Translators' Notes

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Translators' Notes

Postby Jeff Fischer » September 1st, 2013, 8:08 pm

I'm a self-taught beginner in New Testament Greek. Like everyone at this stage, I suppose, as I work my way through the Greek text, I check my translation against a standard English text (usually NASB). Of course, I often find differences in the way I translated a given verse compared to the standard. I'm looking for a resource that will explain what considerations the "professionals" took into account that led to their translation in order to improve my own. My ideal resource would be a verse-by-verse translator's commentary on the text, showing how that particular combination of word meaning, syntax, parsing, etc. led to the translation they wrote. Does such a resource exist?
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Re: Translators' Notes

Postby Louis L Sorenson » September 1st, 2013, 10:37 pm

There is the United Bible Society's Handbook series: http://www.ubs-translations.org/cat/helps_for_translators/handbooks/english_series/. But those are really meant for people who are trying to translate from Greek into a foreign language (not English) and deal with how cultural norms and other concepts are best conveyed from Greek to the target language.

There is an on-going series by Baylor University Press. They are titled "Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament" http://www.baylorpress.com/en/Series/3/Baylor%20Handbook%20on%20the%20Greek%20New%20Testament. Ten volumes are out and more are on the way. You can get a preview on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/II-III-John-Handbook-Testament/dp/1932792082/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1378087305&sr=8-8&keywords=culy#reader_1932792082
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Re: Translators' Notes

Postby Paul-Nitz » September 14th, 2013, 5:21 am

Jeff, At the link below you will find links to pdf files that contain notes on every NT book. Check them out and please tell us if they are useful.

"Papers by Lee Irons: Greek Syntax Notes"
http://www.upper-register.com/papers.html
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Re: Translators' Notes

Postby Jeff Fischer » January 4th, 2014, 3:11 pm

Paul and Louis, thank you both very much for the information! I assumed I would get an email if any posts were made here, which is why I'm so late in responding. These are exactly the type of resources I was looking for. I was not able to find the "Greek Syntax Notes" on the web page you referred to, Paul. The same link appears in at least one of Dr. Irons' other PDFs at the site, so perhaps he's taken it down (or I'm somehow overlooking it). I will send him an email to see if it's still available.
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Re: Translators' Notes

Postby Jeff Fischer » January 6th, 2014, 1:30 am

Just to follow up, I did correspond with Dr. Irons. He has taken down his "Greek Syntax Notes" as he has expanded it and submitted it for publication.
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Re: Translators' Notes

Postby Paul-Nitz » July 13th, 2015, 1:14 pm

Many more volumes are out now.

I have been reading the Baylor Series on James, by AKM Adam. It lives up to it's name, a "Handbook on the Greek Text." If anyone is simply looking for notes on the text, rather than a running commentary on the text, this will do nicely.

I was very interested to read in the Series Introduction that Baylor press has gone with a sensible view of voice in this series. They even give Carl and B-Greek due credit: "In recent years, a number of scholars have taken up Robertson's quiet call to abandon this [deponency] label. Carl Conrad's posts on the B-Greek Internet discussion list... have help flesh out the concerns raised by earlier scholars."

See full quotation here: http://librarun.org/book/18339/22

In what I have read in the volume on James, the term deponency has not arisen, but neither has any comment on voice that would seem to agree with our B-Greek discussions and Carl Conrad's papers. For example, here is a puzzling comment on “οὐ διεκρίθητε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Have you not ____ among yourselves?” James 2:4:
    Διεκρίθητε. Aor pass ind 2nd pl διακρίνω. On the meaning of the verb, see 1:6. Here, the clause οὐ διεκρίθητε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς might be translated: “are you not at odds?” These words begin the apodosis of the preceding conditional construction. As in 1:6, the interpretation of διεκρίθητε is challenginrg, as the active form, “you have made distinctions,” would make a smoother inference from the preceding hypothetical situation and would lead directly to the allegation that “you have become judges.” Some interpreters therefore try to bend the passive toward the active sense. Other interpreters construe the verb as meaning to “doubt” or “waver,” a sense unattested before the NT (but ostensibly legitimated by James’ usage in 1:6). The alternative, “Have you not made a distinction?” is most widely adopted, but the rendereing offered here adheres closer to the attested usage in non-Christian contexts. page 33.
This final sentence is especially difficult for me to understand. Adam’s translation at the head of this section reads, “Haven’t you discriminated among yourselves.” But when he refers to “the rendering offered here” I think he is recalling the words earlier in this paragraph “are you not at odds.” I believe that this translation is based on his comments taking διακρινομαι as meaning "complain," as in the legal sense, “file a complaint” (a point explained at 1:6). Thus, I think the author’s translation “Are you not at odds” is an attempt to represent the passive sense of “complain.”

