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Biblical Tribalism

What does your choice of Bible translation say about who you are and where you locate yourself within the Christian tradition? Scot McKnight has some thoughts on the idea, although he mostly seeks to demolish the question by pointing to the original next as the true authority and not any translation, no matter how good.

Do read this, especially if you are not conversant with the original biblical languages, as this post offers a thumbnail sketch of translation theory and why translators make the choices they do. I especially appreciated this gem:

I’d like to contend today that most words are translated in all Bible translations with formal equivalence and that some words are translated more or less in a dynamic, or functional way. In other words, there isn’t really a radical commitment to dynamic equivalence — as if one can find some better way in English to the original languages “and” or “but” or “the” or “God.” Or a radical commitment to “formal equivalence,” as if the Greek word order can be maintained in English and make sense, though at times the NASB gave that a try (much to the consternation of English readers). No one translates “God’s nostrils got bigger” (formal equivalence) but we translate “God became angry.” There are some expressions that can’t be translated woodenly unless one prefers not to be understood.



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