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Jude 1:8; ESV;

8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones.

Jude 1:8; ASV;

8 Yet in like manner these also in their dreamings defile the flesh, and set at nought dominion, and rail at [j]dignities.

Jude 1:8; KJV;

8 Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities.

Jude 1:8; DRB;

8 In like manner these men also defile the flesh, and despise dominion, and blaspheme majesty.

Some English translations mentioned dreamings, dreamers, or who dreams, such as ESV, ASV, and KJV, while others don't mention anything relating to dreaming, such as DRB. According to textual criticism, which are more accurate, KJV or DRB?

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3 Answers 3

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I've elsewhere written a more detailed answer with multiple sources cited. To summarize,

  1. The Greek New Testament manuscripts include the participle ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι (enypniazomenoi, "dreaming"), whereas the Vulgate used by the Douay-Rheims (DRB) does not have a corresponding Latin word.

  2. The participle modifies all three verbs (i.e., defile, reject, and blaspheme).

  3. The Greek sentence structure (i.e., the "μὲν ... δὲ ... δὲ" particles) puts each of the three verbs on par as actions these dreaming people (the subject) try to justify.

  4. While a participle in English is traditionally translated with an "–ing" ending (i.e., "dreaming"), this doesn't always adequately convey the versatility and meaning of Greek participles. The English reader might have trouble connecting "dreaming" with each of the three verbs that follows.

  5. The key takeaway is that the individuals doing these things are dreaming (in the sense of prophetic visions), and the author felt mentioning this dreaming was relevant to their behavior. The dreaming is the basis for (or otherwise related to) these people's actions. Any translation that conveys this is satisfactory.

For more information, see this post.

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I was about to provide my own literal translation but noticed that the BLB is quite good here in Jude 8 -

Yet likewise also these dreaming ones indeed defile the flesh, and set aside authority, and blaspheme glorious ones.

I am at a loss to understand how DRB arrived at this translation which appears to ignore numerous features of the text.

  • it ignores ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι = dreaming [ones]
  • it ignores κυριότητα = authority
  • it ignores δόξας = glorious [ones] and substitutes "majesty

I am also at a loss to understand "filthy" in the KJV as well as "dominion". Nothing in the text corresponds to these words.

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  • +1 I hope you keep noticing your answer, and try to make it wider. Thank you.
    – salah
    Feb 1, 2022 at 2:04
  • 1) DRB is Douay-Rheims, not Darby; 2) DRB translated the Latin Vulgate, not the Greek New Testament; 3) the KJV italicized "filthy" to indicate it is not found in the Greek, but rather comes from considering the participle ἐνυπνιαζόμενοι to be adverbial to "σάρκα ... μιαίνουσιν" specifically (and not equally to the other two verbs as indicated by the "μὲν ... δὲ ... δὲ" particles). I've elaborated further elsewhere, if interested.
    – Dan
    Feb 1, 2022 at 23:56
  • @Dan - woops - thanks for pointing out my senile error. Now corrected. I do not know how I started using "Darby". Now fixed.
    – Dottard
    Feb 2, 2022 at 0:01
  • By the way, concerning "dominion," there is actually a textual discrepancy in the Greek manuscripts. Dominion, authority, and lordship are all acceptable translations of the abstract singular κυριότητα ("dominion" refers to the spiritual powers and may in fact be what is intended based on the context; see Eph. 1:21; 2 Pet. 2:10). However, some of the later uncials and Coptic manuscripts had the plural κυριότητας (lords, which could refer to human or divine authorities).
    – Dan
    Feb 2, 2022 at 0:19
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All normal translations work along a spectrum between word-for-word and thought-for-thought. Some translations (like the NASB) lean much more toward the former, while others lean harder toward the latter (the Message is an extreme example). Aside from an interlinear, every translation uses at least some of the thought-for-thought.

So let's look at an interlinear, where the original words are simply translated in the order in which they appear. (Note that a reverse interlinear would be easier to read.) Quoting from the Apostolic Bible Polyglot

In like manner however also these dreaming ones, [3the flesh 1indeed 2defile], [3lordships 1and 2annul], [3glorious things 1and 2blaspheme].

So the KJV adds what isn't there ("filthy"), while the DRB doesn't mention that they're called "dreamers" in the original. Neither is a perfect translation. This does show the importance of using multiple translations and comparing.

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