Recent Forum Posts
From categories:


I've added a link to some help for those of you who still use a PC and would like to start using Unicode for typing Greek (and Hebrew and others). Take note of the links provided in the comments section at the bottom half of this page, too. If you have any questions, click on contact and send me an e-mail.

[HT: Danny Zacharias, who is very helpful for all things Unicode (and Mac).]

These two verses have some interesting dynamics, I think. Here are a few points I noticed as I translated:

  1. The first verse speaks of "the creation of humanity" [ἀνθρώπων]. Ἄνθρωπος is one of those words at the center of the controversy over gender-neutral translation, especially because in earlier English the masculine-gendered term "man" served to refer to humanity as a whole. That situation is changing (or has changed), so many translators (cf. NETS, NRSV [e.g., at Matt. 4.19; cf. also NLT]) prefer a non-gendered term such as "humanity" or "people." BDAG says of ἄνθρωπος, "a person of either sex, w. focus on participation in the human race," and "a member of the human race, w. focus on limitations and weaknesses," and only at the third entry lists, "a male person." Louw-Nida is similar, listing (in this order) "human being," then "man," and then "husband."
  2. Our passage clearly has this general, non-gendered use of ἄνθρωπος in view, for a couple of reasons:
    • ἀνθρώπων here translates the Hebrew אדם (’ādām), which could have been rendered Ἀδάμ (though see no. 3, below)
    • despite the singular τὸν Ἀδάμ and αὐτόν later in 5.1, the plural ἀνθρώπων (which I've rendered as a collective singular ["humanity"]; even "people" is a collective singular, and the English plurals "humanities" or "peoples" are too cumbersome to effectively communicate what's going on here) easily matches up with the explicitly gendered terms ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ, which together are comprised by ἀνθρώπων
    • this last point is continued throughout the rest of 5.2 with the three uses of αὐτοῦς
  3. This isn't to suggest that 5.2 is that straightforward. What surprises me is the tension between the two assertions, (a) God created humanity (ἀνθρώπων; 5.1), and (b) he called their name "Adam" ([!!] τὸ ὄνομα αὐτῶν Αδαμ; 5.2). This doesn't shift ἀνθρώπων back toward a more emphatically male-gendered referent; rather, it pulls the referent of Ἀδάμ away from the explicitly male-centered idea of "man" or even "Adam" and suggests that male and female together were called "Adam."
  4. We could argue that the LXX alters the meaning of the Hebrew text, which refers to the ספר תולדת אדם (sēpher toldōt ’ādām; "the book of the generations [plural] of Adam"). The Hebrew text introduces Adam's genealogy (which follows in 5.3–32), which looks forward from Adam; the LXX refers to "the creation" (γενέσεως; lit. "the birth," "history," or even "lineage"; cf. BDAG s.v.) not of Ἀδάμ but of ἀνθρώπων, which looks backward to the origins of the human race.
  5. But the earlier point (no. 3, above) reveals the way that the LXX picks up the emphasis of its Hebrew exemplar. As I've suggested elsewhere (see point no. 5, here and point no. 1.b. here), the account of humanity's creation in Genesis 1 is significantly less hierarchical (in terms of gender, at least) than is the account in Genesis 2. Gen. 5.1–2 echoes and picks up the idea of greater equality between the sexes from Genesis 1 rather than emphasizing the sexual differentiation that is one of the primary points of Genesis 2–3.

The strikingly complex vocabulary in these two verses (viz., ἀνθρώπων, ἄρσεν, θῆλυ, Αδαμ, and αὐτόν/αὐτούς) promises to repay the attention we give it. When the translators rendered 5.1 in such a way that could suggest that specifically Ἀδάμ — and not the male and the female together — was created in God's image, they also — intriguingly — clearly said that God called their name, the-man-and-the-woman's name, Ἀδάμ. As so often with the biblical text (even in translation), things are not as straightforward as they seem at first glance.

man, woman, male, female by rrodriguezrrodriguez, 15 Aug 2008 13:48

All the texts for Genesis 1–11 [LXX] are now online. Please don't feel any obligation to start with Genesis 1 and progress through the text in order. If you'd like to work systematically through the text, feel free. But if you're more interested in the account of God's covenant with Noah than you are in Lamech's genealogy, skip to Genesis 9 and have fun.

