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Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: January 26th, 2020, 3:08 am
by PhillipLebsack
In the Greek of 1 Enoch, the scribe skipped over chapter 3 (which is just one verse). Since this section has not been preserved in Greek, but the Dead Sea Scrolls preserve this section, and assuming the Greek was translated from the Aramaic, I was trying to translate the Aramaic into Greek here to see what it could have said.

Granted, this is all pure speculation. But I would like some other opinions here as to if my Greek translation is good Greek. I mean, is my Greek 1. grammatically correct, and 2. does the word order, etc., seem like good Koine Greek? Is this about what you would expect how a real ancient translator would do it? If anyone has anything to say, I'd love to hear it. [edit] Likewise, if anyone has any opinions regarding the translation from Aramaic itself, though I am not expecting it on a Greek forum, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Here is my translation:

ιδετε παντα τα δενδρα πως αυτα συν ξηραίνον και πιπτον παντα τα φυλλα αυτων ει ουκ εις δεκατεσσαρους ζυλους ους φυλλα μενουσιν και ου καινιουσιν φυλλα αυτων μεχρι δυο η τρεις ετους ερχονται

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: January 26th, 2020, 3:30 am
by PhillipLebsack
For those who are interested, the Aramaic is as follows (taken from The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 4Q201 column 2 lines 4-6):

חזו דכל אילניה כלהן מיבישין ברא מן ארבעת עסר אילנין דעליהן מתקימין עד דתרתין ותלת שנין יעברן

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: January 26th, 2020, 2:42 pm
by Peng Huiguo
Greek per se I think better to use
  • straight verb (aorist or perfect) after πῶς ie. ἐξηράνθη
  • ἀποπίπτω...ἀπό instead of πίπτω (aorist or perfect)
  • εἰ μὴ not εἰ οὐκ
  • not ζῆλος. ζωτικός perhaps, or ὑγρός... depending on the orig text and your interpretative leeway
good Greek
Hard to say what's good. Grammatically impeccable can communicate nothing or be out of character, while crude inscription can say volumes, and parts of scripture are purportedly unreadable... I'd say you did good cos I got the meaning just fine.

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: January 26th, 2020, 3:41 pm
by Peng Huiguo
Ps. Neuter plural for ζωτικός etc.

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: January 27th, 2020, 2:06 am
by PhillipLebsack
Peng Huiguo wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 2:42 pm
Greek per se I think better to use
  • straight verb (aorist or perfect) after πῶς ie. ἐξηράνθη
  • ἀποπίπτω...ἀπό instead of πίπτω (aorist or perfect)
  • εἰ μὴ not εἰ οὐκ
  • not ζῆλος. ζωτικός perhaps, or ὑγρός... depending on the orig text and your interpretative leeway
good Greek
Hard to say what's good. Grammatically impeccable can communicate nothing or be out of character, while crude inscription can say volumes, and parts of scripture are purportedly unreadable... I'd say you did good cos I got the meaning just fine.
I appreciate your comments.

I will note that I used present participle forms of the verbs because the Aramaic verbs were participles, and the context is describing a general truth, so hence, I used a gnomic present... However, after considering your comment, I think the Greek does not always translate the verbs the same way. This is something I will have to look into further. But given that you know the context (the author is giving timeless general truth statements), do you still have the same opinion about the perfect? It is a difficult choice to make... the imperfective gnomic present, vs. the stative perfect...

Thanks to your comments, I have also noticed that I made an error. ζυλους --> ξυλα.

Would you word the αποπιπτω...απο construction as follows: …και αποπεπτωκαν παντα τα φυλλα απο αυτων ει μη…? I am debating whether it should be that or …και αποπεπτωκαν απο παντα τα φυλλα αυτων ει μη….

