An open question:
I'm wondering how as a translation we should handle the translations of the words "ha-satan" and "Santanas" which seems to be a loan word in Greek from the original Hebrew. the Greek
Diablolos" often translated "Devil" also seems to carry the same meaning.
It would seem at least in the places in the OEB where the greek term "the" or "ho" or related articles are used (such as "ho santanas") we should at least use the term "the Satan". Thus in English matching the Greek. Note: not sure if we are capitalizing the devil or satan but that is another issue.
But perhaps we go with a translation such as "The Accuser" or "The Slanderer" for "ha-satan" "Santanas" and "Diablolos"?
It seems slightly ambiguous if "Satan" as a term in Hebrew or Greek is a proper name or a title of sorts. Might not a better translation keep that ambiguity? And esp where the article "the" is used to keep that in the translation to English?
So maybe translating all the terms as "The Accuser" or "The Slanderer" might be best?
What do people think?
Here is some of what I found on those terms usage in the OT and NT:
The Hebrew word satan [f'f] means "an adversary, one who resists." It is translated as "Satan" eighteen times in the Old Testament, fourteen of those occurrences being in Job 1-2, the others in 1 Chronicles 21:1 and Zechariah 3:1-2.
In Job and Zechariah the definite article precedes the noun (lit., "the satan" or "the accuser"). Thus some argue it should be a title, while in 1 Chronicles (no article) it should be a proper name. The word is used also of various persons in the Old Testament as "adversaries, " including David ( 1 Sam 29:4 ), Rezon of Damascus ( 1 Kings 11:23 1 Kings 11:25 ), and the angel of the Lord ( Numbers 22:22 Numbers 22:32 ).
""Satan" occurs thirty-six times in the New Testament, eighteen of that number in the Gospels and Acts. The Greek term satanas [Satana'"] is a loan word from the Hebrew Old Testament, and twenty-eight of the total occurrences are accompanied by the definite article."
The other common appellation for Satan in the New Testament is "the devil" (diabolos), not found in the Old Testament, but thirty-four times here, meaning one who is traducer, a slanderer.
Im certainly not up to date with the current academic literature on this question. We see that the word/title has retained its form when it goes from greek into the first latin translation as well. We are then left to wonder why the early church thought it best to preserve this title in the form it was pronounced, rather than translate it by meaning. This makes me think it is likely to be a technical term/title, not simply to be translated by meaning alone.
We do the same thing today when translating the bible, i.e. we translate baptiso as baptise, rather than to "dip", as we recognise it has a specific technical meaning.
Interestingly, were bible translators to switch to translate "Satan" by its meaning, rather than by its sound, it is suggesting we reverse the practice of the early church (some find the weight of tradition more important than others).
It would also then beg the question, should we translate other hebrew names in the old testament by meaning rather than by sound?
Do you have references from articles from reputable journals that provide support your view? I'd certainly be willing to put time into following up the literature on the matter.
This post was updated on .
Here is a specific argument from scholars that is focused only on the references in the book of Job to Satan, the terms currently translated Satan, should be "the challenger" or "the accuser."
From The commentaries by John Walton (Job (The NIV Application Commentary)) and Tremper Longman III (Job (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms)),
This post was updated on .
And here is a discussion from this Hebrew Bible and Semitic Studies teacher and Scholar for Logos software
Here is what he says that speaks mostly to the word "Satan" in Job, but also elsewhere:
This same author makes a simliar argument here:
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