Rev 21.4d Syriac back-translated into Greek

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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Rev 21.4d Syriac back-translated into Greek

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 7th, 2014, 11:28 am

Well I am clueless about the Peshitta, I though this was NOT the text from the Peshitta but a variant found only in one sixth manuscript syr(ph). I was enlightened by discovering that B. M. Metzger had a "source" or two (Gwynn, Hoskier). My current plan is to let what ever errors Gwynn, Hoskier may have made stand uncorrected. Could e-mail Sebastian Brock but I suspect he has other things to do. Make more sense to e-mail Peter J. Williams but I know he is busy.

Thanks for the help.
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Stephen Hughes
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What sort of questions do you want to ask?

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 7th, 2014, 10:17 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Well I am clueless about the Peshitta, I though this was NOT the text from the Peshitta but a variant found only in one sixth manuscript syr(ph). I was enlightened by discovering that B. M. Metzger had a "source" or two (Gwynn, Hoskier). My current plan is to let what ever errors Gwynn, Hoskier may have made stand uncorrected. Could e-mail Sebastian Brock but I suspect he has other things to do. Make more sense to e-mail Peter J. Williams but I know he is busy.
What sort of questions do you want to ask? If they are questions about language, like whether ܐܦܝܗ means "her face" or "her faces", then I could ask one of my friends who was a monk in the Monastry of St Matthew near Mossul (named after a 4th century hermit not the Evangelist), and now is a parish priest in Croydon. During his time at the monastry he learnt to read, write, study theology, compose poetry and converse in Syriac. The answers to language-type questions are only an SMS away.

If you want to ask about the history of the Peshitta and text-types, then my friend probably wouldn't be able to help you. You would need to ask an academic.
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

RandallButh
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Re: Rev 21.4d Syriac back-translated into Greek

Post by RandallButh » March 8th, 2014, 9:04 am

The Aramaic and Syriac is straightforward and non-issue.
But to answer in English, one might first ask whether βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν means 'kingdom of heaven' or kingdom of heaverns'? [[The idiom, of course, is based on the Hebrew idiom מלכות שמיים, please note that there is no article in the Hebrew idiom. Ever. (In antiquity it was a fixed idiom.) The phrase מלכות שמיים is one of the items that groups Jesus with the Pharisees against the Qumranians.]]

Back to the Aramaic and Syriac, אפיה ܐܦܝܗ is even clearer than 'heaven/s'. The singular אף/אנף refers to the 'nose'. The plural אפין is the idiomatic and common way to refer to 'face' and is most commonly used with a possessive pronoun when definite. (The form ܐܦܝܗ BTW is plural 'her face'.)
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: What sort of questions do you want to ask?

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 8th, 2014, 9:24 am

Stephen Hughes wrote: like whether ܐܦܝܗ means "her face" or "her faces".
Something like that, Hosikier's{1} hyper-literal rendering ignores the pronominal suffix :
(21:4d) [and not grief anymore will be] upon faces. And I went away (21:5a)
I assume there is some justification for ignoring it. I vaguely recall reading in another thread on Syriac versions that the pronominal suffix is not strictly speaking equivalent to a greek pronoun like αὐτῆς. So the back translation οὔτε πόνος οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι ἐπὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῆς may be somewhat misleading. One reference work I don't have on hand which would be useful here is the translators guide (UBS) to textual problems in the NT, which offers assistance to people who find Metzger hard to understand. I suspect that guide addresses this problem. I had a library copy of the book for a while. It isn't anything like as authoritative as Hoskier is supposed to be. But it would give me something to point to as a source. All I would need is the translation of the variant from that book, see if it roughly corresponds to Hosikier.

One thing that puzzles me. Why did Metzger omit this in the 2nd edition of the textual commentary, probably because it was no longer in the apparatus of UBS4. But the textual commentary frequently covers ground not found in the apparatus. Perhaps there were other reasons for omitting it. Peter J Williams has in several publications pointed out that Syriac evidence is often cited in a misleading fashion since the knowledge of Syriac NT translation practice, being somewhat defective, has lead to erroneous back translation in to Greek. I am wondering if this is in fact an example of what P. J. Williams is talking about.

[1]Text of the Apokalypse 1929 p557
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Rev 21.4d Syriac back-translated into Greek

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 8th, 2014, 9:35 am

RandallButh wrote:The Aramaic and Syriac is straightforward and non-issue.
But to answer in English, one might first ask whether βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν means 'kingdom of heaven' or kingdom of heaverns'? [[The idiom, of course, is based on the Hebrew idiom מלכות שמיים, please note that there is no article in the Hebrew idiom. Ever. (In antiquity it was a fixed idiom.) The phrase מלכות שמיים is one of the items that groups Jesus with the Pharisees against the Qumranians.]]

