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very frivolous Coptic question

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  • William Arnal
    Hi folks: Okay, this is NOT scholarly at all, but I have a question about some Coptic. Consider the following text (I m transliterating with h for hori and
    Message 1 of 10 , Aug 25, 2006
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      Hi folks:

      Okay, this is NOT scholarly at all, but I have a question about some Coptic.
      Consider the following text (I'm transliterating with "h" for hori and "H"
      for eta, "sh" for shai, and y for upsilon, and not indicating supralinear
      strokes):

      ari-rmhe nHtn ebol hn tmnthmhal nhHt-tHytn. anon mauaan tnnashr-rmhe
      mpenhHt.

      Two questions: 1) is this actually reasonable and more or less correct
      Coptic? and 2) how would you translate it? I might as well throw in a third
      question: 3) do you recognize where it's from?

      Allow me to stress, this is not for me. It's a favor for a friend. Sigh.

      cheers,
      Bill
      ______________________
      William Arnal
      University of Regina
    • Simon Gathercole
      Bill, Ha!!! Bob Marley, I think, isn t it? Simon ... Dr Simon Gathercole Senior Lecturer in New Testament University of Aberdeen 01224 272374
      Message 2 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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        Bill,

        Ha!!! Bob Marley, I think, isn't it?

        Simon



        ------------
        Dr Simon Gathercole
        Senior Lecturer in New Testament
        University of Aberdeen

        01224 272374
      • William Arnal
        ... I m very impressed! Yes, it at least is supposed to be Bob Marley. So evidently it s recognizable. Is the Coptic okay, or badly messed up? cheers, Bill
        Message 3 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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          Hello Simon:

          >Ha!!! Bob Marley, I think, isn't it?

          I'm very impressed! Yes, it at least is supposed to be Bob Marley. So
          evidently it's recognizable. Is the Coptic okay, or badly messed up?

          cheers,
          Bill
          ______________________
          William Arnal
          University of Regina
        • Michael Grondin
          ... ari-rmhe nHtn ebol hn tmnthmhal nhHt-tHytn. anon mauaan tnnashr-rmhe mpenhHt. Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery None but ourselves can free our
          Message 4 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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            [Simon Gathercole]:
            > Bill,
            >
            > Ha!!! Bob Marley, I think, isn't it?

            ari-rmhe nHtn ebol hn tmnthmhal nhHt-tHytn.
            anon mauaan tnnashr-rmhe mpenhHt.

            Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery
            None but ourselves can free our minds
            (Redemption Song)

            Tomfoolery. I think the second word should
            be 'nhHtn', and there may be other errors.
            Why not parse the Coptic so this will have
            some value other than as an in-joke?

            Mike
          • William Arnal
            ... Hey, I DID indicate it was a very frivolous question. The value, such as it is, is all mine: I want to make sure there aren t mistakes in it. An old
            Message 5 of 10 , Aug 28, 2006
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              Mike Grondin writes:

              >Tomfoolery. I think the second word should
              >be 'nhHtn', and there may be other errors.
              >Why not parse the Coptic so this will have
              >some value other than as an in-joke?

              Hey, I DID indicate it was a very frivolous question. The value, such as it
              is, is all mine: I want to make sure there aren't mistakes in it. An old
              student of mine is trying to translate some Marley into Coptic. I figured,
              hey, why not help her out? Some of it's easy -- oua me, oua hHt, for
              instance -- but I wondered about this, and hoped to weed out any gross
              errors. But yes, I will parse it.

              >ari-rmhe nHtn ebol hn tmnthmhal nhHt-tHytn.

              ari-rmhe is the imperative of compound verb r-rmhe, which means "become
              free"; no subject need be stated, since it's an imperative; and the object
              in the English (emancipate YOURSELVES) needn't be expressed since it's
              already implied in the Coptic. The nHtn is an "ethical dative," not an
              expression of object, and it's 2nd pl or na- (indirect object marker), not
              hn, as your correction would suggest. Mind you, nhHtn would also convey
              nicely the intent of "emancipate yourself." It's probably better Coptic for
              the sense of the thing. What do you think? Ebol hn is used with r-rmhe to
              express the thing/person emancipated from, which is "slavery", an
              abstraction indicated my the mnt- prefix, with hmhal (hence, abstraction,
              "slavery") n (of) hHt (mind) -tHytn (your) -- "from slavery of your mind."
              I'm not sure if this might not be better rendered as simply "slavery of the
              mind" and hence tmnthmhal mphHt. Also not sure if hHt should have an article
              or not. Aside from that, I'm reasonably confident about this line. However .
              . .

