Are Metaphors Inspired?

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TylerR's picture

Editor

Should you preserve the original Greek analogy and render this as "gird up the loins of your mind," or should you just state what the metaphor is getting at, like "prepare your minds for action?"

The original metaophor has no contemporary application for English-speaking, Western audiences. Should we retain it, then explain the connection? Or, should we just translate it into contemporary idiom? Hmmm . . .

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

I would think that there are appropriate times to "get the general idea" right, but there are other times when the idiom used is important.  For example, Leviticus 18 uses "uncover nakedness" as an idiom meaning "to have sex", and that allows us to figure out some things about Hebrew society and realize that they thought that when certain areas were uncovered, there was likely something more afoot than just tea and scones.

Applicable today?  Well, do we know who (insert name of starlet here) is because of her knowledge of quantum physics, or because she shows the world how good her genetic endowment and plastic surgeons are?  You see that we think about the same way that they did then, and maybe, just maybe, God's got a message for us in that word picture and others.

We can debate reasonably whether we are required to read a translation that does these idioms word for word, but at some level, we definitely do well to try to understand.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

TylerR's picture

Editor

Bert wrote:

You see that we think about the same way that they did then, and maybe, just maybe, God's got a message for us in that word picture and others.

I agree. I believe each case has to be evaluated on its own merits.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Bert Perry's picture

TylerR wrote:

Bert wrote:

You see that we think about the same way that they did then, and maybe, just maybe, God's got a message for us in that word picture and others.

I agree. I believe each case has to be evaluated on its own merits.

I'm going to have trouble making a similar case for application of "pisseth against a wall", to make one example.  But it's still a delightful Hebrew idiom.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.