Tuesday, May 20, 2008

'phroneo' as 'agree' in Phil. 4:2

From J.K. Gayle:

I’m sitting in church today listening to the pastor preach from Philippians 4:2-9. The jump out word from me is φρονέω, which I think I “know.” Paul’s writing in v. 2 gives instructions to two women he names: “Εὐοδίαν παρακαλῶ καὶ Συντύχην παρακαλῶ τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν ἐν κυρίῳ.” My diglot has RSV, the committee of which makes it this way in English: “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.” So I look up a few verses: chapter 2:2 has Paul giving the same instruction to the entire church: “τὸ αὐτὸ φρονῆτε” or RSV committee’s “of the same mind.” Wow. Different English.

So the same Greek gets the RSV committee take variously these ways:
τοῦτο φρονεῖτε “Have this mind” 2:5
τοῦτο φρονῶμεν καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε
“thus minded; and if in antyhing you are otherwise minded” 3:15
οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες “minds set on earthly things” 3:19
τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν ἐφ’ ᾧ καὶ ἐφρονεῖτε “your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me” 4:10

So three different English language words by the RSV committee as they “know” one Greek word: “agreement” “mind(edness)” and “concern for”



J. K. Gayle said...

Wow, I hope that makes sense, all the misspellings and hasty commenting there. Seems in contrast to what the ESV committee attempted in translation, there's what Julia Evelina Smith did by keeping consistent the English except where the Greek context absolutely demanded variation.

Has anyone ever tried translating (not transliterating) the names Εὐοδίαν καὶ Συντύχην here? I wonder if Smith tried something like "Blessed-Way and Fortunate-Together" for these two women Paul calls together (i.e., "entreats") in Phil 4?

Mike Aubrey, it's worth noting too, says "Moises Silva has an interesting discussion of the word φρόνησις in his Baker Exegetical Commentary, particularly related to the issue of the variety of the words usage in the letter." But I wonder if even Silva can justify the kind of variation the RSV team allowed.

Nathan said...

I could only find brief mention of phroneo in Silva and Fee; I have to check O'Brien. Fee glosses the names as "Success" and "Lucky," adding in a footnote that "Euodia" is literally "prosperous journey."