Sunday, August 13, 2017

How Not To Render Greek (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Greek: Ἔχομεν δὲ τὸν θησαυρὸν τοῦτον ἐν ὀστρακίνοις σκεύεσιν, ἵνα ἡ ὑπερβολὴ τῆς δυνάμεως ᾖ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ μὴ ἐξ ἡμῶν· (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Overly literal translation:

"But we have this thesaurus in baked clay vessels, in order that the hyperbolicity of the force might be of the God and not from us."

Do not render Greek this way!

5 comments:

Sean Killackey said...

Seems as good as any to me. I'll apply it in my life right away.

Edgar Foster said...

2 Corinthians 4:7 is an excellent scripture.

Duncan said...

Isn't that transliteration?

Duncan said...

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=thesaurus

http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?allowed_in_frame=0&search=hyperbol

Edgar Foster said...

An example of transliteration is how the old NWT did Sheol or Tartarus and Hades. The example in the blog entry was meant to show how not to translate, but students often do the very thing I did in rendering τὸν θησαυρὸν as thesaurus. for instance, imagine someone translating φωσφόρος in 2 Pet 1:19 as phosphorus. It happens. And yes, we get the English word "thesaurus" from its Greek counterpart, but it would be deceptive to render the Greek in that manner today.

Hyperbolicity is close to the Greek, but in my opinion, it's not a strict transliteration like Sheol or Hades. Note how translators handle the word. Also, "of the force" for τῆς δυνάμεως is certainly not transliteration.