more on exegesis and translation

from Steve Runge’s book Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis (Hendrickson, 2010). In talking about the role of “de” and “ouv”as development markers, Runge writes:

So far, we have looked at how English uses adverbials such as “then” and “now” to mark new developments. Greek uses its rich set of connectives to mark development, resulting in a mismatch between the function of some conunctions in Greek and that of their English counterparts. The most commonly used development markers in the Greek NT are “de” and “ouv.”

Not only do the particles “de” and “ouv” serve as conjunctions, but also they serve as development markers in the discourse in ways comparable to temporal adverbs in English. This raises the question of how to best translate them. Should we translate “ouv” as “therefore,” “then,” or “now”? This quandary illustrates the problem of needing to express all grammatical information in translation. There may not be an easy translation solution. This is where exegesis and exposition come in. Even if we cannot capture everything in a single English word, we can still understand the function of the Greek word. We can understand what it signals in the discourse and find other ways of capturing or communicating its function.

I very much appreciate this comment and feel this is why it is really important everyone pick up this book and read it along with Wallace’s GGBB. It also highlights the importance of why second year Greek is needed. My second year Grrek prof Ben Aker told us about how in first year Greek one is a form chaser whereas in second year Greek one becomes a function chaser.

Words have more than meaning, they also have function and place within a given text. Knowing the function of words, phrases, and clauses, helps get at what is going on in the text under study. Good exegesis leads to better exposition and application of the text and good exegesis requires a working knowledge of these kinds of issues.


3 responses to “more on exegesis and translation

  1. Steve, thanks for commenting. It certainly is a good and helpful read. Makes me think a lot of when I did a lot of reading through Waltke-O’Conner,s giant book Biblical Hebrew Syntax.

  2. This is Old Testament, but is Saint Augustine’s exegesis of the 2nd and 3rd chapters of Genesis correct? Do a search: First Scandal.

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