Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bart Ehrman
on divine hypostases /

O Μπαρτ Έρμαν
περί των θείων υποστάσεων

Divine Hypostases

Scholars sometimes use technical terms for no good reason, other than the fact that they are the technical terms scholars use. When I was in graduate school we used to ask, wryly, why we should use a perfectly good English term when we had an obscure Latin or German term that meant the same thing? But there are some rare terms that simply don’t have satisfactory, simple words that adequately express the same thing, and the word hypostasis (plural: hypostases) is one of them. Possibly the closest common term meaning roughly the same thing would be personification—but even that doesn’t quite get it, and it too isn’t a word you normally hear as you stand in line at the grocery store.

The term hypostasis comes from Greek and refers to the essence or substance of something. In the context in which I’m using the term here, it refers to a feature or attribute of God that comes to take on its own distinct existence apart from God. Imagine, for example, that God is wise. That means he has wisdom. This in turn means that wisdom is something that God “has”—that is, it is something independent of God that he happens to have possession of. If that’s the case, then one could imagine “wisdom” as a being apart from God; and since it is God’s wisdom, then it is a kind of divine being alongside God that is also within God as part of his essence, a part of who he is.

As it turns out, some Jewish thinkers imagined that Wisdom was just that, a hypostasis of God, an element of his being that was distinct from him in one sense, but completely his in another. Wisdom was with God as a divine being and could be thought of as God (since it was precisely his wisdom). Other hypostases are discussed in ancient Jewish writings, but here I restrict myself to two—Wisdom and what was sometimes thought of as the outward manifestation of Wisdom, the Word (Greek, Logos) of God.
The idea that Wisdom could be a divine hypostasis—an aspect of God that is a distinct being from God that nonetheless is itself God—is rooted in a fascinating passage of the Hebrew Bible, Proverbs 8. Here, Wisdom is portrayed as speaking and says that it was the first thing God created:

The Lord created me at the beginning of his work,
                 The first of his acts of long ago.
           Ages ago I was set up,
                 at the first, before the beginning of the earth . . .
           Before the mountains had been shaped,
                 before the hills, I was brought forth. (8:22–23, 25)

And then, once Wisdom was created, God created the heavens and the earth. In fact, he created all things with Wisdom, who worked alongside him:

When he established the heavens, I was there,
                 When he drew a circle on the face of the deep,
           When he made firm the skies above,
                 When he established the fountains of the deep . . .
                 Then I was beside him, like a master worker;
           And I was daily his delight,
                 Rejoicing before him always,
           Rejoicing in his inhabited world
                 And delighting in the human race. (8:27–28, 30–31)

God made all things in his wisdom, so much so that Wisdom is seen as a co-creator of sorts. Moreover, just as God is said to have made all things live, so too life comes through Wisdom:

For whoever finds me finds life,
                 And obtains favor from the Lord;
           But those who miss me injure themselves;
                 All who hate me love death. (8:35–36)

This passage can be read, of course, without thinking of Wisdom as some kind of personification of an aspect of God that exists apart from and alongside him. It could simply be a metaphorical way of saying that the world is an astounding place and that the creation of it is rooted in the wise foreknowledge of God, who made all things just as they ought to be. Moreover, if you understand the wisdom of the way things are made, and live in accordance with this knowledge, you will live a happy and fulfilled life. But some Jewish readers read the passage more literally and took Wisdom to be an actual being that was speaking, a being alongside God that was an expression of God.

This view led some Jewish thinkers to magnify Wisdom as a divine hypostasis. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in a book of the Jewish Apocrypha called the Wisdom of Solomon. The book is attributed to King Solomon himself—who is acclaimed in the Bible as the wisest man ever to have lived—but it was actually written many centuries after he had been laid to rest. Especially in chapters 7–9 we find a paean to Wisdom, which is said to be “a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty . . . for she is a reflection of eternal light, a spotless mirror of the working of God, and an image of his goodness” (Wis. 7:25–26; Wisdom is referred to as “she”—or even as “Lady Wisdom”—because the Greek word for wisdom is feminine); “she is an initiate in the knowledge of God, and an associate in his works” (8:4).

