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Author Topic: A question re. Greek text of the Lord's Prayer  (Read 3669 times)
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Heorhij
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« on: December 02, 2008, 06:08:52 PM »

Dear knowledgeable people,

Recently, I became somewhat puzzled by a comment made by one Ukrainian linguist regarding the expression, taken from the Lord's Prayer, "as we forgive those who trespass against us." In the commonly accepted Ukrainian translation, this expression sounds like "прощаємо винуватцям нашим," i.e. exactly corresponding to the English "we forgive those who trespass." However, that linguist (really a very learned man in his field) implied that this is a wrong translation and it perhaps should be ""прощаймо винуватцям нашим" - i.e., "let's forgive those who trespass against us." In the Greek text, I found this expression: και άφες ήμίν τα όφειλήματα ήμων, ώς και ήμεις άφήκαμεν τοις όφειλήματαις ήμων. So, based strictly on the Greek grammar, is the Ukrainian linguist correct or not?

Thanks muchly, Smiley

George
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Sophie
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« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2008, 07:59:02 PM »

Dear George,

I do not know where you got that Greek text from but the correct text reads "ke afes imin ta ofilimata imon,
os ke imis afiemen tis ofiletes imon..."/"και άφες ημίν τα οφειλήματα ημών, ως και ημείς αφίεμεν τοις οφειλέταις ημών" (Bold is my doing). Now, literally, "τοις οφειλέταις ημών " means "(to) our debtors". It all reads literally (at least by modern Greek standards): "And forgive us our debts
as we forgive our debtors". Does that help?

On second thoughts, I´ll investigate the form of "αφίεμεν" in case it is imperative - cannot remember it by heart at the moment - in which case it would be "let´s forgive...". I´ll have to give it some thought... Undecided
« Last Edit: December 02, 2008, 08:12:49 PM by Sophie » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2008, 07:59:28 PM »

No.   άφήκαμεν is translated as "we have forgiven" which becomes "as we forgive" but definitely not "let's forgive."

Linguist is using modern Greek rather than the Biblical Greek.  Christ didn't speak modern Greek.   Wink
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Sophie
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« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2008, 08:41:38 PM »

Here I am again. I have had a look around on the Internet and I have come up with this:

αφιεμεν  verb - present active indicative - first person
aphiemi  af-ee'-ay-mee:  an intensive form of eimi, to go); to send forth, in various applications (as follow) -- cry, forgive, forsake, lay aside, leave, let (alone, be, go, have), omit, put (send) away, remit, suffer, yield up.

(Source:http://scripturetext.com/matthew/6-12.htm)

As present indicative, it would then mean " as we forgive", it seems to me. Still, I would like to know what someone with a better knowledge of Ancient Greek has to say.
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"Thoughts are like airplanes flying in the air. If you ignore them, there is no problem. If you pay attention to them, you create an airport inside your head and permit them to land!" (Priestmonk Christodoulos Aggeloglou, Elder Paisios of the Holy Mountain Mount Athos, Greece, 1998,pp. 29-30, 48)
Marc Hanna
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« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2008, 01:41:48 AM »

Matthew 6:12
και αφες ημιν τα οφειληματα ημων ως και ημεις αφιεμεν τοις οφειλεταις ημων
This has an interesting emphatic use of "we" with the active indicative verb and may be translated "as even(also/and) we ourselves forgive the debtors of ours."  The emphatic use of ημεις (we) stresses that we will not be forgiven until we have forgiven others.

Luke 11:4
και αφες ημιν τας αμαρτιας ημων και γαρ αυτοι αφιεμεν παντι οφειλοντι ημιν
A similar occurance is in Luke with the intensive/comparative usage of αυτοι.  Autos has three distinct usages in Greek, as the 3rd person personal pronoun, as an adjectival intensive, and as "same" intensive/comparative.  So it could be translated, "for also in-the-same-manner we forgive all indebted to us."

In both cases we are shown that our forgiveness from God is conditional . . . on us also forgiving.  If translated the way it is in Post#1 all sense is lost from the Greek meaning.

I understand that many people will think my translation is somewhat interpretive but the issue remains that there is strong emphatic and comparative usage in regards to our role in the Greek text that does not come through in the English translations.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2008, 01:44:10 AM by Marc Hanna » Logged
Alveus Lacuna
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« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2008, 02:42:28 AM »

Christ didn't speak modern Greek.   Wink

But He did speak Koine Greek?
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LBK
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« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2008, 03:05:39 AM »

But He did speak Koine Greek?

