Category Archives: idiomatic

In which I keep it short

On the purpose of translations… I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in an unknown register. Who’s with me?

Reflections on the nature of Bible translation

I have been strangely quiet on this blog for a long time now. Part of the problem is that I don’t have much that I want to say about the particular wording of English Bible translations. I am much more interested in the bigger issues, like the philosophical, theological, theoretical, cultural and sociological dimensions of translation. I see […]

Different Languages Wear Different Formal Attire

Perhaps a couple of formal pictures should go with this posting: A Three-piece Suit, a Grand Boubou, a Hakama. They are all radically different–foreign to one another. And yet they all mean about the same thing. Structured text has form. And ancient languages utilize forms that are quite foreign to us. Just like a foreign […]

The Garden of Oilpress

It’s somewhat surprising how sentences like the one in Matthew 26:36 arrive so quickly at the heart of some hard and yet simply stated translation questions. In Greek the original sentence is, τότε ἔρχεται μετ’ αὐτῶν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς χωρίον λεγόμενον Γεθσημανί. In English it is, “then Jesus went with them to a place called […]

Seek ye first the kingdom of dog

The Rhodes family acquired a new dog about four months ago. It had been about a year and a half since Whiskey died and Mary declared it time. Pixie is a 15 month old Lab mix. We got her from the Hayward Animal Shelter after a couple of weeks of to-ing and fro-ing. It turns […]

Do we need Biblish?

As everyone knows, I’m against Biblish in Bible translations — with one exception which I will address here. It has always been my contention that all English translations, from at least the KJV on, are monotonic. It doesn’t matter if they are essentially literal, dynamic equivalent, or paraphrase. By monotonic I mean that a single […]

insight for Bible translation

There is a Semitic idiom which occurs frequently* throughout the Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments. It is literally translated to English as “in the eyes of X,” or, slightly less literally, “in the sight of X.” In English we normally express the meaning of that idiom with wordings such as “X was […]


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