dirty translation

Last night I finished reading the book Amazing Love by Francis Chan. We’ve been reading through this book in our church growth group. The author cites this verse near the end of the book:

Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy. (Rev. 3:4)

The version this wording is from is not given by the author and it doesn’t matter for this post. For me, here is something that does matter: when I read “who have not soiled their clothes,” one of the meaning I thought of was different from the one that the author of the Revelation and the translators of this verse intended. The meaning is that in my dialect this use of the word “soiled” makes me think that these people defecated on themselves. In my dialect if I want to express the meaning the translators intended to communicate, I would say:

who have not gotten their clothes dirty

I asked my wife what meaning she got from the published translation wording and she said the same thing I was thinking. She said, “It sounds like they pooped on themselves.”

Now, perhaps many other speakers of English don’t get this unintended meaning. But even if only, say, 25% or so do, that is enough that we can suggest that translators try to find a different wording that doesn’t trigger the wrong meaning.

Better Bibles are ones whose wordings their translation teams reflect upon to determine if any unintended meanings are triggered in the minds of the translation users. Such reflection requires that translators read and listen to what they write, thinking about what other people will think about when they read their translation. Such reflective thinking can be assisted by field testing that is thorough enough that translators will discover what people think their translations mean or can mean. In the translation above of Rev. 3:4 most readers can probably figure out from the context that people pooping on themselves is not the intended meaning. But it’s not even necessary that they have to go down that path when other wordings can state the intended meaning without the unintended lack of clarity.

26 thoughts on “dirty translation

  1. Inspire me Journals says:

    I really enjoy reading about different Bible translations, I find this most interesting! I personally prefer to read the King James Version because I love its style. According to the King James Bible, Jesus told His disciples, “Let not your hearts be troubled.” and The Good News Bible tells the disciples, “Do not be worried and upset” (John 14:1). The KJV has a beauty of style that is rarely matched.

    I had a look around to find some information on the verse you quoted and found this:

    Revelation 3:4 KJV
    Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not
    defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in
    white: for they are worthy.

    [That is, who have with all religion guarded themselves from
    sin and moral corruption, even from the very show of evil;
    (Jude 1:23)

    For comparison, I use http://www.biblegateway.com/ to compare different versions. I find it particularly interesting to see the difference between the KJV and ‘the message’ 🙂

  2. Joel Conley says:

    I looked up the passage in a bunch of different translations (also on biblegateway). Most of them either went with soiled or dirtied their clothes, which as you pointed out can cause some misunderstanding to an English reader. I have only had two years of Greek, so my Greek knowledge is very limited.. and my native english is almost as bad :-)… I wondered though about your translation of
    “who have not gotten their clothes dirty”
    because the Greek verb is active and “gotten” seemed sort of ambiguous to me, whether it was active or passive. I looked up the word “get” at dictionary.com and both concepts (active and passive) can be understood by the word

    “1. to receive or come to have possession, use, or enjoyment of: to get a birthday present; to get a pension.
    2. to cause to be in one’s possession or succeed in having available for one’s use or enjoyment; obtain; acquire: to get a good price after bargaining; to get oil by drilling; to get information.
    3. to go after, take hold of, and bring (something) for one’s own or for another’s purposes; fetch: Would you get the milk from the refrigerator for me?
    4. to cause or cause to become, to do, to move, etc., as specified; effect: to get one’s hair cut; to get a person drunk; to get a fire to burn; to get a dog out of a room. ”

    I’m not sure which one I like better – “did not get their clothes dirty” or “did not dirty their clothes” (which seems more active but could also lead to a bit of misunderstanding). I definitely don’t like soiled. The only time I use the world soiled outside of the Bible is in the “Three Little Kittens” who soil their mittens. Do you think I am being too nit picky over the term “gotten”? Have I “gotten” (active) my facts mixed up?

  3. Inspire me Journals says:

    I have been reading http://www.biblestudy.org/beginner/basic-bible-study-rules.html lately and I found this just last night.

