relative age of James and John

Many languages have terms for siblings that define whether one is younger or older in relation to another sibling.

Dave Brunn reports this from the translation into Lamogai (see p. 141f. and 181f.):

“Some languages, including Lamogai, have two different words for brother. One means ‘older brother,’ and the other means ‘younger brother.’ In many cases, these languages do not have a generic word that includes both. Relating this to translation, which of the sons of Zebedee do you think was older, James or John? The Bible does not tell us, but there are some clues. The names James and John occur together about twenty times in the New Testament. In every occurrence, James is named first. Since there is not much else to go on, most translators who have faced this issue have considered this to be enough evidence to say James must be the older brother. Here is how we translated this pair of names in Matthew 17:1 in the Lamogai New Testament:

“‘Jems akap ino tikino Jon’ (‘James along-with his younger-brother John’)

“Technically, ‘tikino‘ means younger sibling of the same sex and ‘udikino‘ older sibling of the same sex. A man would refer to his older brother as ‘udikino‘ and his younger brother as ‘tikino.’ And a woman would use the same terms for her older and younger sisters. The term for opposite-sex sibling (either a man to his sister or a woman to her brother) is ‘luku.'” (Source for this paragraph: private communication from Dave Brunn)

In the translation into Oaxaca Chontal, the same principle is applied. (Source: Bratcher / Nida 1961)

The Chilcotin translators have tried to circumvent specifying which of the two is older, even though the language also uses age-specific terms for siblings. In Mark 1:19 and Mark 3:17 it says Zebedee beyiqi… (“Zebedee’s sons…”) and therefore avoids stating their respective age. Likewise in Mark 5:37 it says Peter hink´an ˀelhcheliqi James belh John (“Peter and brothers James and John”) (source: Quindel King).

See also Peter (Simon) / Andrew (relative age).

relative age of Andrew and Peter (Simon)

Many languages have terms for siblings that define whether one is younger or older in relation to another sibling.

In the case of Peter (Simon) and Andrew, Simon was assumed to be the older of the two brothers in Navajo because he typically is mentioned first (see Wallis 2000, p. 103f.) The same choice was made in Biangai (source: Larson 1998, p. 40).

The Chilcotin translators tried to circumvent specifying who of the two is older, even though the language also uses age-specific terms for siblings. In Mark 1:16, they have used the generic term ˀelhcheliqi (“brother” without specifying who is older). (Source: Quindel King)

See also James / John (relative age).

Herod's brother

Many languages have terms for siblings that define whether one is younger or older in relation to another sibling.

The brother of Herod is translated as “older brother” in Basa (“baatagwu”) (source: Rob Koops) or Chilcotin (“bunagh”) (source: Quindel King).

Reiling / Swellengrebel (p. 178) say: “According to Josephus Herodias’ first husband, referred to in this verse, was Herod, son of Herod the Great and Mariamne (the second wife of that name). Herod the tetrarch was the son of Herod the Great and Malthake, whom he married after Mariamne. Hence ‘adelphou’ refers to an older brother of a different mother.”

cut (branches)

The Greek that is translated in English as “cut (branches)” had to be further specified in Chilcotin with the word xadajelht’az (“they cut off with knife-like tool”)

“Our Native translator asked if they used a saw, knife or an axe. Why? Because cutting with each of these instruments (and scissors as well) requires different verb stems. We concluded that they used knife-like instruments!”

Quindel King in Northern Canada Evangelical Mission, p. 70.

my brother and sister

The Greek that is translated as “(whoever does the will of God is) my brother and sister” in English is translated into Chilcotin as sechel belh sediz (“my younger brother and my younger sister”). Chilcotin uses terms for siblings that define whether one is younger or older in relation to another sibling. (Source: Quindel King)

Likewise, in San Mateo Del Mar Huave it is translated as “my younger siblings.” (Source: B. Moore / G. Turner in Notes on Translation 1967, p. 1ff.)

man's brother

Many languages have terms for siblings that define whether one is younger or older in relation to another sibling.

The Greek that is translated as “a man’s brother” in English is translated in Chilcotin as ˀeyen ya ˀeŝqi ˀatalilh gwech´ez bunagh (“a younger brother who was born after [a man] his older brother”). (Source: Quindel King)

Capernaum, iterative verbs

Some languages, including Chilcotin, heavily use iterative verbs which denote a continuously repeated action.

Quindel King reports (in Northern Canada Evangelical Mission 1996, p. 70): “While Jesus was ministering, he did a lot of traveling, so we must determine where Jesus went and be able to indicate with iterative verb forms when he made a repeat visit to a certain town, lake shore or even a home! This must be done throughout the entire book so that there will be no confusion on the part of the hearers or readers.”

In the translation of Mark there are three mentions of Jesus visiting Capernaum. In Mark 1:21 the Chilcotin translation indicates that that was his first visit with his disciples (jagheninan — “they, a small group”), in Mark 2:1 only Jesus is referenced (nanjah — “he returned”), in Mark 9:33 Jesus and his disciples are mentioned (najaghindan — “they, a small group, returned”). (Source: Quindel King)