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Old 04-29-2001, 02:05 PM   #1
James Still
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Post Retrojecting divinity is as easy as 1-2-3

All too often we hear apologists say uncritically that Jesus' disciples believed him to be the "Lord" (God) or that titles like "Son of man" refer to his divinity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me illustrate how our modern understanding of Jesus can be retrojected back onto him and thus onto the translations themselves. My example comes from Mark 2:27-28 (the last sentence paralleled in Matthew and Luke), which Philip Sellew in the Scholar's Version translates thusly:

"The sabbath day was created for Adam and Eve, not Adam and Eve for the sabbath day. So, the son of Adam lords it even over the sabbath day."

However, the Greek reads: To sabbaton dia ton anthropon egeneto, kai oux ho anthropos dia to sabbaton. Hoste kurios estin ho hious tou anthropou kai tou sabbatou. For those of you unfamiliar with Greek, the last sentence literally translates to something like "So lords are (kurios estin) human beings (ho hious tou anthropou) even over the sabbath (kai tou sabbatou)." Where does this "Son of man" come into play? Sellew explains in a footnote that we are to understand "Jesus as representative of true humanity." In other words here is a case in which an interpretation has made its way into the translation itself, something that confirms the darkest fears of biblical literalists everywhere. (But that's okay, they only tell skeptics to read the original Greek for its context when the passage makes them feel uncomfortable; in cases such as this they will gladly look the other way.)

Now don't misunderstand me. I have enormous respect for Sellew and I learned a great deal from him when I attended the university at which he still teaches. I suspect that he didn't have full control over the final translation and the political pressures upon the translating committee to retroject a christological title back onto the historical Jesus was too great. In every translation I know of you get interpretations built right into the translation so that most translations of Luke 6:5 read: "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" even though Luke's "Kurios estin tou sabbatou ho hious tou anthropou" should translate into "Human beings are lords of the sabbath." "Lords" in this case is a noun which means "greater than" or "superior to" even though the naive have always been misled to infer that "Lord" means "God." (It does not. Kurios is a title of respect akin to the English "Sir" as in "Good day to you Sir.")

See how easy it is to craft divinity? Just build it right into the translation so that it confirms that which you already believe.
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Old 04-29-2001, 03:17 PM   #2
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Hmm... I'm not quite sure what to make of this post.

I have to admit that my experience in Greek is not quite up to my par with my Hebrew, so please correct me if I'm wrong.

However! As far as my studies have taken me (not to mention Greek Lexicons), the Greek word "kurios" does not mean "Lords". Is this some kind of a test?

"Kurios" (masculine noun, nominative, singular) should translate "Lord". "Kurioi" (masculine, nominative, plural would translate "Lords". The word "estin" is "is", not "are" which would be "eisin". Therefore, the phrase "Kurios estin" which you translate "Lords are" should be "lord is".

Also, you translate the phrase "ho huios tou anthropou" as "human beings". Well, that's not very literal... "huios" in Greek means "son". "tou anthropou" is in the genitive and means "of man" (*nominative* anthropos = man). Therefore, the literal translation of this phrase is "the son of man".

Young's Literal Translation is an English translation that holds extrememly close to the underlying Greek text, and it says: "And he said to them, `The sabbath for man was made, not man for the sabbath, so that the son of man is lord also of the sabbath.'".

Finally, as far as the statement "an interpretation has made its way into the translation itself", this seems to be flat wrong. The UBS 4th edition, Metzger's Commentary on the New Testament, and I assume the NA 27th, make absolutely no mention of any textual variants in this verse. It is pure and accurate.

In light of the errors in your Greek, I would imagine that your conclusions follow the same trend.

Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited April 29, 2001).]
 
Old 04-29-2001, 03:55 PM   #3
James Still
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I know that major translations render "ho uios tou anthropou" as "son of man" and sometimes "uios" in a narrow sense can mean "son" or "offspring." However, my point is that the genetive uios is a periphrasis for "man" (in a generic sense). For instance, in Numbers 23:19 it is used in the context of the weakness of men. I would feel more comfortable with your interpretation if something like "homoios uioi anthro" (like unto a son of man) were used instead. But this seems to indicate a generic sense of "humanity" or "human beings" instead of a reference to a single person. This is an old argument so I understand that reasonable people disagree.
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Old 04-29-2001, 03:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by James Still:
All too often we hear apologists say uncritically that Jesus' disciples believed him to be the "Lord" (God) or that titles like "Son of man" refer to his divinity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me illustrate how our modern understanding of Jesus can be retrojected back onto him and thus onto the translations themselves. My example comes from Mark 2:27-28 (the last sentence paralleled in Matthew and Luke), which Philip Sellew in the Scholar's Version translates thusly:

"The sabbath day was created for Adam and Eve, not Adam and Eve for the sabbath day. So, the son of Adam lords it even over the sabbath day."

