Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Piper's Mystery Translation

Can anyone tell me what translation John Piper is referring to in this recent clip where he claims that John 4:45 begins with "therefore?"I admit to being stumped!

He wrote a letter to one of the great supporters of the TNIV claiming that the "therefore" was missing from verse 45, as well as the "for" being missing from verse 44. Here is his first probem - the missing "for" at the beginning of John 4:44,
    (For Jesus himself had testified that a prophet has no honor in his own hometown.)ESV

    (Now Jesus himself had pointed out that a prophet has no honor in his own country.) (T)NIV
In fact, "now" does occur in the latest BDAG, as a translation of gar, so Piper is stating a definite preference here for something, but I am not sure what.

His next quibble is with verse 45,
    So when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him, having seen all that he had done in Jerusalem at the feast. For they too had gone to the feast. TNIV
He says that the "therefore" is not there in the TNIV. But it is also not there in the ESV either. Can anyone solve this mystery for me?.

Update: I checked the edited written sermon and "so" has been added to the text. Apparently Piper meant that the "so" had been dropped. I read through the paragraph and am having difficulty seeing how this changes the meaning in this context. What do you think? His written sermon is here. Here is his rationale,
    The second strange thing that needs explaining is the way verse 44 connects to what follows. He goes to Galilee, his own people, because he expects no honor there. Now verse 45: “So [therefore] when he came to Galilee, the Galileans welcomed him.” That isn’t what we expect. They’re supposed to dishonor him according to verse 44. How can John say, “A prophet has no honor in his own hometown, therefore they welcomed him”?

    The answer is that the “welcome”—the reception—is not what it looks like on the outside. There is a kind of receiving Jesus that has no true honor for his person in it. It’s just an interest in his signs and wonders.

Does the Greek oun in this context really mean "therefore" in English ? BDAG says that oun can be a marker of the continuation of the narrative. In this case, one can't translate it in this context. It is not necessarily a marker of inference.

Update #2:

If anyone knows the login sequence for the Desiring God blog, they might want to comment there. This is a recent post, from this Sunday's sermon, so the attack on the TNIV is live and well.

4 comments:

Mike Aubrey said...

The closest I've found is the Darby translation, which has "When therefore..."

But considering the value he seems to place on "literal" translation, its odd that he would want a translation to *begin* with "therefore" at all (assuming for the sake of argument that its a good translation of ουν here) since the first word of the verse is definitely and indisputably οτε.

SingingOwl said...

Rather inexplicable, this quibbling...actually quite strange. I checked every translation I have (which is a lot) and found no therefore.

Rod said...

I just hope that Piper is joking; that is all I am asking for. ESV-onlyists are getting ridiculous.

Peter Kirk said...

I thought it was well known to all Greek scholars (so this is perhaps evidence that Piper is not one) that oun has a distinctive meaning in the writings of John, who uses conjunctions in an idiosyncratic way.