Tag Archives: Greek

Ancient Greek Pronunciatio

Translations of the Greek New Testament into other ancient languages help us know what the sounds were in ancient Greek compared to now.  In order to translate Christian texts, the Copts invented 7 extra glyphs for sounds unknown to the Greeks, but which they needed for their language.  This is informative to us as to what Greek sounded like as late as the early church times.  Thus we know that even as late as the Christian era in Egypt, the Greek letter φ (Phi) was not pronounced like English “F” but instead like our English “P.”  We know this because Coptic had to invent a separate letter Ϥ for the F sound, a sound which Coptic had, but Greek did not have.

And because of the law of Phonetic symmetry in the distribution of points of articulation in the mouth, we can reasonably extrapolate this principle to the other set of consonants also, that is, Χ and Κ.  And predict the following: the Greek letter χ sounded like our English “K” and the Greek letter Κ was a softer, unaspirated K for which English does not have a letter or symbol.  In Phonetics we find that languages that have both an aspirated and unaspirated P, will also have both aspirated and unaspirated versions of the other stops such as T and K etc.  Thus, φ was p sound, θ was t sound, χ was k sound, and π, τ, κ were unaspirated versions thereof, for which we do not have letters in English.

Another example that Plumley gives in Metzger’s book shows that the Greek letter θ definitely was not a “th” sound like we have in English, as in the word “thick.”  It was simply our Englsih “t” sound, as in “tick.”  One way we know this is because Coptic translators, when they heard the Greek word θαλασσα, wrote down HALASSA with the feminine definite article T in front of it.  That’s because it was pronounced TALASSA and the scribes or translators heard TALASSA.

The above knowledge can lead us to some interesting insights.  For example, knowing that φ was pronounced “p” and θ was pronounced “t,” we can pronounce correctly the word φθινοπωρινος in Jude v. 12, and recognize our English word “patina” there, and see how that relates to change in color of leaves in Autumn.  Greek had a word φθινα for the mildewing of material (which would change its color), but see also φθῖνάς “a waning, a wasting away”, or φθινιασμα “declining,” and the verb φθινω, “to perish, decay, waste away.”  Our English word patina also refers to the wasting away or corrosion of semi-precious metals, like copper and bronze, upon which a green film accumulates.

This page gives the correct pronunciation of ancient Greek consonants.

Free Windows Fonts for TC Footnotes

I made a chart comparing the capabilities of 15 free Windows fonts at displaying glyphs you might need in Textual Criticism (TC) footnotes, including display of Coptic.  The fonts compared are: Cambria Math, Cardo, Antinoou, IFAOGrec, Brill, GentiumAlt, FreeSerifCoptic, DoulosSIL, Andika, Palatino Linotype, Times New Roman, New Athena Unicode, Titus Cyberbit Basic, SBL, and Galilee.

http://bibletranslation.ws/down/fonts.pdf

Influence of One Bible Translation

The Influence of the Good News for Modern Man translation on other translations of Acts 9:25

The longer I have been observing textual variants in the Greek New Testament, the more I am convinced that the cause of some corruptions in the Greek text, was back-flow from the early important translations into other languages, and from the writings and commentaries of the Fathers.  Because if you lived in a region where the Greek text was not your native language, and the New Testament text you were familiar with was in another language, (Syriac, Coptic, Latin, etc.) but you were charged with re-copying or reproducing the foundational Greek text your church had received, when you did produce it, you would be highly influenced by the memories in your mind of your native language text, which is what you heard repeated all the time, and not the Greek text.  Much of this back-flow could happen unconsciously and not deliberately.  However, some of this could have happened deliberately, for the sake of uniformity of the text among all your churches.

I have a current-day example of this, not of back-editing of the Greek text, but of the influence of one important English translation onto many new translations into other languages.  The principle is the same.  The translators and editors were conscious of the fact that they were deliberately departing from their main source text, in order to effect uniformity of the NT text among all the regional churches.

My example occurred in Papua New Guinea, where I was born and raised.  I discovered this while translating the Acts of the Apostles from Greek to English.  I found that an alarmingly high number of English translations in Acts 9:25 add words to the text that are not in the Greek, any Greek source text; they are not in the Textus Receptus, not in the Nestle-Aland text, and not in the Majority Text, not in any Greek manuscript.  They add the words “an opening in.”  That is, “they lowered him down through “an opening in” the wall.”

