Which one is closer to the Greek of Phil. 1:21?

Discussion in 'Languages' started by PuritanCovenanter, Mar 13, 2009.

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  1. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    KJV
    (Php 1:21) For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

    Geneva
    (Php 1:21) For Christ is to me both in life, and in death advantage.

    Which one is closer to the greek?

    (Php 1:21) εμοι γαρ το ζην χριστος και το αποθανειν κερδος
     
  2. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I think the Geneva is more dynamic here and the KJV is closer. But I still like the Geneva....
     
  3. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    KJV is better because the word "life" is actually an articular infinitive (a verb form). The Geneva implies a pure noun form in the dative, which is certainly not there in the text.
     
  4. jawyman

    jawyman Puritan Board Junior

    I would say based on a very brief study of the text, that the KJV rendered the Greek better.

    ἐμοὶ γὰρ τὸ ζῆν Χριστὸς καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν κέρδος.

    me for to live Christ and the to die gain

    I would translate this passage myself as, for me to live is Christ and to die is gain. The words, "both" and "in" are not present in the Greek. The one word I would agree with is "advantage." The Greek word, "κέρδος" can definitely be defined as advantage.

    All in all I would again go with the KJV translation of this particular passage. I hope this helps some.
     
  5. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If the articular infinitives are read as accusatives of respect, it could mean "For me Christ is gain in living and dying." I think that makes a little more sense than "To live is Christ," although this sounds more poetic/dramatic.
     
  6. CharlieJ

    CharlieJ Puritan Board Junior

    I also think that the article with the infinitives, as well as the repetition of the infinitival form, leans toward taking the infinitives as the subjects of two clauses.
     
  7. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    This seems unlikely to me, since the articular infinitives seem to be nominative. I would argue that "to live" and "to die" are the subject of which "Christ" and "gain" are the predicate, respectively. There is already the dative of advantage at the beginning of the sentence, so why would we need an additional accusative of respect?
     
  8. jawyman

    jawyman Puritan Board Junior

    :agree:
     
  9. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    The dative of reference/advantage signifies for whom Christ is gain; the accusative respect would signify in what sense Christ is gain. It's not superfluous at all.

    Based on the word order, though, I think you're probably right about the case of the infinitives. I just really like the accusative of respect, and despise word order. :graduate:
     
  10. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Greek word order is closer to English than Latin. If the infinitives were accusatives of respect, I would believe the word order would be something like:

    [FONT=&quot]ἐμοὶ γὰρ [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Χριστὸς [/FONT][FONT=&quot]κέρδος[/FONT][FONT=&quot]τὸ ζῆν καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν

    [/FONT]or

    [FONT=&quot]ἐμοὶ γὰρ [/FONT][FONT=&quot]Χριστὸς [/FONT][FONT=&quot]τὸ ζῆν καὶ τὸ ἀποθανεῖν [/FONT][FONT=&quot]κέρδος

    [/FONT]to keep the parallelism. I think KJV is better here also.
     
  11. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    If you despise word order, do your graduate work in Latin, not Greek! :)

    By the way, I really like the new SBL Greek font.
     
  12. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    To a hammer, everything is a nail? :p:lol:
     
  13. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Just to continue the Greek lesson (because I enjoy it!) if the two infinitives were both accusative of respect, it is likely that it would read:

    [FONT=&quot]τὸ ζῆν καὶ ἀποθανεῖν[/FONT]

    or else

    [FONT=&quot]καὶ [/FONT][FONT=&quot]τὸ ζῆν καὶ [/FONT][FONT=&quot]τὸ [/FONT][FONT=&quot]ἀποθανεῖν[/FONT]


    Note that there would likely only be one article, or else a double [FONT=&quot]καὶ [/FONT], "Christ is gain both in the living and in the dying"
     
  14. Prufrock

    Prufrock Arbitrary Moderation

    Not to jump on a bandwagon that's already been sufficiently loaded, but a few more points could be taken into consideration with respect to 1. Context, 2. History, 3. Grammar.

    1.) Contextually, I think the first (KJV, ASV, ESV, RSV, NASB, NIV, etc) interpretation takes the day, though it should be noted that both Calvin and Beza, along with many other sound divines followed the same rendering as the Geneva. But, in context, the verses following this point life as being laboring for the Philippians even as Christ, but death is even "far better--" it is gain.

    2.) Historically (though this should note decide the matter), the Syriac, Coptic and Ethiopic are all reported to follow the former (KJV et al) reading over the Geneva, making to zein the subject.

    3.) Grammatically, though a men...de type construction might have been more clear, the grammar certainly needs to be stretched pretty hard to get the Geneva reading. If we allow those both to be accusatives of respect (think of an invisible kata controlling both of them), it would certainly be a hard and rare construction with Xristos in the middle. The natural flow of the passage suggests the former reading; and similar statements are found in other works -- Ellicott cites Josephus, "sumphora to zein estin anthropois ouxi thanatos, which is almost an identical construction.

    Check Meyer, Ellicott, Lightfoot, Olshausen, Eadie and Bengel for some helpful comments.

    Note: these points aren't the argument in themselves, just supplements to some comments already made. Pastor Greco's comments, I think, are especially helpful and clear.

    -----Added 3/13/2009 at 04:21:23 EST-----

    Side note: haven't seen you around here in a while; I was happy to see your name pop up as starting a thread.
     
  15. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Took a little break for a while. Thanks.

    Thanks for the discourse and lessons guys.
     
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