Jovial (30 Aug 2015)
"The Latin Influence on 2 Thess 2:3"


At http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/aug2015/jovial823-1.htm I explained how the Latin Vulgate influenced English translations, and gave several examples of how the King James agrees with Latin sources against the Greek it is allegedly translated from. The King James is just one example, and nearly all Bible translations from Wycliffe to the KJV have similar examples.  There are many verses in which a long succession of English translations were translated from the Latin instead of the Greek, and previous English translations influenced the ones that came thereafter.

This is due partly to familiarity with previous English translations as well as familiarity with the Latin.  English speaking people were reading out of the Latin before the Bible was translated into English.  So often the english was translated not so much the way the Greek read, but the way they were used to thinking of the wording from past experience.

One such example from a few translations prior to the KJV is in 2 Thess 2:3. It tells us,

"...that day shall not come except there come an APOSTACIA (apostacy) first..."

Where the Greek reads APOSTACIA, Tyndale reads "departynge", but not because it translated the Greek word that way.  This is because Tyndale translated from the Latin Vulgate at times, including for this verse.  I will demonstrate this shortly, but Tyndale consulted the Greek, Latin and German versions of the New Testament when he translated into English and did not consult the Greek alone.

Where the Greek reads "APOSTACIA", we see this in other languages....

  • ARAMAIC:  The Aramaic 2 thess 2:3 uses "מרודותא" = "MeRoDoTA", a word cognant with the Hebrew "MeReD", from which the name "Nimrod" is derived.  His name means "rebel" and he was definitely a rebel.
  • LATIN: Old Latin = "absessio", Vulgate = "discessio"

That Latin reading evolved over time.  The Greek "apostacia" was originally translated to "abscessio" (dispute, rebel, etc) in the Old Latin, but was updated to "discessio" in Jerome's time, which is the Latin word from which we get the English word "dissension" (rebel). The word "discessio" can be a synonym for "abscessio" (dispute, rebel, dissension, etc) but can also mean to descend, fall or depart. Wycliffe translated this word as "discension", retaining recognizition with the original Latin "discessio".

William Tyndale did the second English translation in 1536 and did not translate exclusively from the Greek. 

"Tyndale used Erasmusís Greek and Latin New Testament, as well as Lutherís German version and the Vulgate. " (See http://www.gotquestions.org/Tyndale-Bible.html , emphasis added)

So Tyndale translated from the Greek, Latin and German texts as he saw fit, and not one or the other as an exclusive source.  He translated 2 Thess 2:3 from the Latin, translating "discessio" as "departynge", pulling from the Latin "discessio" and not the Greek "apostacy".  It wasn't the only place where Tyndale agrees with the Latin against the Greek. Among some others are:

  • Gal 6:12 Tyndale = KJV = "constrain" = Vulgate's "cogunt" <> Greek "compel". This is where the KJV got this Latin reading from - by sticking with the traditional English readings.
  • 2 Thess 2:8, Tyndale = KJV ="destroy" = Vulgate, but the Greek says "katarghsei", meaning to annul or to make idle, but not necessarily to destroy. Of course, destruction certain results in idleness, but the converse is not necessarily true. Again, this is where the KJV reading came from.
  • Gal 1:18. KJV and Tyndale say "I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter." The Vulgate also has "see", but the Greek reads "make aquaintance with" or "meet", which potentially could be done without using ones eyes. In Acts 9:17, Paul makes the aquaintance of Ananias before seeing him.
  • 2 Cor 8:23 - KJV and Tyndale calls Titus Paul's fellow "helper" as does the Vulgate (reading "adjutor"), but the Greek says "laborer". Help often involves labor, but doesn't have to.
  • Eph 4:18 Greek reads "hardness" while Tyndale = KJV = Vulgate = "blindness".
  • In Matt 24:12, as well as numerous other places, Tyndale and KJV read "iniquity", agreeing with the Vulgate's "iniquitas", but disagreeing with the Greek's "lawlessness = anomian ". Other places where this occurs are Matt 7:23, 13:41, 23:28, as well as others.
  • Col 1:22
    • unreproveable "before Him" (Greek)
    • unreproveable "in his sight" (Tyndale = KJV = Calvin's Latin reading of the New Testament)

Note that out of the 8 examples, I had on my earlier list for the KJV, 7 can be traced to Tyndale's second English translation of the Bible.  The traditional English reading was simply retained, rather than corrected by the Greek text. 

2 Thess 2:3 is another place where Tyndale goes with a Latin meaning, while the KJV translated from the Greek APOSTACIA (apostacy).  it is not that the Greek word can mean "departynge"; it cannot.  It is well understood to mean "apostacy" and I demonstrated that at when I talked about How Modern Day Greeks interpret "apostacia" in 2 Thess 2:3 and  What 1st-4th century Greek speaking Christians, and Latin/Aramaic speakers said about 2 Thess 2:3.

Today, times have changed and it is not longer considered appropriate to translate from the Latin or to translate in order to preserve the traditional English wording.  That is why no modern translation reads "departing", because they have tried to stick with the Greek in most modern translations.

 

Shalom,

Joe