[B-Greek] Jos. Ant. 20:20 under MONOGENHS in BDAG

Blue Meeksbay bluemeeksbay at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 14 10:58:24 EDT 2010


 
George S. wrote:
 
<How is the English use or non-use of a particular phrase pertinent to the way 
Greek may or may not have used a somewhat similar phrase?  For purposes of the 
Greek meaning, who cares how English uses such a phrase?  Let's not get bogged 
down with how something is translated.> 
 
I think George has a good point in relation to this portion of Josephus. 
Although, I too, like to look at other translations in order to see how others 
understand a Greek reading, (much in the same way I like to read how fellow 
B-Greekers translate a Greek portion), obviously, the Greek must take precedence 
and not the translation, (as George mentioned above). I have not seen the Greek 
of this section of Josephus posted on this thread so I will post it below, 
especially, IMO,  since the traditional English translation may be inadequate in 
the portion before us. I will also post the traditional English translation 
below.
 
18  MONOBAZOS hO TWN ADIABHNWN BASILEUS hWi KAI BAZAIOS EPIKLHSIS HN THS ADELFHS 
hELENHS hALOUS ERWTI THi PROS GAMOU KOINWNIAi AGETAI KAI KATESTHSEN EGKUMONA 
SUGKAQEUDWN DE POTE THi GASTRI THS GUNAIKOS THN CEIRA PROSANAPAUSAS hHNIKA 
KAQUPNWSEN FWNHS TINOS EDOXEN hUPAKOUEIN KELEUOUSHS AIREIN APO THS NHDUOS THN 
CEIRA KAI MH QLIBEIN TO EN AUTHi BREFOS QEOU PRONOIAi KAI ARCHS TUCON KAI TELOUS 
EUTUCOUS TEUXOMENON
 19  TARACQEIS OUN hUPO THS FWNHS EUQUS DIEGERQEIS EFRAZE THi GUNAIKI TAUTA KAI 
GE TON hUION IZATHN EPEKALESEN
 20  HN DE AUTWi MONOBAZOS TOUTOU PRESBUTEROS EK THS hELENHS GENOMENOS ALLOI TE 
PAIDES EX hETERWN GUNAIKWN THN MENTOI PASAN EUNOIAN hWSEIS MONOGENH TON IZATHN 
ECWN FANEROS HN
 21  FQONOS DE TOU)NTEUQEN TWi PAIDI PARA TWN hOMOPATRIWN ADELFWN EFUETO KA)K 
TOUTOU MISOS HUXETO LUPOUMENWN hAPANTWN hOTI TON IZATHN AUTWN hO PATHR PROTIMWiH
 
18Monobazus, the king of Adiabene, who had also the name of Bazeus, fell in love 
with his sister Helena, and took her to be his wife, and begat her with child. 
But as he was in bed with her one night, he laid his hand upon his wife's belly, 
and fell asleep, and seemed to hear a voice, which bade him take his hand off 
his wife's belly, and not harm the infant that was therein, which, by God's 
providence, would be safely born, and have a happy end.
 19 This voice put him into disorder; so he awoke immediately, and told the 
story to his wife; and when his son was born, he called him Izates.
 20He had indeed Monobazus, his older brother, by Helena also, as he had other 
sons by other wives besides. Yet did he openly place all his affections on this 
his only begotten {a} son Izates,
 21 which was the origin of that envy which his other brothers, by the same 
father, bore to him; while on this account they hated him more and more, and 
were all under great affliction that their father should prefer Izates before 
them all.  (Ant 20:18-21)
 
 
Although, I will be away and will not be able to respond to this post, I thought 
I would still throw this thought out and let everyone decide for themselves. I 
would like to suggest BDAG has not made an error.  MONOGENHS is indeed being 
used in its normal sense of “only begotten,* or *only child.* It seems, (and 
others can confirm or refute this), that we have forgotten about hWS in the 
phrase hWS EISMONOGENH.  I believe Josephus is using hWS in a comparative sense. 
Josephus is simply saying Izates was being shown preference *as if* he was an 
only begotten child. He was not necessarily saying he was an only child. Thus, 
it seems the phrase should be understood in this sense. *…however he was having 
open [love], [showing] Izates all favour, like an only son, or, like unto an 
only begotten son.*
 
