New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:
In seminary, I majored in OT and Hebrew, taking a course each semester that worked with the Masoretic text of whatever book of the OT was the subject of the course. Most of the time, it was something from the wisdom books (Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the poetic sections of the Major Prophets). Otherwise one of the Books of Moses.
Of course, we students were constantly translating, focusing first on sense (the exegetical work), and on rendering the result into English. It gave us all a good sense for (1) the difficulties any translator faces, and (2) the legerdemain many modern translators effect in order to advance whatever political and/or marketing agendas the publisher championed.
Another benefit was to get a good sense for modern translations which are popular (or not). Faced with the fact that in many cases (not all, of course) something was going to be lost in a translation, we students diligently or tirelessly consulted these modern translations to observe what sorts of choices those translators made.
After many, many exegetical/translating assignments over many semesters, I observed that the translation I judged to be most faithful to the underlying text is the RSV. Not, of course, its castrated grandson the NRSV.
Of all the Biblical texts where I could compare my efforts with the RSV (the OT poetry), the RSV was always superb. OT poetry “works” through a variety of figures of speech arising out of observation of concrete objects subject to inspection, in theory, by any careful observer. And, so, comparative figures (simile, metaphor, hypocatastasis) as well as substitutionary figures (metonymy, synecdoche) are almost always rendered as “literally” as possible to achieve the best translation.
This does not mean that a perfect translation (e.g. “the Lord is my shepherd” is one of these) exhausts the sense of the original language. I’d wager that those in this forum who who know a shepherd up close and personal or those have actually worked as shepherds are a tiny minority. Frankly, the meaning of that statement is mostly abstract for me; I don’t have an agricultural or animal husbandry bone in my body. Yet I know that the translation itself is flawless.
The RSV was roundly smeared by others when I was a Christian babe, because of its handling of Isaiah 7:14, rendering the Hebrew almah as young woman instead of the LXX’s virgin (Gk. parthenos). I’m not privy to the reason the RSV made this blunder. Did they really think the LXX translators - more than two millennia closer to the culture for whom the Hebrew text of Isaiah was a living language - had a poorer understanding of that text than these moderns?
The mistake is huge and as obvious as a hairy green mole on the tip of a nose. But excepting these few deplorable blemishes, the RSV is a great translation into English, especially in the poetic portions of Scripture.
Men might wonder whether I am insane given how no one joins me in these warnings about the deletion of God’s words from current Bible products? Why do I keep warning when no one—including the pastors in Evangel Presbytery—join me in this thankless work?
Well, the answer has to do with sober judgment. I’d be inclined to think I was wrong if the men I love argued with me, but they don’t. So I attribute their silence to something other than my warnings being wrong.
I have nothing to offer about the pastors of Evangel Presbytery. I’m teetotally iggernant of those men and their ministries. However, I have often - more often as the decades passed by - seen how pastors in broadly evangelical American Protestant congregations (independant congregations of all sorts and styles) have initially allowed our course materials and other publications into their CE ministries, only to jettison them from their “in the church house” CE efforts.
Why did they do this? Why is this a pattern across the land (I’ve been watching this for 30 years now)? The so-called “pastoral” reason for this is the “controversial” nature of the subject matter - a Biblical theology of sexuality, the nature of manhood and womanhood, and how Scripture mandates a pattern of relationships between men and women in marriage, family, church, and society at large. You see, such a presentation necessarily challenges the regnant feminism which now rules Western society in the place of Biblical patriarchy which ruled it for the previous 1500 years.
The chief aim of pastors in this broad demographic is to keep the sheep happy and free of conflicts. Anything controversial is a threat to this goal. And, so, any syllabus or subject or issue that generates controversy is officially censored - in the pulpit, in the congregation’s CE syllabi.
Steve Hutchens, a senior editor at Touchstone Journal recently wrote something which points to this vice now well-spread, I think, throughout confessing Evangelicalism. Hutchens describes the vice like this:
This is not just connected to our Niceness deficiency, but to our lack of membership in and support from any of the better clubs. Carrying on like this [that is, challenging the non-Christian culture] for an indefinite term is spiritually tiring, and along with this weariness comes temptation to embrace the forces of institutional entropy and die to one’s first love.
And, so, Hutchens comments, “I believe this certainly to be true of the ideological leadership of [evangelicalism], now morbidly compromised by egalitarianism.” My testimony is that “ideological leadership” includes far more than the Kellers, the Grudems, the Moores, the Mohlers, the TFGers, and so on. It also includes those who chart their pastoral courses with reference to these culturally compromised celebrities, in other words the pastors and elders of evagelicalism’s congregations across the land.
A post was merged into an existing topic: Bayly daily 01/22/23
I meet every other week with a group of youngish men on some Tuesday mornings. We’re currently reading 1 Timothy. We discussed 1 Timothy 1:18-20. The question was raised about 1:18, “This charge I entrust to you, Timothy, my child…”
We looked at several English translations and the older translations had, my son, while the newer read, “my child.” The Greek there is teknon which seems to be the more general “child” rather than uios. Yet, it led to a discussion why older English translations different from contemporary translations.
One of our men, Nick, related a discussion he had recently with his son. The conversation he had with his son was specific to the sex of his child. Nick related that if he were speaking with his daughter the conversation would have been different. Nick then said, “I think what is lost in translation here is the specifity related to a father speaking to a son.”
We did speak for some time of some of what Pastor Tim has been posting concerning gagging God and deleting sex-specific language in Scripture. It was helpful. But, is that text an example of this?
Maybe others can say more on this, but in this case, I’d prefer keeping it “child,” given that he could have said “son,” instead (eg Hebrews 12:7 υἱὸς ). Same in 2Timothy 1:2. Not in any way disagreeing with the brother’s comment you record above. “Child” can have a connotation of instruction and discipline different from “son’s” male meaning component (denotation) and one possible connotation of the father’s desire for this little man he calls “son” someday to take over his responsibility so he can safely die.
A few items. Teknon is used nearly 400x in Scripture. I didn’t review all the occurrences but those that I did indicate that it is mainly translated as child.
Calvin translates it son. Calvin notes that by calling Timothy “my son” he’s showing both affection for Timothy and recommending his authority to the church.
It seems to me that the force of Paul’s point here is as Calvin notes. Does son or child do a better job carrying the freight of fatherly affection and commending Timothy’s authority as Paul’s child/son?
Or, is the interpretive decision mainly with what you point out - he could have used the term uios ?
Either way, it is at least another place in Scripture that the preferred translation of earlier English version that was the male meaning component has been altered by more contemporary ones.
No problem with Calvin’s commentary here. Note he uses “son” in contradistinction to “bastard.” Pastors and fathers and mothers make such comments to those they teach without being unfaithful to text. They’ll add a male meaning component lacking in the original as explanation. What I go back to is the words τέκνῳ and υἱός were available, and he chose the one w/out any male meaning component rather than the one w/male meaning component. We have good parallels in English, “child” and “son,” so we should use them. Blessings, brother