Re: Night and Day

From: Steve Puluka (
Date: Sat Feb 12 2000 - 06:59:58 EST

<x-flowed>>From: Mary Pendergraft <>
>I'm writing to comment that Carl's response, that Bart's paraphrase
>catches what the passage means, is--typically--correct. It's normal
>Greek grammar; and it does represent what the Hebrew says. Perhaps some of
>the discomfort others have felt comes from the repetition of "day" and
>"night" in different cases, which isn't particularly idiomatic in English
>but is in other languages. The most obvious example to my mind is a Latin
>one, but it has the virtue of being familiar. The proverb "manus manum
>lavat" says "hand washes hand" but it's regularly Englished as "one hand
>washes the other." The same idiom holds in Greek: "Day speaks to day" is
>fine in Greek, but English would more likely say "One day speaks to the

Thank you for expressing so well what I had been struggling to put into
words on this issue. Other languages are much more "poetic" in this type of
contruction than English.

On poetry my favorite quote is Colridge "Poetry gives most pleasure when
only generally and not perfectly understood." These are the poems I return
to and revel in.

To bolster the this reading one more time I would direct any doubters to the
Old Church Slavonic translation of the Septuagint verse. This translation
of the Psalms dates to the Ninth Century and was done by Greek speaking
people. This construction is one day/night being the object of the others
voice. Note the repeating words in different cases, just as Mary points
out. Another poetic advantage of these languages is that by using the same
cases in successive lines we create both a repeating meter and sound.

I think "One day speaks to the next" captures this perfectly in English.
Thank you for the latin proverb as a reminder. I like to think of each
day/night as "relieving" the previous of duty and getting instructions.
This is an image of tradition being handed down from generation to

Phonetic transcrition of the Cyrilic, - is the soft pronunciation character,
( is the hard pronunciation character:


Steve Puluka
Adult Education Instructor
Byzantine Catholic Archeparchy of Pittsburgh

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