David Bentley Hart's Translation


#1

Hi all
I’ve been looking at this book and would be grateful for any input from members here.

amazon.com/New-Testament-David-Bentley-Hart/dp/0300186096/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519678277&sr=8-1&keywords=The+New+Testament%3A+A+Translation

I’m impressed but am I missing something?
If you’ve got time, have a look inside at the ‘Concluding Scientific postscript’ where he discusses John1 and also aionios.

Is it worth purchasing?

[tag]Paidion[/tag]
[tag]JasonPratt[/tag]


#2

Have you read N.T. Wright’s commentary on Hart’s translation?

christiancentury.org/review/books/new-testament-strange-words-david-bentley-hart

I think much of Wright’s commentary is valid, but not all. For example, I think Hart was right in translating the aorist passive of the word “δικαιοω” as “made righteous.” This is much clearer than the usual translation “justified” which many people think of as being “counted righteous” rather than “made righteous.”


#3

I have it. I haven’t perused it terribly deeply yet, but did read some things I’m familiar with. I haven’t noticed an awful lot of difference so far. Maybe I’ll post here (since you’ve made the topic) any insights and observations I might have.


#4

I’m glad i purchased it, & think it was worth purchasing, but as that is a subjective matter not everyone will think so. Just for the comments on aionios in his notes i’d have purchased it, never mind the translation, which seems much more literal than Wright’s highly paraphrased version. Hart also has some comments in his version on Wright’s translation.

“Hart’s rejoinder is, like Wright’s initial review, full of zingers and jabs and worth a full read”:

christianitytoday.com/ct/201 … ebate.html

afkimel.wordpress.com/2018/01/1 … -t-wright/


#5

Thanks for that Paidion. I’m not a fan of NT Wright in general (eg I thought Tom Wright’s book on the eucharist was particularly weak and poorly argued). I agree with Wright about use of some rather archaic language (I noticed the use of ‘Good Tidings’ rather than ‘Good News’ in Hart’s translation and I see no good reason).
I’m not sure about the following in Wright’s criticism:

Cindy, if you do notice something, let me know.


#6

Fascinating. Thank you Origen.
Hart’s reply is certainly robust and understandably so. I also sympathise with the following sentiment:


#7

This is an argument that is proposed over and over. However, if the meaning of “αιωνιος” (or “æōnian” if you will) is understood to mean “lasting” the problem disappears. Though the Greek word has often been applied to that which is temporary (such as Jonah’s 3 days in the belly of the fish, being described as “αιωνιος” in the Septuagint, the word is also applied to that which is eternal such as “the αιωνιος God” (Romans 16:26). The word "“αιωνιος” doesn’t MEAN either “that which is temporary” or “that which is eternal.” It simply means “lasting,” and that which is lasting can be EITHER temporary or eternal.


#8

That postscript was a really interesting read… all bar the crucial missing pages courtesy of the amazon preview. :imp:

I also enjoyed the critiques… the tussle between Wright and Hart defending his translation, and also the further debate between Wills and Hart.

I do think Wright however makes some very good points here below but himself still doesn’t really provide an answer — I believe the pantelist position (as opposed to the typical full prêterist position) actually gets closer in providing one.

From a pantelist perspective this… “Jewish and early Christian two-Ages doctrinespeaks directly to and of the Mosaic age of law and the Messianic age of grace. There is no inkling “the two-Ages” speaks to pre-mortem existence as opposed to post-mortem existence. This “unto the Age [to come]” speaks to the Gospel Age which was to come in all its fullness. Thus QUALITATIVELY understood this <αἰώνιον εὐαγγελίσαι> αἰώνιοn ueaggelisai i.e., “eternal gospel” is the lasting message of grace — that is… hope fulfilled.

The NT era AD30-70 was the true ‘intertestamental period’ was that transitional time linking Paul’s “this age” of the old covenant era, aka “this present darkness” (Eph 6:12) and “the age/s to come” of the new covenant era that was bourgeoning and coming to light (Rom 13:11-12).

