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Transliterating Nazareth. - Printable Version

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Transliterating Nazareth. - judge - 09-21-2010

Why does nazereth get translitered into greek texts of the NT with a zeta and not with a sigma?
It is usual to translate the hebrew tsade into a greek sigma. There seems to be at least two instances where an hebrew tsade becomes zeta.
There is Bozez, which has sigma in Greek, and on one occaision we have Zoar, translated with a zeta in the LXX Gen 13:10 and Jer 48:34 Otherwise instances are hard to find. It is transliterated with a sigma in Genesis 14:2, 14:8, 19:2, 23, 30, Deut 34:3, Isa 15:5. part from this the hebrew tsade seems always to turn into a sigma.
Why would greek translators of the peshitta have always used a zeta?
Is the any evidence of a greek translation of an aramaic text using a zeta for the aramaic sade? I think that the peshitta always has a tsade/sade in nazareth.


Re: Transliterating Nazareth. - Aaron S - 09-21-2010

It's quite possible that the translator mixed up the two words Nasrath and Nazir: In Judges 13:5, ryzn [nazir] is variably transliterated to Greek as nazir [nazir] and naziraion [nazirayan]. I can see the scenario where one may get confused between [font="Estrangelo (V1.1)"]trcn[/font] [nasrath] and [font="Estrangelo (V1.1)"]ryzn[/font] [nazir] phonetically. Though it should be said that in modern times, people have much greater trouble distinguishing between Nazareth and Nazirite (especially with KJV spelling it Nazarite) mostly arising from the erroneous z [zeta] usage in transliterating Nasrath, and this should not be as evidence for the error in the first place (i.e. circular reasoning).

I'd say though that it's more likely to be a simple consonant shift. In studying the conversion of names between Aramaic and Greek, I've learned that you can't fully depend on any rule to bring harmony to ancient transliterations; there will always be the unexplained variants.

Here's a sample:
wxry [Y'reicho] (Jericho) becomes Iericw [Yerikho], though x [cheth] usually is made silent in Greek transliteration. Same for Ahaz (Strong's H3405), Haran (H2771). Nahor (H5152), Pesach (H6453), Rahab (H7343), and Rachel (H7354). This evidence of a minority breaking of standards here showcases the amount of trust we can give to strange variants such as this one of which you've inquired.

If you'd like me to post up any other non-standard transliterations I've found, please ask.


Re: Transliterating Nazareth. - judge - 09-27-2010

Aaron S Wrote:If you'd like me to post up any other non-standard transliterations I've found, please ask.

I'd love to see them if it's no trouble :-)


Re: Transliterating Nazareth. - Aaron S - 09-28-2010

Here's a sample (using SIL Ezra and SIL Galatia):
  • G107 - H5809: rwzv [Azur] becomes Azwr [Azor] rather than Azour [Azur].
  • G108 - H795: dwdH' [Ashdod] becomes Azwtov [Azotas] rather than Asdwd [Asdod].
  • G742 - H775: dHkpr' [Arpakhshad] becomes Arfaxad rather than Arpaxad [Arpaxad].
  • G1116 - H6017: hrmv [`Amorah] becomes Gomorra [Gamarra] rather than Omorra [Amarra] or Amorra [Amarra].
  • G2422 - H3316: xtpy [Yiftach] becomes Iefqae [Iyeftha'e] rather than Ifta [Ifta], Ieftae [Iyefta'e], or Iftae [Ifta'e].
  • G3198 - H4442: qdcyklm [Malki-Tzedeq] becomes Melcisedek [Melkhisedek] rather than Melkisedek [Melkisedek].
  • G3493 - H5152: rwxn [Nachor] becomes Nacwr [Nakhor] rather than Nawr [Na'or].
  • G3508 - H5321: yltpn [Naftali] becomes Nefqalim [Nefthalim] rather than Neftalim [Neftalim], Naftalim [Naftalim], Neftali [Neftali], or Naftali [Naftali].
  • G3957 - H6453: xsp [pesach] becomes pasca [paskha] rather than pasa [pasa], pesa [pesa], pesca [peskha], fasa [fasa], fesa [fesa], fasca [faskha], or fesca [feskha].

More relevant to your initial statement, there is one place I would have wished the translators of LXX to violate the tzadi to sigma:
G301 - H531: ?wm' [Amotz] could be Amwz [Amoz] rather than Amwv [Amos], which collides with swm' [Amos] also becoming Amwv [Amos].