Translating issues

Started by revfranck, January 10, 2007, 09:45:53 PM

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Richard Johnson wrote an interesting article in the December 2006 Forum Letter on translations, but I would like to suggest a couple more thoughts as you think these issues through.

My comments will be directed to your comments on Psalm 1. You state, "The pluralizing ... does not change the Psalmist's meaning in any significant way." I suggest that it does indeed. Solomon, David, or whoever else wrote this Psalm was drawing a word picture. Now there is a big difference between the image conveyed by "a tree planted by streams of water" and the one conveyed by "trees planted by streams of water." Just picture each of these in your mind. The singular is different, significantly different in my mind, from the image conveyed by the plural.

Second, you state "nobody believes the Psalmist was talking about some specific male human being." Again, I disagree, and I will use your own words concerning Psalm 24: "What rational person would see Christ in this Psalm? Well, St. Augustine for one. Martin Luther for another."

Here is St. Augustine:

"Blessed is the man that hath not gone away in the counsel of the ungodly" (ver. 1). This is to be understood of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord Man.

Schaff, P. (1997). The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. VIII. Augustin: Expositions on the Book of Psalms. (1). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems.

And now the words of Luther:
The first psalm speaks literally concerning Christ thus:
1. Blessed is the man. He is the only blessed One and the only Man from whose fullness they have all received (John 1:16) that they might be blessed and men and everything that follows in this psalm.

Luther, M. (1999, c1974). Vol. 10: Luther's works, vol. 10 : First Lectures on the Psalms I: Psalms 1-75 (J. J. Pelikan, H. C. Oswald & H. T. Lehmann, Ed.). Luther's Works (10:11). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.

God's blessings,

Rev. Robert Franck
Duluth, Minnesota

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