It Happened Again with the KJV

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M. Osborne's picture

Studying German and the word brauchen has made me aware of how much the ideas of "need" and "use" and "custom" have overlapped in English and German and continue to overlap in legal-ese. I think the biggest overlap between "need" and "use" survives in English in the colloquial phrase, "I could really use a cup of coffee." It means "I think I need a cup of coffee."

Looking at the Greek and thinking out loud: it seems like anagkaios ("necessary") is doing the heavy lifting, and chereai (which our Greek vocab list glossed as "need") is along for the ride. 

Michael Osborne
Philadelphia, PA

Bert Perry's picture

Beyond MIchael's comment, we might posit that pretty much anyone who learns a second language at least ought to develop an appreciation for the nuances in various word choices, and for words that simply don't translate easily.  A good picture is to ask someone to translate "Gemütlichkeit"--it refers to that homey feeling you have with friends, a place with good atmosphere, and good food and drink.  

And in our translation choices for Scripture, we ought to remember the same thing; in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Jacobean English, and modern English, we are going to have some things that don't translate easily...so we might do well to use multiple translations.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

dmyers's picture

Bert Perry wrote:

A good picture is to ask someone to translate "Gemütlichkeit"--it refers to that homey feeling you have with friends, a place with good atmosphere, and good food and drink.  

I married a 100% Dutch woman, so for her and her relatives, the word is "gezellig" or "gezelligheid."  As the t-shirts say, "It's a feeling you just cannot translate."