Author Archives: Andy Cheung

Book Review: Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) by Douglas Moo

Moo, Douglas J. (2013). Galatians (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament). Grand Rapids: Baker Academic. Reviewed by Dr Andy Cheung
[Douglas Moo is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College Graduate School.]

This is a commentary long awaited by many Biblical scholars and students, partly because of Douglas Moo’s reputation, and partly because Galatians is not well served with technical, conservative commentaries. It does not disappoint and that in itself is part of the expectation with a Moo commentary; that not only will it be well written, judicious in exegesis, and reasonable in conclusions, but also of consistently high quality. There’s an evenness in Moo’s work stretching back several decades and it is perhaps unsurprising that this commentary fulfils expectations of excellence. For many, this will be the new ‘go to’ commentary on Galatians.
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A History of Twentieth Century Translation Theory and Its Application to Bible Translation

I just had an article published in the Journal of Translation titled “A History of Twentieth Century Translation Theory and Its Application to Bible Translation”. It discusses theoretical developments in translation theory while advocating a perspective I support called ‘functionalism’ which, in short, argues that translations must be designed to fit particular needs. The logical end to this is that because there are multiple needs, there must be multiple ‘correct’ ways of translating the Bible. The one ‘best Bible’ translation doesn’t exist. The one ‘right’ way to translate doesn’t exist either. Sometimes you’ll need a literal translation, other times you’ll need an idiomatic translation, and both are ‘right’ in their particular situation.

Anyway, here’s the LINK (free registration required to view the paper online) and the abstract:

This article studies the development of twentieth century translation theory. This was a period during which significant theoretical contributions were made in both secular and Bible translation circles. These contributions have had a profound impact on the practice of translation throughout the twentieth century and since. The individuals who contributed to the present state of translation theory worked in both secular and Bible translation circles and this article examines contributions from both. A select history of theoretical developments, focusing on the most important ideas relevant to Bible translation work is given in order to examine the impact of such theories in the practice of Bible translation. These include the philosophical approaches of the early twentieth century; the linguistic era of the 1950s and 1960s; the rise of functionalism and descriptive translation studies; and, finally, the emergence of postcolonial and related foreignising approaches.

Andy Cheung, “A History of Twentieth Century Translation Theory and Its Application to Bible Translation”, Journal of Translation 9:1 (Apr 2013) 1-15. [Link]

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Dr Andy Cheung is Academic Dean at King’s Evangelical Divinity School.

Fight the disjunction between ‘critical’ and ‘devotional’ reading of the Bible.

Here’s an excellent piece of advice from D. A. Carson. It comes from the excellent book The Pastor as Scholar & the Scholar as Pastor, available here free as a pdf download.

Fight with every fiber of your being the common disjunction between “objective study” of Scripture and “devotional reading” of Scripture, between “critical reading” of the Bible and “devotional reading” of the Bible. The place where this tension first becomes a problem is usually at seminary. Students enter with the habit of reading the Bible “devotionally” (as they see it). They enjoy reading the Bible, they feel warm and reverent as they do so, they encounter God through its pages, some have memorized many verses and some chapters, and so forth. Seminary soon teaches them the rudiments of Greek and Hebrew, principles of exegesis, hermeneutical reflection, something about textual variants, distinctions grounded in different literary genres, and more. In consequence, students learn to read the Bible “critically” or “objectively” for their assignments but still want to read the Bible “devotionally” in their quiet times.

Every year a handful of students end up at the door of assorted lecturers and professors asking how to handle this tension. They find themselves trying to have their devotions,
only to be harassed by intruding thoughts about textual variants. How should one keep such polarized forms of reading the Bible apart? This polarization, this disjunction, kept unchecked, may then characterize or even harass the biblical scholar for the rest of his or her life. That scholar may try to write a commentary on, say, Galatians, where at least part of the aim is to master the text, while preserving time for daily devotional reading.

My response, forcefully put, is to resist this disjunction, to eschew it, to do everything in your power to destroy it. Scripture remains Scripture, it is still the Word of God before which (as Isaiah reminds us) we are to tremble—the very words we are to revere, treasure, digest, meditate on, and hide in our hearts (minds?), whether we are reading the Bible at 5:30 am at the start of a day, or preparing an assignment for an exegesis class at 10:00 pm. If we try to keep apart these alleged two ways of reading, then we will be irritated and troubled when our “devotions” are interrupted by a sudden stray reflection about a textual variant or the precise force of a Greek genitive; alternatively, we may be taken off guard when we are supposed to be preparing a paper or a sermon and suddenly find ourselves distracted by a glimpse of God’s greatness that is supposed to be reserved for our “devotions.” So when you read “devotionally,” keep your mind engaged; when you read “critically” (i.e., with more diligent and focused study, deploying a panoply of “tools”), never, ever, forget whose Word this is. The aim is never to become a master of the Word, but to be mastered by it. (p. 91)

Book Review: Introducing Romans: Critical Issues in Paul’s Most Famous Letter by Richard Longenecker

At 490 pages of fairly dense text, Introducing Romans by Richard Longenecker is more than just an introduction, since it is longer than many commentaries. In this form, it serves a similar purpose to the large introductions now common in the more expansive technical commentaries on biblical books. Indeed, one wonders whether much of this material will be reproduced in Longenecker’s forthcoming Greek commentary on Romans in the New International Greek Testament series. Read more »

Reverend Eugene Nida

THE REVEREND EUGENE NIDA, who has died aged 96, helped translate the Bible into more than 200 languages, enabling the world’s most popular book to be understood by remote populations from the icy wastes of the Arctic Circle to the deserts of Africa. (From the obituary here at the Daily Telegraph)

Daniel Wallace NIV 2011

Dan Wallace, who is always worth reading, has begun a four-part series on the NIV 2011 edition. The first two posts are available here and here. It’s not just a review of the newly updated NIV, but also contains a select history of Bible translation, which is well worth a read. If you want something meatier, go with what I’m currently rereading this week: David Daniell’s outstanding 900 page historical survey titled, The Bible in English, by some distance the best book of this type. Admittedly, at 900 pages, it might be a bit long for most, in which case go for the next best thing: Bruce Metzger’s Bible in Translation:Ancient and English Versions.