My maternal grandmother and my mom are great at making preserves. They put fruit and sugar in jars, and it's the best tasting stuff God ever made!
So in this post, I'm going to try. Dannii asked me last week:
"My question is, how much wordplay do we want to preserve? When does preserving/transferring/adding wordplay get in the way of our purpose?"
Dannii was asking about my thoughts on a feminist rhetorical translating of Hebrews 4. I thought I'd back up and begin with Hebrews 2. I'd try translating, would try making preserves.
Here's the first of three sections of that letter starting with the important little Greek reader-warning phrase, μήποτε or "so we don’t."
Without any further commentary (except for the fact that I'm trying for a wordplay AND a dynamic equilvalence AND a formal/literal equivalence AND a literal equivalence too), here's how the writer begins to introduce the subject of his or her letter. It's Hebrews 2:1-8a in Greek then my English (stopping short of that introduction of Joshua - aka jesus - by name):
1Διὰ τοῦτο δεῖ
περισσοτέρως προσέχειν ἡμᾶς τοῖς ἀκουσθεῖσιν,
2εἰ γὰρ ὁ δι’ ἀγγέλων λαληθεὶς λόγος ἐγένετο βέβαιος
- καὶ πᾶσα παράβασις καὶ παρακοὴ ἔλαβεν ἔνδικον μισθαποδοσίαν
- 3πῶς ἡμεῖς ἐκφευξόμεθα τηλικαύτης ἀμελήσαντες σωτηρίας; ἥτις, ἀρχὴν λαβοῦσα (λαλεῖσθαι διὰ τοῦ κυρίου) ὑπὸ τῶν ἀκουσάντων εἰς ἡμᾶς ἐβεβαιώθη, (4συνεπιμαρτυροῦντος τοῦ θεοῦ σημείοις, τε καὶ τέρασιν καὶ ποικίλαις δυνάμεσιν καὶ πνεύματος ἁγίου μερισμοῖς κατὰ τὴν αὐτοῦ θέλησιν.)
5Οὐ γὰρ ἀγγέλοις ὑπέταξεν τὴν οἰκουμένην τὴν μέλλουσαν, περὶ ἧς λαλοῦμεν. 6διεμαρτύρατο δέ πού τις λέγων,
“Τί ἐστιν ἄνθρωπος ὅτι μιμνῄσκῃ αὐτοῦ,
ἢ υἱὸς ἀνθρώπου ὅτι ἐπισκέπτῃ αὐτόν;
7ἠλάττωσας αὐτὸν βραχύ τι παρ' ἀγγέλους,
δόξῃ καὶ τιμῇ ἐστεφάνωσας αὐτόν,
8πάντα ὑπέταξας ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν αὐτοῦ.”
1Therefore, this is what we must do:
fasten on fully to what we hear,
so we don’t float away.
2If, in fact, what’s spoken thru angelic messengers as a statement was decisive at its birth
- and if all those falling away and hearing sideways got their just reward
- 3then how will we get out of that by disregarding such a great delivery to safety?
Whatever in the Beginning was gotten (as spoken through the Master) by those who heard it was to us decisive;
(4 co-testifying was God with signifying evidence, and not only with miracles and a full range of dynamic powers but also with Holy LifeBreath parted and parceled out as he wished.)
5It was not, in fact, under angelic messengers that the intended Colony was ordered, which is what’s spoken about. 6There were, nonetheless, testimonies given somewhere by someone in these statements:
“What is a human that he [or even she] is remembered?
Or the son of a human [if ever a daughter] that he [or she] is overseen?
7Less a bit is he [and she of course] when beside angelic messengers.
Brilliance and honor are his crown [or hers],
8 all are subjects ordered under his feet [or hers]”
Jared Calaway at Antiquitopia has up a post "Heb. 2:10-11: A Discussion". That prompted me to go ahead and finish translating and posting on Hebrews 2, as I promised Dannii I would. My translating is wanting to mark the default "sons" in the text as "daughters" also. It's also trying to show the wordplay in the Greek (and by that I mean both the interpretive wiggle room and also the playfulness). There's a rhetorical build to the introduction of and the singling out of "Joshua." He's one of all humans, male and female. And when he's special, he specifically rewards every human, female and male, generally with crowning brilliance and honor.
Jared conjectures, "Perhaps the thrust of the passage pushes toward the natural commonality." Perhaps my translation shows some of that. Although "pushes" seems too strong to me. And "natural" seems a little too lacking of the supernatural stuff going on in the narrative.
Note the color coding of certain words that seem to mark paragraphs. The topic of the paragraphs shift (shifts that Jared is asking us to discuss). So, following his lead to focus on the pronouns, you get my color codings on those pronouns too.
Click the image below to expand it and to read the text. It's, as I said to Dannii, not only "literal/literary" but also an interlation, a gesture at Dynamic Equivalence that would too narrowly try to make "accuracy" mean words without play. Hope you enjoy, and hope you'll head over to Jared's blog to discuss.