Archive for May 12th, 2009

The Faith of Christ (in French translation)

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

In preparing to lecture on Paul in French next week, in the West African country of Cameroon, I noticed that the French equivalent of the NRSV (the TOB, Traduction Oecuménique de la Bible) has twice—but only twice—translated the Greek phrase pistis christou or its equivalent as “the faith of Christ.” Both are in Gal 2:16: (1) justification is “seulement par la foi de Jésus Christ” = “only by the faith of Jesus Christ” and (2) “par la foi du Christ” = “by the faith of Christ.” In Gal 2:20 and elswhere in the Pauline corpus (Gal 3:22; Eph 3:12; Rom 3:22, 26; Phil 3:9), the TOB translates the phrase as “faith in” (French “en” or “au”), but it provides a note (like the NRSV) that “the faith of Christ” is an alternative translation.

It is not clear to me why the TOB translators chose those two texts, and only those two, but at least “the faith of Christ” translation, which I think is correct, made it into the text a couple of times, and not only into the footnotes.

I know of only one recent English translation, the NET Bible, that renders the pistis christou phrases as “faith of” in the main body of the translation. In fact, the NET Bible actually uses “faithfulness” rather than “faith,” and it does so consistently in all occurrences. (Interestingly, the KJV used “faith of” in every instance but Rom 3:26).

It wil be interesting to see what the new Bible translation from Abingdon, the Common English Bible (CEB), does with these texts, especially since one of the translators for Romans is Richard Hays, a key proponent of the “faith of” translation.

Does anyone know of any other translations, English or not, that have gone with “faith of” (the “subjective genitive”) for any or all of these texts?


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