Translating Athanasius

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Phil Tolstead
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Translating Athanasius

Post by Phil Tolstead » February 12th, 2018, 3:10 pm

Could I ask my fellow B-Greekers if I have captured the sense of Athanasius' words?

36. ATHANASIUS Theol. Sermo in nativitatem Christi [Sp.] {2035.089} Volume 28 page 968 line 4

σάρκα οὐκ ἂν ἔλαβεν ἐξ αὐτῆς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος; ἀλλὰ ἐκεῖ βιάζεταί με ὁ Εὐαγγελιστὴς βοῶν μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ· «Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο.»

Flesh would not from itself receive (understand?) God’s word. Instead here the crying of the evangelist with great voice subdues me: “The Word became flesh!”

or a bit more freely

Rather here, I am subdued by the shout of the evangelist's
mighty voice "the Word became flesh!"

I'm not so much asking about the English but rather whether I've understood the Greek
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 12th, 2018, 3:47 pm

It appears to me there might be another way to understand ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος in:

σάρκα οὐκ ἂν ἔλαβεν ἐξ
αὐτῆς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος;

I suspect this is a reference to the incarnation, but I'm certainly no expert on patristic authors. The way I'm suggesting reading this is: Flesh begets flesh, ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος was not begotten from flesh. In other words it's impossible for the source ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος to be human. I don't totally understand what is being said about Θεοτόκος. I'm perfectly happy to be wrong about this.

More context is required to grasp what is under discussion.
Εἰπὲ οὖν Θεοτόκον τὴν Παρθένον, καὶ μὴ λέγε
Θεοδόχον· μᾶλλον δὲ λέγε Θεοδόχον καὶ Θεοτόκον. Εἰ
Θεοδόχος ἐστὶ καὶ Θεοτόκος· σάρκα οὐκ ἂν ἔλαβεν ἐξ
αὐτῆς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος; ἀλλὰ ἐκεῖ βιάζεταί με ὁ Εὐαγγε-
28.968.5
λιστὴς βοῶν μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ· «Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγέ-
νετο.» Ἐν δὲ τῷ ἄλλῳ εὐαγγελιστῇ οὕτω λέγει·
»Ἠρώτα ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ, λέγων· Τίνα
με λέγουσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώ-
που; Ἀποκριθέντες δὲ οἱ ἀπόστολοι εἶπαν· Οἱ μὲν
28.968.10
Ἠλίαν, οἱ δὲ Ἱερεμίαν, ἢ ἕνα τῶν προφητῶν. Εἶπε
δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε; Ἀποκριθεὶς
δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπε· Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ
ζῶντος.» Καὶ οὐκ εἶπε· Σὺ εἶ ὁ γενόμενος χάριτι
Υἱὸς Θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ, «Σὺ ὁ Χριστὸς,» τρανῇ τῇ φωνῇ,
Εἰπὲ οὖν Θεοτόκον τὴν Παρθένον, καὶ μὴ λέγε
Θεοδόχον· μᾶλλον δὲ λέγε Θεοδόχον καὶ Θεοτόκον. Εἰ
Θεοδόχος ἐστὶ καὶ Θεοτόκος· σάρκα οὐκ ἂν ἔλαβεν ἐξ
αὐτῆς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος; ἀλλὰ ἐκεῖ βιάζεταί με ὁ Εὐαγγε-
28.968.5
λιστὴς βοῶν μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ· «Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγέ-
νετο.» Ἐν δὲ τῷ ἄλλῳ εὐαγγελιστῇ οὕτω λέγει·
»Ἠρώτα ὁ Ἰησοῦς τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ, λέγων· Τίνα
με λέγουσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώ-
που; Ἀποκριθέντες δὲ οἱ ἀπόστολοι εἶπαν· Οἱ μὲν
28.968.10
Ἠλίαν, οἱ δὲ Ἱερεμίαν, ἢ ἕνα τῶν προφητῶν. Εἶπε
δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς· Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε; Ἀποκριθεὶς
δὲ ὁ Πέτρος εἶπε· Σὺ εἶ ὁ Χριστὸς ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ
ζῶντος.» Καὶ οὐκ εἶπε· Σὺ εἶ ὁ γενόμενος χάριτι
Υἱὸς Θεοῦ, ἀλλὰ, «Σὺ ὁ Χριστὸς,» τρανῇ τῇ φωνῇ,
28.968.15
»ὁ Υἱὸς τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος.»
Last edited by Stirling Bartholomew on February 12th, 2018, 4:06 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Ken M. Penner
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by Ken M. Penner » February 12th, 2018, 3:53 pm

Take note of the case endings and question mark.
The subject of ἔλαβεν is ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος, and the object is σάρκα.
So we have God the Word taking on flesh.
Not the crying but the evangelist is the subject of βιάζεταί.
Phil Tolstead wrote:
February 12th, 2018, 3:10 pm
Could I ask my fellow B-Greekers if I have captured the sense of Athanasius' words?

