JOEL SPEAKS GREEK

Today we will look at a fresco of the Prophet Joel, painted in 1547 in the Dionysiou Monastery on Mount Athos by Tzortzis Phouka:

Notice how simply it is painted.  The face is just a few strokes of flesh coloring — lightly highlighted — over the darker base color.  Similarly, the hair consists of quick strokes of grey, highlighted with white, and outlined with black.

What I really want to focus on, however, is the scroll text in Greek:

Sometimes the texts held by Prophets are straight biblical quotes, sometimes biblical quotes with an introductory phrase, and sometimes they are not biblical quotes at all.  As I said in a previous posting, the Prophets are a pain, because one never knows what scroll inscription will be used.

Today’s scroll is an example of the second type — the biblical text with an introductory phrase.

Let’s look at what the text says.  As is common, it uses some abbreviations.  The quote itself is from Joel 2:23:

Καὶ τὰ τέκνα Σιών, χαίρετε καὶ εὐφραίνεσθε ἐπὶ τῷ Κυρίῳ Θεῷ ὑμῶν …
Kai ta tekna Sion, khairete kai euphrainesthe epi to Kurio Theo humon …
“And the children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God …”

However, the writer of the scroll has eliminated the first kai/”and,” replacing it with this introductory phrase:

Τάδε λέγει Κύριος …
Tade legei Kyrios …
“Thus says the Lord …

Notice the third letter in the first line which looks like a capital A in English but in Greek it is the letter Δδ — “D.”  And in the second line, note the common abbreviation KC for ΚΥΡΙΟC/Kyrios — “Lord.”  You will also find two abbreviations in the second line from the bottom, for Kyrio (a grammatical form of Kyrios) and for Theo (a grammatical from of Theos — “God.”

In the last line of the scroll, the writer has also apparently mistakenly written  ἡμῶν/hemon (“our”) for ὑμῶν/humon (“your”), which is the Septuagint reading.

So all together, the inscription on this scroll reads (corrected):

Τάδε λέγει Κύριος τὰ τέκνα Σιών, χαίρετε καὶ εὐφραίνεσθε ἐπὶ τῷ Κυρίῳ Θεῷ ὑμῶν…

Tade legei Kurios ta tekna Sion, khairete kai euphrainesthe epi to Kyrio Theo humon …

“Thus says the Lord:  ‘Children of Zion, rejoice and be glad in the Lord your God …'”

 

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