Lectionary Year A
July 4, 1999
Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30

Step II: Disposition


(DH) B. PERSONAL INTERACTION

- (v.16) For a smooth translation, would it be possible to translate "generation" with "this particular age" or "time"?

(JEA) Response
The question about the possibility of a smooth translation in Step II for v. 16 of "time" or "this particular age" for "generation" makes me think of two things: 1) it is a good question to keep in mind as you travel along in the other exegetical steps so that when you get to Step Vb (after the summary of salient features and the hermeneutical bridge) you have some exegesis to support the decision you make, and 2) the term "generation" in this context - imagery of children, "son of man" technical term, protective care of the burdened (by the heir/head of the household?) - strikes me as one that is personal, connectional and therefore, initially, I would need help seeing this dimension in the "time/age" proposal. It is, to be sure, an interesting thought that "time" and the passage of the "generations" are linked and create a sense of having something in common. Thanks for the question.

(DH) Answer to JEA regarding "time/age:"
I guess what made me connect the two, i.e. time and age/generation, is the initial Augustinian notion or understanding of time, if you will (in my opinion still one of the best, if not the best, around ... after 1,500 years ...). He interprets "time" through the grid of "presence." Thus, "time" for Augustine is to be perceived in a threefold mode: presence of present past, presence of present present, and presence of present future. The three "corresponding concepts" in a human being's mind consist, accordingly, of memory (past), sight (presence) and expectation (future). So, if I put it together in a very rough way it could go something like this: Every generation/age is linked by the presence of time which is carried on through time from past over present into future. In this sense, I can imagine translating the phrase in question with "this particular age" or "this specific time" without violating the exegetical process. What do you think?



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