03 July 2007

The Latest LXX Translation

Christopher Orr has alerted us to a recently released electronic edition of a complete, fresh translation of the Septuagint. The work is entitled A New English Translation of the Septuagint and the Other Greek Translations Traditionally Included Under that Title, and promises to be printed and released by the end of the year by Oxford University Press.

The Translation Manual decidedly follows the translation principles of the NRSV, including as these pertain to "gender specific/inclusive-language" issues. Here are the specifics from the manual:

c. Gender specific/inclusive language: NRSV policy is to avoid "all masculine language referring to human beings apart from texts that clearly" refer "to men." [Footnote 1 B. M. Metzger, R. C. Dentan, and W. Harrelson, The Making of the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible (Grand Rapids, 1991), p. 76).] Thus, the NETS guidelines are as follows:

(1) One should generally retain the NRSV reading (especially its circumlocution in the plural number) . . .

(a) if its reading does not run counter to the option exercised by the Greek translator and

(b) if its reading helps avoid misleading masculine singular pronominal references.

(2) One should revise the NRSV when the Greek translator can be shown to have opted for gender-specific language (or non-gender-specific as the case may be). E.g., since Hebrew )Y$ in Pss is rendered by both ANTHROPOS and ANER it may be concluded that gender-specific ANER constitutes a deliberate choice. The same is true for such Hebrew words as )DM, BN, or GBR. Compound terms such as HUIOS/HUIOI ANTHROPON can, of course, readily be rendered by "people", "person" or the like.

This is regrettable, but not unexpected. It is regrettable because it requires the translator to interpret when the text is clearly referring to "men" and when it is generically referring to "mankind/humankind." Specifically, one is asked to decipher with precision the Greek word anthropos which, like then English words man/men may carry not only a generic and specific meaning, but also both at the same time--and quite purposefully. (Cf, "who for us men" [anthropos] in the Creed.)

I've only skimmed a few select phrases and, in doing so, noticed quickly a few infelicitous renderings of the Psalms. For example, the translation of Psalm 1 indicates that this is a scholar's translation and one not chiefly aimed at daily prayer. (I would continually stumble over this phrase: "...on the seat of pestiferous people did not sit down.")

Even if not intended for liturgical use, it is nevertheless good to have yet another translation of the LXX; particularly since this is the preferred OT text in Orthodox Churches. Yet I shall await more eagerly this long-promised translation.

1 comment:

Lvka said...

Crossin' over the Bosporus, hey? ;)