It is quite possible He did, being educated enough in His human life to read the Torah. Koine Greek was, after all, the lingua franca of the Greco-Roman world at the time, not Latin, as some understandably suppose; something that Mel Gibson omitted in his rather famous/notorious film of recent years, which he claimed was "the last word" in authoritative portrayal of the Passion of Christ. Hogwash. He didn't even have Greek in the inscription above Christ's head at the crucifixion, only Latin and Hebrew. Any kid in Sunday school could've spotted that blooper.

Forgive the tangent. You may continue.
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2008, 10:29:23 AM »

Hmm . . . I never noticed that.  Smiley

The common languages of the time in that area were Aramaic and Koine Greek.  Hebrew was already a dead language but retained usage in Jewish liturgical practice.  Jesus would not have taught or read from the Hebrew as it would have no value to listeners who couldn't understand it.  The Jewish scriptures were all translated into Greek (LXX) and that is likely what Jesus taught from, regardless of whether or not He in Aramaic or Greek.  I am unaware of any Aramaic translations of the scriptures at that time but it could be likely as well.

I think it is quite likely that Jesus spoke Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic as these would be the languages spoken by any scholarly type; and we know that even from age 12 Jesus debated with the doctors in the temple, which is a testament to His wisdom, understanding and scholarly nature.
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« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2008, 06:37:04 PM »

^^Many thanks, Sophie, Sol, Marc, Alveus, LBK. Very interesting. So, is it safe to say that the original Lord's Prayer *COULD* have contained an "imperative" of the kind, "let's forgive those who trespass against us, and You, too, forgive us our trespasses?" Or is it not possible, linguistically?
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2008, 12:31:33 AM »

^ Let me repeat myself, NO! to any imperative forms.   Grin
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« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2008, 12:36:09 AM »

Hmm . . . I never noticed that.  Smiley

The common languages of the time in that area were Aramaic and Koine Greek.  Hebrew was already a dead language but retained usage in Jewish liturgical practice.  Jesus would not have taught or read from the Hebrew as it would have no value to listeners who couldn't understand it.  The Jewish scriptures were all translated into Greek (LXX) and that is likely what Jesus taught from, regardless of whether or not He in Aramaic or Greek.  I am unaware of any Aramaic translations of the scriptures at that time but it could be likely as well.

More than likely: there were several, called "Targum" (translation).

Quote
I think it is quite likely that Jesus spoke Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic as these would be the languages spoken by any scholarly type; and we know that even from age 12 Jesus debated with the doctors in the temple, which is a testament to His wisdom, understanding and scholarly nature.

Btw, the Syriac has an imperative in "Forgive us"
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« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2008, 12:37:56 AM »

Matthew 6:12
και αφες ημιν τα οφειληματα ημων ως και ημεις αφιεμεν τοις οφειλεταις ημων
This has an interesting emphatic use of "we" with the active indicative verb and may be translated "as even(also/and) we ourselves forgive the debtors of ours."  The emphatic use of ημεις (we) stresses that we will not be forgiven until we have forgiven others.

Luke 11:4
και αφες ημιν τας αμαρτιας ημων και γαρ αυτοι αφιεμεν παντι οφειλοντι ημιν
A similar occurance is in Luke with the intensive/comparative usage of αυτοι.  Autos has three distinct usages in Greek, as the 3rd person personal pronoun, as an adjectival intensive, and as "same" intensive/comparative.  So it could be translated, "for also in-the-same-manner we forgive all indebted to us."

In both cases we are shown that our forgiveness from God is conditional . . . on us also forgiving.  If translated the way it is in Post#1 all sense is lost from the Greek meaning.

I understand that many people will think my translation is somewhat interpretive but the issue remains that there is strong emphatic and comparative usage in regards to our role in the Greek text that does not come through in the English translations.


btw, this emphatic is carried over into all the languages that have it (including Coptic, btw).
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Question a friend, perhaps he did not do it; but if he did anything so that he may do it no more.
A hasty quarrel kindles fire,
and urgent strife sheds blood.
If you blow on a spark, it will glow;
if you spit on it, it will be put out;
                           and both come out of your mouth
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« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2008, 01:02:45 AM »

^^So it's just the English speakers that get hosed on the translation Cheesy
« Last Edit: December 04, 2008, 01:03:08 AM by Marc Hanna » Logged
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