Cephas

The Greek that is transliterated “Cephas” in English — and is an alternative name for Peter — is transliterated in Chinese Protestant translations as jīfǎ (traditional Chinese: 磯法, simplified Chinese: 矶法). The first character (磯 / 矶) is not only chosen because of its sound but also because of its meaning: “rock,” corresponding to the meaning of the Aramaic kēp̄ā (כֵּיפָא), to which the Greek Kēphâs (Κηφᾶς) refers and also alluding to Jesus’ proclamation in Matthew 16:18 (see Peter – rock).

Note that Catholic Chinese versions don’t follow the English pronunciation of “Cephas” with its opening [s] sound. They use kēfǎ (刻法) transliterating the [k] sound from the Aramaic and Greek. Kēfǎ does not carry the additional meaning of “rock.” (Source: Jost Zetzsche)

In the Neo-Aramaic language of Assyrian the terms used for both “Peter” (English transliteration of the Greek “πετρος”) and “Cephas” are identical (كِيپَا, pronounced kēpā). (Source: Ken Bunge)

The passage in John 1:42 (“You are to be called Cephas (which is translated Peter)” in English) is solved by various translations like this: “‘I am going to name you Cephas.’ Cephas means ‘Peter.’ Both mean ‘rock.'” (Ojitlán Chinantec), “I am naming you Cephas. ‘Cephas’ in the Jews’ language, ‘Peter’ in the Greek language, the meaning being ‘stone’.” (Alekano), “You will become known as Cephas,’ he said, which in our language means ‘rock.'” (Chol), or “You will be called Cephas and also Peter.” Tenango Otomi. (Source: M. Larson / B. Moore in Notes on Translation February 1970, p. 1-125.)

See also Peter – rock.

complete verse (Galatians 1:18)

Following are a number of back-translations of Galatians 1:18:

  • Uma: “It was three years after that, that I finally did go to Yerusalem to meet with Petrus, I stayed with him for two weeks.” (Source: Uma Back Translation)
  • Yakan: “Three years finished/were-over only then did I go to Awrusalam to see Petros and there I was with him two weeks.” (Source: Yakan Back Translation)
  • Western Bukidnon Manobo: “And three years after that I finally went to the town of Jerusalem so that I might visit Peter, and I was there with him for two weeks.” (Source: Western Bukidnon Manobo Back Translation)
  • Kankanaey: “When three years passed-by beginning-from when I believed, I went to Jerusalem to visit Pedro and I stayed-with him for two weeks.” (Source: Kankanaey Back Translation)
  • Tagbanwa: “Three years went by and then I went to Jerusalem, for I went to see/meet Pedro. Fifteen days is how long I was with him.” (Source: Tagbanwa Back Translation)
  • Tenango Otomi: “After three years went by, then I went to Jerusalem in order to talk with Peter. But I was only there two weeks.” (Source: Tenango Otomi Back Translation)