However, the Greek reads: To sabbaton dia ton anthropon egeneto, kai oux ho anthropos dia to sabbaton. Hoste kurios estin ho hious tou anthropou kai tou sabbatou. For those of you unfamiliar with Greek, the last sentence literally translates to something like "So lords are (kurios estin) human beings (ho hious tou anthropou) even over the sabbath (kai tou sabbatou)." Where does this "Son of man" come into play? Sellew explains in a footnote that we are to understand "Jesus as representative of true humanity." In other words here is a case in which an interpretation has made its way into the translation itself, something that confirms the darkest fears of biblical literalists everywhere. (But that's okay, they only tell skeptics to read the original Greek for its context when the passage makes them feel uncomfortable; in cases such as this they will gladly look the other way.)

Now don't misunderstand me. I have enormous respect for Sellew and I learned a great deal from him when I attended the university at which he still teaches. I suspect that he didn't have full control over the final translation and the political pressures upon the translating committee to retroject a christological title back onto the historical Jesus was too great. In every translation I know of you get interpretations built right into the translation so that most translations of Luke 6:5 read: "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" even though Luke's "Kurios estin tou sabbatou ho hious tou anthropou" should translate into "Human beings are lords of the sabbath." "Lords" in this case is a noun which means "greater than" or "superior to" even though the naive have always been misled to infer that "Lord" means "God." (It does not. Kurios is a title of respect akin to the English "Sir" as in "Good day to you Sir.")

See how easy it is to craft divinity? Just build it right into the translation so that it confirms that which you already believe.
</font>
Hello James

Is it not wrong to even suggest that Adam has a son because Adam was created but never formed. Adam is a just a figment of our imagination that has been blown out of proportion to become the ego we carry about.

In Gen.1 God creates, in Gen.2 that which is created in Gen.1 takes form in Lord God who is therefore the manifestation of God. In Gen. 3 Adam is conjectured into existence by the "wit" of man who was still naked to wit in Gen.2 and felt therefore no shame. So it is silly to suggest that Adam has a son even if Christ is the second Adam which could only mean that Christ was Lord God, or Man, in the image of God who now gave birth to the child called "son of Man" that is to become fully Man after the restoration of the Adamic nature in the Christ identity.

While I do not disagree that the sabath was created for Adam and Eve because neither of them live in the seventh day, it is wrong to assume that the son of Adam lords it over the seventh day. It is son of Man now born into the seventh day that Lords it over the seventh day because for him every day is sabbath.

Jesus did represent true humanity and therefore had to be crucified. It was the second nature of Jesus, the Christ or God identity, that needed to be set free with the crucifixion of the Jesus identity. This was done with the release of Bar-abbas long, or 42 months after Jesus was lord over the sabbath.

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Old 04-29-2001, 05:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by James Still:
I know that major translations render "ho uios tou anthropou" as "son of man" and sometimes "uios" in a narrow sense can mean "son" or "offspring."</font>
I think it is somewhat misleading to those who don't know Greek to say that "huios" can mean "son" in a "narrow sense". The word "huios" literally means "son" and can be translated so in most if not all instances.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">James Still:
However, my point is that the genetive uios is a periphrasis for "man" (in a generic sense). For instance, in Numbers 23:19 it is used in the context of the weakness of men.</font>
You're reading this straight out of a Lexicon aren't you? Look a little closer at the text of Thayer's, it says (w/my emphasis): "...huios with the genitive of a person is used of one who depends on another or is his follower." (this means...if what follows huios is in the genitive case), not "the genitive uios" as you put it.

What I think you are trying to get at is that the phrase "huios tou anthropoi" (son of man) can be a "periphrasis for 'man'" (as stated verbatim in Thayer's).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">James Still:
I would feel more comfortable with your interpretation if something like "homoios uioi anthro" (like unto a son of man) were used instead.</font>
Once again, your Greek is faulty. It looks to me like you attempted to complete the phrase "homoios huio anthr." as it is written in Thayer's (note the period truncating 'man'). Also, if I remember right, the little iota under the omega is not pronounced (so it is not "uioi") and "anthro" is not a completed word (missing pi and a case ending). The actual text in the NT for "like unto a son of man" is "homoion huion anthropou" (Rev. 1:13).

