Thursday, September 17, 2009

NWT - Criticism by Zondervan's So Many Versions? - "Is" Translated as "Means" (estin)

Criticism by Zondervan's So Many Versions?

Zondervan, the respected trinitarian publishing, company prints a book which examines most twentieth century English versions of the Bible: So Many Versions? (SMV), by trinitarian Bible scholars Dr. S. Kubo and Dr. W. Albrecht. They have published this book since 1975. I purchased my copy new in 1991 from a "Christian" book store. So, for over 15 years this popular trinitarian publishing company has been printing the following criticisms of the NWT. We will examine them in the order they appear in my copy of this book (1983 revised edition.).

"Is" Translated as "Means"
Another strong criticism of the NWT concerns the occasional translation of "means" for the NT Greek verb estin ("is"). Zondervan's So Many Versions, 1983, (written by trinitarian Bible scholars Kubo and Specht) particularly objects to this (p. 102) and says of 1 Cor. 11:24-25 in the NWT:

"The Greek verb is 'is' and should have been translated thus. [The NWT's] concern for accuracy and literalism seems to be set aside whenever the literal text conflicts with their theological position." [This last statement should make us carefully examine the literal translation of John 1:1c.]

It is certainly no secret that the Greek verb "is" (estin and its related forms) may be (and often is in most Bible translations) translated as "means," "represents," etc. This understanding is clearly shown in NT Greek lexicons. The highly respected Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, for instance, plainly states this on p. 176. (Also see W. E. Vine's An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, p. 722.)

Actually, to see the truth of this, we only need to examine the following translations of "is": Matt. 9:13 RSV, NRSV, NASB, NIV, KJV, NEB, REB, NAB, AT, JB, NJB, etc.; Matt. 12:7; Matt. 13:38; Mark 9:10; Luke 8:9; and Eph 4:9 RSV, NASB, NIV, NEB, NAB, JB. (Also see John 17:3 GNB, AT, and C. B. Williams, and see Rev. 19:8 NIV, AT.)

Even the NIV (highly praised by SMV) has translated "is" as "leads to" at John 12:50 - "his command leads to [estin] eternal life." (To be consistent NIV should have done this at Jn 17:3 also.) - Cf. LB, CBW, and AT.

And the highly acclaimed Bible scholar and translator, Dr. James Moffatt, even rendered the scripture in question (1 Cor. 11:24-25) as: "This means my body …. This cup means the new covenant" - The Bible - A New Translation, Harper and Row, 1954.

And the footnote for 1 Cor. 11:24 in the NIV Study Bible says: "The broken bread is a symbol of Christ's body given for sinners." In other words, "this bread means (or symbolizes) my body" - Zondervan, 1985.

Even to imply that it is improper to translate this verb as "means" is dishonest in the extreme!

Also see:
"Estin" at Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, and Luke 22:19 (INDNWT)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.