blaspheme, blasphemy

The Greek that is translated as “blasphemy” or “blaspheme” is (back-) translated in various forms:

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Acts 19:37)

Many languages distinguish between inclusive and exclusive first-person plural pronouns (“we”). (Click or tap here to see more details)

The inclusive “we” specifically includes the addressee (“you and I and possibly others”), while the exclusive “we” specifically excludes the addressee (“he/she/they and I, but not you”). This grammatical distinction is called “clusivity.” While Semitic languages such as Hebrew or most Indo-European languages such as Greek or English do not make that distinction, translators of languages with that distinction have to make a choice every time they encounter “we” or a form thereof (in English: “we,” “our,” or “us”).

For this verse, translators typically select the inclusive form (including the city clerk, the riotous Ephesians, and all Ephesian citizens).

Source: SIL International Translation Department (1999).

complete verse (Acts 19:37)

Following are a number of back-translations of Acts 19:37:

  • Uma: “These two people you brought here, but they haven’t robbed our worship house or disparaged the name of our anitu.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “You have brought these people here but they have not broken into (and robbed) the prayer-house nor spoken evil about our (dual) female god.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “You brought these men here, but they haven’t stolen anything from our temples and they have also not said bad things against our god.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “The people you have brought here, they have certainly stolen nothing from our temple, and neither have they spoken-evil-of our god.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “For, as for these people whom you have brought here, they aren’t indeed taking belongings from our worship-place. They also aren’t belittling/insulting the one we worship.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)