Even Hart is acutely aware of the qualitative force of <αἰώνιον> aiōnion, stating…

As I have pointed out on numerous occasions… Jesus himself defines <αἰώνιον> aiōnion exactly in like qualitative manner indisputably right here…

While I broadly agree… it still doesn’t solve the inherent problem, i.e., logical consistency demands the repetitious <αἰώνιον> aiōnioneverlasting” operates identically for BOTH punishment AND life — and as such, from the pantelist perspective, speaks purely to this life as it then waseither in the comforting riches of Christ or the coming ruins of conflagration.


#9

Davo said:
From a pantelist perspective this… “Jewish and early Christian two-Ages doctrine” speaks directly to and of the Mosaic age of law and the Messianic age of grace.

My reply:
I think this has no basis in Scripture.

Davo:
There is no inkling “the two-Ages” speaks to pre-mortem existence as opposed to post-mortem existence.

My reply:
While most of those of “this age” (beginning with the new world after the flood & ending with the end of this world system at Christ’s future return) have died & will not be raised until the “age to come”, there are those who will be alive at the end of this age and live into the next age.
Therefore for Scripture to speak of the distiction you refer to would be unscriptural, even though it is generally true.

Davo:
This “unto the Age [to come]” speaks to the Gospel Age which was to come in all its fullness.

My reply:
What dates does your Pantelism theory imagine this imaginary age began & ended - 30-70 AD? Is that your millennium of Rev.20?

“Some of the peculiar teachings of full preterism =Pantelism] are as follows. The second coming of
Christ has already taken place including the rapture, the general resurrection from the dead and
the final judgment; the old heavens and earth have completely passed away; and the new heavens
and earth are present. The Great Commission has already been completely fulfilled (Mt. 28:18-
20). The Bridegroom has returned for His church. Both death and Hell (or Hades) have been cast
into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:13-14).”

Davo:
Thus QUALITATIVELY understood this <αἰώνιον εὐαγγελίσαι> αἰώνιοn ueaggelisai i.e., “eternal gospel” is the lasting message of grace — that is… hope fulfilled.

My reply:
The one & only reference in Scripture to an aionion gospel (Rev.14:6) is not a message given by humans, but a flying angel, and not a “message of grace” (nor Christ or the cross) as in Paul’s epistles, but of fear & judgement: “saying with a loud voice, Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and do homage to him who has made the heaven and the earth and the sea and fountains of waters.”(v.7)

Davo:
The NT era AD30-70 was the true ‘intertestamental period’ was that transitional time linking Paul’s “this age” of the old covenant era, aka “this present darkness” (Eph 6:12) and “the age/s to come” of the new covenant era that was bourgeoning and coming to light (Rom 13:11-12).

My reply:
The Romans reference seems to have nothing in common with your commentary.

Eph.6:12 refers to “this darkness” (omit the word “present”) in the context of Satan’s devices (v.11) & putting on the whole armour of God
to wrestle against him, not against flesh & blood. This has no reference to any covenant or age. And i’m quite sure Satan is still prowling
about, not already in the lake of fire (or a myth) as per the various theories of Pantelism.

The new covenant is in Christ’s blood shed on the cross (c.30 AD) which didn’t occur in 70 AD. Neither was there any “age” beginning or ending c. 30 AD. Instead “this age” He referred to & was Himself living in was to end, not at the cross, but at His yet future return (Mt. 13:39; 24:3; 25:31-46). “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:” (Mt.25:31-32).

