Nicene Creed

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sat Jan 18 08:02:31 EST 2003


At 7:49 AM -0500 1/18/03, Steve Puluka wrote:
>Hello Everyone,
>
>I'm working my way through CFD Moule's book "The Holy Spirit" (Mowbrey,
>1978) for a class this semester. On page 43 in discussing the Nicene creed
>statement:
>
>KAI EIS TO PNEUMA TO AGION,
>TO KURION, TO ZWOPOION,
>TO EK TOU PATROS EKPOREUOMENON,
>TO SUN PATRI KAI GIW
>SUMPROSKUNOUMENON KAI SUNDOXAZOMENON,
>TO LALHSAN DIA TWN PROFHTWN.
>
>The Greek text and punctuation here is from the Greek Orthodox liturgical
>tradition, Moule does not supply the Greek but offers the following as a
>"literal" translation.
>
>...also in the Holy Spirit,
>which is Lord,
>which makes alive,
>which proceeds from the Father
>which is worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son,
>which spoke through the prophets.
>
>My question regards the  sense Moule is making of the article.  I don't
>understand how we get to a sense of "which" in this construction.  I've
>re-read the chapters on the article in both Wallace and the "big" Robertson,
>but this translation seems a stretch to me, not a literal one.  But I know
>enough about Moule and his ability with Greek that I don't want to dismiss
>it.

Actually, Steve, translation of a substantive with a relative clause is a
fairly standard strategy and one that is particularly commonly adopted when
the substantive is a participial phrase; what Moule offers (assuming you've
cited it directly) certainly makes better English than what you might
IMAGINE is "more literal", i.e.

the lordly/sovereign
the alive-making,
the one proceeding from the Father,
the one with Father and Son co-worshipped and co-glorified,
the one having spoken through the prophets ...

This is to say, everything in the "literal" translation that I have just
offered is present in Moule's version without exception and not a single
bit of content has been added in Moule's version--but Moule's version is
quite clearly better English and certainly more intelligible as a
liturgical text. I wouldn't fault it as being a "literal" translation. Nor
do I think this is so simply a question of whether one prefers "dynamic
equivalence" or "formal equivalence" (there are now so many quasi-technical
terms supposedly describing varieties of translational accuracy). Strictly
stated, it's a matter of whether the reproduction of the Greek structure
into an English structure yields intelligible English--and in my own view,
my attempt above to produce an English structural equivalent of the Greek
phraseology of this section of the Nicene Creed fails the test of authentic
intelligible English. I would certainly prefer what you've cited from Moule
and wouldn't hesitate to call it "literal."
-- 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/



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