crê/crer (João 3:16)

Discussion in 'Português (Portuguese)' started by GamblingCamel, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. GamblingCamel

    GamblingCamel Senior Member

    USA English CULTA + RUA
    João 3:16, in João Ferreira de Almeida's 17th Century Bible, uses the wording, NELE CRÊ (present indicative, "believe in him").
    NELE CRÊ was maintained in the International Bible Society's EuPt Bible but was changed to NELE CRER in the BrPt version.

    I'm presuming that CRER = future subjunctive. Why was that selected for a Brazilian audience?

    King James Bible: For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

    Thank you CAKS for telling me about this Wiki article on Bible translations.
  2. machadinho Senior Member

    pt br
    It seems simply wrong to me. John 3:16:1-3 reads in Greek:
    1. (Οὕτως) (γὰρ) (ἠγάπησεν) (ὁ θεὸς) (τὸν κόσμον,) ὥστε
    (De tal modo) (pois) (amou) (o deus) (o mundo,) que

    2. (τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ) (ἔδωκεν,) (ἵνα) (πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων) εἰς
    (o filho o único) (deu,) (para que) (todo aquele que crê/todo o crente) em

    3.αὐτὸν (μὴ ἀπόληται) (ἀλλ' ἔχῃ) (ζωὴν αἰώνιον).
    ele (não pereça) (mas tenha) (vida eterna).
    The phrase in blue is a nominalized present participle of πιστεύω (to believe) in the nominative, and the small ὁ is the masculine article. The whole phrase may be literally translated either as "the believer" or "he who believes".
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  3. GamblingCamel

    GamblingCamel Senior Member

    USA English CULTA + RUA
    I wonder if the Brazilian Biblia NVI replaces the present indicative with the subjunctive in lots of passages.

    Does NELE CRER sound more natural to the Brazilian ear, especially among linguistic groups that are more iikely to be Protestants?

    In a literary (and religious) sense, does the subjunctive mood slightly modify the meaning of the sentence, so that it's more in the spirit of evangelical Protestantism? That is, God's promise of "everlasting life" is a firm pledge, but it is attainable only if you (might) actively believe in Him, if you (might) let Jesus into your heart. (might in EN = subjunctive possibility)

    The translator, International Bible Society, is a USA-based group.

    Here's John 3:16 in the most recent NIV English version:
    For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  4. machadinho Senior Member

    pt br
    It seems to be a biased passage as you suggest, but I think the translator felt that using the subjunctive mood here to translate ὁ πιστεύων (the believer, ie, he who believes) would sit well with the two other subjunctive verb phrases that occur in the sentence (ἀπόληται->pereça, and ἔχῃ->tenha). But here it would have been much better to use the present subjunctive, "todo aquele que creia não pereça e tenha."
    It sounds as natural as the other one to me, and I am no Protestant, not even a Christian at that.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  5. machadinho Senior Member

    pt br
    On second thought I think the future subjunctive (crer)—though absent in the Greekmay emphasize that pereça e tenha express the future tense. We usually employ the future subjunctive together with the future indicative: "Eu irei se você for." But substituting the present subjunctive for the future indicative works as well: "Talvez eu se você for".
  6. Outsider Senior Member

    Portuguese (Portugal)
    In my opinion, all three translations are correct and equivalent. The present indicative focuses the sentence on the present and gives it more immediacy (whosoever believes in Him...), while the future subjunctive focuses the statement on the future (whosoever shall believe in Him...), but that is all.

    As Machadinho notes, it's even possible in this particular case to use the present subjunctive, para que todo aquele que nele creia não pereça (whosoever should believe in Him...), which doesn't convey as much immediacy as crê, and doesn't place the focus on the future as much as crer.

    The nuances that distinguish the three verb forms are very minor in this context, practically insignificant. (I hope you're not misled by the tenses I chose in my literal translations. I used these to illustrate the different nuances — they aren't meant to be the best choices in translating from Portuguese to English. If I had to make an idiomatic translation, I'd probably use believe in all three cases.)

    As far as I can tell, the choices reflect the personal sensibilities of the translators, rather than dialectal differences between BP and EP.

    That's an interesting possibility!... but I suspect that most native speakers would not understand that fine distinction by the translators unless it were explained to them.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011

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