Thursday, September 17, 2009

NWT - Analuo ("Releasing") - Phil. 1:21-23

Analuo ("Releasing") - Phil. 1:21-23

Walter Martin writes:

"Philippians 1:21-23- `For in my case to live is Christ, and to die, gain. Now if it be to live on in the flesh, this is a fruitage of my work - and yet which thing to select I do not know. I am under pressure from these two things; but what I do desire is the releasing and the being with Christ, for this, to be sure, is far better.' (NWT)." - p. 76, KOTC.

Martin continues:

"To anyone possessing even a cursory knowledge of Greek grammar the translation `but what I do desire is the releasing....' (verse 23) signifies either a woeful ignorance of the rudiments of the language or a deliberate, calculated perversion of terminology for a purpose or purposes most questionable." - p. 77, Kingdom of the Cults (KOTC), 1985 ed.

"The rendering, `but what I do desire is the releasing ...,' particularly the last word, is a gross imposition upon the principles of Greek exegesis because the untutored [Jehovah's Witnesses] have rendered the first aorist active infinitive of the verb analuo (analusai) as a substantive (`the releasing') which in this context is unscholarly and atrocious Greek." - p. 77.

It turns out, then, that this terrible "perversion" is not merely the basic meaning of the word, but the rendering of a verb infinitive ("to run," "to give," "to release," etc.) as a substantive ("the giving," "the releasing," etc.).

According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, a substantive is "... a verbal noun, or any part of speech used as a noun equivalent." So most of Martin's diatribe here has to do with the rendering of an infinitive verb as a noun equivalent. Before we examine this "calculated perversion," let's look at the basic meaning of the word analuo.

NT scholar Ralph P. Martin tells us that this word in Phil. 1:23 "is a euphemism for death; it is a military term for striking camp ... and a nautical expression for releasing a vessel from its moorings." - p. 81, Philippians, (Revised ed.), Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, Eerdmans, 1991 reprint.

The New American Standard Exhaustive Concordance, The Lockman Foundation, 1981, states:
"360. analuo; from 303 and 3089, to unloose for departure" - p. 1631.
"303. ana ... upwards, up" - p. 1630.
"3089. luo; a prim. vb.; to loose, to release ...." - p. 1664.

Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Baker Book House, tells us:
"360... 1. to unloose, undo again, (as woven threads)...." - p. 40.
"3089... 1. to loose any person (or thing)...fastened" - p. 384.

Obviously, then, it is certainly proper to translate this verb as "to release"!

But what about rendering it as a substantive or a verbal noun? Can the infinitive to analusai (literally "the to be loosing up") be rendered "the releasing"? Yes, this is a common practice in all Bible translations as anyone (NT Greek scholar or not) who takes the time to examine an interlinear Bible can easily discover! New Testament scholars, of course, already know this elementary fact:

"The neut. to [the definite article, `the'] before infinitives a. gives them the force of substantives." - Thayer, p. 435, #6.

For example, the verb infinitives at Phil. 1:21 (literally, "the to live" and "the to die") are rendered in the following Bibles as :

1. "As life means Christ to me, so death means gain" - Moffatt translation.
2. "For, to me, `life' means Christ; hence dying is so much gain" - NAB.
3. "For to me life is Christ, and death gain" - NEB; BBE; and REB.
4. "Life to Christ, but then death would bring me ... more" JB; NJB
5. "what is life? To me it is Christ. Death, then will bring more" - TEV.
6. "For to me LIVING means Christ and DYING brings gain" - CBW.
7. "LIVING means Christ and DYING something even better." - AT.
8. "LIVING is Christ and DYING is gain." - NRSV.
9. "To me, LIVING means having Christ ...." - NLV.

Yes, these respected Bibles used nouns to translate the literal NT Greek infinitive verbs!

The literal infinitive verbs at Phil. 2:13 ("the to will" and "the to operate" - The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English, 1980) can be translated "to will and to work for his good pleasure" - RSV.

But the following translations render them, instead, as noun equivalents:

1. "both the will and the deed, for his own chosen purpose" - NEB; REB.
2. "both the will and the action" - JB.
3. "of desire or achievement" - NAB (1970).
4. "the will and the power" - Phillips.
5. "both the WILLING and the WORKING" - Byington
6. "the intention and the powers" - NJB.

Again we can see NT Bible scholars have translated infinitive verbs as nouns!!

Obviously, then, by their rendering an infinitive verb as a verbal noun or substantive, many respected "orthodox" NT scholars are, according to Martin, also guilty of "unscholarly and atrocious Greek" and a "woeful ignorance of the rudiments of the [NT Greek] language or a deliberate, calculated perversion of terminology" - p. 77, Martin.

Christendom's NT Greek experts even bring out this elementary fact in their basic NT Greek beginners' primer textbooks:

"The Greek infinitive, being a verbal noun, can have the article, like any other noun.... The infinitive with the article can stand in most of the constructions in which any other noun can stand." - pp. 137, 138, New Testament Greek for Beginners, Dr. J. Gresham Machen, The Macmillan Company.

"The infinitive .... is a verbal noun ... though its case when used as a noun will be shown by the def[inite art[icle]." .... "the infinitive may be the subject or the predicate of a sentence. Sometimes the English participial form - really the gerund [a verbal noun with `-ing' as its ending] - is the equivalent of this: `seeing is believing' = `to see is to believe [in NT Greek].' Here we have one inf[initive] as subject and another as the predicate." - pp. 69, 72, New Testament Greek Primer, Dr. Alfred Marshall, Zondervan Publishing House.

Grammatically the NWT rendering is perfectly accurate and honest! If the Watchtower Society's interpretation of this scripture offends Martin, that's too bad. If anyone disagrees with this interpretation, then Jehovah's Witnesses are prepared to deliver a defense for their belief in it. But for Martin to dishonestly accuse the NWT of grossly dishonest grammatical renderings because of a grammatically honest translation brings up a wholly different, hypocritically sinister, situation.

We must ask ourselves, how could ministers across the nation (indeed even entire Ministerial Associations: see the KNOW study paper) endorse Martin's teachings for over 20 years now by their sermons, and by reprinting his writing, playing and providing his commercial tapes, and hiring Martin to speak to their congregations and communities? Any interested person (especially those with even a beginner's background in NT Greek such as most ministers presumably have) can easily prove many of Martin's statements terribly, hypocritically wrong!

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