Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Translation Note: "fellowdisciples" in John 11:16

In some devotional reading the other day I was struck by the word “fellowdisciples” in the AV of John 11:16:

KJV: John 11:16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.

This compound term only appears here in the KJV. It is the translation of the Greek tois symmathetais (dative masculine plural of symmathetes, which is a hapax in the NT taken from the common base word for “disciple,” mathetes). The NKJV simply adds a space and translates by “fellow disciples.” When I checked my facsimile of the original 1611 KJV it also includes the space and reads, “fellow disciples.” One wonders if the collapsed “fellowdisciples” came through a later printing error omitting the space or whether it was intentionally chosen by a later editor. However it entered, I like the compound “fellowdisciple” for its accurate representation of the unusual Greek word that appears here.


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