Friday, April 17, 2015

B.F. Westcott's Remarks on the Johannine Comma


Starts on page 202.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pages 776-777 of R.E. Brown's Commentary on the Johannine Epistles (Comma-Weedhacker)

Too bad these pages are damaged by water. It's a copy from the university library.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Colossians 1:19-Various Commentaries and Translations

Greek Text (NA28): ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ εὐδόκησεν πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι

"For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in the Son" (Colossians 1:19 NET Bible)

"because God was pleased to have all fullness to dwell in him" (NWT Rev. 2013)

"For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell" (ESV)

"For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell" (KJV)

From Meyer's NT Commentary:
He was pleased, placuit ei, that, etc. As to this use of εὐδοκεῖν in the later Greek (1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 1:15, et al.), for which, in the classical language, δοκεῖν merely was employed, see Fritzsche, ad Rom. II. p. 370. On the accusative with infinitive, comp. 2Ma 14:35; Polyb. i. 8. 4. The subject, whose pleasure it is, is not expressed; but that it is God, is obvious from the context, which in ἵνα γένηται κ.τ.λ. has just stated the divine purpose. Among Greek authors also ὁ Θεός is not unfrequently omitted, where it is self-evident as the subject. See Kühner, II. 1, p. 30 c.

From the Cambridge Bible:
Grammatically, the Greek admits three possible explanations: (a) "For in Him all the Plenitude was pleased to take up Its abode;" (b) "For He (the Son) was pleased that all the Plenitude should take up Its abode in Him;" (c) "For He (God, the Father) was pleased that all the Plenitude should take up Its abode in Him (the Son)." What decision does the context, or other side-evidence, indicate? The explanation (b) is discredited as assigning to the Son a determining choice which the whole context leads us to assign to the Father. The explanation (a), adopted and ably defended by Ellicott, is that of the Old Latin Version. It is grammatically simple, and it is capable of doctrinal defence; "the Plenitude" of the Divine Nature being taken to include the actings of the Divine Will as the expression of the Nature, and so to signify the Divine Personality (here, of course, that of the Father). But it is in itself a surprising and extremely anomalous expression; and it becomes still more so when we read on, and see what are the actions attributed to the same Subject, and that the Subject appears in the masculine gender in the word rendered "having made peace" (see note below), while the word Plerôma (Plenitude) is neuter. On the whole we believe (c) to be the true explanation, with Alford, and Lightfoot, who compares James 1:12; James 4:6 (the better supported reading in each case); "the crown which He (unnamed) promised;" "the Spirit which He (unnamed) caused to dwell in us." He points out also that the noun (eudokia) kindred to the verb here is often, and almost as a habit, used of God's "good pleasure" where God is not named.

Bengel's Gnomen:
Εὐδόκησε, He was well-pleased) viz. God [Engl. Vers. the Father]. This must be supplied, in accordance with the mind of Paul, who, while he mentions the benefit conferred by Christ, never fails to remember the Father. As to the Father’s being well-pleased in the Son, comp. Matthew 3:17 : For εὐδοκῶ with the accusative and infinitive following, see 2Ma 14:35. Moreover, on ΕὐΔΌΚΗΣΕ, He has been well-pleased, depend to reconcile, and having made peace.—πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα, all the fulness) ch. Colossians 2:9-10; Colossians 2:2, Colossians 4:12; Colossians 4:17, Colossians 1:9; Colossians 1:25; Ephesians 1:23, note. Who can fathom the depth of this subject?

