Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Greek texts such as the New Testament, The Greek Old Testament (Septuagint/LXX), Patristic Greek texts, Papyri, and other Greek writings of the New Testament era. Discussion must focus on the Greek text, not on modern language translations, theological controversies, or textual criticism.
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Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up. This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.
Robert S. Daniel
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Robert S. Daniel » May 28th, 2020, 5:13 pm

One idea I have contemplated is looking at Luther's writings. There is an online and free complete edition of Luther's works, over 50 volumes of 500-1000 pages each. There are some letters that Luther exchanged with Johann Staupitz, for example, discussing the meaning of μετάνοια. Luther seems to have been learning Greek at the time, because he had several guesses about the meaning of the prefix meta. Each volume is searchable but searches are pretty slow and I'm not sure what to search for, so I would have to go fishing.
Another slim chance would be something like translators' notes for the RSV, if they happened to document reasons for changing some of the "worlds" to "ages".
This all seems like searching for the needle in the haystack.
I think it is also possible that some enterprising scholar somewhere might have some plausible historical explanation in default of direct evidence. For example, there were some gnostic writers that had a heyday with the notion of an αἰών. I can imagine that if Luther knew of any such writings he might want to avoid any translation choice that might throw fuel on that fire.
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Jason Hare
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Jason Hare » May 28th, 2020, 5:17 pm

Robert S. Daniel wrote:
May 28th, 2020, 4:49 pm
Thank you for fixing my post. I'll try to add the diacritical marks myself next time, although I have Windows 10, which doesn't do that. I added a .dll that is supposed to enable diacritics but it doesn't seem to work very well. My best option so far has been to find the word I need in an existing document and cut and paste.
Windows 10 has a polytonic Greek keyboard built-in. It's what I (and many others) use. Do you want instructions? I can meet you on com for ten minutes and get you set up.
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Jason A. Hare
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Robert S. Daniel
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Robert S. Daniel » May 29th, 2020, 4:39 pm

Thanks! I would love to have some help with that. You're almost on the other side of the world from me though. If you could post a couple of hints I might be able to figure it out myself and if not I can come back and we can try to find a time to do it via com. Although I don't know what that is.
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Jean Putmans
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Jean Putmans » May 30th, 2020, 2:10 am

Maybe academia.edu could be helpful.

You might have a look at this: http://konkordant.de/ewig.html.

Luther (as well as the Dutch Translators of the Statenbijbel (Edition 1689) had the same problem: German "Ewigkeit" (dutch "eeuwigheid") is a time without beginning and without End (= eternity"): so a plural of that word seemed to be impossible.

Translational Solution:
When αιων means "eternity" > Ewigkeit / eeuwigheid
When αιων means a Time span (with unknown dimension): Welt(zeit) (wereld).

Attached: Kittel Lemma αιων Section C (with the help of mr. Thomas Schaum, from the german yahoo-groep http://bibelgriechisch.online/)

Regards

Jean
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Jean Putmans
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gotischebibel.blogspot.com

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 30th, 2020, 3:00 pm

Jean Putmans wrote:
May 30th, 2020, 2:10 am
Attached: Kittel Lemma αιων Section C
That's still under copyright (in this English translation, at least), and that many pages is a bit beyond fair use, so I'm afraid I had to delete it.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Robert S. Daniel
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Robert S. Daniel » May 30th, 2020, 6:59 pm

In Dutch couldn't you say "de eeuw binnengaan" or "de eeuwen binnengaan" ?
Or in German, use a word like "Epoche" or equivalent?

I also wonder if back in Luther's time there wasn't a word like "eeuw" in German? That maybe didn't endure into our age because Luther didn't use it in his Lutherbibel?

I haven't had a chance to look at the references you gave me, but thanks, I will take a look zo gauw mogelijk.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Jonathan Robie » June 1st, 2020, 1:42 pm

This thread isn't heading in the direction of trying to understand anything about the Greek text. If the thread is to continue, it needs to move quickly in that direction. if not, I will lock it.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Robert S. Daniel
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Joined: May 27th, 2020, 6:20 pm

Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Robert S. Daniel » June 2nd, 2020, 12:39 pm

Sorry, I'll try to play by the rules.
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Robert S. Daniel
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Robert S. Daniel » June 22nd, 2020, 4:02 am

I have found some more information that is relevant to this topic, but I would like to ask first before I post it. It concerns the meaning of the Greek word αἰών but since I'm not a native speaker of Koine, I am partly dependent on reverse-engineering the translation of this word into English. Jerome translates it by saeculum, but I'm not a native speaker of Latin either, and besides saeculum doesn't have a cognate in English, at least for this usage. Also my understanding is likely colored by the way I'm used to seeing it translated into English, so I think that questions having to do with translation into German and English are relevant. German because Luther's translation seems to have influenced Tyndale. Also, I suspect that some of the relevant word meanings may have changed over time, due to the influence of theologians such as Augustine and Aquinas.

So what I have in mind is an etymological link that goes Gk. αἰϝών (note the digamma) -> Latin aevum -> German Ewigkeit and the German "je", and also if permissible, the spin that Aquinas puts on "aevum".

So is this fair game for further discussion?
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Jean Putmans
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Re: Luther's translation of αἰών/αἰώνιος

Post by Jean Putmans » June 22nd, 2020, 6:07 am

Protogermanic root: *aiwō- "era, period of time; (specific germanic:) law, habbit"

Protoindoeuropean: *h2eiu- "long span of time"

The Protoindoeuropean root is the root for αιων, aevum, eeuw, ewig- :

The meaning "century" seems to be quite young. Luther probably had in his mind the meaning "long span of time", like the Greek "αιων".


Regards

Jean
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Jean Putmans
Netherlands
gotischebibel.blogspot.com

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