Davo said:
Even Hart is acutely aware of the qualitative force of <αἰώνιον> aiōnion, stating

Hart wrote:
Wills makes a similar error (and a very anachronistic one) in thinking that Jude 7, in speaking of the “aeonian fire” that consumed Sodom and Gomorrah, is referring to the endless torments of souls in hell. No competent New Testament scholar believes that. The fire in question is the physical “brimstone and fire” that destroyed the cities of the plain, and the term “aeonian” here (as the word often does) qualifies that fire and brimstone as divine rather than temporal in nature, coming—in the words of the Septuagint—”para kyriou ek tou ouranou” (“from the Lord out of Heaven”), and thus as neither kindled nor extinguishable by human hands.

My reply:
This unsupported opinion is just that, merely an opinion. Where is it documented with any evidence by any alleged “competent” scholars? Who decides which scholars are competent & which are not. Eonian qualifies the fire of Jude 7, but not brimstone since the word is absent from the verse. Also, BTW, brimstone can be found to this day in the region, so if it was “divine” it hasn’t returned to its owner in heaven. But the comment says it was also “physical”, so why should it return. No one denies the divine cause of the fire that destroyed the cities, whether directly from God or indirectly by means of nature (earthquakes, volcanic activity, etc). But that doesn’t make the word aionion mean a quality of divinity rather than its consistent Biblical usage & meaning of indefinitely lasting duration, often of a long period such as an epoch or age, especially in the NT. Hart may have been reading too much of Plato & injecting Platonic ideas of aionios into Scripture. There are historical reports of fire burning in the region centuries after it destroyed the cities there. Even if the fire lasted a short time, that is still within the range of meanings & usages of the word as simply a duration that lasts for an indefinite period of time.

As the following commentary says: “The fire has long ceased but its effects will remain and testify to God’s judgment until the close of this eon, after which Sodom shall return to her former estate (Ezek.16:53-56)…The cities, however, are lying before us as a specimen of God’s eonian justice. The effects of the fire endure for the eon.”: continued at Universalism and the Salvation of Satan

Davo said:
While I broadly agree… it still doesn’t solve the inherent problem, i.e., logical consistency demands the repetitious <αἰώνιον> aiōnion “everlasting” operates identically for BOTH punishment AND life — and as such, from the pantelist perspective, speaks purely to this life as it then was — either in the comforting riches of Christ or the coming ruins of conflagration.

My reply:
Tom Talbott & others have demonstrated logically that the life & corrective discipline (or punishment, Mt.25:46) need not be of equal duration as you apparently “demand”: Matthew 25:46

Even if they were of equal duration, the contrast may be referring to destinies in the future coming age, e.g. the millenium.

After a believer’s mortal body dies, he has an eonian glory & body in the heavens:

2 Cor.4:17 For the momentary lightness of our affliction is producing for us a transcendently transcendent eonian burden of glory,
18 at our not noting what is being observed, but what is not being observed, for what is being observed is temporary, yet what is not being observed is eonian." 2 Cor.5:1 For we are aware that, if our terrestrial tabernacle house should be demolished, we have a building of God, a house not made by hands, eonian, in the heavens." 2 For in this also we are groaning, longing to be dressed in our habitation which is out of heaven

So eonian life isn’t limited to this mortal life only, but is also for those who have died “in Christ”, e.g. the martyrs Stephen & James in the book of Acts. Believers will obtain “life eonian” in the “coming eon”:

29 Now He said to them, "Verily, I am saying to you that there is no one who leaves house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children on account of the kingdom of God, 30 who may not by all means be getting back manyfold in this era, and in the coming eon, life eonian. (Lk.18:29-30)

29 Jesus averred to him, "Verily, I am saying to you that there is no one who leaves a house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or fields, on My account and on account of the evangel, 30 who should not be getting back a hundredfold now, in this era, houses and brothers and sisters and mother and father and children and fields, with persecutions, and in the coming eon, life eonian. (Mk.10:29-30)

Which eon occurs after Christ’s return when life eonian will be obtained:

46 And these shall be coming away into chastening eonian, yet the just into life eonian. (Mt.25:46)
41 Then shall He be declaring to those also at His left, 'Go from Me, you cursed, into the fire eonian, made ready for the Adversary and his messengers. (Mt.25:41)

Life eonian is also experienced after the resurrection of the body:

Dan.12:2 From those sleeping in the soil of the ground many shall awake, these to eonian life and these to reproach for eonian repulsion."
3 The intelligent shall warn as the warning of the atmosphere, and those justifying many are as the stars for the eon and further.