Here too we are told that Wisdom “was present when you [God] made the world” (9:9)—but more than that, she actually is beside God on his throne (9:10). It was Wisdom who brought salvation to Israel at the exodus and afterward throughout the history of the nation (chaps. 10–11). Interestingly, Wisdom is said to have done not only what the Hebrew Bible claims God did (creation; exodus), but also what the “angel” of God did—for example, rescuing Abraham’s nephew Lot from the fires that destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 (10:6).

In a sense, then, Wisdom could be seen as an angel, even a highly exalted angel, or indeed the Angel of the Lord; but as a hypostasis it is something somewhat different. It is an aspect of God that is thought to exist alongside God and to be worthy, as being God’s, of the honor and esteem accorded God himself.
The Word
In some ways the most difficult divine hypostasis to discuss is the Word—in Greek, the Logos. That’s because the term had a long, distinguished, and complex history outside the realm of Judaism among the Greek philosophers. Full treatment of the philosophical reflections on Logos would require an entire study, but I can say enough here to give an adequate background to its use in the philosophical circles of Judaism, especially regarding the most famous Jewish philosopher of antiquity, Philo of Alexandria (20 BCE–50 CE).

The ancient Greek philosophers known as the Stoics had extensive discussions of the divine Logos. The word Logos does mean “word”—as in the thing you speak—but it could carry much deeper and richer connotations and nuances. It is, obviously, the word from which we get the English term logic—and that’s because Logos can also mean reason—as in, “there is a reason for that” and “that view is quite reasonable.” Stoics believed that Logos—reason—was a divine element that infused all of existence. There is, in fact, a logic to the way things are, and if you want to understand this world—and more important, if you want to understand how best to live in this world—then you will seek to understand its underlying logic. As it turns out, this is possible because Logos is not only inherent in nature, it resides in us as human beings. We ourselves have a portion of Logos given to us, and when we apply our minds to the world, we can understand it. If we understand the world, we can see how to live in it. If we follow through on that understanding, we will indeed lead harmonious, peaceful, and enriched lives. But if we don’t figure out the way the world works and is, and if we don’t live in harmony with it, we will be miserable and no better off than the dumb animals.

Thinkers who saw themselves standing directly in the line of the great fifth-century BCE Plato took the idea of the Logos in a different direction. In Platonic thinking, there is a sharp divide between spiritual realities and this world of matter. God, in this thinking, is pure spirit. But how can something that is pure spirit have any contact with what is pure matter? For that to happen, some kind of link is needed, some kind of go-between that connects spirit and matter. For Platonists, the Logos is this go-between. The divine Logos is what allows the divine to interact with the nondivine, the spirit with matter.

We have Logos within our material bodies, so we too can connect with the divine, even though we are thoroughly entrenched in the material world. In some sense, the way to happiness and fulfillment is to escape our material attachments and attain to spiritual heights. Among other things, this means that we should not be too attached to the bodies we inhabit. We become attached by enjoying physical pleasures and thinking that pleasure is the ultimate good. But it’s not. Pleasure simply makes us long for more and keeps us attached to matter. We need to transcend matter if we are to find true meaning and fulfillment, and this means accessing the Logos of the universe with that part of the Logos that is within us.

In some respects it was quite simple for Jewish thinkers who were intimately familiar with their scriptures to connect them with some of these Stoic and Platonic philosophical ideas. In the Hebrew Bible, God creates all things by speaking a “word”: “And God said, Let there be light. And there was light.” Creation happened by means of God uttering his Logos. The Logos comes from God, and since it is God’s Logos, in a sense it is God. But once he emits it, it stands apart from God as a distinct entity. This entity was sometimes thought of as a person distinct from God. The Logos came to be seen in some Jewish circles as a hypostasis.

Already in the Hebrew Bible the “word of the Lord” was sometimes identified as the Lord himself (see, for example, 1 Sam. 3:1, 6). In the hands of Philo of Alexandria, who was heavily influenced especially by the Platonic tradition, the Logos became a key factor in understanding both God and the world.

