This blog features some of the author's lengthy essays on sacred scriptures, theology and history.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012



Lope Coles Robredillo, SThD

WHEN our committee translated into Binisaya (Samar-Leyte version) the Order of Mass in 1995, the majority opined that the translation of the Lord’s Prayer need not be changed, since it has been hallowed by tradition.  However, I felt then, even as I do now, that a new translation was in order.  For one thing, we do not have a common translation of it (as can be seen shortly).  For another, its translation, I like to think, should reflect contemporary biblical scholarship.
In what follows, therefore, I would like to present my proposed Binisaya version and give reasons why I give a different rendering.  My translation is anchored on the almost unanimous scholarly consensus that the Our Father (traditionally known among Catholics as Pater Noster) is an eschatological prayer, that is to say, it is a prayer that is closely connected to the period of the last days, when Christ returns, the forces of evil are destroyed and God establishes his kingdom (see R Brown on the subject). In other words, my translation does not view the Lord’s Prayer in terms of everyday needs and aspirations.  For purposes of comparison, I give here five translations in existence (nos. 1-5), and the last one (no. 7), which follows the original New Testament Greek Text (n. 6), is my own version (LCRV), followed by an explanation for my distinctive rendering.

1.   American Bible Society (ABS, 1948): Amay namon, nga aada ka ha langit.
2.    Philippine Bible Society (PBS, 1984): Amay namon ha langit.
3.  Traditional Version, Devocionario (TrV1, 1953): Amay namon nga aada ka sa mga langit.
4.  Traditional Versions, Ordinarium Missae (1965), Tanaman han Kalag, (1972) (TrV2, there is no difference between the two save that the former uses sa and san instead of ha or han): Amay namon nga aada ka ha mga langit.
5.     Balerite’s Translation (BaT, 1995): Amay namon ha mga langit.
6.      Greek Text: pater hemon ho en tois ouranois
7.   Robredillo’s Version (LCRV, 2010): AMAY NAMON NGA AADA HA MGA LANGIT.

My proposed translation has langit in the plural (contra ABS and PBS) because the Greek is in the plural (tois ouranois).  Nga aada (so ABS, TrV1. TrV2) is retained (contra PBS, BaT), since the Greek ho is used to stress the distinction between the one in the heavens and the one on earth.

1.      ABS: Gindadayaw an imo ngaran
2.      PBS: Pagdayawon an imo baraan nga ngaran
3.     TrV1: Pagdayawon an imo ngaran
4.      TrV2: Pagdayawon an imo ngaran
5.      BaT: Pagdayawon an imo ngaran.
6.      Greek Text: hagiastheto to onoma sou

The word santos is used, rather than dayaw, to translate hagiastheto whose infinitive is “to make holy;” in Samarenyo language, dayaw (ABS, PBS, TrV1. TrV2, BaT) generally means to praise, not to sanctify.  The Greek word is translated [pag]santoson because, contrary to the common impression, it is not in the subjunctive—this is the mode used in the Latin Vulgate translation—but rather in the aorist, imperative passive.  Also, it should be noted that the grammatical construction here is divine passive, that is to say, the agent is God, not man.  It is God who makes his name holy: [Pag]santoson an imo ngaran. However, it may be admitted that it is also legitimate to translate it as [pag]himayaon an imo ngaran because to make holy and to glorify is synonymous.  The prefix pag is in brackets inasmuch as the word can stand without it.  Of course, instead of pagsantos, which is really an adaptation of the Spanish santo, one might use the verb pagbaraan, but the former has an almost universal acceptance among Samar-Leyte Bisayans, whereas the latter literally means fortunate.

1.      ABS: Kumanhi an imo ginhadian
2.      PBS: Maghadi ka unta ha amon
3.      TrV1: Ikanhi mo sa amon an imo ginhadian
4.      TrV2: Ikanhi mo ha amon an imo ginhadian
5.      BaT: Ikanhi ha amon an imo Ginhadian
6.      Greek Text: eltheto he basileia sou

Ikanhi is used to translate the Greek word eltheto which is also in the aorist imperative, not subjunctive, which seems to be the assumption of the PBS translation.  (In Samar-Leyte Binisaya, unta is usually employed to indicate contrary to facts; its use in this verse by PBS is therefore surprising!)  This sentence follows the Matthean construction—imperative + article + subject + sou.  Like the previous petition, this one is also divine passive, which can be loosely translated as Ikanhi an imo paghadi.  If paghadi is used instead of ginhadian (contra ABS, PBS, TrV1, TrV2, and BaT), it is because ginhadian connotes territory or space, which is hardly envisaged by the context, whereas the Greek word basileia is a dynamic concept—a concept which seems to be behind the maghadi ka unta ha amon of PBS.

