Translation of the Word Telos

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Bernd Strauss
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Translation of the Word Telos

Post by Bernd Strauss » April 15th, 2018, 11:52 am

“Καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἐν καθόλου τὸ ἑκάστου τέλος ἐστὶ, καὶ ἐν τῷ ἑκάστου τέλει τὸ καθόλου συνάγεται.”

Translation from Philip Schaff’s Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers: “For in the end of all is the end of each, and in the end of each the end of all is comprehended.”

In the English translation, the translator uses the word “end” four times: two times in the first part of the expression and two times in the second.

The word τέλος in the first part of the expression seems to be at the end of the phrase in the English translation instead of at the beginning: “In the end of all is the end of each.”

In the second part of the expression, the word τέλος likewise seems to be at the end of the phrase in the English translation: “And in the end of each the end of all is comprehended.”

Is this understanding correct, or is τέλος rendered by the word “end” at the beginning of one or both of the phrases?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Translation of the Word Telos

Post by Barry Hofstetter » April 16th, 2018, 7:12 pm

Where in Schaff is this and what is he translating? My reading of the Greek is somewhat different than his, apparently.

Καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἐν καθόλου τὸ ἑκάστου τέλος ἐστὶ, καὶ ἐν τῷ ἑκάστου τέλει τὸ καθόλου συνάγεται.

"For also in the universal is the end of each thing, and in each thing the end of the universal is brought together."

For the life of me, I can't see how he derives "For in the end of all" at the beginning of the sentence. But maybe something in the context makes sense of his rendering.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Robert Emil Berge
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Re: Translation of the Word Telos

Post by Robert Emil Berge » April 17th, 2018, 8:10 am

Look at this, I found by goolging:

http://heml.mta.ca/lace/sidebysideview2/237562

In this edition there is a τῷ before καθόλου which makes it a little clearer. You have to understand τέλει with the article, which perhaps isn't too far fetched. For Barry's meaning of the end of the sentence, it would have to say something like this: καὶ ἐν ἑκάστῳ τὸ καθόλου τέλος συνάγεται. I think συνάγεται should be interpreted as "inferred/comprehended" here. So as it stands it must be: "... and by the end of each thing the (end) of all/the universal is inferred."
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Translation of the Word Telos

Post by Barry Hofstetter » April 17th, 2018, 11:16 am

A bit of context does help:

'Αμφότερα δὴ οὖν, καὶ τὸ καθόλου τέλος, καὶ τὸ ἑκάστου πέρας ἔκρυψεν ἀφ' ἡμῶν ὁ Λόγος (καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἐν τῷ καθόλου τὸ ἑκάστου τέλος ἐστὶ, καὶ ἐν τῷ ἑκάστου τέλει τὸ καθόλου συνάγεται)...

Athanasius is discussing how the Lord keeps the knowledge our deaths and of the end of everything secret so that we live our lives correctly in the meantime. τὸ καθόλου τέλος makes better sense out of ἐν τῷ καθόλου. I was thinking in these terms:

2. in the Logic of Arist., of terms, τὸ κ. general, opp. τὸ καθʼ ἕκαστον (singular), λέγω δὲ κ. μὲν ὃ ἐκὶ πλειόνων πέφυκε κατηγορεῖσθαι, καθʼ ἕκαστον δὲ ὃ μή Int.17a39, cf. Metaph.1023b29; opp. τὸ κατὰ μέρος, Rh.1357b1, al.; hence, τὰ κ. universal truths

Liddell, H. G., Scott, R., Jones, H. S., & McKenzie, R. (1996). A Greek-English lexicon (p. 856). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Bernd Strauss
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Re: Translation of the Word Telos

Post by Bernd Strauss » April 17th, 2018, 12:55 pm

Thank you for the observations. The quotation is from Athanasius, Against the Arians, discourse 3, excerpts from section 49. The Greek text is from Thesaurus Linguae Graecae, which contains Greek texts from Migne’s Patrologia Graeca.

