Translation problem Gal. 2:21 (KJV)

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by StefanM, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. StefanM

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    Galatians 2:21 in the KJV reads:

    "I do not frustrate the grace of God, for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

    "Is dead" is the translation of απεθανεν--an aorist verb.

    Why did the KJV translators render this "is dead" instead of "died"?

    There is a major difference between the two.
     
  2. Pastor_Bob

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    I don't see a problem. If one "is dead" then it is a given that he "died."
     
  3. StefanM

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    But is Christ dead now?

    The conditional here would only change the meaning of the death, not the fact of the resurrection.
     
  4. Ed Edwards

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    It is just another case of the Bible correctors oopsing:

    Gal 2:21 (Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition):
    I doe not abrogate the grace of God: for if righteousnes be by the Lawe, then Christ dyed without a cause.
     
  5. Pastor_Bob

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    You have a valid point.
    I am going to do a study on this passage.
     
  6. TCGreek

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    1. I have been searching my brain as to why the aorist was rendered "is dead," but I came up with nothing.

    2. What we have before us is a conditional statement: the protasis followed by the apodosis in what grammarians call a first class condition--assuming the reality of the premise for the sake of argument, whether it is true or not.

    3. For if righteous came through the Law, then Christ died undeservedly (no Greek for "came" and nomos can either be the Torah or a law-system of any kind).
     
  7. Amy.G

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    Hey TC, you really can speak Greek! :D
     
  8. StefanM

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    I came up with nothing as well. A perfect might be rendered in such a way, but an aorist??
     
  9. TCGreek

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    Hi Amy, I believe too much greek has made me mad. :laugh:
     
  10. TCGreek

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    StefanM,

    Edwards post above sheds some light. The Geneva, which predates the KJV, has it correctly.

    Why the KJV translators didn't maintain it, I don't know?
     
  11. Logos1560

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    Galatians 2:21b in Tyndale's and 1537 Matthew's have:
    "For if righteousness come of the law, then Christ died in vain."

    On the other hand, the 1540 Great Bible and the 1568 Bishops' Bible have:
    "For if righteousness come of the law, then Christ is dead in vain."

    It seems that some renderings in the KJV are there because the KJV translators chose to leave them there from the Bishops' Bible. Whether that decision or choice of the KJV translators was the best one is another question.

    The KJV translators clearly would have been aware of the rendering in Tyndale's and the rendering in the Geneva Bible and could have chosen to follow one of them instead.
     
  12. TCGreek

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    Yes, there must have been a good reason for the KJV choice.
     
  13. StefanM

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    Any further insights?
     
  14. cowboymatt

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    None. There don't appear to be any textual variants either. The KJV translators just goofed.
     
  15. franklinmonroe

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    I think its possible that the KJV translators may have taken the posture that "dead" expresses the author's argument more poignantly than "died"; that is, "if" righteousness could come through lawkeeping then Christ is still in the grave. Paul is implying that Jesus' death served no purpose, since we could have been saved without it (hypothetically).

    Isn't a concept of the aorist verb that it does not regard time (past, present, or future)? And since there is no exact or precise English equivalent for this tense then the KJV revisers could justify such a rendering?
     
    #15 franklinmonroe, Feb 19, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2008
  16. cowboymatt

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    Your observation about the aorist is true, but it is almost always translated as simple past and should only not be translated if the context demands it. While your idea is plausible, I don't know if it is the necessary reading of the conditional.
     
  17. StefanM

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    1) That would be stretching the text to the breaking point. Besides, the resurrection is not in view (cf. 1 Cor 15). Paul's argument surrounds the purpose of Christ's death. He makes no argument regarding the necessity of the resurrection only of the death of Christ. Even if (hypothetically) the Son of God had died without cause, it would not necessarily follow that a resurrection would not occur.

    2) In the indicative mood, the aorist almost always refers to past action.
     
  18. TCGreek

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    Then what should be the acceptable translation?
     
  19. TCGreek

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    1. Paul's point is about How a person becomes right with God.

    2. When we take the previous verses into account, a person does not becoming right with God by becoming a Jew.

    3. Rather a person becomes right with God through Jesus Christ.

    4. And the reason why it is through Jesus Christ is because He went to the cross for the one would put his faith in Christ to become righteouse before a holy God.

    5. In light of the context then, I think the aorist should be rendered as "died."
     
  20. John of Japan

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    Naw, he was just speaking grammar. :laugh:
     

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