Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

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Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

Postby Stephen Carlson » March 28th, 2013, 6:49 am

The perfect of the mental activity/state ἥγημαι in Phil 3:7 gets translated in four different ways in four major English translations:
Phil 3:7 wrote:Ἀλλὰ ἅτινα ἦν μοι κέρδη, ταῦτα ἥγημαι διὰ τὸν Χριστὸν ζημίαν.
Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. (NRSV)
But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. (NIV)
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (NASB)
But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. (ESV=RSV)

So the Greek perfect gets variously translated as an English perfect (NASB), an English simple present (NIV), an English preterit (ESV=RSV), and a periphrastic perfect of result "to have come to" (NRSV).

This is a difficult and subtle case but I think that the NRSV does the best job of conveying the nuance of the perfect here.
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Re: Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

Postby Jonathan Robie » March 28th, 2013, 11:09 am

Let's look at this in some translations that claim to be careful about literal translation of this kind of form. Mounce Reverse Interlinear gets it right, so does the Amplified:

Mounce Reverse Interlinear: But whatever things were gain to me, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.

Amplified: But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as one combined] loss for Christ’s sake.

Lexham doesn't:

Lexham: But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have considered loss because of Christ.

Neither does Young's Literal Translation:

Young's: But what things were to me gains, these I have counted, because of the Christ, loss;

Is there controversy about the interpretation of the perfect here, reflected in translations?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

Postby cwconrad » March 28th, 2013, 11:13 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Let's look at this in some translations that claim to be careful about literal translation of this kind of form. Mounce Reverse Interlinear gets it right, so does the Amplified:

Mounce Reverse Interlinear: But whatever things were gain to me, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ.

Amplified: But whatever former things I had that might have been gains to me, I have come to consider as one combined] loss for Christ’s sake.

Lexham doesn't:

Lexham: But whatever things were gain to me, these things I have considered loss because of Christ.

Neither does Young's Literal Translation:

Young's: But what things were to me gains, these I have counted, because of the Christ, loss;

Is there controversy about the interpretation of the perfect here, reflected in translations?


What it really looks like is a knee-jerk conversion of the Greek perfect into what's thought to be the standard English equivalent, without much thought about "natural" English usage.
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Re: Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

Postby Stephen Carlson » March 28th, 2013, 5:17 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:Is there controversy about the interpretation of the perfect here, reflected in translations?


I haven't checked the commentaries. I just noticed the translation differences today.
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Re: Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

Postby Stephen Carlson » March 28th, 2013, 5:19 pm

cwconrad wrote:What it really looks like is a knee-jerk conversion of the Greek perfect into what's thought to be the standard English equivalent, without much thought about "natural" English usage.


I'm not sure what's going on with Lexham, but I'm pretty sure that's exactly what's going with Young's "Literal" Translation.
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Re: Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

Postby Jonathan Robie » March 28th, 2013, 5:31 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
cwconrad wrote:What it really looks like is a knee-jerk conversion of the Greek perfect into what's thought to be the standard English equivalent, without much thought about "natural" English usage.

I'm not sure what's going on with Lexham, but I'm pretty sure that's exactly what's going with Young's "Literal" Translation.


That's the basic methodology for Young's ... but not for Lexham.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

Postby MAubrey » March 28th, 2013, 5:51 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote: an English simple present (NIV)

Not only a simple present, the "now" is also part of the translation of the perfect here.
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Re: Phil 3:7 ἥγμηαι: 4 Translations, 4 Different Renderings

Postby Stephen Carlson » March 28th, 2013, 5:58 pm

MAubrey wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote: an English simple present (NIV)

Not only a simple present, the "now" is also part of the translation of the perfect here.


Yep, hence the bolding in my quotation. I wonder why the NIV included the word now. It does create a contrast with what Paul believed then, so maybe it is to imply a change in Paul's beliefs. If so, not too bad for a dynamic equivalent.
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