 Thus, using, the traditional translation posted above, I would modify it to 
read,  20He had indeed Monobazus, *this older [child] of Helena also,* as he had 
other sons by other wives besides. Yet did he openly place all his affections 
*on Izates, as on an only begotten {a} son.*
 
However, if one disagrees that hWS is being used in a comparative sense, the 
context still indicates Izates may still have been MONOGENHS in the traditional 
sense of only begotten simply because it seems Monobazus was a half-brother of 
Izates. Note that Josephus simply says Monobazus was the elder [child] of 
Helena. So when one reads the context it seems Izates is the only child of 
Monbazus (senior) with Helena together. The narrative implies Monobazus fell in 
love with his sister, married her, and immediately  had their *first* and only 
child named Izates. Afterwards, Josephus adds some new information that Helena 
had another child also name Monobazus, (more than likely from a previous 
husband). Therefore, it seems Monobazus may have been the adopted father of 
Monobazus (the half brother) of Izates, and not the real father. He had 
Monobazus as an adopted son. (However, I admit here just is not enough 
information to decide either way).  In other words, even though Monobazus (the 
senior) had other children, Izates was indeed the MONOGENH, the only begotten 
child of Monobazus with his wife Helena. 

 
In this sense, Josephus is using MONOGENHS the same way the writer of Hebrews 
used the word in Heb. 11:17.  Isaac, obviously, was not the only begotten son of 
Abraham, but he surely was the only begotten son of Abraham and Sarah together. 
It seems MONOGENHS was sometimes used from three different perspectives, at 
least from the time period from the LXX to the GNT.  1) MONOGENHS was used “of a 
father – the fathers perspective (e.g. Jud. 11:34). 2) MONOGENHS was used *of a 
mother*  – a mother’s perspective (e.g. Lu. 7:12). 3) MONOGENHS was used *of a 
father and mother* – a husband and wife perspective (e.g. Heb. 11:17). 
Obviously, Josephus was not using the first perspective, for he says Monobazus 
had other sons by other wives, nor could he be using the second perspective, for 
he tells us Helena had another child, also by the name of Monobazus. However, 
the context seems to imply Monobazus and Helena had only one child together – 
Izates, so he was more than likely using the third perspective. Izates was the 
MONOGENH of Monobazus and Helena.
 
Therefore, anyway you look at it; whether from the point of view of hWS, or from 
the context, it seems BDAG was not wrong, (although I would prefer the term only 
begotten, or only born).
 
Sincerely,
Blue Harris
 
P.S.  I admit that the writer of Hebrews may have been using the second 
perspective above (and not the third), as Isaac was, indeed, the only begotten 
of Sarah. In that case, KAI TON MONOGENH PROSEFEREN of Heb. 11:17 should be 
understood as *the only begotten,* rather than *his only begotten.*   In either 
case – from either perspective – Isaac was still an only begotten son. It 
should  be remembered that children are also spoken of being begotten by mothers 
in the GNT (e.g. Luke 1:57 - THi DE ELISABET EPLHSQH hO CRONOS TOU TEKEIN AUTHN 
KAI EGENNHSEN hUION), not just by males, so that, indeed, Isaac could be 
considered to be *the only begotten* of Sarah.





________________________________
From: George F Somsel <gfsomsel at yahoo.com>
To: Leonard Jayawardena <leonardj at live.com>; cwconrad2 at mac.com
Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Sun, July 11, 2010 6:18:15 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Jos. Ant. 20:20 under MONOGENHS in BDAG

How is the English use or non-use of a particular phrase pertinent to the way 
Greek may or may not have used a somewhat similar phrase?  For purposes of the 
Greek meaning, who cares how English uses such a phrase?  Let's not get bogged 
down with how something is translated. 


 george
gfsomsel 


… search for truth, hear truth, 
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, 
defend the truth till death.


