help with textbook assignment

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Michael Sharpnack
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Joined: February 2nd, 2017, 5:13 pm
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help with textbook assignment

Post by Michael Sharpnack » February 3rd, 2017, 2:54 pm

Hi guys, this is my first post, so have mercy on me. I've been learning Greek on my own with the textbook "Greek to me", and it's been a lot of fun. It has these fairly long translation assignments at the end of each chapter which I've been enjoying. However, the problem is I haven't been able to find answers anywhere to check my work. I'm usually able to translate about 90% of them with some confidence, but there's always a few things I can never figure out. So, I was hoping I could get some help with some of that.

A couple sentences from my current chapter:
1.καί ἔχων ἐπιθυμίαν φαγειν ἐδοκει τόν οὐρανόν βλέπειν ἀνεωγμένον και σκευός τι καταβαινον εν ὠ ὑπηρχεν πολλα θηρία του αγρου
2. σύ τε καλως ἐποίησας παραγενόμενος ἐν μέσω ἡμων.

(first, a side question: is my Greek font ok? I'm using the Lexilogos keyboard, but the main problem I have with it is it doesn't have the circumflex accent.)

1. Here's my rigid translation of the first one: "and having a desire to eat, he seemed to see heaven being opened and a certain vessel coming down in which was present many beasts of the field"
- Why is there no ν at the end of ἐδοκει? It's a contract, and imperfect 3rd sg, so wouldn't the ending be ε+εν= ειν?
-Also, I was having a hard time translating ἐδοκει in the sentence. The other way I wanted to translate it was: "he was thinking he saw heaven..." Neither seem to fit quite right.
-Another question I had was about the indefinite pronoun "τι". I'm not quite sure how to tell what it's referring to.

2. For the second one I got: "And having beautifully made an arrival in the midst of us." But I don't think that's right at all.
- How do you tell what καλως is referring to?
- I'm having a hard time seeing how to translate the two participles. I tried to put them together in the predicate position, but I'm not sure.

Thanks in advance. Hope this isn't too much all at once.
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Robert Emil Berge
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Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by Robert Emil Berge » February 3rd, 2017, 7:05 pm

1. First of all, I think your translation is pretty good. As to your questions: 3rd sg imperfect is never -εν, but -ε, so the contract is ε+ε=ει. δοκέω is a very difficult verb to translate at times, since it's used in so many ways. I think (but am not sure) that your first attempt is correct. You also got the τι right, I think, but maybe it would be enough here to interpret it as an indefinite article and translate "a vessel" or "some vessel".

2. It is quite difficult to translate the καλῶς ποιέω without some more context, but it basically means "to do well", but it can also mean "get what one deserves", but I don't think that is the case here, even without the context. You have forgotten the initial σύ in your translation, so it isn't a complete sentence. And althout the adjective καλός often is translated beautiful, the adverb is more often just well or right.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 3rd, 2017, 7:13 pm

One other thing: are you thinking ἐποίησας is a participle? I don't see two participles in that sentence.

As for the keyboard, what is your operating system?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Michael Sharpnack
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Joined: February 2nd, 2017, 5:13 pm
Location: Nashville

Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by Michael Sharpnack » February 3rd, 2017, 7:25 pm

Thanks for the responses.

Operating system is windows 10.

As for ἐποίησας, I was thinking it's a participle, but now that Robert pointed out the συ, I realize it's not, which also made me realize it wouldn't have the augment if it was a participle. So there's my first problem.

Looking at it again, would a better translation for the second one be: "you did well, having arrived in our midst"?
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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » February 3rd, 2017, 8:45 pm

The 'having done' construction (perfect progressive participle?) is quite awkward in English. As you progress in your studies, I encourage you to consider the relationship between the actions of the participle and finite verb and get a little creative with your translation. I'd go with something like "you've done well by coming" or even "you've done well to come." Intuitively, this sounds to me almost like a Greek way of saying "I'm glad you're here."
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 3rd, 2017, 10:13 pm

Michael Sharpnack wrote:Operating system is windows 10.
I don't do windows, but these instructions are probably accurate:
In Windows 10 go to "Settings", then to "Time & language" > "Region & language" > "Add a language" menu, and select "Greek". At the "Options" of Greek select as "Keyboard" or "Input Method" the "Greek Polytonic".
You can probably see a keyboard layout in your settings. I know how to type Polytonic Greek for Linux or Mac, but not for Windows.
As for ἐποίησας, I was thinking it's a participle, but now that Robert pointed out the συ, I realize it's not, which also made me realize it wouldn't have the augment if it was a participle. So there's my first problem.
Yes, you are thinking this out well.
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:The 'having done' construction (perfect progressive participle?) is quite awkward in English. As you progress in your studies, I encourage you to consider the relationship between the actions of the participle and finite verb and get a little creative with your translation. I'd go with something like "you've done well by coming" or even "you've done well to come." Intuitively, this sounds to me almost like a Greek way of saying "I'm glad you're here."
These sentences seem to be modeled on phrases in the Greek New Testament and Septuagint, you can find a similar construction in Acts 10:33.