Philo maintained that the Logos was the highest of all beings, the image of God according to which and by which the universe is ordered. God’s Logos was, in particular, the paradigm according to which humans were created. It is easy to see here that Logos is taking on the function also assigned to Wisdom, which was thought to be the creator and ordering factor of all things. In some sense the Logos is in fact “born” of Wisdom. If wisdom is something that people have within themselves, then Logos is the outward manifestation of the wisdom when the person speaks. And so, in this understanding, Wisdom gives birth to Logos, which is, in fact, what Philo himself believed. Moreover, as the mind is to the body, so the Logos is to the world.

Since the Logos is God’s Logos, it is itself divine and can be called by divine names. Thus Philo calls Logos the “image of God” and the “Name of God” and the “firstborn son” (e.g., Agriculture 51). In one place he indicates that God “gives the title of ‘God’ to his chief Logos” (Dreams 1.230). Because the Logos is God, and God is God, Philo sometimes speaks of “two gods” and in other places speaks of Logos as “the second God” (Questions on Genesis 2.62). But there is a difference for Philo between “the God” and “a god” (in Greek between o theos—meaning “God”—and theos—meaning “god”). Logos is the latter.

As a divine being apart from God, Logos obviously sounds a lot like the Angel of the Lord discussed at the beginning of this chapter. And in fact, Philo sometimes maintained that Logos was indeed this Angel of the Lord (e.g., Changing of Names 87, Dreams 239). When God was manifest to humans, it was his Logos that made the appearance. Here we see Philo’s Platonic thought at work and combining with his knowledge of scripture. God does not have direct contact with the world of matter; his contact with the world is by means of his Logos. God does not speak directly to us; he speaks to us through his Logos.

In sum, for Philo the Logos is an incorporeal being that exists outside God but is his faculty of thinking; on occasion it becomes the actual figure of God who appears “like a man” so that people can know, and interact with, its presence. It is another divine being that is distinct from God in one sense, and yet is God in another.

* Bart Ehrman,
How Jesus Became God:
The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee
[Πώς ο Ιησούς Έγινε Θεός:
Η Ανύψωση ενός Ιουδαίου Κήρυκα από τη Γαλιλαία

HarperCollins, 2014,
pp./σσ. 70-75.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Tetragrammaton
at Mt. Gerizim inscription no. 383 /

στην επιγραφή του Όρους Γαριζίν αρ. 383

Paleo-Hebrew inscription no. 383,
dated at 4th/3rd cent. B.C.E.
found at the Mount Gerizim excavations
that is including the Tetragrammaton

Yitzhak Magen, Haggai Misgav & Levana Tsfania,
Mount Gerizim excavations, Vol. 1: The Aramaic, Hebrew and Samaritan inscriptions,
Staff Officer for Archaeology-Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria: Israel Antiquites Authority,
Jerusalem 2004,
pp. 254, 255.


Which Pentateuch? /

Ποια Πεντάτευχος;

Gary N. Knoppers,
The Torah and “the Place[s] for Yhwh’s Name”

in Jews and Samaritans: The Origins and History of Their Early Relations,
Oxford University Press, 2013,
p. 181.

also, in Samarian-Judean Relations in Hellenistic and Maccabean Times,


Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Syriac Peshitta New Testament
& the missing 1 John 5:7 /

Η Καινή Διαθήκη της Συριακής Πεσίτα
& το ελλείπων 1 Ιωάννης 5:7

Η Καινή Διαθήκη. Testamentum Novum. {Diyatika hadata}
Est autem interpretatio syriaca Novi Testamenti,
Hebraeis typis descripta, plerisque etiam locis emendata.
Eadem latino sermone reddita.
Autore Immanuele Tremellio, theologiae doctore et professore in schola heidelbergensi,
cuius etiam grammatica Chaldaica et Syra calci operis adjecta est.

Through whose blood? /

Μέσω του αίματος τίνος;

«διὰ τοῦ αἳματος τοῦ ἰδίου»

— Πράξεις / Acts 20:28

As now widely thought, however, this expression should likely be understood as “through the blood of his own (son).” See, e.g., Metzger, Textual Commentary, 426–27. Cf. also B. D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), 87–88, 264, who reads the variants in the context of “Patripassianist” controversies.

