ESV – poor grammar ??? “at table”

by BA on April 14, 2006

As I read through the complete ESV I have noticed a phrase that really should have been translated differently (grammatically correct). As a “modern” English translation there is really no reason to have this phrase as it is in the ESV. Most English speakers do a double take when they run across this phrase since it is plainly poor English grammar. In addition, correcting it would not detract from the meaning in any form or fassion. I am not sure what the ESV translators were thinking when they didn’t update the phrase.

The phrase is “at table”. All other translations I looked at will add “the” to the phrase to make it grammatically correct and/or translate it differently to not have the phrase in there at all. Below are some examples (compared with two other modern translations – HCSB & NET).

(1 Samuel 20:5 ESV) David said to Jonathan, “Behold, tomorrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit at table with the king. But let me go, that I may hide myself in the field till the third day at evening.
(1 Samuel 20:5 HCSB) So David told him, “Look, tomorrow is the New Moon, and I’m supposed to sit down and eat with the king. Instead, let me go, and I’ll hide in the field until the third night.
(1 Samuel 20:5 NET.) David said to Jonathan, “Tomorrow is the new moon, and I am certainly expected to join the king for a meal. You must send me away so I can hide in the field until the third evening from now.

(Matthew 8:11 ESV) I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
(Matthew 8:11 HCSB) I tell you that many will come from east and west, and recline at the table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
(Matthew 8:11 NET.) I tell you, many will come from the east and west to share the banquet with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,

(Matthew 9:10 ESV) And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples.
(Matthew 9:10 HCSB) While He was reclining at the table in the house, many tax collectors and sinners came as guests to eat with Jesus and His disciples.
(Matthew 9:10 NET.) As Jesus was having a meal in Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with Jesus and his disciples.

(Matthew 26:7 ESV) a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table.
(Matthew 26:7 HCSB) a woman approached Him with an alabaster jar of very expensive fragrant oil. She poured it on His head as He was reclining at the table.
(Matthew 26:7 NET.) a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of expensive perfumed oil, and she poured it on his head as he was at the table.

(Matthew 26:20 ESV) When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve.
(Matthew 26:20 HCSB) When evening came, He was reclining at the table with the Twelve.
(Matthew 26:20 NET.) When it was evening, he took his place at the table with the twelve.

(Mark 2:15 ESV) And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.
(Mark 2:15 HCSB) While He was reclining at the table in Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were also guests with Jesus and His disciples, because there were many who were following Him.
(Mark 2:15 NET.) As Jesus was having a meal in Levi’s home, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.

(Mark 14:3 ESV) And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
(Mark 14:3 HCSB) While He was in Bethany at the house of Simon who had a serious skin disease, as He was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of pure and expensive fragrant oil of nard. She broke the jar and poured it on His head.
(Mark 14:3 NET.) Now while Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of costly aromatic oil from pure nard. After breaking open the jar, she poured it on his head.

(Mark 14:18 ESV) And as they were reclining at table and eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”
(Mark 14:18 HCSB) While they were reclining and eating, Jesus said, “I assure you: One of you will betray Me–one who is eating with Me!”
(Mark 14:18 NET.) While they were at the table eating, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, one of you eating with me will betray me.”

(Mark 16:14 ESV) Afterward he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at table, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen.
(Mark 16:14 HCSB) Later, He appeared to the Eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table. He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who saw Him after He had been resurrected.
(Mark 16:14 NET.) Then he appeared to the eleven themselves, while they were eating, and he rebuked them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen him resurrected.

(Luke 5:29 ESV) And Levi made him a great feast in his house, and there was a large company of tax collectors and others reclining at table with them.
(Luke 5:29 HCSB) Then Levi hosted a grand banquet for Him at his house. Now there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others who were guests with them.
(Luke 5:29 NET.) Then Levi gave a great banquet in his house for Jesus, and there was a large crowd of tax collectors and others sitting at the table with them.

