[B-Greek] The LXX phrase ERCOMENOS hHXEI in Habakkuk 2:3

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue Jun 3 10:07:32 EDT 2003


At 6:17 AM -0400 6/3/03, "Philip Engmann" <philipengmann at ghanatel.net> wrote:

>
>
>The LXX phrase, ERCOMENOS hHXEI found in Habakkuk 2:3 does not actually
>make sense.
>
>I believe that the LXX phrase, ERCOMENOS hHXEI  found in Habakkuk 2:3
>does not actually make sense and is really a bad translation from the
>Hebrew to the Greek. This is because ERCOMENOS is a present
>participle, and according to the definition of a present participle,
>
>"The function of the present participle may be understood as
>follows: "The tense of the participle is relative to the time of the
>leading verb. The present participle therefore is used if the action
>denoted by the participle is represented as taking place at the same
>time as the action denoted by the leading verb, no matter whether the
>action denoted by the leading verb is past, present or future."
>
>hHXEI is a future verb meaning `he/she/it will come'.
>
>Therefore, since ERCOMENOS is a present participle, the action
>denoted by the participle is represented as taking place in the
>future i.e. at the same time as the action denoted by the leading
>verb, and so both ERCOMENOS and hHXEI take place in the future.
>
>Both ERCOMENOS and  hHXEI have the same contextual meaning, `to come'.
>
>Since both ERCOMENOS and hHXEI have the same contextual meaning, `to come';
>and both are in the future tense, the literal translation of ERCOMENOS
>hHXEI found in Habakkuk 2:3 is `while he will be coming, he will come',
>which is meaningless. My explanation for this `meaningless' translation is
>that the LXX translators tried to mimic the infinitive absolute form of the
>MT, which was a brilliant attempt but resulted in a bad translation.
>
>1. I would like other opinions of my analysis please.
>
>2. I would also like to see how others translate the Habakkuk 2:3 LXX
>phrase, ERCOMENOS hHXEI.
>
>3. And also I would like to know whether various LXX versions have varying
>readings for this particular phrase.

There are probably others better qualified to respond to this, but it seems
to me that the answer is relatively simple:

I think you may be unaware of the Hebrew infinitive absolute construction
in the original Hebrew text represented by this phrase ERCOMENOS hHXEI in
the LXX. You might, if you have access to it, look at the Conybeare/Stock
_Grammar of Septuagint Greek_, §81, "The Intensive Participle."

In the present text the Hebrew of the Masoretic Text reads Bho' YaBho'
which will have the sense, "will surely come"--and I believe that is
precisely the sense which I think that the translator of the phrase in the
LXX intended to convey.
-- 

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



More information about the B-Greek mailing list