The above passage also indicates after death punishment.

Eonian life is also a hope and a promise:

1 Jn.2:25 this is the promise which He promises us: life eonian
Titus 1:2 In hope of eonian life
Titus 3:7 3: heirs according to the hope of eonian life.
Jude 1:20 Now you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith, praying in holy spirit,
21 keep yourselves in the love of God, anticipating the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ for life eonian.

The willfully disobedient do not have such a promise or hope & will forfeit life eonian:

Jn.3:36 He who is believing in the Son has life eonian, yet he who is stubborn as to the Son shall not be seeing life, but the indignation of God is remaining on him."

2 Thess1:4 so that we ourselves glory in you in the ecclesias of God, for your endurance and faith in all your persecutions and the afflictions with which you are bearing -" 5 a display of the just judging of God, to deem you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering also, 6 if so be that it is just of God to repay affliction to those afflicting you, 7 and to you who are being afflicted, ease, with us, at the unveiling of the Lord Jesus from heaven with His powerful messengers, 8 in flaming fire, dealing out vengeance to those who are not acquainted with God and those who are not obeying the evangel of our Lord Jesus Christ" 9 who shall incur the justice of eonian destruction from the face of the Lord, and from the glory of His strength" 10 whenever He may be coming to be glorified in His saints and to be marveled at in all who believe (seeing that our testimony to you was believed) in that day.

Rom.2:4 Or are you despising the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, being ignorant that the kindness of God is leading you to repentance? 5 Yet, in accord with your hardness and unrepentant heart you are hoarding for yourself indignation in the day of indignation and revelation of the just judgment of God, 6 Who will be paying each one in accord with his acts: 7 to those, indeed, who by endurance in good acts are seeking glory and honor and incorruption, life eonian

16 in the day when God will be judging the hidden things of humanity, according to my evangel, through Jesus Christ

Davo said:
As I have pointed out on numerous occasions… Jesus himself defines <αἰώνιον> aiōnion exactly in like qualitative manner indisputably right here…Jn 17:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

My reply:

NT Wright’s version (The Kingdom New Testament) says:

2 Do this in the same way as you did when you gave him authority over all flesh, so that he could give the life of God’s coming age to everyone you gave him. 3 And by “the life of God’s coming age” I mean this: that they should know you, the only true God, and Jesus the Messiah, the one you sent.

Much the same is the version by the aforementioned David Bentley Hart:

2b that he might give them life in the Age.
3 And this is life in the Age: that they might know you, the sole true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus the Anointed.

Which doesn’t require the interpretation that life in the “coming age” is a definition of knowing God.

Similarly it is claimed based on 1 Jn.1:2 that “life aionios” is a definition of Christ:

2 (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) (KJV)

But if that were so, then you deny the eternal preexistence of Christ, His Deity & the Trinity. For Scripture reveals the aionion times had a beginning (Titus 1:2; 2 Tim.1:9) & the aions (eons, ages) had a beginning (1 Cor.2:7). Therefore aionion life must have had a beginning. So if you define Christ Himself as aionion life, you are defining Him as having had a beginning. This denies the Trinity and the Deity of Christ.

