Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hebrews 13:17


Πείθεσθε τοῖς ἡγουμένοις ὑμῶν καὶ ὑπείκετε, αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀγρυπνοῦσιν ὑπὲρ τῶν ψυχῶν ὑμῶν ὡς λόγον ἀποδώσοντες, ἵνα μετὰ χαρᾶς τοῦτο ποιῶσιν καὶ μὴ στενάζοντες· ἀλυσιτελὲς γὰρ ὑμῖν τοῦτο (Hebrews 13:17).

Of course πείθω can mean "to persuade" but it does not necessarily have that denotation.

"Obey your leaders and submit to their authority" (NIV).

"Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account" (NASB).

"Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give
account." (NKJV)

These translations harmonize with commentaries that I consulted on this subject:

"The second mention of leaders in this chapter (v. 17) refers to the current leadership, whom the addresses are enjoined to obey" (Gordon, R. P. Hebrews. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000, 172).

"Leaders are to be obeyed as those intent on presenting 'souls' (i.e., people destined for eternal life; see 6:19) intact at the final judgment. Ready obedience will make the leaders' task joyful; grudging compliance will make them sigh or grumble (v. 17c)" (Pfitzner, V. C. Hebrews. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1997, 202).

Furthermore I find it interesting what the magisterial work by Ellingworth has to say about this text:

"πείθω, 'obey' (Jas. 3:3 of horses; 4 Macc. 10:13; 15:10; 18:1; 2 Clem. 17:5; Ep. Diog. 5:10; Ign. Rom. 7:2 bis; Bauer 3b; R. Bultmann in TDNT 6.3f; BD [Sec.] 187.6). Πείθεσθε suggests continuous action"(Ellingworth, P. The Epistle to the Hebrews. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993. Page 723).

Concerning ὑπείκετε, he writes:

"4 Macc. 6:35, of reasoning, not yielding to pleasure; here of due deference to the leaders by the led" (Ibid).

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Courses This Semester

Just to let you know what has my academic attention this semester:

1) World religions-I'm teaching 3 sections of this course
2) Logic
3) Ethics: A Historical Survey
4) First Year (University) Experience

A total of six classes which will keep me busy. So I'll likely be replying to messages here on weekends.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Martin Hengel v. Louis H. Feldman

Some here might enjoy reading Louis H. Feldman's article in JBL 96/3(1977): 371-382 entitled "Hengel's Judaism and Hellenism in Retrospect."

Martin Hengel was the author of Judentum und Hellenismus, Studien zu ihrer Begegnung unter besonderer Berucksichtigung Palastinas bis zur Mitte des 2 Jh.s v. Chr. translated as Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in Their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1974).

Hengel has essayed an influential historical account of how ancient Judaism (more specifically, Judaism from 330 B.C.E. onward) was cross-fertilized notionally by means of the "inroads of Hellenism." He consequently argues that scholars should not make a sharp differentiation between Hellenistic and Palestinian Judaism. Secondly, Hengel maintains that the Greek influence on Judaism was much more pervasive (and significantly earlier) than has been previously thought. The upshot of his suggestions is that "the background of the NT in Palestine was a Judaism that had been hellenized for the preceding 360 years." Feldman, however, attempts to refute 22 points put forward by Hengel; his retorts are worthy of consideration. Some may even conclude that he has successfully confuted the arguments posited by Hengel.

In any event, Feldman maintains:

"There is actually very little in Hengel that has not been said before. It is, however, the sheer accumulation and evaluation of evidence that is impressive" (Feldman, page 371).

See http://books.google.com/books/about/Judaism_and_Hellenism.html?id=mJTXAAAAMAAJ

Also: http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2584&context=etd

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The She-Bears of 2 Kings 2:24 (Pulpit Commentary)

"And he went up from there to Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said to him, Go up, you bald head; go up, you bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them" (2 Kings 2:24).

Elisha could not tell what would be the effect of his curse. It could have no effect at all excepting through the will and by the action of God. And there came forth two she-bears out of the wood; or, the forest; i.e. the forest, which, as all knew, lay within a short distance of Bethel, and was the haunt of wild beasts (see 1 Kings 3:24). And tare forty and two children of them. It is not said how far the lads were injured, whether fatally or not. But the punishment, whatever its severity, came from God, not from the prophet, and we may be sure was just. For "shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" A severe example may have been needed under the circumstances of the time, when a new generation was growing up in contempt of God and of religion; and the sin of the lads was not a small one, but indicated that determined bent of the will against good, and preference of evil, which is often developed early, and generally goes on from bad to worse (Pulpit Commentary).

