Re: Acts 2:23

From: Joe Friberg (
Date: Thu Aug 12 1999 - 11:04:29 EDT

> -----Original Message-----
> From: []
> Sent: Wednesday, August 11, 1999 9:57 AM


> I do not believe the case for excluding translation Greek is
> sound, and it
> seems predicated on eliminating a notable exception to Sharp's
> rule, namely,
> Proverbs 24:21. The longer version of Ignatius contains this
> passage in his
> epistle to the Smyrnaeans (ANF 1, chap. 9, 90). Wallace also notes that
> other, later Fathers quote it as well. (Wallace, "Multiple Substantives,"
> 127, note 121) But, again, I fail to see how these references can
> rightly be
> excluded on the basis of being considered "translation Greek." After all,
> these writers, had they understood the idiom in the Greek of
> Proverbs 24:21
> to denote one person, not two, could have cited it in a way that
> would have
> been free from ambiguity. They obviously did not believe that
> their use of an
> article-noun-KAI-noun construction in this case would create any
> confusion
> concerning the identity of God and the king, otherwise they would have
> translated the passage in such a way as to be free from ambiguity.
> Wallace accepts "Lord Jesus" or Lord Jesus Christ" as the equivalent to a
> proper name, and possibly even "Christ" when used alone. I
> agree, and would
> add that any compound expression containing a proper name (!), such as
> "Savior Jesus Christ" similarly functions with the restrictive force of a
> proper name, there being no doubt regarding the one to whom
> "Savior" applies.
> I also accept other compound expressions and titles as the equivalent of
> proper names, for reasons given elsewhere.

I would prefer Wallace's solution of exempting translation Gk from certain
interpretive/semantic rules: it appears by far to be the simplest

Pv 24.21 LXX (Rahlfs) reads:

and MT reads:

Note that the Gk follows the word order of the Hb. The LXX appears to be a
1-1 literal translation at this point. The details are copied, down to the
*lack of* a defn. art. w/ MELEK. This makes for poor translation theory,
but often an empahsis on literal, word-for-word translation sacrifices
accuracy of meaning for the sake of 1-1 formal correspondence, and this is
true of various parts of the LXX.

As to the question of Ignatius et al. quoting the LXX w/o emendation (I
could not verify this right now, but take your word for it), that should
not be surprising, even if the exact quotation went against the common
Semantic (Sharp's) rule. After all, the context is probably enough to
counteract the interpretation (God = king) that is predicted by Sharp's
rule. And I might even ask rhetorically (but gently), when was the last
time that you consciously modified an standard translation on-the-fly, w/o
consulting the original language first? I don't think such intentional
emendations would have been made lightly. (The real questions to ask arise
when there are variants between the LXX and quotations!)

On the other hand, though, I would not think it appropriate to put the
exemption for translation Gk into Sharp's (or any other Semantic or even
Syntactic) rule. Sharp's rule stands on its own, and we must simply invoke
the principle that sometimes translations are messy/imperfect, as in the
case of Pv 24.21 LXX! That is, the general principle that 'translations do
not always follow the grammar of the receptor language to convey the
correct meaning' comes into conflict with and overrides grammatical rules
in specific passages, as in the ex. above. This does not mean that *no*
translated passage will follow Sharp's rule, but that in some instance(s)
they *might* fail to *because* they are translation Gk!

Joe Friberg
Arlington, TX

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