- Jan Hus
_________ 




________________________________
From: Leonard Jayawardena <leonardj at live.com>
To: cwconrad2 at mac.com
Cc: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Sun, July 11, 2010 2:48:12 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Jos. Ant. 20:20 under MONOGENHS in BDAG


Please look again at the relevant part of the BGAG article on MONOGENHS:


"Of an only son (Plut. Lycurgus 31,8; Jos. Ant. 20,20) Lk. 7:12; 9:38..."


BDAG cites the above verses as illustrating the sense "an only son." Are you 
aware of any instance where a favourite son is called "the only son" in the 
English language? Have you come across a sentence like "Jack is the only son of 
Mr. Thompson" in the sense that Jack is Mr. Thompson's favourite son? I am not a 

native speaker of English but I am quite certain that the expression "only son" 
is never used in English in that way.

I have not been able to check Plut. Lycurgus 31:8, but in both Lk. 7:12 and 9:38 

a literally only son is meant. In Jos. Ant. 20:20, the word is used of a 
favourite son, as explained in my post.


Leonard Jayawardena


----------------------------------------
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Jos. Ant. 20:20 under MONOGENHS in BDAG
> From: cwconrad2 at mac.com
> Date: Sat, 10 Jul 2010 07:24:46 -0400
> CC: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> To: leonardj at live.com
>
>
> On Jul 10, 2010, at 6:02 AM, Leonard Jayawardena wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> The 1957 and 1979 editions of "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and 
>>
>>Other Early Christian Literature' (BDAG) has the following as part of its entry 
>
>>on MONOGENHS:
>>
>>
>> "Of an only son (Plut. Lycurgus 31,8; Jos. Ant. 20,20) Lk. 7:12; 9:38..."
>>
>>
>> Actually, as I mentioned in my (recent) post on MONOGENHs in the Fourth Gospel, 
>>
>>Josephus uses MONOGENHS in Ant. 20:20 in the sense of "best-beloved," not 
>>"only." Josephus calls Izates, a son of Monobazus (king of Adiabene) by Helena 

>>his MONOGENH, though Monobazus had an elder son by the same wife and other 
>>children by other wives. Clearly, Josephus calls Izates MONOGENHS in the sense 

>>of "best-beloved," or "favourite." The rest of the narrative also makes this 
>>very clear.
>>
>> I wonder whether this error is corrected in later edition(s) of BDAG.
>
> BDAG has:
> 1. pert. to being the only one of its kind within a specific relationship, one 

>and only, only (so mostly, incl. Judg 11:34; Tob 3:15; 8:17) of children: of 
>Isaac, Abraham’s only son (Jos., Ant. 1, 222) Hb 11:17. Of an only son (PsSol 
>18:4; TestSol 20:2; ParJer 7:26; Plut., Lycurgus 59 [31, 8]; Jos., Ant. 20, 20) 

>Lk 7:12; 9:38. Of a daughter (Diod. S. 4, 73, 2) of Jairus 8:42. (On the motif 
>of a child’s death before that of a parent s. EpigrAnat 13, ’89, 128f, no. 2; 
>18, ’91, 94 no. 4 [244/45 AD]; GVI nos. 1663–69.)
>
> In English usage the adjective "unique" and the adjectival phrase "one and 
>only" are commonly used to indicate the only real object of one's affection, 
>regardless of how many individuals -- children, lovers, etc. -- might actually 
>fall into a category. My system dictionary gives for "one and only": "only 
>unique; single (used for emphasis or as a designation of a celebrity) : the 
>title of his one and only book | the one and only Muhammad Ali." One of 
>Sinatra's great hits was "My One and Only Love."
>
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
>
>
>                         
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