Re: Night and Day

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 08 2000 - 11:16:43 EST

At 11:03 AM -0500 2/8/00, wrote:
>In a message dated 02/08/2000 5:01:41 AM Pacific Standard Time,
> writes:
><< 1 Clement 27:7 gives a quotation of LXX Ps. 19:1-3, which includes the
> GNWSIN. A typical translation is something like "day utters speech to day
> and night proclaims knowledge to night." But I have no idea what that
> means (i.e., in English) (and note: I'm *not* asking what the original
> Hebrew meant, but what the Greek in 1 Clement did).
> What would you think of something a bit more paraphrastic that, while
> still strange, can at least be construed, something like: "One day utters
> a word to another, and one night proclaims knowledge to the next"?
> -- Bart D. Ehrman >>
>Dear Bart:
>The only problem I see with your suggested translation is whether or not the
>text is really suggesting that a particular day/night speaks and proclaims
>knowledge to "another" DAY/NIGHT (figuratively speaking, of course). Rather,
>it seems that the sense of the datives is "by day" and "by night,"
>respectively, so that the idea conveyed is the regularity/consistency with
>which the created heavens make known the glory and wisdom of God.
>Thus, I would translate: "Day by day the firmament/sky [TO STEPEWMA] gives
>forth speech [speech that DIHGOUNTAI DOXAN QEOU], and night by night it [TO
>STEREWMA] proclaims [His] knowledge."

The problem with this is that there is a normal way to express "by day" and
"by night" in Greek, and that is the genitive case without any article:
simply hHMERAS and NUKTOS; I don't see how a dative of these words,
PARTICULARLY in a context of a nominative of the same word and a verb for
"speak" could possibly carry the sense you're suggesting.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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