Thursday, February 29, 2024

Acts 1:23-26: two verbs for 'I call'

Ἰωσὴφ τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαβᾶν, . . . . . Joseph the one called Barsabas

ὃς ἐπεκλήθη Ἰοῦστος . . . . who was called Justus

Καλούμενον is the masculine singular accusative form of the present middle/passive participle for the verb καλέω, 'I call, I name'.  

It is masculine and singular because it refers to the Ἰωσήφ / Βαρσαβᾶν.

It is accusative because Ἰωσήφ and Βαρσαβᾶν are both accusative (although you can't tell this with the indeclinable Ἰωσήφ), and they are accusative as the direct objects of ἔστησαν, 'they put forward'.

So Ἰωσήφ is called Βαρσαβᾶν.  Why do we also have the form ἐπεκλήθη, followed by Ἰοῦστος?

Monday, February 26, 2024

The rest of Acts 1: verses 23-26

As I mentioned, I thought we should start moving more quickly through Acts, so I am taking the verses in bigger bites.  My plan is to

1  Begin with an idiomatic English translation of the verses in question.

2  Then type out the Greek in phrases, following each phrase by a mostly word-for-word English translation.

3  Add comments on grammar and vocabulary, with emphasis on difficulties in translation.

So off we go -  note that if a post gets too long, I may split it up.

Acts 1:23-26: 

23  So they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabbas, also known as Justus, and Matthias.

24  And they prayed, “You, Lord, know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen

25  to take up this portion and apostleship, which Judas abandoned to go to his own place.”

26  Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.

23 Καὶ ἔστησαν δύο, . . . . . and they set up two

Ἰωσὴφ τὸν καλούμενον Βαρσαβᾶν, . . . . . Joseph the one called Barsabas

ὃς ἐπεκλήθη Ἰοῦστος, . . . .  who was called Justus

καὶ Ματθίαν. . . . . and Matthias.

24  Καὶ προσευξάμενοι εἴπον, . . . . And having prayed they said

Σὺ κύριε καρδιογνῶστα πάντων, . . . . "You Lord knower of hearts of all

ἀνάδειξον ὃν ἐξελέξω, . . . . show whom you chose

ἐκ τούτων τῶν δύο ἕνα . . . . out of these of the two one

25  λαβεῖν τὸν κλῆρον . . . . to take the portion

τῆς διακονίας ταύτης . . . .  of the ministry this

καὶ ἀποστολῆς, . . . . and apostleship

ἐξ ἧς παρέβη Ἰούδας, . . . . from which turned aside Judas

πορευθῆναι εἰς τὸν τόπον τὸν ἴδιον. . . . . to go into the place the one his own

26  Καὶ ἔδωκαν κλήρους αὐτῶν, . . . . And they gave lots of them

καὶ ἔπεσεν ὁ κλῆρος ἐπὶ Ματθίαν, . . . . and fell the lot upon Matthias

καὶ συγκατεψηφίσθη . . . . . and he was voted with

μετὰ τῶν ἕνδεκα ἀποστόλων. . . . with the eleven apostles

We'll leave off for now; in the next post - verbs and other grammar and vocabulary of these verses.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Reading the Sinaiticus: βαπτίσματος and μάρτυρα

Here's the snippet of the Codex Sinaiticus we looked at the other day, with the two words βαπτίσματος and μάρτυρα indicated:

Βαπτίσματος runs from the end of the second line through to about half way on the third line.  It has two lunate sigmas.  Remember, there are no spaces between words, or anything (like a hyphen) indicating that a word is continuing over to the next line.

Note the letter that looks like a 'W', two letters to the left of μάρτυρα. This is omega.  The Sinaiticus does not use the modern omega (Ω).

The two rhos in μάρτυρα may be difficult to recognize; they look like a long vertical slash with a very small blip (I don't know the technical term!) at the top right, as below.  The very top stroke of the 'blip' is often very faint:

In the next few posts we will finish the first chapter of Acts.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Reading ancient manuscripts: Acts 1:22 in the Codex Sinaiticus

There are some parts of the Sinaiticus which are in better shape than others; the ink has worn or faded more in some places than others.

The folio (page) containing Acts 1:22 is not too bad.  Here is a screenshot of Acts 1:22 from the Codex Sinaiticus site.  I have changed the brightness and contrast slightly to make it a bit more readable:

The first word of Acts 1:22 is ἀρξάμενος, which you can see starting about two-thirds of the way through the top line.  The last three letters of ἀρξάμενος carry over to the second line - NOC.  The 'C' is a lunate sigma.

