Science and beliefs (was: the gods)

Dominique.Thillaud thillaud at
Wed May 28 10:30:44 UTC 1997

At 11:41 +0200 27/05/97, Mr B.Philip.Jonsson wrote:
>First: science is not value-neutral, but constitutes itself a value-system
>and a world-view operating under a set of premises that are agreed-upon
>rather than 'given', that may or may not be in conflict with other systems
>of world-explanation.

	I agree completely. Using Eliade's definition of a religion as
'founding the reality' it's clear the science is today a new sort of living
religion, with cosmogony, origin of life, of mankind, gods (Energy,
Entropy, &c.), sacred and hermetic language (mathematics), well-developped
magic (technology, flying, far-talking, fireballs, &c.), necromancy (old
movies, archeology), clerics (I'm one) with studies, initiation, hierarchy
and heretics (I'm one too) and underlying philosophy (the concept of the
world's modelisation by scientific theories is platonician). The science is
apostolic (a subtle form of neo-coloialism) but, perhaps, the main today's
problems come from his lack of an eschatology!

>Second: I don't see how my role as a _translator_ would differ
>substantially depending on whether I identify myself as the upaasaka
>'Ngawang Dyiynba (Vaagiishvaradaana in Skt.) or as the scholar Philip
>Jonsson. The translator's task is to communicate the intentions and
>connotations of the author of the source text as accurately as possible
>into the words of the target language, regardless of how he himself values
>the content of the text. Some degree of scholarship is always needed to
>capture the range of meanings, connotations and associations of the words
>and expressions used. Sometimes a translator has to elaborate, either
>within the text itself or in notes, in order to get the meaning of the text
>across to the target-language audience, according to what he deems can be
>expected as "common knowledge" among the audience community, but always the
>goal must be to represent the original author as accurately as possible.
>The choice between building these elaborations into the text or giving them
>in notes is largely one of style, since it is desirable that a translation
>adheres as closely as possible to a stylistic register as closely
>corresponding to that of the original as possible. It is clearly the case
>that a text which in the original is encoded in a style of scholarly or
>philosophical prose is more amenable to elaboration within the text than a
>text that is poetic, gnomic or dramatic in form.

	I don't agree fully: translating a text is not just translating
words, syntax and semantic but translating too the *pragmatic*. A law-text
must be translated by a law-man. A religious text is not like a novel, it
vehicles strong religious intentions and I prefer the translator of a
buddhist text to be a buddhist. The exceptions are dead religions (as
egyptian one) and too much evolued religions: are bad translated Bible by a
protestant or Veda by an hinduist! (warning: I'm saying they are bad
translated from philological point of view, not from translator's religious
one). And if I recall right, muslim law prohibes the translation of Coran.

Dominique THILLAUD
Universite' de Nice Sophia-Antipolis, France

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