Lord for God in the Bible

Kilyle

Member
American English; Washington State, USA
Hi. My conversational Japanese is fairly rusty so please give explanations mostly in English. (And the computer I'm using doesn't have the Japanese IME up, so I'll be typing English versions of Japanese words, sorry 'bout that.)

I'm thinking of making a set of lessons that teach Koine Greek (the language the New Testament (second part of the Christian Bible) was written in) partly through use of Kanji.

It's my experience that dropping my native language (English) out of my study materials makes a huge difference in how quickly my brain adapts to the new language. Japanese was the first language I earnestly studied and it's the one I've been using in my notes a lot. Because kanji are fairly visual, I think they'd be good even for someone who doesn't speak Japanese at all, or speaks it only a little. (So I could go "Theos: "God" (kanji for kami)" and later use only the kami kanji instead of the word "God".) And the person learning Koine Greek would also be learning some Japanese along the way.

Anyway, I need to know the right kanji to use for Lord (Kurios in the Greek), and how to correctly pronounce it.

I've seen "dono" for "Lord" but it's an honorific that attaches to a word, not a word by itself, right? And when I looked it up right now it also said it was a old word instead of a modern one. Plus, doesn't seem to have a kanji.

The Japanese Bible I looked up seems to use... Shu, apparently. This is unfamiliar to me but it seems to be the right choice; I wanted to double-check that it's a normal noun, that it means Lord/Master (the inverse of a slave), and that it's pronounced Shu when used this way. Also, that there aren't any better alternatives.

Thank you for your help.
 
  • karlalou

    Banned
    母国語:日本語
    Hi.
    I think in Japan the use of Shu to mean God is heard only from Christians. One of other usages I can think of right now is to mean emperor or king, and it's combined with another kanji and it's kunsyu.

    God is kami to us, Japanese. We usually say kami-sama.

    The kanji Shu is also used to mean a husband and it's also combined with another kanji and it's go-syujin(-sama) or syujin depends on who is speaking to who. The same go-syujin(-sama) was used in older time for servants to call a master, I think we still hear it in stories.

    'Dono' is used as same way as English 'Mr.'

    edit -- I spelled kunsyu, syujin, but I think I should have spelled kunshu and shujin. :p
     
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    frequency

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    It seems that 主 (Shu) can be used for both of 神 and Jesus Christ. Which is better? I'm not sure and almost nobody is strictly sure on a very-average-person level.
    If in Orthodoxy, One God and Jesus Christ are called differently and in different names in Japanese. (You said you're learning Koine Greek, so Orthodoxy has come up to my mind. But first of all Orthodoxy could possibly not use a word Lord.)

    A word 主 has some meanings. If it's 主従, this is about master and slave or a bit like leader and follower, as YangMuye said. It can mean even owner. But note that this word is also used in Christianity. As your bible says, 主 seems to be correct, I think..
     
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    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    主 (shu) is used as the translation for kyrios equally by Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox churches. As the three denominations are subject to The Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed, I think 主 may be used for all the persons of Holy Trinity. The Orthodox church seems to additionally translate what Vulgata reads Dominus Deus into 主神. Cf. 主神はアダムより取りたる肋骨を以て女を造り (『正教会訳』Genesis 2:22). This is where Septuaginta reads just kyrios but the original Hebrew phrase is Y.H.W.H Elohim.
     

    Kilyle

    Member
    American English; Washington State, USA
    I spelled kunsyu, syujin, but I think I should have spelled kunshu and shujin. :p
    I can read either, it's not a problem. It's a difference in how the letters are mapped into English and both styles make sense.

