Thursday, July 28, 2016

Chrys Caragounis Vs. Stanley Porter (Part VI)

Just to keep readers up to date, these set of posts deal with Chrys C. Caragounis' analysis/critique of Stanley Porter's verbal aspect theory. I am basing this discussion on Caragounis' book, The Development of Greek and the New Testament.

Caragounis finds Porter's translation of Acts 15:38, Acts 21:12, and Matthew 18:25 to be deficient. Another text he examines is Philemon 21.

A. Acts 15:38

Greek: Παῦλος δὲ ἠξίου, τὸν ἀποστάντα ἀπ' αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Παμφυλίας καὶ μὴ συνελθόντα αὐτοῖς εἰς τὸ ἔργον, μὴ συνπαραλαμβάνειν τοῦτον.

Porter: "was thinking not to take him."

NWT 2013: "Paul, however, was not in favor of taking him along with them"

Caragounis: He calls Porter's rendition, "a strange translation," then continues by writing, "That this is not simply a question of a mere thought on Paul's part, but of a demand or insistence, is proved beyond any doubt by the quarrel that ensued between Paul and Barnabas" (330).

NET Bible: "but Paul insisted that they should not take along this one"

B. Acts 21:12

Greek: ὡς δὲ ἠκούσαμεν ταῦτα, παρεκαλοῦμεν ἡμεῖς τε καὶ οἱ ἐντόπιοι τοῦ μὴ ἀναβαίνειν αὐτὸν εἰς Ἰερουσαλήμ.

Porter: "we and those with us were beseeching him not to go."

NWT 2013: "Now when we heard this, both we and those of that place began entreating him not to go up to Jerusalem."

Byington: "And when we heard this, both we and the people of the place appealed to him not to go up to Jerusalem."

Caragounis: ἐντόπιοι certainly does not denote "those with us," but rather "the local people" or "the people who lived in that place" (330).

C. Matthew 18:25

Greek: μὴ ἔχοντος δὲ αὐτοῦ ἀποδοῦναι ἐκέλευσεν αὐτὸν ὁ κύριος πραθῆναι καὶ τὴν γυναῖκα καὶ τὰ τέκνα καὶ πάντα ὅσα ἔχει, καὶ ἀποδοθῆναι.

Porter: "When he did not have by which to pay back, the master ordered him to sell both his wife and children and all that he had, and to be repayed!"

NWT 2013: "But because he did not have the means to pay it back, his master ordered him and his wife and his children and all the things he owned to be sold and payment to be made."

Caragounis: He calls Porter's translation, "hair-raising" on the basis of πραθῆναι being the passive aorist infinitive form. So he maintains that the word or this particular morphology doesn't mean "to sell." Moreover, Caragounis accuses Porter of "playing havoc with tense and voice" (330-331). So he prefers the rendering: "his master ordered that he and his wife and his children . . . be sold, and that payment be made."

D. Philemon 21

Greek: Πεποιθὼς τῇ ὑπακοῇ σου ἔγραψά σοι, εἰδὼς ὅτι καὶ ὑπὲρ ἃ λέγω ποιήσεις.

Porter: "being persuaded of your reputation I write to you"

Caragounis: "Since when has the word ὑπακοῇ taken on the sense of 'reputation?'"

NWT 2013: "I am confident that you will comply, so I am writing you, knowing that you will do even more than what I say."

NET Bible: "Since I was confident that you would obey, I wrote to you, because I knew that you would do even more than what I am asking you to do."

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

2 Timothy 3:17 (ARTIOS)

"The adjective 'perfect' [in 2 Tim. 3:17] is ARTIOS (only here in NT), and 'thoroughly furnished' is the perfect passive participle of the verb EXARTIZW, based on the adjective. The verb is found here and in Acts 21:5 ('accomplished'; that is, 'finished'). The basic meaning of ARTIOS is 'fitted' or 'complete.' Trench comments . . . the man of God, St. Paul would say (2 Tim. 3:17), should be furnished and accomplished with all which is necessary for the carrying out of the work to which he is appointed" (Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament).

"our saving faith derives its force, not from capricious reasonings, but from what may be proved out of the Bible" (Cyril of Jerusalem).