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: January 27th, 2020, 4:30 am
by Peng Huiguo
ἀπό mostly (always?) sticks close to the ablative, so the first one.
I used present participle forms of the verbs because the Aramaic verbs were participles
That's a legit reason. Swathes of LXX or even some ultra literal English translations are like that too. "Good greek" (or internet comments from random strangers like me) be damned.
gnomic present
Seeing this term brings back the headache I had from reading Wallace. My notion of tenses is somewhat unconventional and far from scholarly, so take what follows with a pinch of salt. Firstly, the snippet you posted seems like a vision, probably allegorical, and an allegory is a story with attendant local times and places, even if the subtext is timeless. Aorist tense with the barren trees has a distancing effect that adds to the sense of desolation; perfect tense has a concentrating effect; and present tense dangles the action to anticipate an end to it. I don't think any of these choices are intrinsically right or wrong, or even precisely relevant; take your pick and let exegetes in posterity dissect it for grammatical insight/abuse.

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: February 3rd, 2020, 4:14 pm
by Ken M. Penner
PhillipLebsack wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 3:30 am
For those who are interested, the Aramaic is as follows (taken from The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 4Q201 column 2 lines 4-6):

חזו דכל אילניה כלהן מיבישין ברא מן ארבעת עסר אילנין דעליהן מתקימין עד דתרתין ותלת שנין יעברן
A useful resource for this task is Milik's The Books of Enoch. There you will find a more complete transcription of the Aramaic fragments, and a Aramaic-Greek glossary.

For what it's worth, my first attempt at a translation (from Milik's text) into Greek is quite different from yours:

Ιδετε οτι παντα τα δενδρα τα οφθεντα ὑμιν φθινουσιν (24.4) και πιπτουσιν παντα τα φυλλα αυτων, απο δεκα τεσσαρων δενδρων ὡν τα φυλλα αυτων μενουσιν μεχρι δυο η τρεις ετη παραβαινουσιν (18.15).

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: February 4th, 2020, 9:19 am
by Ken M. Penner
Ken M. Penner wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 4:14 pm
For what it's worth, my first attempt at a translation (from Milik's text) into Greek is quite different from yours:

Ιδετε οτι παντα τα δενδρα τα οφθεντα ὑμιν φθινουσιν (24.4) και πιπτουσιν παντα τα φυλλα αυτων, απο δεκα τεσσαρων δενδρων ὡν τα φυλλα αυτων μενουσιν μεχρι δυο η τρεις ετη παραβαινουσιν (18.15).
Here's a second attempt:
Ἴδετε ὁτι πάντα τὰ δένδρα φθίνουσιν (24.4) … [τὰ φύλλα] αὐτῶν ... , ἀπὸ δεκα τεσσαρων δένδρων ὡν τὰ φύλλα αὐτῶν μετεγείρουσιν (22.13) μεχρι δύο ἠ τρεῖς ἐτη παραβῶσιν (18.15).

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: March 5th, 2020, 8:26 pm
by PhillipLebsack
Ken M. Penner wrote:
February 3rd, 2020, 4:14 pm
PhillipLebsack wrote:
January 26th, 2020, 3:30 am
For those who are interested, the Aramaic is as follows (taken from The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition, 4Q201 column 2 lines 4-6):

חזו דכל אילניה כלהן מיבישין ברא מן ארבעת עסר אילנין דעליהן מתקימין עד דתרתין ותלת שנין יעברן
A useful resource for this task is Milik's The Books of Enoch. There you will find a more complete transcription of the Aramaic fragments, and a Aramaic-Greek glossary.

For what it's worth, my first attempt at a translation (from Milik's text) into Greek is quite different from yours:

Ιδετε οτι παντα τα δενδρα τα οφθεντα ὑμιν φθινουσιν (24.4) και πιπτουσιν παντα τα φυλλα αυτων, απο δεκα τεσσαρων δενδρων ὡν τα φυλλα αυτων μενουσιν μεχρι δυο η τρεις ετη παραβαινουσιν (18.15).
I appreciate your attempt at the translation. Were you using Milk's glossary and research in your translation, or was it just a first-glance type of translation from his transcription?

Re: Translating a Second Temple Aramaic text into Greek

Posted: March 5th, 2020, 9:34 pm
by Ken M. Penner
PhillipLebsack wrote:
March 5th, 2020, 8:26 pm
Were you using Milk's glossary and research in your translation, or was it just a first-glance type of translation from his transcription?
I was using Milik’s glossary and research.