Shalom

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Shalom

Postby Catherine Brown » February 15th, 2014, 9:23 am

Hi,

I have just recently started looking at the biblical greek and I have found a few things which I need opinions on.
These are to do with the grammar of the greek and the translations of certain passages.

It is very difficult for me to learn other languages because I haven't quite got to grips with all the english grammar, and yes I have speaking english all my life lol. School wasn't my strong point because my concentration isn't always the best.

I have learned a little of the grammar so far, mostly based around the verses I am interested in.

:)
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Re: Shalom

Postby Barry Hofstetter » February 18th, 2014, 7:38 am

Greetings and welcome, Catherine. Many of us have found over the years that we really learned English grammar as a result of studying another language, Greek (and Latin) being especially helpful. Your interest in the language, being interested in particular passages, is often the entry point for many beginning students. I started Greek simply because I wanted to be able to read the NT in the original. The best approach, however, is really to learn the language, as systematically and thoroughly as possible, and you'll find quite a bit of help and helpful folks on this forum if you decide to pursue it at that level.
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Re: Shalom

Postby Catherine Brown » February 18th, 2014, 9:11 am

Thanks,

After having looked at a few posts on here, I've noticed that it seems a common occurence that the greek grammar is incorrectly translated in Revelation. This is where my interest in the greek is. I've gathered a couple of opinions on these texts so far, no one is in agreement though, so this is why I came here :)
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Re: Shalom

Postby Barry Hofstetter » February 18th, 2014, 2:11 pm

Catherine Brown wrote:Thanks,

After having looked at a few posts on here, I've noticed that it seems a common occurence that the greek grammar is incorrectly translated in Revelation. This is where my interest in the greek is. I've gathered a couple of opinions on these texts so far, no one is in agreement though, so this is why I came here :)


If all the translations have one thing, and you as a self-confessed beginner see another, don't assume the translations are wrong. Assume rather lacunae in your own knowledge... :?
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Grammar and The book of Revelations

Postby Stephen Hughes » February 18th, 2014, 10:19 pm

Catherine Brown wrote:I've noticed that it seems a common occurence that the greek grammar is incorrectly translated in Revelation. This is where my interest in the greek is. I've gathered a couple of opinions on these texts so far, no one is in agreement though, so this is why I came here :)

The Book of Revelations is not the best text to work on first, when you are a beginner learning Greek. While some people find the message that it conveys interesting, most people who know enough Greek grammar well enough to differentiate good Greek from bad, find the grammar of that Book "different" at least. Other apocalyptic literature - such as the Apocalyse of Peter, which I was looking at last month - doesn't have the same form of Greek, so the Greek of Revelations is not genre based. Perhaps it is more idiolectic.

When you are looking at the Book of Revelations, "incorrectly translated" as a viewpoint to work from is probably something that you are modify as you go on with your Greek learning. The "grammar" of Revelations is sometimes like a pidgin where the grammar is simplified, consequently, the sense of what it is saying needs to be understood (including interpreted) and then rendered into standard English. That requires a different approach to translating....

Think for a moment about direct and indirect (reported) speech. For the sentece
M said, "I'm going to the shops now."
, which is direct speech, we would render that into indirect (reported) speech as
M said (that) she was going to the shops at that time.

But if Mary did not have good English, and said,
M said, "me go just shop shop"
and you understood her, then the "correct" form of the reported speech would be
M said that she was going to the shops at that time.
.

The same way that we go from the second type of direct speech to indirect (reported) speech, is the way that we "translate" the Book of Revelations. What if we didn't do that with what M had told us? If we tried to mimic M's way of speaking English when we told someone else what she had said she was going to do, something like
M said that her go just shop shop
. When we told others what Mary had said, they would probably interpret our attitude to M in a negative way, AND the language that we used would be a distraction from the message that we were trying to get across. M has the right to speak the way that she does because she is just speaking the way that she does. If someone else as the one who reports her speech does that, the person has made a conscious choice to alter English from the good English that they know they are capable of, to poor English which lies outside the generally accepted norms of the language.

Translation is similar in many ways to the way that form indirect (reported) speech from direct speech. One can read the Book of Revelations in the Greek that it was written in, because that is what it is. But one's translation is to English not into a mimicing pidgin something like English.

When dealing with the "translation" of the Book of Revelation, you need to include the understanding step which lies between M said, "me go just shop shop" - M said, "I am going to the shops now" - M said that she was going to the shops when I met her. In fact, let me jump the gun and say that not agreeing with the translation of the Book of Revelation is often not agreeing with the interpretations. You will need a higher than beginner level of Greek to deal with the issues that you are proposing to deal with.

Good luck with your study.
Stephen Hughes
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(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
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Re: Shalom

Postby Catherine Brown » February 19th, 2014, 5:58 am

Thanks for your input guys,

Your right, understanding must come into play when translating. The trouble is, my understanding of the entire scriptures, is not the same as the majority. So i see things differently and a translator may do the same, he will base his translations on his understanding.