"Vincent of Le'rins (c. 450) took it as an axiom the Scriptural canon was 'sufficient, and more than sufficient, for all purposes'" (J. N. D. Kelly 43).

"'How then,' says one, 'shall we be able to renew it [i.e., the soul], thus fallen and relaxed, to strength? what doing, what saying?' By applying ourselves to the divine words of the prophets, of the Apostles, of the Gospels, and all the others; then we shall know that it is far better to feed on these than on impure food, for so we must term our unseasonable idle talking and assemblies" (HOMILY XVIII. JOHN 1:35-37).

John Trapp's Commentary: May be perfect] αρτιος ( omnibus numeris absotutus), with a perfection of parts, able and apt to make use of the Holy Scriptures to all the former purposes, for the behoof or benefit of his hearers. The authority of the Fathers, saith a grave and learned divine, I never urge for necessity of proof (the Scripture is thereto all-sufficient and superabundant), but only either in some singular points to show consent; or, 2. In our controversies against anti-christians, anti-nomists, Neopelagians; or, 3. When some honest passage of sanctification or seasonable opposition to the corruption of the times is falsely charged with novelty, singularity, and too much preciseness. (Mr Bolton’s Four Last Things.)

For a time, oral teaching served a vital purpose in the Christian ecclesia. But in order to preserve the Gospel and facilitate its spread, the ecclesia committed its beliefs to writing (Cf. 2 Pet. 3:1, 2). Interestingly, Lucius Lactantius also contended that Holy Writ did not grow out of the Christian religion, but the Christian religion out of Holy Writ (Divine Institutes 4.4.5). Yes, Christians are supposed to be "people of the book." Jehovah God always purposed that the teachings of Christ would be committed to writing, and these writings as Vincent said, are sufficient "and more than sufficient" for all Christian purposes, even though Vincent thought tradition was vital to avoid misinterpreting Scripture. I'm not sure he would insists that tradition precedes the Bible though.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Luke 20:36, Angels, and Immortality

Written 7/17/03 and edited 6/27/16; 7/24/16.

The Greek is οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀποθανεῖν ἔτι δύνανται, ἰσάγγελοι γάρ εἰσιν, καὶ υἱοί εἰσιν θεοῦ τῆς ἀναστάσεως υἱοὶ ὄντες (WH).

This portion of the Lukan verse has, for some time, perplexed me. But I'd rather not get into the aporetic facets of this passage since it would force me to speculate on what Luke might have intended, thus carrying me beyond what the Greek found in the account putatively states.

Suffice to say that angels are evidently not immortal. The only beings that seem to possess immortality (i.e., the quality of deathlessness, indestructibility, and autarchy qua life) are God the Father (Hab. 1:12); the Risen Christ (Rom. 6:9-10; Heb. 7:16) and Christians who participate via divine χάρις in the first resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:53-54). But immortality is never predicated of the angels by any scriptural writer. In fact, some angels actually sinned and apostatized from God, including the one called Devil and Satan (2 Pet. 2:4; Jude 6; Rev. 12:9). These beings now stand on death row, as it were: it thus seems that angels are not inherently immortal.

δύνανται is the present indicative middle/passive 3rd person singular of δύναμαι(can, am able, be capable, have the power to do X). Hence, I like the way that NWT renders the verse. Rotherham also has "For they cannot even die anymore."

However, if these words do apply to those who will live forever on earth, do they necessarily convey the idea that those privileged to dwell eternally on earth will be immortal? Could not Luke simply be professing what the apostle John also prophesies concerning the future inhabitants of the "new earth" in Rev. 21:3-4?

Grammatically, I don't see why we should make a distinction between the individuals mentioned in Lk. 20:34-35 and those mentioned in 20:36. Notice that the Gospel writer employs the Greek postpositive γὰρ, which NWT renders "In fact" (Lk. 20:36). Luke's use of γὰρ after discussing those who neither marry nor are given in marriage suggests that verse 36 is a continuation of what one finds discussed in 20:34-35. The NWT also evidently construes γὰρ as an emphatic particle by translating it, "In fact . . . "

NWT 2013: "In fact, neither can they die anymore, for they are like the angels, and they are God's children by being children of the resurrection."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Redundancy, Pleonastic Speech, and the Bible

When I say that the Bible contains redundancies, I use the term in the way that linguists do. Moises Silva offers the following input with regard to Biblical redundancies:

"It is unfortunate, however, that the term redundancy continues to be viewed in a purely negative light. Linguists, drawing on the work of communication engineers, have long recognized that redundancy is a built-in feature of every language and that it aids, rather than hinders, the process of communication" (Philippians, 12-13).