    #2 Vital Bible Study Key
    “‘Whom will he teach knowledge? and whom will he make to understand the message? Those just weaned from milk? Those just drawn from the breasts? For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept, Line upon line, line upon line, Here a little, there a little.’ ” (Isaiah 28:9-10).

    The book of Isaiah tells us that in order to understand doctrine, we must study the Scriptures line upon line and precept upon precept. This is exactly how we should study every doctrinal question. The New Testament confirms this approach to understanding the Word of God and establishing sound doctrine!

    “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2Timothy 2:15).

    In order to come to the knowledge of the Truth, we must always follow the Biblically outlined method of study–” straightly cutting” or “rightly dividing” the Word of God. Any other type of study is useless and all in vain!

    This is exactly what many ministers and scholars have done in their doctrinal teachings because they have NOT rightly divided the Word of God! Whole congregations have been subverted by strivings and people disputing over the meaning of key words that are used in Scripture. Some teachers and ministers have even engaged in redefining words–attaching their own personal interpretations and rejecting the authoritative definitions that are found in Hebrew and Greek lexicons. Anyone who undertakes such practices is “using the law unlawfully,” as Paul said, and will end up teaching false, satanic doctrines that subvert the minds of their followers. Unfortunately, the landscape of religious history is filled with the bodies of people who have taught false doctrines, and the bodies of people who have embraced their teachings. Only by learning to rightly divide the Word of God will we be able to recognize and resist these false doctrines.

    So In answer to your question, I don’t think that you are being ‘too picky’ with your study of particular words! 🙂

  4. Theophrastus says:

    No, I think you have misunderstood the verse, Wayne. In fact, the intended Greek meaning is a reference to defecation, and the translation can only be faulted for using a euphemism here.

    This is a reference to the Jewish principle of ritual purity, which is defiled specifically by excrement (or blood or dead animals). See specifically Deuteronomy 23:12 and Ezekiel 4:12-13. See also Zechariah 3:4 and the DSS Rule of the Community (1QS 3:1-12).

    While this entire passage is a metaphor (the clothes refer to the spiritual state of the individual), it is the case that in the perspective of the writer, sins have defiled one’s spiritual status — in the same way that a person who cannot control himself and will soil his underpants.

  5. J. K. Gayle says:

    in the perspective of the writer, sins have defiled one’s spiritual status — in the same way that a person who cannot control himself and will soil his underpants.

    Ann Nyland and Richmond Lattimore both have “soiled.” Willis Barnstone has “defiled.” These three in particular pay attention to how the Greek in the New Testament reflects meanings in classical Hellene texts. Barnstone is, more than that, interested in restoring the Hebrew senses behind much of the Greek.

    Theophrastus makes a powerful point here about the metaphor of the writer of the Apocalypse. Given the metaphor, I like how the CEV renders the Greek: “have not dirtied your clothes with sin.”

  6. EricW says:

    Maybe the “got dirty” versus “dirtied oneself” depends on whether the soiling is viewed as coming from something outside the person or from inside them. From reading 3:1-3, it seems like these people have gotten dirty from being mired in the world by not staying watchful or by forgetting what they have been told to do and not do, but it’s not totally clear. I’d go with them having become defiled from contact with or involvement with bad things.

    From the UBS Handbook:

    Who have not soiled their garments: to keep one’s clothes clean is a figure for pure behavior, Christian conduct. If there is danger that the figure of speech be taken literally, the translation may abandon it and say “who have not been defiled (or, corrupted) by sin,” “who have kept themselves spiritually pure,” “who have lived pure lives as Christians.” Or it may be possible to retain the figure but state it positively, as TEV has done, “who have kept their clothes clean.” In English “to soil one’s clothes” refers to a specific and unfortunate action.

