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Οὐ πᾶσα σὰρξ ἡ αὐτὴ σάρξ· ἀλλὰ ἄλλη μὲν ἀνθρώπων, ἄλλη δὲ σὰρξ κτηνῶν, ἄλλη δὲ ἰχθύων, ἄλλη δὲ πτηνῶν. (RP2005)

What might be the best way to translate the idiom "κτηνῶν"

Paul's single use of the word "ktEnOn" (#2934) in 1Cor 15:39 [used elsewhere by other authors]; many translations read this as "a beast" but oddly enough, this word is related to "ktasthai" (#2931; "to acquire") [accordoing to Spiros Zodhiates, for one]

The only translation I've found so far that sort of captures this is "The Writ" by Dabhar, which reads it as ..."acquiring-animals" ... [which sounds sort of silly]

However, the word "animals" is already in use (in many translations) by the Greek word "zwon" (Strong's #2226; Goodrick/ Kohlenberger #2442); that is, there's no "zwon" in "ktEnOn" So what we must have here, is a cultural idiom of some sort, where the thought of acquired domestic animals has been imposed upon this word, a word that literally only deals with "acquiring"

So, if we're stuck with having to convey, in translation, this word's idiom meaning, and since we can't concordantly use "animals," then what about using "acquired-livestock" for "κτηνῶν"


Addendum:

As noted, Liddell and Scott, "An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon," does indicate that this idiom seems to have been used, because the accumulation of flocks and herds, constituted wealth, so translating it with the English word "domesticated-" is logical, but as noted above, the word "animals" is already being used by another Greek word, so the reading of "domesticated-animals," is not only a misapplication of the word "animals," but it also ignores the inherent meaning of "acquired."

It's also been suggested that it's a fallacy, to imagine that a word's actual usage must reflect the etymology, perhaps so, but since there was no attempt to "show the work" behind this subjective claim, let's at least try to do so. And, another comment suggested that an attempt to actually reflect the etymology, might introduce confusion, rather than clarification. Perhaps so, but again there was no attempt to "show the work," in support of this objection. Therefore, both of these are not only weak objections, but the word choice of "domesticated-animals" does itself, introduce confusion, and barely hints at the actual etymology of the word. Consulting lexicons is always a good idea, but some independent logical thinking isn't a bad idea, either.

So the question still stands,
What might be the best way to translate the idiom "κτηνῶν"


15:39* Not every flesh [be] the same flesh; but, another [flesh], indeed, of~men; yet, another flesh of~acquired-livestock; yet, another of~fish, yet, another of~flyers. (~Robin)

[Note: The asterisk indicates that there's source text variants, which in this case involve a syntax re-arrangement ("δὲ πτηνῶν" with "δὲ ἰχθύων"), and the addition of the word "flesh" (σὰρξ; "a~fkesh of~flyers)

I favor the Byzantine Greek source texts, but I can see why WH felt compelled to add the word flesh, there at the end of the verse, to sort of balance things out. However, if WH were intent on balance, then why didn't they add the word flesh more consistently? Balance is nice; I, too, felt compelled to add the word flesh, but thought this only worked when referring to the flesh of men ... I did so, because this ellipsis is rather obvious, and, because "[flesh]" of men, appears to be necessary for claification ...right after that first "flesh" is introduced?

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κτηνῶν is the genitive plural of κτῆνος, which refers not just to any animal (ζῷον), but specifically to a domesticated animal (e.g. beast of burden). Related words:

  • κτάομαι - acquire
  • κτῆμα - possession
  • κτήτωρ - owner

The reason the idiom arose seems to be that in ancient times flocks and herds constituted wealth (see Liddell and Scott, An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon).

Regarding how best to translate it in the context of 1 Corinthians 15:38, this might be a case where clarification introduces confusion.

