Hannah and Je together

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Who do you say I am?

A month of ago or so, I was reading the Gospel of Matthew in Greek Bible.  It was Matthew 16:13-20 that Jesus was asking his disciples what the people say about him and also what the disciples say about him.  And one thing made me very curious.

Jesus asked the question twice first in v.13, and then v.15.  In Common English Bible, these questions are:

  • Who do people say the human one is?
  • And what about you?  Who do you say that I am?

In CEB and all other English translations as well use the present tense of BE – IS and AM.  But in Greek Bible, both verbs are Infinitive:

  • Τίνα λέγουσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου;
  • Ὑμεῖς δὲ τίνα με λέγετε εἶναι;

To begin my question, let me say what I learned about Infinitive in English.  According to the English grammar book which I learned English from, Infinitive (or TO-Infinitive) carries the hint of notion of future not 100% but quite often.  For example, at the beginning point of a meeting we say “Nice to meet you” because the main body of meeting is in future while we say “Nice meeting you” at the end of the meeting because the main body of meeting is already in the past or present, not in future.

There is a 2006 film “the Queen” which famous actress Helen Mirren plays the Queen of England.  At the beginning scene, Tony Blair won the election and visited the palace to see the Queen.  The secretary tells the Queen that the Prime Minister came, and the Queen corrected the secretary angrily that he is the Prime Minister To Be.  In this example as well, the infinitive tells that is it future, not the present.

I became curious what the infinitive signifies in this passage.  To me, it very much sounds something like “Oh, this smart boy is got TO BE a doctor in the future.”  Then, is Jesus asking his disciples what or who he should be (in the future)?

I just learned Biblical Greek just for one year and was Teaching Assistant for another year, which means my Greek knowledge is very shallow.  And I could not figure it out by myself.  What I usually do in these situations is to (visit and) ask my professor even though I am out of school.  And I did.  I met her couple hours before her class and she was very busy preparing for the class.  I felt sorry but I was curious.  (Her only original sin is that she taught me and she is a good teacher.)

According to my Greek professor, the infinitive in Greek does not necessarily carry the notion of future as in English.  The second question of Jesus is literally translates “But who do you guys say me to be?”  And it can be translated into English for all  three tenses:

  • Who do you guys say I was?
  • Who do you guys say I am?
  • Who do you guys say I will be?

Then how can I decide the tense in English translation?  Her answer was ‘context.’  And I sighed to myself because I heard the importance of context hundreds of times, if not millions.  In language, there is not really absolute answer that almost nothing is 100%.  But if there is one, context is the only one.

As we all know, Peter answers to Jesus in v.16:

  • You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.
  • Σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος.

Peter’s answer in Greek uses which εἶ is Verb-Indicative-Present-2nd Person-Singular.  Because Peter clearly uses present tense, the other two questions in the same context should be present tense of BE.

This infinitive aspect of Greek is somewhat similar to Biblical Hebrew infinitive.  (Again not always but frequently) infinitive construct in Hebrew often times used with ב and כ to make temporal clause and it does not specify the tense.  We need to judge it through the context (YES CONTEXT) or we may have preceding marker such as וַיְהִי or וְהָיָה telling the tense of the clause.

Well, curiosity solved and it did not kill the cat yet. 🙂

Friday, 13 November 2015

Exodus 3:14 LXX translation and Question

Filed under: Lang:English,Subj:Arguement,Subj:Christianity — Jemyoung Leigh @ 18:54
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Exodus 3:14 is very famous verse:

WTT: אֶהְיֶה אֲשֶׁר אֶהְיֶה

Which can be translated as I am who I am or I will be who I will be.

LXX: ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν

Because ὤν is participle (Present, Active, Nominative, Singular, Masculine) of εἰμι, This can be translated basically I am the being or I am the one who is.

Hebrew word היה is English word to be, and Greek word εἰμι.  And the divine name, tetragrammaton—יהוה— is from that Hebrew verb.

1. Why did not LXX write something like “ἐγώ εἰμι ὁς ἐγώ εἰμι” ?

Because Hebrew sentence is so beautiful being perfect symmetry and the Greek not.

2. Why did not LXX use another word οὐσία? This is also present active participle of εἰμι. This word has kind of deeper meaning and loved by many philosophers which is often translated into English as substance or essence. So, the sentence would be like: “ἐγώ εἰμι ἡ οὐσία

Greek professor simply said that the ancient people were sexists and did not want to use feminine noun for God. But 1 John 4:8 used feminine noun for God “ὁ θεὸς ἀγάπη ἐστίν” which is “God is love.”

Monday, 20 January 2014

Israel Trip Tenth Day: Church of Nativity, Refugee Camp

Today was another lecture day.

