Original Research: Historical Thought and Source Interpretation

Semantic adjustment in Matthew 6:12 in the Smith-Van Dyck Arabic Bible

Yuangga K. Yahya, Zamzam Afandi, Ibnu Burdah
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 79, No 2 | a8693 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v79i2.8693 | © 2023 Yuangga K. Yahya, Zamzam Afandi, Ibnu Burdah | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 18 March 2023 | Published: 17 November 2023

About the author(s)

Yuangga K. Yahya, Department of Comparative Study of Religions, Faculty of Ushuluddin, University of Darussalam Gontor, Ponorogo, East Java, Indonesia; and Department of Middle-East Studies, State Islamic University of Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Zamzam Afandi, Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Faculty of Adab and Cultural Sciences, State Islamic University of Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Ibnu Burdah, Department of Arabic Language and Literature, Faculty of Adab and Cultural Sciences, State Islamic University of Sunan Kalijaga, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Abstract

This research focused on one of the messages in the Lord’s Prayer, particularly Matthew 6:12 about prayer for forgiveness and forgiveness to others in order to suggest a concept revision for the sake of a rather normative modern Arabic audience. In the Smith-Van Dyck version, asking God for forgiveness serves as the basis for forgiving sinners by using the present and future form of the verb نغفر كما (as we will forgive). This translation is in contrast to 1881 Jesuit Arabic Bible, which used the past tense غفرنا كما and أعفينا فقد (as we have forgiven) as written in the Greek Bible as ὀφειλήματα ‘debts’ by referring to the debt metaphor. This study examined the Arabic translation of Matthew 6:12 in the perspective of Nida and Taber’s semantic adjustments. In light of the research findings, it was clear that the semantic adjustment and grammatical adjustment in the translation did not run on the grammatical structure of the Arabic language. The translation into Arabic also did not comply with the original source of the text, but it was accentuated by the interpretation of ‘debts’ into ‘sins’.

Contribution: In conclusion, this fact can be seen from the choice of the word ‘نغفر’ and the use of the future tense (fi’l muḍār’i) as opposed to the source text that uses the past tense (fi’l māḍy).


Keywords

Arabic Bible; semantic adjustment; translation; Lord’s Prayer; Smith-Van Dyck.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 10: Reduced inequalities

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