Try to find these words: 

(1)  βαπτίσματος 

(2)  μάρτυρα

Remember that all-caps manuscripts typically do not include accent marks.  I'll repost the snippet with the locations tomorrow.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Acts 1:21-22: the infinitive which completes δεῖ, and difficulties of word order

21  δεῖ οὖν τῶν συνελθόντων ἡμῖν ἀνδρῶν 

ἐν παντὶ χρόνῳ ᾧ εἰσῆλθεν καὶ ἐξῆλθεν 

ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς ὁ Κύριος Ἰησοῦς,

22  ἀρξάμενος ἀπὸ τοῦ βαπτίσματος Ἰωάννου 

ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἧς ἀνελήμφθη ἀφ’ ἡμῶν, 

μάρτυρα τῆς ἀναστάσεως αὐτοῦ σὺν ἡμῖν 

γενέσθαι ἕνα τούτων.


Here's a very short diagram of the initial bones of verse 21:

That's all there is.  'It is necessary' - to do something.

The 'something' is specified by the completing infinitive γενέσθαι, the aorist middle (deponent) infinitive of γίνομαι, 'I become'.  Broadly translated, δεῖ . . . γενέσθαι means something like 'it is necessary (for someone or something) to become'.

But become what?  And who is doing the becoming?

The subject of γενέσθαι is ἕνα, meaning 'one' (person).  Ἕνα is the masculine singular accusative form for the number 'one'; accusative because it is the subject of an infinitive.

Ἕνα is modified by 'τούτων' ('of these') and - looking back to the beginning of verse 21 - 'τῶν συνελθόντων ἡμῖν ἀνδρῶν' - ('of the men who accompanied us').

So Peter is saying that 'one of the men who has been accompanying us', needs 'to become' - what?

Since γίνομαι is a linking verb, the trick is to look for another form in the masculine singular accusative; and we find 'μάρτυρα', 'a witness'.

In a simplified diagram:

So one of the men - who had accompanied Jesus from the time of his baptism by John - needs to become a witness to Jesus's resurrection.

Some English translations do attempt to follow the Greek word order as much as possible.  Here, for example, is the King James:
21  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,

22  Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.
Other translations make a change from 'one person becoming' to 'the group choosing', as in the NIV:
21  Therefore it is necessary to choose one of the men who have been with us the whole time the Lord Jesus was living among us - 
Which one might think of as close enough to the same thing; but remember that the verb 'choose' is nowhere to be found in the Greek.


Friday, February 09, 2024

Acts 1:21-22: a bit more quickly

I thought we should start moving a bit faster through Acts; otherwise, I may not be around long enough to see it through to the end!  Here are the two next verses, Acts 1:21 and 1:22.  We'll emphasize verbs and difficult phrasings. 

Below each line in Greek I've given a mostly word-for-word translation, which means that the English is often awkward, to say the least.  As it happens, the Greek in these two verses is particularly difficult to understand from such a translation.


21  δεῖ οὖν τῶν συνελθόντων ἡμῖν ἀνδρῶν 

it is necessary so of the having accompanied to us men 

 ἐν παντὶ χρόνῳ ᾧ εἰσῆλθεν καὶ ἐξῆλθεν 

Monday, February 05, 2024

The Lord's Prayer, read in Greek

This is the traditional Lord's Prayer which is read in many Greek Orthodox churches.  The Greek is koine, taken from Matthew 6:9-13:

Lord's prayer

I am reading the prayer using a modern Greek accent; note that I am a non-native speaker.

Here are the words, taken from Matthew:

9b Πάτερ ἡμῶν ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς ἁγιασθήτω τὸ ὄνομά σου·

10 ἐλθέτω ἡ βασιλεία σου· γενηθήτω τὸ θέλημά σου, ὡς ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ της γῆς·

11 τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δὸς ἡμῖν σήμερον·

12 καὶ ἄφες ἡμῖν τὰ ὀφειλήματα ἡμῶν, ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀφήκαμεν τοῖς ὀφειλέταις ἡμῶν·

13 καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν, ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ.

Here is a translation.  It is word-for-word as much as possible, and thus awkward and non-idiomatic English:

9b  Father of us, he who is in the heavens, let it be holy the name of you

10  let it come the kingdom of you - let it become the will of you, as in heaven also on the earth -

11 the bread of us the necessary give to us today

12 and forgive to us the debts of us, as also we forgave the debtors of us -

13 and not you should bring us in to trial, but save us from the evil one.