Epistles of Thomas

September 10, 2008

That that in The Message

Filed under: Translation — Thomas @ 15:57
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I just noticed today that Eugene Peterson really likes to use “that that.” I was reading Matthew 27:63: “They said, ‘Sir, we just remembered that that liar announced while he was still alive, ‘After three days I will be raised.’'” It looks grammatically correct but it sure sounds awkward. Wikipedia lists some examples reaching five, six and seven consecutive thats but I think a Bible translation should probably avoid repetitive thats. The Message has five other “that that:” 2 Ki 19:35; Ezra 4:15; Jer 49:13; Lk 6:22; Jn 4:53 along with a couple of that’s that. I checked with several other translations and see that Peterson is not alone although he does seem to be most prolific.


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