Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.
davidstansfield
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by davidstansfield » August 3rd, 2020, 10:06 pm

Thank you Barry,

(1)
Yes, I understood the “problem”. I am glad I am on track, so far.
… The context is interesting (!), but I am not presenting my interpretation here. (I can speak in some depth about how “into” makes perfect sense, in the context…)

(2)
I recall many steps in the decision to translate εἰς as “into”. (This was at least some months ago). Including, drawing on the dictionary definition(s) I could find. Including the immediate and wider context, etc. I also had a beginner’s sense that the word is most commonly translated, “into”, “to” or “in”; and yesterday, I compiled the statistics for clearer communication on the forum.

(3)
I think your question is inappropriate. (I am engaging with the Greek of Romans 1. I also have an accurate profile, with a link to more information.)
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David R. Stansfield

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 4th, 2020, 7:30 am

davidstansfield wrote:
August 3rd, 2020, 10:06 pm
Thank you Barry,

(1)
Yes, I understood the “problem”. I am glad I am on track, so far.
… The context is interesting (!), but I am not presenting my interpretation here. (I can speak in some depth about how “into” makes perfect sense, in the context…)
Such an odd comment. Context is the single most important element in determining the particular usage of a word. Yes, of course you are presenting an interpretation, and an interpretation which disagrees with practically everyone else's understanding of the usage here.
(2)
I recall many steps in the decision to translate εἰς as “into”. (This was at least some months ago). Including, drawing on the dictionary definition(s) I could find. Including the immediate and wider context, etc. I also had a beginner’s sense that the word is most commonly translated, “into”, “to” or “in”; and yesterday, I compiled the statistics for clearer communication on the forum.

(3)
I think your question is inappropriate. (I am engaging with the Greek of Romans 1. I also have an accurate profile, with a link to more information.)
You identify above and earlier as a beginner in Greek (which I hadn't noticed until I reread your earlier post), and you didn't seem to be engaging the Greek in a fashion which I would expect from someone who has studied the language in depth, as a number of people on this forum have, so the question is entirely appropriate, if or no other reason that knowing your level of Greek helps us respond better to your questions. You should carefully listen to the responses of people who have been studying and using the language for decades. People here are glad to give you honest responses based on their experience, but what you do with those responses is certainly up to you.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

nathaniel j. erickson
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by nathaniel j. erickson » August 4th, 2020, 9:56 am

To perhaps unpack with more detail some of the concerns that others have raised with your translation.

1. Your basic premise seems to be that since εἰς is translated as "into" more often than not in the KJV (which I would hazard the guess that this will also be true of any English translation of the NT), therefore it is the most likely meaning of the word in this particular instance.

This assumption is very problematic because the word εἰς has a wide variety of meanings when it is used in different ways (or in different contexts). It is fair to say that in a sentence which is communicating motion through space "into" is a pretty default rendering. An example:
Matt. 2.13 καὶ φεῦγε εἰς Αἴγυπτον (And flee into Egypt). (Though, I at least would be more inclined to say "flee to Egypt" as "into" sounds rather quaint to me.)
Since there are a lot of times in the NT where εἰς is used in contexts talking about motion through space, the translation of "into" appears frequently. But even here you can be on dicey ground because εἰς can have a variety of other meanings when talking about motion through space, including emphasizing motion "toward" without necessarily reaching the goal, referring to armies going "against" one another for attack, and the NT even seems to evidence the usage of εἰς = ἐν where the notion of movement towards is completely absent. "Into" does not even work as a go-to rendering for all instance of motion through space.

The obvious problem in the context of Romans 1.1 is that this passage is not referring to "motion through physical space", rather Paul is speaking in abstractions. When εἰς is used in the world of abstractions (or "cognitive space", if you will) rather than referring to motion in physical space, it has a wide variety of meanings. One common one is to indicate purpose. If you understand the basic notion of the preposition to mean something like "toward a goal", then the usage of purpose makes sense as an extension of the older meaning of physical space. But not all usages of εἰς make sense as extensions of an older meaning. Word meanings often grow in untidy ways. The notion of purpose is obvious in set phrases like εἰς τοῦτο (for this reason), and εἰς τί (why?, literally "for what reason"?). εἰς clearly does not mean "into" in these phrases, but rather conveys the notion of purpose. The phrase in Rom. 1.1 is strongly analogous to εἰς τοῦτο (for this reason). Replace τοῦτο with εὐαγγέλιον and you have "for the gospel-purpose", or, in actual English, "for the purpose of the gospel."

