The Myth of Literal Translation (2 Thessalonians 2:3) — Mondays with Mounce 309

Bill Mounce on 9 months ago. Tagged under ,.

I know I have been beating this drum pretty hard recently, but it is so easy. I keep coming across example that clearly illustrate the problem.

The claim is that a translation can be at least somewhat literal, and that by doing so the translator reduces the amount of interpretation (often true) and the informed reader can see the Greek structure behind the English.

Frankly, the “informed” reader should be reading Greek if he or she is able to learn anything of significance from the English structure. But more importantly, I doubt there is even one verse in the English Bible that actually, clearly, reveals the Greek structure underlying it. The languages are just too different.

I am helping my friend Martin read Greek, and we looked at 2 Thessalonians 2 last Wednesday. In the ESV v 2 reads, “Let…

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What is an “Accurate” translation? – Mondays with Mounce 294

Bill Mounce on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

A friend asked me this question the other day, and I thought I would take this opportunity to flesh out what I think the answer is.

The standard answer is that a “literal” Bible is the most accurate, and by “literal” they generally mean word-for-word. If the Greek has a verb, the English should have a verb. If the text uses the same Greek three times, the same English word should be used three times.

This understanding is seriously flawed at two levels.

First, the English word “literal” has to do with meaning, not form. Webster gives these three definitions of “literal.”

Involving the ordinary or usual meaning of a word Giving the meaning of each individual word Completely true and accurate: not exaggerated

Meaning 1 and 3 are purely about meaning.…

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