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瘟疫时期的日常(2)|Savior State——救世主式的国家

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已而为知者殆而已矣——庄子·内篇·养生主


翻译一个材料,遇到一个新概念,“Savior State”。

(848)God granted their request for a king but not for a Savior State. He turned kingship into a divine office.

(895)The Israelites wanted a king out of rebellion to God; they did not want God to rule over them. They wanted a Savior State—one they could see and control.

(897)The Savior State presents itself as the GUARDIAN and guarantor of the citizen’s total well-being.

(899)The quest for a Savior State has dominated most of human history.


在基督教神学的背景下,我很容易想象“Savior”等同于救世主,但“Savior State”,无论翻译为“救世主国家”还是“救世主状态”,似乎都不清楚。

比如第一句,这样的翻译显然很怪异:

神批准了他们立一个王的请求,但没有批准他们建立一个救世主国家

而这句话出现在第848句,下一次出现这个词汇,要在895句去了,在翻译的时候,似乎很难检查这么远的上下文。

另一方面,我不希望在翻译的时候,直接引入一个奇怪的术语或概念,因为对于读者来说,缺乏译者所经历的研究和思维过程,对于“救世主国家”的概念,更加容易产生误解。

这是需要花点时间研究的时候(百度或google的过程略)。我在一本宗教和政治杂志“First Things”上找到一篇文章,“THE SAVIOR STATE”,有一个比较清楚的解释:

The main characteristic of the savior state is that it presents itself as the people’s guardian, as the guarantor of the citizen’s well-being. The savior state is the paternal state, which not only sees to the security of its territory and the enforcement of its laws but also promises to feed, clothe, house, educate, monitor, medicate, and in general to care for its people. Some prefer to call it the nanny state, but that label fails to reckon with its inherently religious character. The savior state does have a religious character, precisely in its paternalism, and may even be comfortable with religious rhetoric. … We are familiar with it from modern times too. The savior state is the kind of state that Hobbes envisioned, or that Louis Du Moulin had in mind when he said that “the Commonwealth is a visible church.” It is the kind of state that emerges when it is assumed, as Herbert Thorndike pointed out in objection to both “Hobbism and Independency,” that “a man may be heir to Christ’s kingdom and endowed with Christ’s Spirit without being, or before he be, a member of God’s church.” It is the kind of state that Obama had in mind when, during the presidential campaign, he invited a Christian audience in South Carolina to see him as “an instrument of God” and to help him “create a Kingdom right here on Earth.”

这样一来就比较清楚了,“Savior State”指的是国家作为公民的守护者,大包大揽,承诺保护国民和国土,提供一切食物、衣物、房屋、教育、交通、医疗等,成为国民保姆的国家制度。这个概念最初大概是霍布斯在《利维坦》中讨论的那种集权制国家样式。

所以,我打算将这个术语译为“救世主式的国家”,并加上一个译者注:指的是托马斯·霍布斯在《利维坦》中讨论的,全面管制国民,保护国民和领土,并供应一切需要的国家……


正如上面某句话所说,历史上人类对脱离真正救主的“救世主式的国家”的要求,从来没有断绝过。瘟疫时期,日日见闻,更增感慨。

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