Translation of a Greek Sentence

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Bernd Strauss
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Translation of a Greek Sentence

Post by Bernd Strauss » August 20th, 2018, 10:59 am

Commentary on the book of Genesis attributed to Didymus the Blind, extract from the comments on Ge 2:1-3: “Τὸ «συνετελέσθη« ὁτὲ μὲν τὴν φθορὰν σημαίνει, ὁτὲ δὲ τὴν ὕπαρξιν. Ὅταν γοῦν τὸν Σωτῆρα ἐρωτῶσιν οἱ μαθηταί· «Πότε ταῦτα ἔσται, καὶ τί τὸ σημεῖον τῆς σῆς παρουσίας καὶ συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος;«, περὶ τοῦ τέλους ἐστὶ τὸ τῆς συντελείας σημαινόμενον.”

Robert C. Hill’s translation from The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, volume 132: “The term 'completed' sometimes suggests destruction, sometimes existence. For example, when the disciples asked the Savior, 'When will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world?' the word 'end' means 'finish.'”

Is the word συντελεία rendered as “end” in the English translation, and the word τέλος as “finish,” or vice versa?
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Translation of a Greek Sentence

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 20th, 2018, 12:58 pm

Bernd Strauss wrote:
August 20th, 2018, 10:59 am
Is the word συντελεία rendered as “end” in the English translation, and the word τέλος as “finish,” or vice versa?
I bet you can answer that question yourself if you step back to think. Let's start by dividing the sentence up.

περὶ τοῦ τέλους
ἐστὶ τὸ τῆς συντελείας σημαινόμενον.

Which one describes what is meant?
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Bernd Strauss
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Re: Translation of a Greek Sentence

Post by Bernd Strauss » August 21st, 2018, 6:43 am

Based on the sentence structure alone, I cannot tell which of the two Greek words correspond to the two English words in the translation. In the Greek language, words can be put in any order. But on the basis of the context, it seems to me that the word συντελεία is rendered as “end,” and τέλος as “finish,” because the Greek writer quotes Mt 24:3 (where the word συντελεία is used) and adds an explanation.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Translation of a Greek Sentence

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 21st, 2018, 9:44 am

The author discusses two possible implications for the verb συντελέω, and then cites as support the usage of the derivative noun. The writer's logic is a bit obscure (maybe context would clarify it a bit), but concerning your question, the main verb is ἐστί. The subject of the verb is the substantive participle τὸ σημαινόμενον, lit. "that which is signified" = "meaning." That is qualified by the genitive τῆς συντελείας, "of the end." The predicate is then the prepositional phrase περὶ τοῦ τέλους, lit. "concerning the finish." The articles here are likely used to indicate that the word is being discussed as a word, and not meant really to be taken syntactically with the words they modify. So a somewhat more literal translation to help you see the structure of the Greek might be:

The meaning of the "end" is regarding the "finish."

Does that answer your question?
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Bernd Strauss
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Re: Translation of a Greek Sentence

Post by Bernd Strauss » August 22nd, 2018, 7:36 am

Yes. Thank you for the explanation. The writer mentions two meanings which the word συντελέω has in different contexts:

“[Καὶ ς]υνετελέσθη ὁ οὐρανὸς [καὶ ἡ γ]ῆ καὶ πᾶς ὁ κόσμος αὐτῶν καὶ συνετέλεσεν ὁ Θεὸς ἐν [τῇ ἡ]μέρᾳ τῇ ἕκτῃ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ, ἃ ἐποίησεν, καὶ κατέπαυ[σεν ἐ]ν̣ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἑβδόμῃ ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ, ὧν ἐ[ποίης]εν. Καὶ εὐλόγησεν ὁ Θεὸς τὴν ἡμέ[ρα]ν τὴν ἑβδόμην καὶ ἡγίασεν αὐτήν, ὅτι ἐν αὐτῇ κατέπαυσεν [ἀ]π̣ὸ πάντων τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ, ὧν ἤρξατο ὁ Θεὸς ποιῆσαι. Τὸ «συνετελέσθη« ὁτὲ μὲ[ν] τὴν φθορὰν σημαίνει, ὁτὲ δὲ τὴν ὕπαρξιν. Ὅταν γοῦν τὸν [Σ]ωτῆρα ἐρωτῶσιν οἱ μαθηταί· «Πότε ταῦτα ἔσται, καὶ τί τὸ σημε[ῖο]ν τῆς σῆς παρουσίας καὶ συντελείας τοῦ αἰῶνος;«, περὶ τοῦ τέλο[υ]ς ἐστὶ τὸ τῆς συντελείας σημαινόμενον, ὅπερ ἀντὶ φθορᾶς [τ]οῦ κόσμου εἴωθε λαμβάνεσθαι· ἐνταῦθα δὲ τὸ συνετελέσθ[η] ἀν[τὶ] τοῦ̣ ἐπληρώσθη κεῖται. Οὐ γὰρ ἡ ὕπαρξις αὐτῶν συντετέλε̣[ς]τα[ι], ἀλλ' ἡ ποίησις, καθὸ λέγομεν καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ποιητικῶν τεχνῶν με[τ]ὰ τὰς ἐνεργείας τὸ τέλος ἐπιφερουσῶν ὅτι φέρε συνετ[ε]λέσ̣θ̣η ἡ ναῦς ἢ οἶκος.”

“Heaven and earth and all their array were completed. God completed on the sixth day the works he had done, and on the seventh day he rested from all the works he had done. God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it for the reason that on that day he rested from all the works God had begun to do.” The term “completed” sometimes suggests destruction, sometimes existence. For example, when the disciples asked the Savior, “When will this be, and what will be the sign of your coming and the end of the world?” the word “end” means “finish,” which is normally taken to mean the destruction of the world. In this case, by contrast, "completed" occurs in the sense of “accomplished”; it was not their existence that was over and done with, but their creation, as we say also in the case of builders when they bring their work to an end, Lo, the ship or the house is completed.”

It is also evident from the text that the related word συντελεία can be used interchangeably with the word τέλος, because the writer defines the former word with the latter.
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