Re: Changed magic in 2nd and 3rd Age [OFF-TOPIC -- Greek & Latin]

From: donald_at_mhhkruE5RR3T1GZ0E00xQp7xo9wQ3O6ybQF62ENHIjG8OFarkt4GY1_BNL4YD09M1kgyR
Date: Wed, 17 Jun 2009 11:52:36 GMT

In message <> "julianlord" writes:
>Donald Oddy :
>> The Bible wasn't originally written in Latin. The New Testament was
>> a Greek translation from Aramaic, the language of the disciples.
>There has long been a fashionable **theory** that the New Testament was
>not written in Greek, and is instead a translation from some "lost"
>version -- there is no need for such a theory, given that the lingua
>franca of the Eastern Mediterranean at the time, including Palestine
>and Syria, Northern Egypt and the Grecian islands was Koine Greek.
>The original Christians were a disparate bunch of various nationalities,
>and so naturally they would have spoken Greek when gathered among
>themselves, more often than Aramaic or Hebrew and other local vernaculars.
>Certainly they would have written their distributable documents in Greek
>rather than any other language, including the various texts that would
>eventually become the New Testament. The only really important *lost*
>text(s) that are scientifically likely to have existed, were some
>collection(s) of direct quotes of Jesus' sayings, of which only some
>corrupted, modified, editorialised versions are now extant ; as these
>theorised lost text(s) were most likely used as source material by the
>Gospel authors. It is possible that some of these may have been in
>Aramaic, but that is just plain guess work frankly.

I didn't claim there was an Aramaic text. Just that the disciples were Aramaic speakers, and mostly illiterate. Therefore their stories would have to be translated to get a Greek text. That probably happened gradually over the century or two after Christ's death.

>ie the New Testament was originally written in **Greek** ; and furthermore
>the Dead Sea Scrolls have **definitively** proven that the text has been
>pretty much faithfully handed down by copyists over the centuries, even
>though no absolutely faithful copy of the text was ever widely (or even
>narrowly) distributed until the latter half of the 20th century and the
>philological/critical editions were able to provide texts pretty much
>devoid of the inevitable slips and errors in the typical copying process.

The New Testament doesn't even appear in its current form until Constantine insisted on a standard form of Christianity in the 4th Century. The Dead Sea Scrolls, which I understand predate this, include texts which never made it into the New Testament. That caused a great deal of excitement about lost parts of the Bible until the Vatican pointed out that they had copies in their archives and that they didn't form part of the Bible.

I understand there are significant differences between the Latin bible the Roman Catholic Church uses and the Greek one used by the Greek Orthodox church. Certainly the Anglican Bible is missing whole sections that appear in the Roman one. So while the Greek text may well have remained unchanged in the past 1600 years the Bible itself has not.

>> The
>> Old Testament was originally Hebrew. Nor was Church Latin the same
>> language as Roman Latin.
>The three most important variants of Latin are Classical Latin, which
>was the literary and snobby high cultural idiom of the Roman Empire's
>governing class and its litt=E9rateurs ; Vulgate Latin which was the
>language spoken on a daily basis by everyone, including the rich people
>just alluded to whenever they didn't need to show off ; Church/Medieval
>Latin which was the result of a misguided attempt by Charlemagne and his
>Court to "purify" the Latin vernacular of the time, but in fact ruining
>Latin as a living language.
>The Bible was translated by a team of translators (whose editor-in-chief
>was Saint Jerome), into a very clean version of Vulgate Latin (ie with
>very good spelling and grammar), which was the common language of the
>Western Empire at the time, and easily understandable at the time even
>for those who didn't have an expensive education. Church/Medieval Latin
>on the other hand **requires** just such expenditure.

A caution about the term "common language". That doesn't mean the language everyone spoke, just the language used to communicate between different groups and among the upper classes. Just as English was the common language of the British Empire but less than half the people could speak it at all.

>Oh, and those who claim that the Vulgate is a bad translation have
>usually never studied any Vulgate Latin,

When was Vulgate Latin recognised as a distinct language? My impression is that it's only in the last 50 years that this happened. Prior to that Classical Latin was the proper language and Vulgate was a term used to describe badly written Latin.

>and generally do not read the text correctly, as though it were in
>Classical Latin instead of Vulgate (although some few translation
>mistakes did inevitably occur, and other perfectly normal translation
>issues and mishaps -- occurrence of which is generally MUCH higher in
>the "better" translations into our own modern languages).

Hardly surprising. In St. Jerome's time there were two languages for educated people - Latin and Greek. Anyone doing translation work would be fluent in both and there would be a lot of checking. Modern translation is often done by people who are only fluent in the language they are translating to and rely on computers to spell and grammar check rather than proof reading.

Donald Oddy


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