God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations

Where Have All The Posts Gone?

Many of you have asked if this blog is “dead.” It’s not, but it’s certainly experiencing a pretty significant hibernation.

Between back-to-back books I’ve been unbelievably busy, mostly with traveling to lecture. In the fall, for example, I logged some 15,000 flight miles, without leaving North America and without even flying to the West Coast! And now I’m back on the road again.

I even fell behind with comment moderation, but I’m catching up on that. My next step will be to start responding to some of those great comments, and, I hope, writing here more.

But I’ve also started a new project, as I describe next


March 1, 2017 - Posted by | meta


  1. When you revive your blog, I hope that you will address a conundrum of translation that has recently come to my attention.
    Linguist/philosopher Steven Pinker and other researchers inform us that the language of one Amazonian tribe, the Wari, grammatically classifies nouns as either “edible objects” or “inedible objects” — with the category of “edible objects” including all non-worry human beings, while the category of “inedible objects” includes the Wari themselves. The categories are indicated by a morpheme which the noun contains, and apparently all nouns in the Wari language have either one or the other of these morphemes.(this, as one might expect, has to do with the fact that the worry eat the members of other tribes, but do not eat the members of their own tribe.) for an iTunes to be correct native-speaker Wari, then, it must use one or the other of these morphemes on every nouns.
    The Bible translation conundrum which this situation creates is, plainly, this: How does one translate the Bible into Laurie? Using the grammatically required “inedible object” morpheme on everyone who is mentioned in the Bible (since no Biblical personage is a Wari tribe-member) implicitly endorses cannibalism (and must therefore be extremely problematic for the translator/missionary except when the person who’s given the “edible” morpheme is Jesus & The Translator/missionary is of a sector which believes in the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist). However, eliminating the “edible vs. non-edible” morphemes (or giving all Biblical personages, with the possible exception of Jesus, the “not edible” morpheme) produces a translation which the Wari will presumably reject as not being good Wari.
    How, then, should the Bible be translated into a language whose very grammar endorses cannibalism of outsiders?

    Comment by kategladstone | April 23, 2017

  2. […] asks a fascinating question about translating the Bible into the language of an cannibalistic tribe in […]

    Pingback by Translating the Bible into a Language Whose Values you Hate? « God Didn't Say That | April 24, 2017

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