The Parable of the Net

Getting back to Bible translations, why do some translations such as the NKJV speak of the dragnet, whereas the NIV and ESV just speak of the net?

I suspect the reason for this choice is that while “dragnet” is a little more descriptive of its object, in modern English it has a second meaning that refers to “a network of measures for apprehension (as of criminals)” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th edition).

After doing some exegesis on this text, I discovered that in modern marine terminology “seine” (ˈsān) is probably the most accurate translation of the Greek σαγήνη (sagḗnē). I have to admit, however, that before working on this text that word was foreign to me, as it likely is to most folks these days.

The complexity of this single word gives us a small window into the tough decisions biblical translators and interpreters face when they are attempting to make the ancient text understandable to readers in the present time.

Published in: on April 12, 2012 at 10:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

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