The comments below are from the late J. Hampton Keathley III:

"'Young lads.' The KJV has 'little children' which really misses the meaning here. These were not children, but young men. The word 'lads' is the Hebrew naar and was used of servants, of soldiers and of Isaac when he was 28 years old. This was a crowd of young men, perhaps students of the false prophets, who were here as antagonists to Elisha's prophetic ministry and authority. If not students, they were sent by the false prophets or idolatrous priests of Bethel to stop Elisha from entering the city. In Elisha Satan had an enemy and he was acting to protect his territory. Remember, however, Elisha was going to Bethel not to curse, but to bless."

"So Elisha, as a prophet, saw their hardened and rebellious condition, unresponsive to correction. In the name of the Lord (i.e. by His authority) Elisha simply turned them over to the Lord and to their own devises, which had the effect of removing them from even the common protection of God. He probably said something like, 'may God deal with you according to what you deserve,' or 'may you be cursed for your sins of rebellion.' This would demonstrate to the city and to people all around a vital truth: without the Lord there is no protection and that blasphemy of God's servants and His Word in order to hinder God's message is serious business. Note that Elisha did not call out the bears, God did. Two female bears (not three bears--papa bear, mamma bear, and baby bear) came out and tore up forty-two young men."

See https://bible.org/seriespage/4-elisha-and-two-bears-2-kings-223-25

The Gnostic Reading of John's Gospel (Bultmann)

Rudolf Bultmann's notion of the Gnostic Redeemer-myth has certainly not gone unchallenged. In fact, some scholars have outright taken it to task. See, for instance, the comments of O. Betz in "The Concept of the So-Called 'Divine Man' in Mark's Christology" (Studies in NT and Early Christian Literature, pp. 229-240. Edited by D. Aune)

Martin Hengel also has written extensively about the origins of Christology in his famed work The Son of God, The Origin of Christology and the History of Jewish-Hellenistic Religion (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1976); unfortunately, Hengel's depiction of the relationship between Judaism and Hellenism is also governed by certain presuppositions that seem to adversely affect Hengel's interpretation of the actual Sitz im Leben for first century Palestine. Cf. L. H. Feldman, "Hengel's Judaism and Hellenism in Retrospect." JBL 96 (1977): 371-382. At any rate, I think Bultmann too hastily draws parallels between John's Gospel and Gnosticism where they likely do not exist.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Revelation 13:8 (NET Bible)

"and all those who live on the earth will worship the beast, everyone whose name has not been written since the foundation of the world in the book of life belonging to the Lamb who was killed."

"The prepositional phrase 'since the foundation of the world' is traditionally translated as a modifier of the immediately preceding phrase in the Greek text, 'the Lamb who was killed' (so also G. B. Caird, Revelation [HNTC], 168), but it is more likely that the phrase 'since the foundation of the world' modifies the verb 'written' (as translated above). Confirmation of this can be found in Rev 17:8 where the phrase 'written in the book of life since the foundation of the world' occurs with no ambiguity" (NET Footnote).

καὶ προσκυνήσουσιν αὐτὸν πάντες οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, οὗ οὐ γέγραπται τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ βιβλίῳ τῆς ζωῆς τοῦ ἀρνίου τοῦ ἐσφαγμένου ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου (WH of 1881)



Picture used with kind permission from http://bibleencyclopedia.com/nasb/NASB_Revelation_13-8.jpg

Friday, January 16, 2015

DIABOLOS and Qualitativeness (John 6:70)

"It is doubtful in what sense this word [DIABOLOS] should be taken, Whether we should render it DIABOLIKOS (= TOU DIABOLOU hUPOURGOS), or EPIBOULOS, (both given in Euthym.,) it will be an hAPAX LEGOMENON in the N.T. Of the two however the latter is the harsher, and less analogous to N.T. diction. Certainly in the dark act here prophesied, Judas was under the immediate instigation of and yielded himself up to Satan; and I would understand this expression as having reference to that league with and entertainment of the Evil One in his thoughts and purposes, which his ultimate possession by Satan implies. This meaning can perhaps hardly be rendered by any single word in another language. The E.V. 'a devil,' is certainly too strong; 'devilish,' would be better, but not unobjectionable. Compare hO hUIOS THS APWLEIAS, [John] ch. XVII.6" (Alford's Greek Testament, 1:697).