(Luke 7:37 ESV) And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment,
(Luke 7:37 HCSB) And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil
(Luke 7:37 NET.) Then when a woman of that town, who was a sinner, learned that Jesus was dining at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfumed oil.

(Luke 7:49 ESV) Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”
(Luke 7:49 HCSB) Those who were at the table with Him began to say among themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”
(Luke 7:49 NET.) But those who were at the table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?”

(Luke 11:37 ESV) While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table.
(Luke 11:37 HCSB) As He was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him to dine with him. So He went in and reclined at the table.
(Luke 11:37 NET.) As he spoke, a Pharisee invited Jesus to have a meal with him, so he went in and took his place at the table.

(Luke 12:37 ESV) Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them.
(Luke 12:37 HCSB) Those slaves the master will find alert when he comes will be blessed. I assure you: He will get ready, have them recline at the table, then come and serve them.
(Luke 12:37 NET.) Blessed are those slaves whom their master finds alert when he returns! I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, have them take their place at the table, and will come and wait on them!

(Luke 13:29 ESV) And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God.
(Luke 13:29 HCSB) They will come from east and west, from north and south, and recline at the table in the kingdom of God.
(Luke 13:29 NET.) Then people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and take their places at the banquet table in the kingdom of God.

(Luke 14:10 ESV) But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.
(Luke 14:10 HCSB) “But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests.
(Luke 14:10 NET.) But when you are invited, go and take the least important place, so that when your host approaches he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up here to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who share the meal with you.

(Luke 14:15 ESV) When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
(Luke 14:15 HCSB) When one of those who reclined at the table with Him heard these things, he said to Him, “The one who will eat bread in the kingdom of God is blessed!”
(Luke 14:15 NET.) When one of those at the meal with Jesus heard this, he said to him, “Blessed is everyone who will feast in the kingdom of God!”

(Luke 17:7 ESV) “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?
(Luke 17:7 HCSB) “Which one of you having a slave plowing or tending sheep, will say to him when he comes in from the field, ‘Come at once and sit down to eat’?
(Luke 17:7 NET.) “Would any one of you say to your slave who comes in from the field after plowing or shepherding sheep, ‘Come at once and sit down for a meal’?

(Luke 22:14 ESV) And when the hour came, he reclined at table, and the apostles with him.
(Luke 22:14 HCSB) When the hour came, He reclined at the table, and the apostles with Him.
(Luke 22:14 NET.) Now when the hour came, Jesus took his place at the table and the apostles joined him.

(Luke 22:27 ESV) For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.
(Luke 22:27 HCSB) For who is greater, the one at the table or the one serving? Isn’t it the one at the table? But I am among you as the One who serves.
(Luke 22:27 NET.) For who is greater, the one who is seated at the table, or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

(Luke 24:30 ESV) When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
(Luke 24:30 HCSB) It was as He reclined at the table with them that He took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.
(Luke 24:30 NET.) When he had taken his place at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them.

(John 13:23 ESV) One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus,
(John 13:23 HCSB) One of His disciples, the one Jesus loved, was reclining close beside Jesus.
(John 13:23 NET.) One of his disciples, the one Jesus loved, was at the table to the right of Jesus in a place of honor.

(John 21:20 ESV) Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who had been reclining at table close to him and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?”
(John 21:20 HCSB) So Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following them. That disciple was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and asked, “Lord, who is the one that’s going to betray You?”
(John 21:20 NET.) Peter turned around and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them. (This was the disciple who had leaned back against Jesus’ chest at the meal and asked, “Lord, who is the one who is going to betray you?”)

I think it is interesting to see how the HCSB and the NET translate it a bit differently to avoid (for lack of a better term) the phrase all together in some of the verses (the interesting part being that they don’t seem to be consistent, in one verse the HCSB may do it, in another verse the NET may do it).