Moreover, N.T. Wright is considered to be a leading NT scholar & his translation renders “life aionios” as “the life of God’s coming age” (1 Jn.1:2, NTE). Compare:

Weymouth New Testament
the Life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness, and we declare unto you the Life of the Ages which was with the Father and was manifested to us–

Young’s Literal Translation
and the Life was manifested, and we have seen, and do testify, and declare to you the Life, the age-during, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us –

And the life was manifested, and we have seen and are testifying and reporting to you the life eonian which was toward the Father and was manifested to us. (CLV)

And, the Life, was made manifest, and we have seen, and are bearing witness, and announcing unto you, the Age-abiding Life, which, indeed, was with the Father, and was made manifest unto us; (Ro)

(and the life was manifested, and we have seen, and we bear testimony, and we declare to you the life the age-lasting, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us (Diaglott Greek-English interlinear)

…the AIONIAN LIFE…(Diaglott margin)

and announce to you the life of the Age…(The NT: A Translation, by EO scholar David Bentley Hart, 2017).

Indeed the Chayyei [Olam] was manifested, and we have seen it and we give solemn eidus (witness of testimony) and we proclaim to you the Chayyei Olam which was alongside with HaAv [Yochanan 1:1-4,14] and made hisgalus (appearance of, exposure of in revelation) to us [Shlichim]. (OJB)

In fact there is reason to think it [life aionion] refers to life in the age to come (e.g. the millennial age eon) and/or to the following age of the second death in the new earth. Which lasts until death is abolished (1 Cor.15:26) & God becomes “all in all” (v.28), even in all who were in Adam (v.22).

Christ is that life of those ages. Believers obtain it. The wicked do not. Yet eventually all shall be saved (Rom.5:18-19; Rev.5:13, etc).


#10

Okay, guys… very good commentary, and I appreciate the work you’ve put into this, Origen. I mean that–I really do. I urge you to copy and paste it into the discussion of your choice (I think there are a couple) or start a new topic with it. I’m only saying this, because Pilgrim wanted people’s take on the DBH translation and I’m afraid this is going to cause the talk to spiral away from the intended discussion. Please don’t feel you need to delete this comment. It’s fine–Just let’s try to keep on topic from here on out. It’s not fair to Pilgrim to turn this into a discussion of eschatology except as it may DIRECTLY relate to the topic of the DBH translation.


#11

OR… if you two like, I think I could figure out how to carve off the last two posts you guys made and start a new topic with them (my topic–so as not to count as anyone’s one topic). Let me know if you want me to do that, and what to call it, etc.


#12

Have no fear Cindy, you can save your time… I won’t be wading through this wasteland of diatribe, i.e., the novice notions as to what he thinks is the pantelist position. :unamused: Up until the aforementioned juncture the discussion has been quite interesting. :nerd:


#13

Hmmm :open_mouth:


#14

Someone on FB posted this a while back. When I looked into it, I found, as normal, scholars getting into heated battles. Without denigrating scholarship, I think scholars are given way to much weight. The “scholar syndrome” seems to affect most of them… They just pour on the arrogance in many cases and of course, insist they are correct. Of course, not every scholar is this way, but it sure seems like a lot of them are. They are also very pedantic.

Also scholarship itself is vague… Scholars can be so hyper focused in a given area of expertise that they miss the big picture. In many ways, provided you can trust a scholar, a non-scholar can weigh the arguments and possibly see the bigger picture, and of course, peer_review is anything but reliable. Finally, even the most hardcore liberals are coming to terms that peer review really isn’t the be-all, end-all.

This is sort of like any field. A computer science major can specialize in 50 different fields. So a storage specialist and a performance analyst may both know the field of computers well, but could not do the other person’s job without some degree of training taking place. They rely on others, just like someone outside of that field would… They are certainly “capable” of learning it, and possibly learning it faster than someone outside of the field, but that is true for ANYONE and ANY field of study.


#15

But meanwhile, back to the topic… :unamused:


#16

Feel free to do what you deem appropriate, Cindy. It seems that davo won’t be pursuing the topic, which should end it, at least as far as this thread is concerned, and until the next time he posts something similar & or Pantelism related in another thread (no matter what the topic), which is guaranteed :smiley:. Which leaves the choice of either answering him, or doing a :unamused: & letting it go unchallenged.