Όπως πιστεύεται ευρέως, όμως, αυτή η έκφραση θα πρέπει πιθανότατα να κατανοηθεί ως «μέσω του αίματος του ίδιου (του γιου) του». Βλέπε, λ.χ., Metzger, Textual Commentary, σσ. 426–27. Πρβλ. επίσης B. D. Ehrman, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993), σσ. 87–88, 264, ο οποίος αντιλαμβάνεται τις κειμενικές παραλλαγές στο πλαίσιο των “πατροπασχιτικών” ερίδων.

* Larry W. Hurtado,
God or Jesus? Textual Ambiguity and Textual Variants
in Acts of the Apostles

[Ο Θεός ή ο Ιησούς; Ασάφειες και Κειμενικές Παραλλαγές
στις Πράξεις των Αποστόλων
in: Texts and Traditions: Essays in Honour of J. Keith Elliott,
eds. Peter Doble & Jeffrey Kloha,
Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2014,
pp./σσ. 239-54 (p./σ. 15).
[prepubl. English/Αγγλικά, PDF]

Monday, August 4, 2014

The Septuagint, this uknown treasure /

Η Εβδομήκοντα, αυτός ο άγνωστος θησαυρός

Working with the LXX means working with three unknowns: we lack information about the Hebrew Vorlage of the Septuagint, we do not possess the original Greek text of the version, and we have imperfect knowledge of the translation technique applied by the translators. By necessity, the LXX scholar will usually set out from the supposition that the Vorlage of the version is the consonantal text of the MT (or another attested Hebrew text), and that the eclectic text printed in the critical editions is a fair approximation of the Old Greek. Neither supposition is necessarily true, however, and one should always be ready to entertain the possibility of a divergent Vorlage or of a corrupted Greek text. In these cases, it would become practically impossible to extrapolate linguistic information from the Septuagint. The third unknown, translation technique, is even more of an obstacle to the linguistic approach. Indeed, knowledge of biblical Hebrew is not the only factor that guided the translators. Ideological considerations, exegetical traditions, and above all sensitivity to the context played an important role in the creation of the Greek text.

Η ενασχόληση με την Εβδομήκοντα σημαίνει ενασχόληση με τρεις αγνώστους: έχουμε ελλειπείς πληροφορίες σχετικά με το εβραϊκό Κείμενο Βάσης της Εβδομήκοντα, δεν κατέχουμε το πρωτότυπο ελληνικό κείμενο της μετάφρασης, και έχουμε ατελή γνώση αναφορικά με τη μεταφραστική τεχνική που εφαρμόστηκε από τους μεταφραστές. Εξ ανάγκης, ο λόγιος της Εβδομήκοντα θα εκκινήσει συνήθως με την προϋπόθεση ότι το Κείμενο Βάσης της μετάφρασης είναι το συμφωνικό κείμενο του ΜΚ (ή κάποιο άλλο μαρτυρούμενο εβραϊκό κείμενο), και ότι το εκλεκτό κείμενο που είναι τυπωμένο στις κριτικές εκδόσεις αποτελεί μια ικανοποιητική προσέγγιση της Παλαιάς Ελληνικής. Εντούτοις, καμία από τις προϋποθέσεις δεν είναι κατ' ανάγκη αληθής και θα πρέπει κανείς να είναι πάντα προετοιμασμένος να αποδεχτεί την πιθανότητα ενός διαφοροποιημένου Κειμένου Βάσης ή ενός παραφθαρμένου ελληνικού κειμένου. Σε αυτές τις περιπτώσεις, θα ήταν πρακτικά αδύνατο να εξαχθούν γλωσσολογικές πληροφορίες από την Εβδομήκοντα. Ο τρίτος άγνωστος, η μεταφραστική τεχνική, αποτελεί ένα πρόσθετο εμπόδιο στη γλωσσολογική προσέγγιση. Στην πραγματικότητα, η γνώση της Βιβλικής Εβραϊκής δεν είναι ο μόνος παράγοντας που καθοδήγησε τους μεταφραστές. Οι ιδεολογικές αντιλήψεις, οι εξηγητικές παραδόσεις, και το κυριότερο η ευαισθησία στα συμφραζόμενα έπαιξαν σημαντικό ρόλο στη δημιουργία του ελληνικού κειμένου.

