In a previous post I discussed how the translation of δίκαιον in 1 Jn. 2.1 in the Louis Segond French Bible influenced how I understood the text in contrast to several English translations (see here). For most English translators Jesus Christ is our advocate with the Father because he is “the righteous”. Since in English “righteousness” indicates moral uprightness more than it does legal justice the implication of the translation seems to be that Jesus is our advocate because of his moral perfection on behalf of our immorality.
In the Segond translation he is called le juste. While I am a novice at reading French (actually, I have just begun) it came across to me as more of a legal justice. Jesus is our advocate with the Father and he is trustworthy in this role because he is just. In other words, we have no fear of misrepresentation–Jesus will be a (more than) fair advocate.
I wondered aloud if the French translation wanted to have the same connotations as most English translations if vertueux would have been preferable since it has a moral flavor to it. I decided I would look at some other French translations to see if any depart from Segond. Of all the translations to which I have access–BFC, DRB, FBJ, NEG, and TOB along with LSG (Segond)–there is a unanimous use of something related to juste.
I am wondering if there is anyone out there will a solid understanding of the French language who can tell me whether or not juste would be read by a native French speaker as indicating legislative justice or moral righteousness. It may be that such a division would not exist in the mind of a French speaker. I do not know. If you are out there I would appreciate your feedback.
Brian, my question is a bit out of context, but are these French translation recent, or are they 20 years or older? My friend at work is from France I’ll ask him on Monday if you don’t get any responses.
There is a wide range. The French version of Darby is 1885. LSG is 1910 and the revised French Bible (BFC) is 1997; French Bible de Jerusalem (FBJ) is 1973; French Nouvelle Edition de Geneva (NEG) is 1975; French Traduction Ecumenique de la Bible (TOB) is 1988. So basically a range of 112 years all using juste.
I’m not a native speaker, but I do remember checking wordreference.com the other day and getting possible translations that included moral tinges and legal tinges. It’s the next best thing you can do without a native speaker (who will hopefully come along shortly!). ;-). My thought is that there is “one word” for it just like there is in Greek.
I used wordreference.com as you suggested. When I entered the English righteous it gave juste as the first suggestion, emphasis being on justification morale. Other options included vertueux and integre. It seems it would be that vertueux was excluded because unlike the other two it is not an adjective but rather a noun. My only problem with that is it would seem to remain a justifiable translation since δίκαιον is in apposition to Ἰησοῦν Χριστὸν giving me the impression that Jesus -Christ le vertueux would have been just fine.
As far as compound forms go both le juste and le vertueux were mentioned. In the Collins Robert Dictionary juste definitions having to do with justness, fairness, and so forth are given. Even the one entry of righteous is explained as just rewards or someone getting their due. But I agree with you: juste is likely as vague as δίκαιον.
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