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Thursday, July 26, 2007

1 Cor. 13: 1-4a

Today Gordon Fee's lesson dealt with 1 Cor. 12, 13 and part of 14. He spoke at length about the gifts of the spirit and tongues and for the first time some of it made some kind of sense to me. But he also talked about 1 Cor. 13.

Here is my interpretation, an attempt to be transparent to the alliteration, the connotations, the rhythm and the variants. It will not sound like the King James Bible, but I hope it offers some semblance of the original.

    If with the tongues of humans,
    I talk, and even of angels -
    but love, I have not,
    I am become a timbring gong
    or a tinkling cymbal.

    And if I have prophesy
    and fathom all mysteries
    and all knowledge
    and if I have faith
    to remove mountains

    But do not have love

      I am nothing.

    And if I give away all my belongings
    And surrender my body to suffering
    for the sake of self glory

    But do not have love

      I gain nothing.

    Love is generosity of spirit
    Kindness in deed is love.

    ἐὰν ταῖς γλώσσαις τῶν ἀνθρώπων
    λαλῶ καὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων
    ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω
    γέγονα χαλκὸς ἠχῶν
    ἢ κύμβαλον ἀλαλάζον

    καὶ ἐὰν ἔχω προφητείαν
    καὶ εἰδῶ τὰ μυστήρια πάντα
    καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γνῶσιν
    καὶ ἐὰν ἔχω πᾶσαν τὴν πίστιν
    ὥστε ὄρη μεθιστάναι

    ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω
    οὐθέν εἰμι

    κἂν ψωμίσω πάντα τὰ ὑπάρχοντά μου
    καὶ ἐὰν παραδῶ τὸ σῶμά μου
    ἵνα καυχήσωμαι

    ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω
    οὐδὲν ὠφελοῦμαι

    ἡ ἀγάπη μακροθυμεῖ
    χρηστεύεται ἡ ἀγάπη


lines 1-5 There is extensive alliteration in the Greek with λαλῶ, ἀγγέλων, χαλκὸς, κύμβαλον ἀλαλάζον - I have tried to bring some alliteration into the English with "timbring", from "timbre" or "sound" and is pronounced "tambering".

line 7 - taken from the TNIV

line 14 - in Greek this says simply to "give into another's hands" or to "surrender" but I don't believe it means to give your body to another human, but to give up your body with the implication of suffering.

line 15 - to burn was based on the variant καυθήσωμαι but the critical text provides καυχήσωμαι - to boast, or have self love.

line 16 - I believe that "long suffering" is a completely false reading of the Greek. μακροθυμεῖ means to be "long in spirit" not unlike "magnanimous". In fact, in French it is translated as "longanimité" Magnien - Lacroix. Since this word does not exist in English, I have used "generosity of spirit", inspired by a line in this post on Iyov's blog - "the true tragedy of Tisha b'Av was a failure of generosity of the human spirit."

line 17 - in Greek these two words are verbs and not adjectives, so I have translated " kindness in deed" not just "kindness".

lines 16 and 17 - in Greek the two lines are arranged as a chiasm. I cannot see how to do this well in English. Alternatively, "Love is generous in spirit, love is acts of kindness."

Thanks to John for inspiring me with his translations from Hebrew, and to everyone for the Magnien - Lacroix, which finally unlocks the meaning of makrothumia.

Unfortunately, this passage is unfinished in it present form. More later. Edited July 27, 2007.



At Fri Jul 27, 02:33:00 AM, Blogger Sam said...

Very nice.

At Fri Jul 27, 08:56:00 AM, Blogger daniel reed said...

Beautiful interpretation. Thanks for sharing.


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