This coming Sunday in the Roman Lectionary, we will hear the story of blind Bartimaeus. This is one of my favorite passages in the Bible, and it even includes the name Timaeus! In many ways, it is the hinge on which the Gospel of Mark turns, as the focus now turns to Jerusalem. I thought I would provide multiple translations of this passage, just to spur some discussion on how each handles it. (Mark 10:46-52) Although very similar, there are some subtle differences between the translations. For example, is there a major difference in translating the Greek word hodos as "way" or "road"?
As Jesus was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a sizable crowd,Bartimaeus, a blind man, the son of Timaeus,sat by the roadside begging.On hearing that it was Jesus of Nazareth,he began to cry out and say,"Jesus, son of David, have pity on me."And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent. But he kept calling out all the more,"Son of David, have pity on me."Jesus stopped and said, "Call him."So they called the blind man, saying to him,"Take courage; get up, Jesus is calling you."He threw aside his cloak, sprang up, and came to Jesus. Jesus said to him in reply, "What do you want me to do for you?" The blind man replied to him, "Master, I want to see." Jesus told him, "Go your way; your faith has saved you." Immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
They came to Jericho. As he and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the roadside. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout out and say, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Many sternly ordered him to be quiet, but he cried out even more loudly, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’ Jesus stood still and said, ‘Call him here.’ And they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Take heart; get up, he is calling you.’ So throwing off his cloak, he sprang up and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ The blind man said to him, ‘My teacher, let me see again.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Go; your faith has made you well.’ Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.
They reached Jericho; and as he left Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd, Bartimaeus -- that is, the son of Timaeus -- a blind beggar, was sitting at the side of the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout and cry out, 'Son of David, Jesus, have pity on me.' And many of them scolded him and told him to keep quiet, but he only shouted all the louder, 'Son of David, have pity on me.' Jesus stopped and said, 'Call him here.' So they called the blind man over. 'Courage,' they said, 'get up; he is calling you.' So throwing off his cloak, he jumped up and went to Jesus. Then Jesus spoke, 'What do you want me to do for you?' The blind man said to him, 'Rabbuni, let me see again.' Jesus said to him, 'Go; your faith has saved you.' And at once his sight returned and he followed him along the road.
They came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples and a large crowd were leaving Jericho, Bartimaeus the son of Timaeus, a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercyon me!” Many scolded him to get him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up! He is calling you.” He threw off his cloak, jumped up, and came to Jesus. Then Jesus said to him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man replied, “Rabbi, let me see again.” Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has healed you.” Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the road.
Update: Michael Barber, from his blog The Sacred Page, has some nice info on this reading as well.
Of the versions you have posted, I think the NAB reads the best and the clearest.
I would rank the NJB second and the NET third.
The NRSV seems the weakest to me.
I really like how the NAB and NJB say faith has saved him, rather than simply healing his sickness. On the other hand, I prefer the word "mercy" from the NRSV and NET, rather than "pity".
On road vs way--you'd have to go a lot more deeply into translation than I can. Some roads were known as ways--The Appian Way, so on that level, it doesn't make a difference whether you translate it as road or way. On the other hand, in English, "following someone on the way" often means following the way they do things. Which was intended by the author? One, Both? Either?
The contrast between the words "mercy" and "pity" is striking to me too, since in common speech, they don't seem to mean the same thing at all. I would very much seem to change the meaning of the Bartimaus' intent.
As an aside, I never noticed until now that Bartimaeus was not born blind, but that he asked and was granted to *regain* his sight. From a spirtual reading of this passage, could that not allude to one that had faith and one time, and was seeking to regain that lost faith?
Went to Mass, and listening to the Gospel, the word "mercy" was used instead of "pity".
The Liturgical version of the NAB NT is slightly different and superior to the version of the NAB the average lay person can buy at thier local bookstore.
When the newly revised NAB is published, I hope and pray the Liturgical version of the NT (with a couple more perfections, such as using "gates of hell" and using "soul" rather than "life" in MT 16, and using "shall" or "will" in Lk 1:34 instead of "can", and using "body" and "eagles" in MT 24 instead of "corpse" and "vultures") will be the version of the NT used across the board.
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