    Osborne, BECNT:

    Christ precedes his promise (3:5) with a word of encouragement to the righteous remnant in Sardis (3:4). The introductory ἀλλά (alla, but) contrasts this group with the unfaithful in 3:2–3. The very way Christ describes this minority (“not soiled their garments”) summarizes the sins of the rest of the church. A “few people”14 in Sardis “have not soiled their garments.” The imagery builds on one of the major sources of wealth at Sardis, its wool industry. Unlike the garments they make, their spiritual garments are “soiled.” The term means “unwashed” and can have a strong religious connotation of one “defiled,” for instance by eating meat sacrificed to idols (1 Cor. 8:7) or by immorality (Rev. 14:4). Moffatt (1983: 364) speaks of “votive inscriptions in Asia Minor, where soiled clothes disqualified the worshipper and dishonored the god.” By accommodating themselves to their pagan environment, the Sardis church had contaminated themselves and become “unclean.”

    Beale, NIGTC:

    4 Whereas the majority of the people in the church at Sardis had compromised by not bearing witness to their faith, there were still a few who had been faithful in the task. The fact that they had “not stained their garments,” as had the rest, reveals that the manner in which most of the Sardian Christians were suppressing their witness was by assuming a low profile in idolatrous contexts of the pagan culture in which they had daily interaction. That a context of idolatry is in mind is apparent from the use of μολύνω (“stain”), which is used elsewhere of the threat of being “stained” with the pollution of idolatry: cf. 14:4 with 14:6–9, where “those not stained with women” is a metaphor of abstinence from sexual immorality, which most likely refers to believers’ separation from idolatrous involvement (Ethiopic and Bohairic have “did not defile their garments with a woman” in 3:4, which explicitly identifies this verse with 14:4). “Fornicate” (πορνεύω) is used in similar metaphorical manner in 2:14, 20–21 (cf. likewise 1 Cor. 8:7 and μολυσμός [“defilement”] in 2 Cor. 7:1 [cf. 6:14–18]; Isa. 65:4 LXX uses μολύνω of defilement from idols).

    BDAG:

    μολύνω fut. μολυνῶ SSol 5:3; 1 aor. ἐμόλυνα. Pass.: aor. ἐμολύνθην; pf. ptc. μεμολυμμένος or μεμολυσμένος LXX (‘stain, defile’ Aristoph., Pla. et al.; PSI 1160, 6 [30 b.c.]; LXX; Test12Patr; GrBar).

    ① to cause someth. to become dirty or soiled, stain, soil (Lucian, Anach. 1; Gen 37:31; SSol 5:3) μεμολυ[μμένος] unclean, unwashed, with the result of not being pure, of one who comes without proper cleansing to a holy site that is otherwise pure (καθαρός) Ox 840, 16. Unsoiled garments as symbol of a spotless life ἃ οὐκ ἐμόλυναν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν Rv 3:4.

    ② to cause someth. to be ritually impure, defile fig. ext. of 1 (Epict. 2, 8, 13; 2, 9, 17; Porphyr., Abst. 1, 42; Synes., Dreams 10 p. 142d ἀθέων τῶν μολυνάντων τὸ ἐν αὐτοῖς θεῖον; Sir 21:28; Jer 23:11; TestAsh 4:4 τὴν ψυχήν; Orig., C. Cels. 7, 64, 27 τὴν περὶ τοῦ θεοῦ τῶν ὅλων ὑπόληψιν; Hippol., Ref. 9, 23, 4 συνείδησιν ἐπὶ ἀνόμῳ κέρδει; Theoph. Ant. 3, 15 [p. 234, 6]) τ. χεῖρας (Jos., Vi. 244) Ac 5:38 v.l. ἡ συνείδησις … μολύνεται conscience is defiled by eating meat sacrificed to idols 1 Cor 8:7 (Iren. 1, 6, 3 [Harv. I 55, 11]; Amm. Marc. 15, 2 conscientiam polluebat). Esp. of immorality (Theocr. 5, 87; EpArist 152) οἳ μετὰ γυναικῶν οὐκ ἐμολύνθησαν who have not defiled themselves with women Rv 14:4 (on problems connected with this pass. s. RCharles, Comm.).—DELG. M-M. TW.

