      >(generosity in) giving money, food, help, etc to the needy......etc."
      >
      >It cannot be rightly held as a fact that "love" is not one of the
      >meanings of charity. Whether you choose a dictionary which lists this
      >meaning first or one that lists it last. The meaning is *there*.
      >
      >> And remember, the NT is written in colloquial Greek. It should be
      >> translated into colloquial English, not theological English!
      >
      >It does not automatically follow that, just because the NT was written
      >in colloquial Greek, a translation must be in colloquial in the receptor
      >language. That must depend on the ability of that particular language
      >to contain the meanings of the words of the Bible.

      Modern English is fully as capable of translating Greek as the language
      of the KJV -- which happens to be early Modern English. It merely
      translates it differently.

      [ ... ]

      >> >To say that a Greek word must always be rendered into one English
      >> >word in all instances is clearly a fallacy.
      >>
      >> This is true. But it is not the point. The complex of words AGAP-
      >> are so important in the New Testament that they *must* be rendered
      >> consistently.
      >
      >Many would disagree with you on that point. Personally, I would prefer
      >to render it consistently. But that is not the only valid view in
      >existense.

      But you are arguing for rendering it inconsistently, because the
      KJV rendders it inconsistently. Please, either be consistent or
      tell us that you don't care about logic. :-)

      >> To argue otherwise is equivalent to saying that we
      >> can indiscriminately call Jesus "Jesus" or "Joshua." Either name
      >> may be correct -- but they cannot be used at random.
      >
      >There is a clear difference between the use of a proper name and the use
      >of a group of ordinary words.

      I see none.

      It should not be necessary for me to
      >comment further on that. (It seems that the word "equivalent" here is a
      >little too strong.....)
      >
      >> >The KJV translators had great
      >> >sensitivity when it came to choosing English equivalents that would suit
      >> >the particular context.
      >>
      >> This is true -- for 1611. It is simply *not true* for 1997.
      >
      >Yeah, it is still *true* today, but the language has changed.

      That's *my* point.

      [ ... ]

      >> It's also obsolete. Even if one ignores its defective text, even
      >> if one ignores all the things the translators did not know, it
      >> is *not in the language modern people speak.*
      >
      >I answer this with two questions:*Should* a Bible translation necessarily
      >be in the language modern people *speak*? Is not the Bible a Holy book
      >which is different from a newspaper?

      Are you Protestant? I assume so. I imagine you are Lutheran. Is not
      the Priesthood of All Believers an important component of Lutheranism?
      Surely this means people must be able to understand their Bible.
      But people *do not* understand the KJV.

      I agree that is regretable; I wish more people could understand
      Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as the KJV. But it is true. We
      cannot hold back time. We can only bring our translations up to date.

      -*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-*-

      Robert B. Waltz
      waltzmn@...

      Want more loudmouthed opinions about textual criticism?
      Try my web page: http://www.skypoint.com/~waltzmn
      (A site inspired by the Encyclopedia of NT Textual Criticism)
    • Mr. Helge Evensen
      Mr. Waltz, Thanks for your response. It is obvious that my former message did not help you understand what I am talking about, so I will just briefly end my
      Message 2 of 14 , Jul 4, 1997
        Mr. Waltz,

        Thanks for your response.

        It is obvious that my former message did not help you understand what I
        am talking about, so I will just briefly end my contribution to this
        debate with the present post. And, admittedly, my limited experience
        as to the practical use of the English language, naturally hinders me
        from going further with this.


        Robert B. Waltz wrote:
        >
        > On Fri, 04 Jul 1997, "Mr. Helge Evensen" <helevens@...> wrote:
        >
        > [ BTW -- I think we can keep the tone a little calmer this time. ]

        Fine with me.

        > >Robert B. Waltz wrote:
        >
        > [ ... ]
        >
        > >> 'Charity' may have meant 'love' in 1611, but we are not in 1611 today,
        > >> and TODAY it means almsgiving NOT love.
        > >> So WHY introduce this problem in todays versions??
        > >
        > >This is what I responded to, not something else. I was speaking of the
        > >fact that the meaning of charity is still "love" today. And the *context*
        > >of the discussion was the occurences of this word in the KJV, which is
        > >a version of the *Bible*, not whether or not native speakers of English
        > >use this word in the meaning "love" in everyday language.
        > >My point was that the meaning is still intact today. I responded to the
        > >blatant assertion that this meaning is *not* present in the word today.
        > >It would have been better to say that "love" is not the *primary* meaning
        > >of the word today (even though this would have been an overstatement).
        >
        > The primary meaning is surely what people understand it to mean. And they
        > understand it to mean "charity."

