Saturday, October 2, 2010

Hermeneutics Observation

I am doing Hermeneutics as a directed study, which means since there are no lectures I have to read about 5000 pages. I don't care who you are that's a lot of reading. Currently I am reading "Let The Reader Understand" by Dan McCartney and Charles Clayton. I must say, being about two-thirds through the book, it is an excellent introduction to the discipline.

I used to swear by the NASB because it was the most literal of all the translations. I am not so wooden, get it, that's a pun, in my stance any longer. Having spent the last two years studying Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, not to mention English has opened my eyes to the fact that a wooden translation is not always the best. A couple of sentences in the book I am reading sumarize my paradigm shift beautifully. "A 'literal' translation is not 'more accurate' than an idomatic one. Quite the reverse; an idiomatic translation, if it is a good one, is much more likely to convey the exact meaning than a literal one."

Don't get me wrong, I still love the NASB and The Message still sucks but the NIV and the ESV often give a better sense of the original language than does the NASB. This is due to the fluidity of language and wood can not be fluid. Just an observation, go Wolverines!

Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.1


John D. Chitty said...

Couldn't agree more. I read Leland Ryken's "The Word of God in English," in which he defends the ESV's "essentially literal" approach to translation, and it sold me on this fact. It's an interesting book, if you haven't checked it out. Maybe later though, after you've completed those 5,000 pages on hermeneutics.

Alan said...

Thanks for the comment John, nice to be noticed when coming back to blogging!