Diachronic considerations in biblical lexicography

While studying NT Greek in undergrad, I became interested in linguistics. I gradually became alarmed as I discovered that key insights into human language made by linguists were hardly ever taken into account among scholars intending to interpret the Bible from the original languages. Greek and Hebrew are treated by too many exegetes as special […]

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

The Odyssey in translation: a small translation detail

Recently I read Samuel Butler’s prose translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey. At one point I was struck by his rendition of line 351 in Book 8 of the Odyssey: “A bad man’s pledge is bad security.” Good line! I wondered if Butler had simply translated it, or if he constructed this particular expression […]

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Translator’s fatigue in the Gothic Bible

Recently I ran across an old article1 in the journal Language and had to smile at its similarity to a recent topic in the redaction criticism of the Gospels for which I previously noted a parallel in the translations I am studying in my dissertation. In the Gothic translation of the Bible, at i Cor. […]

Wednesday, September 1st, 2010

Editorial fatigue : author :: progressive latitude : translator

The so-called Synoptic Problem in biblical studies results from the search for an explanation of the similarities in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) that even in a cursory analysis essentially necessitates that there was borrowing between them. In many cases there are entire sentences that are reproduced verbatim in two or even all three of […]

Saturday, February 13th, 2010

Help wanted: critical editions of the Gospels

Ok, I’ll give this a try, although I didn’t get any bites with my last attempt at soliciting information from the learned… I need to find the best references for textual variants in the Gospels. I’m not as much interested in the critically identified “best readings” of the text themselves, but good apparati that show […]

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Dialectology and the Gospels

Since starting my research of the Gospels for my dissertation, I have repeatedly wondered (as I idly mused earlier) if there have been any attempts to identify where the Gospels may have originated/developed based upon dialectal considerations. As I run across patterns such as Matthew’s preference for plural nouns and lexical issues such as synonym […]

Wednesday, January 20th, 2010

When Christianity undervalues truth

Using an analogy especially interesting to me as an historical linguist, Sabio Lantz at Triangulations reminds us of the power of understanding that the Christian faith isn’t quite as unique as we all like to think: We often see that naive mono-linguists think their language is unique in its ability to express deep thoughts. Well […]

Tuesday, January 19th, 2010