It's not that anyone is trying to look down on your or your suggested translation/interpretation, rather, we are simply pointing out that you are thinking yourself into creative knots because you haven't yet learned that εἰς can convey the meaning of purpose. There is no reason to try to translate Rom. 1.1 using "into", and there are a lot of reasons to not do so. A general piece of wisdom when learning Greek (and those who know a lot of Greek rarely depart from it either), is that if no major Bible translation understands the Greek the way you do, you are the one who is wrong, not the translations.

2. Strong's is a fine resource that accomplishes an admirable goal within the scope that it sets out to, but it is very inadequate for assessing the meaning of complicated words. That is not within its intended scope. All of the prepositions in Greek are complicated words which display a wide variety of meanings. If you would like to take a gander at a more adequate lexicon for the job (this one is still inadequate, but it should not be overwhelming to look at at the beginning stage of Greek), you can look at this one here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon. This is the so-called "Middle Liddel," which is not even as robust as its big brother LSJ. Neither of these seek to give an exhaustive account of the specific meanings of a preposition, but rather give broad containers of meaning which are adequate for most usages. The standard NT lexicon, BDAG, lists 10 head meanings for εἰς, with scads of sub-meanings. That is a lot more than the meanings listed in Strong's. To put it differently. If it had been Strong's intent to write a lexicon that deals adequately with the meanings of Greek words, he would have wrote a way bigger lexicon than he did.

Again, it is not that Strong's is bad; it is simply not designed for the task that you are embarking upon in learning Greek. It really is intended for use by people who don't know Greek (or who know virtually nothing), so that they can track down where different words occur in an English text, not for assessing what those Greek words mean in Greek. The fact that you are trying to learn Greek indicates that you are already outside of the target audience for Strong's. I wish you blessings on your journey of learning and ask that, as Barry has said, you be open to learning from those who know more about Greek than you yet do. It really is one of the fastest ways to learn.
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Nathaniel J. Erickson
NT PhD candidate, ABD
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
ntgreeketal.com
ὅπου πλείων κόπος, πολὺ κέρδος
ΠΡΟΣ ΠΟΛΥΚΑΡΠΟΝ ΙΓΝΑΤΙΟΣ

Shirley Rollinson
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by Shirley Rollinson » August 4th, 2020, 11:13 am

davidstansfield wrote:
August 3rd, 2020, 10:06 pm
Thank you Barry,

(1)
Yes, I understood the “problem”. I am glad I am on track, so far.
… The context is interesting (!), but I am not presenting my interpretation here. (I can speak in some depth about how “into” makes perfect sense, in the context…)

(2)
I recall many steps in the decision to translate εἰς as “into”. (This was at least some months ago). Including, drawing on the dictionary definition(s) I could find. Including the immediate and wider context, etc. I also had a beginner’s sense that the word is most commonly translated, “into”, “to” or “in”; and yesterday, I compiled the statistics for clearer communication on the forum.

(3)
I think your question is inappropriate. (I am engaging with the Greek of Romans 1. I also have an accurate profile, with a link to more information.)
Dear David
You have evidently spent a lot of time already, working on your understanding of the Greek text. But it might be helpful to add a study of the ways the Greek language "works". You might try http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook02/index.html and spend maybe 15 minutes a day working with that and the GNT in general, rather than concentrating on one particular passage without considering the rest of the GNT.
All best wishes for your studies,
Shirley Rollinson
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Yama Ploskonka
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by Yama Ploskonka » August 6th, 2020, 9:14 pm

Kudos, David, for your effort!

I do not know if you are a hunt-and-peck exegesist like I am, but I feel a bit of a kindred spirit. The closer to my heart your effort is, because it so happens that my own current focus is to use the very first 5 or 6 verses of Romans, to provide plain folk hunt-and-peck explorers a painless introduction to some Koine. I call it "A Little Knowledge of Bible Greek," the obvious subtitle being that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing :)

So far I have learned a lot in this thread. I will later make my own for my own questions, hope you still get advices to your question. Meanwhile, my very best to you, and my gratitude to those more learned colleagues for their generosity and patience, and also for their concerns, it all helps!
I am particularly grateful for practical suggestions like the one about intermediate steps between Strong's and deeper knowledge, but not so deep that I really would have to learn Greek grammar :) (TMI: it took me 5 tries to pass my University "grammar structure" class. In my mother language. Yikes)

