translation of Luke 2:14

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Rexlion, Dec 28, 2022.

  1. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    During the Christmas service we read, as usual, the account of Jesus' birth in Luke 2.

    Luke 2:14 was read: “Glory to God in the highest,
    And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.”

    The ESV reads much the same: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

    Are these translations of the verse theologically proper? And if not, doesn't that show the translations to be faulty (inaccurate)?

    Here's the issue: Jesus' first advent certainly brought spiritual peace to humans. But notice that it says this peace is "among" (we might say "between") a certain group of people: those with whom God is pleased.

    With whom is God pleased? Surely not the unrepentant sinner who dies in his sin.

    Is God pleased with the repentant sinners (Christians)? Assuming this intended meaning, this implies that some sort of peace exists among or between all who are or will eventually become Christians (because God is not bounded by time and knows all things, past present and future). Yet we know that Christians are not at peace with one another, not by any stretch of imagination. Furthermore, why would the angels identify Jesus' incarnation (for the purpose of man's redemption) with mere temporal peace between human beings? After all, isn't the restoration of peace between God and mankind (from God, and offered to, or toward, all humans) through Christ's redemption the 'bigger picture' here?

    With that in mind, isn't the following a more proper translation?
    "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2022
  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I have always preferred the rendering of the Douay-Rheims-Challoner:
    This rendering is supported by the earliest manuscripts, and is more in keeping with the biblical concept that God bestows his favor on those who do his will. An even better rending might be:
    In any case, from a broader theological standpoint, all of them are accurate; the differences are ones of emphasis.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2022
  3. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    This seems a reasonable rendering of the Greek.

    I think that your suggestion has introduced goodwill to the text, and the rendering of Anthropos in the modern age must be independent of gender. Our rendering of the text should as far as possible be independent of our theology, otherwise, we fall victim by making theology the basis of our theology, whereas the position we should aspire to is to see the text as the basis for our theology.
     
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  4. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Quite so. I was thinking more of the grammatical structure than the gender specificity, but you are of course correct: anthropois is gender-neutral. Also, “those on whom his favor rests” seems to lean a little into monergism. Perhaps rendering it as “to those of goodwill” or “to those bearing goodwill” carries just enough ambiguity to sidestep the monergism vs. synergism issue (i.e., whose goodwill are we talking about, and is it universal or particular?), while also maintaining a smoother grammatical flow, and keeping the English un-awkwardly gender-neutral, in accordance with what the original language clearly intended.

    Interesting discussion. I have always thought that both the KJV and DR renderings had their positive points, and that it would great if there were a way to synthesize the two without making the language clunky.
     
  5. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I'm under the impression that the "reasonable rendering of the Greek" depends upon which manuscripts one relies on. I don't know Greek, but I recall reading that the Byzantine manuscripts and the Alexandrian/southern manuscripts differ by one letter: the latter ones add a 'sigma' at the end of εὐδοκία , which changes the word from the nominative to the genitive case and essentially turns it into a prepositional phrase. Perhaps this single additional letter dictated the translation of ἐν as "among" rather than "toward"? I don't know. :discuss:
     
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  6. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I believe that summary is correct. :thumbsup:
     
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  7. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    I heard quite some time ago that "on earth peace, good will toward men" is not the best translation and the first two translations you gave are more faithful to the original Greek.

    "on earth peace, good will toward men" is more popular to those who would reduce God to the single attribute of "God is Love".
     
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  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    ἐν ὑψίστοις Θεῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας
    in [the] highest to God and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased

    g1515. εἰρήνη eirēnē; probably from a primary verb εἴρω eirō (to join); peace (literally or figuratively); by implication, prosperity: — one, peace, quietness, rest, + set at one again.
    AV (92) - peace 89, one 1, rest 1, quietness 1;
    a state of national tranquillity exemption from the rage and havoc of war
    peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)of the Messiah's peace the way that leads to peace (salvation) of Christianity, the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content...

    g2107. εὐδοκία eudokia; from a presumed compound of 2095 and the base of 1380; satisfaction, i.e. (subjectively) delight, or (objectively) kindness, wish, purpose: — desire, good pleasure (will), x seem good.
    AV (9) - good pleasure 4, good will 2, seem good + g1096 2, desire 1;
    will, choice good will, kindly intent, benevolence
    delight, pleasure, satisfaction desire for delight in any absent thing easily produces longing for it

    `Glory in the highest to God, and upon earth peace, among men -- good will.' Youngs LITERAL translation.

    Not all manuscripts had (among men) and the specific gender (man), is not implied in the original Greek that actually have it, apparently.

    I think the closest possible translation into English might be "“Glory to God in the highest Heaven! Peace upon earth among those of goodwill!