One more thing: Soon I'll be putting together a list of common courtesies that GreekBible community members should follow. For now, let me just ask that if you're working on a text for which a translation has already been uploaded by someone else, please do not alter the earlier translation without explaining the reason for your improvement in that page's discussion forum (click discuss at the bottom of the page in question). Feel free, of course, to emend other people's translations; just be sure to justify the changes you make.

If you emend your own previous translation, it would still be nice for you to explain to everyone else why you felt your earlier work could be improved upon.

The Septuagint (LXX) bears upon a number of questions central to biblical studies and its sub-disciplines. Beyond its significance for textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, it raises questions about the textual form(s) of biblical traditions during the Second Temple period, the written and oral dynamics by which those traditions were accessed during this period, and, since the LXX would in time become the peculiarly Christian canon of the Hebrew Bible, the relations and distinctions between Judaism and Christianity. Also, the discovery of Hebrew and Aramaic biblical texts at Qumran, some of which reflect Septuagintal readings rather than Masoretic readings (though these latter are found in the majority of biblical texts among the DSS), has raised the question of the extent to which the translators were glossing on their Hebrew exemplars and to what extent they reproduced fairly literally those exemplars in their translations.

Speaking on my own behalf, I am particularly interested in the ways that the LXX sheds light on the reception of Hebrew biblical traditions in the Second Temple period. This is an especially important issue, I think, because this reception of biblical tradition formed the matrix/-ices within which the Jesus movements, as expressions of Second Temple Judaism, developed and spread. In other words, had the Septuagint taken a significantly different shape than that which it did, it is likely that Christianity, too, would have developed differently than it did. As two very brief examples, I note the peculiarly Septuagintal readings quoted in Luke 4.18–19 and Acts 15.16–18. In these two Lukan texts, it is precisely the divergences between the LXX and the Masoretic traditions we presume to be more original than the Greek readings that form the basis of Luke's reading of the texts (from Isaiah and Amos, respectively).

Before you participate in the translation efforts here, I recommend you read the introduction to the LXX, and to the LXX of Genesis, included in the NETS files linked to the Front Page (under Septuagintal resources).

introducing the Septuagint by rrodriguezrrodriguez, 14 Aug 2008 03:03

I'm sure there's no great mystery, but I'm too lazy to do the leg work here. Does anyone know of a user-friendly and quick (= "rough and ready") tutorial on how to use Unicode in Windows? Danny Zacharias has provided a wonderful tutorial for Mac users here, but for some reason there are still some students, stiff-necked and uncircumcised of heart, who persist in using Windows.

I've found a few sites, such as this Unicode tutorial, as well as the Unicode Home Page, but both of these are technical sites that some students just don't have the time to work through.

I would really appreciate any help here.


using Unicode in Windows by rrodriguezrrodriguez, 14 Aug 2008 02:25

I decided to render τόν οὐρανόν and τήν γῆν as "heaven" and "earth" (without the English definite article) because it seems to me that, in English, "heaven" and "earth" are sufficiently definite, and I liked the flow without the articles. I don't think we really have an indefinite concept, in English, of either "heaven" and "earth," except perhaps as communicated by the plural "the heavens." And both ideas, again in English, strike me as not being qualitative.

Actually, the most difficult translation decision I had to make vis-à-vis Gen. 1.1-5 was how to render ἐπεφέρετο [3 sing imp pass ind ἐπιφέρω, "I bring, I impose, I offer," inter alia]. The NETS renders καὶ πνεῦμα θεοῦ ἐπεφέρετο ἐπάνω τοῦ ὕδατος as, "and a divine wind was being carried along over the water." Had I taken this same route I would have rendered this, "And the Spirit of God was being brought [blown?] upon the water."

The Liddell-Scott lexicon, however, lists as one possible use for the passive voice of ἐπιφέρω "to rush upon or attack, assault" (s.v.). Given the polemical nature of Genesis 1 as a creation account that systematically denies other, polytheistic understandings of the cosmos and its creation, and given the role of "chaos"/"water"/"the deep" (or "abyss") in other creation accounts, it seemed attractive to me that the LXX translators took this opportunity to present the πνεῦμα θεοῦ as doing battle with (and triumphing over; lit. "was bringing attack upon") the water. Hence my translation of ἐπεφέρετο as "was subduing."

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License