Friday, June 15, 2012

Translation Debate




Mr. Barry Hofstetter and Mr. Scott Windsor engaging in a debate regarding the viability of traditional Catholic translations of Genesis 3:15 and Luke 1:28.

22 comments:

  1. I am reserving my personal comments on this debate until after we conclude it - but others who have been or are interested in reading along, please feel free to comment!  I'm sure Barry is checking here too periodically.

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  2. Actually, this is the first time I've checked, and it looks like I haven't missed much.

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  3. I invite others to comment ahead of time - I am reserving my personal comments here until after we conclude - which should be rather soon now.

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  4. Just to get things started, I think you would have ben penalized heavily in a formal debate for the following reasons:

    1)Failure to respond adequately (point for point) to the arguments and evidence offered against your position.2) Failure adequately to understand even the specific issues of the debate, and...3) Classification of valid arguments and evidence against your position as irrelevant, and hence refusing to respond to them.4) Numerous errors of fact on your part, such as consistently confusing the Hebrew and Greek.

    Of course, I am somewhat biased...

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  5. Hofstetter did not stick to the topic of the debate.  He constantly went off on tangents of interpretation and what he tried to label as "exegesis" was really eisegesis.  The specific issue of the debate was NOT interpretation, but the viability of translation.  The fact that the Peshitta text pre-existed St. Jerome AND was AND is the the official text of the Eastern Church speaks volumes to the viability of the Latin Vulgate, itself an ancient text of the Church and not necessarily wholly translated by St. Jerome - as the Old Vulgate existed prior to him, but not as one volume/assembly/canon of Scripture.  Part of St. Jerome's task was to put all these individual books together into one canon.  The other part was to diligently compare them to the original languages, which he was much closer to their actual usage than Mr. Hofstetter or any modern translator.  
     
    The reader must keep in mind that I don't say Hofstetter's version is wrong - and THAT was NOT the point of the debate!   It was not my responsibility to prove anything Hofstetter said to be right or wrong. MY responsibility was to provide argumentation for the viability of the Latin Vulgate and DRB translations.

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  6. 1) I replied adequately to every valid point Mr. Hofstetter made.  He made several invalid arguments, which were dismissed AND reasons given for their dismissal.  NONE were just summarily dismissed without reason.
     
    2) No, I fully understood the specific issue (singular - there was ONLY ONE ISSUE) of the debate.  The fact that Mr. Hofstetter uses the plural here indicates he may have failed to understand THE specific issue at hand.
     
    3) Mr. Hofstetter had every opportunity to respond with valid argumentation as to why any argument I dismissed as invalid - he chose not to and simply deny the charges.  Denial is not valid argumentation. 
     
    4) Once I confused Hebrew and Greek, but not intentionally.  I am fully aware the OT is primarily Hebrew in origin and the NT is primarily Greek.  It was a mistake, not confusion.  
     
    Mr. Hofstetter's failure to stay on task and several times resorting to ad hominem (which he apparently does not even understand what THAT means, based on things said in CDF) results in severely weakening of his position.

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  7. Mr. Windsor, you have an interesting strategy, which is to declare valid arguments and evidence against your position as irrelevant and hence dismiss them.  I knew before engaging this debate that the facts would weigh heavily against you, and you simply attempted to narrow the field of acceptable evidence.  I don't think that will fool any objective reader.  Secondly, you didn't confuse the Hebrew and Greek once -- you did it multiple times.  You made other errors fact throughout your comments and responses.  But not to worry.  Anybody reading through your side of the debate will see them.

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  8. Barry,
    I do not wish to put you down.  You provided some excellent arguments for alternative translations - that just wasn't THE issue of the debate, and that is why you lost.  I granted from the very beginning that there are other viable translations and interpretations - neither of which had anything to do with the debate.  You are certainly entitled to believe your narrow view is THE ONLY view, but the reality is, it is not.  I provided valid reasons for accepting the Vulgate and the DRB as viable translations - you disagree.  We'll have to agree to disagree on that one as I'm sure you're not ready to budge.
     
    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  9. Scott, you have simply so defined the nature of the debate that you can make it appear to yourself that you have won, but reality is somewhat different.  You seem to think that the Vulgate/DRB is a possible translation from the texts in question.  They simply are not, and to anyone who considers facts more important than fantasy this is evident.

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  10. Barry, WE agreed, yes BOTH OF US, on the "definition of the debate" before it began.  All I needed to do was show viability.  Demonstrating that another "original tongue" translation which existed before St. Jerome's translation simply ADDS TO the viability of St. Jerome's translation.  Not ONCE have I argued that there aren't other viable translations - in fact, I AGREE there are other viable translations.  The point is, other viable translations do not detract from the viability of St. Jerome's translation.  Your constant straying from THAT SINGLE FOCUS is why you have lost this debate.

