July 26, 2005

Breaking Translation Traditions

I blogged earlier on how the tradition of English language Bible translation has sometimes led to inaccurate renderings of the Greek New Testament (I assume this affects the Hebrew Bible as well, but I don't read Hebrew). Wayne Leman of Better Bibles Blog has been talking recently about a new translation called The Source New Testament which was made by a sole translator, Greek lexicographer Dr. Ann Nyland of the University of New England, Australia. Today, Wayne has an interview with Dr. Nyland in which she makes an argument similar to mine, though much more compelling. Where I happened across a single case of a word translated in the New Testament in a way that departs strikingly from its meaning in all other classical texts, including even Josephus, Dr. Nyland argues that the entire field of NT lexicography is some hundred years out of date, and has refused to incorporate the information garnered from the latest archaeological finds.

I must confess to some skepticism as to her interpretive conclusions. I don't happen to have my Greek handy at the moment or the time to go over it, but I certainly plan on looking closely at the passages she references in the interview to compare my NT lexicons with LSJ and whatever else I can find in search of support for her conclusions. Of course, I don't have access to all these unpublished papyrii and her conclusions are based on six years of work whereas I intend to spend maybe an hour or two.

Whatever the case, I am very excited about the possibility of a NT translation by a classical Greek lexicographer, and would very much like to get my hands on it. Unfortunately, it is rather expensive and has to be shipped from Australia (alternatively, there is an electronic download available with lots of DRM that costs almost as much as the paper edition). I suspect, however that the lexical aids included make the buy worthwhile and I may be ordering soon. I am in fact far more interested in the new lexicon she says is in progress, but it appears to be a few years off still.

Posted by Kenny at July 26, 2005 1:15 PM
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