Saturday, August 07, 2004

Jedwab on 1 Timothy 6:10

Joseph Jedwab writes:

Dear Bill Vallicella,

Thank you. Yes, Uzbek is in the Turkic school of languages which also includes Kazakh, Kyrgyzh, Turkmen, Azerbaijan, and, oh I almost forgot, Turkish.

I read with interest your piece on 1 Timothy 6:10. I have nothing much to add to what Jeff Hodges writes, except to say this. First, no doubt this was a slip of the key, but the first letter of Timothy purports to be written by Paul to Timothy.

BV: What a howler! Thanks for pointing it out. I will emend the post. (This raises a question: should one or should one not correct past posts? I can imagine reasonable arguments on both sides of this question.)

Secondly, 'the love of money is the root of all evil' is supposed to have been a contemporary proverb. I have heard that Ovid writes a very similar line, though I don't know the source of this.

BV: Mike Gilleland would know, but he's off communing with nature in the Maine woods for a couple of weeks.

Thirdly, it can indeed be translated 'the root' with the definite article. Greek has a definite article and no indefinite article, but there are constructions that drop the definite article though it is to be understood. For example, in the prologue of John, we have 'theos en ho logos', which is standardly translated 'the word was God', that is, 'the word was the god' because this is a standard Greek construction to let you know whether it means 'the god was the word' or 'the word was the god'. With the verb 'en' the subject and direct object are both in the nominative case rather than the direct object being in the accusative case. So the case endings do not give the order. Putting hriza (root) first gives it
emphasis and so there is some reason to suppose that context determines it should be translated 'the root'.

All best wishes,

Joseph