36. ATHANASIUS Theol. Sermo in nativitatem Christi [Sp.] {2035.089} Volume 28 page 968 line 4

σάρκα οὐκ ἂν ἔλαβεν ἐξ αὐτῆς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος; ἀλλὰ ἐκεῖ βιάζεταί με ὁ Εὐαγγελιστὴς βοῶν μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ· «Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο.»

Flesh would not from itself receive (understand?) God’s word. Instead here the crying of the evangelist with great voice subdues me: “The Word became flesh!”

or a bit more freely

Rather here, I am subdued by the shout of the evangelist's
mighty voice "the Word became flesh!"

I'm not so much asking about the English but rather whether I've understood the Greek
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Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 12th, 2018, 5:55 pm

Εἰπὲ οὖν Θεοτόκον τὴν Παρθένον, καὶ μὴ λέγε
Θεοδόχον· μᾶλλον δὲ λέγε Θεοδόχον καὶ Θεοτόκον. Εἰ
Θεοδόχος ἐστὶ καὶ Θεοτόκος· σάρκα οὐκ ἂν ἔλαβεν ἐξ
αὐτῆς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος;
Θεοδόχον god-receiver

This paragraph remains somewhat difficult. I don't recall seeing this discussed in Calvin's Institutes[1].

[1] gave my copy to Mark Driscoll in '92.
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Phil Tolstead
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by Phil Tolstead » February 13th, 2018, 6:22 am

Thanks Stirling and Ken. A quick trip to Lampe's shows me I stumbled into a theological thicket. It was a term Nestorius' used which earned him considerable ire from Cyril. Thanks for posting the larger context, and Ken thanks for pointing out the basic endings I overlooked.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 14th, 2018, 5:15 pm

Phil Tolstead wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 6:22 am
A quick trip to Lampe's shows me I stumbled into a theological thicket. It was a term Nestorius' used which earned him considerable ire from Cyril.
Indeed, demonstrates why the full text Lampe is indispensable. I attempted to sort the problem out by reading all the citations from Cyril. Eventually ended up looking at JND Kelly, and then Schaff.

https://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/hcc3.iii.xii.xxi.html

Postscript: I suspect Nestorius would be much closer to orthodoxy than 98% of the people currently sitting in the pews or standing in the pulpit.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » February 14th, 2018, 6:32 pm

Here is a more recent discussion I found helpful.
http://www.anglicantheologicalreview.or ... e_94_3.pdf
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James Ernest
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by James Ernest » February 17th, 2018, 7:35 am

Hi, I just happened to drop in here. Seems to me you weren’t picking up that ἐξ αὐτῆς refers to the Theotokos—a neuter form, but the feminine form is used ad sensum.

(And regarding the subject line—you know you’re reading a later work, not Athanasios? at least according to scholars in general.)
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Phil Tolstead
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by Phil Tolstead » February 19th, 2018, 11:03 am

Ever deeper, ever deeper goes a journey with Cyril and Nestorius as traveling companions. Thanks for the articles Stirling. James, I had indeed not seen the context at all...I had captured the text on TLG while running a search on biazetai. I guess our writer must have been a pseudo A. Old Athanasios probably did not have enough fight left in him to get up from his grave and wade into this particular brouhaha :-)

Returning to the Greek sentence, would the following capture its sense?

σάρκα οὐκ ἂν ἔλαβεν ἐξ αὐτῆς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος; ἀλλὰ ἐκεῖ βιάζεταί με ὁ Εὐαγγελιστὴς βοῶν μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ· «Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο.»

The Word of God could not from her receive flesh??? Rather here, I am subdued by the evangelist, crying with a great voice “The word became flesh” .

or

The Word of God could not from her receive human nature??? Rather here, I am subdued by the evangelist, crying with a great voice “The word became human”.
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Shirley Rollinson
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Re: Translating Athanasius

Post by Shirley Rollinson » February 19th, 2018, 8:32 pm

Phil Tolstead wrote:
February 19th, 2018, 11:03 am
Ever deeper, ever deeper goes a journey with Cyril and Nestorius as traveling companions. Thanks for the articles Stirling. James, I had indeed not seen the context at all...I had captured the text on TLG while running a search on biazetai. I guess our writer must have been a pseudo A. Old Athanasios probably did not have enough fight left in him to get up from his grave and wade into this particular brouhaha :-)

Returning to the Greek sentence, would the following capture its sense?

σάρκα οὐκ ἂν ἔλαβεν ἐξ αὐτῆς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος; ἀλλὰ ἐκεῖ βιάζεταί με ὁ Εὐαγγελιστὴς βοῶν μεγάλῃ τῇ φωνῇ· «Ὁ Λόγος σὰρξ ἐγένετο.»

The Word of God could not from her receive flesh??? Rather here, I am subdued by the evangelist, crying with a great voice “The word became flesh” .

or

The Word of God could not from her receive human nature??? Rather here, I am subdued by the evangelist, crying with a great voice “The word became human”.
I would translate it as "Did not God the Word receive flesh from her?" (expecting the answer 'yes'), so maybe "God the Word received flesh from her, didn't He?"
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