The Faith of Christ (in French translation)

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?

6 Responses to “The Faith of Christ (in French translation)”

  1. I just checked two Romanian translations I own (the Protestant Cornilescu version and an Orthodox version) and both have (the equivalent of) “faith in” in Galatians 2:16 (twice). I didn’t look up any of the other verses you mentioned.

  2. Dr. Gorman,

    I checked three translations for you: Louis Segond, la Bible de Jerusalem, and La Bible du Semeur. Let me know if you need further assistance. The texts are as follows:

    1. Louis Segond (1910)

    •Gal 2 :16
    a) Through faith in Jesus Christ = par la foi en Jesus Christ
    b) In order to be justified by faith in Christ = , afin d’être justifiés par la foi en Christ

    a)Gal. 3 :22

    By faith in Jesus Christ = par la foi en Jesus Christ

    •Eph 3:12
    Through faith in him = par la foi en lui

    •Rom 3:22

    Through faith in Jesus Christ =par la foi en Jésus Christ

    •Rom 3:26
    The one who has faith in Jesus =celui qui a la foi en Jésus.

    •Phil 3:9

    Through faith in Christ =par la foi en Christ

    2. La Bible du Semeur (1999)

    •Gal. 2 :16

    a)Through faith in Jesus Christ = par la foi en Jésus-Christ
    b)Faith/trust/confidence in Jesus Christ = confiance en Jésus-Christ

    •Gal . 3 :22

    Their faith in Jesus Christ = leur foi en Jésus-Christ.
    •Eph 3:12
    Through faith in him =par la foi en lui

    •Rom 3:22

    Their faith in Jesus Christ = leur foi en Jésus-Christ

    •Rom 3 : 26

    The one who has faith in Jesus = celui qui croit en Jésus

    •Phil 3:9

    Through (of…) faith in Christ = de la foi en Christ

    3. La Bible de Jérusalem

    •Gal. 2 :16

    a)Faith in Jesus Christ= par la foi en Jesus Christ
    b)Faith in Christ =par la foi au Christ

    •Gal . 3 :22

    Faith in christ =par la foi en Jesus christ

    •Eph 3:12
    Faith in Christ = de la foi au Christ

    •Rom 3:22

    Through faith in Jesus Christ =par la foi en Jesus Christ

    •Rom 3 : 26
    Through (of..) faith in Jesus Christ = de la foi en Jesus Christ

    •Phil 3:9
    Through faith in christ = par la foi au Christ


  3. I forgot to say that they are all “French.”

  4. Michael Bird says:

    Thanks for being our French translation expert.

    Michael: I am on the CEB translation team (for 1 Esdras not Paul) and I’ll also be interested in how they translate pistis christou. I know that they are tranlating ho uios tou anthropou as “the human one”.

  5. The ISV translates pistis christou as “faithfulness of Christ” in Rom 3.22, 3.26 and Gal 2.16, 20, 3.22; Phil 3.9; and Revelation 14.12.

    To my knowledge, the NET and ISV translations are the only modern English translations who translate pistis Christou as “faithfulness of Christ” (or the equivalent noun).

  6. MJG says:

    Thanks for those language checks, James and Cel/Lou (?). I had checked the French JB and should have said so.

    MB—I had been assigned to Romans but had to pass the baton, so I was glad that RH stepped in to at least make the subjective reading an option.

    MW—I was almost completely unaware of the ISV and had never checked these texts. Thanks!

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