Sunday, January 15, 2023

En arche en ho Logos

 Reason was in the beginning, and Reason was unto God, and Reason was God. He was in the beginning unto God. Everything came to be through him and not even one thing that has come into being, came into being apart from him. Life was in him, and that life was the light of humanity. And that light lightens the darkness, and the darkness did not capture it.

A man came to be, having been sent from God. His name was Ioannes. He came as a witness to witness to the light, for all to believe through him; not as being the light, but in order to witness to the light. 

The light was truthful that brightens every human being coming into the universe. He was in the universe, and the universe came to be through him, and the universe did not recognize him. He came to his own and his own did not receive him. But as many as received him, he gave authority to become God's children, to those believing in his name, who were born not from blood, not from fleshly will, not from man's will, but from God.

And Reason became flesh and encamped among us, and we contemplated his glory, glory as of Father's only-born, full of graciousness and truth. John witnesses to him; and he cried out, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, who coming after me is ahead of me, because he was before me. For we have all received from his fullness, even graciousness for graciousness. For the law was given through Moyses; graciousness and truth came to be through Iesous Anointed. No one has yet clearly seen God; only-born God, who is at the Father's chest, has interpreted.

[John 1:1-18, my rough translation, at Cat's suggestion. Logos, of course, is reason, either the capacity to reason, or reason as an abstract quality, or an exercise of reason; we usually translate it 'Word' here, but this is because of the influence of Latin translations. There are a few famous points where exact translation depends on the manuscript tradition you use; for instance, we know that different Church Fathers punctuated 4 and 5 differently, so that some read verse 5 as "That which was made was life in Him". The original manuscripts have no definite punctuation, and both readings are possible, and neither has been rejected by the Church, although the usual translation is somewhat more likely. Equally famous, verse 18 has manuscript traditions that say "The only-begotten Son" and others that say "The only-begotten God". Rather remarkably, modern scholarly opinion has tended to favor the latter as the original reading, following the Alexandrian manuscript traditions; the former is found in the Textus Receptus and some of the Church Fathers, and while it is in fewer manuscripts, it is found in more than one manuscript tradition. Which is the better reading is still a matter of dispute; both seem to go a long way back in the traditions, and the Church again has not rejected either. 

The vocabulary here was not very difficult (although at a few points there is a judgment call to be made as to whether it should be translated literally or figuratively), but one point really gave me trouble, the phrase usually translated as "in the bosom of the Father". Kolpos means the chest, literally speaking, but what is very often meant by it is a large pocket. The way shirts were worn, there was a fold at the chest where you could hide money and other things like that, as the safest place on your body. St. Augustine, to take just one example, clearly interprets the phrase to mean this intimate pocket, which he then glosses as the secret presence of the Father. "In the bosom of the Father" is exactly right as a translation, but I think people usually don't know what it means, because we don't do this anymore. The closest we have are people using their breast pockets -- but our breast pockets are small and mostly decorative unless you are using them to hold pens -- or women putting money in their bra for safekeeping, which is functionally right, although its associations would be misleading as a translation here, or a front baby carrier, which is not too far off, but also would be misleading in its associations. Something in your kolpos is something very intimately and carefully safeguarded as your own and as very valuable.

"In the beginning" could also be translated as "at the source" or something like that. Pros is usually translated 'with', and that is surely right, but it usually has more of a directionality than the English word 'with' does, so I've translated it as 'unto'. Again, in these kinds of practice translations, I am not aiming at the best translation, which is probably beyond my capability, but at a translation that brings something genuine out of the text.]

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please understand that this weblog runs on a third-party comment system, not on Blogger's comment system. If you have come by way of a mobile device and can see this message, you may have landed on the Blogger comment page, or the third party commenting system has not yet completely loaded; your comments will only be shown on this page and not on the page most people will see, and it is much more likely that your comment will be missed.