ἄλλος, John 14:16, and Gregory of Nazianzus

If you’ve ever heard a sermon on the nature of the Holy Spirit, the speaker may have used John 14:16 as a reference:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give another comforter to you, one that will be with you always.”

The Greek behind the English word, “another” is the adjective ἄλλος.  It’s common to hear that there are two words for “another” in Greek: ἄλλος and ἕτερος.  I can’t think of any English derivatives of ἄλλος, but ἕτερος is where we get our “hetero” words, like heterogenous.  At any rate, ἄλλος (which is used here), means “another of the same type” in classical Greek, while ἕτερος means “another of a different type.”  This distinction is still felt in the New Testament period, though the two words start to overlap more and more.

As always, with points of Greek usuage like this, I like to refer to the Greek fathers when possible.  Their Greek is better than mine will ever be!  Gregory, in his Oration on Pentecost (Or. 41), supports the distinction between the two words, and puts it to good use when discussing the Holy Spirit:

Διὰ τοῦτο μετὰ Χριστὸν μέν, ἵνα Παράκλητος ὑμῖν μὴ λείπῃ·  «Ἄλλος» δὲ, ἵνα σὺ τὴν ἰσοτιμίαν ἐνθυμηθῇς. τὸ γὰρ «ἄλλος» οὐκ ἐπὶ τῶν ἀλλοτρίων, ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τῶν ὁμοουσίων οἶδα λεγόμενον.

Because of this, after Christ (the Spirit came), so that you would not lack a helper.  This helper is “another” (ἄλλος) so that you may know that he is one of equal honor.  For the word “ἄλλος” does not refer to things of a different type, but we know that it said about things that are of the same nature (gk. ὁμοούσιος, the word used in the Nicene Creed to refer to the “consubstantiality” of the Godhead).  

Scholars of Greek often lament the poor use of Greek in sermons, but this particular point is well-founded in our knowledge of Greek, and has precedent in the Church Fathers. One could, I suppose, argue against it, but it’s always nice to have Gregory of Nazianzus on your side.

ἐν αὐτῷ,

ΜΑΘΠ

Greek to Latin translation example

As a follow up to my post from a few days ago, I thought that I’d post an example of Greek to Latin translation. For those familiar with Latin, you’ll see just how nascent my Latin is. Naturally though, the purpose of this is to learn Latin (and practice Greek), not to produce the successor to the Vulgate ;-).

I’ve tried to produce a fairly literal translation, though there were a few places where I simplified the syntax (trading participles for sub-clauses), or used an infinitive instead of a relative clause.

This excerpt is from John 1:26-29. I’ve included the Greek text (which comes from a manuscript at the British Library: http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=add_ms_7141_f152r), my Latin translation, and an English translation. I have since looked at the Vulgate, but I haven’t corrected my word choice or sentence structure against the Vulgate. (For instance, I should have put Ecce agnus Dei in the final line, but I used a plural imperative of video instead). I’ve only corrected grammatical/spelling errors as I’ve noticed them. If you spot any errors, please let me know in the comments!

in caritate Dei,
Alex

εγω βαπτιζω εν υδατι, μεσοσ δε υμων εστηκεν ον υμεις ουκ οιδατε
Ego baptizo per aquam. in medio vostrorum stetit quid vos non conspicitis.
I baptize with water. Among you all stood the one whom you do not understand.

αυτος εστιν ὁ οπισω μου ερχομενος ος εμμπροσθεν μου γεγονεν.
ille est qui post meum veniet et ante meum fuit.
He is the one who comes after me, and was before me.

ὁυ εγω ουκ ειμι αξιος ινα λυσω αυτου τον ιμαντα του υποδηματος
Ego non sum dignus lorum calceorum solvere.
I am not worthy to untie the strap of his sandles.

ταυτα εν βηθανια εγενετο περαν του ιορδανου ὁπου ην Ιωαννης βαπτιζων.
haec in Bethanae in ripa Iorandanis fuerunt, ubi Joanes baptizibat.
These things took place in Bethany at the bank of the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

τη επαυριον βλεπει ὁ Ιωαννης τον Ιησουν εχρομενον προς αυτον και λεγει
cras vidit Joanes Jesum venientem ad illum et dixit,
On the next day, John saw Jesus approaching him and said,

ιδε, ὁ αμνος του Θεου, ὁ αιρων την αμαρτιαν του κοσμου.
Videte, agnus Dei qui rapit peccatum mundi.
Behold, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!