Anyway, my point is: Wouldn't a far simpler understanding of the word διεκρίθητε be to take it as a simple “self-affected” voice (ἑαυτικὴ διάθεσις) of διακρινω (to separate on from another distinguish, discriminate). Am I being simplistic?
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Re: Translators' Notes

Postby cwconrad » July 13th, 2015, 2:15 pm

Paul-Nitz wrote:Many more volumes are out now.

I have been reading the Baylor Series on James, by AKM Adam. It lives up to it's name, a "Handbook on the Greek Text." If anyone is simply looking for notes on the text, rather than a running commentary on the text, this will do nicely.

I was very interested to read in the Series Introduction that Baylor press has gone with a sensible view of voice in this series. They even give Carl and B-Greek due credit: "In recent years, a number of scholars have taken up Robertson's quiet call to abandon this [deponency] label. Carl Conrad's posts on the B-Greek Internet discussion list... have help flesh out the concerns raised by earlier scholars."

See full quotation here: http://librarun.org/book/18339/22

Martin Culy, one of the editors of this series, participated in the older B-Greek mailing list several years ago; I was a reader for Culy's commentary on the Greek text of the Johannine letters and he was at that time won over to the revised understanding of voice forms and functions. AKM Adam was also a list-member many years ago and was at one time interested in the revised understanding of voice. I'm a bit surprised at what he's written in this instance.
Paul-Nitz wrote:In what I have read in the volume on James, the term deponency has not arisen, but neither has any comment on voice that would seem to agree with our B-Greek discussions and Carl Conrad's papers. For example, here is a puzzling comment on “οὐ διεκρίθητε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς Have you not ____ among yourselves?” James 2:4:
    Διεκρίθητε. Aor pass ind 2nd pl διακρίνω. On the meaning of the verb, see 1:6. Here, the clause οὐ διεκρίθητε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς might be translated: “are you not at odds?” These words begin the apodosis of the preceding conditional construction. As in 1:6, the interpretation of διεκρίθητε is challenginrg, as the active form, “you have made distinctions,” would make a smoother inference from the preceding hypothetical situation and would lead directly to the allegation that “you have become judges.” Some interpreters therefore try to bend the passive toward the active sense. Other interpreters construe the verb as meaning to “doubt” or “waver,” a sense unattested before the NT (but ostensibly legitimated by James’ usage in 1:6). The alternative, “Have you not made a distinction?” is most widely adopted, but the rendereing offered here adheres closer to the attested usage in non-Christian contexts. page 33.
This final sentence is especially difficult for me to understand. Adam’s translation at the head of this section reads, “Haven’t you discriminated among yourselves.” But when he refers to “the rendering offered here” I think he is recalling the words earlier in this paragraph “are you not at odds.” I believe that this translation is based on his comments taking διακρινομαι as meaning "complain," as in the legal sense, “file a complaint” (a point explained at 1:6). Thus, I think the author’s translation “Are you not at odds” is an attempt to represent the passive sense of “complain.”

Anyway, my point is: Wouldn't a far simpler understanding of the word διεκρίθητε be to take it as a simple “self-affected” voice (ἑαυτικὴ διάθεσις) of διακρινω (to separate on from another distinguish, discriminate). Am I being simplistic?

Yes, I think so, Adam seems to be using the same kind of phrasing as Danker does of verbs like this: "passive with active meaning." I wish we could dispense with the term, "active" with its ambiguities and hints at transitivity and agency, but that "ain't gonna happen." I think Adam is understanding the sense correctly: "Haven't you discriminated amongst yourselves?" i.e. "Haven't you treated wealthy members differently from those less well-off?" This usage of διακρίνομαι is indeed a clear instance of middle usage. Calling the verb-form διακρίθητε "passive" isn't a problem -- that's how we note the inflection -- but we understand the verb in a middle sense ("You have acted toward each other unfairly.").
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