  7. Wayne Leman says:

    Well, Theophrastus, as they say, live and learn. Thanks for that information. Ritual impurity is such an important issue throughout the Bible. I missed it here. Thanks, again.

  8. Johan says:

    For some perspective:

    When Isaiah 64:6 says our righteousness is like “filthy rags” it literally means discarded menstrual cloths.

    The Greek word translated “soiled” or “defiled” only shows up 3 times in the bible (although, it’s the root of another word that meaning stain or immorality): Rev 14:4, with the sense of sexual immorality, and 1Cor 8:7, with the sense of spiritual adultery. Personally, I don’t think “dirty clothes” carries enough force, but I also don’t think defecation is readily associated with spiritual adultery, which would have been a danger in Sardis.

    “Filthy” or “stained” or even “ruined” might get the point across without making anyone giggle at how people in the bible soiled themselves…

  9. Mike Sangrey says:

    Given Johan’s observation regarding 1 Cor. 8:7 and Rev. 14:4, both of which are connected to sexual defilement, could it be that the most readily available meaning of μολύνω (defile) to the original audience would have been associated with something which does not readily come to mind for us moderns?

    μολύνω has the idea of defilement, debauch, disgrace oneself, and even stain or dye. It’s a bit stronger, to say the least, then simply getting a dirty smudge on one’s pant leg. So, Theophrastus makes a good point! And that leads me to ask a question.

    Given the Jewish laws regarding menstruation and the apparent connection to sexuality, could μολύνω generally refer to a menstrual stain?

    As an aside, this understanding of the word would clarify precisely what is meant by Rev. 14:4, removing the misunderstanding that there is some kind of defilement a husband might somehow experience with his wife in normal relations. That is, the misunderstanding that only the celibate are truly pure.

    I echo Dannii’s question.

  10. Mike Sangrey says:

    I think I’ll add, could a better translation of Rev. 14:4 start with:
    These are those who did not defile themselves with a bloody stain from women…?

  11. J. K. Gayle says:

    Compare the clause in Rev. 3:4 with a paragraph from Gregory of Nyssa’s “Praise of Theodore”:

    ἃ οὐκ ἐμόλυναν τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν

    ἀντὶ βασιλέων γίνονται μάγειροι ὄρνεις θύοντες,
    καὶ βοσκημάτων ἀθλίων σπλάγχνα διερευνώμενοι,
    καὶ τῷ λύθρῳ τοῦ αἵματος,
    ὡς κρεωπῶλαί τινες τὴν ἐσθῆτα μολύνοντες

    An English translation is provided by Casimir McCambly:

    they sacrifice butchered birds before kings
    examine the entails of wretched cattle,
    sell meat stained with blood
    and defile their clothing.

    http://www.sage.edu/faculty/salomd/nyssa/theodore.html

  12. Iver Larsen says:

    Theophrastus is right, of course, in saying that the expression in Rev 3:4 is a metaphor and should be understood as a metaphor. In the LXX none of the passages he refers to employ our Greek word, and I have not found linguistic evidence to support that it has the specific meaning of defecation. It is more general and can be used either in a literal sense of making clothes dirty or in the extended sense of spiritual contamination.

    The main problem I see with both “soil clothes” and “make their clothes dirty” is that these are not common metaphors in English and are likely to be misunderstood in a literal sense. A word like “defile” is more easily understood in an extended, spiritual sense. NLT keeps the literal illustration but adds: “have not soiled their clothes with evil.” I would prefer to drop the clothes and talk directly about spiritual contamination or uncleanness.

