Saturday, September 18

Common English Bible quirks

The more I read of the newly released New Testament of the Common English Bible, the more the translation quirks jump out at me. For example, what's with the random vocative (apparently) "look" that doesn't make sense in English and to the best of my exegetical ability I don't see in the Greek?

Matthew 9:19-20 -- So Jesus and his disciples got up and went with him. Then, look, a woman who had been bleeding for twelve years came up behind Jesus and touched the hem of his clothes.

Matthew 17:5 -- While he was still speaking, look, a bright cloud overshadowed them. A voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son whom I dearly love. I am very pleased with him. Listen to him!” Hearing this, the disciples fell on their faces, filled with awe.

Anybody care to enlighten me as to what's going on there?

Yes, there is an ἰδοὺ ("look") in there in the Greek -- which I looked at five times and glossed over five times. So much for my skills of observation!

I still wonder, though, why the translators included it in the English -- or at least in the way that they did. We don't use that form in English very often anymore and when we do it it seems to be at the beginning of a sentence -- as in "Look, if I've told you once I've told you a thousand times...." It makes for clunky reading to insert it as they did.


Jen L said...

Check out the CEB version of Genesis 2:21-22...
"21 So the Lord God put the human into a deep and heavy sleep, and took one of his ribs and closed up the flesh over it. 22 With the rib taken from the human, the Lord God fashioned a woman and brought her to the human being."

I was a little taken aback by the distinction between "the human" and "woman" in Genesis 2 -- I know the Hebrew can mean human or man, and I appreciate the use of "humanity" in Genesis 1, but by changing "man" to "human" in Genesis 2, doesn't it sound like the woman is not a human being?

Brad Boydston said...

Yes, the Genesis 2 passage does seem a bit strange, although I'm fairly certain that their intentions are not to communicate that women are less than human.