Yama
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Yama Ploskonka, papermaker since 2016 in Austin, Texas, very noob in Koine stuffs

davidstansfield
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by davidstansfield » August 8th, 2020, 8:50 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 7:30 am
davidstansfield wrote:
August 3rd, 2020, 10:06 pm
Thank you Barry,

(1)
Yes, I understood the “problem”. I am glad I am on track, so far.
… The context is interesting (!), but I am not presenting my interpretation here. (I can speak in some depth about how “into” makes perfect sense, in the context…)
Such an odd comment. Context is the single most important element in determining the particular usage of a word. Yes, of course you are presenting an interpretation, and an interpretation which disagrees with practically everyone else's understanding of the usage here.
With thanks, I understand that the 'morphology and syntax' of my translation is OK. Great. This was my intention with the word 'grammar,' in the post title.

I have not explained why I have decided on 'into' as the translation for εἰς, here. I think this opens up a much larger discussion (of interpretation...?), and which is beyond the scope of the forum.

Of course, I understand that my translation is unique (or uncommon?), and hence my post, and my check, here...
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David R. Stansfield

davidstansfield
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by davidstansfield » August 8th, 2020, 10:34 pm

Thank you Nathaniel,

I appreciate the care you have taken to unpack. And also, to explain the broader possible meanings of εἰς, concentrating on ‘purpose’.
nathaniel j. erickson wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:56 am
1. Your basic premise seems to be that since εἰς is translated as "into" more often than not in the KJV (which I would hazard the guess that this will also be true of any English translation of the NT), therefore it is the most likely meaning of the word in this particular instance.
No, that’s not my basic premise (since common… therefore ‘into’…). Yes, I had noticed it was common. But no, not therefore my translation decision.
(Perhaps more a reluctance to assume that it should be translated, ‘for’?)

It was a much later decision. I had looked at Rom 1:14-17 for some time, and then Rom 1:1-23, and then later yet… (my decision).
nathaniel j. erickson wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 9:56 am
2. Strong's is a fine resource that accomplishes an admirable goal within the scope that it sets out to, but it is very inadequate for assessing the meaning of complicated words. That is not within its intended scope. All of the prepositions in Greek are complicated words which display a wide variety of meanings. If you would like to take a gander at a more adequate lexicon for the job (this one is still inadequate, but it should not be overwhelming to look at at the beginning stage of Greek), you can look at this one here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/mor ... ek#lexicon.
I do not mean, and I did not intend above, to put so much emphasis on the one word, εἰς. (Only, perhaps, that the ‘morphology and syntax’ is OK.)
I understand, however, that this word is a singular point at which my interpretation of the passage (including of 3+ Greek words before, and of 9+ Greek words after…), and many (!) others' interpretation of the passage, comes to a head.

Note, I probably used other dictionaries. (I had access to several in a Melbourne theological library, and I probably looked up εἰς, also…)
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David R. Stansfield

davidstansfield
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by davidstansfield » August 9th, 2020, 4:58 am

Shirley Rollinson wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 11:13 am
Dear David
You have evidently spent a lot of time already, working on your understanding of the Greek text. But it might be helpful to add a study of the ways the Greek language "works". You might try http://www.drshirley.org/greek/textbook02/index.html and spend maybe 15 minutes a day working with that and the GNT in general, rather than concentrating on one particular passage without considering the rest of the GNT.
All best wishes for your studies,
Shirley Rollinson
Thank you. It looks as though you have produced a great resource. (I have a copy of Jeremy Duff’s The Elements of New Testament Greek on my shelf...)

I am thankful for the scholarly perspective (or eye…) on my translation; and from others here, also.

The approach you recommend - working with the GNT in general - is also present in Duff’s book. (Stepping through the textbook, as one way to do this.)
Last edited by davidstansfield on August 9th, 2020, 5:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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David R. Stansfield

davidstansfield
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Re: Romans 1:1. Own translation. Grammar check

Post by davidstansfield » August 9th, 2020, 5:23 am

Yama Ploskonka wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 9:14 pm
I do not know if you are a hunt-and-peck exegesist like I am, but I feel a bit of a kindred spirit. The closer to my heart your effort is, because it so happens that my own current focus is to use the very first 5 or 6 verses of Romans, to provide plain folk hunt-and-peck explorers a painless introduction to some Koine. I call it "A Little Knowledge of Bible Greek," the obvious subtitle being that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing :)
I would have been front row of your class, asking many questions!
Kind regards,
0 x
David R. Stansfield

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