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TitleBook of Mormon in Greek
Publication TypeMagazine Article
Year of Publication1909
AuthorsThorup, Joseph F.
MagazineImprovement Era
Issue Number5
Date PublishedMarch 1909
KeywordsForeign Language Translation; Language - Greek

This article is an announcement regarding the translation of the Book of Mormon in Greek. It includes an extract in Greek of 3 Nephi 11 and extols the beauty and value of the Greek language.

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Book of Mormon in Greek.

By Joseph F. Thorup.

At last the Book of Mormon has been translated into the Greek language. I say at last, because several attempts have before been made. The first two books of Nephi have been oftenest translated, but these were one evening destroyed by accident, and we were therefore obliged to commence anew. The translation now completed is being read, revised and compared with the German, Danish and French editions. In this we have made good progress, but the comparing of the manuscripts with other translations makes the work laborious, consequently somewhat slow.

In the translation of the Book of Mormon into Greek we have had the advantage of the language, as comparison will show, and I only regret that we cannot all enjoy it. Probably of all the translations that have been made, none are so literal as the Danish, but the Greek language was the depository of the gospel, and in Greek only can we hope for the more perfect rendering of holy writ.

"In answer to your question," says the translator, "I will say that Greek is above all languages the most fitting for the expression of religious representations and philosophical thoughts; arising to a matchless degree of perfection, through wonderful poets and prose writers, as were certainly Plato and Aristotle and the Stoics, this language was made by Alexander the Great the common property of the learned of the then civilized world. The scattered Jews in Egypt, in the loss of their national language, were compelled to translate their sacred books into Greek, that they might preserve the religion and nationality of their fathers. And at the time of the coming of Christ, Greek had become the world-organ of intellectual and commercial intercourse. In it was conceived and formulated the great man-God doctrine; by it was developed and spread the saving Christian dogmas. The whole of the books of the New Testament, the Articles of Faith, the theological writings of the early Fathers of the church were written in Greek. The Book of Mormon, therefore, having such close relation to the holy scriptures as to style and matter, can, I think, only in the Greek language be translated faithfully and exactly."

It must not be thought that we have translated in a language other than Greek. Between the language of the translation and the language of the New Testament, there can be said to be but a shadow of difference, as indeed there is but little difference between the Greek of the New Testament and the Greek of the contemporary newspapers. Each year Greek is becoming more pure and classical: foreign elements and vulgarisms are being eliminated, and it will be but a matter of a little time and Greek is back again in its pristine purity and beauty.

Athens, Greece, Jan. 1, 1909.