    I understand the wider use of Kami to be the general word for God, god, gods, etc. -- unlike, say, my understanding of the term Allah, which does mean God but (at least in English) can't be extrapolated out to interpretations of God that differ from the Muslim faith. The use of Kami more broadly is, I think, consistent with the use of Theos (the Greek term for God/god/gods), and the use of Kami-sama when addressing God directly can map toward the Greek vocative (the form of a noun when you're speaking to it).
    the antonym of 主 that comes to my mind is not slave but 従.
    So superior/inferior? Okay... what would you make for the inverse of "slave" then? (Is it "shimobe" for slave? (I first encountered this term in Utena.) Or something else? I do need a translation for Doulos (Greek for "slave").) It is probably okay to go a little archaic, since the concept of master/slave or lord/servant is one the modern culture doesn't really connect with much (and the original material is, after all, 2000 years old). But the term Kurios is definitely a lord or master in charge of many people who are servants or slaves. Like, a slave might say "Master, what should I do while you are gone?" or "Lord, what shall I make for dinner tonight?" or something.
    A word 主 has some meanings. If it's 主従, this is about master and slave or a bit like leader and follower, as YangMuye said. It can mean even owner. But note that this word is also used in Christianity. As your bible says, 主 seems to be correct, I think..
    I can see leader/follower being a good connotation, since the disciples of Jesus started calling him Lord all the time, and owner is consistent with the meaning. Also, I'm having trouble looking up the pronunciation of 主従 on Google (it's on Wiktionary, but it's red-linked and gives no additional info).

    One of other usages I can think of right now is to mean emperor or king, and it's combined with another kanji and it's kunsyu.

    The kanji Shu is also used to mean a husband and it's also combined with another kanji and it's go-syujin(-sama) or syujin depends on who is speaking to who. The same go-syujin(-sama) was used in older time for servants to call a master, I think we still hear it in stories.
    I understand both go- and -sama as honorifics (I had fun with these back in college), but can you help me understand the level of politeness/honor being used with go-shujin, shujin-sama, and go-shujin-sama, so I can make a good decision about which to use if I use any of them?

    I think in Japan the use of Shu to mean God is heard only from Christians.
    It seems that 主 (Shu) can be used for both of 神 and Jesus Christ. Which is better? I'm not sure and almost nobody is strictly sure on a very-average-person level.
    If in Orthodoxy, One God and Jesus Christ are called differently and in different names in Japanese. (You said you're learning Koine Greek, so Orthodoxy has come up to my mind. But first of all Orthodoxy could possibly not use a word Lord.)
    The terms Theos (God) and Kurios (Lord) are used in the New Testament in reference both to the being that the New Testament calls "Father" ("God the Father" is how my church refers to Him) and to Jesus Christ ("God the Son"). It's part of a much larger argument as to why we think Jesus is God and why we still hold that there is only one God. As Flaminius pointed out, this is a basic understanding shared among a wide variety of denominations (not all, obviously) because the language used in the Bible is fairly plain on the individual points that add up to the more complex doctrine (specifically: 1. there is only one God and He will not share his glory/worship with another; 2. the Father is God (and worthy of worship); 3. the Son is God (and worthy of worship equal to the Father); 4. the Holy Spirit is God; 5. the Father is distinct from the Son; 6. the Son is distinct from the Holy Spirit; 7. the Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father; therefore somehow these three are the one God and only target of worship, yet distinct from each other, and we call this the concept of the Trinity or Triune God).

    The use of "Lord" or "Master" toward God may be unique to Christianity; I don't know. Certainly it wouldn't be the only shift in the perception of God that made waves back when Christianity got started, and it wouldn't be the only term we use in a way other groups do not (the New Testament even says the Holy Spirit makes our hearts respond to God with "Abba!" which is the Hebrew for "Daddy!" -- show me any other religion that presents God as both incomprehensibly superior to humans and capable of that intimate a relationship with humans). But since I'm trying to teach the language of the New Testament, it makes sense to teach using the terms as the New Testament uses them, even if that usage is a bit peculiar to Japanese culture. But the translation still has to make sense -- I can't just use words randomly.

    The Orthodox church seems to additionally translate what Vulgata reads Dominus Deus into 主神. Cf. 主神はアダムより取りたる肋骨を以て女を造り (『正教会訳』Genesis 2:22). This is where Septuaginta reads just kyrios but the original Hebrew phrase is Y.H.W.H Elohim.
    Is that "Lord God" there? How is it in Romaaji?

    So... it sounds like the options are Shu, Shujin (or an honorific thereof), and whatever that kanji combination up there is, and it seems like Shu is useful enough -- not outside the meaning I'm after, and simple enough for students who don't know kanji to begin with. I think I'll give a little info on it when I use it, so those who are working with Japanese too won't get too confused. Any additional thoughts?[/QUOTE]
     

    karlalou

    Banned
    母国語:日本語
    I understand the wider use of Kami to be the general word for God, god, gods, etc. -- unlike, say, my understanding of the term Allah, which does mean God but (at least in English) can't be extrapolated out to interpretations of God that differ from the Muslim faith..
    Yeah, like someone was saying there are a lot of gods in Japan, so when we start to talking about each god then ..well I don't know much names of them! XD (well.. I am not religious at all so really I have to google before I can tell you any name of them.. X(

    The use of Kami more broadly is, I think, consistent with the use of Theos (the Greek term for God/god/gods), and the use of Kami-sama when addressing God directly can map toward the Greek vocative (the form of a noun when you're speaking to it).
    Sure, kami-sama can be used to call them, though we also use it to talk about them. It sounds more friendly, I think, than just say Kami.