    The whole sentence seems to me to be a statement that GOD (in the highest heaven) has done something GLORIOUS for which the human race should owe Him the greatest gratitude, and God's wish is therefore that the inhabitants of the earthly realm should resultantly receive the benefits of peace with one another and God, by demonstrating the 'good will' always expected of them by God, as God's creatures.

    "And man at war with man hears not the love song that they bring,
    Oh hush your noise ye men of strife and hear the angels sing.
    "
    .
     
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  9. Oseas

    Oseas Member

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    JOHN 17

    1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

    2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

    3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

    4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

    5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

    6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

    7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

    8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

    9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

    10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

    11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

    12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

    13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

    14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

    15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

    16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

    17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

    18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

    19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

    20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

    21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the WORLD may BELIEVE that thou hast sent me.

    22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

    23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

    24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

    25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

    26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
     
  10. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    The question is whether it is a blessing to people with whom He is pleased or to all people including those who displease God. The text seems to suggest the former, although we should not build a theological edifice on a single verse.

    Jesus brings the offer of forgiveness of sin and eternal life to everyone (inclusive), but only those who accept this offer (terms and conditions attached) will enjoy the rewards (exclusive).
     
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  11. Oseas

    Oseas Member

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    John 17:9 - I pray for them: I pray not for the world, ...
    12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled. - The Word is GOD -
     
  12. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Yes, and I think the other translation, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men," more soundly relates to the inclusive offer to everyone.

    When Adam and Eve were in the Garden, they had perfect peace with God. Adam could commune with God. Then they sinned, were thrust out of the Garden, and that peace was lost because man was lost in sin. Mankind was out of communion.

    During the time of the Israelites, peace with God was still out of reach. The animal sacrifices could not take away their sins, they could only cover up the sins temporarily. Everyone who died did so without the promise (restoration of peace) being fulfilled.

    Jesus' birth signified that God's plan was finally in motion: the plan to restore peace and good will between Him and all who would trust Him. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9), so He extends the "olive branch" of peace, Jesus Christ, to every single human being. He further signified this by tearing the barrier between God and man, the veil before the Most Holy place, which He had set up in the design of the temple, at the moment of Jesus' death.

    This "peace toward men" (which implies that it's coming from someone, namely God, and offered to all men) makes much more sense (to me at least) than "peace among" a limited number of men.

    I think verse 10 should be the 'clincher'.
    And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

    That's why I think the extra 'sigma' in verse 14 was a scribal error.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2022
  13. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Part of the Messianic ideal was universal peace, so a translation that seems to imply that goodwill is only extended to a limited group seems intrinsically less plausible than the alternative. So I would agree with you there. At the same time, the Messianic era was also thought to be one in which all people desired peace, turning their “swords into plowshares” and whatnot. So the translation “to those of goodwill” or “to people of goodwill”, assuming that the earlier reading is more likely the correct one (as I do), need not be interpreted in a particularistic rather than in a universalistic vein. It can be seen as a recognition that the Messiah will change hearts everywhere and inspire the love of peace among all people. “To those of goodwill” = “all people” in the Messianic era. That’s why a translation that contains some ambiguity has certain advantages over one that emphasizes one aspect at the expense of the others.
     
  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    In fact, according to the story, Adam and Eve were excluded from the 'garden' for their own good, not as a punishment, but as a necessity to God if they were to eventually to be enabled to be restored into fellowship with him. Had God not continued in his desire for fellowship with them Adam and Eve (the human race), would suffer the same fate as Satan and his angels who rebelled against God and comitted the unforgivable sin, fully informed, open rebellion, against the Holy Spirit, who is God.

    As it is, all human beings are able to restore communication and fellowship with God, it only requires 'Good will' on their part. God is reconciled to them through Christ on the cross. All that remains is for THEM to be reconciled to GOD through repentance, willing sanctification, faith and hope in the Lordship of Christ.
    .
     
  15. Oseas

    Oseas Member

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    The times of ignorance God overlooked at and now commandeth all men every where to repent:

    In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has set a day when He will Judge the WORLD with justice by the man He has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead. Because he has appointed a day -this Day arrived- , in the which He will Judge the WORLD in righteousness by that man whom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised him from the dead.

    Acts 3:18-24: -
    18 But this is how GOD fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer.
    19 Repent, then, and turn to GOD, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,
    20 and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.
    21 Heaven must receive him until the time comes for GOD to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
    22 For Moses said, ‘The Lord your GOD will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own people; you must listen to everything he tells you.
    23 Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from their people.’
    24 “Indeed, beginning with Samuel, all the prophets who have spoken have foretold these days.
     
  16. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    A simple 'like' would have been sufficient. :)
     
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  17. Oseas

    Oseas Member

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    You are saying nothing as always.
    My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts, saith the Lord.
     
  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Not sure, but was that a 'dislike'? :unsure:
     
  19. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    I think the correct contemporary iteration is 'unlike'!?
     
  20. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Or maybe 'likeless' or then again, maybe 'likely'. :laugh:
    .