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St John Chrysostom Homilies on the psalms


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#1 Clare G.

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Posted 23 December 2012 - 05:51 AM

Can anyone point me to a translation other than that by Robert C. Hill who seems to think it a fault that St John used the Septuagint text.

#2 Kosta

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 02:35 AM

I'm not understanding your question. Everyone used the Septuagint including Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

#3 Olga

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 04:29 AM

Kosta, Clare's post is saying she would like to find a translation of St John Chrysostom's homilies which is not by Robert C Hill. She is saying that Mr Hill disagrees with St John's use of the LXX (why is anybody's guess!), therefore she (I assume) would like a translation which is free from such a bias.

Clare, please correct me if I have misrepresented you. :-)

#4 Clare G.

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 07:42 AM

Thanks, Olga. That is precisely what I meant. I should probably have made clear within the post which St John I was referring to, rather than just in the header.

I was looking at a copy of http://www.amazon.co...rysostom psalms in which the translator said something to the effect that "unfortunately St John did not have access to the Hebrew text of this psalm", with the clear implication that the Septuagint text was incorrect.

A comment on an Amazon review of the longer volume of which the above is an excerpt, puts the problem very trenchantly:

"That Chrysostom could not deal with the original Hebrew text and that he used the Lucianic "koine" version of the LXX may lead to some of Hill's less than complimentary remarks." Poor Chrysostom. How dare he be a victim of the circumstances of history. Oh weh, I don't have any original Hebrew text either. Come to think of it, I don't think anyone has any 'original Hebrew text'.
Seriously: The late Robert C. Hill was a great scholar, but still a human subject to displaying the same foibles, anachronisms, and vanities in his scholarship as every other human scholar in history.


As the English translation of the psalms that I use takes great care to adhere to the Greek, I would rather not be reading Homilies that are translated by someone with such a different view of the texts on which St John was commenting.

#5 Vlad

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 12:17 PM

The masoretic text is not the original hebrew text (like Robert Hill thinks). It is a version modified by the jewish people, in order to make it less precise about the person of Jesus. Your concern (about finding a translation made by a person who aproached the matter with the right mindset) is a very good concern.

#6 Rdr Daniel (R.)

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Posted 24 December 2012 - 02:17 PM

Dear Clare,

I can understand your concern but sadly a great deal of translations of the Holy Fathers do the same, the "Nicene and post-Nicene Fathers" series for example. I would recommend that if you cannot find another translation just read the one by Robert C. Hill, ignoring any footnotes regarding the issue, it should not have a great deal of affect on the translation itself in this case.

In Christ.
Daniel,

#7 Clare G.

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 07:32 AM

Thanks for sharing my concern, Vlad and Daniel.

Yes, it looks as though what Daniel suggests is my only option. I'll try it out with the shorter book of selections that I can borrow from church, before deciding whether to spend money on the larger volume.

#8 Vlad

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Posted 25 December 2012 - 02:08 PM

Yeah, sadly you have not many options. The translation thing is bothering me for a while now. Thing is, that in matters regarding spiritual life, it is not enough to be a good linguist in order to keep intact the original meaning, you also have to understand the text beyond a psychological level. Because the meaning of the orthodox writings is not from the level of the soul it is from the level of the spirit. And if the translator cannot „see” beyond a psychological level, he will end up translateing only a secondary meaning (in the best case scenario).
Not to say that if the translator has not enough „respect”(a holy respect) towards the writing, he will translate after his own mind and he will offer very litlle from the original message, if not a complete different one. Like in 1 Corinthians 2-14 where king James Bible translates „ψυχικὸς δὲ ἄνθρωπος” with „natural man”, because the translator thinked humanly and thought that he found the real meaning of the expression used by saint Paul. If he had just tried to translate the words as they are (≈„a man of soul”), he wouldnt have ruined the very important comparison that saint Paul did between people who live theyr life at the level of the soul, and people who live theyr life at the level of the spirit(the „ὁ δὲ πνευματικὸς” from versicle 15). The „natural man vs spiritual man” version has some meaning also but it oviusly cannot bear the original meaning and it takes us away a gold opportunity to realise that true spiritual experience must be searched beyond our normal feelings...and sadly this is not the worst kind of example one can give when it comes to our translations...anyhow, we have nothing to do but to trust in the mercy of God. In the end, if He wants, He can offer us in our mind the right meaning nomatter what traslation we use....Good „luck” Clare! :)

#9 Anna Stickles

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Posted 26 December 2012 - 07:00 PM

I tried reading Hill's translations of St John's homilies on the Psalms and I also had trouble with his way of criticsing and judging Staint John in his footnotes, and the general tenor of the translation, which came across to me as rather humanistic in tone. I have translations of other's of Saint John's works (marraige and family) and it is like a whole different person speaking. There are so many other good things to read I gave the book back without finishing it, ( I had borrowed it)




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