hypocrite

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The Greek and Hebrew terms that are translated as “hypocrite” in English typically have a counterpart in most languages. According to Bratcher / Nida (1961, p. 225), they can be categorized into the following categories:

  • those which employ some concept of “two” or “double”
  • those which make use of some expression of “mouth” or “speaking”
  • those which are based upon some special cultural feature
  • those which employ a non-metaphorical phrase

Following is a list of (back-) translations from some languages:

The English version of Sarah Ruden (2021) uses “play-actor.” She explains (p. li): “A hupokrites is fundamentally an actor. The word has deep negativity in the Gospels on two counts: professional actors were not respectable people in the ancient world, and traditional Judaism did not countenance any kind of playacting. I write ‘play-actor’ throughout.”

See also hypocrisy.

reconcile, reconciliation

The Greek terms that are translated as “reconcile” and “reconciliation” in English are translated in various ways. Nida (1952, pp. 140) says this:

“The North Alaskan Inupiatun describe reconciliation in the simple terms of ‘making friends again.’ That is to say, ‘God was in Christ making friends again with the world.’ The Uduk in the Sudan express this same truth, but in the rather interesting phrase ‘meet, snapping fingers together again.’ This expression is derived from the Uduk’s practice of snapping fingers together when they meet each other. Instead of shaking hands, they extend their thumbs and middle fingers and snap fingers together, but only friends will do this. Men who have something against each other refuse to acknowledge each other in this way. And so it is that the natural man is an enemy of God; he refuses to snap fingers with God, but God has come to reconcile man to Himself and through Jesus Christ has brought man into fellowship with Himself. Man and God may now meet ‘to snap fingers together again.’

“The Tai Dam of Indo-China employ quite a different figure of speech. They say that reconciliation consists in ‘rubbing off the corners.’ This does not refer to social acceptability, but to rubbing off the corners so that two objects, meant for each other, will fit together. Man is regarded as being incapable of fitting into the plan and fellowship of God because of the sin which has deformed him and which stands out as an ugly growth on his personality. The corners of iniquity must be rubbed off so that man may be reconciled to God and made to fit into God’s eternal plan for the world.”

In Muna, the phrase manusia suli dopometaa bhe Lahata’ala: “man has-a-good-relationship/is-in-harmony-again with God” is used for “reconciled.” (Source: René van den Berg)

redeemer

The Hebrew that is translated as “redeemer” in English is translated the following way in these languages:

In Luba-Katanga it is Mukuji, a traditional term for “Kinsman Redeemer.” “In Luba-Katanga the first word used was derived from the background of slavery. This first word. however, proved inadequate. Mr. Clarke [who worked on the first Luba-Katanga Bible] tells in his own words how he found the perfect term: ‘There came a lad weeping, with body cruelly lacerated, saying to me, ‘See how cruel my master is to me!’ and I said, I will redeem you’. With piteous tears, he cried, ‘You are not able to redeem me. A great price only can be paid for my redemption’. ‘What shall I pay?’ I asked, ‘I can give calico and a gun if need be — I shall certainly redeem you,’ but once more came the cry, ‘You are not able to redeem me, for you are no relation of mine. If you would help me, go to my father and mother, and bring them here with the ransom for my redemption. Only my parents or one of my relatives can redeem me. You may buy me, but I would be your slave’. So, after years of waiting, we found the word Mukuji, which brought to us the significance of the ’Kinsman-Redeemer’.” (Source: Wilfred Bradnock in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 49ff.)

In Tai Dam the translation is “Lord-come-seek-buy.” “This is the Lord who came and sought us, and then bought us for Himself. Just “to buy a person” might imply acquiring a personal slave. But one comes seeking in order to buy is one who is earnestly looking for the straying sheep who is lost in the mountainside in his own sinful wandering away form the Shepherd of his soul.” (Source: Nida 1952, p. 139.)

See also redeem / redemption and next-of-kin / kinsman-redeemer / close relative.