high priest

The Greek and Hebrew that is translated as “high priest” in English is translated as “the ruler of the priests of our nation” in Yatzachi Zapotec, as “very great priest” in Chol (source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.), as “first over the priests” in Ayutla Mixtec, and “chief of the priests” in Desano (source for this and one above: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.).

In Uma it is translated as “Big Priest,” in Western Bukidnon Manobo as “high sacrificer,” and in Tagbanwa as “Most-important Priest of God.” (See here.)

See also priest and chief priest.


The Hebrew and Greek that is translated as “witness” in English is translated as “truly have seen” in Highland Popoluca, as “telling the truth regarding something” (Eastern Highland Otomi), as “know something” in Lalana Chinantec, as “verily know something to be the truth” in San Mateo del Mar Huave, as “we ourselves saw this,” in Desano, as “tell the truth about something” in Eastern Highland Otomi, as “know something is true because of seeing it” in Teutila Cuicatec. (Source: Viola Waterhouse in Notes on Translation August 1966, p. 86ff.)

inclusive vs. exclusive pronoun (Mark 14:63)

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 chief priests, the scribes and the elders).

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

complete verse (Mark 14:63)

Following are a number of back-translations of Mark 14:63:

  • Uma: “Hearing that, the Big Priest ripped his shirt from his anger, and he said: ‘There is no longer a need for witnesses!” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Then the leading priest tore his clothes because of his anger (peddi’ atey). And he said, ‘Why should we (incl.) still search for witnesses?” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And then the high priest tore his shirt as a sign that he was very angry with what Jesus had said. And he said, It’s no longer necessary that anyone testify because as for all of you,” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “When he heard that, the highest priest tore his own clothes due-to his anger and he said, ‘Is it indeed-the-case that (RQ implying of course not) we still need witnesses?” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “When the Most-important Priest heard, he tore his own clothes in anger. He spoke, saying, ‘Well, why do we (incl.) still need someone to give-evidence?” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)