              >anon mauaan tnnashr-rmhe mpenhHt

              This one is a problem. Marley says "no one but ourselves can free our
              minds." This is probably better rendered in Coptic as "only ourselves can
              free our minds," with the intensive pronoun mauaa- used with 1st plural
              pron., 1st plural prefix, and then a first-pers. plural subject in first
              future with -sh- element to express being able to, with the verb being the
              compound r-rmhe again. I'm not sure this is right at all. The tense is fine,
              but the expression of subject seems odd to me. Is there some cleaner way to
              use mauaa- with a first future? Can it be used at all this way? Then m (=n)
              to mark the object, which is "our mind" -- expressed in the singular, which
              might be a problem, but with a proper first-pers plual possessive prefix.
              And I'm not sure r-rmhe can be used this way -- above, it is used as "become
              free" intransitively; here it is being used transitively. Is that dual use
              possible with this verb?

              Frivolous tomfoolery indeed, but hey, summer is almost over.

              cheers,
              Bill
              ______________________
              William Arnal
              University of Regina
            • Michael Grondin
              Bill, Within our membership, I think only you and Simon have the knowledge of both Coptic and Marley lyrics needed to identify the lines in question. I got the
              Message 6 of 10 , Aug 29, 2006
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                Bill,
                Within our membership, I think only you and Simon have
                the knowledge of both Coptic and Marley lyrics needed
                to identify the lines in question. I got the jist of it, but not
                being familiar with Marley lyrics, I had no idea what it
                might be a translation of. When Simon said 'Marley',
                however, I went looking through the lyrics of Marley
                songs and found it. So much for complete disclosure.

                As to your parsing of the Coptic lines, some of it
                reminded me of features of Coptic that I'd forgotten
                (e.g., ethical dative), but some of it puzzled me
                (bearing in mind that I'm not a Coptic expert).
                You write:

                > Some of it's easy -- oua me, oua hHt, for instance...

                My guess is that you meant "one 'me', one 'hHt'" (i.e,
                one instance of each of those two Coptic words), but
                I don't see any 'me' and there's two 'hHt's, so maybe
                that's not what you mean?

                > ari-rmhe nHtn ebol hn tmnthmhal nhHt-tHytn.

                > The nHtn is an "ethical dative," ...

                This makes me think that the translator either knows a
                lot more Coptic than I do, or she had an exemplar to
                follow. I don't see anything in Lambdin's text or his
                glossary entry for RM2E, for example, that would
                suggest the use of the ethical dative (30.6) with
                R-RM2E. But then maybe you and/or she use a
                different text? If so, I need to get ahold of it.

                > "slavery") n (of) hHt (mind) -tHytn (your) --
                > "... slavery of your mind."

                I don't recall a construction of this kind.
                'Your (pl) mind' would be petn-hHt, no? THytn
                could mean 'yourselves', but then it seems that
                it wouldn't be attached to hHt as it is here, by
                the hyphen. Even unattached, however, I can't
                figure its presence at this point in the sentence.
                I think it needs to be the object of a verb or
                preposition, but there don't seem to be any
                likely candidates.

                > anon mauaan tnnashr-rmhe mpenhHt
                (anon mayaan tn-nash-r-rmhe m-pen-hHt,
                where 'sh' is shai).

                > ... the expression of subject seems odd to me.
                > Is there some cleaner way to use mauaa- with
                > a first future? Can it be used at all this way?

                I'm not sure what you mean by "cleaner way".
                'anon mayaan' ('we [by] ourselves') goes together,
                no? And can be used with any verb tense?