        What does, for instance, the word "grace" mean in contemporary English
        language outside "religious talk"? And the word "holy"?
        If they are not used in the Biblical meaning, is that a reason for
        avoiding the use of them in modern English translations? If so, not many
        translators have thought it necessary, for very few translations
        substitute these words.

        [.....]

        > >> >To say that a Greek word must always be rendered into one English
        > >> >word in all instances is clearly a fallacy.
        > >>
        > >> This is true. But it is not the point. The complex of words AGAP-
        > >> are so important in the New Testament that they *must* be rendered
        > >> consistently.
        > >
        > >Many would disagree with you on that point. Personally, I would prefer
        > >to render it consistently. But that is not the only valid view in
        > >existense.
        >
        > But you are arguing for rendering it inconsistently, because the
        > KJV rendders it inconsistently. Please, either be consistent or
        > tell us that you don't care about logic. :-)

        This is a misunderstanding. I did not *argue* for rendering it
        inconsistently. I stated what was my *personal* preference
        with regard to the rendering of AGAPE, and that this view is
        not the only *valid* one. That is, *other* choices may be *valid*.
        But despite my own view, it is a fact that one Greek word does not always
        have to be rendered by the same English word. And that *may* be the case
        with the word AGAPE. I did *not* state anything conclusive, or that
        AGAPE *must necessarily* be rendered consistently.
        Actually, I have not stated that the KJV *always* has the word AGAPE
        rendered correctly.

        My argument is that it is wrong to say that the word "charity" does *not
        at all* have the meaning "love" today. That was my concern in my response
        to Mike. My personal preference may be the one or the other, but evidence
        is evidence, and that is what I have presented with regard to the word
        "charity". And I have not depended on my own opinions, I have cited
        evidence. If I had *not* found evidence for my statements regarding the
        word "charity", I would not have bothered this list with my opinions.
        Because of my limited experience with regard to the English language, it
        would be impossible for me to argue at all about the uses of that
        language in everyday talk, if I had not found evidence in dictionaries.
        If these dictionaries are not representative of the current use of
        English, that is really not my responsibility. Besides, I never did say
        that "charity" was used by all in the meaning "love". My only contention
        is that "charity" still contains the meaning "love", as it is found in
        the dictionaries which I have consulted.

        > >> To argue otherwise is equivalent to saying that we
        > >> can indiscriminately call Jesus "Jesus" or "Joshua." Either name
        > >> may be correct -- but they cannot be used at random.
        > >
        > >There is a clear difference between the use of a proper name and the use
        > >of a group of ordinary words.
        >
        > I see none.

        I may add that I have not argued that one is to use the words "love" and
        "charity" *at random*. The rendering of words must be done carefully,
        not "at random" (unless you used the expression in the sense of
        "irregular").

        > >> It's also obsolete. Even if one ignores its defective text, even
        > >> if one ignores all the things the translators did not know, it
        > >> is *not in the language modern people speak.*
        > >
        > >I answer this with two questions:*Should* a Bible translation necessarily
        > >be in the language modern people *speak*? Is not the Bible a Holy book
        > >which is different from a newspaper?
        >
        > Are you Protestant? I assume so. I imagine you are Lutheran. Is not
        > the Priesthood of All Believers an important component of Lutheranism?
        > Surely this means people must be able to understand their Bible.
        > But people *do not* understand the KJV.

        Yes, I am Protestant. However, I am also "Charis(auto)matic" (that is,
        one who believes in the "auotomatic" giving of "Grace" to *anyone* who
        accepts Jesus Christ as his/her Saviour and believes His Holy Word!)


        [...]
        >
        > I wish more people could understand
        > Chaucer and Shakespeare as well as the KJV.

        I agree.

        [...]

        > We can only bring our translations up to date.

        I clearly disagree with you there, but we cannot continue this debate
        forever, so enough for now.

        Thanks so far. God bless.


        --
        - Mr. Helge Evensen
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.