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Friberg or Mounce & Koivisto Apparent Anomalies in the GNT Tagged in Accordance v12

 

Update:  2021.03.02

 

By Hal Dekker  

 

 

The Literal Idiomatic Translation Analytical Greek Lexicon (LITAGL) was produced based upon the UBS4 eclectic Greek Text, which uses the Friberg morphology.  The UBS4 text is one of the most popular texts used in seminaries, colleges and universities today. 

 

While preparing the LITAGL I closely examined several of other's analytical Greek Lexicons to determine what verbal voices other translators/translation committees used to translate various words in various biblical passages.  Usually a Bible translation process is based upon a predetermined morphology, which is to be used in its translation process.  One of the other lexical works I examined very closely, since I already had it in my PC, is the Greek NT (tagged), a popular text used in my version 12.3.6 of the powerful and indispensable Accordance bible study software. 

 

While examining and comparing both the Friberg Morphology used to produce The New Greek-English Interlinear New Testament (1990, Tyndale House) translation of the UBS4 Text(s), and the Mounce/Koivisto morphology used to define the text of the Greek NT (tagged), I discovered a large number of disparities between the morphologies.  Almost all of the differences between them are affecting the voices of verbs; in the attached Excel spreadsheet for the selected verbs, the passive voice suggested by Friberg morphology, or the middle voice suggested by the Mounce/Koivisto morphology. 

 

Comparing a selection of identical words, mostly verbs used in both the UBS4 and Greek NT (tagged) texts, to their assigned morphologies, the Friberg (UBS4) and Mounce/Koivisto morphologies respectively, the Mounce/Koivisto morphology assigns middle voice to the selected verbs, and active voice to a few, while the Friberg morphology assigns passive voice to those same verbs.  The LIT very closely follows the Friberg morphology, word for word, as presented in the UBS4 text(s).  But what quickly becomes apparent when attempting to translate either the UBS4 or the Greek NT (tagged) using the Mounce/Koivisto morphology, is that using the middle and active voiced verbs, tagged as such in the Greek NT (tagged) file in Accordance, produces translations whose verbal voices are obviously erroneous compared to their immediate contexts. 

 

The Friberg Morphology used in the UBS4 Text(s) and the Mounce/Koivisto morphology used in the Greek NT (tagged) in Accordance software, disagree in about 2,117 instances (my count) affecting about 1,500 unique morphological forms, which total instances account for about 11.4% of the total Friberg unique morphological forms found in both the UBS4 and Greek NT (tagged) texts; on account of many forms are used multiple times throughout the biblical texts.  Please see the "Friberg or Mounce & Koivisto Apparent Anomalies in the Greek NT (tagged) in Accordance v12" associated spreadsheet.  I believe the Greek NT (tagged) morphology for these verbs to be in error in most all instances of their usages, on account of the active and middle voices obviously can't work in most all biblical passages affected by these verbs. 

 

Questioning which morphology could be right or wrong is a tricky endeavor, on account of both the Friberg and Mounce/Koivisto morphologies can be right or wrong for any given unique word in their respective Greek text(s).  But what you or I, or anyone, can do to verify which morphology is most likely to be correct, is to begin translating each word listed in the associated Excel spreadsheet of apparent anomalies, along with the other words in the verse or passage where that verb occurs, to determine which voice actually matches the context of the passage.  When it becomes obvious that a verb's given morphological voice doesn't, or can't, work within its context, then "Houston, we have a problem". 

 

When I began determining that the Mounce/Koivisto morphologies for many of the words listed in the apparent anomalies spreadsheet, didn't/couldn't work within their contexts, then I began keeping a list of every unique morphological form of verbs, and other words, about which the Mounce'/Koivisto' assigned morphology varies from what the Friberg morphology has stated, which I've listed in a linked spreadsheet below.  From my experience comparing Friberg morphological tags to the Mounce/Koivisto tags, for identical given verbs in both of the texts, very, very seldom have I seen a Friberg assigned morphology which doesn't/can/t work within its context.  The Friberg verb morphologies work virtually every time, which causes me to question why the world may need another morphology to replace the Friberg, especially a morphology which appears to include so many verbal anomalies. 

 

Using a relatively small sample of these biblical passages, I translated the affected verbs in those passages as having middle voices, which obviously didn’t work for those.  However, in some passages, relatively very, very few verses were worded by the biblical authors in such a way that a middle voice could possibly have worked.  I’m wondering if there may have been a systematic procedural problem in the way the Greek NT (tagged) morphology was derived. 

 

From this I have concluded that for the Greek words common to both the Friberg and Mounce/Koivisto morphologies, which words are listed in the apparent anomalies spreadsheet, the Mounce/Koivisto morphology may have been produced using a parsing algorithm which may have been flawed in its construction.  It seems obvious that if each verb in the Greek NT (tagged) with an apparently anomalous voice compared to Friberg morphology, was actually hand-parsed and translated, one at a time, in their assigned morphologies, translation errors would have begun appearing on account of sentences not making any sense because of mis-matched verb voices.

 

For me, the Friberg morphology is already so rock solid, given its exquisite inflected dovetailing with the grammar of other contextually associated words, across a wide number of contexts with a variety of new covenant discrete topics, I question, why would a new morphology need to be invented?  Even if the Greek NT (tagged) morphology is repaired in Accordance, those changes would only make it more like Friberg; on the way to Friberg accuracy?  It’s hard for me to imagine any better morphology coming along than Friberg. 

 

But, since most all Bible translations already ignore up to at least half or more of the inflected forms of verbs, in order to create triune godhead theologically-based/biased paraphrases, it seems only natural that specific kinds of verb voices should start becoming ignored en masse by Bible translation committees and publishing houses.  But deliberately ignoring verb voices has already been going on in Bible translations for hundreds of years now.  Anyone can spot verbs with mistranslated voices, they are scattered by the hundreds throughout any and all Trinitarian-based/biased Bible translations.  Virtually all Bible translations are produced, and have been produced, while deliberately ignoring certain verb voices.  This has been done, and still is being done for theological reasons, to some extent based upon selected books, chapters and verses, in order to forcefully make the apostle's writings in certain places sound like their portrayal of the first-born messenger of God, Jesus Christ, to be a portrayal of the one God almighty himself!

 

But not all of the inflected forms listed are in disagreement over inflection of voice.  A relatively few inflected forms in the linked spreadsheet differ in other points of inflection, such as mood, tense, case and so on.  These relatively few examples can be determined through reading the spreadsheet cell notes for those particular verbs. 

 

Concerning so-called deponent verbs, the Friberg morphology has indicated which verbs are considered by some to be deponent verbs.  My investigations into verb deponentcy led me to believe that even its inventors (I can't find out who they are, or were.  Is it a secret?) may no longer believe in its historical existence and/or efficacy, already after countless numbers of Bible translations have been published and sold, and countless millions of people have read erroneous deponent verb translations in those countless numbers of Bible translations!

 

When all of the variances in tagging are counted, variances between the two morphologies used, about 2,117 instances of unique words, in both the USB4 and the Greek NT (tagged), are affected.  For me, this is obviously a huge determinate slice of morphologically apparent anomalies, amounting to about 11.4% of the total number of unique inflected forms in the UBS4 text(s), which is significant.  I believe this number of questionably labeled verb voices is an observed departure from a hypothesis based upon biblical textual evidence too great to be reasonably attributed to chance.