Looking at these translations, I wonder if "you have been kind enough to come (ESV)" or "it was good of you to come (NLT)" best fit the sense. Without the context, it really is difficult, but at least in the context of Acts 10:33, I like these translations.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Michael Sharpnack
Posts: 31
Joined: February 2nd, 2017, 5:13 pm
Location: Nashville

Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by Michael Sharpnack » February 4th, 2017, 10:53 am

Jonathan Robie wrote: Looking at these translations, I wonder if "you have been kind enough to come (ESV)" or "it was good of you to come (NLT)" best fit the sense. Without the context, it really is difficult, but at least in the context of Acts 10:33, I like these translations.
Right, the context is about Cornelius and Peter, from Acts 10, but not the actual biblical text. The surrounding context reads: διό μετεπεμψάμην σε. σύ τε καλως εποίησας παραγενόμενος εν μεσω ἡμων. νυν ουν πάντες ἡμεις εμπροσθεν του θεου εσμεν ακουσαι πάντα τά λαληθέντα σοι ὑπό του θεου.

I'm getting: "Therefore, I (Cornelius) summoned you (Peter) for myself (middle voice right?). You did well to arrive in our midst. Therefore now all of us are before God to hear all the words which you speak to us by God."

So probably "it was good of you to come" fits best? How would your thought process go to discover that based on the words καλως εποίησας παραγενόμενος?
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:The 'having done' construction (perfect progressive participle?) is quite awkward in English. As you progress in your studies, I encourage you to consider the relationship between the actions of the participle and finite verb and get a little creative with your translation. I'd go with something like "you've done well by coming" or even "you've done well to come." Intuitively, this sounds to me almost like a Greek way of saying "I'm glad you're here."
Thanks, right now I've been focusing on pretty wooden translations, sacrificing flow in English, just to make sure I'm getting it right. But, I will be conscious of that.
Jonathan Robie wrote:
In Windows 10 go to "Settings", then to "Time & language" > "Region & language" > "Add a language" menu, and select "Greek". At the "Options" of Greek select as "Keyboard" or "Input Method" the "Greek Polytonic".
Thanks, I will try this.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 4th, 2017, 11:54 am

Michael Sharpnack wrote:So probably "it was good of you to come" fits best? How would your thought process go to discover that based on the words καλως εποίησας παραγενόμενος?
First I try to work it out based on meaning and context, but if that fails, I almost always go looking for comparable examples.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

timothy_p_mcmahon
Posts: 257
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:47 pm

Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » February 4th, 2017, 6:17 pm

Michael Sharpnack wrote: διό μετεπεμψάμην σε. σύ τε καλως εποίησας παραγενόμενος εν μεσω ἡμων. νυν ουν πάντες ἡμεις εμπροσθεν του θεου εσμεν ακουσαι πάντα τά λαληθέντα σοι ὑπό του θεου.

I'm getting: "Therefore, I (Cornelius) summoned you (Peter) for myself (middle voice right?). You did well to arrive in our midst. Therefore now all of us are before God to hear all the words which you speak to us by God."
Just a couple notes:

• μεταπέμπω occurs mostly in the middle/passive form – I'm not sure there's any specific nuance like 'for myself' here.

• πάντα τά λαληθέντα σοι ὑπό του θεου means 'all thie things spoken to you by God.'
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Paul-Nitz
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Re: help with textbook assignment

Post by Paul-Nitz » February 5th, 2017, 1:38 pm

Michael Sharpnack wrote:2. σύ τε καλως ἐποίησας παραγενόμενος ἐν μέσω ἡμων.
συ ἐποίησας καλῶς. (You did a good thing, did well).

Question (Why?): διὰ τί;
Answer: συ ἦλθες.

Question (Where?): ποῦ ἦλθες;
Answer: συ ἦλθες πρὸς ἡμᾶς.
Answer: συ παρεγένου ἐν μέσω ἡμῶν.

παραγενόμενος ἐν μέσῳ ἡμῶν, συ καὶ ἐποίησας καλῶς.

Does that help?
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Paul D. Nitz - Lilongwe Malawi

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