Greek Songs for Learning

Barry Hofstetter nebarry at
Sat Jan 11 00:40:34 EST 2003

----- Original Message -----
From: "Richard Ghilardi" <qodeshlayhvh at>
To: "Biblical Greek" <b-greek at>
Cc: <b-greek at>
Sent: Saturday, January 11, 2003 12:21 AM
Subject: [b-greek] Re: Greek Songs for Learning

> Far be it from me to correct J.I. Packer or Dr. Mounce, but I see a
> little problem in each of these beloved songs of the church. In the
> former, shouldn't line 3 be PAIDIA **ESTIN** AUTWi, the singular rather
> than the plural? Or if EISIN is acceptable, what would that imply?

As I recall, the use of the singular verb with the neuter plural is optional if
the neuter plural conceptually refers to persons or personified subjects.  In my
version, I went with the more common singular.

This recalls my grad school days taking advanced Greek prose composition.  We
were given English translations of Classical texts and required to retrovert
them.  Several trends surfaced:

1) For the most part, we produced technically correct translations.

2) Our translations rarely resembled each other, and

3) Rarely resembled the actual original Greek.

4) Our translations tended to reflect the style of whatever Greek author(s) we
had read the most.  The professor commented that my translations always reminded
him of the NT... :)

That should give us due caution when evaluating attempts at retroversion.

My version may not be very idiomatic, but both my 5 year old and my 3 year old
can sing it.  Originally, I had EIPEN for LEGEI, but decided to change it.  My 3
year old still says 'PEN!' whenever I say "LEGEI..."

N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Professor of Theological and Biblical Studies
    The Center for Urban Theological Studies, Philadelphia, PA

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