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Re: [GTh] On Thomas 68 (Fwd)

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  • Michael Grondin
    Hi Rick, I may be able to shed some light on the translation issues involved in 68.2. One of the problems is that, as you pointed out, there are two nouns
    Message 1 of 6 , Oct 18, 2010
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      Hi Rick,
      I may be able to shed some light on the translation issues involved in 68.2.
      One of the problems is that, as you pointed out, there are two nouns involved,
      Greek TOPOS and Coptic MA, which are generally pretty equivalent to each
      other, as far as I know. Some translators collapse them into a single noun,
      others leave it as two.
      As to the translation of CE-NA-2E AN E-TOPOS, the verb '2E' literally means
      'fall' and is invariably combined with an 'e-<noun>' phrase to form the idiomatic
      'fall upon <noun>', which I think of as akin to our 'stumble upon'. It can be
      translated as 'find', but since there's another Coptic word for 'find' (6INE), I
      translate it as 'discover'. I suppose it could also be translated as 'come upon',
      but doing so causes a mess in 21.7 (which you mentioned), where the Coptic
      verb EI, normally translated 'come' occurs in close proximity to '2E' resulting in
      something like "the thieves come upon (2E E-) a road to come (EI) up to you"?
      I suppose 'happen upon' could get around this, but I'll stick with 'discover'.
      I don't have Schenke's book, but the above and another consideration make
      me wonder about his translation. The other consideration is the unreferenced
      'they' that you discussed. Since Coptic has no true passive voice, the way
      the passive was handled was precisely with an unreferenced 'they'. There are
      several examples of this in the text, including 3.4, which literally reads "When
      you know yourselves, then THEY will know you", but which means "When you
      know yourselves, then you will be known."
      In L68, there are three unreferenced 'they's'. The second and third (which are
      in 68.2) must depend on the first, which is in 68.1. Since Schenke translates
      the second and third in the active voice, he must also translate the first in the
      active voice, but it seems to me that the first is clearly in the passive voice.
      Literally, it reads "You (pl) are blest when THEY hate you and persecute
      you", but since there's no apparent specific reference for 'they', it must mean,
      I think, "You're blest when you're hated and persecuted" - and apparently
      every translator except Schenke reads it that way. (And it doesn't do any good
      to say as Schenke does that "they" are whoever hate and persecute you - that
      only means that he should have translated it in the passive voice - unless his
      translation is much more literal than the others we've been discussing - in which
      case we should regard his as being in a separate category, I think.)
      Finally, as to the scope of the Coptic negation 'AN', I don't see that as a
      problem. Grammatically, it goes with the verb in the native language, but
      since "you won't find a spot" and "you'll find no spot" are equivalent in
      English, ISTM that either will do as a translation. The thing that kinda bothers
      me, however, is that there's no word 'a' in the Coptic next to TOPOS. It's
      not "discover a TOPOS", but rather "discover TOPOS", which seems a
      bit odd. I should probably look into that to see if the indefinite particle is
      EVER used in such a construction.
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