Monday, June 6, 2011

A Reader Question on the GNT and Luke 1:28

Wondering if someone at the blog might know the answer to this question about the GNT. Does anyone know why is Luke 1:28 was translated as "Peace be with you" when all other translations (Prot or RC) have some form of the more accurate translation such as: "Hail, thou that art highly favoured" (KJV), “Greetings, you who are highly favored!" (NIV), "Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you." (NABRE), etc.?

I ask because the GNT is the fundamental translation used in most CCD programs and I always go to this verse when teaching about Our Lady's Immaculate Conception. VERY hard to use "peace be with you" in this regard and I a, surprised an imprimatur was granted without retranslating this verse at least for Catholic editions of the GNT Bible.

I know the GNT is not favored by Bible students and some accuse it of being a paraphrase. I do not want to get in all that...just wondering about the very unusual translation of that verse.


Theophrastus said...

Well, it doesn't say that.

What it says (in my edition at least) is:

The angel came to her and said, "Peace be with you! The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!"

I'm not sure why you have a problem with that.

If you are wondering why it says "Peace be with you" instead of "Greetings", well it is a possible interpretation of chairō (see here for example). If one makes the natural assumption that the angel would have been speaking Hebrew or Aramaic, the would have said shalom which also means that.

I've never encountered anyone who held that the Good News Translation is a paraphrase (I think you are mixing it up with the Living Bible which also was produced in a Catholic edition and is a paraphrase). While it is not the edition I would recommend for advanced students, I think the Good News Translation is regarded as one of the best translations for Bible study by children.

Anonymous said...

From “Good News Bible Gets New Name,” UBS World Report, no. 361 (July/August 2001).

"The request [to change the name from Good News Bible to Today's English Version] followed research of the US Bible market conducted last year by Zondervan. The findings showed that while the GNB ranked fourth highest in terms of awareness (42 per cent), it ranked only twelfth in terms of sales (3.1 per cent). Researchers concluded that one reason why high brand awareness translated into a low market share was the mistaken belief that GNB is a paraphrase -- a conclusion supported by the ABS’s own research. Zondervan and the ABS have agreed that changing the name to the Good News Translation “will help build confidence in the translation because it addresses the misperception head-on.”


Diakonos said...

Theophrastus - thanks so much and for that great link as well. My edition reads just as yours does. By translating it "Peace be with you" instead of translating it as most others do) it seems to avoid a title or at least quasi-title for Mary. And certainly 2,000 years of christian tradition translate it in the "title" form (if thats the correct way to put it). Certainly there are theological differences between the two choices, no?

As far as the GNT being seen as paraphrase, I have read it quit often in Scripture study books when dealing with what translation to use and I have been told that as well by Scripture professors in both my undergrad and grad theolofy programs. But I have also read/heard the opposite as well.

Theophrastus said...

Oh, I see your point, Diakonis. I am sorry I didn't catch it before.

I think that Good News is translating in the following way (listed against the NAB for comparison)

χαίρω chairō = Peace be with you (GNT) = Hail (NAB)

χαριτόω charitoō = has greatly blessed you (GNT) = favored one (NAB)

κύριος μετά σύ kyrios meta sy = The Lord is with you (GNT & NAB)

Does that make sense?

Diakonos said...

Yeah I see your point. But as a catechist (and for preaching)it is a sad "ommission" at most or choice of translation at best. There is fruitful though implicit Marian doctrine in that verse. I have been aware of this GNT verse translation for a couple of decades and never found a reason why the Catholic edition didn't have at least a footnote attached to it.

I guess I am just disappointed with this verse because I just can't give up my GNT. I use NABRE or NRSV Study Bibles; I use Christian Community or Life with God (NRSV) for prayer/devotion...but ot be honest so often I keep yearning and reaching out for my GNT for prayerful deovtional reading and meditation.