Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

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Bill Ross
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Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Bill Ross »

[Heb 1:8 MGNT] (8) πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ θεός εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς εὐθύτητος ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου
"your divine throne"

This is normally translated as a vocative, and I realize that the vocative and the nominative can share the same form in Classical Greek, but wouldn't the vocative in Koine be θεε as in:

Θεέ μου θεέ μου, ἵνα τί με ἐγκατέλιπες; (Mt 27:46)?

According to this page, the nominative and the adjective share the same form:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%B8%C ... #Adjective

What am I missing? Thanks.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Barry Hofstetter »

Well, it does seem to be rare outside of Christian writings, but it's used right along side of the nominative for the vocative, so that's not determinative of Hebrews 1:18. cf.

 ὁ Φαρισαῖος σταθεὶςa πρὸς ἑαυτὸν ταῦτα προσηύχετο, Ὁ θεός, εὐχαριστῶ σοι ὅτι οὐκ εἰμὶ ὥσπερ οἱ λοιποὶ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἅρπαγες, ἄδικοι, μοιχοί, ἢ καὶ ὡς οὗτος ὁ τελώνης...

Where θεός clearly used in a vocative sense.

I have always understood it as vocative based on the original context. The translation above is theoretically viable, but...

Since I'm busy with other things today, I'll cite the NET note:
Or possibly, “Your throne is God forever and ever.” This translation is quite doubtful, however, since (1) in the context the Son is being contrasted to the angels and is presented as far better than they. The imagery of God being the Son’s throne would seem to be of God being his authority. If so, in what sense could this not be said of the angels? In what sense is the Son thus contrasted with the angels? (2) The μέν … δέ (men … de) construction that connects v. 7 with v. 8 clearly lays out this contrast: “On the one hand, he says of the angels … on the other hand, he says of the Son.” Thus, although it is grammatically possible that θεός (theos) in v. 8 should be taken as a predicate nominative, the context and the correlative conjunctions are decidedly against it. Hebrews 1:8 is thus a strong affirmation of the deity of Christ.
Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Heb 1:8). Biblical Studies Press.
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Shirley Rollinson
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Shirley Rollinson »

Bill Ross wrote: December 3rd, 2020, 2:17 pm
[Heb 1:8 MGNT] (8) πρὸς δὲ τὸν υἱόν ὁ θρόνος σου ὁ θεός εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς εὐθύτητος ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου
"your divine throne"

This is normally translated as a vocative, and I realize that the vocative and the nominative can share the same form in Classical Greek, but wouldn't the vocative in Koine be θεε as in:

Θεέ μου θεέ μου, ἵνα τί με ἐγκατέλιπες; (Mt 27:46)?

According to this page, the nominative and the adjective share the same form:

https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/%CE%B8%C ... #Adjective

What am I missing? Thanks.
But the Definite Article doesn't have a separate Vocative form, and as I understand it, this throws the noun into the nominative form even though it's used in a vocative sense.
Bill Ross
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Bill Ross »

Are you saying that if it has the article then it must be vocative even in the nominative? It couldn't have an implied estin or be an adjective?
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Jean Putmans
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Jean Putmans »

Dear Bill,

According to Kühner-Gerth, Ausführliche Grammatik der Griechischen Sprache Part II, Vol.I, 1897, p. 46, Shirley seems to be right: In Salutations with the Article + Nominative with an attributive Apposition this Nominative is - according to German (and Dutch) habit - translated with a Vocative.

I don't know, whether this old but still very useful Grammar has ever been translated into English. If You can read German: https://archive.org/search.php?query=K% ... %20Grammar.

Regards

Jean
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Bill Ross
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Bill Ross »

Well, when you put it that way, isn't the vocative a given for any salutation? Should we be considering why this might or might not be a salutation?
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Jean Putmans
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Jean Putmans »

Probably You are right: The way Kühner-Gerth state this, it would mean: This Greek Nominative-Clause ist translated with a Vocative (at least in German and Dutch, maybe in all German languages), because the "Germanic linguistic instinct" requires a vocative. They don't say, the Greek clause should be seen as a vocative.

Regards

Jean
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Jason Hare
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Jason Hare »

Let's not forget that throughout the Greek noun system, the nominative and the vocative are nearly always identical. It is only in the second declension (ὁ ἄνθρωπος > ὦ ἄνθρωπε) and in some third declension forms (ὁ πατήρ > ὦ πάτερ) do they differ. It is a perfectly natural tendency in the language for the vocative to simply disappear as time went on, especially for speakers of Hebrew and Aramaic, which didn't have specific vocative forms at any time.
Jason A. Hare
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Bill Ross
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Bill Ross »

So basically, in Koine, the "nominative" form can equally be nominative, adjective and vocative, with context being necessary in order to identify which is intended?

@Bill - I'm so sorry. I meant to quote your message, but I edited it by mistake. I deleted the rest of your message about Rashi. I apologize profusely. Could you please rewrite it? This is a huge mea culpa. - Jason
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Jason Hare
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Re: Is this a legitimate translation of Hebrews 1:8?

Post by Jason Hare »

Bill Ross wrote: December 5th, 2020, 10:51 am So basically, in Koine, the "nominative" form can equally be nominative, adjective and vocative, with context being necessary in order to identify which is intended?
I was going to just ask about the word "adjective" here and if it was a typo. I don't think that a noun in the nominative can be termed an adjective. Are you referring perhaps to the idea of the Hebraism (popularly so called) by which a noun is used adjectivally in the genitive (by which ἡ ἐπιφάνεια τῆς δόξης is equivalent to ἡ εὔδοξος ἐπιφάνεια)?

Oh, I just looked at your link. Notice that θεός is not used as an adjective. There is a comparative form that comes from it, though. The adjective "divine" is a bit different: θεῖος.
Jason A. Hare
Tel Aviv, Israel
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