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  11. Ok, Scott, whatever.  Viability means to me, and I think the vast majority of people, that the translation is consistent with the language it is translated from.  I have demonstrated that this is not the case with either Gen 3:15 or Luke 1:28, despite your vociferous objections.  I'm happy at this point to let the facts of the debate speak for themselves.

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  12.  Well Barry, your facts, as good as they may be, are not arguing the point of the debate.  I too am happy to let the facts of the debate to speak for themselves, so long as the readers understand what the REAL point of the debate was - which you apparently never did.  Your facts were great, they just missed the mark.
     
    VIABILITY does not necessarily mean it is an exact, verbatim translation, which - as I'm sure you would agree - would be nearly unintelligible in English.  For it to be VIABLE it must simple be usable.  The fact of the matter is that I have repeatedly shown that the passages at hand as translated in the traditional Catholic manner ARE indeed USABLE.  Whether or not the passages were EXACT translations from what we know of the "original texts" (none of which are known to exist) was NEVER the point of the debate AS DEFINED by the DEFINITION we BOTH agreed to before it began AND as I delineated in my Opening Statement, which SHOULD have been the basis of your response to the debate.  Instead, you went on tangents of literal translation of the preferred (from your perspective) original texts.  Even when you were shown ANOTHER "original text" in the very language of Jesus and the Apostles which has "been unchanged since biblical times" which basically PROVED MY POINT - you continued on your tangents.
     
    Yes, let the REAL FACTS of the debate speak for themselves.  The OBJECTIVE reader can draw their own conclusions.
     
    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  13. Ok, Scott, have it your way.  You have defined "viable" in such a way as to assure yourself in your own mind that you are the winner, and maybe you can have some "yuk-yuk, boy did we get him" back-slapping time with your supporters.  However, please be aware that nearly everyone else will including as part of their understanding of viable that the translation is correct according to the Greek and Hebrew.  What you really argued was a "possible" (but highly improbable) translation if certain conditions were fulfilled.  As I said, anyone reading through the debate will realize the problems with the Vulgate/DRB translation, and that's good enough for me.

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  14.  Well, first off - I'm not the sort to go out and seek a "yuk-yuk, boy did we get him... back-slapping time."  I simply submit that you went off on an tangent of literal translations, comparing other literal translations - and this was something I conceded from the onset of the debate!  The point NEVER was about whether or not there are other viable translations - even other perhaps "more literal" translations - NO - THE topic of the debate was whether or not the traditional Catholic translation was viable.  I used the synonym of "useful" - as it means much the same thing in the context of this debate.  It is even part of the definition of the word:
     
    http://www.thefreedictionary.com/viable
    viable [ˈvaɪəbəl]adj1. capable of becoming actual, useful, etc.; practicable a viable proposition2. (Life Sciences & Allied Applications / Biology) (of seeds, eggs, etc.) capable of normal growth and development3.
    (Medicine / Gynaecology & Obstetrics) (of a fetus) having reached a
    stage of development at which further development can occur
    independently of the mother[from French, from vie life, from Latin vīta]viability  n
    Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003
     
    I have commended you on the study and research you put into your efforts, unfortunately you were "barking up the wrong tree."

    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  15. Absolutely incredible, Scott.  As I said on the list, you are confusing theological conclusion with translation, two quite distinct categories.  If the Latin does not agree with the Hebrew or Greek, it's the Latin that's wrong, and hence not a viable translation.  All you've proven is that some Catholics are skilled at verbal manipulation and eisegesis.

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  16. Catholic apologist Jimmy Akin has this to say about the Vulgate/DRB rendering:

    http://jimmyakin.com/mary-and-genesis-315

    Akin seems able to make the distinction between theological interpretation and actual translation.  Furthermore, he comes right out and simply claims that the reading "ipsa" is a copyist error.  For the purposes of this debate, I simply stipulated that "ipsa" is what Jerome wrote.  I did look into the Latin manuscript tradition briefly, enough to note that some of the ancient manuscripts had the masculine "ipse" instead, but I did not pursue it beyond that particular fact.  It's good so seen an honest Catholic apologist out there.  So, if Akin is write, even Jerome did not originally think it was a viable translation, and this whole debate has been over a simple text critical error.

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  17. What is absolutely incredible is that is EXACTLY what I have been saying YOU have been doing throughout the debate!  Yes, you've thrown in some literal translations too - BUT - you've also engaged in theological conclusions and dogmatic determinations. 
     
    I REPEAT - the debate was NEVER about whether or not St. Jerome got those passages literally translated - but that the translation is VIABLE, that is USABLE for the faithful. 
     
