Monday, June 06, 2005
Cubes in Greek and Bears in Hebrew
From recent forays into books on biblical languages:
Randall Pittman, “Use of Metaphor in the New Testament,” in Words and their Ways in the Greek New Testament, p.23:
Kubeia, which occurs in Eph. iv. 14 only, “by sleight of men” [in the KJV], is rendered “adroitness” by Moffatt. It is a metaphor from dice-playing, so often accompanied by the trick of the hand which deceives the eye. Our word “cube” is derived from the Greek root.
Takamitsu Muraoka, “Septuagintal Lexicography,” in Biblical Greek language and lexicography : essays in honor of Frederick W. Danker:
In some cases a the meaning of a Greek word [in the Septuagint] may not match that of the underlying Hebrew one ... I illustrated this principle by citing Hos 13:8, [Greek and Hebrew text], where the Hebrew means “I shall meet them like a bereaved bear,” whilst the LXX, instead of employing one of the standard translation equivalents, such as [ateknoo, apotknoo], uses a striking lexeme, [aporeo], which has two main senses, 1. to be mentally at a loss as to how to act, and 2. to be in want. Only the second meaning fits the context. Thus the translator recognized a danger posed by a hungry bear, whereas the prophet’s imagery is that of a deranged, dangerous bear just bereaved of her cubs. *
* Note: “Contrary to Jobes and Silva, none of the translation equivalents listed for this verb by J.Lust e al., A Greek-English Lexicon of the Septuagint, can be made to represent the Hebrew meaning.
Translations of kubeia in Eph. 4:14
by human cunning
and by the cunning ... of men
by people’s trickery
We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors.