Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Twice the (grief) Greek for half the price

Well, I'm halfway through my New Testament Greek class which means that I have now had the equivalent of a full semester, because our professor told us we are going twice as fast as a normal class, which would take a year. He was so pleased that Xavier would even offer a Greek class that he made the comment we are getting twice the Greek! I said, "Twice the grief, half the price."

Great language... if you plan on lasic surgery in the future. I can hardly look at the letters any more without going cross-eyed.

But it's way cool to read the original writings in the original language. It's like becoming a Muslim! I finally get why Muslims are maniachal about "God's" language.

Couple of tid bits to consider:

ophthe which means "see" in Greek refers to seeing dreams and daytime visions. It is not the same as the usual word for "to see" which is blepo. This is the word used in 1 Corinthians 15:1-8. Read it. Then think about "what they are seeing" and how that impacts what you read.

was raised: same chapter. This word is better translated to indicate that the raising is still occurring today. This is not aorist tense. It is in the perfect which means it happened in the past with a continuing effect, namely that Jesus "was raised" but that even as Paul wrote the words, Jesus continued to be raised. Hmmmm. What could that mean?


dali said...

Ok, so tell me how the difference in see as daytime vision as opposed to see (the usual way) affects how you view the passage you mention. The first translation I read which was the Holman Christian Standard Bible (?- found it on translates the word as "appears" as opposed to "seen" which is used in the NASV and another version I looked at. Do you think "appeared" is a closer transalation? I'd think so. It makes me think more of a vision than of someone being seen physically in the present. I love that you are learning Greek because I do think so much meaning is lost in translation. In my house church, we studied heaven and hell last week and used our concordances and it's interesting how much more depth there is to what is said in the Bible when you can look at the original word used.

julieunplugged said...

Great questions! My professor said that the gods of that era visited through dreams (at night) and visions (during the day) which were of the same level of "realness" for ancients. In other words, we think of dreams at night as expressions of our subconscious, not as literal visits from God. We don't really have daytime visions - we have imagination and we have fantasy, but not visions.

Those who have visions today are put in mental institutions as halluncinating. So our worldview doesn't permit "insubstantial" visions as reflecting reeality.

For the ancients, they saw these kinds of encounters as literal visitations. They believed the gods were present to them in the dreams and visions.

For me, what this did, is open up a way of thinking about God's relationship to us that was not based on physicality (a literal body resuscitated) but on the experience of raising - or appearing (might be a good choice!) - and what that might mean today since we don't have the same view of the material and spiritual world.

It stops me from a yes/no acceptance or rejection of literal bodily resurrection.

Julie said...

So, is the word ojptavnomai or orao related to opthe? I ask, because when I do a word study using my Strong's Concordance for verse 1 Cor 15:8, I am led to either of the two Greek words above. The first one translates to a more literal view of "see" while the second one refers to either a literal view of seeing or a more spiritual view of seeing.
These are the defs. are to the second word:
to see with the eyes
to see with the mind, to perceive, know
to see, i.e. become acquainted with by experience, to experience
to see, to look to
to take heed, beware
to care for, pay heed to
I was seen, showed myself, appeared

So, anyway, what do you think? Do you have a Greek Bible?

dalissa said...

*duh* you said you were reading the original text. so, anyway, i am still interested hearing if the words in the concordance are derived from the root you mentioned and if not, why you think there are different roots in the concordance whenever you have time.

julieunplugged said...

Your first term is related. It is the middle voice but it is in an active usage. The second one is a different word.

There are several NT Greek words for "to see" and each one can be used for a slightly differnt nuance. To make it more complicated yet, they don't all neatly divide up in usage either. There is overlap.

It is my professor's opinion that the opthe used in this text is the one that indicates dreams and visions more than "blepo" which is the common term for "to see" which means with your eyes, right in front of you.

I'm so far from an expert that I can't comment much more than this! Sorry. Your concordance is probably showing you the variations and the other related words used in the NT to indicate "seeing."

dali said...

It's odd that the first term is the one related to opthe but also the one that has a more strict definition (according to the Greek Bible translation website I went to) while the second one, orao, has a looser definition with seeing with the mind's eye. Hmmm...

I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me about these nuances. I find it all very interesting.

Have a happy Thanksgiving! I am so happy you were able to flylady your house and have it painted in time for your guests!