I just got out of my 1,2, 3 John and James final. As we passed in our exam, we got our papers back that we turned in a few weeks ago. I was pretty proud of myself on this paper because I knew I had done a good job, and more importantly, this was the first time when I could say, "All translations mine unless otherwise indicated."
My professor's grader was apparently not as enthused as I was about my new-found ability to translate Greek. He actually counted against me for doing it, writing off to the side: "It's dangerous to use your own translation when other scholars have their own translations. It will only weaken your argument." For one, how does using my own translation weaken arguments I make in the paper? No offense, but I think it's only when I'm not "kissing the bride through the veil" that I can truly begin to do exegesis. I picked up on the theological nuances of the passage I did, I think, because I translated it myself. And just who should I use? The two texts we used in class were Expositor's Bible Commentary and New American Commentary and their translations differ.
Secondly, I had some ideas in the paper that were my own. I've been studying at Southeastern for 3 years now, I figure it's high-time I start making statements that I didn't steal from someone else (I always footnote, I don't actually steal). Again, the grader tried to knock me for this. "Where's your source?" Perhaps it's all original. You might be looking at gold, buddy.....not likely, but still! At what point can students begin to give ideas that are their own? At what point am I allowed to branch out from what the commentaries say and maybe give my own two cents? I noted what I thought was a chiastic structure of 1 John 1:8-10. I've taken a class on Psalms and on Hermeneutics...if I can't identify a chiastic structure by now, it's time to pack it up.
I'm glad to say that the professor went back and regraded my paper, even making some notes about the notes the grader had made (on the translation, note, for instance, the professor wrote, "Still, this is a good translation.") and restored my grade from a 92 to a 97.