by A.E. Knoch

IN CHOOSING a word for a divine vocabulary it is a translator's earnest wish to find one, in each case, which exactly covers the original for which it stands. But, alas, this is not always to be had. The next best thing is to make one. In a concordant version, if there are several occurrences, all that is necessary is to choose the nearest available word and use it consistently. The contexts will react upon the word and mold it into a faithful equivalent of the original in the course of time. Critics will object and find fault, but they do not remedy matters by proposing a better one, so fulfill no useful end.

Yet there are some words which occur but seldom, either in the Scriptures or outside, so that the exact signification is not easily discovered. And even when we find it, no word covers the case. The word apokaradokia, FROM-SKULL-SEEM, is one of the most baffling examples. We have rendered it premonition, but not without a presentiment that our choice would be criticized. But no critic, so far, has suggested a better word, so the criticism has not resulted in any advance.

The usual explanation offered is taken from the elements FROM-HEAD, and pictures a stretched-out head as a sign of ardent expectation. But the idiomatic meaning of a word can hardly be determined in this way, especially as the element SEEM seems to be entirely left out of the explanation. Besides, the thought of expectation cannot come from the prefix FROM- because the word without this prefix, karadokia, already means this.

A safer source of information is the Septuagint. One of its later translators, Aquila, uses the word once in Psalm 36:7 as a translation of the Hebrew causative of chul, TRAVAIL, where the other translators have supplicate. He probably read the Hebrew as ichl, WAIT. To take the word without FROM- and reason from this is not at all satisfactory because the Greek apo-, FROM-, has a great variety of effects in combination. The lexicons say that it "strengthens" the word, but FROM-STEP means to step off, FROM-COVER, to uncover, FROM-SAIL, Sail away from, etc. It is better to deal only with the compound. Aquilaused the shorter word in Psalm 130:7 (Hebrew 129:5), for the Hebrew chld, WAIT, and Psalm 39:5 (Hebrew 38:7), (mine age, AV) for the Hebrew chld, TRANSIENCE. So even his work lacks the accuracy and uniformity which we need in our investigations.

As we have two divine contexts, we can do better by examining them microscopically than by bringing in much conflicting human evidence. The following are the two passages as they now stand in the CONCORDANT VERSION:

apokaradokia, FROM-SKULL-SEEM, premonition

Rom. 8:19 For the premonition of the creation is awaiting the unveiling of the sons of God.
Phil. 1:20 in accord with my premonition and expectation, that in naught shall I be put to shame

Let us classify it as I have done in my Logology. It has to do with the intellect, the formation of ideas, and extends thought into the future, and is closely related to expectation. But it is, in some way, inferior to expectation, or we would have an anticlimax in Philippians, just as if we had said "expectation and hope." It is not usual to add a weaker word.

The most important point to observe is the fact that the lower creation shares this with man. In Romans we would hardly expect to find that the creation has expectation, because that is intelligent, not instinctive. Are we not warranted in making it some natural longing common to all animate creation? We know so little of animals, that we are safer in following the Scriptures as to this rather than our own experience. But do you think we can say that the animals are eager or ardent in their thoughts of the future? They certainly never give any indication of this so far as I am aware. Besides, this is more than expectation, and would spoil Philippians. It seems much more likely that we have to do with an intuitive, unintelligent, subconscious attitude toward the future.

The question is, What shall we call it? If evil were in store for the creation, we have three good words to express the thought, presentiment, foreboding, and premonition. This is most significant. Men are much more concerned about escaping evil than enjoying good. That is why their vocabulary is so rich in one direction and lacking in the other.

But there is a law of language which should come to our help here. Where there are several synonyms without clear distinctions, they soon tend to separate in usage, if not in sense. One is used for the good, the other for the evil. If Shakespeare had translated the CONCORDANT VERSION, then premonition would be used in a good sense today. English needs such a word. It need not borrow it from some other language as it usually does, for it has too many words of the same meaning already. The central meaning of premonition is correct, only it has fallen into bad company. I hoped to redeem it by putting it in the best society, where no one can possibly charge it with being bad. But it is not easy to regain a lost character. We must give it time.

We hope that this account will help our friends to sympathize intelligently with our efforts, and bear with what may seem to be defects in our work. Always, there's a reason. The curse of Babel still hangs over us. It cannot be set aside. But conformity to law and time, will do marvels. The vocabulary of the CONCORDANT VERSION, where it now comes short, is planned so as to automatically correct itself. Indeed, it is a process, akin to the purification of the Greek and Hebrew by its use in the Scriptures, which we hope to accomplish. In a few hundred years such a version will be just as venerable as any other and unbelievably more accurate. It is more important, at present, that this word should be rendered uniformly, than that it should be absolutely correct in usage. It can be converted to the good if we will give it time. But if anyone knows a better, I will be most pleased to place it in the version.

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