Moonstruck

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Deacon, Sep 6, 2007.

  1. Deacon

    Deacon
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    For much of history, the moon has played a part in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
    Even today there are antidotal comments, particularly in hospital emergency rooms, about a supposed increase in mental disorders happening the period of a full moon.
    Other conditions were thought to be related to the cycle of the moon as well.

    In the gospel of Matthew, a man came up to Jesus and said his son was suffering from a "moon"-related affliction.

    It’s been translated in a number of different ways.

    he is epileptic, and suffereth grievously – ASV, ERV
    he is an epileptic and suffers severely - NKJV
    he is an epileptic and he suffers terribly - RSV/NRSV/ESV
    He has epilepsy and is suffering very much - NCV
    He is an epileptic and has such terrible fits… - GNT
    he is an epileptic, and he is in a miserable condition - Wuest
    he is an epileptic and is very ill - WNT
    He has a bad case of epilepsy - CEV
    he is grievously afflicted with the epilepsy - Mace (1729)

    he has seizures and suffers severely - HCSB
    He has seizures and is suffering greatly - NIV/TNIV
    He has seizures and suffers terribly - NET, NLT

    he is lunatike, and suffrith yuele – Wycliffe (1395)
    he is lunatick, and sore vexed – Coverdale (1535) / Bishops (1568) / Geneva (1587) / AV (1611)
    he is lunatic, and suffers sorely - Darby
    he is a lunatic and is very ill - NASB95
    he is lunatic, and doth suffer miserably – YLT

    he is franticke: and is sore vexed - Tyndale
    he is moonstruck and suffers miserably – Greens Literal Translation
    He goes out of his mind and suffers terribly - Message

    The Greek work that is used is σεληνιάζομαι (selēniazomai, [pronounced sel-ay-nee-ad’-zom-ahee]): (Strongs 4583)
    The word, σελήνη is Greek for moon.

    The word lunatic is drawn from the Latin translation which uses lunaticus, (luna = moon).

    Joseph Thayer in his Greek-English Lexicon comments, "Epilepsy is supposed to return and increase with the increase of the moon."

    In your opinion, what is the best translation and why?

    Rob
     
    #1 Deacon, Sep 6, 2007
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  2. TCGreek

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    1. Apart from GLT with "moonstruck" every other translation goes with a word or expression that we are at home with, I think.

    2. But behind "moonstruck" is the idea of being "mentally unbalanced," which is quite forceful, nonetheless.

    3. I like "moonstruck," for there appears to be some historical richness and appeal to it.

    4. But I can't venture anything medical right now, for that is out of my league.
     
  3. Deacon

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    I obviously liked Moonstruck too.
    It’s the most literal translation of the bunch.

    While any of the above translations are acceptable, with the exception of “moonstruck”, they fail to convey the perceptions of the man who came to Jesus.

    I don’t believe we can diagnose a disease based upon the minimal evidence found in the text;
    I think that’s what the versions that use “epilepsy” are doing.
    While the word, “seizure” is broader, I think the translators are merely translating the context of what the man said, rather than his particular words.

    Matthew records the words of the man who came to Jesus.
    Matthew (and Jesus) don’t make a judgment on whether the idea is right or wrong.
    People at that time believed the moon played a part in this type of disease (what ever it was).
    Jesus didn’t stop and correct his misperception, he healed his son!

    [If I remember, one of the Caesars (Julius?) was afflicted with epilepsy.
    It would be interesting to see how a historical account recorded it in the original Greek.
    That could change my opinion.]

    Rob
     
  4. franklinmonroe

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    It would seem that "lunatic" was a very good translation and may still be the best English word available. Archaicly, "lunatic" was an intermittent mental derangement associated with the changing phases of the moon. From Webster's 1828 --
    MOON'STRUCK, a. Affected by the influence of the moon; lunatic; as moonstruck madness.​
    So, "lunatic" was a synonym for "moonstruck" and either would have been a literal translation. However, contemporarily "moonstruck" primarily is thought of as being dazed or distracted by romantic sentiment. While today "lunatic" primarily means a variety of insanity that is accompanied with intermittent periods of clear-mindedness. Now, neither "lunatic" nor "moonstruck" is precisely what is needed.
     
  5. Deacon

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    In 399 BCE, Socrates was tried and executed in Athens on the charge of "impiety."
    His charges included the "introduction of new deities" and "not believing in the gods of the state," because he publicly claimed that he was periodically and personally receiving a "divine sign," or daimonion, that directed him in various actions.
    We found textual evidence that his daimonion was probably a simple partial seizure (SPS) of temporal lobe origin.

    A Pathographical Diagnosis 2400 Years Later
    Epilepsia, Volume 47, Number 6, June 2006 , pp. 1086-1086
     

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