* Jan Joosten,
Biblical Hebrew as Mirrored in the Septuagint: The Question of Influence from Spoken Hebrew
[Η Βιβλική Εβραϊκή όπως Αντικατοπτρίζεται στην Εβδομήκοντα: Το Ζήτημα της Επίδρασης της Καθομιλουμένης Εβραϊκής],
Textus 21 (2002), p. 2 [1-19].
[English/Αγγλικά, PDF]

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Deuteronomy 8:3:
‘Yehwah yihyeh’ /

Δευτερονόμιο 8:3:
‘Γεχβά γιχγιέ’.
Τι μπορεί να χαθεί σε μια μετάφραση;

 לֹ֣א עַל־הַלֶּ֤חֶם לְבַדֹּו֙ יִחְיֶ֣ה הָֽאָדָ֔ם
כִּ֛י עַל־כָּל־מֹוצָ֥א פִֽי־יְהוָ֖ה
יִחְיֶ֥ה הָאָדָֽם׃


yehwah yihyeh

ο άνθρωπος δε ζει μόνο με ψωμί
αλλά και με ό,τι ο Κύριος προστάζει

ο άνθρωπος δεν ζει μόνο με ψωμί,
αλλά με κάθε έκφραση από το στόμα του Ιεχωβά ζει ο άνθρωπος

The theological emphasis of the passage is that Yhwh himself is the source of both his commandment and life. Two observations may support this claim. Firstly, the phrase employs a wordplay between ‘Yhwh’ and ‘will live’ that is easily visible in the consonantal text (יהוה יחיה) and which was clearly recognizable in the reading as long as the Tetragrammaton was pronounced. This paronomastic sequence of words suggests that the name of Yhwh itself is the source of dynamic human life. [...]

Η θεολογική έμφαση του αποσπάσματος είναι ότι ο ίδιος ο Γχβχ είναι η πηγή αμφοτέρων της εντολής και της ζωής. Δύο παρατηρήσεις μπορούν να υποστηρίξουν αυτό τον ισχυρισμό. Πρώτον, η φράση εμπεριέχει ένα λογοπαίγνιο μεταξύ του όρου ‘Γχβχ’ και της φράσης ‘θα ζήσει’ το οποίο είναι ευδιάκριτο στο συμφωνικό κείμενο (יהוה יחיה) και το οποίο αναγνωριζόταν εύκολα κατά την ανάγνωση ενόσω προφερόταν το Τετραγράμματο. Αυτή η παρονομαστική ακολουθία λέξεων υποδηλώνει ότι αυτό το όνομα του Γχβχ είναι η πηγή της δυναμικής ανθρώπινης ζωής. [...]

* Dominik Markl,
This Word is Your Life: The Theology of ‘Life’ in Deuteronomy
Αυτός ο Λόγος είναι η Ζωή Σου: Η Θεολογία της ‘Ζωής’ στο Δευτερονόμιο»]

in D. Markl, C. Paganini, S. Paganini (Hg.),
Gottes Wort im Menschenwort. Festschrift für Georg Fischer SJ zum 60. Geburtstag (ÖBS 43),
Frankfurt a.M. 2014,
p./σ. 87 [71-96].

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Matthew 16:16-18:
"אב" (father) + "בן" (son) =
the "אבן" (stone) of the Christian church
An underlying pun in Hebrew? /

Ματθαίος 16:16-18:
"אב" (πατέρας) + "בן" (γιος) =
ο "אבן" (λίθος) της χριστιανικής εκκλησίας
Ένα υποκείμενο λογοπαίγνιο στα Εβραϊκά;

Matthew/Ματθαίος 16:16-18,
Shem-Tob NT (1385) & 28N-A:

ויען שמעון נקרא פייט''רוס ויאמר
אתה משיח לעז קְרִיסְט''וֹ בן אלקים  חיים שבאתה בזה העולם
17 ויאמרו אליו
יש''ו אשריך שמעון בר יונה
שבשר ודם לא גלה לך כי אם אבי שבשמים
18 ואני אומר לך שאתה אבן
ואני אבנה עליך בית תפלתי
ושערי גהינם לא יוכלו נגדך

