When is the definite article important?

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by franklinmonroe, Jan 8, 2012.

  1. franklinmonroe

    franklinmonroe
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    I begin this topic with this verse, but this is not the only example I could have chosen (Colossians 2:12) --
    συνταφέντες αὐτῷ ἐν τῷ βαπτίσματι, ἐν ᾧ καὶ συνηγέρθητε διὰ τῆς πίστεως τῆς ἐνεργείας τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ἐγείραντος αὐτὸν ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν

    Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with [him] through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (KJV)

    being buried with him in the baptism, in which also ye rose with [him] through the faith of the working of God, who did raise him out of the dead. (Young's)

    buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. (NKJV)

    having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. (ESV)
    A form of the definite article ("the") is present in the Greek. Are there not different kinds (aspects) of faith? Is a specific "faith" being referrenced in this verse by use of the article? Ought the article be rendered into the English here?
     
    #1 franklinmonroe, Jan 8, 2012
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  2. Van

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    According to the NET footnote, the article does not address a facet of the faith, but rather provides an aspect of the faith in that it shows whose faith it is. Thus the NET reads "your faith."

    "tn The article with the genitive modifier τῆς πίστεως (th" pistew") is functioning as a possessive pronoun (ExSyn 215)." [NET footnote 25]

    Besides the NET, notice that the much maligned NIV also follows this view of the grammar.
     
    #2 Van, Jan 8, 2012
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  3. jonathan.borland

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    Young's: "buried with him in the baptism" -- LOL, way too literal! Yes, sometimes the definite article in Greek is merely idiomatic to that language.
     
  4. franklinmonroe

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    Agreed, but Young's is expected to be literal. Young is probably going to exhibit each and every article regardless (which is why I showed it).
     
  5. franklinmonroe

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    Does not including the article in the English affect the meaning?
     
  6. Van

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    If we accept the Daniel B. Wallace view, and compare "through faith in the working of God" with "through your faith in the working of God" we can certainly agree that translating the article clarifies the message, making it crystal clear it is our faith. So not including it still allows those who correctly discern whose faith is in view to get it right, but OTOH, those who might like to claim it was someone else could say the verse is ambiguous.

    But if we look at it from the other end, and go with the faith rather than your faith, it opens a can of worms. So best is your faith, second best is omission and worst is "the" faith. Anyway, that is my 2 cents worth.
     
  7. jonathan.borland

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    The Greek may also be translated, ". . . through faith which is the work of God, . . . ." And indeed this may in fact be the intended meaning.

    Sincerely,

    Jonathan C. Borland
     
  8. franklinmonroe

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    So, you're saying the KJV translation uses the worst option of those three possibilities?
     
  9. Van

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    Yes! Just look at post #7 for evidence that a lack of clarity gives rise those who pour doctrine into the text. The absence of the article implies it is the person's faith, the grammatically correct translation (your) makes the Greek clear, but including the "the" without recognizing the usage (possessive pronoun) allows the suggestion that the faith refers to something other than the person's faith.
     
  10. John of Japan

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    There is only one way to interpret this passage, since there is an attributive construction, literally "the faith, namely the one working...". So the definite article on "faith" is simply distinguishing it as the specific faith which is the working of God.


    The Greek definite article is not completely analogous to the English definite article. So as soon as you start thinking of it as meaning just what the English one would in such a case, you've failed to exegete properly.
     
  11. jonathan.borland

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    Dear John,

    For what it's worth, that's how I read it, too. At least if we're wrong, we're in good company, right?

    Sincerely,

    Jonathan C. Borland
     
  12. glfredrick

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    Indeed, the same problem is found with the Jehovah's Witnesses with their very faulty translation that says (from John 1) that Jesus is "a" god instead of "God."

    The Greek definite article is attached to every noun and most every adjective, but it is not always translated into English unless context drives that translation. More often the use of the definite article helps point the reader to the diagraming of the sentence structure intended, for in much Greek writing sentence word order means little or nothing.

    Here is a page that explains the various uses:

    http://www.monachos.net/greek/8_definite_articles.shtml
     
  13. Greektim

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    It may help if we avoided the term "definite article" which implies that the Greek article implies definiteness and has an indefinite article. The first is a contextual matter, one of many uses of the article and the second is not true. If we started calling it the Greek article, that would help avoid confusion.

    Suggestion to all, read what Wallace says about the article and its various uses.
     
  14. John of Japan

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    Thanks Jonathan. :wavey:

    And two other Greek dudes have chimed in too. I hope this boat (the same of which we are in) is not just a little canoe.
     
  15. DaChaser1

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    Good way to see how NOT to use the greek article as "proving' anyhting from the greek biblical text would be to see how for example the JW and others have appealed to the definite article being used by John to show that jesus (word)was/is not called God!
     
  16. franklinmonroe

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    I guess you would disagree with Wuest (page 15 of The Practical Use of the Greek New Testament) --
    The definite article in Greek is the Greek index-finger pointing out individual identity. It frequently does more than that. It marks contrast. It makes the word with which it is used stand out distinctly. It points out an object and draws the reader's attention to it. ... The presence of the article identifies. The absence of the article qualifies. That is, when the article is used, the emphasis is upon particular identity, individuality, even uniqueness in some contexts, and upon contrast. When the artcle is not used, the emphasis is upon the quality or character of the person or thing designatd by the noun. The articular noun identifies. The anarthrous noun qualifies.
     
    #16 franklinmonroe, Jan 16, 2012
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  17. Greektim

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    Wuest represents an older tradition of Greek grammar that has not been preserved in the modern era of grammar. This is why I pointed you to Wallace and not someone older.

    But my point stands, calling the Greek article "definite" implies that its only function is to make something definite and implies that the Greek also has an indefinite article. Both of these statements are not true (although the article can make something definite, it does not always by any means).
     
  18. glfredrick

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    Well said, and true. :thumbsup:
     
  19. DaChaser1

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    now if Only the "scholars" at the watchtower could grasp this concept of just what the Article really is meant to define to us!

    Hint, its not that John JUST called called Father God by use of it applying to Him, and not jesus as God!
     
  20. thomas15

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    Using the English rules of grammar applied to the definate/indefinate article, the watchtower (NWT) argues against itself with their theological stance (assuming a monotheistic god) with respect to areas such as John 1:1
     

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