CLAOTB: More Greek Terminology

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Considering Lingual Aspects of the Bible:
More Greek Terminology Considered

 
When one considers all the things discussed in the previous sections: Hebrew Terminology, More Hebrew Terminology, Even More Hebrew Terminology, and Greek Terminology, one can see that the Hebrew terms ish and ishshah and the Greek terms aner and gune are what they are.

That means that in the Hebrew text, one finds the Hebrew term ish, and in the Greek text, one finds the Greek term aner.

That means that in the Hebrew text, one finds the Hebrew term ishshah, and in the Greek text, one finds the Greek term gune.

But in the English text, the English translates both the Hebrew term ish and the Greek term aner into two distinct English terms: “man” and “husband”, which convey two different things to the English reader.

But in the English text, the English translates both the Hebrew term ishshah and the Greek term gune into two distinct English terms: “woman” and “wife”, which convey two different things to the English reader.

That simply means that when the Hebrew text contains the Hebrew term ish, the Hebrew does not make a distinction between a “man” and a “husband”. In the Hebrew, ish is ish.

That simply means that when the Hebrew text contains the Hebrew term ishshah, the Hebrew does not make a distinction between a “woman” and a “wife”. In the Hebrew, ishshah is ishshah.

That simply means that when the Greek text contains the Greek term aner, the Greek does not make a distinction between a “man” and a “husband”. In the Greek, aner is aner.

That simply means that when the Greek text contains the Greek term gune, the Greek does not make a distinction between a “woman” and a “wife”. In the Greek, gune is gune.

But that simplicity does not exist within the English text, the English routinely translates the Hebrew terms and the Greek terms into two distinctly different English terms, which affect the English reader.

To state that another way, when one experiences English as their primary language, they will encounter the English term “man”.

The English term “man” is used in all kinds of ways. For example, an exclamation “Oh, man!”

That expression has very little, if anything, to do with the physical male human. That expression could have something to do with the male human, but the expression doesn’t have to.

Why?

Because that expression can express dismay, sorrow, or excitement; none of which have anything directly related to the human male.

Yet, when within the English language, the English term “man” refers to many different things. For example, the signage that places the English term “man” into plurality, stating “Men at work.”

Do those “men” have to be “husbands”? No, but some, or none, or all of them could be.

Do those “men” have to be masculine? No, but some, or none, or all of them could be.

Could some of those “men” be “wives”? Certainly, because the English term “man” generically refers to any human, and any human could be a female, and any female could be in a “marriage”.

While the modern English speaking culture is filled with debates about gender identifiers (e.g. “man”, “woman”), there is still an operational definitional reality.

That definitional reality reveals that the English term “man” can still be used in a generic way, much the same way the Hebrew term ish and the Greek term aner are used.

For instance, in English, a human male is a person, identified predominately with the term “man”.

Is that “man” in a personal relationship? Possibly, but maybe not.

That “man” could be single or widowed.

Importantly, just because a “man” is in a personal relationship does not automatically mean that he is in a “marriage”, because he could be a boyfriend, or he could be a fiancé.

Therefore, in English, there is a tremendous difference about the relationship status of a male:
– a “man” who is single is not a “man” who is a boyfriend;
– a “man” who is a boyfriend is not a “man” who is a fiancé;
– a “man” who is a fiancé is not a “man” who is in a “marriage”.

Similar can be said about the relationship status of a female:
– a “woman” who is single is not a “woman” who is a girlfriend;
– a “woman” who is a girlfriend is not a “woman” who is a fiancée;
– a “woman” who is a fiancée is not a “woman” who is in a “marriage”.

Yet, the English routinely translates the Greek term aner as both “man” and “husband”.

Yet, the English routinely translates the Greek term gune as both “woman” and “wife”.

Two different Greek terms, not four different Greek terms.

But, two different Greek terms are translated into four different English terms.

Importantly, those four English terms (“man”, “husband”, “woman”, “wife”) convey specific concepts to the English reader.

Somewhere back when I discussed anthropology, I discussed that the ancient peoples and the archaic English people knew nothing about our SCECS Accepted Marriage, and therefore they experienced their personal relationships differently than we.

For instance, just because Adam and Eve were in a personal relationship, does not mean that:
a) Adam was Eve’s “husband”, or
b) Eve was Adam’s “wife”, or
c) their personal relationship could be identified as a “marriage”.

I know that sets at odds with so many students of Scripture.

But that sets at odds with so many, because English speakers have been taking our SCECS concepts of “husband” and our SCECS concepts of “wife” and our SCECS concepts of “marriage” into the Biblical text (both Hebrew and Greek) for so long that many (most?) can’t even envision a Biblical world that doesn’t operate according to our SCECS definitions.