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  • 1
    As I tried to point out (and I thought you understood through the use of the word "idiom" in your title), although the word κτῆνος relates to Greek words associated with acquiring or possessing, it does, in fact mean domesticated animal. It's used this way over 200 times in the Septuagint, although I didn't include that in my answer. May I am misunderstanding your objection.
    – user33515
    Nov 29 '17 at 22:28
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The original question reflects confusion on two aspects of language:

  • there is no "idiom" involved in Paul's use of the word in question

  • it is a fallacy to imagine that a word's actual usage must reflect the etymology of the word

To understand the word's meaning one need only consult the relevant lexicon:

κτῆνος, ους, τό a domestic animal capable of carrying loads, domesticated animal, pet, pack-animal, animal used for riding (mostly in pl. as collective, ‘flocks, herds’: since Hom. Hymns and Hdt.: ins, pap, LXX, TestSol, TestAbr, TestJob, Test12Patr, ApcMos; SibOr, Fgm. 3:12; EpArist, Philo, Mel.; Ath. 20, 4, R. 24 p. 78, 5; infreq. in sing.: X., An. 5, 2, 3; SIG 986, 8; Ex 22:4; TestAbr B 2 p. 106, 25 [Stone p. 60]; TestReub 2:9; Mel., P. 11, 93 παντὸς κτήνους Theoph. Ant. 3, 9 [p. 224, 3]) of livestock (PTebt 56, 8; LXX) Hv 4, 1, 5; Hs 9, 1, 8 (in contrast to wild and dangerous animals 9, 1, 9; cp. M. Ant. 5, 11 and Philo, Op. M. 64: κτ. … θηρίον); 9, 24, 1. Also 1 Cor 15:39; PtK 2 p. 14, 18 refer to domesticated animals. Cattle alone seem to be meant in the combination κτήνη καὶ πρόβατα Rv 18:13 (cp. PRyl 126, 15 τὰ ἑατοῦ πρόβατα καὶ βοικὰ κτήνη).—Of animals used for riding (POxy 2153, 20 [III A.D.]; TestAbr s. above; Jos., Ant. 8, 241) Lk 10:34; Ac 23:24.—DELG s.v. κτάομαι 5. M-M. Sv.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 572). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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  • I'd prefer that you not interface with me, Ruminator, you have a history with me, from a number of other sites, where you are rather abrupt and unthinking; hence, please don't bother yourself with my posting, otherwise, I will think that you are still engaging in abusive harassment. Thank you.
    – robin
    Nov 29 '17 at 23:36
  • @robin To what other sites do you refer? I think you are making that up. But regardless, you don't get to choose who responds to your posts. You can down vote my answer but it is entirely correct and hopefully you have the integrity to respond to my answers on the basis of their merits rather than your feelings.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 29 '17 at 23:42
  • As expected, ... Harassment ... you do it well, you're much practiced at this, Bro ...
    – robin
    Nov 29 '17 at 23:48
  • @robin So what "number of other sites" are you talking about where I've harassed you? Name two other sites; that's a number. Or, alternatively, please retract your baseless claim. Thanks.
    – Ruminator
    Nov 29 '17 at 23:52
  • Look up the definition of "harassment"
    – robin
    Nov 29 '17 at 23:55
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For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals (κτηνῶν), another for birds, and another for fish. (1 Corinthians 15:39 ESV)

Paul enumerates four different types of flesh corresponding to the four types found in Genesis:

So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:21)

And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:25)

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)

Human flesh is different from the flesh of living things created to live in the water, the heavens, or the land. There were all created according to their kinds. Man was created in the image of God.

Of the four, man and "animals" (κτηνῶν) share a common place to live. Calling flesh which lives on land κτηνῶν (a possession) follows the creation account:

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” (Genesis 1:25)

While man was given dominion over all animals, there is a closer relationship with those which live on the land than those living in water or in air. These Paul describes as κτηνῶν.

The word is used in the context of responding to the question about the resurrected body:

But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”
(1 Corinthians 15:35)

Paul finishes by contrasting the resurrected body to the creation of the first man:

Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. (1 Corinthians 15:45-49)

Paul is using κτηνῶν as an idiom to refer to all animals living on land created on the sixth day.

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  • Genesis 1:25 distinguishes livestock (LXX: κτῆνος) from beasts of the land (LXX: θηρίον τῆς γῆς) and everything that creeps on the ground (LXX: πάντα τὰ ἑρπετὰ τῆς γῆς). It would seem then, in the Septuagint understanding of the word, that κτῆνος doesn't refer to all animals living on the land, would you agree?
    – user33515
    Jan 30 '18 at 17:57
  • @user33515 The LXX is translating the text which has a distinction. So in that context κτῆνος does not refer to all animals living on the land. However, Paul is using the term idiomatically in the context of explaining the physical recreation of a resurrected body. His statement is human flesh is different from all other types of flesh. In that sense, he "lumps" all land animals into one group, κτῆνος. He is not translating creation in Genesis; he is explaining recreation to the Corinthians. Jan 30 '18 at 18:12

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