Romans is a letter addressed to the first century believers residing in Rome, the capital city of the Roman Empire. In Chapter 16, Paul took great care to list the names of the original recipients of this letter. This is a fact that we should bear in mind when reading Romans. Secondly, Paul’s contemporaries did not approach the text with the mindset of contemporary consumerism. Language, far from being a sheer tool for secular communication, is a channel unto the spiritual world. Hence, Romans invites the reader to actively participate in grappling with the meaning of logos as Christ Jesus the incarnated, which the text was seeking to show. Based on the above premises, this essay will investigate the relevant issues when one attempts to give the core word νόμος (Romanized transcription: nomos), as found in Romans, a Chinese rendition. This essay will illustrate that the translation paradigms adopted do have significant implications in guiding the translation process. Sometimes, the choice of a translation paradigm may inherently lead to the loss and/or distortion of meaning. Therefore, faithfulness to the original author and to the original spiritual perspectives could have been methodically overlooked. Finally, this essay proposes that in keeping with the fact that Paul’s Gospel Theory critically and evenhandedly embraces both the Jewish and the Hellenic textual traditions, the paradigm of cultural translation should be used when translating Romans, as a mean to rectify the shortcomings of the linguistic translation model. Furthermore, in view of the common and living question of sin and fate across cultures, the word νόμος could be rendered “天律” (tian lü) when translating Romans into the Chinese language. In short, the author believes that conscientious strategies to translate culturally conditioned messages should be given greater deliberations in Bible translation. It highlights the inter-culturality and inter-textuality aspects of the original Gospel Theory of Paul, of the Jewish and the Greco-Roman traditions. It points to the hidden risks of diluted spirituality in this generation, as reflected in the undisputed dominance of the linguistic translation model used for Bible translation. This essay argues that a greater diversity in the spectrum of translation models could in the long run enrich the development Christian spirituality. In this aspect, this essay might contribute to the future scholarship and development of Christianity in the Chinese communities in this age of materialism, consumerism, globalization, and multiculturalism. Copyright © 2010 中國神學研究院.
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2010|
- Alt. title: How to render νόμος in Romans into Chinese: An investigation into the interplays between textual traditions, translation paradigms and the Gospel Theory of Paul