God Didn't Say That

Bible Translations and Mistranslations

Mothers, Fathers, and Ancestors

I’ll admit. I had an agenda when I composed my last post. And the agenda is this:

The Greek pateres is one of the words that has more than one correct translation into English. Among the reasonable possibilities are “fathers,” “parents,” and “ancestors.”

For example, in Ephesians 6:4 (and Colossians 3:21) it is clearly male parents: “Pateres, do not antagonize your children….” The instruction is to literal parents, one generation removed from their children.

By contrast, in, for example, John 6:31, it is clearly what we call “ancestors” in most modern dialects of English: “Our pateres ate manna in the desert….”

Once again, it’s a simple point. The same Greek word may have more than one English translation. (For those who know where I’m going, the NIV has “fathers” in Ephesians and “forefathers” in John, while the T-NIV has “fathers” and “ancestors.”)

September 2, 2009 Posted by | Bible versions, translation theory | , , | 25 Comments