Karen H. Jobes is a scientist turned translator. How she's translating and talking about translation of the Bible is no less radical than how Willis Barnstone has been translating the Bible and talking about it.
Jobes is a woman, and Barnstone is a Jew. (She's a physics-trained computer scientist who's come to Bible scholarship lately, doing work on the book of Esther as variant texts of the Septuagint. He's a classicist, a comparative literary scholar, a polyglot, and an English translator of texts authored in various languages both IndoEuropean and not.) So it will be interesting to see how these two are received by traditional mainstream Bible translators.
To date, the Better Bibles Blog contributors have not listed Barnstone's The New Covenant Commonly Called the New Testament as a notable English "Version." That's too bad, because Barnstone's recent Bible translation is well reviewed by many (including Robert Alter) and comes on the heels of his many other acclaimed translations, by the methods he articulates in his brilliant book The Poetics of Translation: History, Theory, Practice. Barnstone has contended that the history of the English translation of the Bible is replete with anti-Semitism that is borne out in and through the theory and practice of translations. He says much much more than that in his book. Nonetheless, for Christians, the most notable issue is the mistranslation of Yeshua as an anti Jew if not just a victim of the Jews.
Jobes is making a somewhat similar claim. But instead of accusing Christian translators of the Bible of producing work that hurts a particular race, ironically Jesus Christ's own race, Jobes says something else, perhaps more general. She does specifically argue that both "dynamic equivalence" and "formal equivalence" are inadequate theories which have polarized Bible translators in debate; and, she makes her more general claim. A better method "shows how Anglo-centric the evangelical debates have been." That's one of the most important statements (on page 9) of her essay "Bible Translation as Bilingual Quotation."
What may make such a statement more palatable to evangelicals (than Barnstone's claims) is the fact that Jobes herself is an evangelical Christian. What may make Bible translators take note of her "bilingual quotation" theory is that Jobes also has been included in the elite group of translators who have just completed the New English Translation of the Septuagint. (She's the only woman selected along with thirty men). (In contrast to Jobes, Barnstone is not a Christian--although he sees Jesus in very important, very fresh ways [see his statement on YESHUA BEN YOSEF]--and he has conferred with Alter but collaborated with no other person on his project. In comparison with Jobes, Barnstone does even more thoroughly take on the sucker's choice of either "dynamic equivalence" or "formal equivalence" in the theory section of his book.)
Paul J. Caminiti, Zondervan's Vice President and Publisher of Bibles, has posted a blog for your review, in which he allows Jobes to introduce her theory. This afternoon, Mike Pritchard, a manager in Zondervan's marketing office, kindly sent me an email notice, inviting us all to read the blog, and to comment as we would. Wayne Leman, a contributor at Better Bibles Blog, and a Bible translator and translator consultant, had gotten Pritchard's email earlier and had thoughtfully forwarded it to me. I mention all that to keep the conversation going. Although I've quoted from page 9, Caminiti gives quotations from pages 5 and 7, and a comparison chart of "verbosity" of Bible translations on page 15. Another main "point" of Jobes is then quoted from page 16. The blog and a link to the full essay can be found here.
Whether you read and comment there, or come back here to comment, I'd be curious. What do you think?
When Wayne forwarded the email to me, he said "speaking of 'feministic translation', consider Dr. Jobes' paper." So I am! Do know that Professor Jobes is not a self-identifying "feminist." Nor does she label "Bilingual Quotation" as womanly discourse of any kind. I would, nonetheless, like to know whether any of you think Jobes' translation theory is related to Pike's tagmemics or his monolingual demonstration (which I've said may contribute to translation theory and practice as much as Jacqueline Jones Royster's afrafeminist methods can).
UPDATE: These are bloggers who have either commented on or are inviting others to comment on Jobes' essay:
Wayne Leman at Better Bibles Blog
Wayne Leman at TNIV Truth
John F. Hobbins at Ancient Hebrew Poetry (twice)
Peter Kirk at Gentle Wisdom
James Getz at Kituvim
and in a more recent post, I wonder more about the gender inequities surrounding Jobes.