A prime example of redundancy in the Bible is Philippians 2:1 which Lightfoot describes as a "tautology of earnestness." This observation does not make Scripture any less sacred, but it simply recognizes the fact that God had Scripture recorded in human language and thus human syntactical and morphological rules are followed in the Holy Bible (like other human speech conventions).

D. A. Black also provides a very nice discussion on this subject in Linguistics for Students of NT Greek. On pp. 132-136, Black supplies examples of different rhetorical devices like anaphora, anastrophe, asyndeton, polysyndeton, litotes, and pleonasm (redundancy).

Some examples of pleonasm are Col. 1:23; Phil. 1:23; 2:1.

As for Philippians 2:1, in Greek, it reads:

Εἴ τις οὖν παράκλησις ἐν Χριστῷ, εἴ τι παραμύθιον ἀγάπης, εἴ τις κοινωνία πνεύματος, εἴ τις σπλάγχνα καὶ οἰκτιρμοί

Chrys Caragounis Vs. Stanley Porter (Part V)

So far in this analysis of Caragounis' criticisms of Porter's aspect theory and biblical translations (verses that he has rendered from Greek into English), we can see that Porter has not fared well at the hands of Chrys Caragounis. But I'm not trying to determine which scholar is correct: my objective is to spell out the disagreement between these men, then let my readers decide whose argument best explains the biblical data. In this post, I'll also continue to see how NWT 2013 renders the verses that Caragounis has chosen to analyze.

A. Matthew 18:15

Greek in part: ἐάν σου ἀκούσῃ, ἐκέρδησας τὸν ἀδελφόν σου· (WH)

Porter: "if he hears you, you gain your brother."

Caragounis: He is highly critical of this rendering since it appears "to miss the force of the aorist" (page 329).

NWT 2013: "If he listens to you, you have gained your brother."

One criticism of Porter's translation is that his rendering possibly confuses the aorist and present verbal forms. As a side note, I also like "listens" for ἀκούσῃ better than "hears." Another thing Caragounis notes regarding Porter's translation is that while Matthew could/should have used the future indicative here, he employed the aorist instead to rhetorically "dramatize the effect of winning a falling brother . . . " (277). Hence, the act is also treated as a fait accompli.

NET Bible: "If he listens to you, you have regained your brother."

B. Mark 3:24

Greek ex toto: καὶ ἐὰν βασιλεία ἐφ' ἑαυτὴν μερισθῇ, οὐ δύναται σταθῆναι ἡ βασιλεία ἐκείνη·

Porter: "if a kingdom might be divided upon itself, that kingdom is not able to stand."

NWT 2013: "If a kingdom becomes divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand"

Needless to say, Caragounis thinks that Porter once again misses the mark.
C. Mark 3:22

Greek: καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς οἱ ἀπὸ Ἰεροσολύμων καταβάντες ἔλεγον ὅτι Βεεζεβοὺλ ἔχει, καὶ ὅτι ἐν τῷ ἄρχοντι τῶν δαιμονίων ἐκβάλλει τὰ δαιμόνια. (WH)

Porter: "in the power of the demons he cast out demons."

Caragounis: ἄρχων does not signify "power," but "Prince" or "Leader." Porter might have mistook ἄρχων for ἀρχὴ.

NWT 2013: "he expels the demons by means of the ruler of the demons."

NET Bible: "By the ruler of demons he casts out demons."

Friday, July 22, 2016

John 1:3-4 (PANTA, Etc.)

John 1:3-4 (Greek): πάντα δι' αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων·

It is possible that John 1:3c-4 addresses the same time frame as 1:3b:

"4b ('this life was the light of men') seems to indicate that not all creation but only living creatures or, more likely, men are meant by 'that-which-had-come-to-be in 4a'" (Raymond E. Brown, Anchor Bible Commentary on John, Vol. 1:7).

