Friday, March 03, 2006

Eugene H. Peterson on Luke

I'm reading The Message by Eugene H. Peterson for my Bible reading. It's a really great and theologically sound (so says my pastor anyway) paraphrase that really distills the complex language down to something very understandable.

Today I started Luke, which is by far my favorite book in the Bible. And Peterson pretty much nailed why in his intro to the book:

[R]eligion has a long history...of reducing the huge mysteries of God to the respectability of club rules, of shrinking the vast human community to a "membership." But with God there are no outsiders.

Luke is a most vigorous champion of the outsider. An outsider himself, the only Gentile in an all-Jewish cast of the New Testament writers, he shows how Jesus includes those who typically were treated as outsiders by the religious establishment of the day: women, common laborers (sheepherders), the racially different (Samaritans), the poor. He will not countenance religion as a club. As Luke tells the story, all of us who have found ourselves on the outside looking in on life with no hope of gaining entrance (and who of us hasn't felt it?) now find the doors wide open, found and welcomed by God in Jesus.

YES. Looking forward to the next month or so reading Luke.


At 9:53 AM, Blogger Turbulent Cleric said...

Wow! That quote is so meaningful. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

At 8:17 PM, Blogger John said...

I avoid paraphrases because they are so subjective and distant from the original text. I'll stick to the NASB.

At 10:31 PM, Blogger Ty said...

First, sorry for the long message, I'm a nerd. Second, I am finishing grad work in New Testament, I read ancient Greek rather fluently. With that as my background (but not forgetting that John is also involved in similar study): Paraphrases are great for devotional use, and there is almost as much subjectivity involved in translating in a "wooden" manner, though not as much honesty in presentation.

Not that anyone really cares but, since I am a translation nerd: the so-called literal translation techniques function as rhetorical structures designed to make the reader believe in the validity of the translation, they are not necessarily a sign that the translation is actually accurate (similar to the "unbiased language" in Hayden White's Philosophy of History).

The NASB, though, is, in my opinion, a good, balanced translation, the NRSV boasts fewer theological presuppositions reflected in the translation (but the difference is insignificant).

Peterson does a very good job for someone working on his own, but I wish he had worked with a multi-denominational committee so that more of the obvious slips could have been avoided, and so that his work could receive more scholarly support.

For more information on translation, in general, see Translation and Power by Tmyoczko and Gentzler. Everyone should read something by Hayden White. If you have a question, post on my blog (I might ask for an email address if it is a subject concerning which I cannot go on the record for "professional" reasons).

P.S. John, if I remember correctly, I once had a very nice conversation with one of your professors who was working on Genre considerations in Luke/Acts. Asbury sounds like a school with great opertunities.

At 3:53 AM, Blogger see-through faith said...

a group of us just started a Luke study (using the Message) and we're loving it. We blog about it online too ,


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