Author Topic: Translation: undivided or indivisible  (Read 929 times)

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Offline Subdeacon Michael

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Translation: undivided or indivisible
« on: September 07, 2012, 09:00:44 AM »
In the Divine Liturgy, I have heard both renderings in different places.  For instance, prior to the Creed, in the translation used in my ROCOR parish, the people sing "The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity one in essence and indivisible".  Similarly, at the beginning of the Anaphora, we sing, "It is meet and right to worship the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity one in essence, and indivisble".  In some other translations blessed for use in ROCOR, I have seen the word "undivided" used.

It seems to me that these words do not mean the same thing.  To say that the Trinity is "undivided" means that the Trinity is not divided; to say that the Trinity is "indivisible" suggests that the Trinity cannot be divided.

Is anybody able to shed any light on the nuances of the Greek and/or Slavonic text?

Thank you.
'There is nothing upon earth holier, higher, grander, more solemn, more life-giving than the Liturgy. The church, at this particular time, becomes an earthly heaven; those who officiate represent Christ Himself, the angels, the cherubim, seraphim and apostles.' - St John of Kronstadt

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Translation: undivided or indivisible
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2012, 02:06:05 PM »
The Greek is ἀχώριστος. Words have more than one meaning, but undivided, inseparate, whole, not separate, together, united, etc. is probably best.

The distinction between "undivided" and "indivisible" is really a feature of English, not Greek. It arises because there are three different privative prefixes in English (one from Latin, one from Greek, one from Germanic/Middle English), and because English can affix verbal-like suffixes to a noun.

Thus, it would be more common and therefore euphonious to say "inseparable" than "inseparate," even though the latter is probably better since it can't be mistaken as carrying a verbal overtone. Same for "indivisible" vs "undivided."
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 02:12:08 PM by pensateomnia »
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline podkarpatska

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Re: Translation: undivided or indivisible
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2012, 04:53:31 PM »
The Greek is ἀχώριστος. Words have more than one meaning, but undivided, inseparate, whole, not separate, together, united, etc. is probably best.

The distinction between "undivided" and "indivisible" is really a feature of English, not Greek. It arises because there are three different privative prefixes in English (one from Latin, one from Greek, one from Germanic/Middle English), and because English can affix verbal-like suffixes to a noun.

Thus, it would be more common and therefore euphonious to say "inseparable" than "inseparate," even though the latter is probably better since it can't be mistaken as carrying a verbal overtone. Same for "indivisible" vs "undivided."

Translation: they probably convey the same thing in English.  ;)
« Last Edit: September 07, 2012, 04:53:46 PM by podkarpatska »

Offline pensateomnia

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Re: Translation: undivided or indivisible
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2012, 12:24:03 PM »
The Greek is ἀχώριστος. Words have more than one meaning, but undivided, inseparate, whole, not separate, together, united, etc. is probably best.

The distinction between "undivided" and "indivisible" is really a feature of English, not Greek. It arises because there are three different privative prefixes in English (one from Latin, one from Greek, one from Germanic/Middle English), and because English can affix verbal-like suffixes to a noun.

Thus, it would be more common and therefore euphonious to say "inseparable" than "inseparate," even though the latter is probably better since it can't be mistaken as carrying a verbal overtone. Same for "indivisible" vs "undivided."

Translation: they probably convey the same thing in English.  ;)

No, they do mean something different in English. Another example of the richness of the language.
But for I am a man not textueel I wol noght telle of textes neuer a deel. (Chaucer, The Manciple's Tale, 1.131)

Offline Carl Kraeff (Second Chance)

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Re: Translation: undivided or indivisible
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2012, 02:11:21 PM »
In the Divine Liturgy, I have heard both renderings in different places.  For instance, prior to the Creed, in the translation used in my ROCOR parish, the people sing "The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity one in essence and indivisible".  Similarly, at the beginning of the Anaphora, we sing, "It is meet and right to worship the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit: the Trinity one in essence, and indivisble".  In some other translations blessed for use in ROCOR, I have seen the word "undivided" used.

It seems to me that these words do not mean the same thing.  To say that the Trinity is "undivided" means that the Trinity is not divided; to say that the Trinity is "indivisible" suggests that the Trinity cannot be divided.

Is anybody able to shed any light on the nuances of the Greek and/or Slavonic text?

Thank you.

If something is impossible to divide/be divided (indivisible), the state of its being at any given time is that it is not divided (undivided). In the matter of the Holy Trinity, to say that it is indivisible, is to acknowledge that is undivided.

OTH, to say that it is undivided, does not necessarily mean that it is not indivisible. At first glance, this is problematic, but if you think about it, you are talking about an entity that exists in an undivided state eternally--in the past, now and in the future. Therefore, I would think that the difference between the two terms is not significant as a practical matter.