Stars and Bucks

Stars and Bucks

We walked to the Nativity Church from the bus terminal, and I thought I found on the way ‘Starbucks.’ But it was not.

Christmas Tree

Christmas Tree

In front of, or between the Bethlehem Peace Centre and the Nativity Church, there was a huge Christmas tree. I wonder if it lights up at night. I saw so many tourists here from all over the world; I could recognise some of their languages such as Chinese, Korean, English, French, Spanish. And there were more languages that I could not recognise. I just thought how much Jesus has been contributing to local economy just by being born here.

Church of Nativity

Church of Nativity

This is the Church of Nativity, basically built by Helena, the mother of Constantine the Great (Personally, I don’t like ‘the Great’ part). Helena built this Church, and later Persians came and destroyed all the Churches over 95% of them. When they came to this Church, they saw a paining – three magi offering to Baby Jesus. And the magi were dressed as typical Persians. And the army thought, ‘Wait a minute… this building must have something to do with our ancestors.’ And they left it. This story reminds me how cultural diversity is important.


If you see the three pictures, you can see the original huge gate at first picture. And then little bit smaller but still cargos can go in and out. Last one is current door and is low so that everyone bows down whenever they go in and to be humble.

Church of Nativity Catholic Sanctuary

Church of Nativity Catholic Sanctuary

The original place built by Helena and repaired by Crusaders is owned by Greek Orthodox. And next to it, Catholic Church is attached.

Jerome translated here the Bible into Latin Vulgate with the help of Paula and her daughter

Jerome translated here the Bible into Latin Vulgate with the help of Paula and her daughter

Catholic Church is of course commemorate the birth place of Jesus. But they also has another purpose – Jerome. If you go down to the basement, you can see the rooms where Jerome stayed and worked. In the picture, Left two persons are Paula and her daughter, the helper of Jerome. Jerome is the only Church Father who studied Hebrew in order to translate the Bible into Latin. And to help him, Paula and her daughter also learned Hebrew and Greek, and eventually they became or fluent in both language than Jerome.

Key to Home

Key to Home

This is one of the refugee camp. The key on top of it means the key to going back home.

Graffiti on Separation Wall

Graffiti on Separation Wall

On the wall, there are lots of graffiti. And the streets are so dirty with overflowing garbage.


On the wall, along with other graffiti, I found John 3:16 in Korean. It struck my head. Yes, God loves them so much. God loves these persecuted people so much so that He sent his only Son so that they can live.

Lajee Centre

Lajee Centre

There is Lajee Centre. I don’t know what exactly is this, but they have a library for children (where we were sitting), and computer lab, and a few more.

American History

American History

Surprisingly, they have whole volume of American history.

Blocking Entanglement

Blocking Entanglement

They are surrounded by separation wall. Out of the wall used to be their farming field, and work place. But they most of them lost their job. To Jerusalem it used to take 10-15 minutes and now it takes more than 2 hours thanks to the Israeli checkpoint.

Bethlehem University

Bethlehem University

We went to Bethlehem university. It has beautiful buildings.

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh

Dr. Mazin Qumsiyeh spoke about his perspective of Palestine’s future and history. Interestingly, he is biologist and biology professor. He said if American government moves in the right way, the illegal occupation of Israel would end within two weeks. Well, that might be true since US government give about 2 million dollars to Israel every single day. But the thing is American politicians cannot live without the money from the Jewish lobbyists. And if Obama calls Israel to stop it, he may not be a president the next day.

Lawyer Raffoul Rofa

Lawyer Raffoul Rofa

After lunch where we had before on the day of Shepherds’ field, we came back to school for another session. Mr. Raffoul Rofa is a lawyer, working at St. Yves, a Catholic centre for human rights where 20 staffs working including 8 lawyers. They’ve been working for people with family reunion issues and house demolitions, and the likes. For house demolitions, they’ve got only one permit so far for fifteen years with thousands cases. And even the one was a school building built by US Aid. US Aid pressured the US federal government, and US government told Israel government. This is why they’ve got permit not because they fought in the court.

Rimon Kando Shop

Rimon Kando Shop

And then we had some time in the souvenir shop. I also bought something.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013


통계를 영어로 statistics라고 한다. 이건 뭐 다 아는 얘기고… 이게 왜 통계인가 하는 게 오늘의 이야기.

통계는 방대한 자료를 수집해서 정리하는 것을 말하는데, 이러한 것은 기원전 3000도 더 전인 바빌로니아에서부터 여러가지 (곡물이나 수확량, 무역 등등) 자료를 수집한 기록이 발견된다. 그리고 후에는 이집트와 중국에서도 그런 자료가 발굴되기 시작한다.

