conscience

The Greek that is rendered in English as “conscience” is translated into Aari as “our thoughts speak to us,” in Nuer it is “the knowledge of their heart” (source: Jan Sterk), in Cheke Holo “to know what is straight and what is wrong” (source: Carl Gross), in Chokwe “law of the heart” (source D.B. Long in The Bible Translator 1953, p. 135ff. ), in Toraja-Sa’dan penaa ma’pakilala or “the admonishing within” (source: H. van der Veen in The Bible Translator 1950, p. 21 ff. ), in Yatzachi Zapotec as “head-hearts,” in Tzeltal as “hearts” (source: Waterhouse / Parrott in Notes on Translation October 1967, p. 1ff.), in Enlhet as “innermost,” in Northern Emberá as “thinking” (source: Jacob Loewen in The Bible Translator 1975, p. 201ff. ), and in Elhomwe as “what reminds the heart” or “whole heart” (“since the idea of conscience is something that reminds the heart”) (source: project-specific translation notes in Paratext).

In Warao it is translated with obojona, a term that “includes the concepts of consciousness, will, attitude, attention and a few other miscellaneous notions” (source: Henry Osborn in The Bible Translator 1969, p. 74ff. ). See other occurrences of Obojona in the Warao New Testament.

See also conscience seared and perfect conscience / clear conscience, clear conscience towards God and all people, and brothers, up to this day I have lived my life with a clear conscience before God.

idol / idols

The Hebrew, Greek and Latin that is translated as “idol(s)” in English is translated in Central Subanen as ledawan or “images.” (Source: Robert Brichoux in OPTAT 1988/2, p. 80ff. )

In German, typically the term Götze is used. Originally this was used as a term of endearment for Gott (“God” — see here ), later for “icon” and “image, likeness.” Luther started to use it in the 16th century in the meaning of “false god, idol.”

Other terms that are used in German include Götzenbild(er) (“image[s] of idols”) or Bildnis (“image” — Protestant) / Kultbild (“cultish image” — Catholic) (used for instance in Exodus 20:4 and Deuteronomy 5:8). The latest revision of the Catholic Einheitsübersetzung (publ. 2016) also uses the neologism Nichtse (“nothings”) in 1 Chron. 16:26 and Psalm 96:5. (Source: Zetzsche)

See also worthless idols.

complete verse (1 Corinthians 8:10)

Following are a number of back-translations of 1 Corinthians 8:10:

  • Uma: “My purpose is like this: For instance some of us say you have clear hearts, we say it’s nothing/no-problem to eat food that has been offered to idols. So, for instance we really do go eat in an idol worship house. And one of our friends sees us eating there. But that friend of ours, his heart is still uncertain whether we can eat that food or not. So, since he sees us, he also becomes brave to eat that food.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “For example, there is a companion of yours (pl.) who sees you (pl.) eating in a house for worshiping the idols. You know that their gods/idols are not true ones and you don’t worship them but that companion of yours is not knowledgeable of this/unaware of this. So then perhaps he imitates you and he also goes there and eats even though he thinks/says it is a sin if he does that.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “For example, if there’s one of our companions and he doesn’t understand yet what is right, as for us who by contrast already understand, he sees us eating there in a house where that false god is worshipped, he’ll be influenced and he will also join in eating. However, his thinking will be caused to sin because he supposes that the thing which is worshipped there is something that is truly to be worshipped.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “For-example, you (sing.) whose understanding of this is correct, if you (sing.) are eating in an idol’s temple and a person who still thinks that’s a sin sees you (sing.), will not his mind be strengthened to join-in-eating, even though he thinks it’s a sin?” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “For if supposing you(sing.), whose understanding of these things is reportedly big, are joining in a feast in the worship house of a pretend god, and you are seen by someone whose understanding is still lacking, will he not copy you and also eat that which was sacrificed to that pretend god, in the doing of which, in his mind, it’s like he is worshipping that pretend one?” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “What if your brother should see you eat at an idol’s temple. Now you know that it is nothing if you eat what is eaten there. But your brother who faith is not strong will be encouraged to eat what was sacrificed to idols.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)

Translation commentary on 1 Corinthians 8:10

The two main problems in understanding this verse are related. (a) Some early manuscripts omit you, giving the meaning “… sees someone who has knowledge….” The UBS Greek text has you. (b) The word that is translated encouraged is used elsewhere by Paul in the good sense of “building up,” as in verse 1, but here it has a bad meaning.

We can resolve both these difficulties if we suppose that in this verse Paul is presenting the point of view of someone at Corinth, perhaps expressed in a letter from the Christians there. The meaning would then be “ ‘But,’ you say, ‘if anyone sees someone who has knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will his weak conscience be strengthened, so that he can eat meat offered to idols?’ ”

There are two slight difficulties in this explanation that many commentators have overlooked: (a) The conjunction that connects verse 10 with 9 means “for,” not “but,” and this word often has a weak and rather general sense. (b) As in verse 7, one might have expected Paul to use the pagan word for “meat” offered to divinities (compare 10.28). However, the writers of the letter from Corinth were Christians like Paul himself, and therefore would use a term that expressed the negative Christian view of other gods.

If the translator rejects the explanation given in the last two paragraphs and adopts the longer text, which has sees you, “encourage” is probably the best translation of the verb for “build up.”

The word translated at table literally means “reclining.” This was the normal position at table in the Roman world. Modern day translators will need to think of their own customs for eating. In many languages the word for “eat” will probably be the best equivalent.

The clause might he not be encouraged will need to be slightly changed in certain languages. One may say, for example, “This will encourage him…, won’t it?”

The Greek has “the” before food offered to idols, indicating that Paul has already mentioned the food or meat in question.

Quoted with permission from Ellingworth, Paul and Hatton, Howard A. A Handbook on Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, 2nd edition. (UBS Handbook Series). New York: UBS, 1985/1994. For this and other handbooks for translators see here .