The Social Sciences and Biblical Translation (Symposium by Dietmar Neufeld

By Dietmar Neufeld

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That is a fairly literal translation. The phrase that interests us here is th=| kaloume/nh| stei/ra|\ (“who was called barren”). The question that reading scenario theory raises here is simple: What scenario came to the mind of an ancient reader when they encountered this phrase in the original language? And how might that compare with the scenario likely to be conjured up by a modern reader encountering its various translations? BARRENNESS While it may be true that having children is highly desirable for most people in the modern world, our reasons for wanting children vary sharply from those in antiquity.

Philo is not being entirely forthright, then, when he suggests that God’s benefactions are truly free of expectations and reciprocity. There are many other passages in which Philo portrays God as a benefactor, though most of them rely on eu0erg- root words rather than xar- root words. 19 While Philo clearly makes extensive use of xar- root words in his depiction of God and the benefactions that come from God, Josephus differs slightly. For Josephus, God is every bit the benefactor that God is for Philo, but Josephus is more restrained in his use of xar- root words.

Apparently the translators assume there is an allusion here to 1 Sam 16:7 (“. . for the LORD does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart”) and thus consider it justifiable to introduce this kind of religious contrast in standards. As we shall see again, however, in John 8:15 the argument is not over standards of judgment, but number of witnesses. ” That recognizes an important cultural practice in the ancient Mediterranean world. The ancients normally made judgments on the basis of physical appearance (as 1 Sam 16:7 indicates).

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