declare the praises

NewAmerica

Senior Member
Mandarin
Such collocation ("declare" is collocated with "praises") sounds very unusual to me. Is it still in use today?

Thanks in advance
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But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.(1 Peter 2:9 NIV)
 
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  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Despite what the NIV might think, no it isn't ... not as far as I know. In fact, it sounds like a good example of bad translation to me.
    In the real world we'd just say you may praise him or, if we wanted something prettier, you may sing the praises of him.
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    No, it's a good translation, it's just that the Greek uses a somewhat unusual collocation. The verb in question (which is a hapax legomenon in the Bible) means "to tell out, announce publicly, proclaim."
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    I'm frankly at a loss to discern the difference, but I shall amend my post #3 thusly: "No, it's good translation, it's just...." :)
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    declare the praises may be a good translation of [whatever the Greek words are]: 'declare' might be the closest approximation to [Greek X] and 'praises' to [Greek Y] .................. but it doesn't work qua English:)
     

    Glenfarclas

    Senior Member
    English (American)
    The question of what "works" depends on the nature and aims of the translation: to produce something that sounds like it could have been written in English? To produce something that lends itself to liturgical declamation? To produce something that tells people precisely what was said in the source language? To strike some sort of balance? According to the website for the NIV, its aim is the last of these: "Getting the words right means being true to the original Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic of the Bible. But it also means being true to the reader—capturing the Bible’s original meaning in natural, everyday English." I think the translation in question does so just fine, in comparison with other translations ("shew forth the praises," "set for the excellencies," "speak of the wonderful acts," "tell how good he is," etc.).

    And in all this we must keep in mind that it is a Bible that we are translating. One might as well ask whether it is a common collocation to say that a soul "magnifies" something (cf. Lk 1:46).
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Religious language is a discrete sociolect and unlikely ever to express anything precisely. The stories were collected from oral sources and generally thrashed out at Nicaea. The languages of the various versions are no more than attempts to bring modern language (at the time of publication) to the book. I think you could go through life and, apart form the quoted verse, never, ever hear "you may declare the praises".
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    [...] the nature and aims of the translation: to produce something that sounds like it could have been written in English [and] ? To produce something that lends itself to liturgical declamation? To produce something that tells people precisely what was said in the source language [...]
    These have always been my aims as a translator.

    My particular beef with this particular translation is that declare the praises of him doesn't really 'do' anything that praise him doesn't ... other than add length and sound un-English and a bit turgid:)
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    These have always been my aims as a translator.

    My particular beef with this particular translation is that declare the praises of him doesn't really 'do' anything that praise him doesn't ... other than add length and sound un-English and a bit turgid:)
    I agree, however, looking at some of the other translations of this verse shows a different meaning. Other versions say things like (in the NRSV), proclaim the mighty acts of him. "Praises" in this case is a translation of the Greek as "virtues", "powers", or "excellencies", as one commentator puts it.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Okay then, I'll put it like this:
    proclaiming / declaring / telling out [?*] / announcing publicly
    someone's
    excellencies / wonderful acts / virtues / powers
    is
    praising
    them
    :)

    *Which isn't even recognizable as English.
     

    Scott AM

    Senior Member
    English - Canada
    Hmmmm... no, in this case it doesn't quite do it. In the NRSV translation above, the sense is more "tell everyone about how powerful he is".

    In any case, back to the original question - I do agree with NewAmerica and yourself, ewie, that "declare the praises of him" is odd sounding and not common language. And I also agree with PaulQ that this might just be the nature of Biblical translations.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I always find it a strange idea that any god can only understand some convoluted and, usually, outmoded, form of English - "declare the praises of him" indeed...:rolleyes: He must be thinking that the episode at Babel worked too well...

    Like ewie, I see two possible and distinct meanings
    you may praise him or, you may sing the praises of him.
    although I would have "You are able to sing his praises [as a result of being the Chosen People] because "praises of him" would be currently understood as "the praises that others have given."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    The King James Version translation committee came up with a similar result
    "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light".
    The context makes it clear, I think, that it does not mean 'sing his praises' or 'praise him'. The point is that "ye" are specially selected to declare God's "praises" to other people, not specially selected to praise him - where "praises" means "things to be praised". The OED does, of course, have a suitable definition :)
    A virtue, attribute, merit, etc., for which a person or thing is, or deserves to be, praised. Now rare (literary in later use).
    The NIV has failed in its declared aim
    But it also means being true to the reader—capturing the Bible’s original meaning in natural, everyday English.
    because by using a rare meaning of "praises" it has not used "everyday English".
    So it is a good translation - the words are translated accurately - but it is also a bad translation - because we don't use that meaning in modern English.
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    ~"Oh he's an absolute treasure ~ he's always doing little things for me, and big things too: he takes me to the clinic every week, and he took Rover to the vet when he had the mange ~ when Rover had the mange, this is ... I couldn't tell you all the things he's done for me ..."
    ~"I don't know why you're always singing his praises when everyone knows he's only after your money."
    etc.

    (1) I suspect (but am not sure) that the praises in sing someone's praises is that 'rare' meaning in the OED. Isn't it?:confused:
    (2) Also: It seems to me from where I'm sat that 'declaring God's glories' (etc.) is singing his praises.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    If you want "natural, everyday English", then you want The Message :
    9-10 But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
    It's not about praising him, it's about telling others of his "praise-worthiness."
     

    Andygc

    Senior Member
    British English
    'Singing his praises' and 'declaring his praises' are not, to me, synonymous. When you sing somebody's praises you are saying how wonderful you think that person is - it's expressing one's own opinion. This declaring his praises is telling others why they should praise him - why they should sing his praises.
     
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