    We have the same problem in Rev 14:4. The illustration of adultery and/or fornication is used to symbolise spiritual adultery. I see the illustration to be about a young man who is betrothed and has not violated this betrothal by unlawful sexual activity (he is a virgin). The betrothal here would be a spiritual and single devotion to Jesus.

  13. Nazaroo says:

    Another case of potty-mouth embedding itself in the brain.

    “soiling oneself” is indeed an English idiom for pooping one’s pants.

    “defiling one’s garment” is a different, more general expression applying to a variety of relevant NT situations.

    Its another case where a modern attempt at “improving” the translation has broken it.

    The Isaiah quotation is not about menstruation either.

  14. Theophrastus says:

    Iver: for a LXX use of the word in the sense of ritual impurity, see Genesis 37:31

    λαβόντες δὲ τὸν χιτῶνα τοῦ Ιωσηφ ἔσφαξαν ἔριφον αἰγῶν καὶ ἐμόλυναν τὸν χιτῶνα τῷ αἵματι

    To “soil one’s clothes” is absolutely a (common) English idiom for defecation in one’s clothing, as indicated by Nazoo.

    In this respect, “soil” captures all the necessary meanings, as is seen by the OED definitions of the verb(1) soil:

    1. To defile or pollute with sin or other moral stain

    some examples:

    1590 Spenser Faerie Queene ii. vii. 62: My soule was soyld with foule iniquitie.

    1835 E. Bulwer-Lytton Rienzi I. ii. iv. 251: The instruments he must use soil himself:‥the times will corrupt the reformer.
    1842 H. E. Manning Serm. i. 5: The lusts of the flesh soiled his spiritual being.

    2.a. To make foul or dirty, esp. on the surface; to begrime, stain, tarnish. Also spec., of a child or patient: to make foul by defecation [emphasis added]

    some examples:

    1597 Shakespeare Richard II i. iii. 124: That our kingdomes earth should not be soild With that deare bloud which it hath fostered.

    1943 [implied in: Our Towns (Women’s Group on Public Welfare) iii. 83: Some evacuated children were guilty of deliberate wetting and soiling.

    1956 Brit. Med. Jrnl. 15 Dec. 1390/1: The mother or other adults show no resentment or disgust when the child soils the floor or the body of the person caring for it.

    1961 Webster’s 3rd New Internat. Dict. Eng. Lang. (at cited word): Patients also showed infantile reactions … continually wetting and soiling. Digest of Neurology & Psychiatry.

    1977 New Society 17 Feb. 333/1: When she started school she still wet and soiled by day and night.

    Also, note this definition of soiling (noun 2) in the OED:

    1.b. Defecation (usu. when caused by incontinence or stress in a patient or child).

    However, for all the reasons cited in your and other comments above, I would prefer “defile” to “soil”.

  15. Gary Simmons says:

    I am not convinced that we should attempt to narrow the type of defilement down. Several types of sexual conduct, whether involving menstruation or not, lead to defilement of the person under Mosaic law. Though I think Mike has Lev 18:19 in mind, it is the following verse on adultery that specifically mentions defilement. I think it is a likelier idea as a metaphor for spiritual unfaithfulness. In any case: most sexual conduct is done unclothed, but purity laws may require washing of clothes anyway, especially if one puts clothes on after sex and before washing/sundown (confirmation please, someone?). This at least opens the door to a non-sexual metaphor.

    Everybody poops. I’m not aware of a text that specifically calls this ritual defilement, but it certainly does stain clothing.

    Now we’re onto something here.

    Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have not stained their clothes. They will walk with me, dressed in white, for they are worthy.

    Revelation often feels terse in style, also nebulous and ambiguous. I wrote down a description of a surreal dream once, and I know that no one else can really follow the logic but me. Strangely, the grammar of my description was also strained.

    But that’s neither here nor there. I recommend “stained” because of its broad meaning. Clothes can be defiled or stained, but defecation is said to stain clothing. Plus, it is less wordy than “got their clothes dirty”. Brevity is preferable to me in translating the Apocalypse.

