John, Luke or Paul

The forum for those who still struggle with morphology, syntax, and idiom, or who wish to discuss basic questions about the meaning of Greek texts, syntax, or words.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 30th, 2014, 8:18 am

Somewhat arbitrarily, at the point where we began talking about how this is no longer a beginners' topic, I have split the discussion and moved the posts to a new topic under the "Teaching and Learning Greek" forum, thread title "Competency of Teachers and Methodology. Please continue the discussion there...
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Mason Barge
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Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Mason Barge » September 3rd, 2014, 6:40 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Mason Barge wrote:
You just stated why it took me so long! I refuse to just write down "which" without understanding exactly what the passage means, and really, I think it's a toughie even now. I actually want to find some early facsimile manuscripts of it at this point.
Okay, but I think you missed (or didn't address) the point, which is that you should intuitively know what ὅ means.
I'm afraid there has been a bit of miscommunication, what with people sending me to basic online textbooks. I'm in my 5th semester of study! I can read through 1 John - perhaps with recourse to a lexicon four or five times.

My statement was meant as a somewhat humorous indication of my struggle with a passage that is notoriously difficult. As Raymond Brown put it, "As the opening words of a literary work, '[the initial four verses of 1 John] can only be described as, formally at least, bordering upon incoherence.'"

No, I don't sit and scratch my head over the lexical definition of pronouns. As you say, reading them is intuitive.

I do wish someone with thorough knowledge of the New Testament would answer the question I asked.
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Wes Wood
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Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Wes Wood » September 3rd, 2014, 7:26 pm

I believe you have already been given good feedback from posters who are far more qualified than I. If the choice were mine, I would go with the "Luke" option. It is the one that many consider to have a more polished Greek and will provide you an opportunity to expand your vocabulary while dealing with long stretches of text by the same author/hand (even if all three were considered to be by different authors). That said, each has its benefits. Just pick the one you want and read.
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Ἀσπάζομαι μὲν καὶ φιλῶ, πείσομαι δὲ μᾶλλον τῷ θεῷ ἢ ὑμῖν.-Ἀπολογία Σωκράτους 29δ

Mason Barge
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Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Mason Barge » September 4th, 2014, 10:35 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote: Don't get me started! It wasn't until I started seminary that I heard of exegesis, and I already had my Masters in Classics. A big part of the problem is that seminaries teach the languages for theological and apologetical purposes. Yes, the use of the aorist tense here really does prove/disprove the Calvinist position on this verse. One of my prof's at seminary used to quip "Exegetical goal determines exegetical methodology...." but it really isn't all that funny. There's a lot of enrichment you can get from really reading and understanding the text in the original, but it resembles exegesis the way a bicycle resembles a squid.

However, I think we have strayed a bit from the subject and that this is no longer a "beginner" thread... :o
I think a bicycle and a squid is overstating it, or perhaps I don't take your point as you intended it. There are meanings in the NT that the Greek really will not support, if one at least tries to have the discipline to read the Greek without preconception, that is, if one actually practices exegesis. Derrida be damned.

And yet, the big-hit modern translation of the Bible is the NIV, which (in my opinion) seems to do precisely that: skews the translation to support preconceived ideas of what the Bible ought to say. It is eisegesis accomplished by translation. (Not that this is anything new -- the Church and/or popular opinion forced Erasmus to change 1 John 5:17 to support the Doctrine of the Trinity, and no telling what went on in ancient times.) In fact, if memory serves, the catalyst for the NIV was the RSV's translation of almah in Isaiah 7:14 as "young woman" instead of "virgin".

But then, even if you are old-fashioned enough to believe that the text has an absolute, intended and knowable "meaning", your professor's quip would still hold true. If your exegetical purpose were to uncover the intended meaning, your method would still reflect your purpose. So, his remark isn't totally cynical!
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Jonathan Robie » September 4th, 2014, 11:31 am

Wes Wood wrote:I believe you have already been given good feedback from posters who are far more qualified than I. If the choice were mine, I would go with the "Luke" option. It is the one that many consider to have a more polished Greek and will provide you an opportunity to expand your vocabulary while dealing with long stretches of text by the same author/hand (even if all three were considered to be by different authors). That said, each has its benefits. Just pick the one you want and read.
And Baylor's series has a very nice handbook on Luke, I highly recommend it.

I agree with Wes, pick one and go with it. And ask questions about the Greek text as you go, that's the bread and butter of B-Greek.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Mason Barge
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Joined: August 16th, 2014, 1:52 pm

Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Mason Barge » May 27th, 2015, 10:47 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:Mason, you have gotten some really good replies here. I am still reeling over the fact that you say that you have already spent 4 hours on the first word of 1 John, ὅ. It really makes we wonder what was going in your first 4 semesters of Koine Greek? Even in terms of translation, you can't translate a single word in a text unless you have excellent comprehension of that text in both the source and receptor languages. Ideally, you should be able to explain the word and what it's doing in the text in the source language, Greek, but at the very least you should be able to explain it in your own language. The advice you are getting is sound: forget translation, and read the text for comprehension without consciously trying to translate it. The ironic things is that as you develop this essential skill, you will also be laying the foundation necessary for the translation and exegesis that is being formally required of you. This only comes from understanding the language as a language in its own right. You don't spend hours in English trying to understand what "which" means. You simply see or hear it in context and move on from there. That's how automatic you want to make it in Greek.
Here it is many months later. Please understand, seeing the morpheme ὅ, I recognize this in half a second as the nominative neutral relative pronoun. I translate "what" or "which", fine and dandy.

My problem, which I left unsolved and have never seen explained to my satisfaction, is the referent -- since there is no explicit antecedent, and the implied referent is (very pointedly) a male person. But I have not been working on John, I chose the "Paul" option, so this is sitting in the back of my mind exactly where it was all these many months ago.

It is not the "translation" but the comprehension that I found (and would still find) perplexing. Perhaps this is a theological question.
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: John, Luke or Paul

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » May 27th, 2015, 3:00 pm

Mason Barge wrote: Here it is many months later. Please understand, seeing the morpheme ὅ, I recognize this in half a second as the nominative neutral relative pronoun. I translate "what" or "which", fine and dandy.

My problem, which I left unsolved and have never seen explained to my satisfaction, is the referent -- since there is no explicit antecedent, and the implied referent is (very pointedly) a male person.
In John 19:22 "ο γεγραφα, γεγραφα", what is the referent? In "ο ην απ αρχης", what is the referent? It shouldn't be too difficult. "ο ην απ αρχης ... απαγγελλομεν και υμιν."
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