peace (being at peace)

The Hebrew and Greek that is translated into English as “peace” (or “at ease”) is (back-) translated with a variety of idioms and phrases:

he is our peace

The Greek that is translated as “(he is our) peace” in most English translations is translated in Guhu-Samane as “He is our peace-feather.”

Richert explains: “This affords a delightful cultural and physical ‘exegesis’ for the future teachers, who apply it in this manner. They have an idiom, ‘he is my pinion,’ meaning ‘he is my mainstay;’ for no bird can fly without its pinion feathers. Therefore they first apply this to Christ in his relationship to mankind before the event of Calvary. Then as the feather must be carved in order to be the effective symbol of peace, so Christ was crucified in order to bring peace on earth. In the context of Eph. 2 this is very meaningful to the Guhu-Samanes.”

Source: Ernest Richert in The Bible Translator, 1965, p. 81ff.

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Eph. 2:14)

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 non-Jews).

Source: Velma Pickett and Florence Cowan in Notes on Translation January 1962, p. 1ff.

complete verse (Ephesians 2:14)

Following are a number of back-translations of Ephesians 2:14:

  • Uma: “For Kristus, he is the one who unites-us / makes us at peace with God and with our companion. He gave his body to be killed to become our substitute/redemption, and with his death he freed us from the Law of the Yahudi religion with all its commands and orders. He did that in order to destroy the differences that come-between/separate the Yahudi people and those who are not Yahudi people like an earthen wall. So, we (excl.) Yahudi people along with you who are not Yahudi people, he united us / made us at peace. He united us in order to make us a new people/mankind who are connected with him. In that way Kristus made peace/unity.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “We (incl.) have been given peace because we (incl.) have been reconciled by Almasi; we (excl.) the Yahudi and you the non Yahudi, he has removed the cause for our (incl.) enmity as if figuratively he has broken down the wall that was between us (incl.).” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “As for us (excl.) Jews and you who were not Jews, Christ made it so that our relationship together is now peaceful because he made us (incl.) to be companions. By means of His letting himself be killed on the cross, He removed our being against each other which was just like a wall which was separating us.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “Because Cristo himself is the basis of the harmony of us Jews and Gentiles. He has unified our minds because he removed the source of our hating-each-other.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Really, because of this Cristo, we are now reconciled, we (excl.) Jews and you who are not Jews. He has made-us-one now for he has now erased our opposition to each other which was a barrier between us, preventing our being-able-to-be-friends.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “And now, it is Christ who caused that you are friends with God now. Jews and non-Jews alike are now become just one group. Because Christ took away the word which kept us apart.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)