                > And I'm not sure r-rmhe can be used this way --
                > above, it is used as "become free" intransitively;
                > here it is being used transitively. Is that dual use
                > possible with this verb?

                Yes, it seems so, given that it in addition to meaning
                'become free', it may also mean 'make free' (as in the
                2nd sentence), which is inherently transitive.

                Regards,
                Mike
              • William Arnal
                Hi again Mike: Thanks VERY much for your note -- I ve printed it off, and will pass it along to the author of this Coptic. ... It s always nice to have a
                Message 7 of 10 , Aug 29, 2006
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                  Hi again Mike:

                  Thanks VERY much for your note -- I've printed it off, and will pass it
                  along to the author of this Coptic.

                  >Within our membership, I think only you and Simon have
                  >the knowledge of both Coptic and Marley lyrics needed
                  >to identify the lines in question.

                  It's always nice to have a niche.

                  > > Some of it's easy -- oua me, oua hHt, for instance...
                  >
                  >My guess is that you meant "one 'me', one 'hHt'" (i.e,
                  >one instance of each of those two Coptic words), but
                  >I don't see any 'me' and there's two 'hHt's, so maybe
                  >that's not what you mean?

                  Sorry, I was not clear -- I was referring once again to Marley lyrics rather
                  than Coptic -- this is just Coptic for "one love, one heart," which are
                  Marley lyrics from a different song. I was simply pointing out that some of
                  his lyrics go into Coptic very easily, as opposed to the ones I threw out to
                  the list.

                  >This makes me think that the translator either knows a
                  >lot more Coptic than I do, or she had an exemplar to
                  >follow.

                  She's had three years, which has involved working through all of Lambdin,
                  and translating a number of Nag Hammadi texts, including Thomas, Thunder
                  Perfect Mind, and ApJn, as well as a bunch of apophthegmata.

                  >I don't see anything in Lambdin's text or his
                  >glossary entry for RM2E, for example, that would
                  >suggest the use of the ethical dative (30.6) with
                  >R-RM2E. But then maybe you and/or she use a
                  >different text? If so, I need to get ahold of it.

                  I personally have read and made some limited use of Layton's Coptic Grammar,
                  though I don't recall what he says about the "ethical dative." I think it's
                  indicated here in any case since it helps specify the number of the subject
                  of the imperative.

                  > > "slavery") n (of) hHt (mind) -tHytn (your) --
                  > > "... slavery of your mind."
                  >
                  >I don't recall a construction of this kind.
                  >'Your (pl) mind' would be petn-hHt, no? THytn
                  >could mean 'yourselves', but then it seems that
                  >it wouldn't be attached to hHt as it is here, by
                  >the hyphen.

                  Yes! I thought that looked funny. Thanks for that.

                  >I'm not sure what you mean by "cleaner way".
                  >'anon mayaan' ('we [by] ourselves') goes together,
                  >no? And can be used with any verb tense?

                  Good, then. This construction made me nervous, I'm not sure why.

                  >Yes, it seems so, given that it in addition to meaning
                  >'become free', it may also mean 'make free' (as in the
                  >2nd sentence), which is inherently transitive.

                  Also good! Thanks very much for this, Mike, both the correction to the
                  possessive of hHt, and the affirmation on the other two constructions.
                  Perhaps I was over-suspicious. I appreciate it all the more since the whole
                  thing is, indeed, tomfoolery.

                  Anyone else?

                  cheers,
                  Bill
                  ______________________
                  William Arnal
                  University of Regina
                • Michael Grondin
                  ... (I think Simon is resting on his laurels :-) Some second thoughts on nhHt-tHytn (N2HT-THYTN): What confuses me about this is thinking of the 2HT part of it
                  Message 8 of 10 , Aug 29, 2006
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                    > Anyone else?