16 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος εἶπεν·
σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος. 
17 Ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ·
μακάριος εἶ, Σίμων Βαριωνᾶ, ὅτι σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα οὐκ ἀπεκάλυψέν σοι
ἀλλ’ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.
18 κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος,
καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν
καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jesus spoke Hebrew as well /

Ο Ιησούς μιλούσε και Εβραϊκά

The recent tête-à-tête between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis has set the blogosphere atwitter. While their exchange was amicable, the prime minister’s correction of the holy father ushered into public discourse a subject more at home in the arcane halls of scholarly deliberation.

What language did Jesus speak?

Their differences of opinion reflect changes taking place among scholars, but which have yet to make their way fully to mainstream, popular understanding. Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century a mistaken notion took hold that has by-and-large continued to dominate both scholarly and popular opinion.

Today many still assume that by the first century C.E. Hebrew was a dead language, or existed only among sparse pockets of the highly educated – not dissimilar to Medieval Latin.

As a consequence, it is commonly thought that Jesus only knew Aramaic.

Yet, the results of a century of archaeological evidence have challenged this assumption and brought a sea change of understanding regarding the linguistic environment of first-century Judaea.

The inscriptional and literary evidence reflects a reality not unlike what we find with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Of the 700 non-biblical texts from the Qumran library, 120 are in Aramaic and 28 in Greek, while 550 scrolls were written in Hebrew.

Jesus lived in a trilingual land in which Hebrew and Aramaic were widely in use. A relative latecomer, Greek was introduced in the 4th century B.C.E. with the arrival of Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors.

By the first century C.E. Aramaic served as the lingua franca of the Near East, and there is little question that Jesus knew and spoke Aramaic. Hebrew, on the other hand, was in more limited use as the language of discourse among the Jewish people.

The New Testament presents Jesus knowledgeable of both written and spoken Hebrew.

He is portrayed reading and teaching from the Bible, and there are clear indications in these accounts that he used the Hebrew Scriptures. In this he was not alone. We have not a single example of a Jewish teacher of the first century in the land of Israel teaching from any other version of the scriptures than Hebrew.

In addition, Jesus is often described speaking in parables. These were delivered orally in popular, non-scholarly settings. They were also in Hebrew. Outside of the Gospels, story-parables of the type associated with Jesus are to be found only in rabbinic literature, and without exception they are all in Hebrew. We have not a single parable in Aramaic, so it seems that according to Jewish custom one did not tell parables in Aramaic. To suggest that Jesus told his parables in Aramaic is to ignore overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Old ideas die hard, and it appears this also to be the case concerning the languages of Jesus. Why scholars and others continue to believe Hebrew was not Jesus’ mother tongue is another question, but it is not for lack of evidence.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The trend of Hellenistic Judaism-Christianity
to multiply the use
of Greek divine appellations /

Η τάση του Ελληνιστικού Ιουδαϊσμού-Χριστιανισμού
να πολλαπλασιάζει
τη χρήση ελληνικών θεονυμιών

1 Samuel / 1 Reigns 1:11, LXX & NETS:

καὶ ηὔξατο εὐχὴν κυρίῳ λέγουσα
Αδωναι κύριε ελωαι σαβαωθ,
ἐὰν ἐπιβλέπων ἐπιβλέψῃς ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν τῆς δούλης σου
καὶ μνησθῇς μου

and vowed a vow to the Lord, saying:
'Adonai, Lord, Eloai, Sabaoth,
if looking you will look on the humiliation of your slave
and remember me

1 Esdras / 3 Ezra 9:46, LXX & NETS:

καὶ εὐλόγησεν Εσδρας
τῷ κυρίῳ θεῷ ὑψίστῳ θεῷ σαβαωθ παντοκράτορι
and Esdras blessed
the Lord, God Most High, God Sabaoth, Almighty

Sirach / Ecclesiasticus 50:17, LXX & NETS:

τότε πᾶς ὁ λαὸς κοινῇ κατέσπευσαν καὶ ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν
τκυρίῳ αὐτῶν παντοκράτορι θεῷ ὑψίστῳ

Then all the people hurried with one accord, and they fell face down on the ground,
to do obeisance to
their Lord, the Almighty, God Most High.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The adventure of
rendering פסח (“passover”) in Greek /

Η περιπέτεια της απόδοσης
του פסח («πάσχα») στα Ελληνικά

Strong: pecach <06453>
פסח  pecach
Pronunciation:    peh'-sakh
Origin:    from 06452, Greek 3957 pasca
Reference:    TWOT - 1786a
PrtSpch:    noun masculine

Jeremiah / Ιερεμίας 35:8, LXX/Ο':

ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἄγω αὐτοὺς ἀπὸ βορρᾶ καὶ συνάξω αὐτοὺς ἀπ᾽ ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς ἐν ἑορτῇ φασεκ· καὶ τεκνοποιήσῃ ὄχλον πολύν, καὶ ἀποστρέψουσιν ὧδε.

2 Chronicles / Παραλειπομένων Β' / 2 Χρονικών 35, LXX/Ο':

1Καὶ ἐποίησεν Ιωσιας τὸ φασεχ τῷ κυρίῳ θεῷ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔθυσαν τὸ φασεχ τῇ τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτῃ τοῦ μηνὸς τοῦ πρώτου.
16καὶ κατωρθώθη καὶ ἡτοιμάσθη πᾶσα ἡ λειτουργία κυρίου ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ φασεχ καὶ ἐνεγκεῖν τὰ ὁλοκαυτώματα ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον κυρίου κατὰ τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ βασιλέως Ιωσια.
17καὶ ἐποίησαν οἱ υἱοὶ Ισραηλ οἱ εὑρεθέντες τὸ φασεχ ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ καὶ τὴν ἑορτὴν τῶν ἀζύμων ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας.
18καὶ οὐκ ἐγένετο φασεχ ὅμοιον αὐτῷ ἐν Ισραηλ ἀπὸ ἡμερῶν Σαμουηλ τοῦ προφήτου, καὶ πάντες βασιλεῖς Ισραηλ οὐκ ἐποίησαν ὡς τὸ φασεχ, ὃ ἐποίησεν Ιωσιας καὶ οἱ ἱερεῖς καὶ οἱ Λευῖται καὶ πᾶς Ιουδα καὶ Ισραηλ ὁ εὑρεθεὶς καὶ οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐν Ιερουσαλημ τῷ κυρίῳ
19τῷ ὀκτωκαιδεκάτῳ ἔτει τῆς βασιλείας Ιωσια.

Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae (ed. B. Niese) /
Φλάβιος Ιώσηπος, Ιουδαϊκή Αρχαιολογία 5:1.4

Οἱ δὲ πεντήκοντα προελθόντες στάδια βάλλονται στρατόπεδον ἀπὸ δέκα σταδίων τῆς Ἱεριχοῦντος, Ἰησοῦς τε τόν τε βωμὸν ἐκ τῶν λίθων ὧν ἕκαστος ἀνείλετο τῶν φυλάρχων ἐκ τοῦ βυθοῦ τοῦ προφήτου κελεύσαντος ἱδρυσάμενος τεκμήριον γενησόμενον τῆς ἀνακοπῆς τοῦ ῥεύματος ἔθυεν ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ, καὶ τὴν φάσκα ἑώρταζον ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ χωρίῳ

1 Corinthians / 1 Κορινθίους 5:7:

καὶ γὰρ τὸ πάσχα ἡμῶν ἐτύθη Χριστός

Adamantios Korais / Αδαμάντιος Κοραής,
Άτακτα (1832), Vol./τόμ. 4, p./σ. 401:


Friday, May 16, 2014

Larry Hurtado
on Jesus divinity /

Ο Larry Hurtado
περί της θεϊκότητας του Ιησού

What about texts such as John 1:1-2, where, of the “Logos” (here, the “pre-incarnate” identity/form of the incarnate Jesus), we read:  “he was with God and he was God”? Well, the first thing to emphasize is that both statements have to be read together, and taking the one without the other results in a serious loss of meaningThe Logos here is portrayed as both “with” God (i.e., distinguishable from “God” albeit in closest relation to God) and “was God” (i.e., in some way partaking of this status).  The next statement helps “unpack” this a bit:  The Logos was the agent of creation. Creation in biblical perspective is God’s act, and so positing the Logos as the agency through whom God created “all things” places the Logos outside of “all things” and into the action of God.  But note that the Logos is the agent/medium of creation, “God” remaining the creator in ultimate sense.  (This distinction remained pretty central even in much later creedal developments.)