AMDG

{ 5 trackbacks }

Better Bibles Blog
April 14, 2006 at 12:36
ESV Bible Blog
April 19, 2006 at 08:03
Fiat Lux » ‘At table’ in the ESV…
April 29, 2006 at 18:54
Fiat Lux » ‘At table’ in the ESV
December 19, 2007 at 21:46
"At Table:" What's the Big Deal?
November 17, 2010 at 13:07

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lingamish April 14, 2006 at 13:10

I think that is natural English for some dialects. Certainly not mine.

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2 BA April 14, 2006 at 15:29

Possibly.

I should be more clear when I say “english” as I am usually referring to english as we know (and use) it in the US.

In the spirit of the post on the Better Bibles Blog…none of my posts (critiques) on translations/versions are meant to cast the whole translation/version in a negative light. I happen to own several print copies of the ESV as well as the whole ESV Bible on audio CD (and I like it). However, things like the above should probably be pointed out…especially when kids learning english grammar come up to you and say I think they forgot a “the” in that verse dad. :)

If I happen to have major problems with a complete translation/version I would definitely point that out.

AMDG

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3 Eddie April 15, 2006 at 04:22

I think you need to be really careful about suggesting that something is ‘bad grammar’. As Lingamish says, ‘at table’ is a perfectly acceptable (though somewhat archaic) form in many dialects of English. Here in England (where, I think we have some claim on the language :-) )there is no problem at all in using ‘at table’. However, you need to be careful, ‘at table’ does not mean the same as ‘at the table’. Inserting a definite article would change the meaning slightly. ‘At table’ is a state, ‘while they were in the act of eating’. ‘At the table’ is a location and has different connotations.

By the way, I did a quick Google search and discovered that ‘at table’ also occurs in North American English. Some of the uses are definitely archaic, but there are some contemporary ones, too. The ESV never sets out to use simple English, so it is perfectly at liberty to use a more literary, though easily comprehensible turn of phrase. So, if you child comes and says ‘I think they forgot a “the” in that verse”, you can gently take the opportunity to expand your son’s knowledge of English useage, rather than correct a translation which is already using good English.

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4 Peter Kirk April 15, 2006 at 05:20

In my British English, I would not consider “at table” to be an error in a situation where there is no specific table in mind, although it does sound a bit old-fashioned. What I would see as an error is Matthew 9:10, Mark 2:15 etc in HCSB, for “at the table” implies that there was only one table in the house, which is not at all implied by the Greek verb which does not mention tables at all.

In fact I think it is a mistake to use the word “table” at all in most of these cases, where the Greek is simply “reclined”. It may well be an anachronism, for they certainly were not sitting at tables in the modern western sense. There may have been a low table around which they reclined, but I think there may have been only a mat. However, I would understand “sit at table” as an idiom for eating a meal which does not necessarily imply a real table and so is acceptable although old fashioned; whereas “sit at the table” does imply a real table and so is exegetically doubtful.

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5 Peter Kirk April 15, 2006 at 05:22

I would also like to express my objection to your blogging software which displays the ESV of Bible versions you and I refer to even when we are explicitly referring to other versions.

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6 DavidR April 15, 2006 at 06:29

Oops! Someone forgot to tell the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary, where under para. 6, we read:

“often in phr. at table, [meaning,] at a meal or meals”

and at 6(c):

“entertainment of a family or guests at table; eating, feasting”

This strikes me as “literate” English, not “bad grammar”!

I have a niggling fear that our (I include my own) agitation for better translations (which is appropriate) too often means “one that conforms to my personal idiolect”. The more English fragments – and not just geographically – the greater this will become an issue.

IMO, FWIW, YMMV, etc.

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7 BA April 15, 2006 at 10:30

Eddie,

If you read my previous comment you will see that I stated I should be more clear.

I should be more clear when I say “english” as I am usually referring to english as we know (and use) it in the US.

With that clarification I am not backing off the initial statement. It is bad grammar in the US according to my field testing. It wasn’t an exaustive test by any means but everyone I talked to said it was incorrect or had to be a misprint. Now that doesn’t mean that the ESV is “incorrect”…some have suggested that it is perfectly acceptable English across the pond.

