Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Open Theology

Editor-in-Chief: Taliaferro, Charles


Covered by:
Elsevier - SCOPUS
Clarivate Analytics - Emerging Sources Citation Index
ERIH PLUS

CiteScore 2018: 0.37

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.275
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.975

Open Access
Online
ISSN
2300-6579
See all formats and pricing
More options …

The Human One? A Controversial CEB Translation Choice

Cynthia Long Westfall
Published Online: 2016-10-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0068

Abstract

The choice of the editors of the Common English Bible (CEB) to translate Greek, Aramaic and English phrases as either “The Human One” or “the human being” has been controversial. However, it renders the “literal” meaning of a stock idiom that was in use both in the Aramaic of Jesus’ day and in the Hebrew and Aramaic language in the OT. For those who are not taught the literal meaning of the idiom, the traditional literalistic word-for-word translation of ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου as “the Son of Man” is either meaningless or misleading both in terms of Christology and for following the narrative of the Gospels. An accurate translation of the sense of the Aramaic and Hebrew idiom was virtually a necessary choice for semantic accuracy, and reflects the CEB’s purpose and translation theory. It is also a missional choice to render the Word of God in a way that is understood in the target audience’s language. However, the majority of the public that purchases Bibles has religious and theological commitments and tends to expect or even demand specific theological vocabulary and technical terms that are part of a specialized religious register, even though it is misunderstood. Therefore, the CEB engages in “norm-breaking” by attempting to choose vocabulary from registers that are currently in use in the English language in comparable contexts as those that are represented in the source text.

Keywords: Bible translation; Common English Bible; the Human One; the Son of Man; formal equivalence; dynamic equivalence; functional equivalence; Skopos theory

References

  • Abingdon Press. “Our New Bible: Style Guide for Translators, Editors, and Proofreaders.” Editorial meeting material. October- November 2007.Google Scholar

  • Abingdon Press. “Common English Bible: Style Guide for Translators, Editors and Proofreaders.” November 2008 (distributed 10/31/2008).Google Scholar

  • Blomberg, Craig. “’But We See Jesus’: The Relationship between the Son of Man in Hebrews 2:6 and Verse 9 and the Implications for English Translations.” In A Cloud of Witnesses: The Theology of Hebrews in Its Ancient Contexts. Edited by Richard Bauckham et al., 88–99. London: T&T Clark, 2008.Google Scholar

  • Bock, D.L. “Son of Man.” In Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Second Edition. Edited by Joel B. Green, 894–900. Downers Grove, Illinois: IVP Academic, 2013.Google Scholar

  • Caragounis, Chrys C. The Son of Man: Vision and Interpretation. Tübingen: Mohr (P. Siebeck), 1986.Google Scholar

  • Casey, Maurice. The Solution to the ‘Son of Man’ Problem. London ; New York: T & T Clark, 2007.Google Scholar

  • Casey, P.M. “The Son of Man Problem,” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 67: 3 - 4 1(976) 147-154.Google Scholar

  • Chesterman, A. “The Empirical Status of Prescriptivism,” Folio Translatologica 6 (1999) 9-19.Google Scholar

  • Erho, Ted M. “Historical-Allusional Dating and the Similitudes of Enoch.” JBL 130 (2011): 493-51.Google Scholar

  • “Human (adj.).” Online Etymology Dictionary. http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=human, accessed July 4, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Halliday M. A. K. and R. Hasan, Language, Context, and Text: Aspects of Language in a Social-Semiotic Perspective. Oxford/ Geelong: OUp/ Deakin University Press, 1985.Google Scholar

  • Kubo, Sakae. A Reader’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. Zondervan Greek Reference. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975.Google Scholar

  • Louw, Johannes P. and Eugene A. Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains. New York: UBS, 1988, 1989.Google Scholar

  • Metzger, Bruce M. Lexical Aids for Students of New Testament Greek. Princeton, NJ: [s.n.], 1969.Google Scholar

  • Nida, Eugene A. and Charles R. Taber. The Theory and Practice of Translation: With Special Reference to Bible Translating (Helps for Bible Translators). Leiden: Brill, 2003.Google Scholar

  • Nord, Christiane. Translating as a Purposeful Activity. St. Jerome Publishing, 1997.Google Scholar

  • Ong, Hughson T. The Multilingual Jesus and the Sociolinguistic World of the New Testament. Leiden: Brill, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Peterson, John Michael. “Multilingualism, Multilectalism and Register Variation in Linguistic Theory: Extending the Diasystematic Approach.” In The Syntax-Semantics Interface. Studies in Language and Cognition. Edited by Anja Latrouite and Rainer Osswald, 1–27. Düsseldorf University Press, accessed online 30 August 2016 at https://www.researchgate.net/ publication/281811655_Multilingualism_multilectalism_and_register_variation_in_lingusitic_theory_-_Extending_the_ diasystematic_approach Google Scholar

  • Porter, Stanley E. Sacred Tradition in the New Testament: Tracing Old Testament Themes in the Gospels and Epistles. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016.Google Scholar

  • Poythress, Vern S. and Wayne A. Grudem. The Gender-Neutral Bible Controversy: Muting the Masculinity of God’s Words. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2000.Google Scholar

  • Pym, Anthony. Exploring Translation Theories. London: Routledge, 2010.Google Scholar

  • Wrede, William. The Messianic Secret. Cambridge: J. Clarke, 1971. Google Scholar

About the article


Received: 2016-07-06

Accepted: 2016-09-30

Published Online: 2016-10-06


Citation Information: Open Theology, Volume 2, Issue 1, ISSN (Online) 2300-6579, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/opth-2016-0068.

Export Citation

©2016 Cynthia Long Westfall. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in