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Issues in the Translation of οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι in the Fourth Gospel

From: Journal of Biblical Literature
Volume 132, Number 3, 2013
pp. 671-695 | 10.1353/jbl.2013.0041



The issue of translating the Greek term οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι in the Fourth Gospel has occasioned considerable concern from English-speaking scholars in recent years. This article examines some of the most prominent translation options taken by Johannine scholars. Using modern translation theory and the literary theories of Mikhail Bakhtin, this article argues that the recent history of the translation of οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι is linked to the ideological concern of scholars either to demonstrate or to refute the presence of anti-Judaism in the Gospel. Demonstrating that the rhetoric of the Gospel is monologic in the Bakhtinian sense, this article questions the ability of some “dynamic equivalence” translation options to account for the ways in which the Gospel rhetoric shapes its largely negative portrayal of the Jews in the narrative.

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