Peter,

Thanks for the info. The initial post was not an exegetical study on the passages…it was simply an English version comparison. It seems the NET and the HCSB are doing what you are talking about in some instances but they just aren’t very consistent about it. Then again, I probably shouldn’t even say that since I haven’t looked at (and compared) the Greek in all of the above passages.
AMDG

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8 BA April 15, 2006 at 11:07

Peter,

Note taken. That feature is actually just to show the verse without having to type it out when you are referencing scripture. It clearly identifies itself as the ESV and you can still type out verses in full as I did in the original post. Maybe someone will write a script that allows people to define the version in the reference (problem being that not all versions allow such access). :)

David,

Actually that is an excellent point. However, I think we are looking at a much more general aplication than “personal”…maybe “national”. The other problem is when should change take place? For example, I have no problems with translations that are not gender inclusive. This is because I take “man” and/or “mankind” as meaning all people (not just males). However, it seems that the tide is changing on that understanding even though it is perfectly acceptable and understandable grammar/English. Using a dictionay as a reference shows that “man” can mean a male or a human regardless of sex or age. So even though “at table” may be correct according to the dictionary, it definitely appears incorrect to me as an English speaker (US) and all the other English (US) speakers I showed it to.

AMDG

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9 Eddie April 16, 2006 at 11:16

I did notice your comment about English as it is used in the US. However, in my post, I mentioned that a quick Google search turned up a number of uses of ‘at table’ in North American literature, so it isn’t unknown on your side of the pond :-) . However, it certainly isn’t current English, even this side of the water and I wouldn’t want to defend its use in a contemporary translation, especially (as Peter points out) given that it is such an anachronism.

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10 M.R. Perry April 17, 2006 at 10:51

When we had a Messianic Jew come to share a presentation of Messiah in the Passover, he always referred to the Passover table as eating ‘at table,’ which apparently is a common expression in referring to the table of the Seder Feast. To me, this shows that the ESV is not only ‘essentially literal,’ but ‘especially literal.’

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11 Lingamish April 18, 2006 at 09:44

Reading the Bible with our children should not be an opportunity for teaching them about varieties of English dialect. A phrase like “at table” draws attention to itself and breaks the flow of the text.

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12 Cameron Moore April 19, 2006 at 08:53

Great discussion everyone. I had the same initial reaction to the “at table” phrasing, and I’ve yet to become completely comfortable with it so that I can read those verses without having to think too hard. Eddie and Peter, thanks for your comments — they were very helpful.

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13 Manwe April 19, 2006 at 08:58

There is a certain cultural (and perhaps) theological implications for using the phrase “at table.” It indicates the importance of table fellowship.

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14 DavidR April 19, 2006 at 09:05

Hey Linga!

Reading the Bible with our children should not be an opportunity for teaching them about varieties of English dialect.

Why? How long could it take to explain that phrase? Btw, this would make an interesting subject for your “fallacies” blog: “Invoking children as authorities for linguistic usage.” :) Another thought would be to see what the “reading level” of a given translation is, and use one appropriate to the child(ren)’s age. This would probably forestall the problem of having to explain expressions they had not previously encountered.

A phrase like ‘at table’ draws attention to itself and breaks the flow of the text.

Curiously, it doesn’t have that effect on me (as you’ll have gathered!). Is there a place for qualifying a statement like that one? Yet another one of my niggling fears is that we all need to read more, and probably more widely! (IMO, etc.)

SHALOM!

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15 An ignorant layman April 19, 2006 at 09:15

Doesn’t the ESV’s “essentially literal” translation philosophy justify the absence of the definite article?

