Humorous Parsing Error

While translating and editing through the Apostolic Fathers General Reader for 1 Clement, I noticed something odd for 1 Clement 56:7. The context for the passage is the fact that God disciplines and instructs those he loves, and then binds up their wounds and heals them. In 56:7, we find this statement:

ἔπαισεν, καὶ αἱ χεῖρες αὐτοῦ ἰάσαντο.

He [God]  ____, and his hands heal.

The parsing information provided for the word ἔπαισεν was ἔπαισεν from παίζω aor act indic 3s. Accordingly, I looked up the word παίζω in my trusty copy of BDAG to find the glosses to play, amuse oneself, play with someone.

Contextually, this gloss creates a number of theological issues. God amuses himself by disciplining his people only to heal them thereafter? No. Something was amiss.

So, I thought, “Maybe this word developed a different nuance outside the scope of BDAG.” I checked Lampe’s Patristic Lexicon to find that it was not included. Grasping at my copy of Liddell and Scott, I hoped to find some recourse there. But the glosses only got worse:

  1. play like a child, sport
    1. dance
    2. play on a musical instrument
    3. play amorously
    4. hunt, pursue game
  2. jest, sport
    1. play with, make sport of
    2. played upon or coined for the joke’s sake

At this point, I was a bit beside myself. After all, the English translation of the passage read, “he has wounded, and his hands have healed.” How could the translator provide such a translation with absolutely no support in the lexicons?

Well, two final thoughts occurred to me: (1) this is likely a quotation from the LXX as many other verses in this chapter have been, and (2) maybe there is some interference from the source language (Hebrew).

As I expected, 1 Clement 56:7 is a quotation from the LXX. It is from Job 5:18. But, much to my surprise, the parsing information provided for the verb ἔπαισεν in Job 5:18 in Accordance was ἔπαισεν from παίω aor act indic 3s, strike, wound.

Though the verbs are distinct in their lexical forms παίζω (to play) v. παίω (to strike), they become the same in the aorist. The ε is added for the aorist and the ζ becomes σ for παίζω while the σ is added before the person number suffix in παίω, creating ἔπαισεν in both instances.

Here is a humorously disturbing example of why, though Bible software is a great help for students, teachers, and scholars alike, we must all be wary of accepting the data provided therein as infallible.

This entry was posted in Apostolic Fathers, Greek, Greek Resources and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Humorous Parsing Error

  1. Craig Benno says:

    I started getting concerned while reading through your post. It sounds like the translator was toying with us.

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