다들 알다시피 기원전 594년에는 그리스에서 세제 확립을 위한 목적으로 인구 조사 및 통계를 내기 시작했다. 그리고 일본의 한 할머니가 말만 들어도 오르가즘을 느끼는 이탈리아의 대제국, 로마에서는 그리스와는 비교도 안될 정도로 수많은 것들을 수집하고 조사하고 기록으로 남겼는데, 자신들의 대제국에 대해서도 많은 것을 남겼다.

로마인들은 이런 제국에 대한 자료 수집 조사 및 그 결과물을 statisticus라고 불렀다. 라틴어인데 이를 영어로 옮기면 of state affair라는 뜻으로 우리말로 옮기면 ‘국정에 관한 것’이란 의미가 된다.

서구 사회에서는 정말 아무리 피할려고 해도 그리스와 특히 로마의 영향은 피할 수도 무시할 수도 없다. 정말 상상 이상의 영향력을 갖고 있다는 걸 날마다 절감한다. 그리고 서구 사회가 전세계에 미치는 현재의 영향력을 생각하면, 그야말로 로마는 영향력으로는 전세계를 정복한 것과 진배없다는 생각마저 들 정도다.

오죽하면, 우리가 말하는 xx는 남자의 로망이지에서도 언급이 되겠는가! 로망, 즉 로마의 것은 이상적이고 최고의 것이란 뜻에서 나왔고, 여자들에게는 로맨스가 가장 좋은 것일테니…. 유럽 사람들은 로마하면 꿈과 이상의 세계였던 것이다.

각설하고 오늘의 결론은 영어 또는 어느 서구언어를 공부하려거든 라틴어부터 공부해야 할 듯.

Monday, 9 July 2012


When I was in Canada, I don’t believe I’ve seen a sign saying ‘Xing,’ which I see a lot in America. It, of course, means CROSSING.

It is like writing Xmas for Christmas. Well the reason for Xmas for Christmas is the word of CHRIST in Greek begins with X – Χριστός.

Well, I think this kind of small differences come from the different personality of the two countries. Canada feels like conservative and caring while America is feels much lighter and practical.

Well… not only Xing, Americans changed many other spellings such as from plough to plow and from through to thru.

Christmas를 Xmas와 같이 줄이는 것 처럼. Christmas를 Xmas로 쓰는 이유는 Christ(그리스도)가 헬라어로 쓸 때 X로 시작하기 때문이다 – Χριστός.

이러한 차이가 나타나는 이유는 두 나라의 성격이 다르기 때문이라고 생각되는데, 캐나다는 보수적이고 성향이 느껴지는 반면에 미국은 가볍고 실용적인 느낌이 든다.

Xing 말고도 여러 다양한 약자를 쓰는데, 잘 기억은 안난다. 꼭 이런 것 아니어도 plough도 plow로, through도 thru로 바꾸는 나란데….

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Folklorama 2008: Greek Pavilion

In the evening two days ago, I went to three pavilions – Korean, Argentinian, and Greek. I already visited the first two pavilions last year but Greek was first time.

In the display, Greek tells only Olive tree and some origin of Olympics.

The Greek Pavilion was held at Greek Orthodox Church. And here are some pictures of the Sanctuary:

Back side of the Sanctuary - all golden colour

Front of the Sanctuary - all golden colour too.

The big golden cup is used for baptising a baby

In other pavilions, they did several different shows but in Greek, they did all the same – that was little bit boring. But the girl who led the programme, she was the best.

Two pictures of their dancing:

And I uploaded some videos on my Youtube:

Related postings:

이틀전 저녁에 포클로라마 축제 세 곳을 다녀왔다 – 한국, 아르헨티나, 그리고 그리스였다. 한국과 아르헨티나는 작년에도 갔던 곳이고, 그리스는 처음 가는 곳이었다.

그리스 문화 전시한 곳은 감람나무(올리브)와 약간의 올림픽의 기원 뿐이었다. 그리스 파빌리언은 그리스 정교회에서 자리를 잡고 했는데, 정교회는 처음 가보는 곳이라 사진 몇 장 찍어왔다. 금색으로 꽤 화려하게 꾸며놨다. 세 번째 사진의 거대한 컵 같은 거는, 아기들  세례를 주는 곳이라고 한다.

다른 파빌리언들은 종류가 다른 여러 쑈를 보여주는데, 그리스는 처음부터 끝까지 같은 것만 보여줘서 지루했다.  하지만 사회보는 언니는 정말 잘 했다.

위에 있는 춤추는 사진 둘과 유튜브 7개를 감상해 보시길…

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