The Greek text is straight-forward.  The enemies of Saul were watching the city gates day and night in order to capture Saul and kill him.  So, λαβόντες δὲ αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ νυκτὸς διὰ τοῦ τείχους καθῆκαν αὐτὸν χαλάσαντες ἐν σπυρίδι.  So, “the disciples took him at night by way of the wall instead.  They lowered him down in a basket.”

It is not hard to understand.  The gates were not an option, therefore they used the wall to escape.  It says nothing about a hole in the wall, or a window in the wall.  The point was simply that they did not use the gates, but used the wall.  They lowered him down from it in a basket.  The preposition δια here means “by way of”  or “by means of.”  They took him out of the city by way of the wall.  It does not even say they lowered him by means of the wall as some of the translations say.  The verb involved is λαβόντες, they TOOK him by way of the wall.  They lowered him by means of a basket.

I called my father Tom Palmer to find out how he rendered Acts 9:25 in his translation into the Hamtai language of Papua New Guinea.  He said they went with the same addition I mentioned, something about letting Saul down through a window in the wall.  I asked him why in the world the Hamtai translation says a window, when that is not in the Greek, and that is not in the King James Version?  His answer is what I am talking about: back-flow from one very important, early, influential translation used in Papua New Guinea: the Good News for Modern Man.  You see, the country of Papua New Guinea has 700 different languages; not dialects, but 700 languages, with different dialects among those.  But the official language of Papua New Guinea is English, since it was at first a British colony then an Australian colony (though the NE part where I was born was a German colony prior to WW1.)  Many New Guineans therefore can speak some English.  So pretty much all churches in Papua New Guinea, whether Anglican, Catholic, Lutheran, Baptist, SDA, etc., they all were influenced by the same Bible, the Good News for Modern Man, which was produced by the United Bible Societies (UBS).

When I was a child growing up in Papua New Guinea, I read mainly the King James Bible, but for more modern English, I also read the Berkeley version, and the Good News for Modern Man.  The latter was produced by the United Bible Societies, and quickly became the most influential modern English translation in the entire world, including in Papua New Guinea.

So also, for all the indigenous Christians in New Guinea, no matter what denomination, their church was highly influenced by this Bratcher/UBS work, which says in Acts 9:25 there was a hole or opening or window in the wall of the city of Damascus.  So, when my father, or any other translator, was producing a translation into one of the tribal languages there, they had to keep this in mind, that the Bible which the people already had, and had always had in the history of their church, no matter what denomination, was this UBS-produced Good News Bible.  Therefore, for the sake of uniformity, and not disturbing the people too much with too large a departure from what they were familiar with, the wording of the Good News for Modern Man was retained.  Including this corruption of there being a hole in the wall of the city of Damascus.  (Though the Tok Pisin Bible, the translation done by the UBS into the Pidgin English spoken in New Guinea, reads “Tasol ol disaipel bilong Sol i kisim em long nait na ol i bringim em i go antap long bikpela banis i raunim taun. Na ol i tokim em long sindaun long wanpela bikpela basket, na ol i slekim basket i go daun long ausait bilong taun.”  This does not add the words about an opening or window.)

One of the acknowledged causes of corruption in the text of the Greek New Testament is the phenomenon of “harmonization to the familiar.”  This goes hand in hand with the example I gave, but some translations of Acts 9:25 may also be influenced by the account of Rahab helping the spies escape in Joshua 2:15: “Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the side of the wall, and she dwelt upon the wall.”

Textus Receptus Jude

I have completed and uploaded editions of the Epistle of Jude translated from the Textus Receptus and from the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine textform.  These, like my eclectic edition, show the readings of 62 Greek manuscripts plus 12 Greek New Testament editions, including the Antoniades, Von Soden, Pickering, Tregelles, SBL, NA28, Wesctott and Hort, Stephens 1550 Textus Receptus, Scrivener 1894 Textus Receptus, Hodges/Farstad, Tommy Wasserman, and David Robert Palmer editions.  These are PDFs in landscape mode.

Download the Textus Receptus Jude

Download the Robinson-Pierpont Jude

You can also download whole Bible editions based on the Textus Receptus and the Robinson-Pierpont.

