CSB with δικαιόω in Romans

Discussion in 'Translations and Manuscripts' started by Taylor Sexton, Jan 14, 2019.

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  1. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    I have really loved the revised Christian Standard Bible for a while now. However, one thing that bugs me about it is the inconsistent rendering of δικαιόω in Romans. It is about 50/50—rendered "justify" in some places and "declare righteous" in the rest. It is "justify" in every other occurrence outside of Romans (where in reference to soteriology, that is).

    I am wondering if anyone else has noticed this and can find some kind of rhyme or reason to it. I have thought, "Well, maybe they render it 'declare righteous' when it is an active verb and God is the subject, and 'justify' when it is passive and man is the subject," or something to that effect. But I can't seem to find any pattern. It really bothers me, not for my sake, but for the sake of those who read the CSB without original language knowledge. Since some of the renderings do not have footnotes noting the alternative rendering (another odd inconsistency), some such readers might be led to believe that there are two different Greek terms underlying the English text.

    Any thoughts?
  2. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    Taylor, I am sure Iain will be able to weigh in with a lot more detail than I can, but I do have two thoughts about this. "Consistency" in translating a particular term in Hebrew and/or Greek is not always desirable, if that term has a range of meanings. Context can give terms certain shades of meaning that are subtly different. The KJV translators noted this in their preface, which gave notice that they were not going to translate the same Hebrew or Greek term with the same English term all the time. In other words, I am saying that perhaps it shouldn't bother you, this feature in the CSB.

    That being said, I will give you my guess as to what is happening there. When the context is speaking about the event of justification considered as a whole, the translation is "justify." When the context demands that the particular judicial connotation of the declaration is part of the meaning, then it is translated "declare righteous." Try that one on for size and see if it fits. As I put myself in their translator shoes, I could easily imagine that this might be how the discussion went, since I am fairly confident that this practice is intentional on their part.
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  3. Taylor Sexton

    Taylor Sexton Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks, Rev. Lane. I was hoping you would chime in!

    My advisor in seminary was Con Campbell. He was on the team that did the CSB revision, so I asked him about this particular issue when the revision first came out, and this was the answer he gave me. Of course, I know that pure consistency is not at all desirable. Language just doesn't work that way. However, I just could not figure out in this case how δικαιόω could have different shades of meaning within a single letter making one main argument, soteriological justification being at the center.

    Your suggestion about the different "angles" of the act of justification is something I have not considered. It seems very plausible to me. Thank you!

    Oh, I don't doubt that at all. That's why it bothers me that I can't figure it out. ;)

    And, just to clarify, this isn't a critique of the CSB. I love this translation. This is just a little something that has bothered me about it. I told a friend once that learning Greek and Hebrew was in one sense a bad thing for me. Being a little OCD, I almost cannot read an English Bible without stopping every third verse because I ask, "Now, why did they do this here?" I get caught in the weeds sometimes with this. Haha.
  4. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    I don't have time to look at every use of those words in Romans (though it sounds like an intriguing puzzle to consider). But it occurs to me that maybe the "declare righteous" wording is used, at least in part, because Genesis 15:6 is so central to the argument being made in Romans. Using "declared righteous" might help the reader better keep track of the connection to God's declaration regarding Abraham, since that is usually rendered "counted/credited/declared righteous."

    Of course, then we might expect the same in Galatians where reference to Genesis 15:6 is also made, but it is not as prominent a part of Paul's argument in Galatians.
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