  16. Iver Larsen says:

    Theophrastus,

    I am not disputing the English expression “soil one’s clothes”, but that is not the intended meaning in Rev 3:4 and therefore such a translation is confusing. I would not call it an idiom, but a specific and common sense of soil in the context of clothes. That was Wayne’s point at the outset.

    I did look at all examples of the Greek word μολύνω in the LXX, including the one you mention which is the only one in the Pentateuch. In Gen 37:31, Joseph’s robe was dipped in blood in order to give the impression that some wild animal had killed him. In this case, it is not a matter of ritual uncleannes.

    In Songs 5:3 it is matter of getting dirty feet, not ritual uncleanness.

    In Isa 59:3 is it a matter of having hands defiled with blood, which indicates people being guilty of murder.

    In Isa 64:4 it is a matter of ritual uncleanness.

    I won’t quote all of them, but none refer to the meaning of the English idiom.

  17. Theophrastus says:

    Iver — how does one ordinarily defile one’s clothing? While it is true that one could do it with menstrual blood (if one wore his finest robes in the bedroom) or with nocturnal emissions (again, if one wore his finest robes to the bedroom) it seems that mere biology suggests that the most common way to do this by, well soiling one’s robes.

    If it were merely a common dirt spot on the robes, it could simply be washed off. Furthermore, in the ancient world, avoiding dust and dirt completely was rather impossible. Worse, it would suggest that only the patrician class (and not the laboring class) would be worthy — which seems like a theologically implausible argument.

  18. Iver Larsen says:

    When I checked a number of English versions of Rev 3:4 I noticed that they have all kept the word “clothes”. This is potentially misleading, since the verse has nothing to do with clothes or making clothes dirty.

    The “clothes” is a metaphor for a person’s behaviour, and based on the comments in this post, I suggest that it would be clearer to leave out clothes altogether and say something like: “who do not live in sin” or “have kept away from a sinful life.”

    This metapor is related to the usage of the verb “to clothe” (Greek: ἐνδύω – ENDUW). It is occasionally used in the active form meaning “cause someone to be clothed”, but in most cases it is in a middle-passive form and refers to either literally clothing oneself or quite commonly to the metaphorical extension of clothing oneself or being clothed with certain behaviour.

    BDAG has this to say: “ⓑ metaph., very oft., of the taking on of characteristics, virtues, intentions, etc.”

    It is one of Paul’s favorites as can be seen from Rom 13:12 (let us clothe ourselves with the “weapons” of light), Rom 13:24 (clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ), 1 Cor 15:53 (the perishable needs to be clothed with the imperishable) Gal 3:27 (since you are baptized, you have clothed yourselves with Christ), Eph 4:24 (clothe yourselves with the new person), Eph 6:11 (clothe yourselves with the whole armor of God), Eph 6:14 (clothing yourselves with the breastplate of righteousness), Col 3:10 (having clothed yourselves with the new person), Col 3:12 (clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, etc.), 1 Th 5:8 (having clothed ourselves with the breastplate of faith). In all of these, the context makes it clear that this has nothing to do with putting on literal clothes, but is this non-literal clothing clear in the English versions of Rev 3:14?

  19. Theophrastus says:

    I agree with you that the verse is best understood as a metaphor (however, the metaphor is in the original Greek, and is not hard to understand even in translated literally.)

    I don’t understand how Pauline usage of a common term such as ἐνδύω would be determinative of a work certainly not of Pauline origin.

    The question is — where do you draw the line with the metaphor? If you were to read a passage that said: “Yet you have a few people in Sardis who have investments worth over ten million US dollars. They will walk with me, for they are worthy,” and then explain that I meant spiritual investments — would that make you feel warm and fuzzy? Or would it make you think that I had a world-outlook that favored patricians?

