Date: Sat May 09 1998 - 12:02:25 EDT
Jonathan Robie wrote:
> This approach worries me because the resulting translation has already
> changed the Greek tenses into English tenses that are not completely
> Wooden tense-for-tense translations from one language into another do not
> preserve the original meaning.
Jonathan, you are correct here, obviously. Such an exercise should be
done with John AS AN EXERCISE, for the reason that 'time' is an
overarching consideration of the whole of this gospel, in virtue of
its opening two words. Making a lot of tries with tense meanings that
unfold, say, the imperfect, or the present, have the possibility of
penetrating the 'veil' of EN ARCH that sits so enigmatically at the
To my classically trained understanding, this opening is a five alarm
fire bell going off INSIDE my ears: "PAY ABSOLUTE ATTENTION TO
TIME!!!" is its ringing command, and: "THIS TEXT IS ABOUT TIME!!!"
And more specifically about the beginning of time, its ARCH, and then
the LOGOS and and then QEOS. THAT, you see, is the ORDER of the
introduction of these terms in the sacred structure of John 1:1-2. As
Christians, we tend to focus in more on LOGOS and QEOS, and lose track
of EN ARCH, leading to aspectual time interpretations of what I
believe to be a VERY careful and precise tense presentation by the
author... To our error...
> I LOVE reading texts slowly and thoughtfully, but in Greek, and out loud.
> If you want to really note the use of the tenses, stop at every verb, and
> notice the tense that is used, perhaps even saying the name of the tense
> out loud. I've found that helpful at times. But do it in Greek.
I've been doing this with Wes' PRIN ABRAAM GENESQAI in both English
and in Greek, with disturbing results to my English speaking brain, as
some Light starts to seep through the cracks opening up into my
darkness here!! :-).
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