Friday, November 26, 2010

Photius on Origen's De Principiis

Taken from Photius' Bibliotheca


"Read Origen's four books On First Principles. The first deals with the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. In this his statements are often blasphemous; thus, he asserts that the Son was created by the Father, the Holy Ghost by the Son; that the Father pervades all existing things, the Son only those that are endowed with reason, the Holy Ghost only those that are saved. He also makes other strange and impious statements, indulging in frivolous talk about the migration of souls, the stars being alive, and the like. This first book is full of fables about the Father, Christ (as he calls the Son), the Holy Ghost, and creatures endowed with reason. In the second book he treats of the world and created things. He asserts that the God of the Law and the prophets, of the Old and the New Testament, is one and the same; that there was the same Holy Spirit in Moses, the rest of the prophets, and the Holy Apostles. He further discusses the Incarnation of the Saviour, the soul, resurrection, punishment, and promises. The third book deals with free will; how the devil and hostile powers, according to the Scriptures, wage war against mankind; that the world was created and is perishable, having had a beginning in time. The fourth book treats of the final end, the divine inspiration of the Scriptures, and the proper manner of reading and understanding them."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Word "Father" as Metaphor for God

There is a long section on PATHR in TDNT (volume V). This reference work states that "when the term father occurs [in the Hebrew Scriptures or Tanakh], it is fundamentally applied to God only in a metaphorical sense, and if we are to understand it everything depends on finding the right point of comparison [tertium comparationis]" (TDNT, V:970). See Deuteronomy 8:5; 2 Samuel 7:12-14; Psalm 2:7; 89:26; 103:13; Proverbs 3:12.

LSJ just notes that PATHR is used of God the Father of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:6), the Father of Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:21) and the Father of men (Matthew 6:9). It then states that the usage of PATHR at James 1:17 is metaphorical. But I would include the OT and Matthean passages as well as other authors do.

I looked at the entry for PATHR in the Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament. It too mentions that God is a metaphorical Father to Israel or creatures. But this work insists that the term is not metaphorical in the case of Jesus Christ being generated by God the Father.


Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Trinitarian Redactors, Novatian and Origen


Here is something I posted on another forum. At the end of this message, you'll find a reference to Studer's work.


One of the most important works on the Trinity
doctrine is Novatian's _De Trinitate_. This work has
been admired in the western church and became somewhat
of a VADE MECUM in ancient times. In English, we
usually call Novatian's treatise _On the Trinity_.
However, one wonders whether Novatian himself appended
the word "Trinity" to the title of this document?
Alternatively, is it possible that early copies of the
text were edited or redacted and the word "Trinity"
was added to Novatian's work?

Russell J. DeSimone (in his translation of _De
Trinitate_) points out that we do not know the
original title of what is now known as _De Trinitate_.
He suggests that the "correct title" of the work
appears to have been _De regula veritatis_ or _De
regula fidei_ (DeSimone 23). The latter title may be
more likely in view of what Novatian writes in _De
Trinitate_ 21 regarding the general thesis of his
work. In any event, Novatian the Presbyter never
utilizes the term "Trinity." DeSimone thus notes that
an amanuensis living after 381 probably altered the
title in view of what transpired in 325 and 381 CE at
the ecumenical councils (DeSimone 23).

Joseph M. Hallman (_The Descent of God_, page 70)
similarly observes that _De regula fidei_ may have
been the original title of _De Trinitate_. Again, the
possible work of a redactor is acknowledged.

One may also find evidence for Trinitarian redaction
in the Latin versions of Origen's _Peri Archon_. See
Basil Studer's _Trinity and Incarnation_, page 84.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Notes on Matthew 10:29


OUXI, in a manner analogous to the Latin NONNE,
introduces a question with the expectation that the
answer will be "yes." See Zerwick and Grosvenor, page

ASSARIOU-diminutive form of Latin AS (= 1/16 denarius
or less than a half hour's wage).

ASSARIOU is a genitive of price (Zerwick-Grosvenor).

Genitive of price-"The genitive substantive specifies
the price paid for or value assessed for the word to
which it is related. This is relatively rare in the
NT" (Daniel B. Wallace, GGBB, page 122).

Brooks and Winbery use the terminology "adverbial
genitive of measure" which includes the genitive of
price or genitive of measure.

ANEU TOU PATROS hUMWN is an example of the substantive
with an adverbial preposition (see Brooks and Winbery,

KAI-"And yet."

NET Bible translates the latter portion of this verse:
"Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from
your Father's will."

The NET Bible footnote, however, states: "Or 'to the
ground without the knowledge and consent of your

"nonne duo passeres asse veneunt et unus ex illis non cadet super terram sine Patre vestro" (Matthew 10:29 Biblia Sacra Vulgata).

Vincent's Word Studies

Sparrows (στρουθία)

"The word is a diminutive, little sparrows, and carries with it a touch of tenderness. At the present day, in the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa, long strings of little birds, sparrows and larks, are offered for sale, trussed on long wooden skewers. Edersheim thinks that Jesus may have had reference to the two sparrows which, according to the Rabbins, were used in the ceremonial of purification from leprosy (Leviticus 14:49-54)."


Friday, November 12, 2010

Brunner's Distinction Between Omnipotence and Almightiness

Thomas Aquinas essentially defines omnipotence as the power to do all that is logically possible. Other theologians have similarly defined omniscience as the ability to know all that it is possible to know. In his interesting study on evil and providence, Peter Geach suggests that God is not omnipotent but rather "almighty." Emil Brunner also develops this concept in The Christian Doctrine of God (volume I, page 248ff).

Brunner contends: "The Biblical conception [of God's almightiness] means God's power over the whole universe; but omnipotentia means the abstract idea that 'God can do everything.'" See Brunner, p. 248.

This distinction seems theologically meaningful or substantial. What are your thoughts on this matter?