Sunday, February 24, 2008

Karen Jobes on Bible Translation as Bilingual Quotation

I got an email from Michael Pritchard of Zondervan, and he informed me about a blog post that highlights the work of Karen Jobes (Wheaton) on Bible Translation as Bilingual Quotation. Zondervan have made available an18 page paper given by Karen on Bible Translation as Bilingual Quotation at the Fall 2007 Evangelical Theological Society Annual Meeting. Her two major contentions are:

1. Translation as bilingual (inter-lingual) quotation.

“Because of the growing importance of accurate, authoritative translation in the highly charged forums of the United Nations and the European Union, the practice of simultaneous interpretation has enjoyed increasing study by linguists over the last thirty years.” p. 5

“Although simultaneous translation of spoken language may at first seem an inappropriate analog to Bible translation, both tasks share the paramount goal of producing a precise and accurate translation that is faithful to the meaning of the original language.” p. 6

2. Verbosity as a measure of translation.

She surveys the word count of several English translations and compares it with the Greek and Hebrew Texts.

“My point is that the concepts of formal versus functional equivalence, though perhaps useful in their day, do not fully do justice to how language works and to what characterizes translations that are faithful to their sources. Furthermore, the concepts of formal and functional equivalence have been polarized and used to valorize or demonize a given English translation, which has been quite counter-productive for scholarly debate of translation issues, to say the least.” p. 16

Her paper seems to be a criticism of the "essential literalists" of the ESV etc. I know that a number of professional Bible translators read this blog, and I'd like to hear what they think of Jobes' proposal.


Ben Byerly said...

Have you seen John Hobbins's post at He discusses this article at length.

Dawn said...

An alternative method to translating the writings within the Bible:

(Genesis) Adam/man (Hebrew-synonyms) = ‘ruddy’, rosy, the flush of red blood

"man became a ‘living soul’ " (Genesis):
soul (Hebrew & Greek) = animal principle/breathing creature

- does not suggest a ‘human’ being but rather a ‘ruddy’ creature (as coming from 'dust' of the 'ground' - the ‘red’ earth, mine-primordial soup)

Adam/man was not initially a ‘human’ being as many suppose but rather a ‘ruddy creature of earth’, an animal (which had to have been a chimpanzee because of recent human genome DNA mapping).

However, religious tendencies are observed strictly in the ‘human’ species. If human beings are ‘soul (animal/chimp)’ then why aren’t such tendencies evident in other primates? Could it be because we have something the other primates don’t have?

animal = soul
human being = soul + immortal spirit

soul = mortal
spirit = immortal

Adam/man did not initially possess the ability for 'spiritual' communication, he only gained that after God put him into the garden (Gen. 2:8)