IMO all the posts here have contributed to a healthy discussion, & its not uncommon for threads to veer a bit off (sometimes way, way off) from the OP, but i appreciate the desire to keep threads on topic & the way you have handled this.


#17

I’m not sure if this is relevant to the post but I’ve been wondering about it for a long time.

Is Plato’s definition of aionios (timeless in the case of God or something that extends in perfection from God) used in the New Testament? Or did the New Testament writers have their own definition of aionios?


#18

Welcome to the forum, Danielle!

As per the discussion above, DBHart seems to go with the Platonic notion of aionios being used in the NT; others think some other definition is being used. Despite what Hart says, the Platonic interpretation seems to be in the minority among NT scholars. (Perhaps not among his fellow EOx scholars – I don’t know about that – but then Hart insists only “competent” NT scholars go with the Platonic meaning which is very much a true Scotsman appeal. :wink: Possibly he’s making a wry jab at someone who earlier made the same claim in a different direction…?)

I think it’s true that the adjective CAN be used in a Platonic fashion throughout the whole NT. But various prepositional phases of “eon” can’t be; and the Greek adjective (and the Hebrew terms it’s translating) can’t always fit a Platonic usage in the OT (which isn’t surprising); and both the adjective form and the prepositional forms are translating the same Hebrew terms, the prepositional phrases being more literal. Except that the terms in Hebrew aren’t “age”, thus aren’t “to the age” or whatever, but are horizontal and vertical metaphors for extensiveness: “to the horizon-limit” or “to the height”, or something like that.

So while I do like the Platonic usage theory in practice (I often translate the adjective as “God’s own”), at best it would be something foisted regularly by a wide swath of NT authors over on top of a more general conceptual usage. And I have to admit that seems awfully implausible. (Not impossible – the use of “eon” itself instead of something in Greek corresponding better to the Hebrew terms is a relevant example! – but implausible.)

This problem of the underlying Hebrew/Aramaic, being translated by both the adjective and the prep-phrases, not really being about “ages” per se, but about poetic figures for extensiveness, affects interpretations about such usages referring to “ages”, too. But while that’s a problem, it can’t be disputed that the NT authors do sometimes use “eon” to talk about ages (like the eon to come); and moreover it absolutely can’t be disputed that both Jews and Christians translated physical extent metaphors into the term for “an indeterminately long timespan” – which itself was originally more like a human lifetime’s span. So those interpretative theories can’t just be eliminated off hand: NT authors (and authors from related cultures) are already using ‘eon’ for disparate meanings one way and/or the other.

Paidion’s proposition (which iirc he’s getting from a literal translation somewhere, Young’s maybe?), “lasting”, offers a good neutral and multi-purpose translation of the adjective form, but something else has to be used for the prepositional phrases – and yet both cognate forms are translating the same set of prepositional phrases in Hebrew (which are often being used like adjectives!)

It’s kind of a mess. :sunglasses: :ugeek:


#19

Well if Plato’s definition is used in the New Testament isn’t that proof that hell is eternal (or I guess timeless)? Because Plato said aionios means timeless/eternal when describing something that extends in perfection from God, and if everything God does is perfect, that would include punishment wouldn’t it?

Please help I’m very very confused!


#20

Danielle,

I approved your comment, and unless this is your second, you have (if I remember right) one more comment or post before you’ll go live automatically when you say something on the forum. I’m going to let [tag]JasonPratt[/tag] or [tag]Paidion[/tag] (or someone else) give you a response since I think they’re better qualified than me. If you haven’t done already, please take a moment to give us a short (or long) introduction so we can all give you greetings. It goes in the “introductions” category (I think that’s the name we gave it). We have a one Topic per week rule to give everyone’s topics fair exposure, but the introduction doesn’t count against that. We do encourage you to comment at will on your topics and other people’s topics–no limits there! Welcome to the forum!

Blessings, Cindy