John Eadie's Commentary on Colossians:
῞οτι ἐν αὐτῷ εὐδόκησεν. A different spelling of the word is exhibited in some of the MSS. such as A, D, E,- ηὐδόκησεν, but without authority. Schmid supposes that πλήρωμα is the nominative; and he understands it thus-the entire Godhead was pleased to dwell in Christ. We believe, with the majority of expositors, that ὁ θεός is to be supplied as the nominative, and not τῷ θεῷ, in the dative. Matthew 3:17; Luke 3:22. The full syntax is found in 1 Corinthians 1:21; Galatians 1:15. But we cannot hold, with some, that the pronoun αὐτῷ refers to God, for we take it as still pointing to Him who has been the prime subject of discourse. To make ὁ χριστός the nominative, as Conybeare does, implies the sense that Christ is not only the means, but the end in this reconciliation, for the reading would plainly be in the next verse—“and by Himself to reconcile all things unto Himself,” a mode of speech not in accordance with Pauline usage. Christ reconciles, not to Himself, but to God. We incline also to connect the clause immediately with the preceding one, and not generally with the previous paragraph. "That in all things He might have the pre-eminence;" for, in order to this, “it pleased God-it was His good purpose-that in Him should all fulness dwell.” The pre-eminence, therefore, could not but be His. The verb does not mean that it was God's desire that all fulness should dwell in Christ, but that it was His resolve, as being His pleasure.

NET Bible Notes:
The noun "God" does not appear in the Greek text, but since God is the one who reconciles the world to himself (cf. 2 Cor 5:19), he is clearly the subject of εὐδόκησεν (eudokhsen).

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Request for Posts About Ignatius

A reader asked me to post something on Ignatius, in order to answer a number of questions about his writings and views. I do have some things already worked up on Ignatius, although my focus in grad school was on the Latin Fathers. I'll try to address these questions in future blog entries.



For Fun: Some Old Questions from Tests I Used to Give

Other thoughts from past tests I gave:

1. Explain the ritual procedures for Atonement Day (Yom Kippur) and discuss why it was observed.

2. The longest and shortest psalms respectively are Psalm _________ and Psalm ______________.

3. Explain the biblical meaning of the Hebrew word mashal.

4. List the significant event/s associated with each date below (worth 2 points each):
961 BCE
922 BCE-
721 BCE-
612 BCE-
539 BCE-
520 BCE-
515 BCE-
444 BCE-
331 BCE
167-164 BCE-

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Philo's "De Specialibus Legibus" (XXXVIII.210)-God the Creator

"When you wish to give thanks to God with your mind, and to assert your gratitude for the creation of the world, give him thanks for the creation of it as a whole, and of all its separate parts in their integrity, as if for the limbs of a most perfect animal; and by the parts I mean, for instance, the heaven, and the sun, and the moon, and the fixed stars; and secondly the earth, and the animals, and plants which spring from it; and next the seas and rivers, whether naturally springing from the ground or swollen by rain as winter torrents, and all the things in them: and lastly, the air and all the changes that take place in it; for winter, and summer, and spring, and autumn, being the seasons of the year, and being all of great service to mankind, are what we may call affections of the air for the preservation of all these things that are beneath the moon" (Philo, De Specialibus Legibus XXXVIII.210).

Hosea 12:4: Jacob Strove with an Angel

"Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed;
He wept and sought His favor.
He found Him at Bethel
And there He spoke with us" (Hosea 12:4 NASB)

From the Cambridge Bible: "he wept, &c.] (The subject is Jacob, not the angel.) This feature is not given in Genesis 32; it is however well adapted to the hortatory object of Hosea. The Septuagint has, 'they wept', &c."

From Rashi's Tanach:

הוַיָּשַׂר אֶל מַלְאָךְ וַיֻּכָל בָּכָה וַיִּתְחַנֶּן לוֹ בֵּית
אֵל יִמְצָאֶנּוּ וְשָׁם יְדַבֵּר עִמָּנוּ:

He strove with an angel and prevailed; he wept and beseeched him; In Bethel he shall find Him, and there He shall speak with us.
Notes in Rashi for Hosea 12:4:

"he wept: i.e., the angel wept. [from Chullin 92a] and beseeched him: When he said to him, 'I will not let you go unless you bless me' (Gen. 32: 26), and the angel was begging him, 'Let me go now. Eventually, the Holy One, blessed be He, will reveal Himself to you in Bethel, and there you will find Him, and there He will speak with us, and He and I will agree with you concerning the blessings that Isaac blessed you.' Now that angel was Esau's genius, and he was contesting the blessings."

