Sunday, May 14, 2006

Translating Luke-Acts

I'm working my way through Luke-Acts in Greek and translating key passages of the text. Here's my rendition of Luke 1.1-4:

Since many have tried their hand to compile an orderly narrative concerning the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were delivered to us from those who were from the beginning eyewitnesses and servants of the word; it occurred to me, having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, to write a successive account for you most noble Theophilus in order that you might known the veracity of the accounts which you were taught.


CJW said...

Mike, it's a nice translation. You know I'm such a fan of both Luke and his theology. Can't wait until you translate the Bendictus and Magnificat!

C. Stirling Bartholomew said...


"tried their hand to compile" doesn't sound like what a native born speaker of the Puget Sound dialect of English would say. First off, the preposition we would use is "at" as in "he tried his hand at compiling ...". Furthermore I don't recall if we ever use the expression with a plural subject. I don't intend to impose our speech habits on Australians or anyone else for that matter. Almost everyone in my neighborhood speaks English as a second or third or fourth language.

I have been studying Luke-Acts for several years now in Greek with an occasional look at the Syriac versions. Currently have an ILL copy of P.J.W's book on Syriac Translation Technique. It is a great read, best thing I have read (studied) since Helma Dik's dissertation on word order in Herodotus.

Back in the late 90s I spent a year or so on a study of Codex Bezae in Acts, looked at every variant, read the recent monographs by Strange and D.C. Parker and old stuff like JH Ropes. Got some expert help from E. Hobbes (Wellesley, Harvard, Berkeley) Right now I am working on Acts chapter 10.

exegetical fallacy said...

do you have some new-found mss with 'kai' in 1.1?


Jim said...

I would leave off translating "Theophilus" as a proper name. I know it's pretty common to do so- but I really think you (and all) should take it as a simple noun rather than a proper noun. "friend of God" or perhaps "God's dear friend".

lingamish said...

A translation consultant recommended to me that we translate the first four verse of Luke last. They are tricky. What kind of translation are you shooting for?