The following is more context where the expression is used: “Ἄλλως τε οὐδὲ εἰδέναι πάλιν πότε τὸ τέλος, ἢ πότε τοῦ τέλους ἡ ἡμέρα, συμφέρει τοῖς ἀνθρώποις, ἵνα μὴ, γνόντες, καταφρονηταὶ τοῦ μεταξὺ χρόνου γένωνται, περιμένοντες τὰς ἐγγὺς τοῦ τέλους ἡμέρας· τότε γὰρ μόνον ἑαυτῶν ἐπιμελεῖσθαι προφασίσονται. Διὰ τοῦτο καὶ τὸ ἑκάστου τέλος τοῦ θανάτου σεσιώπηκεν, ἵνα μὴ, προφάσει τῆς γνώσεως φυσιωθέντες οἱ ἄνθρωποι, ἀμελεῖν ἑαυτῶν τὸ πλεῖστον ἄρξωνται τοῦ χρόνου. Ἀμφότερα δὴ οὖν καὶ τὸ καθόλου τέλος, καὶ τὸ ἑκάστου πέρας ἔκρυψεν ἀφ’ ἡμῶν ὁ Λόγος (καὶ γὰρ καὶ ἐν καθόλου τὸ ἑκάστου τέλος ἐστὶ, καὶ ἐν τῷ ἑκάστου τέλει τὸ καθόλου συνάγεται), ἵνα, ἀδήλου αὐτοῦ ὄντος καὶ ἀεὶ προσδοκωμένου, καθ’ ἡμέραν ὡς καλούμενοι προκόπτωμεν, τοῖς ἔμπροσθεν ἐπεκτεινόμενοι, τῶν δὲ ὄπισθεν ἐπιλανθανόμενοι.”

Translation from Philip Schaff’s Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Series 2, Volume 4: “And further, not to know when the end is, or when the day of the end, is expedient for man, lest knowing, they might become negligent of the time between, awaiting the days near the end; for they will argue that then only must they attend to themselves. Therefore also has He been silent of the time when each shall die, lest men, being elated on the ground of knowledge, should forthwith neglect themselves for the greater part of their time. Both then, the end of all things and the limit of each of us hath the Word concealed from us (for in the end of all is the end of each, and in the end of each the end of all is comprehended), that, whereas it is uncertain and always in prospect, we may advance day by day as if summoned, reaching forward to the things before us and forgetting the things behind.”

What I am seeking to know is how to correctly connect the Greek words with the English translation. In my notes on the usage of the word τέλος, I made the quotation: “For in the end of all is the end [telos] of each, and in the end of each the end [telos] of all is comprehended.”

The English word “end” occurs four times in the translation. Have I connected the word τέλος with the word “end” correctly by linking it with the last parts of the two phrases? Or should I link it with the first parts? (“For in the end [telos] of all is the end of each, and in the end [telos] of each the end of all is comprehended.”)
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Robert Emil Berge
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Re: Translation of the Word Telos

Post by Robert Emil Berge » April 17th, 2018, 3:34 pm

You have connected it correctly for the first part of the sentence, but in the last part τέλει goes with τῇ ἑκάστου, so the end of each. The other two instances of "end" in the translation have to be understood from the context. You might be interested that the expression used about "the limit of each" in the sentence before is "τὸ ἑκάστου πέρας", where πέρας is "end", "limit" or "boundary". Although both τέλος and πέρας can be understood as "end", τέλος has the sense of "fulfilment", "accomplishment" or "goal", and here perhaps even "purpose" which πέρας does not have.
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Bernd Strauss
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Re: Translation of the Word Telos

Post by Bernd Strauss » April 18th, 2018, 6:02 am

I can see now that the phrases ἑκάστου τέλος and ἑκάστου τέλει form single grammatical units and are referring to the same end of each person. So the word τέλος is to be linked with the two phrases “end of each” in the English translation.
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