[B-Greek] Greek, rather than English, glosses for Hebrew?
06PETERSON at cua.edu
Wed Feb 18 12:03:28 EST 2004
>===== Original Message From Eric Weiss <papaweiss1 at yahoo.com> =====
>In other word, it appears, at least cursorily, that the semantic overlap
between Greek and Hebrew words has more
>of a one-word
> one-word correspondence than between Hebrew and English.
I would be careful about putting too much weight on this appearance. Part of
what you may be observing is that we make the same attempt to avoid misleading
English correspondences with both Greek and Hebrew. Think of it this way.
Native speakers of English know English well--even if they don't speak
"proper" English, they have an intuitive grasp of some very subtle nuances.
With ancient Greek and Hebrew, on the other hand, we lack this kind of
familiarity. Some of the problem is that most of us don't have the kind of
fluency in any ancient language that we have in our native language. Some of
it is that we simply lack the evidence to make these fine distinctions. So
when we try to come up with correspondences between our native language and
any ancient language, the tendency will be to lump English words together,
since we are going from greater to less detail. This reflects our knowledge of
ancient languages in general, but it should not be taken as evidence that the
terms we are dealing with in those languages therefore correspond more closely
with one another than they do with Modern English terms. We're simply looking
through the same fog at both of them.
Having said that, I don't know that it would be all that harmful to learn
correspondences between Greek and Hebrew words as part of building vocabulary.
Particularly, it would be useful if you could find a general correspondence in
the LXX, which if committed to memory, would strengthen your ability to
evaluate the text of the OT by comparing the MT and the LXX. I would just
caution, like anything else in learning basic vocabulary, that you take the
glosses for what they're worth--useful handles, but little more than that.
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