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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

implicit possessives made explicit John 8:38

In the previous posts we have been looking at pronouns used to make implicit information in the  source text explicit in the target language. In John 8:38 we see possessive personal pronouns attached both in translation and in textual variants.

John 8:38 CEB[1] I’m telling you what I’ve seen when I am with the Father, but you are doing what you’ve heard from your father.”

John 8:38 ESV “I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

NA27 John 8:38 ἃ ἐγὼ ἑώρακα παρὰ τῷ πατρὶ λαλῶ· καὶ ὑμεῖς οὖν ἃ ἠκούσατε παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ποιεῖτε.

SBLGNT[2] ⸂α εγω⸃ εωρακα παρα τῳ ⸀πατρι λαλω· και υμεις ουν ⸂α ηκουσατε⸃ παρα ⸂του πατρος⸃ ποιειτε.

α εγω WH Treg NIV ] Εγω ο RP
πατρι WH Treg NIV ] + μου RP
α ηκουσατε WH Treg NIV ] ο εωρακατε RP
του πατρος WH Treg NA ] + υμων NIV; τῳ πατρι υμων RP

RP[3]  εγω ο εωρακα παρα τω πατρι μου λαλω και υμεις ουν ο εωρακατε παρα τω πατρι υμων ποιειτε

The attachment of μου after πατρος/πατρι is also found in Sinaiticus and Beza reads τῳ πατρι υμων ταυτα. Metzger[4] argues that the longer readings can be explained by the need to clarify the referent of πατρος/πατρι. The shortest readings leave some ambiguity about who is intended, but this ambiguity is a significant feature of the John’s story development. Without the ambiguity the tension is resolved before the drama reaches a climax. The scribal clarifications could result in flattening the story and making it dull. It is difficult to say if the possessive pronouns in the english versions are a text critical decision or a translation decision. Following the shortest text word for word in english probably isn't a viable translation option and the ambiguity isn’t totally removed by the possessives.

[1] Common English Bible (CEB), Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

[2] SBLGNT with aparatus Michael W. Holmes ed.

[3] RP The New Testament in the Original Greek, Byzantine Textform 2005. Compiled and Arranged by. Maurice A. Robinson and William G. Pierpont.

[4] Bruce M. Metzger - A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, 1971.


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