Help translating a text

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

Help translating a text

Post by Michael Sharpnack » February 15th, 2017, 4:42 pm

Hi guys, so I have another couple paragraphs from my textbook I'm having some trouble with if anyone wouldn't mind critiquing my translation.

και Τιμόθεος ἐμαρτυρειτο καλως ὑπο παντων των αδελφων. τουτον επεθυμησεν Παυλος επιθυμία μεγαλη συν αυτω εξελθειν. οὑτως διηλθον οἱ τρεις, Παυλος και Σιλας και τιμόθεος, μίαν χωραν και αλλην αχρι της τρωαδος παρα τη θαλασση.
οὑτος παραγενομένων εκει και ζητουντων αυτων γινωσκειν ὅ τι δει πραξαι αυτους, ὥφθη Παυλω νυκτός καθευδοντι επι κλινης φως ὡσπερ απο του ουρανου και ανηρ μακεδων τις κρατων της δεξιας και παρακαλων αυτον και λεγων διελθετε εις μακεδονιαν και διακονησατε τω κυριω εν μεσω ἡμων.

My attempt at a rough translation:
And timothy was having a good witness from all the brothers. Paul had a great desire to go forth with him (not sure what to do with τουτον here). Thus the three of them went through, Paul, silas and timothy, one country and another country until Troas near the sea.
Thus, having arrived there and keeping (ζητουντων doesn't make much sense to me here) them to know which someone it is necessary to practice them (yeah, no idea here, just attempting to translate the words literally), it was revealed to Paul at night while he was sleeping on a bed a voice as from heaven and a certain man of Macedonia crying out of the right and exhorting him and saying, “go through into Macedonia and serve the lord in our midst.”

Thanks,
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timothy_p_mcmahon
Posts: 251
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:47 pm

Re: Help translating a text

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » February 15th, 2017, 10:13 pm

Just a few suggested tweaks:

• μαρτυρομαι is difficult to render into English. Your translation is good in a woodenly literal fashion, but I’d suggest something like “All the brothers vouched for Timothy.”

• Good job not going totally literal on the cognate verb/noun combination (I think that’s a hebraism although perhaps it occurs in ‘real’ Greek as well). I’d go adverbial, like “Paul fervently desired" or such.

• It’s hard to retain τουτον without getting clumsy. Your ‘him’ works well.

• I’d switch up the word order to avoid the awkwardness of ‘the three of them went through, Paul, silas and timothy, one country and another country until Troas near the sea.’ Maybe ’The three of them, Paul, Silas and Timothy, went through several regions, as far as Troas by the sea’.

• The second paragraph means something like “when they had arrived there and were seeking to know what they needed to do [lit., what was necessary for them to do], a light appeared from heaven to Paul as he was sleeping on his bed at night, and a certain Macedonian man grasped [Paul’s] hand and exhorted him, ‘proceed into Macedonia and serve the Lord among us’.”
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Michael Sharpnack
Posts: 31
Joined: February 2nd, 2017, 5:13 pm
Location: Nashville

Re: Help translating a text

Post by Michael Sharpnack » February 16th, 2017, 9:15 am

Thanks for the response, it's a big help. A couple follow-up questions:
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote: • Good job not going totally literal on the cognate verb/noun combination (I think that’s a hebraism although perhaps it occurs in ‘real’ Greek as well). I’d go adverbial, like “Paul fervently desired" or such.
When you say "cognate verb/noun combination" are you referring to "επεθυμησεν Παυλος επιθυμία μεγαλη"? (I'm not really sure what a cognate is). When I saw the phrase, I was thinking it was idiomatic, and just emphasizing the desire he had. But you're saying that's not a common type of phrase in the GNT?
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
• It’s hard to retain τουτον without getting clumsy. Your ‘him’ works well.
So, would τουτον be the object of επεθυμησεν then? Because my "him" was coming from the αυτω.
timothy_p_mcmahon wrote: • The second paragraph means something like “when they had arrived there and were seeking to know what they needed to do [lit., what was necessary for them to do], a light appeared from heaven to Paul as he was sleeping on his bed at night, and a certain Macedonian man grasped [Paul’s] hand and exhorted him, ‘proceed into Macedonia and serve the Lord among us’.”
Ok, I see I got a few root words wrong there which helps. How are you getting the "to know what they needed to do" idea? I'm having a hard time seeing how to piece together the phrase " ζητουντων αυτων γινωσκειν ὅ τι δει πραξαι αυτους".

The second part makes a lot of sense with putting φως as the subject of ὥφθη.

Thanks again!
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timothy_p_mcmahon
Posts: 251
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 10:47 pm

Re: Help translating a text

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » February 16th, 2017, 7:19 pm

Michael Sharpnack wrote:When you say "cognate verb/noun combination" are you referring to "επεθυμησεν Παυλος επιθυμία μεγαλη"? (I'm not really sure what a cognate is).
Cognate is used more often to describe words in two or more languages that stem from a common root (like Spanish sangre and French sang) but it’s also used to describe two words within a language which derive from a common stem, in this case επεθυμησεν επιθυμία, ‘he desired with desire’. I believe it’s more common in semitic languages (see e.g. in Hebrew). I’m not sure how often a native Greek writer would use a verb and noun from the same stem together.
Michael Sharpnack wrote:So, would τουτον be the object of επεθυμησεν then? Because my "him" was coming from the αυτω.
τουτον is the subject of the infinitive εξελθειν. Infinitive subjects are in the accusative. The object of επεθυμησεν is the entire phrase τουτον…συν αυτω εξελθειν. What Paul desired (= direct object) was for Timothy to accompany him.
Michael Sharpnack wrote:How are you getting the "to know what they needed to do" idea?
The phrase ὅ τι δει πραξαι αυτους is the object of γινωσκειν (it’s similar to the structure above, where an entire sentence has been embedded into another sentence as the object of a verb.) ὅ = what (that which); δει is an impersonal verb meaning ‘it is necessary’ (I rendered with past tense because of context). πραξαι is an infinitive meaning ‘to do’ (πρασσω can mean practice’ but often is merely equivalent to ποιεω). αυτους is the subject of πραξαι.
Michael Sharpnack wrote:I’m having a hard time seeing how to piece together the phrase " ζητουντων αυτων γινωσκειν ὅ τι δει πραξαι αυτους”.
παραγενομένων…και ζητουντων αυτων is a genitive absolute, which we translate as an independent clause,
Michael Sharpnack wrote:Thanks again!
You’re welcome.
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