Friday, March 25, 2011

NABRE: Isaiah 9:5(6)

Spurred on by a comment in a previous post, I have decided to post Isaiah 9:5 from the NABRE. This verse is notable, since some had predicted that the rendering would be changed from the original NAB. The original read:

"For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:5 (NAB)

In some quarters, this translation was heavily criticized.

Yet, the NABRE translators maintained this rendition of Isaiah 9:5:

"For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rest. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace." -Isaiah 9:5 (NABRE)

Looking at the NABRE note for Isaiah 9:5, there is no reason given as to why the translators maintained almost exactly the original NAB's rendition. Many English translations follow the more traditional: "For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace" as found in the NRSV. (The RSV and NRSV list this as Isaiah 9:6).

So, what are your thoughts? I cannot remember precisely, but I seem to have come across a similar rendering to the NAB(RE) in a commentary on Isaiah. Perhaps it was in the Anchor Bible volume on Isaiah 1-39. I am away from my library so I cannot verify at the moment. Perhaps one of our Hebrew and Greek scholars can enlighten us on this?


rolf said...

I am not a Greek scholar but I lokked up this verse in the NETS translation of the Seputagint, and it is different then both of the previously mentioned translations:
'because a child was born for us, a son also given to us, whose sovereignty was upon his shoulder, and he is named Messenger of Great Counsel, for I will bring peace upon the rulers, peace and health to him.'

Theophrastus said...

By far the most amusing English translation of the verse was the JPS1917 translation:

For a child is born unto us, a son is given unto us; and the government is upon his shoulder; and his name is called Pele-joez-el-gibbor-Abi-ad-sar-shalom;

By 1985, that had been completely rewritten in the NJPS translation:

For a child has been born to us,
A son has been given us.
And authority has settled on his shoulders.
He has been named
“The Mighty God is planning grace;
The Eternal Father, a peaceable ruler”

The Anchor Yale Bible translation by Joseph Blenkinsopp reads as follows:

For a child has been born for us,
a son has been given to us,
the emblems of sovereignty rest on his shoulders.
His titles will be:
Marvelous Counselor,
Hero Warrior, Eternal Father,
Prince of Peace.

B. Sommer comments on this verse: "This long sentence is the throne name of the royal child. Semitic names often consist of sentences that describe God; thus the name Isaiah in Hebrew means 'The LORD Saves'; Hezekiah, 'The LORD strengthens'; in Akkadian, the name of the Babylonian king Merodach-baladan (Isa. 39:1) means 'the god Marduk has provided an heir.' These names do not describe that person who holds them but the god whom the parents worship."

Unknown said...

Sounds like he is a comic book superhero rather than our supernatural God.