This role as agent of creation, by the way, isn’t original or confined to GJohn.  Decades earlier it is affirmed in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, where explicitly the “Lord Jesus Christ” is posited as the one “through whom are all things and we are through him” (to render the Greek somewhat woodenly).  Here, likewise, the “one God the Father” is the one “from who are all things and we (are) for him” (“God the Father” the creator and the ultimate destiny of believers).

* larryhurtado.wordpress.com,
"Jesus, “Pre-existence,” etc.: Responding to Questions",
May 15, 2014.

World War 1:
Great Britain
& the conscientious objectors
who refused to fight /

Α' Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος:
Η Μεγάλη Βρετανία
& οι αντιρρησίες συνείδησης
που αρνήθηκαν να πολεμήσουν

Postcard 1916.
Cards such as this ridiculed men
who refused to be coerced into the armed forces

Despite being controversial in WW1, Mr Lawson insists it is "to Britain's credit" that, during a war with a great need for conscripts, conscientious objection was allowed by law.

* Holly Wallis,
WW1: The conscientious objectors who refused to fight,
[Α' Π.Π.: Οι αντιρρησίες συνείδησης που αρνήθηκαν να πολεμήσουν]
BBC News, 15 May 2014.

Jan Joosten:

‘Conjectural emendations’
revisited /

Οι "εικασιακές τροποποιήσεις"

Textual criticism, according to one famous definition, is ‘the science of discovering error in texts and the art of removing it.’ The procedure here consists of two steps, the first of which is qualified as a science, the second as art: identifying errors in a transmitted text is deemed a more dependable, more ‘scientific’, practice than that of correcting the reading, which will always retain some ‘artistic’ quality. The definition seems eminently logical and certainly reflects a very broad and long experience in the editing of texts.

In textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, however, we do not usually start out by scanning the received text for errors only thereafter to reflect upon possible solutions. Our first operation is to compare the received Hebrew text with other witnesses: Qumran fragments, the Septuagint, other versions, and in the Pentateuch also the Samaritan text. This means that, as textual critics, we usually come to the ‘error’ in the text after having already encountered possible ‘ways to remove it’.

One could object that the comparative approach is just a matter of expediency. The collation of the witnesses is a heuristic device. Once a divergence has been identified as being textually based, we do search for error. Where, for instance, the Septuagint Vorlage is deemed to diverge from the MT, a decision in favor of one of the witnesses must be based inter alia on a demonstration of what went wrong in the other one. All this is true enough, as is the fact that textual corruption will usually create turbulence among the witnesses even when they preserve nothing of the original reading. Still, it would be fair to say our methods are geared toward identifying variant readings, not – as Housman has it – errors. We are thus in danger of developing a ‘blind spot’. If a corrupt reading should be attested in all our witnesses, we might never ‘discover’ it. We may still find such reading in the secondary literature. Indeed, in times bygone text-critical method was practiced in a way that more closely resembled the approach envisaged by Housman. An example will illustrate some of these dynamics.

* Jan Joosten,
Is There a Place for Conjectures in a Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible? Reflections in Preparation of a Critical Text of 1 Kings
[«Υπάρχει χώρος για Εικασίες στην Κριτική Έκδοση της Εβραϊκής Βίβλου; Σκέψεις πάνω στην Προετοιμασία του Κριτικού Κειμένου του 1 Βασιλέων»],
in De Troyer, Law & Liljesstrom (eds.),
In the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes: Studies in the Biblical Text in Honour of Anneli Aegmelaus,
pp./σσ. 365-375.
[English/Αγγλικά, PDF]