The Inquiring Greeks: A Chronicle of the Greek Translation of The Urantia Book

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By Evangelia, Greece

Greece is one of the countries that was blessed by the presence of Jesus himself, and later on, his apostles. The “inquiring Greek gentiles,” who desired to see Jesus and enter the kingdom, witnessed the last discourse of Jesus in the temple. Being present in that unusual assembly, they had the privilege of being instructed by him during the momentous time when he “perceived the end of one dispensation and the beginning of another.” 174:5.6 (1903.3)

Many of them would be “at Gethsemane when the soldiers arrested Jesus and Judas betrayed him with a kiss.” 190:4.1 (2033.4) It was not so long before that Jesus had visited Athens and its renowned Academy, planting the seeds of salvation, but now in Jerusalem, he was addressing the Jews and these Greeks who so persistently sought him, declaring that “the hour has about come when the Son of Man will be glorified.” 174:5.8 (1903.5)

Instruction Manual for the Planet

Two thousand years later, in present-day Greece, here we stand, with such a heritage and the enormous task of finishing the Greek translation of The Urantia Book. Such a voluminous project can be overwhelming for any translator, let alone when these 2,097 pages are practically an instruction manual for the inhabitants of this planet.

I “discovered” The Urantia Book about 10 years ago through a friend of a friend, during a disorienting time of my life. I was in need of some guidance. He handed me his copy, and as I was instantly attracted, it was just a matter of days before I ordered my own. If I had to use one word to describe what I got from the book during that first read, that would be hope.

For several years, I tactfully declined a proposal to review and finalize the Greek translation. For all its revelations, that book was at times hard to comprehend; how could I take on such a huge responsibility? The thought of Jonah, and his reluctance to act as instructed, frequently crossed my mind, so it was a matter of time to accept the idea of being part of the mission, which proved to be a life-changing process. And imagine my surprise when I found out that Jesus himself acted as a translator for a considerable portion of his short bestowal in the flesh. It certainly rekindled my purpose!

The Greek Translation of The Urantia Book

Konstantinos Diamantopoulos, a Greek businessman then residing in the United Kingdom, brought The Urantia Book to Greece after being introduced to it in London in 1998. He felt the urge to act, and after visiting Urantia Foundation in Chicago he accepted the invitation to become the representative of the Foundation in Greece. He maintained a presence in Athens for that purpose.

In 2001, he took the initiative to commence the project of the Greek translation, along with a series of magazine articles, lectures, and presentations which elicited a significant response from the public, notwithstanding that The Urantia Book was not available in the Greek language. Under his sponsorship, four individuals managed to accomplish something extraordinary: They completed the first draft in just one year.

However, for various reasons, among which was Mr. Diamantopoulos' move back to London, the next step—proofreading—has taken us 21 years to date, and is still ongoing, hopefully coming to completion. If you ask “When?” I will say, in “God’s time.” One of the things I have learned while working on this project is to wait patiently until my questions are answered—sometimes a few days later, sometimes a few lines after.

I feel very honored that this labor of love has been entrusted to our group, to which I am one of at least 10 contributors. My long-distance collaborator in the United States, Emily Deam, has roots in historical Mystras, Sparta—the home of the brave indeed. She and I have been working remotely on the review for the past four years.

Concordance (a term denoting agreement), diglossia (referring to two varieties of the same language), the style diversity of different translators, and the tendency of Greeks to endlessly debate about concepts, are just some of our challenges.

With all the great support provided by Urantia Foundation (special thanks to Tamara Strumfeld, Jay Peregrine, and Ashley Parratore for their assistance), and with Déjà Vu—an exceptional computer-based translation tool—at our disposal, our spiritual child is coming of age.

A special mention should be made of the island of Cyprus, a land also blessed by the presence of Jesus and his disciples. It is the only other country where Greek is the official language, and a stronghold of Greek culture despite great adversity. A reader from our beautiful sister country, Christos Magides, of long-standing service to the movement and a member at large, had a key role in our latest project, the translation of “A History of the Urantia Movement” by Dr. William S. Sadler. It is now available on the Urantia Foundation website, along with more content in Greek.

Hopefully, this collaboration will continue to bear fruit, perhaps extending to work on the book itself, during the next step of text approval, before publishing.

Some Interesting Facts about the Greek Language

Although we are known as “The Greeks” our country is called Ell′as, we are ′Ellines, and our language is pronounced elini′ka. During the times of Jesus, it was widely spoken all over the area where he traveled and taught, being the equivalent of today’s English. Jesus himself was fluent in Greek, among other languages.

Greek is one of the oldest written languages of the world, with records dating back to 1400 BC, and our alphabet has been in use for almost 3,000 years.

The international standard language code for Greek is [EL] and right now it is the mother tongue of approximately 13.5 million people.

Foundation Info

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