Lectionary Year B
April 27, 2003
1 John 1:1-2:2
Initial Acquaintance/Rough Translation
(JFC) A. COMPARISON OF TRANSLATIONS
(JFC) B. TEXTUAL CRITICISM
- The New American Bible and the New Revised Standard Version begin 1 John stating
that the Word (which the NAB and the New Living Translation capitalize at the end of this opening verse) merely “was”, while the NLT reads it, “existed”. This difference seems significant when we notice that states of being verbs seem to have less force to the contemporary American reader than do action verbs. Also in this opening verse, the NLT includes a footnote, Greek "What was from the beginning."
- Then, in the second verse, the NAB reads that the life “was made visible” while the NLT says it, “was shown” and the NRSV, “was revealed”. If the Greek text’s word can be translated either way, which choice most effectively arrests the attention of contemporary English language readers and/or hearers? Do we go with the more or with the lesser common terms here?
- In verses 3-5, these translations differ on the word “proclaim” (NAB and NRSV) and “announce” (NLT).
- In the 4th verse, the NRSV has a footnote for the pronoun, “Other ancient authorities read [your]”. Also there, the NLT offers this footnote, “Some manuscripts read your.”
- As the sixth verse begins to end, NLT adds “spiritual” to the word/concept, “darkness”.
- At the end of verse 6, we get more differences. The NAB has, “act in truth”, where NLT has, “living in the truth” and, NRSV, “do what is right”.
- Verse 8 finds differences in the second two thirds of the verse. NAB says, “deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”, while the NLT and the NRSV have, “only fooling ourselves and refusing to accept the truth”.
- All three translations end the 9th verse differently. The NAB calls them, “every wrongdoing”, the NLT, “every wrong” and the NRSV, “all unrighteousness”.
- In 2:1, the NAB calls it “an Advocate”, the NLT, “someone to plead” and the NRSV, “an advocate”. Then, the NAB has “the righteous one” where the NLT has “the one who pleases God completely” with a footnote, reading, “Greek the righteous” and the NRSV, “the righteous”.
- Then, in the final verse (2:2) the NAB calls it “an expiation”, the NLT, “the sacrifice” and the NRSV, “the atoning sacrifice”.
(JFC) C. ROUGH TRANSLATION
In verse 3, a majority of the tradition omits the conjunction "kai" probably meaning to emphasize an “also” to what the witness do with the truth they are declaring here. To the English language reader, it seems unnecessary and so, we might delete it, too. Then, later in that verse, early in its second sentence, many uncials omit the "de". Again, for English language readers, we would probably retain it to give us a contrasting signal.
- Verse 4 has two pronouns which redactors would change. The first one, many would change from the nomnitive to the dative case. Yes, I think it makes better sense in the dative, even though many witnesses prefer the text as received. Then, a few words later, many would alter the first person to a second person. Yes, second person makes more sense and makes it consistent with the rest of the sentence. Some editors would retain the Textus Receptus.
- Verse 5‘s second and third words get re-ordered by a number of uncials, like it matters. Either way works for me. Thereafter, a number of witnesses would change "aggelia" to "epaggelia". That alteration would change a nominative subject into a dative indirect object. It seems more likely to make sense according to the change, so I go with it, so far, at least. Then, as the verse begins to end, some few witnesses would re-order "en auto ouk estin" to read "ouk estin en auto". Either way makes sense to me; so, whatever.
- Verse 7’s initial post-positive "de", gets omitted by several editors. Well, something is needed there to mark a contrasting image, so, I would retain the Textus Receptus. Then, some redactors would change "allelon" to read "autou". It seems that that alteration would make it too impersonal and/or too broadly written to convey the images the material could more effectively express with the longer word which is more likely to be the original. Thereafter, many would alter and/or replace the words identifying Jesus, "Iesou tou huiou autou", with fewer terms and/or adding the name, “Christ”, etc. More uncials prefer the text as received, as seems preferable. Then, several uncials would change "katharizei" to read "kathariei". Such a revision would give us a present tense replacing a future tense. The present tense in our language seems more emphatic. However, the longer word, by a letter, could be more nearly the original.
- Near the end of verse 8, we get some witnesses suggesting we add "tou theou" to "he aletheia". It wouldn’t hurt to make that addition and the longer version might be more nearly the original, as usual. Then, a great many editors would re-order the last four words, "ouk estin en hemin", of this verse. They prefer reading, "en hemin ouk estin". If the final word in a phrase in Greek gets more emphasis, as it frequently seems to do in our language, then the former is more nearly like what I’m reading, so far, in this text as a whole.
- Several uncials would add, in verse 9, the pronoun "hemon", to the "tas hamartias". Yes, it makes the owners of the sin(s) clear, beyond a question. Some redactors would change the aorist, active, subjunctive third person singular, "katharise", into what looks to me like a future, indicative, "katharisei". If that is correct, the emended version probably conveys more certainty as I expect this part of the pericope to be intending.
- Several manuscripts in verse 10 would read "hemartomen", an aorist, I think, instead of hemartekamen", a perfect active indicative. The longer word expresses greater breadth of sinning, which seems to be more like what the text intends to say here.
- In the second chapter’s first verse, several uncials prefer to read amartanhte, an imperfect (?), "to hamartete", an aorist active subjunctive second person plural. The apparatus gives no witnesses preferring the text as received, but I do. Then, Markland cj suggests we add an article "ton" to "dikaion". The English translations I compared seem to go with this emendation, as do I.
- In our pericope’s last verse, a few witnesses change "monon" to "monon", a noun for an adverb. Though the apparatus gives no part of the tradition preferring the adverb, I do, on the basis that it emphasizes the message as I am beginning to read it.
1:1 This was from a beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our
eyes, what we have discerned and with our hands have touched and for the word of the life - 2 and the life was revealed, and we perceived (it) and have witnessed (it) and declare to you the life the everlasting which was from the father and was revealed to us - 3 what we have perceived and heard, we declare also to you, so that also you fellowship might have with us. And the fellowship (which really is ours) is with the father and with his son Jesus Christ. 4 And these things we have written to you, so that the joy of yours might be made full.
5 And this is the message which we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that the God of light is and darkness in him never is in any way. 6 If we should say that we fellowship have while in the darkness we are walking, we deceive ourselves and not are we doing the truth; 7 however, if in the light we walk as he is in the light, fellowship we are having with one another and the blood of Jesus the son of his washes us from all sinfulness.
8 If we would say that sin not do we have, ourselves we are deceiving and the
truth not is in us. 9 If we confess the sins of ours, faithful is he and just, in order that he should forgive us the sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we should say that not have we sinned, a liar we make (of) him and the word of him is not in us.
2:1 Good friends of mine, I write these things to you so that not should you sin, and if you should sin, an advocate we have with the father Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 And this one/he a means of forgiveness is concerning the sins of you, not concerning those of yours only, but also concerning all of the world.
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