Oh brother, they have taken the toilet out of the gospel. I wouldn’t dare touch the Torah in the toilet but that doesn’t mean the toilet has to be entirely eliminated, does it? Who would have thought that a bunch of contemporary Bible translators could be so prissy!
I have been reading through Ann Nyland’s New Testament “The Source” since I now have my own copy complete with notes. There have often been times when I have thought of a way to translate a phrase but it is not found in any translation but hers. She has moments of extreme clarity and closeness to the meaning of the Greek. This is one of them. Sometimes her translation is more faithful than almost any other translation I am familiar with. Other times, not so much. That puts it on par with every other translation I read.
What I am really trying to say is that I feel that most of her translation is more or less as good or bad as any other, but sometimes it is significantly better. Tonight I read Mark 7:19 in her translation and wondered immediately what every other major translation had done with the toilet.
- Because it doesn’t go into the mind but into the stomach, and then it goes into the toilet. Nyland
For it doesn’t go into your heart but into your stomach, and then out of your body. (T)NIV
It doesn’t go into your heart, but into your stomach, and then out of your body. CEV
because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated? NASB
It doesn’t enter your heart but your stomach, works its way through the intestines, and is finally flushed. Message
Food doesn’t go into your heart, but only passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. NLT 2
since it enters not his heart(X) but his stomach, and is expelled? (Note: Greek goes out into the latrine) ESV
For it doesn’t go into his heart but into the stomach (AG) and is eliminated (Note: Greek goes out into the toilet) HCSB
since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? NRSV
Because it entereth not into his heart, but into the belly, and goeth out into the draught KJV
since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on? RSV
Now let’s look at the Greek.
- ὅτι οὐκ εἰσπορεύεται αὐτοῦ εἰς τὴν καρδίαν ἀλλ’ εἰς τὴν κοιλίαν καὶ εἰς τὸν ἀφεδρῶνα ἐκπορεύεται
Okay, Liddell Scott calls ἀφεδρῶν the “privy.” I believe that means the toilet. So how did so many versions come to leave it out?
I think this little list affords a great opportunity to rate Bible translators on their squeamishness. Only Nyland is willing to call a toilet a toilet and leave it in the text where it belongs. A few other translations do offer an accurate translation of this word.
Addendum: I can’t help but notice that Nyland also translates 1 Tim 5:23 accurately as ” Don’t drink the water only – you must use some wine instead – on account of the act that the water is causing you the ailment of bladder frequency.” She also translates uncircumcision literally as “foreskin.” The truth is that you get a whole new light on what really is in the Greek scriptures reading her translation. Refreshing.