                    (I think Simon is resting on his laurels :-)

                    Some second thoughts on nhHt-tHytn
                    (N2HT-THYTN): What confuses me about
                    this is thinking of the 2HT part of it as meaning
                    'mind'. Of course, that's one of the meanings
                    of 2HT, but when 2HT occurs in N2HT-x
                    (which it can do, with x = THYTN), I've only
                    seen it translated as 'in/of/among you(pl)'. This
                    seems to be a murky area, but among the
                    N2HT's in Thomas (10 by my count, none with
                    THYTN), almost none of them can be understood
                    as 'in the mind of x'.

                    Case in point: 77.1 has "Everything came out
                    of-me", where the "of-me" is N2HT with no suffix
                    = 1st person sing.) Now this particular N2HT _could
                    be_ understood, I suppose, as 'of-my-mind'. That
                    is, it would make semantic sense. Yet I don't recall a
                    single translation rendering it that way. So I think that
                    the few cases where the addition of the word 'mind'
                    makes sense in translating N2HT-x are simply
                    accidents, and that when the Copts wanted to say
                    'x's mind', they used the construction possessive +
                    noun (in this case, PETN-2HT).

                    Mike
                  • William Arnal
                    ... As well he might . . . ... I think these are actually two completely different words. There s 2HT (I like your transliteration style, so I ll adopt it
                    Message 9 of 10 , Aug 29, 2006
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                      Mike Grondin writes:

                      >(I think Simon is resting on his laurels :-)

                      As well he might . . .

                      >Some second thoughts on nhHt-tHytn
                      >(N2HT-THYTN): What confuses me about
                      >this is thinking of the 2HT part of it as meaning
                      >'mind'. Of course, that's one of the meanings
                      >of 2HT, but when 2HT occurs in N2HT-x
                      >(which it can do, with x = THYTN), I've only
                      >seen it translated as 'in/of/among you(pl)'. This
                      >seems to be a murky area, but among the
                      >N2HT's in Thomas (10 by my count, none with
                      >THYTN), almost none of them can be understood
                      >as 'in the mind of x'.

                      I think these are actually two completely different words. There's 2HT (I
                      like your transliteration style, so I'll adopt it here) meaning "mind," with
                      prepronominal form 2TH=, and which can in some idioms indicate possession by
                      suffixation (this is an older form of the Egyptian possessive pronoun, and
                      persists with some old words for body-parts, especially in prepositional
                      compounds), but which normally constructs possession in the usual way
                      (PA2HT, etc.). Then there's 2H, meaning belly or womb, with the
                      prepronominal form 2HT=. A suffixial form of the latter is the basis for the
                      preposition 2N, the prepronominal or presuffixial form of which is N2HT=;
                      e.g., N2HTC, "in her," lit. "in her belly." Again, this formulation is based
                      on the older style of indicating possession by a suffix, rather than by a
                      pronoun joined to the definite article, and this archaism, as usual, appears
                      only (?) with body parts.

                      Again, I *think* that the N2HT-THYTN of the Marley lyrics was intended to be
                      "of your mind(s)", modifying "slavery" (I should ask the author, and will).
                      If so, I think your correction is entirely right -- 2HT's possessive, as a
                      straightforward noun, should be PETN2HT, not 2HT-THYTN. But this has nothing
                      to do, I think, with the preposition "in" (as 2N, N2HT=), which *looks* like
                      "of/in mind," but is based on an entirely different noun.

                      >that when the Copts wanted to say
                      >'x's mind', they used the construction possessive +
                      >noun (in this case, PETN-2HT).

                      Yes, I agree completely.

                      whew,
                      Bill
                      ______________________
                      William Arnal
                      University of Regina
                    • Michael Grondin
                      ... Spot on. Thanks for clearing that up. Mike
                      Message 10 of 10 , Aug 29, 2006
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                        [Bill]:
                        > I think these are actually two completely different
                        > words. There's 2HT ... meaning "mind," with
                        > prepronominal form 2TH= ...

                        > Then there's 2H, meaning belly or womb, with the
                        > prepronominal form 2HT=. A suffixial form of the
                        > latter is the basis for the preposition 2N, the pre-
                        > pronominal or presuffixial form of which is N2HT=;
                        > e.g., N2HTC, "in her," lit. "in her belly."

                        Spot on. Thanks for clearing that up.

                        Mike
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