Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary

78 Translation


In the ecclesiastical sense of the word, is the removing of a bishop from one see to another. It is also used for the version of a book or writing into a different language from that in which it was written.

In translating the Scriptures, great knowledge and caution are necessary. Dr. Campbell lays down three fundamental rules for translating: 1. The translation should give a complete transcript of the ideas of the original.–2. The style and manner of the original should be preserved.–3. The translation should have all the ease of original composition. He observes that the difficulties found in translating the Scriptures arise, 1. From the singularity of Jewish customs.–2. From the poverty (as appears) of their native language.–3. From the fewness of the books extant in it.–4. From the symbolical style of the prophets.–5. From the excessive influence which a previous acquaintance with translations have occasioned.–And, 6. From pre-possessions, in what way soever acquired, in regard to religious tenets.

Notwithstanding these difficulties, however, the divines employed by King James to translate the Old and New Testaments, have given us a translation which, with a very few exceptions, can scarcely be improved. These divines were profoundly skilled in the learning as well as in the languages of the East; whilst some of those who have presumed to improve their version, seem not to have possessed a critical knowledge of the Greek tongue, to have known still less of the Hebrew, and to have been absolute strangers to the dialect spoken in Judea in the days of our Saviour, as well as to the manners, customs, and peculiar opinions of the Jewish sects. “Neither,” as one observes, “metaphysical acuteness, nor the most perfect knowledge of the principles of translation in general, will enable a man knows not accurately, and therefore cannot give a complete transcript in the ideas of the original work.”

Charles Buck (1771-1815) was an English Independent minister, best known for the publication of his “Theological Dictionary”. According to the “Dictionary of National Biography”, a Particular Baptist minister named John C. Ryland (1723-1792) assisted Buck by writing many of the articles for the aforementioned publication. One may conclude, based not only Buck’s admiration for his friend Ryland, but also on the entries in his Theological Dictionary, that he stood head and shoulders with the High-Calvinists of his day.

Charles Buck on the Biblical Covenants (Complete)
Charles Buck's Theological Dictionary