[B-Greek] Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, Ch. XLVIII, §1

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Sun Aug 1 05:29:34 EDT 2010

On Aug 1, 2010, at 4:45 AM, Michael Baber wrote:

> I am not sure if non-biblical texts are allowed, so if they're not, please delete the post beforehand.
> τὸ γὰρ λέγειν σε προϋπάρχειν θεὸν ὄντα πρὸ αἰώνων τοῦτον τὸν Χριστόν...
> Could this be translated as, "For, when you say that this Christ is God who pre-existed before the ages..."?
> Thank you.

If you've not read the BG FAQ at http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/faq.html, you should. It states pretty
clearly: "Some topics ordinarily discussed on B-Greek are:
-- The Greek language of the Bible and related texts such as the Greek OT (Septuagint/LXX), Koiné 
Greek texts illustrative of the practice of speakers and writers of Greek in the NT era, Patristic Greek
texts, etc.;  ... " So you are clearly within the parameters. It's not unheard of, moreover, for us to 
have occasional talk about other, even secular Greek literature.

As for your substantive question, almost any Greek text "could be translated" in a variety of ways.
What you have suggested is certainly one way to English the text you've cited. Another way might
be: "Your assertion that this Christ, since he is God, existed before all the ages ... " I think you've
understood the sense of the Greek aright, and THAT is always the primary concern, while how the
sense of the Greek is to be made clear in another language is really a different concern altogether.
I think we focus sometimes too closely on how to translate a text rather than on how to understand
it as a Greek text.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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