NET Bible: "He struggled with an angel and prevailed; he wept and begged for his favor. He found God at Bethel, and there he spoke with him!"

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

John 6:56-57, The Eucharist, and the Son's Present Existence

In the fateful and controversial passage, John 6:56-57, Jesus Christ exclaims that "he" who feeds on the flesh and blood (ὁ τρώγων μου τὴν σάρκα καὶ πίνων μου τὸ αἷμα) of the Lord remains "in union with" him (NWT).

This account has caused no little dissension among scholars and Bible students as some have taken the verse as an allusion to the Eucharist while others view it as a call to discipleship in general. Vs. 57 seems to help us out here when it goes on to say: "Just as the living Father sent me forth and I live because of the Father, he also that feeds on me, even that one will live because of me" (καθὼς ἀπέστειλέν με ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ κἀγὼ ζῶ διὰ τὸν πατέρα, καὶ ὁ τρώγων με κἀκεῖνος ζήσει δι’ ἐμέ).

So Jesus posits a "just as" (καθὼς) relationship between the believer who feeds on the Son, and the Son who exists because of the "living Father" (ὁ ζῶν πατὴρ). John 6:57 indicates that 6:56 does not have reference to the Eucharist, but instead speaks of the faith that followers of Jesus personally exercise in his ransom sacrifice. Nothing about the context indicates that the Eucharist is the focus:

"These words are at the heart of the discourse on the Bread of Life, and have created great misunderstanding among interpreters. Anyone who is inclined in the least toward a sacramental viewpoint will almost certainly want to take these words as a reference to the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, because of the reference to eating and drinking. The participle in verse 54, τρώγων, is almost shockingly graphic: it means to eat noisily, often used of animals ('gnaw,' 'nibble,' 'munch'). When used with reference to people, it often has the idea of enjoyment (Matt 24:38) and close comradeship. Some have thought it refers to a literal feeding, and thus to the Eucharist. But this does not follow: by anyone's definition there must be a symbolic element to the eating which Jesus speaks of in the discourse, and once this is admitted, it is better to understand it here, as in the previous references in the passage, to a personal receiving of (or appropriation of) Christ and his work" (W. Hall Harris). See

Moreover, scholar J.R. Michaels suggests that 6:57 still applies to the Son: He continues to live (even now) by virtue of the Father. This understanding would be in harmony with John 5:26; 14:19. At any rate, John 6:56-57 is not about the Eucharist; its contents pertain to the faith that Christians have in the Messiah (John 6:40).

Monday, March 30, 2015

Arnobius of Sicca Rejects the Graeco-Roman Myths

I have plenty of quotes from Arnobius and Lactantius that demonstrate how they viewed mythic accounts of the "nationes/gentes."

Appealing to the consensus omnium, a move which was indicative of Stoic influence, Arnobius of Sicca reasons: "For by the unanimous judgment of all, and by the common consent of the human race, the omnipotent God is regarded as having never been born, as having never been brought forth to new light, and as not having begun to exist at any time or century. For He Himself is the source of all things, the Father of ages and of seasons. For they do not exist of themselves, but from His everlasting perpetuity, they move on in unbroken and ever endless flow. Yet Jupiter indeed, as you allege, has both father and mother, grandfathers, grandmothers, and brothers: now lately conceived in the womb of his mother, being completely formed and perfected in ten months, he burst with vital sensations into light unknown to him before. If, then, this is so, how can Jupiter be God supreme, when it is evident that He is everlasting, and the former is represented by you as having had a natal day, and as having uttered a mournful cry, through terror at the strange scene?" (Adversus Nationes 1.34)