flesh (human nature)

The Greek that is often translated as “flesh” in English (when referring to the lower human nature) can, according to Nida (1947, p. 153) “very rarely be literally translated into another language. ‘My meat’ or ‘my muscle’ does not make sense in most languages.” He then gives a catalog of almost 30 questions to determine a correct translation for that term.

Accordingly, the translations are very varied:

The Toraja-Sa’dan translation uses a variety of terms for the translation of the same Greek term (click or tap here to see the rest of this insight)

  • A form of kale tolinona or “corporeal” is for instance used in Romans 9:5 or Colossians 1:22 (and also in Genesis 6:3 and Exodus 30:32)
  • A form of mentolinona or “the human” is for instance used in Matthew 16:17 or John 1:14
  • Phrases that include pa’kalean or “bodiliness” (also: “human shape”) are for instance used in Romans 6:6 or 1 Peter 2:11 (as well as in Isa 52:14, Isa 53:2, and Lamentations 4:7

(Source: H. van der Veen in The Bible Translator 1952, p. 207ff. )

See also spirit / flesh, old self, and flesh (John 1:14).

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