Threading the Commentary Needle

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Ben | Forum Activity | Posted: Fri, Jan 25 2013 7:54 AM

Anyone familiar with commentary series that are non-technical/accessible to non-specialists, but do make in-depth comments on translation and textual issues? I'm trying to make some recommendations to laypeople who are interested in why translations differ in any given passage. It needs to talk about textual/translational issues, BUT it can't do it in abbreviated or or highly technical terms.

(Largely focused on Old Testament here, but...)

Suggestions?

"The whole modern world has divided itself into Conservatives and Progressives. The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected."- G.K. Chesterton

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Jack Hairston | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 25 2013 8:47 AM

Ben:

I'm trying to make some recommendations to laypeople who are interested in why translations differ in any given passage. It needs to talk about textual/translational issues, BUT it can't do it in abbreviated or or highly technical terms.

It would probably be easier to explain quantum mechanics and nuclear physics without knowing any math or chemistry.

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 25 2013 6:27 PM

■ 4* For the manner of transition to direct address here, compare 23:22*; Luke 5:14*; Josephus Bell. 1.76; Ant. 1.100; Arrian Anab. 5.11.4. For the use of ἀπό instead of ἐκ, see 1:9* and 16:39*.10 The setting for the incident described here is not clear,11 nor is the sense of the verb συναλίζεσθαι. Does it mean “assemble” (this is the sense of the active in Josephus), or “eat (salt) together” (cf. 10:41*!)?12 The command to remain in Jerusalem (Luke 24:47*, 49*) sets forth Luke’s idea of the church: Jerusalem represents the continuity between Israel and the church.13 According to Kg. Pet. 2, the apostles remained in the city for twelve years.
■ 5* The ὅτι, “for,” which begins this verse should not be understood as indicating direct discourse (ὅτι recitativum), despite 11:16*. A saying of John the Baptist (Luke 3:16*) is attributed to Jesus. The Spirit is the characteristic of the new epoch in salvation history and the expectation of an immediate Parousia is replaced by the promise of the Spirit. 1QS 4.20–21:

  Then, too, God will purge all the acts of man in the crucible of His truth, and refine for Himself all the fabric of man, destroying every spirit of perversity from within his flesh and cleansing him by the holy spirit from all the effects of wickedness. Like waters of purification He will sprinkle upon him the spirit of truth.…

The litotes οὐ μετά, “not after” = “before,” is not a Latinism.14

■ 6–7* μὲν οὖν, “so when,” is a transitional device characteristic of Acts. Here the preceding scene is continued, or a new one is opened, depending on whether one translates “those who had come together then asked him” (cf. 8:4*), or “when they had come together, they asked him.”15 The problem raised here had already been discussed in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 17:20–21*; 19:11*; 21:5–36*).16 Luke allows the disciples to formulate their question on the basis of Jewish assumptions in order to correct them and to refuse absolutely any information about the date of the Parousia. The Spirit makes it possible for the church to exist in the world for an indefinite period of time. It is assumed, however, that Jesus knows the appointed date (cf. Luke 21:32–33* with Mark 13:30–32*). 1 Thess 5:1* suggests that the double expression χρόνοι καὶ καιροί, “times and occasions”17 (in itself an innocent enough expression), became a topic in elementary Christian instruction. Franz Mussner argues that the disciples’ apocalyptic expectation as such is not corrected (3:21*), only the expectation that the end would come immediately.18 The question about the “restoration” (cf. 3:21*) of the kingdom to “Israel” provides the foil for both the promise of the Spirit and the universalism announced in vs 8*.


Hans Conzelmann, Acts of the Apostles: A Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, ed. Eldon Jay Epp and Christopher R. Matthews, trans. James Limburg, A. Thomas Kraabel and Donald H. Juel, Hermeneia—a Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible, 6-7 (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Paul Strickert | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 25 2013 6:48 PM

How about the UBS Handbook Series?

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jan 25 2013 9:03 PM

Yep. UBS is really good for the folks you're mentioning.  Just keep in mind it's price varies considerably depending on the software platform. I got mine OT/NT for a little over 2 figures.


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john nerdue | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 26 2013 4:16 AM

Philip comfort's text and translation commentary on the New Testament is great. But it isn't available from logos. 

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Dave Hooton | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jan 26 2013 8:29 PM

Ben:
(Largely focused on Old Testament here, but...)

The forbidden tree is the tree of the knowledge of “good and evil” (ṭôḇ wārāʿ, 2:9). When the woman and the man took of the tree and ate, it was because she “saw that the tree was desirable for gaining wisdom [lehaśkîl]” (v.6). Thus even the serpent is represented as a paragon of wisdom, an archetypical wiseman (ʿārûm). However, the serpent and his wisdom (ʿārûm) lead ultimately to the curse (ʾārûr v.14).
It should not be overlooked that the serpent is said to be one of the “wild animals” (ḥayyaṯ haśśāḏeh) that the Lord God had made (cf. 1:25; 2:19). The purpose of this statement is to exclude the notion that the serpent was a supernatural being (Procksch, p. 32). “The serpent is none other than a serpent” (Jacob, p. 102).


Notes


  1       The clause structure W + X + QATAL—וְהַנָּחָשׁ הָיָה (wehannāhāš hāyāh, “Now the serpent was”) indicates that a new section of narrative has begun. Verse 1 gives the background information for the narrative that follows.
  The מִן (min) preposition can have the sense of either the partitive (“subtil as none other of the beasts,” GKC, par. 119w) or the comparative (“subtil above all beasts of the field,” BDB, p. 582), as the NIV’s “more crafty than.” In favor of the partitive sense is the use of min in v.14: “Cursed are you from all the cattle and from all the beasts of the field” (pers. tr.). In v.14 it is the serpent who is cursed and not the other animals; so the comparative use of min is not suitable. The added phrase in v.14—“from all the livestock”


The Expositor's Bible Commentary, Volume 2: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers (F. E. Gaebelein, Ed.) (50). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.

The range is from informal discussion to occasional technical Notes as above.

Dave
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