Differences in EETs: Wild Fig or Sycamore? Luke 19:4

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Mar 10, 2009.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    Notice these early English translations at Luke 19:4 --
    And he ranne before, and climed vp into a sycomore tree to see him, for he was to passe that way. (AV1611)

    And he ran before, and clymed vp into a wylde fygge tree, to see hym: for he was to come that way. (Bishops')

    And he ranne before, and clymmed vp in to a wylde fygge tre, that he might se him: for he shulde come yt waye. (Coverdale)

    Wherefore he ranne before, and climed vp into a wilde figge tree, that he might see him: for he should come that way. (Geneva)

    Wherfore he ran before and asceded vp into a wilde fygge tree to se him: for he shulde come that same waye. (Tyndale)

    And he ran bifore, and stiyede in to a sicomoure tree, to se hym; for he was to passe fro thennus. (Wycliffe)
    At first glance it might not seem possible for these two different descriptions to be both correct (explanation forthcoming).
     
    #1 franklinmonroe, Mar 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2009
  2. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    Most modern versions do have "sycamore tree" at Luke 19:4; for example --
    So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree to see Jesus, who was going to pass that way. (ISV)

    He ran on ahead, and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see him, for he was to pass that way. (WEB)
    However, at least one modern translation agrees with the EETs; another version introduces the unusual "mulberry" to the mix of renderings --
    So Zacchaeus ran ahead and climbed a fig tree to see Jesus, who was coming that way. (God's Word 1995)

    So he ran on in front and climbed up a mulberry tree to see Him; for He was about to pass that way. (Weymouth)
    So then, one might think that some versions' solution is some sort of compromise --
    So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree to see him, since Jesus was coming that way. (NIV)

    So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore-fig tree beside the road, for Jesus was going to pass that way. (NLT)
     
  3. AntennaFarmer

    AntennaFarmer
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    0
    That is an interesting one!

    ...A.F....
     
  4. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    The Greek word underlying "sycamore" is sykomorea (Strong's #4809) and it should be very easy to see the relationship to the English word; the Luke 19:4 occurrence is the solitary one in the New Testament.

    However, sykomorea according to Thayers' Lexicon is derived from two Greek words: sykon (Strong's #4810) which represents a fig, the ripe fruit of a fig tree, and morea (not found in the NT) which indicates the tree species referred to as the mulberry (genus Morus); taken literally sykomorea might mean 'mulberry-fig'. The usual Greek word found throughout the Gospels for a Common Fig (Ficus) tree is suke (Strong's #4808).

    Finally, I call attention to the associated Greek word sykaminos (Strong's #4807) which is tree having the form and foliage of the mulberry, but fruit resembling the fig; this tree appears just once (at Luke 17:6) --
    And the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the sea; and it should obey you.
    Wikipedia states that "the taxonomy of Morus is complex and disputed. Over 150 species names have been published, but only 10–16 are generally cited as being accepted, though different sources cite different selections of accepted names. The classification is also complicated by widespread hybridisation, with the hybrids being fertile."

    The fleshy fruit of both the mulberry and the fig tree are considered a 'multiple fruit'. 'Multiple fruit' is formed from a cluster of flowers that combine into single mass (the pineapple being one of the few other examples of this type of fruit). They are definitely not considered true berries.

    The sycamore tree (genus Acer) that some of us could be familiar with (native to central Europe and southwestern Asia) would actually be a species of maple; it does not have an edible fruit. American Plane (Platanus) also called Occidental Plane or Buttonwood "is usually called Sycamore in North America, a name which can refer to other types of tree in other parts of the world" (from Wikipedia). More to come.
     
    #4 franklinmonroe, Mar 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 10, 2009
  5. Logos1560

    Logos1560
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2004
    Messages:
    3,127
    Likes Received:
    2
    Luke 17:6

    Luke 17:6b
    mulberry tree (1535 Coverdale's, 1538 English in Coverdale's English-Latin N. T., 1557 Whittingham's N. T., 1560 Geneva Bible, 1657 English translation of 1637 Dutch Bible, Rotherham's The Emphasized Bible, 1933 English translation of Syriac Pehitta, NASB,
    NIV, NKJV, NJB, AMP, NRSV, MTI, NLT, ESV, ALT)

    sycamine tree (1539 GREAT, 1568 Bishops', 1611 KJV, American Bible Union Version, Darby's, ASV, Wuest, NSRB, MKJV, KJ21, TMB, KJ2000)
     
  6. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    So, is there a tree known as the Mulberry-Fig? Yes, it seems there is!