1.   ABS: Matuman an imo pagburot-an, sugad ha langit, amo man ha tuna.
2.     PBS: Matuman dinhe ha tuna an imo kaburut-on sugad han didto ha langit.
3.    TrV1: Matuman an imo boot dinhi sa tuna sugad san didto sa langit.
4.   TrV2: Ipasunod an imo pagbuot dinhi ha tuna sugad han pagsunda didto ha langit.
5.    BaT: Matuman an imo pagbuot dinhi ha tuna sugad han pagsunda didto ha langit.
6.      Greek Text: genetheto to thelema sou hos en ourano kai epi tes ges.

Also in the imperative passive is the word genetheto, here translated as tumanon. (Most translations use the verb pagtuman [so ABS, PBS, BaT, TrV1] instead of pagsunod [so TrV2] which literally means to fulfill, observe.)  Like the previous two petitions, this one has the imperative + article + subject + sou construction, and is also in divine passive, with God as agent.  Instead of pagburot-an (so ABS) or kaburot-on (so PBS) or pagbuot (so TrV2 and BaT) or boot (TrV1), the word kaladnganan is used to translate the Greek thelema which is more than the buot or “will” of God; its meaning is actually the divine plan of God.  The thought of the petition is that the community of Christians asks God to effect on earth the divine plan which is faithfully observed in the heavens.

1. ABS: Tagan mo kami niyan hin kan-on ha ikinaadlaw.
2.   PBS: Tagi kami yana nga adlaw han pagkaon nga amon ginkinahanglan.
3.  TrV1: Tagan mo kami niyan san kan-on namo sa ikinaadlao.
4.   TrV2: Tagan mo kami niyan han karan-on namon ha ikinaadlaw.
5.  BaT: Tagi kami yana han karan-on namon ha ikinaadlaw.
6.   Greek Text: ton arton hemon ton epiousion dos hemin semeron

Tagi is used, instead of tagan, because dos in Greek is an aorist imperative.  The crux interpretum in this petition is the Greek word epiousion which, admittedly, is one of the great unresolved puzzles of the New Testament lexicography.  It is not found outside the Gospels.  In standard New Testament handbooks, four meanings have been suggested: (1) necessary for existence; (2) for the current day; (3) for the coming day and (4) that which belongs to it.  The majority of current biblical scholarship favors the third option.  Among other reasons, the Lord’s Prayer is eschatological, and so is the bread.  Hence, rather than karan-on ha ikinaadlaw (so ABS, TrV2, BaT) the proposed translation is karan-on ha tiarabot nga adlaw.  Karan-on is used to translate artos which, in English, means bread; kan-on, favored by ABS and TrV1, is generally identified with rice.  On the other hand, pagkaon (so PBS), is generic, which means food in Binisaya, and does not fit the context.  However, there seems to be no difference between yana or niyan, and therefore, either can be used.  

1.      ABS: Ngan pagwad-on mo an amon mga utang, sugad han amon pagwara han mga nakakautang ha amon
2.      PBS: Pasayloa kami han amon mga sala sugad han pagpasaylo namon han mga nakasala ha amon
3.   TrV1: Ngan pagwad-on mo an amon mga sala, sugad san pagwara namon san mga nakasala sa amon.
4.      TrV2: Pagwad-on mo an amon mga sala, sugad han pagwara namon han nakasala ha amon
5.      BaT: Ngan pasayloa an amon mga utang, sugad han pagpasaylo namon han nakautang ha amon
6.      Greek Text: kai aphes hemin ta opheilemata hemon hos kai hemeis aphekamen tois opheiletais hemon

The Binisaya word ginwara is used because in Matthew the Greek aphekamen is aorist indicative (meaning, have cancelled, remitted, pardoned or forgiven), whereas in Luke it is present indicative—aphiomen.  The thought is that God’s cancellation presupposes cancellation on man’s part.  Mga utang (so ABS, BaT), not mga sala (so PBS, TrV1, TrV2) is used to translate the Greek word opheilemata, which means debts.  It should be borne in mind that mga sala is more proper to the Lukan version which has harmatias, meaning sins.  Consequently, what is proposed here is pagwad-i rather than pasayloa (so BaT, PBS), because the sense demands it.  Moreover, the verb pagwara (ABS, TrV1, TrV2) is more inclusive than pagpasaylo.  PBS and TrV2 failed to place Ngan (kai in Greek) at the beginning of the sentence.