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16 Mike Ratliff April 19, 2006 at 09:46

I have no problem with “at table.” In fact I believe it has a much deeper meaning than simply saying, “at the table.” The latter is simply saying someone is in a certain position. However, the former implies the action and the purpose of the action. Leave it the way it is.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

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17 Gregory Pittman April 19, 2006 at 10:09

“At table” is neither poor grammar nor unacceptible. Author Scot McKnight uses the phrase frequently in his excellent book The Jesus Creed: Loving God, Loving Others. As others have stated, it is function of being, not a function of location.

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18 Lingamish April 19, 2006 at 10:49
19 Lingamish April 19, 2006 at 10:51

Rats, I new there was something wrong with that hyperlink! Let’s do it the old fashioned way:

DavidR,

I respect your differing opinion. Glad you’re enjoying the Fallacy Files(http://lingamish.blogspot.com/2006/04/fallacy-files.html). I’d welcome AMDG to give a synthesis of the different arguments for and against this wording, or perhaps you could do it.

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20 Glenn (UK) April 19, 2006 at 16:53

I have to say that I found it strange that the use of ‘at table’ was ‘strange’ to some.
It has never broken the flow for me as I consider it to be good English usage, in fact I never would have thought of this particular phrase in the context given it in this post.
Also, as the father of three children – 5, 9 & 10 – I welcome the opportunity to explain good English usage as much as I enjoy explaining words like propitiation, etc from the text.

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21 BA April 19, 2006 at 16:59

My comment on “at table” is that it appears to be poor grammar to the average English (US) speaker.

In a “modern” translation why would you want to keep archaic language that most people misunderstand? Why should we have to stop and explain the term “at table” when we run into it.

I prefer the route the other two translations (mentioned in the original post) took.

Either they translated it “at the table” or they translated it completely differently. As I stated previously, I haven’t actually looked at the Greek in all the above examples. However, I am guessing that when they translated it “at the table” it was because the Greek probably allowed that meaning….when they translated it completely different they were conveying what “at table” means in a more modern way.

After so much conversation on the subject, I am actually starting to like “at table”. However, I still don’t think it is good for the mass.

AMDG

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22 DavidR April 20, 2006 at 11:29

AMDG wrote:

I still don’t think it is good for the mass.”

Now it may be a typo, but that last word reminded me of this. I suppose give its use of exclusive “man” it doesn’t get used a lot any more — a wee shame.

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23 BA April 20, 2006 at 12:26

no typo…I did that on purpose :)

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24 Gary D (Australia) April 23, 2006 at 08:51

I’ve just come across this blog and am so pleased to find out that other people have noticed the very strange “at table” usage in the ESV. I have found that it is a very irritating phrase in what I consider an otherwise excellent translation. I am very widely read and reasonably well educated, but like some others, I was sure that it was a typo the first time that I read it.

Prior to reading this blog I had assumed that it was simply an Americanism that I wasn’t familiar with, but that is plainly not the case. Get rid of “at table” and “behold” in the next edition and I’ll be a very happy man!

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25 Justin W April 25, 2006 at 14:58

Having lived my entire life on US side of the pond, I didn’t find the use of ‘at table’ difficult, in fact I found it refreshing. It seems that we often try to oversimplify or even ‘dumb down’ our language, which has a rich and beautiful history. I’m not too excited at the HCSB’s choice of translation, but if you were looking for something different, it seems the NET is closer to the actual meaning of at table. It seems that ‘at table’ means so much more than being at the table, or dining with, but partaking of and fellowshiping with. Anyhow, my two cents.

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26 BA April 25, 2006 at 16:01

Justin,

I think the problem is that “at table” doesn’t convey the meaning to a lot of people. Though I believe it is gramatically correct if you research it.

In addition, “at table” appears to be more than just sitting at a table (both the HCSB and NET capture this IMO). I think if the ESV had a footnote on what “at table” can actually mean it would help…most people aren’t going to know. It does appear that the HCSB used some variant of “reclined” quite a bit. I think this is actually a little more clear than “at table” though. At the very least, a Google search on “ESV at table” leads you in the right direction. ;)

I happen to own (and use) print copies of the ESV, HCSB, and the NET Bible and they all have their strengths and weaknesses. :)

AMDG

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27 Rob Somers April 29, 2006 at 10:49

An ignorant layman Says:
April 19th, 2006 at 09:15

Doesn’t the ESV’s “essentially literal” translation philosophy justify the absence of the definite article?