Quoting from Brown again:

"following vs. 3, the clause represents a narrowing down of creation; v. 4 is not going to talk about the whole of creation but a special creation in the Word [i.e., men]" (Ibid.).

I partly concur with Brown's construal of ὃ γέγονεν, but I would not limit v. 4 to the creation of men. Instead it potentially refers to the entire material order and not only references humans. At any rate, Brown's comments show that πάντα in John 1 may be understood in a relative sense. Moreover, ὃ γέγονεν might elucidate "all things." Read in context, John 1:3-4b possibly does not refer to the earthly ministry of Jesus, but could deal with his preexistent activity as the Word, whereby he shares in creating the material universe as a whole.

To reiterate, I am saying that John 1:3-4 narrates the creation of the material order (including humans): the content of those verses potentially does not encompass the angels or the spiritual realm.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ephesians 3:3 (Ignatius of Antioch)

Greek: καὶ γὰρ Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, τὸ ἀδιάκριτον ἡμῶν ζῆν, τοῦ πατρὸς ἡ γνώμη, ὡς καὶ οἱ ἐπίσκοποι, οἱ κατὰ τὰ πέρατα ὁρισθέντες, ἐν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ γνώμῃ εἰσίν.

"For even Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, is the [manifested] will of the Father; as also bishops, settled everywhere to the utmost bounds [of the earth], are so by the will of Jesus Christ" (New Advent).

"Surely, Jesus Christ, our inseparable life, for His part is the mind of the Father, just as the bishops, though appointed throughout the vast, wide earth, represent for their part the mind of Jesus Christ" (Kleist).

"for Jesus Christ also, our inseparable life, is the mind of the Father, even as the bishops that are settled in the farthest parts of the earth are in the mind of Jesus Christ" (Lightfoot).

"For Jesus Christ—that life from which we can't be torn—is the Father's mind, as the bishops too, appointed the world over, reflect the mind of Jesus Christ" (Cyril Richardson).

For the complete Greek text of Ephesians 3:3ff, see

Monday, July 18, 2016

Chrys Caragounis Vs. Stanley Porter (Part IV)

I base this part of the discussion on page 329 of Caragounis' The Development of Greek and the New Testament. Translations of Stanley Porter are analyzed by Caragounis, then he explains why he finds them wanting. My posting this information does not necessarily signal my consent with Caragounis: I just want to put this data out there. Additionally, I'm going to post NWT 2013 renditions to compare them with Porter and Caragounis.

A. Mark 11:27

Greek in Part (NA28): Καὶ ἔρχονται πάλιν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα.

Porter: "and they were coming again into Jerusalem."

Caragounis: "And they came again to Jerusalem."

NWT 2013: "They came again to Jerusalem."

B. John 17:14

Greek in Part: ὁ κόσμος ἐμίσησεν αὐτούς

Caragounis argues that Porter misinterprets this Johannine verse. He avers that one should not translate these words as "the world is going to hate them" since the passage is talking about a fait accompli. See John 15:18ff.

Caragounis writes: "it is true that this process, which has already begun, will continue and be accentuated in the future" (329). Nevertheless, as he explains in footnote 323 on the same page: "But if, in spite of this, the main weight is placed on the future, then it is the special use of the perfect treated in the present Chapter, 4, above. In either case it is not susceptible to PORTER's interpretation."

NWT 2013: "the world has hated them"

C. Ephesians 5:29

Greek in Part: Οὐδεὶς . . . τὴν ἑαυτοῦ σάρκα ἐμίσησεν

Porter: "no one ever hates . . . "

Caragounis: He reasons that Porter's translational choice is not erroneous per se, but "no one has ever hated his own flesh" more closely reflects the apostle's intention.

NWT 2013: "for no man ever hated his own body [lit., 'flesh']"

D. Luke 16:14

Greek in Part: ἔγνων τί ποιήσω

Caragounis thinks Porter "does not take account of the special force of the verb itself. In English it corresponds to 'I('ve) got it!'" (page 329).

NWT 2013: "Ah! I know what I will do"