[B-Greek] Matthew 28:17: hOI DE EDISTASAN

Albert Pietersma albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
Sun Apr 16 21:32:18 EDT 2006

On Apr 16, 2006, at 11:54 AM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:

>> This seems to be generally true but not always. Looking through
>> Genesis, I came upon 2:6:
>> Heb: ve'ed ya`aleh min-ha'aretz vehishqah ...
>> In one case vav is translated as DE, and in the other as KAI.
>> Presumably the translators thought that vav was used to shift the
>> topic in the first case but not the second? If so, then the
>> semantic range of vav in Hebrew seems to encompass both meanings.
>> If this is true, it would seem possible that a native Hebrew
>> speaker writing in Greek might confuse the meanings or not
>> appreciate the distinction (since the distinction is lacking in
>> Hebrew). Indeed, isn't this what I've done because I'm a native
>> English speaker, in which language the distinction is also lacking?
It is methodologically incorrect to retroject from the target language 
(Greek) onto the source language (Hebrew). Thus all one can conclude in 
Gen 2:6 is the translator, rather than doggedly sticking to his default 
(VE = KAI), caters to Greek usage.
> I don't think that the Greek DE in Gen 2:6 is simply translating VE;
> I think it's indicating the shift of focus to the spring rising; the
> KAI ahead of the second clause here does convey the simple
> continuative sense of the second VE.  I'd like to see what Al
> Pietersma has to say on this, but it appears to me that the LXX
> translator has in this instance correctly used the DE to indicate a
> shift of focus, here to the spring.
Quite so. The translator, in the target  language (Greek), marks a 
shift (from one means of watering to another), which is unmarked in the 
source language (Hebrew).  Thus in this case he caters to Greek usage 
rather than slavishly mimicking his source, as he does all too often.

Albert Pietersma
Professor of Septuagint and Hellenistic Greek
Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
University of Toronto
Home: 21 Cross Street,
Weston ON Canada M9N 2B8
Email: albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
Homepage: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~pietersm

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