Sunday, November 23, 2008

More proof that D-E philosophy lends itself to the defense of the distortion of God's Word

Over at Extreme Theology discussing the horrible "translation" called The Voice, a commenter by the name of O.H. Lee wrote this:

As one competent in biblical language, this is the exact reason why I say: There's no such thing as bible translations — only bible commentaries.

The question then is, does the text accurately reflect the origional [sic] Greek? The answer here is clearly, no; especially how it takes massive liberties with the passive voice. I read whole sections of this. It's no longer a bible but propoganda [sic] for pop-Christianity, and an unfaithful commentary disembodied from the original text.

To which I replied,

O.H. Lee,

"As one competent in biblical language, this is the exact reason why I say: There's no such thing as bible translations — only bible commentaries."

Looks like you are one of the anything-goes crowd who do not know how to differentiate between lexical interpretation and conceptual interpretation, as Leland Ryken expounded in his article in the book Translating Truth by Grudem et al.

Fact #1: There is a difference between translation and interpretation.

Fact #2: All Dynamic Equivalence (D-E) translations distort God's Word in some way or another

Fact #3: The Voice is the logical conclusion of the D-E philosophy as worked out through the interpretative matrix of the Emergents.

Fact #4: All that the D-E proponents can say is that they disagree with the interpretation and think that it is in error, but their position commits them to arguing only about conceptual error without having anything to say about translational error.

As this exchange shows, the pernicious erroneous translational philosophy of Dynamic Equivalence undermines any serious attempt to condemn any so-called "translation" like The Voice, which is nothing but a distortion of God's Word. After all, the D-E proponents have opened the Pandora's Box for all and sundry distortions of Scripture, and their only weak protests to distortions such as The Voice is that they reject the interpretation of the Greek (and Hebrew) texts offered by the Emergents. But.... if all "translation" is actually interpretation, upon what basis can the D-E proponents reject the interpretation offered by the Emergents who penned The Voice? Oh yes, the argument will shift to the original languages. Somehow this sounds similar (not same) to the argument of Rome pre-Reformation as to why the Scriptures should not be translated to the vernacular. Instead of the official Magisterium now however, we have the "evangelical scholars" to tell us what IS and what IS NOT the correct interpretation of the text!

Update: See comment thread where O.H. Lee clarified his comment as one of cynicism.


O.H. Lee said...

You have grossly missed my point, though I am glad you engaged what you thought I said. I was, in retrospect, quite unclear.

I have serious problems with the “D-E” crowd who use translation to push their interpretations of the text. My criticism is of the popular translation mill that will pump out false translations to meet a market of heretical itching ears. It seems in modern English Bibles, one has to be perpetually on guard against the point-of-view of the publisher. And the ultimate consequence of this is a lay body that accepts the interpretation because “Bible” is in the title.

Therefore, my lament was not that translations are in all cases *exclusively* commentaries, but that it is popular intent to market them as such. Dynamic Equivalent is now the name of the game to mislead the Church, that is, translation is now all about interpretation instead of presenting the text as it was intended. I tried to express this in my concluding statements that translations have the obligation and the ability to properly convey (embody) true lexical meaning.

So, in this market-driven desire to print faulty translations, I cynically (which is what wasn’t made clear by me) remark: “There’s no such thing as Bible translations, only Bible commentaries”.

I can certainly see how my statement could be misunderstood. Thanks for calling me on my unclear speech. Again, I agree with you that The Voice is a distortion and, furthermore, I am far from the “anything goes crowd”.

Daniel C said...

O.H. Lee,

thanks for clearifying what you meant in that comment of yours. I ma glad that you are not one of those who embrace the erroneous D-E translational methodology which has caused havoc within the Church.

Mike Aubrey said...

Daniel, you might want to go back and read my response to your comment and the facts of D-E/F-E Translation on page two of the comments - HERE

I'm not sure if Leland Ryken is the best person to learn about translation from. He doesn't even know Greek and Hebrew.

Daniel C said...


I have glanced through your reply, and would be preparing a formal response soon.

O.H. Lee said...


I don’t think the problem Daniel is bringing up is over the varied meanings of a word in Greek. It’s more over the additions to the text that were contained nowhere in either the lexicon entry of the word(s) or anywhere in the original text as a whole. The Voice gives a verbose emergent primer before you even begin to read the words of a verse from the original.

But, yes, we do have to use context to decide which English word best reflects what we are trying to translate, since one Greek word can have many different uses. When Daniel and I were objecting to “interpretation”, the problem was more over the gratuitous additions to the text (commentary) to push an agenda. At least, that’s how I perceived the issue. Maybe we’re all just talking past each other against different points.

Daniel C said...

O.H. Lee:

I have responded to Mike's arguments on my new post. Hopefully, you will see what is the issue I am talking about.