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I'm translating the Christian Greek scriptures

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I'm translating the Christian Greek scriptures

Postby Tichama » Mon Feb 10, 2014 3:07 pm

My name is Tim and I would like to be certain regarding the understanding of the ancient Greek text I am reading. I'm beginning in Matthew chapter 1 and have already noticed a couple of interesting things. For instance I found this text in the early Codex Purpureus Rossanensis (Σ) (6th century):

Ιωσηφ υιος ΔΑΔ μη φοβηθης παραλαβειν Μαριαμ την γυναικα σου· το γαρ εν αυτη γεννηθεν εκ πνευματος εστιν αγιου·


This is the generally accepted translation of the verse:

Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.


but when I do a direct translation using Wiki Lexicon and Concordance of the Greek New Testament
I get this:
Joseph son David not fear take Mary the wife you; the for one this give birth to out of spirit be holy.


which brings me to believe the subject of "holy" is the "one" not the "spirit" which means Mary gives birth to one who is holy, by the power of the spirit.

would not a better translation then be

Joseph son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife; for the one she will give birth to by spirit is holy


I would like to do the entire Christian Greek scriptures using the wiki lexicon word for word but that will take a long time.
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Re: I'm translating the Christian Greek scriptures

Postby Markos » Sat Jul 05, 2014 11:22 pm

Tichama wrote:
Ιωσηφ υιος ΔΑΔ μη φοβηθης παραλαβειν Μαριαμ την γυναικα σου· το γαρ εν αυτη γεννηθεν εκ πνευματος εστιν αγιου·

This is the generally accepted translation of the verse:
Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.

but when I do a direct translation using Wiki Lexicon and Concordance of the Greek New Testament
I get this:
Joseph son David not fear take Mary the wife you; the for one this give birth to out of spirit be holy.

which brings me to believe the subject of "holy" is the "one" not the "spirit" which means Mary gives birth to one who is holy, by the power of the spirit.

would not a better translation then be
Joseph son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife; for the one she will give birth to by spirit is holy


No, it would not be. If you understood the rudiments of how the cases work, you would know that ἁγίου has to go with πνεύματος and cannot go with τὸ γεννηθέν. But that's not what I want to talk about.

I'm translating the Christian Greek scriptures...


Really? Do you know Greek? Do you know ANY Greek? I happen to know New Testament Greek very well. I have read it cover to cover dozens of times. I can pick up the text and understand every word without looking anything up in a dictionary. I can also speak and write it a little (though very poorly.) I have also read lots of Greek outside the New Testament including Homer and Attic et. al.

And I would never, EVER consider translating the Greek New Testament into English. Why? 1. There are already many excellent translations, including at least one (The King James Bible) which happens to be a masterpiece of world literature. And 2. In order to translate the Greek New Testament, you have to know New Testament Greek, and once you know New Testament Greek, the last thing you want to do is think in terms of translation. The whole point of spending years and years learning New Testament Greek is so that you do not HAVE to translate it, so that you come to accept Greek, finally, as Greek.

χάρις σοι καὶ σοῖς ἐν ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, φίλε Τιμόθεε!
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Re: I'm translating the Christian Greek scriptures

Postby jeidsath » Sun Jul 06, 2014 1:01 am

If you understood the rudiments of how the cases work, you would know that ἁγίου has to go with πνεύματος and cannot go with τὸ γεννηθέν.


Markos means to say that πνεύματος is genitive, while the noun phrase το ... γεννηθὲν is nominative, so πνεύματος goes along with ἁγίου. That said, this verse does feel a little different from what I'd expect given the NASB and KJV translations, which would be: τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθὲν ἐκ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου ἐστίν.

As usual, those modern day Arians, the Jehovah's Witnesses, have a very defensible translation here: "for what has been conceived in her is by holy spirit." In verse 18, they have this footnote to similar words: "or active force," which could open up a whole discussion about Genesis 1, the Septuagint, Hebrew and Greek, Jews and Christians, and so on, if we were to let ourselves be distracted.

Also, notice how the "ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου" of verse 18 has here been broken up around the verb ἐστιν (which really is not about the two words it's inserted between). That's perfectly allowed by Greek word order, but I feel that it has the effect of inserting an invisible "which is" there (but considerably weaker than in English). But maybe it's something to do with how ἐστιν works between a pair of noun phrases.

Markos is completely right that you have a number of years of study ahead of you before translating the New Testament. But he is cheerier about the translation situation than I am. Committee translations have no soul, and that's all that we've gotten for decades! Spend a few years learning Greek, and do a good work by translating something that gives men some of the life of the originals. A Robert Alter for the NT.
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Re: I'm translating the Christian Greek scriptures

Postby Tichama » Tue Sep 16, 2014 6:09 am

Thanks guys, I appreciate your comments. Perhaps I should just take the King James and update the old words to newer ones. Two reasons why I think I should do another translation, one is I find it upsetting that persons have decided to change the meaning to support an idea, the other one is copyright laws prohibit use in some cases. I have gotten used to reading the Greek translated, but not the original Greek text. I would need to take a course, I just learned from a book it's not the same.

What if I just post the translation bit by bit here for people to proofread?
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