Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

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Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
Curious is if the greek word "psyche" is best translated to the current English word "Soul"?

For instance, in 3rd John 1:

"Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul."

The word "Soul" now has in English connotations of a separate incorporeal ghost like spirit. Perhaps it is a better translation to call "psyche" now as "being" or "life" or "person."

NT Wright wrote:

“Paul’s, and the gospels’, usage [of psyche] is far closer to the Hebrew nephesh, which is the living, breathing creature: God breathed into human nostrils his own breath, the breath of life, nishmath hayyim, and the human became a living creature, nephesh hayyah (Genesis 2.7). …. Psyche here simply means ‘creature’, or perhaps even (in modern English) ‘person’. There are several other references indicating the same thing (e.g. 1 Thess 2.8; Phil 1.27; 2.30; Rom 2.9; 11.3; 13.1; 16.4; 2 Cor. 1.23.). All refer to the ordinary human life.”

Joel Hoffman wrote:

"The situation in Greek — where we find psuche (also commonly transliterated psyche) for the Hebrew nefesh — is more complicated.

Like its Hebrew counterpart, the Greek psuche can refer to the physical aspects of life. In Matthew 6:25, for example, the psuche does the eating and drinking. But in Matthew 10:28, we see psuche used in contrast to the phsycial body."

What do folks think about how to best translate Psyche, or PSuche?
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Brian J. Henry
I did a quick skim of N.T. Wright's translation against the ESV for psyche, and he mostly agrees with the ESV where it translates it soul. He does a couple times opt for "life," "true life," "whole life," or "heart."
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
Thanks Brian: Interesting. I'm pretty sure how the modern use of the word "soul" is not a great match for "psyche" but not sure if there is one that better fits. Looking up more online for other translations or other thoughts.
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
I am seeing some thoughts that maybe "inner person" or "inner man" or "inner woman" depending on the context might be a better translation than "soul."  Perhaps also "being" or "inner being" might be worth considering.

Using this idea in 3 John 1:2 would read:

'My beloved friend, I pray that all may be well with you and that you may be in good health — just as your inner man prospers."

That actually fit better than I thought it might. Others thoughts?
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

russellallen
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In reply to this post by Timchambers
As long as we don't give the impression that the soul is some little person living within us...


On 18/09/2013, at 11:51 AM, "Timchambers [via Open English Bible]" <[hidden email]> wrote:

I am seeing some thoughts that maybe "inner person" or "inner man" or "inner woman" depending on the context might be a better translation than "soul."  Perhaps also "being" or "inner being" might be worth considering.

Using this idea in 3 John 1:2 would read:

'My beloved friend, I pray that all may be well with you and that you may be in good health — just as your inner man prospers."

That actually fit better than I thought it might. Others thoughts?


If you reply to this email, your message will be added to the discussion below:
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
Russel wrote:

"As long as we don't give the impression that the soul is some little person living within us..."

A very fair point. all of these are word-pictures or metaphors aren't they?  

The translation goal seems to be the artistry of picking one that more closely fits the original phrase as best we can tell. From some writers it almost seems that "psyche" as originally used may best mean "Person" or "core being" but in modern English those are not commonly used or somewhat dry or in danger of sounding too in the realm of pop-psychology evoking "inner child."

I'm somewhat convinced that "soul" is a distinctly poor translation at least in how we use the term now.... but fishing for a good one.
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
In reply to this post by Timchambers
And one last site looking at this question, this one a Seventh Day Adventist Bible Researchers site:

      The word “soul” is not the best translation of the original Hebrew and Greek terms. In the Bible the “soul” is not immortal and cannot exist independent of the physical body. From the point of view of biblical anthropology (the study of human nature), the term “soul” expresses two main ideas. First, humans are by nature creatures of desires and ongings. Second, humans are living beings who eagerly seek to live but are unable to acquire or preserve life by themselves. “Soul” refers to the whole person in need of God, who is the only one who can preserve a human being or extinguish the self forever (Matt. 10:28). Therefore, nephesh/psuche refers to the totality of the person as a center of life, emotions, feelings, and longings that can be fully realized only in union with God."

 https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/materials/theology-state-dead/meaning-word-soul-bible
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Pleonic
Of course that opinion may be conditioned by SDA theology. 'Soul sleeping' isn't compatible with a  conscious, eternal soul.

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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
Yes a very good point. Was looking to find various different theological Christian voices on the question....Will keep looking for even more, too....
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Brian J. Henry
In reply to this post by Timchambers
I agree, it's not ideal, but I think there's enough of a movement to get back to defining "soul" in a more Christian/Jewish understanding that it doesn't particularly bother me to keep it in a few contexts.

Also, for 3 John 1:2, Wright goes with "Beloved, I pray that all is going well with you, and that you are every bit as healthy physically as you are spiritually."
And I forgot to note earlier that a couple times he just leaves out "soul" altogether and leaves it kind of implied. (e.g. Heb. 6:19: "This hope is an anchor for our souls, secure and strong..." vs. "We have this hope like an anchor, secure, solid...")
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
Brian:

Good thoughts, and thanks for that from Wright. Might be good as we look at the OEB current use of "soul" on a verse by verse context by context for the New Testament and compare that to the choices he made. I assume those are all from the Kingdom New Testament he translated?

Also just found this from the HSCB version, which was similar to Wright work on 3rd John 1:2

"Dear friend, I pray that you may prosper in every way and be in good health physically just as you are spiritually."

For my work in the other thread on 3rd John i might suggest something along these lines.

It seems light Wright and the HSCB folks had similar sensitivity on this word translation issue and might be good guides to see how they handled each instance.
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Brian J. Henry
Timchambers wrote
Good thoughts, and thanks for that from Wright. Might be good as we look at the OEB current use of "soul" on a verse by verse context by context for the New Testament and compare that to the choices he made. I assume those are all from the Kingdom New Testament he translated?
Yeah definitely, and yep, they're from the Kingdom NT.
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
In reply to this post by Timchambers
So now that I have the downloadable D3, i've searched and listed out every use of the word "soul" in the OEB. So i'll add each verse in, and then list how the HSCB and how the KNT both handle the verse by comparison.

Then we can suss through how we do. Given that this list will be a bit long, I'll create a new thread for that.
Thanks everybody.
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Re: Miscellaneous Fixes of Terms and Phrases: "Soul"

Timchambers
In reply to this post by Brian J. Henry
Just bumped into one more article looking at the idea and the translation of "pshyche" in the NT by RJS at the Jesus creed blog. The whole article is worth a read but here are some key parts relating to translation:
--

Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell. Mt 10:28

The Greek word ψυχὴν, psyche, translated soul in this verse, has meanings that range from life spirit of animals to the center of the inner life of man, that is feelings and emotions, to the seat and center of life that transcends the earthly.

...Turning back to the verse with which I opened this post. This verse need not be taken as affirming a separation of body and soul, especially in the light of our understanding of bodily resurrection. We are not souls that happen to inhabit material bodies, but persons who have both body and soul. It is the whole person that is enjoying new life in Christ and the whole person, body-soul, that will be raised in Christ. All the earthly authorities can do is to hasten death – they cannot destroy the whole person. Any destruction of the whole person is the purview of God alone, left to the final judgment. This we should fear.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/12/12/both-body-and-soul-rjs/