That is why it so crucial that the Koine Greek be translated into “Koine” English. Take the Koine Greek term over into a “Koine” English term.

By “Koine” English, I mean translate using an English term that occurs everywhere. For example, the English term “man” occurs everywhere, but the English term “husband” does not, just as it is certain that a “man” can be in a personal relationship but that “man” does not have to be in a “marriage”.

Consider how much the choice of English terminology affects the way in which the English reader reads John 4.

Consider that the Greek term gune (γυνη, G1135) is in both of the following verses:
– John 4.7 “There cometh a gune of Samaria to draw water…”;
– John 4.15 “The gune sayith unto [Jesus]…”.

In both of these verses, the KJV translates the Greek term gune into the English term “woman”:
– John 4.7 “There cometh a woman of Samaria to draw water…”;
– John 4.15 “The woman sayith unto [Jesus]…”.

I have explained that English frequently translates the Greek term gune with both the distinct English term “woman” and with the distinct English term “wife”.

Simply consider what happens if the above two verses have the Greek term gune translated with the English term “wife”:
– John 4.7 “There cometh a “wife” of Samaria to draw water…”;
– John 4.15 “The “wife” sayith unto [Jesus]…”.

That English term “wife” affects the manner in which English readers read those verses.

But I submit to my reader that if I were to articulate that in the narrative context of John 4 the English term “wife” better translates the Greek term gune, many would disagree.

Why?

Because using the English term “wife” in the narrative context of John 4 changes the personal relationship status of the gune in a very profound way.

Currently, the English translation allows the English reader to interpret her as a “woman” being in a relationship outside of ‘marriage’.

However, when one changes the English translation of the Greek term gune from the English term “woman” to the English term “wife” that change affects how the English reader interprets John 4.18, because the change of the English term makes her appear to be an adulteress.

Those are much different interpretations.

Now consider that the Greek term aner (ανηρ, G435) is found in John 4.17-18:
– John 4.17a “The gune answered and said, ‘I have no aner.’…”
– John 4.17b “Jesus said… ‘Thou… have no aner:'”
– John 4.18a “…thou hast had five aner[s].”
– John 4.18b “…whom you now hast is not thy aner…”

In both verses, the KJV translates the Greek term aner with the English term “husband”:
– John 4.17a “The gune answered and said, ‘I have no husband.’…”
– John 4.17b “Jesus said… ‘Thou… have no husband:'”
– John 4.18a “…thou hast had five husbands.”
– John 4.18b “…whom you now hast is not thy husband…”

So consider what happens if the English were to translate the Greek term aner with the English term “man”:
– John 4.17a “The gune answered and said, ‘I have no “man”.’…”
– John 4.17b “Jesus said… ‘Thou… have no “man”:'”
– John 4.18a “…thou hast had five “men”.”
– John 4.18b “…whom you now hast is not thy “man”…”

If that were to be done, the manner in which the English reader reads those verses automatically changes.

If that were to be done, John 4.18 changes significantly. Jesus would not be making a statement about her relationship status of not being in a ‘marriage’.

Instead, Jesus would be making a declaration to her for having a personal relationship with an aner that is not truly hers.

If that were done, that choice of translation changes things, in a profound way.

The lingual reality is that the above potential meanings actually exist within the Greek. Those profound realities are capable of being interpreted in the Greek, but are absent in the English, all because of the way in which the English translates the Greek terms.

What is her relational status?

In the English, she had five relationships that modern English readers would classify as five separate states of “marriage” and the relationship she was in was not a “marriage”.

In the Greek, her relational status as it relates to our concept of “marriage” is far more difficult to ascertain.

If the English were to do as I have postulated: translate the Greek term gune into the English term “woman” and translate the Greek term aner into the English term “man”, then the English reader would see what the Greek contains.

But that is not what is done.

 
It is linguistic simplicity that I believe the English reader deserves.

In essence, since the New Testament is Koine Greek, then translate that Koine Greek into “Koine” English.

In other words, for the Greek term aner do not make a lingual distinction in the English by translating that one Greek term into two different English terms, the Koine Greek makes no distinction, neither should the English translation.

In other words, for the Greek term gune do not make a linqual distinction in the English by translating that one Greek term into two different English terms, the Koine Greek makes no distinction, neither should the English translation.

In other words, express the Greek in simple English terms.
The Greek term aner means “man” in simple terms.
The Greek term gune means “woman” in simple terms.

Translate from Koine Greek to “Koine” English, and allow the English reader to read and draw their own conclusions as to whether a “man” and a “woman” are in some kind of personal relationship.

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