1.   ABS: Ngan diri mo kami pagdad-on ngadto ha panulay
2.   PBS: Ayaw itugot nga hingadto kami hin makuri nga kataragman
3.   TrV1: Ngan diri mo kami itugot san panolay
4.  TrV2: Ngan diri mo kami bayaan basi diri kami pagdag-on han mga panulay
5.    BaT: Ngan ayaw itugot nga masulay kami
6. Greek text: kai me eisenegkes hemas eis peirasmon

The Greek me eisenegkes, which is in the aorist subjective, literally means ayaw pagdad-a. This, however, cannot be translated as diri… pagdad-on (contra ABS) because God does not tempt man (see James 1:13).  If the proposed translation reads ayaw pabay-i (the words used in TrV2), the reason is that the prayer asks God to preserve us in the final diabolical onslaught.  But the problem in this petition, which affects the translation of me eisenegkes is the Greek word peirasmon which cannot be merely translated as pagsulay (contra ABS, BaT, TrV1, TrV2).  Most New Testament scholars opine that this refers to the final (eschatological) onslaught of Satan (see Rev 3:10).  If this consensus is right, the word cannot refer to ordinary temptation, even though that meaning is not excluded.  Since the entire Our Father is eschatological, it would make sense if it is translated as ha takna han kakurian, a translation which has most likely similar exegesis that the makuri nga kataragman of PBS has.

1.      ABS: Kundi luwason mo kami ha karautan.
2.      PBS: Kundi bawia kami ha Karat-an.
3.   TrV1: kundi bawion mo kami sa karautan.
4.      TrV2: kundi bawion mo kami ha mga karat-an.
5.      BaT: kundi bawia kami ha karat-an.
6.  Greek text: alla rhusai hemas apo tou ponerou.

The controversial Greek phrase here is apo tou ponerou.  The word poneros is ambiguous; it can be translated either as karat-an (evil) or an maraot (the evil one).  Given, however, the preceding petition in which we ask to endure the onslaught of Satan, it is but logical that the word ponerou be translated as an adjective with the understood subject, namely, Satan, whose titles in the Bible include ho poneros (an Maraot).  By translating it as an maraot, the ambiguity of poneros is preserved, because it can refer to a person or a thing.  It seems to me that the Bisayan karat-an (PBS, TrV2, BaT) or karaotan (TrV1) refers more to “evil thing” or “evil event”, a meaning hardly envisaged in the petition, if viewed eschatologically.  The petition thus understood, it would be more correct to translate the Greek rhusai as talwasa (contra BaT, TrV1, TrV2, PBS), rather than bawi-a.  The Bisayan talwasa is quite similar to luwasa that ABS uses.
       My new version of the Lord’s Prayer, directly translated from the original New Testament Greek that appears in Matthew 6:9-13 reads: Amay namon nga aada ha mga langit, [pag]santoson an imo ngaran, ikanhi an imo paghadi, [pag]tumanon an imo kaladnganan dinhi ha tuna, sugad han [pagtumana] didto ha langit.  Tagi kami niyan han amon karan-on ha tidaraon nga adlaw, ngan pagwad-i kami han amon mga utang, sugad nga ginwara namon ha mga nakautang ha amon.  Ngan ayaw kami pabay-i ha takna han kakurian, kundi talwasa kami tikang han maraot.  Having proposed this, I hasten to add that I am not sure if a direct translation from the Greek text can be accepted in the Order of Mass, because strictly speaking, the Lord’s Prayer in the Mass has to follow the Latin text.  But even so, for reasons I cited at the start of this essay, I would still propose that the people of Samar and Leyte use a new translation of the Our Father (from the Greek text), if only to make them aware of the eschatological meaning Jesus gave it when he taught his disciples.

PS: This new rendering of the “Lord’s Prayer” is a part of a new translation that I have embarked on, beginning with Matthew and ending with John.  Hopefully, I could finish a new Binisaya (Samar-Leyte) version of the New Testament in a few years.

No comments:

Post a Comment