    It is also known as the Egyptian Sycamore, or Sycamore-Fig tree. It is an ancient semi-deciduous tree that is found in Israel, probably originating in Egypt. Its branches rise near ground level (making it easy for short people to climb!) with leaves that resemble the Mulberry (but it is actually a Ficus). Evidently, the aromaic fruit has a distinctive flavor but is considered less sweet than the common fig. To reproduce the Sycamore-Fig tree requires the presence of a specific symbiotic wasp (which develops inside the fruit); otherwise it seems that the tree will have no fertile seed and must be cultivated from cuttings.

    Notice Amos 7:14 --
    Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet's son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit: (KJV)

    Then Amos answered and said to Amaziah, "I was no prophet, nor a prophet's son, but I was a herdsman and a dresser of sycamore figs." (ESV)
     
    #6 franklinmonroe, Mar 11, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 11, 2009
  7. Plain Old Bill

    Plain Old Bill
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,657
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am sure we are all aware the is no such thing as word for word translation from one language into another,
    The three that I am familiar with are dynamic,formal, and optimal equivelant translation styles and variations depending on the rules the translation team sets up and agrees to live by. They must also agree when to make exceptions. So translation is some art some science which accounts for different translations using different words. We cannot use an english translation as the measuring stick English was not even a language until after 200 A.D.. Jesus nor any of His disciples spoke any english.
    In addition there are thousands of copies of the old and new testaments available for comparison.
    Even better then that is we can and have written programs to compare all of these manuscripts to compare. The net result is there is not a nickles worth the difference between any of the modern scholaryl translations, they are all reliable one can get saved and live a good christian life following the teaching of these translations.:godisgood:
     
  8. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    The KJV rendering of "sycomore" could be considered more of a transliteration of sykomorea than an actual translation. Based upon what can be known about this kind of tree, did the Bishops' rendering of "wylde fygge tree" necessitate a change by the king's revisers? I suppose that perhaps some of the early English translators attached the word 'wild' to differentiate this type of fig tree from the more common fig tree. Is 'sycamore tree' a better rendering than 'wild fig tree'?
     
    #8 franklinmonroe, Mar 12, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 12, 2009
  9. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    2,872
    Likes Received:
    3
    Which rendering do you prefer: sycamore, mulberry, wild fig, or sycamore-fig? Why?
     
  10. AntennaFarmer

    AntennaFarmer
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2005
    Messages:
    606
    Likes Received:
    0


    sycamore

    c.1350, from O.Fr. sicamor, from L. sycomorus, from Gk. sykomoros, from sykon "fig" + moron "mulberry." Or perhaps a folk-etymology for Heb. shiqmah "mulberry." A Biblical word, originally used for a species of fig tree (Ficus sycomorus) common in Egypt, Syria, etc., whose leaves somewhat resemble those of the mulberry; applied from 1588 to Acer pseudoplatanus, a large species of European maple, and from 1814 to the North American shade tree that is also called buttonwood (Platanus occidentalis, introduced to Europe from Virginia 1637 by Filius Tradescant). Some writers have used the more Hellenic sycomore in ref. to the Biblical tree for the sake of clarity.
    Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper (available via dictionary.com)


    It seems to me that sycomore is not a transliteration on the part of the KJV translators. Sycomore is a borrowed word (third hand or so!). It has been a part of the English language since the 14th century.

    A brief look at some dendrology information indicates that all of these trees have some common characteristics (e.g. leaf shape). That is why they share a common name. Since morphology is the basis for traditional classification of living things (and scientific until recently) it seems that sycomore is spot on for the "translation".

    Perhaps the better translation is the one that allows the reader to identify the original tree with the least difficulty. How do we determine that without a field trip?

    A.F.
     

Share This Page

Loading...