RandallButh wrote:The 'low-level' material in a language will be handled correctly. So the morphology will be correct (according to its local dialect, of course), particle placement should be fairly correct when it is used, and at any one place the verb will be within the possibilities of the language. However, the source language (Hebrew for the LXX) will create a barrier and threshhold that may influence the translator and cause unnatural translation at 'high level' syntax-choice of discourse. This is exactly what we see (and what everyone sees who has ever stated that the LXX reads like a translation). It is transgressing Greek discourse conventions that makes the LXX inappropriate for studies of "natural Greek" style.
Yes. I agree. And this is the difference in what we're saying. You're talking about the frequency and style. I'm talking about grammaticality . I most certainly don't discount the foreigness of the discourse structure. All I'm saying is that:
(1) The syntax is for the most part grammatical...even if the frequency of particular constructions and their orientation in the discourse context is more foreign...which you might view as a rather myopic perspective. That's fine. I'm not a discourse linguist. I'm syntactician. I primarily interested in a low level structure.
(2) Prosodic phrasing in Exodus is more natural than in other parts of the LXX.
When I said Exodus was "natural," I was referring centrally to those two points and referring to those point in relation to the LXX translation Greek existing as a scale. It certainly isn't 4 Macc. which is moving into Atticizing Greek (and one might be inclined to call that "unnatural Greek" in that sense). The problem, it seems to me, isn't one of disagreement, but my own failure to make a single statement that look absolutive in nature...from which much more was being extrapolated than I would ever have intended. But that's my own fault and I take ownership of that fault, since my initial comment was little more than that: a comment. I should have said more and clarified what I meant. I apologize for all the confusion I've caused.
RandallButh wrote:By the way, it would be nice if you could report on Evan's analysis of the imperfect, one of his foci. That is where dissonance is likely to occur because Hebrew is much more restricted than Greek (Hebrew 'underdifferentiates aspect' when viewed from languages with more aspectual flexibility). The other major area of dissonance will be in the choice between a finite verb and a participle in translation. Also, in some of the hortatory sections there may be an increased use of future for subjunctive or imperative.
That's not really something I'm able to do. I've had to work through Evan's monograph a few times over the past four years as I've worked on various projects, but I do not own it and don't the time to make a trip to the university library in the foreseeable future. But as far as I remember, the imperfect is not one of his foci. His primary interest for tense-aspect forms is the perfect, and to a lesser extent the future.
RandallButh wrote:Finally, one side result of what I understand Evan's to have done at the 'low-level' syntactical area is to add another falsification to Porter's 'aspect-only' theory for Greek. Maybe you can comment on the level of validity or reliability of Evan's argument. Incidentally, Evan's study (2002?) probably undermines Furuli's idiosyncratic-aspect theory (2006?) of Hebrew [mentioned in another thread last week] as well, since the LXX regularly uses the aorist as a translation for Hebrew vayyiqtol (Furuli's imperfective-[sic]).
I cannot comment on the Hebrew issue, since I'm not familiar with Furuli's theory, but I can comment on Evans. He's critique of Porter central focuses on the nature of the ε- prefix as a past tense marker. My inclination would be to say that his approach is a good start on that front, but still leaves a few gaps--but that might merely be a result of the limited space he devotes to the subject.
Ken M. Penner wrote:I can see sense in the points made by both Mike and Randall.
The disagreement seems to be about what qualifies as "good Greek."
To use a New Testament case, I get the impression that in the third gospel, Randall would say only Luke 1:1-4 is "good Greek," but that Mike would say the whole gospel is "normal Greek."
The standard for Randall appears to be literary Greek, and the standard for Mike everyday Koine.
Am I reading you two aright?
I'm not sure if you're reading me yet. After Luke 1:1-4, I wouldn't call the gospel of Luke natural to Luke's own style (see Acts 16-28) or to normal Koine, whether colloquial or literary. It's a kind of schizophrenic Greek, not 'mother-tongue Greek,' whether colloquial or literary.
Note the following article: Randall Buth, "Evaluating Luke's Unnatural Greek: A Look at His Connectives,"
in Steve Runge, ed., Discourse Studies and Biblical Interpretation, a Festschrift in Honor of Stephen Levinsohn, Logos: 2011, pp. 335-370.
However, Luke is not translationese and it is not like the LXX. It appears to be an original Greek reworking of multiple Greek sources some of which were unnatural and Semitized to start with. Hmmm-- Luke himself hints at multiple sources.
On the idea of scalars or absolutes, I work with scalars. They cover wide areas. There are scalar differences within mother-tongue Greek, there are scalars within translation Greek and the two Greeks still have a gulf between them that partially overlaps in the middle where things like the Synoptic gospels land. See Raymond Martin where he has been able to quantify some of this to cover shades of "original Greek," shades of "translation Greek," and a grey area between the two. The LXX is translation Greek.
And I was referring to scales within translation. As for Raymond Martin. I haven't read his work. It's not accessible to me. My only familiarity with it has been indirect via criticisms of his ideas in Karen Jobe's dissertation on the alpha text of Esther. I cannot say for certain without directly looking at Martin's work, but the sense that I got from Jobes wasn't entirely positive. You might be interested in her revision of his framework...if you can get your hands on it.
RandallButh wrote: Stirling Bartholomew wrote:
RandallButh wrote:The LXX is translation Greek.
So you would agree with J. W. Wevers, Exodus would seem strange at several levels, syntax, discourse, to someone who had no previous contact with biblical greek or works by multilingual authors who had Hebrew roots.
A little off topic, how would one rank the Tragedians in terms of "natural" greek?
Aeschylus Agamemnon —> Sophocles Electra —> Euripides Iphigenia in Aulis.
hearing people talk as if the LXX Pentateuch was 'natural' Greek is new to me. Wevers' comment is what most consider מובן מאליו self-evident, ברור כשמש clear as day.
On the other hand, if one defines "natural" Greek as the common product of Greek written by mother-tongue Greek speakers, then Aeschylus Sophocles and Euripides are all within "natural Greek." On the other hand again, the metrical constraints on the poetry mean that the plays do not represent exactly the way people talked, but the way that they talked when trying to sound witty.
Finally, being a translation doesn't stop the LXX from being an important witness to the Greek language, anymore than being a transltion prevented the KJV from being an important witness to 17th century English. However, were someone were to mimic the style of the KJV they would produce a 'book of mormon' rather than James Fenimore Cooper.
Since all of this (still) goes back to me, I am also going to comment:
It is self-evident. It is so self-evident that its banal. That particular quote could be applied to just about any translated book. Nevertheless, it is also
commonly agreed that Genesis and Exodus are freer translations than the rest of the LXX (cf. Aejmelaeus on participles, Sollamo on pronouns, Jobes-Silva's Invitation to the Septuagint
, Tjen on conditional constructions...to name a few). So again, all I meant was that Exodus is more
natural than most other portions of the LXX. I never intended it as a comparison with Josephus or Epictetus or Polybius or Strabo...