Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Is the translation of Mark 1:1 so straightforward?

Mark 1:1:
Arche tou euangeliou Iesou Christou [huios theos].
(By the way, if someone knows how to get special characters, especially the line that indicates a lengthened vowel, please let me know!)

tou euangeliou
The biggest translational issue I see here is how to render tou euangeliou, lit "of the good news". Since we are aiming at plain English, "gospel" is problematic, as it is hardly contemporary English and is so laden with associations by various sectors of contemporary Christianity that perhaps it should be ditched altogether. But did the Greek word euangelion have a technical meaning that the generic term "good news" lacks? Did the original audience hear simply "good news" (any news that happens to be good) or did it have connotations of a particular kind of message, perhaps from a particular kind of person? If so, is there a modern English word that captures something of that specialness? To give some idea where I'm going, the English terms "announcement" and "message" can have quite a different feel to them, depending on the context.

What we really need to do, then, is investigate that word euangelion and try to hear what those first hearers heard. In what other contexts did euangelion appear at that time, and what were its associations and connotations?

Perhaps you can pitch in, Frank, and I shall try to do some research myself.


Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Dave, you asked about getting the special characters into our posts. Let me see if I can do it with the Arial Unicode MS font on my computer (and widely available for free download):

First line is your transliteration:
Arche tou euangeliou Iesou Christou [huios theos].
Next line is supposed to be Arial Unicode MS:
αρχη τοΰ εύαγγελίου Ιησοΰ Χριστοΰ [υιοΰ θεοΰ]

I don't know how this will display on your screen, but it is displaying fine on mine BEFORE I post it.

BTW, please send me the directions so I can post a regular blog post. Thanks. Wayne

9:40 PM  
Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Oh, sorry, Dave. I misunderstood what yo u meant by special characters. I should have read the blog directions first!! It is also possible to put in the macron (long vowel) mark over vowels from various fonts, such as Arial Unicode MS, e.g.

Archē ...

9:45 PM  
Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Dave, I figured out how to post as a contributor to this blog. Save your energy and words for more important things! :-)

8:39 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home