    I reject your accusation of manipulation and eisegesis - you're just looking more like a sore loser now because you misinterpreted the REAL scope of the debate.  I showed how, from within the text itself, one can see "she" is the one whom the serpent lies in wait of "her" heel.  I have no qualms agreeing that literally it says the serpent lies in wait of "his" heel - but St. Jerome's translation is still quite usable.  IF the passage had not mentioned "her" at all, THEN you might have a case for accusing me of eisegesis - but it's right there in the passage, thus your accusation is wholly false.
     
    AGAIN, I manipulated nothing!  I've merely taken what IS THERE and shown how it CAN be interpreted. 
     
    What part of "I conceded (the fact that there are other literal translations which agree with you) from the beginning of the debate" do you not comprehend? 
     
    The FACT of the matter is you, Mr. Hofstetter, went of on a red herring (distraction) tactic, focusing your argumentation on a non-issue for THIS debate, and now are attempting to blame me for your failure to comprehend the REAL subject of the debate!
     
    IF this debate was about whether or not St. Jerome's translation was an absolutely literal translation of the known Greek and Hebrew, I would not have engaged in the debate at all - I would have simply conceded the fact - AS I DID IN MY ROUND TWO REBUTTAL ARGUMENTS!

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  18.  It's pretty sad when you stoop to accusing me of dishonesty.  I have not been dishonest with you in the least!  As for Jimmy Akin's presentation - I have absolutely no qualms with it!  He, as have you, approached the topic from a more literal perspective.  I, on the other hand, approached this from a VIABLE perspective.  When you realize the difference, I'll accept your concession that you were arguing something that was not applicable to THIS debate. 
     
    You also make it sound as if Mr. Akin only argues your side of this discussion, but that is not true either!  In fact, he makes exactly the same argument I have been making all along, look at his words:

    This does not mean that the idea cannot be validly applied to Mary as
    well. Through her cooperation in the incarnation of Christ, so that the
    Son of God (who, from the cross, directly crushed the head of the
    serpent) became her seed, Mary did crush the head of the
    serpent. In the same way, the serpent struck at Christ on the cross, and
    indirectly struck at Mary’s heart as well, who had to witness the death
    of her own Son (cf. John 19:25-27). As the holy priest Simeon had told
    her years before:

    “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising of
    many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against — and a sword will
    pierce through your own soul also — that thoughts out of many hearts
    may be revealed” (Luke 2:34b-35).

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  19. I have an idea, Scott.  Why don't you send this question to 10 different scholars -- people with an h-index :) and see what response you get: "Can an inaccurate translation be a viable translation?"

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  20. Our debate has officially concluded. You went off on a tangent.  I tried, several times, to bring you back to the REAL topic of discussion - but you continued on a NON-TOPIC.  
     
    Barry, I am not and never claimed to be an expert in translation.  I would not have accepted a debate with you, or anyone else, which was solely based in absolute translation.  The question NEVER was about the literalness of St. Jerome's translation, but the USEFULNESS or VIABILITY of it.  Again, THAT is why you lost this debate - you did not stay on topic.
     
    I repeat again, your arguments were quite good IF what you were arguing was the topic of the debate.  You were off on a tangent, never came back and that is why you lost.  You're STILL on that tangent!  I was not and would not engage the topic you diverted to.
     
    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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  21. Scott, this will be my last response on this site.  Your definition of "viable translation" is so completely idiosyncratic as to be meaningless.  That you are not an expert in translation is painfully clear from the fact that you don't even know (or refuse to recognize) that a translation, to be viable, has to be accurately translated from the original.  You confuse inaccuracy with literalness.  Your responses are an almost textbook perfect example of the "invincible ignorance" fallacy.  If you want to claim victory based on error and fallacies, go ahead, feel free.  But you are only fooling yourself and some of your ardent supporters.

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  22. I understand your need to quit discussing this because you're just repeating your denial of the definition of "viable" and equivocating "viable" with "accurate" - which has been your problem since very early on in the debate.  
     
    I have never claimed to be an expert in translation, and have openly stated that I am not.  For you to keep bringing this up only shows your desperation in the debate.  You have to use ad hominem to divert from the FACT that you missed the point of the debate. 
     
    I have REPEATEDLY acknowledged that your arguments on literal translation are quite good - it's just too bad for you that we were not debating for literalness.  If we were, I would concede to you - but then again, if it were, I would not have engaged the debate to begin with.
     
    Mine is not a case of "invincible ignorance" (which is a term typically related to the nulla salus extra ecclesiam debate).  I am wholly aware of what we were to debate - and stuck to the point.  You, on the other hand, kept attempting to divert the discussion and reduced your argumentation to ad hominem.  
     
    I didn't win due to any great argumentation on my part - I won because I stayed on track when you drifted off.  I'm not fooling anyone - I am stating the truth.
     
    Again, you did a fine job representing an argument we weren't debating.
     
    In JMJ,
    Scott<<<

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