Back to the Aramaic and Syriac, אפיה ܐܦܝܗ is even clearer than 'heaven/s'. The singular אף/אנף refers to the 'nose'. The plural אפין is the idiomatic and common way to refer to 'face' and is most commonly used with a possessive pronoun when definite. (The form ܐܦܝܗ BTW is plural 'her face'.)

Hello Randall,

Thank you for dropping into this thread. How would you translate the whole variant in English?

and there will be no longer any grief/pain on her face?

Who his the referent of αὐτῆς?

οὔτε πόνος οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι ἐπὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῆς.

It sounds like Hoskier got it wrong. I am not surprised.
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RandallButh
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Re: Rev 21.4d Syriac back-translated into Greek

Post by RandallButh » March 8th, 2014, 10:03 am

clay, I would need to see the whole variant paragraph before commenting on the referent of "her". I only commented on the word to remove the 'mystery' that was building so that the word would be viewed as itself.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Rev 21.4d Syriac back-translated into Greek

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 8th, 2014, 12:10 pm

I spent an hour or so reviewing this idiom in the Hebrew OT and LXX. Thanks to Randall, the exercise was worth the effort and payed off with a better understanding of the idiom. The idiom is extremely common in the Hebrew bible. Found only one place in the LXX where the plural πρόσωπα was followed by a singular pronoun[1]. My conclusion from this is J. Gwynn's back translation ἔτι ἐπὶ τὰ πρόσωπα αὐτῆς which is found in UBSGNT3 and TextComm 1st ed. is at best misleading and I wonder why it ever made it into the UBSGNT3 and TextComm 1st ed., but that is ancient history.

J. Gwynn's back translation in context:
https://archive.org/stream/apocalypseof ... 9/mode/2up

[1]
2Kings 14:11 καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσεν Αμεσσιας. καὶ ἀνέβη ὁ βασιλεὺς Ισραηλ, καὶ ὤφθησαν προσώποις αὐτὸς καὶ Αμεσσιας βασιλεὺς Ιουδα ἐν Βαιθσαμυς τῇ τοῦ Ιουδα·

This is NOT an example of the idiom under consideration.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Rev 21.4d Syriac back-translated into Greek

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » March 8th, 2014, 4:52 pm

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RandallButh
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Re: Rev 21.4d Syriac back-translated into Greek

Post by RandallButh » March 9th, 2014, 1:22 am

thank you for the links.

I think that they clear things up.

'her face' is an idiom in Syriac that means 'her face' and also 'her surface' 'its surface'. In Syriac, this can mean 'on her/it', that is 'on the ground' 'on earth' 'on the streets of the new city', etc.

Yes, the Syriac texts also have "I went" rather than 'former things departed.' It appears that a Syriac tradition read prota as prosopa at some stage and simply interpreted the 'non-Greek' as its own Aramaic idiom. prosopa doesn't make sense in Greek.
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Stephen Hughes
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Was the idea of "her" added for the sake of the Syriac idiom

Post by Stephen Hughes » March 9th, 2014, 9:17 am

RandallButh wrote:'her face' is an idiom in Syriac that means 'her face' and also 'her surface' 'its surface'. In Syriac, this can mean 'on her/it', that is 'on the ground' 'on earth' 'on the streets of the new city', etc.

It appears that a Syriac tradition read prota as prosopa at some stage and simply interpreted the 'non-Greek' as its own Aramaic idiom. prosopa doesn't make sense in Greek.
Randall, I get what you are saying about face of the city (The Aramaic ܡܕܝܢܬܐ is also a feminine noun like πόλις) meaning the surface of its streets. You are saying that πρόσωπον is used in a special sense of "surface". That is true in a number of places in the Greek and this could be one of them. From what I can find, other NT places where πρόσωπον is used as surface, such as
Luke 21:35 wrote:ὡς παγὶς γὰρ ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς καθημένους ἐπὶ πρόσωπον πάσης τῆς γῆς.
πρόσωπον is always in the singular. (cf. Acts 17:26 for another example) of surface.

Now for the αὐτῆς... Sorry that that you have to bear my low IQ and that I'm slow to catch onto what's happening around me, but I'm not clear from your "a Syriac tradition read prota as prosopa at some stage" whether you think that the αὐτῆς was in the Greek Vorlage that Polycarp (the translator Philoxenus had commissioned) had in front of him, or whether it was added for idiomatic reasons into the Syriac and that other scholars have hyper back-translated the idea that was in Greek, but needed to be explicated in good Syriac back into Greek which was not originally in the Greek - as Clay is sort of hinting at from a suspicion arising from something he had read somewhere.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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