Translation Studies

Daniel Riaño danielrr at
Fri Sep 7 21:10:58 EDT 2001

Jim West wrote:
>this does have to do with greek so i'm going to say on list what i said in
>private to a number of folk.

Yes, we can take some lessons about valid and invalid lexicographic 
procedures from here.

Jim West wrote:
>lk 4 says nothing of the sort that is generally claimed for it.  in 
>lk jesus is
>handed a scroll opened to a text and then he procedes to *recite* the text. 
>the verb *anaginwskw* properly means *recite* rather than *read*.  why? 
>because literally the verb is a compound with a preposition.  the preposition
>*ana* means *again* or *down*.  now, if we take this seriously it means *to
>know again, to know down* which is much closer in meaning to the english word
>*recite* than *read*.

	From here you can take two ways. Either consult a good 
lexicon, or carry on a large research (at least several days, 
probably more than a week) at a good specialised library on the use 
of A)NAGIGNW/SKW. I think both ways will take you to the same 
conclusion. I'll tell you what you can find an the DGE (a lexicon 
covering Greek literature and non literary documents until 7th 
century AD, without any religious bias [[1]]). This information can 
be completed with the BDAG for full NT testimonies. Somebody can go 
the other, harder way to tell us if he found things being the other 
way around.

  A)NAGIGNW/SKW with the meaning *recognise* (hardly *know again*) is 
found in the best authors from Homer to the 5th century BC, specially 
in attic writers, and latter in the prose of the atticists, but I 
don't see it documented in papyri or inscriptions. With the meaning 
*read*, A)NAGIGNW/SKW if a verb far more frequent, with testimonies 
that spans from Pindar to the 6th century AD, very common in 
inscriptions and papyri from 3rd century BC to II century AD, at 
least. There is no question about the validity of such interpretation 
in most cases: the verb is used many times for the reading of whole 
BIBLI/A, and for personal letters, and it is the formulary word used 
by officials to declare that they have read a document.

The sense fits perfectly with the context of Eu.Luc.14, where Jesus 
unrolls the scroll until he finds the passage in question: as CWC and 
others have already said, this is not what you would expect from some 
illiterate who is to just about recite a text.

The context asks for "read"; the parallels offer a very strong 
argument about "read" and against "recognise", and almost no parallel 
for "recite" (the closest case would be Pindar I.2.23); I'll refrain 
from mentioning other data that makes it very difficult to sustain 
the idea that Jesus was illiterate, that seems to be the only reason 
why you would ask here for "recite" instead of "read". It seems to me 
that somebody who tries to prove that the meaning of A)NAGIGNW/SKW is 
"recite" has to bear the burden of the proof: and he has to prove it 
*against* the apparent testimony in Eu.Luc.14, not with it.

David Haeuser already mentioned the "etymological fallacy" as a 
probable cause for this (IMO) unmotivated misconstruction of the text 
of Eu.Luc.14. But, I should add, if such is the case, it is a 
specially grave example of fallacy, because what gave the basis for 
the semantic evolution of the word, from *re-cognise* to *read*, was 
*not* the recognition of the *text* on a document, but the 
recognition of its *code* (the letters).

[[1]] So unbiased that this text is not even recorded (!). In view of 
the documentation, such omission is nothing but an unforgivable 
Daniel Riaño Rufilanchas
Madrid, España

POR FAVOR, tomad nota de mi nueva dirección de correo: danielrr at

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