[sword-devel] Question about Strong Markup of Matthew 1:20

Art Bolstad Art at arthurbolstad.com
Tue Nov 29 13:04:15 MST 2005

Just a translator's note:  "de" in Greek (always the second word in a 
sentance) is a paragraph marker.  As such it is really shown in English 
by the indentation.  But it "feels" funny if a Greek word is not shown 
with an English word.


Greg Hellings wrote:

> Vladimir,
> I believe your problem can be resolved with a little expounding of 
> Greek grammar.  Both of the depictions are actually correct.  I would 
> tend to lean towards the markup you have from Sword as being "more" 
> correct, but allow me to explain it with the following:
> The Greek, with the direct "interlinear" style translation under it reads:
>       tauta      de   autou  enthumethentos
> these things but     he      while thought
> I don't usually work with Strongs, but if I can guess what Strongs is 
> doing here it comes down to this:
> Word 1161 is the particle "de" which is loosely translated as "but" 
> although it simply means a continuation of the story, action or 
> thought and is equally well translated "and, so" etc.
> Word 846 is probably actually "autou" - which in this case is the 
> genitive form of the pronoun "he."
> Word 1760 is the genitive "enthumethentos" - the genitive participle 
> of "thought on."
> Word 5023 is clearly the plural verb "tauta" which means "these" or 
> "these things."
> When the genitive pronoun is combined with the genitive participle 
> (the words "autou enthumethentos") the result is what is called, in 
> Greek, the "genitive absolute."  Normally when a noun appears in the 
> genitive it indicates possession of something, but when it is combined 
> with a participle, the result could mean almost anything.  Most 
> translators would understand the phrase to mean "while he was 
> thinking" but genitive absolutes have to be translated a bunch of 
> different ways, all depending on the context.  Sometimes it could 
> equally well be "because" or "after" or "before" or any other number 
> of meanings.  The translator has to figure it out from the context.  
> So, essentially, the word "while" does not, strictly speaking, appear 
> in this passage.  However, most of the time in your Bible that you see 
> the word "while" and sometimes even the word "because" and so on, the 
> Greek actually has this same exact construct.  So the word "while" 
> could be thought of as either part of the noun (word 846) or as part 
> of the verb (word 1760).  So both versions of the Strong's markup are 
> technically valid, but the one you get from Sword is more accurate.
> Ideally, the word "while" would somehow be indicated as a supplied 
> word in the English translation, if the reader is supposed to be 
> working from the Greek.  Many older KJV bibles had this feature by 
> means of italicizing words.  However, for everyday readers, this 
> results in less clarity because they think that the italicized word 
> has greater importance, whereas the italics usually mean that the use 
> of this word was *more* of an interpretive decision than the words 
> around it.  So you might say that the following is a better parsing of 
> the text:
> 1161 -> But, and, so
> while -> understood from context, also valid as "because" or other 
> possible meanings
> 846 -> he
> 1760 -> thought on
> 5023 -> these things
> Hope that helps more than it confuses.  If you really want to learn 
> more, get a good Greek grammar that will teach you something about the 
> genitive absolute construct.  Or, better yet, do that anyway and learn 
> some Greek so you can read the Bible in Greek... actually, I wouldn't 
> recommend that course of action; it takes too long and is usually too 
> time consuming even when have have learned Greek :).
> --Greg
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