In light of these elementary mistakes, it is hard to understand why you believe your translation to be better than the many that already exist, James. The people who translated the Bible knew what they were doing...

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">James Still:
But this seems to indicate a generic sense of "humanity" or "human beings" instead of a reference to a single person.</font>
I'm familiar with the argument you're trying to make, but I believe that the "son of man" phrase is also used in OT prophecy in reference to the coming Messiah. However, I need to do some checking on this to be sure where it occurs.

My point is that this argument fails because, as I pointed out, the text says "lord is" (in the singular), so the "son of man" phrase seems to refer to one single person. I think that person is Jesus.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">James Still:
This is an old argument so I understand that reasonable people disagree.</font>
I don't think this issue is quite as cloudy as you make it seem. However, I've heard that there are some who espouse this idea. Can you provide some of their names and possibly their works on this issue so others can check it out for themselves?

Thanks,
Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited April 29, 2001).]
 
Old 04-29-2001, 07:35 PM   #6
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There are some other problems with your original post, James, but I wanted to quickly address at least one of them at the moment.

You said (w/my comment added)...

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">James Still:
"Lords" [incorrect translation of Kurios] in this case is a noun which means "greater than" or "superior to" even though the naive have always been misled to infer that "Lord" means "God."</font>
Aside from what I said in an earlier post about "kurios" being "lord" in the singular, I take issue with you saying that those who believe "Lord" can mean "God" are "naive".

First, one can look far back into history and see that the early church fathers were using "Lord" to represent "God" in a sense. So, there is a long tradition.

Second, and most obvious (and obviously not naive) is that the two words are interchangeable to some degree. The name of God was and is considered too holy to pronounce, so the Hebrew name was given the vowel pointing of the word "Lord" (Adonai). Whenever the Hebrew text was and is read, the word Adonai (or "Lord") is substituted for the name of God.

If you still don't believe me, check out the Greek text of the Septuagint Greek (~250 B.C.). You'll find the name of God translated directly into the Greek as "kurios".

So you see, it's really not all that naive.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">James Still:
In other words here is a case in which an interpretation has made its way into the translation itself, something that confirms the darkest fears of biblical literalists everywhere. (But that's okay, they only tell skeptics to read the original Greek for its context when the passage makes them feel uncomfortable; in cases such as this they will gladly look the other way.)</font>
Hmm... I think you've found an "apologist" (among many more, I'm sure) who says "read the original Greek" and means it without "looking the other way".

Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited April 29, 2001).]
 
Old 04-29-2001, 07:45 PM   #7
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ISH: My point is that this argument fails because, as I pointed out, the text says "lord is" (in the singular), so the "son of man" phrase seems to refer to one single person. I think that person is Jesus.

EARL: And with all your corrections of the Greek you're left to do just what James Still says translators do, add to the text what they "think" is appropriate: a deification of Jesus. Even if the Greek were in a singular form, that would not exclude Still's alternative reading that the text refers to people in general. The point in Mark 2:27-28 is aphoristic, and there's nothing unusual about an aphorism personifying the human species.

Thus we have Aristotle's "Man is by nature a political animal." That's "Man is" not "Men are," but the aphorism is about people in general not a particular individual. Or take Proverbs 23:6-7, "Do not eat the food of a stingy man…As he thinks within himself so is he." Would the meaning of this proverb necessarily be changed were the text to read "Do not eat the food of THE stingy man" or "of stingy men"? No, either way the proverb would be about stingy people in general, not a particular stingy individual. The only significant difference in the case of "Do not eat the food of THE stingy man" is a more detached tone, as if the author were to stand apart from his subject, stingy people, and compare it to other types. Thus (off the top of my head) we might have, "When He created him God offered the man wisdom but he said No." Such an aphorism could refer to all of humankind personified for dramatic effect. This is similar to Paul's "the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak." Was Paul talking about a specific spirit and body or spirits and bodies in general? Or how about Protagoras' "Man is the measure of all things"? Again "man is" not "men are."

This is extremely common in aphoristic summaries of wisdom. So even if the Greek in Mark 2:27-28 were singular that wouldn't mean the text is about Jesus. The translator must still add that interpretation to the text, just as you can say you "think that person is Jesus." The text, after all, doesn't specify. I say, by the way, "THE translator" must add the interpretation, but was I referring to a particular translator or translators in general? You leave out the possibility of personification.



[This message has been edited by Earl (edited April 29, 2001).]
 
Old 04-29-2001, 09:28 PM   #8
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by James Still:
All too often we hear apologists say uncritically that Jesus' disciples believed him to be the "Lord" (God) or that titles like "Son of man" refer to his divinity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let me illustrate how our modern understanding of Jesus can be retrojected back onto him and thus onto the translations themselves. My example comes from Mark 2:27-28 (the last sentence paralleled in Matthew and Luke), which Philip Sellew in the Scholar's Version translates thusly:

"The sabbath day was created for Adam and Eve, not Adam and Eve for the sabbath day. So, the son of Adam lords it even over the sabbath day."

However, the Greek reads: To sabbaton dia ton anthropon egeneto, kai oux ho anthropos dia to sabbaton. Hoste kurios estin ho hious tou anthropou kai tou sabbatou. For those of you unfamiliar with Greek, the last sentence literally translates to something like "So lords are (kurios estin) human beings (ho hious tou anthropou) even over the sabbath (kai tou sabbatou)." Where does this "Son of man" come into play? Sellew explains in a footnote that we are to understand "Jesus as representative of true humanity." In other words here is a case in which an interpretation has made its way into the translation itself, something that confirms the darkest fears of biblical literalists everywhere. (But that's okay, they only tell skeptics to read the original Greek for its context when the passage makes them feel uncomfortable; in cases such as this they will gladly look the other way.)

Now don't misunderstand me. I have enormous respect for Sellew and I learned a great deal from him when I attended the university at which he still teaches. I suspect that he didn't have full control over the final translation and the political pressures upon the translating committee to retroject a christological title back onto the historical Jesus was too great. In every translation I know of you get interpretations built right into the translation so that most translations of Luke 6:5 read: "The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath" even though Luke's "Kurios estin tou sabbatou ho hious tou anthropou" should translate into "Human beings are lords of the sabbath." "Lords" in this case is a noun which means "greater than" or "superior to" even though the naive have always been misled to infer that "Lord" means "God." (It does not. Kurios is a title of respect akin to the English "Sir" as in "Good day to you Sir.")

See how easy it is to craft divinity? Just build it right into the translation so that it confirms that which you already believe.
</font>
Your point is supported by Hugh J. Schonfield's The Original New Testament. His translation goes thusly:

"Have you never read," Jesus answered, "what David did when need arose and he and his companions were hungry, how he went into the house of God and ate the loves of the Presence, and even gave some to his men? The sabbath was made for man's sake," he pointed out, "not man for the sabbath's sake." (Mk. 2:25-28)

Schonfield points out in a footnote that the the above was "the Rabbinical teaching." Some people tend to forget that the historical Jesus was a Jew, not a god. There is no good reason to think that his historical disciples, also Jews, thought of him as anything other than "Master" or "Rabbi."

rodahi

 
Old 04-29-2001, 10:05 PM   #9
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rodahi, doesn't this translation sacrifice accuracy though? I think you would call it a paraphrase. A paraphrase is not necessarily very helpful for scholarly examination and does not accurately reflect the text.

Look at this from Schonfield:

"...not man for the sabbath's sake."

If this is indeed supposed to be the phrase under our microscope then, "man" here does reflect what James said, but it does not literally reflect the text. The literal text says: "son of man". Truly this phrase seems to combine the last two greek phrases. Again, it's not very helpful.

Now, in the previous part, Schonfield has:

"The sabbath was made for man's sake,"

"Man" here is not "son of man" in the greek but "man" (anthropon). Why would Jesus say "anthropon/s" twice for "man" (or human beings as the argument goes) and then all of a sudden use "ho huios tou anthropou" to mean the same thing (man or human beings)? I still think there's more here than meets your eye.

Oh yeah, finally, even if you are right in that Jesus is simply emphasizing "man", you forget that this might have been a double entendre (with Jesus pointing back at himself as God in human flesh). The phrase "Son of Man" is used of the Messiah in the prophecies of Daniel.

Ish


[This message has been edited by Ish (edited April 29, 2001).]
 
Old 04-29-2001, 10:48 PM   #10
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Is the point of contention here the proper translation of Kurios (either "Lord" as in God, or "lord" as in lord over), or the reference to the "son of Man"?

This is from "Jesus: The Aramaic-Speaking Shemite" by Rocco A. Errico, in The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read, Tom C. Leedom, ed., p. 147-148:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
In the three major Semitic languages - Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic - the term "son of man" means a human being. . . "Son of man" is a peculiar Aramaic expression of speech to the western mind and it has caused a great deal of confusion attempting to interpret the Gospels without the knowledge of the Aramaic language. . . It is improper to literally translate this Aramaic term bar-nasha as the "son of man."
</font>
I don't know if the same holds true in Koine Greek.
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