Translating the scripture, even when attempting to be as literal as possible, is not like deciphering a ‘code’ letter by letter. Sometimes you have to phrase something in a way that is not literally the way it was in the original, otherwise you would not have a proper grammatical construct in the resulting translation. And getting a proper construct so that the contemporary reader can understand it, after all, is the whole point of doing the translation!

As for my two cents on the issue of ‘at table’ — I did not like it when I first saw it, and after discussing it with friends, and reading the comments here, I still don’t like it, and I agree with the original poster in the thought that this was a poor way to translate it. I don’t care if it was at one time a legitimate usage of the English language. There are lots of constructs that were valid in 1611 (think KJV) that we don’t see today. If we talked the same way now that we did in 1611, for example, there would be no need for the ESV now would there? As I stated before, the whole point of doing a translation is to get the thing into the language the people are using now

Some think that kind of thing is quaint, and I suppose things like that could possibly serve to broaden our horizons, but I hardly think that a version of the Bible is the place to be looking for that. If someone wants to tantalise himself with fancy literature, go to the library and borrow some classic.

Not ‘at table,’ but ‘at the table..’

;)

p.s. I suspect that some people try to come up with any defense of the usage ‘at table’ because they like the ESV so much. I would say that the ESV is a great translation – its pretty well the only English version I use now – but I still won’t stand by their decision to use that construct.

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28 Christopher Taylor May 1, 2006 at 18:39

Lingamish says,

Reading the Bible with our children should not be an opportunity for teaching them about varieties of English dialect. A phrase like “at table” draws attention to itself and breaks the flow of the text.

My response,

Here is where dynamic equivalent translation proponents deceive themselves. First, a young child is not likely to catch the “misprint” in the first place. The child is taking everything in, learning what is acceptable and what is not linguistically. Even if they do hesitate at this point, and bring it to your attention, use it as an opportunity for teaching about grammar!

The irony is that one of the men who started all this (my grandfather, Ken Taylor), raised a houseful of grammarians, but not one theologian. My family loves to discuss the grammar of the Bible, but could hardly explain the gospel of Christ.

I dare say, I am raising my children on the ESV because I want them to understand the gospel. The ESV is the best text I’ve found for accomplishing this purpose. By the way, we sometimes do our study at table, and other times on the couch.

Warmly,

Christopher Taylor

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29 DM August 9, 2006 at 10:32

Compare it to the Canadian phrase “in hospital,” which I also find acceptable, although we in the US would say “in the hospital.”

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30 Jon February 25, 2008 at 09:00

Good discussion folks. I thought it was a typo too. I think if they re-did the entire ESV with italics (for words not found in the Greek/Hebrew), it would help resolve this particular problem. They then could add the word “the” in italics and everyone would be happy. How would this affect the rhythm of the reading though? Would the extra sylable throw things off? I know they were big on that kind of thing, perhaps that’s another reason why it was left out in the first place. Anyway, the missing italics are a glaring omission, and having them in, would solve this problem as well if they were at all concerned about confusing people or having folks miss the “at table” details. It would make the text more transparent too.

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31 Peter January 25, 2010 at 21:09

I’m a well-read Australian (34 y.o., i.e. not a child!) who had never heard the phrase until I read it in the ESV. So I found it incredibly jarring. Perhaps I have heard it before, but if so, it would have always registered as bad grammar, due to my background here. I sympathise with those for whom it is familiar and therefore appealing, but if whole english-speaking countries balk at its usage, it doesn’t seem the best option for an international translation like ESV. I like the phrase in principle now that I’ve encountered, but it is still jarring in experience.

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