For example: The fireman is holding an extinguisher and so he walks upto himself and takes the extinguisher from his own hand.

Not to include theology, but yes that relates to a verse in revelation.

One persons understanding of that, can say that this is incorrectly translated because it is a contradiction and makes no sense. Another persons understanding will say that the fireman took the extinguisher out the hand of the chief fireman, making them two seperate people....if yours is that these two people are the same, then he cannot take anything out of his own hand, its illogical. Unless you start adding writing of your own, claiming that he divided his body into more than one part and hence overcoming the contradiction created through the translation.

With all due respect, who is to say that the understanding is correct in the first place?

Another example: Take St Catherine of Alexandria, it was written in greek, must have been in uncial form if they think Eusebuis wrote it. Just imagine for a second, that this 'story' was infact scripture, now removed by the creator of the canon. How would your understanding of revelation change?

Thats not theology but as it is scripture i'm looking at, then i used this as an example to show that understanding is only based on what you have, or what you have been given. The problem is, we dont know for sure :)
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Good luck and work hard with your Greek

Postby Stephen Hughes » February 19th, 2014, 6:14 am

You will only need a beginner's level of Greek (or perhaps be able to use an interlinear wioth some skill) to prove your ideas or theological viewpoints to others. Especially for the Book of Revelations, however, you will need quite an advanced level of Greek to verify those ideas first.

Good luck and work hard with your study.
Stephen Hughes
"If you can't explain it to a six year old, you don't understand it yourself."
(Attributed to Albert Einstein)
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Re: Shalom

Postby Barry Hofstetter » February 19th, 2014, 9:05 am

Catherine Brown wrote:Thanks for your input guys,

Your right, understanding must come into play when translating. The trouble is, my understanding of the entire scriptures, is not the same as the majority. So i see things differently and a translator may do the same, he will base his translations on his understanding.

For example: The fireman is holding an extinguisher and so he walks upto himself and takes the extinguisher from his own hand.

Not to include theology, but yes that relates to a verse in revelation.

One persons understanding of that, can say that this is incorrectly translated because it is a contradiction and makes no sense. Another persons understanding will say that the fireman took the extinguisher out the hand of the chief fireman, making them two seperate people....if yours is that these two people are the same, then he cannot take anything out of his own hand, its illogical. Unless you start adding writing of your own, claiming that he divided his body into more than one part and hence overcoming the contradiction created through the translation.

With all due respect, who is to say that the understanding is correct in the first place?

Another example: Take St Catherine of Alexandria, it was written in greek, must have been in uncial form if they think Eusebuis wrote it. Just imagine for a second, that this 'story' was infact scripture, now removed by the creator of the canon. How would your understanding of revelation change?

Thats not theology but as it is scripture i'm looking at, then i used this as an example to show that understanding is only based on what you have, or what you have been given. The problem is, we dont know for sure :)


In terms of understanding, we are talking about familiarity with the Greek. The vast majority of translations have been done by people whose main concern is to be faithful to the original language and render it as faithfully as possible into English. I always find it amusing when people who have access to Strong's and some sort of reference grammar set out to prove wrong scholars who have quite literally devoted their lives to the subject. Of course, it's fine to have a contrary opinion (free country and all that) but quite another thing to prove it from a foundation of knowledge and study. It is that on which you have to labor.
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Re: Shalom

Postby David Lim » February 19th, 2014, 9:08 am

Catherine Brown wrote:Your right, understanding must come into play when translating. The trouble is, my understanding of the entire scriptures, is not the same as the majority. So i see things differently and a translator may do the same, he will base his translations on his understanding.

You're right that everyone including a translator will interpret (and translate) a text based on one's understanding of it, but whether our understanding is the same as the majority's or different from it should not matter. What matters is that we must first hear and understand what others think before we can judge their interpretations. For a language, this means that we need to be sufficiently familiar with the language, otherwise our judgements will be based on too much guesswork to be accurate.

Catherine Brown wrote:The problem is, we dont know for sure :)

There are different classes of things that we can know with different levels of certainty. At the top are the basic rules of grammar and the basic meaning of common function words (both of which should be covered in an introductory text), so it would be a good idea to learn those first so that we can better tackle questions with less sure answers. Also, interlinears should be treated with utmost caution; I got nowhere trying to use them before I started learning Koine Greek from proper sources.

Stephen Hughes wrote:You will only need a beginner's level of Greek (or perhaps be able to use an interlinear wioth some skill) to prove your ideas or theological viewpoints to others.

Actually one doesn't even need an interlinear. With the right words at the right time in the right place, we can convince almost anyone (even ourselves) of almost anything. ;)
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Re: Shalom

Postby Devenios Doulenios » February 19th, 2014, 12:21 pm

As far as understanding the text goes, our primary concern should be to understand it the way the author did, then how his [There were few female authors in antiquity.] original audience did. Then, and only then, should we work on translating it to another language. Understand the Greek as Greek first. Same principle for any other language you're reading in.

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