    Oh, and the pronunciation of Shu is shortened version of English 'shoe'. Kami is… well 'ka' is like the first syllable of English 'come' and 'mi' is like the first syllable of 'mystery'. How was it?
     
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    frequency

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    All I can say right now is that 主 could roughly cover, in particular, Father and Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit? Sorry I'm not sure very much. Don't forget if your church doesn't have a subsidiary office in Japan or doesn't have instruction on how you call each in Japanese, it is extremely hard for us to define . I know that's why you asked us though. How about asking your church if they don't have an office in Japan and that you want to know how the three are called in Japanese?

    I add tiny info that may be useless on how The Japanese Orthodox Church calls the three. According to their webpage, One God is called 父, Jesus Christ is 神の子, Holy Spirit is 精霊 (error→聖神). I just wondered if they are a bit similar to what you said..

    When 主 is used in a bible, it means those divine beings. 主従 is well used to indicate a relationship between humans. See 主語, this is 'subject' in grammar. Kanji 主 is well-used one.
     
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    Holy Spirit is 精霊
    I'm sorry before reading over all your post, I can't help tsukkom'ing first.:p
    But do they really call it 精霊 rather than 聖霊? Because when I see 精霊, what comes to my mind is this and this. And that page calls it 聖神 (read as 精神). (I'm not sure if the translators intended to make good puns.)

    what would you make for the inverse of "slave" then
    It's 主, too. The kanji for slave might be 奴. I don't know how slaves are called in Japan, but in China, slavery was abolished thousands years ago, so it is usually used as a derogatory term.
    Other antonyms of 主 are 次, 客, 従, 侍, 僕, etc.

    I don't know the nuance of slave in English. But I was taught we were God's 僕 in church. I don't know if the usage is the same in Japan.
     
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    frequency

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Ah! Sorry that's 聖神, according to the website! 精霊 is just my error caused by the image coming from a word 'spirit'. If using 精霊, it sounds like a Buddhist term, but not such a 萌え絵 you linked lol.
     

    Flaminius

    coclea mod
    日本語 / japāniski / יפנית
    All I can say right now is that 主 could roughly cover, in particular, Father and Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit? Sorry I'm not sure very much.
    Major Japanese translations of the Nicene-Constantinople Creed use 主 for the Holy Spirit. For instance, in the official Orthodox translation you will see καὶ εἰς τὸ Πνεῦμα τὸ Ἅγιον, τὸ Κύριον καὶ Ζωοποιόν (And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and life-giver) being translated into 又、信ず、聖神、主、生命(いのち)を施す者. By the way, this is the only official Creed for the JOC.

    my understanding of the term Allah, which does mean God but (at least in English) can't be extrapolated out to interpretations of God that differ from the Muslim faith.
    There is an Arabic translation of Bible that uses Allah for the God of Christianity.

    I understand both go- and -sama as honorifics (I had fun with these back in college), but can you help me understand the level of politeness/honor being used with go-shujin, shujin-sama, and go-shujin-sama, so I can make a good decision about which to use if I use any of them?
    The politeness level is like this:
    go-shijin < go-shujin-sama (shujin-sama is awkward.)
    When the term 主人 (shujin) is used (including various honorifics and vocatives), they usually refer to God in Biblical parables (e.g., ten virgins). It also refers to God when the master-slave, or -servant, relationship between God and Man is discussed.

    Is that "Lord God" there? How is it in Romaaji?
    This is the question about 主神はアダムより取りたる肋骨を以て女を造り (『正教会訳』Genesis 2:22). I have yet to find out how to quote in a quote in the new forum software. Anyway, I made an elementary mistake. 主神 is Lord and God juxtaposed. So the Rōmaji is shukami (We could use a space or a hyphen after shu). It is not an "additional translation" as I suggested #5 supra.
     
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