    There is ample evidence in the Bible that ritual purity formed the backdrop of much of the discussion. But ignoring that context altogether, let me simply ask a question about the pastoral use of translation among contemporary readers:

    How does a working-class contemporary reader understand the verse? If one labors in agricultural or mechanical or janitorial work — good honest labor that dirties one’s clothes, is one comforted by a reading of Revelation 3:4 that says “the people who get to walk with me are the rich guys who work in offices and keep their clothes clean?” Or is one comforted by a reading of Revelation 3:4 that says, “the people who get to walk with me are the folks who didn’t befoul themselves with sin — losing control of themselves like an incontinent person.”

  20. J. K. Gayle says:

    If one labors in agricultural or mechanical or janitorial work — good honest labor that dirties one’s clothes, is one comforted by a reading of Revelation 3:4 that says “the people who get to walk with me are the rich guys who work in offices and keep their clothes clean?”

    Yours is a great rhetorical question, Theophrastus!

    Iver, Weren’t you already leaning this way? You said:

    We have the same problem in Rev 14:4. The illustration of adultery and/or fornication is used to symbolise spiritual adultery. I see the illustration to be about a young man who is betrothed and has not violated this betrothal by unlawful sexual activity (he is a virgin). The betrothal here would be a spiritual and single devotion to Jesus.

    I know you’re actually wanting to argue exactly the other way: these are not common metaphors in English and are likely to be misunderstood in a literal sense…. I would prefer to drop the clothes and talk directly about spiritual contamination or uncleanness.

    But when the translator drops the soiled clothes, or drops the soiling women, isn’t he (or she) presuming that English readers cannot handle uncommon metaphors and / or that the metaphor must be uncommon to all?

    Theo shows that the initial metaphor really is common, but common to a certain class. And you show that the second metaphor (in 14:4) really is common to some: to men engaged to be married but who’ve not had sex yet with women. But for readers who are not of the dirty-work working class or for readers who are not males, should either metaphor be a problem?

    I think we lose much when we drop the clothes and drop the women in favor of some cleaned-up non-sexist platonic spiritual ideal.

    Compare the NLT (which, after the “as pure as” comparative simile, sounds a bit like Mary had a little lamb) and GOD’S WORD® (which adds in the numbers but drops females altogether) with Ann Nyland, Richmond Lattimore, and Willis Barnstone (who each one let the writer of the Apocalyse deliver a powerful and very active metaphorical punch, in common or perhaps not common to all English):

    They have kept themselves as pure as virgins, following the Lamb wherever he goes. – NLT

    These 144,000 virgins are pure. – GOD’S WORD®

    These were the ones who did not pollute themselves with women, for they were virgins. – Nyland

    These are they who have not been soiled with women; for they are virgin. – Lattimore

    These are / The men who were not defiled by women, / Since they are virgins. – Barnstone

  21. William J. Chamberli says:

    Are you sure you got F. Chan’s title correct. In my search I can find a book by Chan titled “crazy love; Overwhelmed by a Relentless God” 2008.

    I need the correct title so I can check the verse from Revelation and then possibly contact Chan. I do need to know where he found that translation or if it was his own.

    I am working on my “Revised, Corrected and Enlarged Edition” to my book published in 1991.

    “Catalogue of English Bible Translations; A Classified Bibliography of Versions and Editions Including Books, Parts, and Old and New Testament Apocrypha and Apocryphal Books.” William J. Chamberlin. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1991.

    My book is still in print after almost 20 yrs. This is a 898 page reference book which has set a new standard in its field. The revised edition will be published as two companion books; one with the canonical books and the other with the Pseudepigrapha (non-canonical) books in 2012.

    I may also have my Bibliography of Bible Bibliographies ready sometime late 2012.

    So, I really need to know the actual title of your copy of Cha’s book.

    I surely hope you get this comment for a blog over a year old. I was checking back through your achives to be sure I had all from them I may need in my new book.

    Thanks so much for your help in this matter. Please respond to me directly.

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