"Have not I chosen you twelve, and yet one of you is the devil? (Tyndale's NT)

"DIABOLOS (#1333) slanderer, devil (DJC, 171-72). Satan has made Judas his ally, a subordinate devil (Barrett). Monadic noun not requiring art. (GGBB, 249)" (The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament, p. 198).

Wallace believes that DIABOLOS is a monadic noun in John 6:70 since there's only one devil. He prefers the rendering, "one of you is the devil" (GGBB, 265).

"EX hUMWN hEIS DIABOLOS ESTIN. Even of you one is a devil. Lucke, referring to Esth. VII.4 and VIII.1, where Haman is called hO DIABOLOS, as being 'the slanderer,' or 'the enemy,' suggests that a similar meaning may be appropriate here. But Jesus calls Peter 'Satan' and may much more call Judas 'a devil.' Besides in the present connection 'traitor' is quite as startling a word as 'devil'" (Expositor's Greek Testament, 1:761).

"He [Judas] is a devil because through him finally the devil will seek Jesus' life (cf. 13:2, 27)" (J. Ramsey Michaels, John, p. 122).

Paul Dixon wrote in January 1997 (BGreek): "I did find 6:70b to be qualitative, as did F.F. Bruce and Hendriksen (see commentaries). It does seem the Lord was not identifying Judas with the personal devil any more than he was with Peter in Mk 8:33 (Bruce). Rather, 'His devilish character appears especially from this fact that others ever so many of them, had deserted the Lord when they felt that they could not agree with him and when they rebelled against the spiritual character of his teaching, this one individual remained with him'" (Hendriksen).


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

John 1:1, Harner, Dixon and Qualitativeness

Here's something I wrote almost 15 years ago. I'm open to correction on what I stated then:

When I was first introduced (formally) to the history and grammar of the English language, I was taught the outmoded symbol-referent model. I have since abandoned it in favor of the signifier, signified, and referent paradigm. Now I make that observation in order to stress that I am not saying the qualities of the "terms" (θεὸς or διάβολος) are emphasized by the preverbal anarthrous PNs; to the contrary, it seems that the qualities of the referent (or grammatical subject) are stressed in John 6:70 and 8:44. So the respective terms or signifers ("slanderer" and "liar") apparently point to qualities of the subjects (Judas and Satan respectively) discussed by John. In John 1:1c, therefore, it might be the case that θεὸς primarily serves to delineate the qualities of the Λόγος (the referent or grammatical subject) as opposed to depicting his identity. This is not the same as claiming that the quality of θεὸς is emphasized over against "the qualities and all" of the term in this fateful passage. As the KIT appendix says: "It [θεὸς] merely expresses a certain quality about the Word [Λόγος] . . ."

But how does one prove that a construction is qualitative (with very little if any emphasis on indefiniteness) rather than definite or qualitative-indefinite or indefinite-qualitative? Work from usage, grammar [syntax], and context. Hence, I may not agree with Harner or Dixon's statistics for qualitativeness in John (Harner said that about 80% and Dixon wrote that 94% of preverbal anarthrous PNs in the Fourth Gospel are qualitative, I believe). I may question some of their examples, but 6:70 and 8:44 evidently stand as legitimate examples of places where the qualtity of the subjects are stressed (as does 1:1c). But are these examples of pure qualitativeness? Maybe we don't have to go that far.

Now as far as fronting for emphasis is concerned, Wallace gives John 5:10 as an example of a preverbal anarthrous qualitative PN. Frankly, this verse is highly debatable. Nevertheless, it's possible that the reason why there's a fronted PN could be for the purpose of emphasizing the qualities of a literary or grammatical subject. If the Jews were arguing about the "kind" of day on which the man was healed, then John's use of Σάββατόν in 5:10 could be primarily qualitative in nature. Granted, this conclusion cannot be reached by the syntactical construction alone; however, I am simply pointing out that anarthousness might be used to focus on the quality of the subject delineated by the signifier in question. But we must determine such qualitativeness or lack thereof from the context. Even in English, we may
front nouns to emphasize qualties.