Date: Wed Oct 28 1998 - 16:16:37 EST
I want to share, from time to time, bits of Nonnos in the Greek, which are
very difficult to render into English, but which constitute its idiosyncratic
The poem itself is a twenty one book Alexandrian epic paraphrase of the Gospel
of John, written around 450 AD. The translation is being published serially at
my website: http://members.aol.com/tonyprost/index.html
The following lines from Book 18 correspond to John 18:37, 38. (I will not
transcribe the Koine.) John uses, in his brusque Greek, ale^theia, three
times, in three different contexts. Follows Nonnos, in 5th Century dactyllic
kai genome^n eis touto kai e^luthon, ophra ken aiei
martus ete^tumie^s panthelgeos andrasin eie^n;
kai pas, hos probeboulen ale^theie^s zugon helkein,
glo^sse^s he^metere^s apseudea muthon akouei.
kai Pilatos thambe^sekai empalin eireto mutho^:
atrekie^ ti pelei? ....
(I havent versified this section yet, but it will be posted within a couple of
In these verses, Jesus says he was born to be a witness of ete^tumia, from
etumos, true, genuine, real (Lat. sincerus)
Then he talks about those who drag the yoke of ale^theia, truth with tones of
frankness and honesty
Then he says his word is apseudea, not false...
Finally, Pilate asks, what is atrekeia, reality, strict truth, accuracy as in
a court of justice.
Just sharing some of the joys of greek!
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