Saturday, October 10, 2009

Translation Contest: Bultmann!

This is the first ever Duke Newt translation contest/suggest a better sign contest.

This street sign comes from Rudolf-Bulmann Straße in Marburg.

The sign reads:

"Prof. D. Bultmann D.D. (1884-1976) suchte die christliche Botschaft gegenüber dem Wahrheitsbewußtsein der Neuzeit zu verantworten."

The challenge is:

A: Offer your own tranlation of the sign


B: Create your own description of Bultmann--your own "Rudolf-Bultmann-Straße" sign


  1. Rudolf Bultmann (1884-1976): He sought a Christian reply to the truths of the modern mind.

    [I think this is the flavor it may have in English -- name and all]

  2. very interesting translation, sabio.

  3. Τὸ πλοῖόν μου τὸ μετεωριζόμενον ἐστι πλῆρες ἐγχελέων.

  4. "While Barth was exiled and Bonhoeffer hanged, Bultmann spent the War comfortably in Marburg."

  5. "Rudolph Bultmann *1884 - 1976) sought to make Christ an answer to the questions of the modern conscience. "

  6. How about: ..."Bultmann sought to account for the Christian message in relation to Modernity's sense of reality."

  7. I think I like this last one. The difficulty for me is deciding how to render Wahrheitsbewußtsein and verantworten. Does anyone have specific thoughts on what to do with these two words?

  8. "Rudolf Bultmann"

    Disclaimer: We are in the process of replacing this sign so that the street name will be less offensive and readily comport with the street that you already think you are on. For an alternate route, you can put your car in reverse and take a right on the bumpy gravel road named "History".

  9. Why don't you take a shot Nathan? Give us your translation.

  10. Rudolf Bultmann Street: All this sign signifies is that it is a sign.

  11. I'm coming a bit late to the conversation, but here's my suggestion:

    Rudolf Bultmann sought to answer for the Christian message vis-a-vis the epistemology of modernity.

    TJ - I don't know of a word in English that captures the sense of "verantworten," because one would need a transitive version of "to respond," that could take "the Christian message" as its direct object. I considered "defend," but the Germans wouldn't put something that controversial on a public street sign. I think "answer for" works for its transparency as well as getting some of the sense of "defend" that verantworten carries. "Epistemology" is not an exact translation for "Wahrheitsbewußtsein" (that would be Erkenntnistheorie). But epistemology is concerned with how human beings are conscious of the truth. Given the context, I think "epistemology" suits and sounds like fluent English in a way that "conception of truth" doesn't.