Hands and Feet

In Hebrew, and ancient Greek as well, the words for foot πούς and hand χείρ originally meant the whole limb, not just the foot and hand; that is, πούς could mean the whole leg, and χείρ the whole upper limb, from the finger tips to the shoulder. In Revelation, we can see that the writer uses these words that way, from Revelation 10:1, where he says (ESV), “Then I saw another mighty angel coming down from heaven, wrapped in a cloud, with a rainbow over his head, and his face was like the sun, and his legs like pillars of fire.”

Certainly, legs are like pillars, and feet are not like pillars. The ESV correctly renders πούς as legs, and not feet. Those translations that render it “feet” are just plain wrong.

Incorrect translations, reading “feet” in Rev. 10:1:

Tyndale
Geneva
Douay Rheims
KJV
ASV
Darby
BBE
Weymouth
WEB
GW (God’s Word)
NASB
LivingBible
NLT
EMTV
JB2000
LEB (Lexam)
NABRE (NAB revised)
NKJV
YLT
OJB

Correct translations, reading “legs” in Rev. 10:1

J.B.Phillips
RSV
GNT (Good News)
ESV
ISV
NET
NRSV
NIV
TNIV
CEV
NCV
CJB (Complete Jewish Bible)
EXB
ICB
Mounce
WE
Voice
HCSB
DRP

The Messianic Ebible has a footnote indicating that “legs” is in the Syriac.
The Amplified Bible says “feet (legs)”

Incorrect translations, reading “hand” in Rev. 13:16

Tyndale
Geneva
KJV
ASV
BBE
Weymouth
J.B.Phillips
RSV
GNT (Good News)
ESV
CEV
NCV
CJB (Complete Jewish Bible)
EXB
ICB
Mounce
WE
Voice
HCSB
WEB
GW
ISV
MessianicEBible
Amplified
NET
NRSV
NASB
NIV
TNIV
EMTV
JB2000

Correct translations, reading “arm” or “upper limb”in Rev. 13:16:

DRP

First Epistle of John Updated

I have updated my pdf of the First Epistle of John.

I have uploaded two pdf files of my translation of the First Epistle of John. This letter, part of the Bible, was written by the Apostle John, and contains a very significant textual variant, called the Johannine Comma. This is found in chapter five, verses 7 and 8.

The updates I made were specifically to the extended critical apparatus for the Comma, adding the complete readings of 4 of the Latin manuscripts, with their English translation, and editing the reading of the Greek Complutensian Polyglot to exactly its accents and breathing marks.

Here is the link to download my translation, the pdf of the one interlinear with the Greek text. Here is the link for the First Epistle of John without the Greek text.

Or to read First John online this link.

Please share this post about First John

Epistle of James

Translation of the book of James completed.

I have uploaded two pdf files of my translation of the Epistle of James. (See a few excerpts below.) This letter, part of the Bible, was written by the Apostle James, and it almost did not make it into the Bible, into what is called the “canon of scripture.” This is because many thought that its teachings on works contradicted the New Testament’s teachings on grace.

I was surprised how much I enjoyed translating this letter. Many people consider it disjointed, with no discernible outline or organization. I disagree. I like what Shepherd said. He called the letter of James “a series of eight homiletic-didactic discourses” with each discourse developing a principal theme linked together by “skillful use of word-links and thematic recapitulations.” (D. Edmond Hebert quoting Shepherd).

I would venture to say, that those who consider this book of the Bible to be disjointed, possibly have that opinion because of reading a poor translation of it, one which does not translate the Greek transition or segue cues correctly, or whose translators did not understand those cues in the Greek. Not everyone is good at Discourse Analysis.

One theme I noticed in this Epistle is selfishness.
“Vaunting your own selves with your presumptuous words.” Killing, envying, jealousy. epistle-of-james

Excerpts from my new translation of the Letter of James:

“See how a small flame sets ablaze such a large forest. The tongue also is a flame, a world of damage.”

“The fully operating prayer of a righteous person is able to achieve much. ¹⁷Elijah was a human being with emotional weaknesses like we are. And he prayed the prayer for it not to rain, and no rain fell on the land for a period of three years and six months. ¹⁸And he prayed again, and the sky gave rain, and the land sprouted up its fruit.”

⁵Or do you think the scripture says for no reason, “The Spirit whom God made to dwell in us craves possession of us, approaching jealousy”?

Here is the link to download my new translation, the pdf of the one interlinear with the Greek text. Here is the link for the Epistle of James without the Greek text.

Or to read James online this link.

More resources on the General Epistle of James may be found at this link.

Please share the Epistle of James