Monday, January 16, 2012

Kermit Titrud on the Granville Sharp Rule

Hi everyone,

Based on Rev. 2:8, Kermit Titrud offers the following "modification" to the
Granville Sharp rule:

"If two substantives are connected by KAI and both have an article, they refer to two different persons or things unless the immediate or even broader context strongly suggests that they refer to the same person or thing [Rev. 2:8; 2:26]. In this case, we are to understand that different aspects of that which is being described are being stressed. If the first substantive has an article and the second does not, the second refers to the same person or thing as the first unless the context suggests otherwise. In this case, we should understand that they are being considered as a unit in some sense. (This could also be applied to a series of three or more.)" (Titrud's article is found in D.A. Black's (Ed.) Linguistics and NT Interpretation pp. 249-250).

Although he modifies Sharp's rule thus, Titrud still believes that 2 Pet. 1:1 identifies Jesus as God (even though the context suggests otherwise!). Interesting indeed.

Best regards,


Saturday, January 14, 2012

Was Justin Martyr in Ephesus?


Some have wondered whether Justin Martyr was ever in
Ephesus. Testimony concerning this matter is given by
Eusebius of Caesarea in his Ecclesiastical History 4.18.6:

"He [Justin] composed also a dialogue against the
Jews, which he held in the city of Ephesus with
Trypho, a most distinguished man among the Hebrews of
that day. In it he shows how the divine grace urged
him on to the doctrine of the faith, and with what
earnestness he had formerly pursued philosophical
studies, and how ardent a search he had made for the

Friday, January 13, 2012

Was Clement of Rome a Trinitarian?

An Interlocutor once wrote:

'Saint Clement of Rome and his Letter to the
Corinthians [c. 80-96 AD]: “The Apostles received
the Gospel for us from the Lord Jesus Christ; and
Jesus Christ was sent from God…they went forth in
the complete assurance of the Holy Spirit…Do we not
have one God, one Christ, and one Holy Spirit poured
out upon us?...For as God lives, and as the Lord Jesus
Christ lives, and the Holy Spirit…”. Clearly, in
the mind of Clement there is a firm conviction of the
distinction of Persons, and yet the interrelatedness
of each of these 3 Persons'

My Reply:

One thing that is "clear" from reading this electronic
submission is that the person who wrote this piece
allows his/her biases to shine forth distinctly. The
comments from Clement of Rome do not demonstrate his
belief in a triune or tripersonal God. Granted, he may
refer to God, Christ and the Holy Spirit. But mere
mention of these ascriptive designata does not prove
that Clement is a trinitarian qua trinitarian.
Moreover, notice that he speaks of "God," Christ and
the Holy Spirit. He does not use language such as God
the Son or God the Holy Spirit. For Clement of Rome,
the Father is the one true God (i.e. the maximally
excellent being).

JND Kelly analyzes a number of early church writers to
ascertain their perspectives on the divine triad in
his magisterial _Early Christian Doctrines_.
Concerning Clement of Rome, Kelly notes that "little
can be gleaned from the first" of the Apostolic
Fathers (page 90). Then, after he alludes to a few
passages found in Clement's work, he writes: "The Holy
Spirit Clement regarded as inspiring God's prophets in
all ages, as much the Old Testament writers as
himself. But of the problem of the relation of the
Three to each other he seems to have been oblivious"
(page 91). Hence, according to this authority, Clement
is not concerned with how the Three Persons relate one
to another. Little pertaining to the Trinity can be
gleaned from his work.

While Edmund Fortman thinks the divinity of Christ and
the Holy Spirit are "implied" in Clemens Romanus and
that there is a "clear trace of trinitarian belief" in
1 Clement, he concludes nonetheless:

"There is, however, no stress on the three. The stress
is on Christ, and only rarely are the three mentioned
together. There is obviously no doctrine of the
Trinity, no explicit affirmation of the divinity of
the Son and Holy Spirit but only an echo of the data
of Scripture" (_The Triune God_, page 38).

Notice that neither Christ nor the Holy Spirit are
called QEOS by Clement. Rather, the relationship
between God and His Son is delineated thus:

1 Clement 42:1:

"The Apostles received the Gospel for us from the Lord
Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ was sent forth from God."

1 Clement 42:2:

"So then Christ is from God, and the Apostles are from
Christ. Both therefore came of the will of God in the
appointed order."

Thursday, January 05, 2012

How Long Was Christ in the Tomb?

The following quote is taken from Albert A. Bell Jr.'s
Exploring the New Testament World (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1998), p. 13-14:

"Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church
of God and Ambassador College and publisher of the
Plain Truth magazine, argued that Jesus could not have
been crucified on Friday and resurrected on Sunday
because three days won't fit between Friday and
Sunday. Any grade-school child can see that his
arithmetic makes sense. Given the way we count, from
Friday afternoon to Sunday morning is a day and a
half, at most. But not if you count like Jesus and the
Romans did. They lacked a zero in their mathematical
systems: the zero was not used as a numeral until the
early seventh century A.D., by an Indian mathematician
named Brahmagupta (cf. 1.85:69-72). Without a zero,
the Jews and Romans counted the day on which something
occurred as the first day. In Luke 13:32, Jesus counts
in exactly this fashion: 'Listen, I am casting out
demons and performing cures today and tomorrow, and on
the third day I finish my work.' Furthermore,
a portion of a day was counted as a whole day.
So, if Jesus spent any part of a day in the
tomb, it would count as a full day. He was placed in
the tomb before sunset on Friday, and the day began on
sunset. Thus, by the counting system in use in New
Testament times, Friday was the first day, Saturday
the second, and Sunday--which began at sundown on
Saturday--was the third, no matter how small a part of
each day Jesus was in the tomb."



Hi everyone,

The long sentences that sometime appear in the Apostle Paul's letters is one reason that I am led to believe that he intentionally employs rhetorical devices in his theopneustic missives. For instance, long "sentences" in Greek are called PERIODOI. Rhetoricians and orators use them liberally in Classical treatises. Aristotle also provides explicit details on PERIODOI in his famed work, _Rhetoric_.

Richard A. Lanham (_A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms_, pages 112-113) discusses Classical and Renaissance views on periodic sentences. He notes that there are two kinds of periodic sentences (per Quintilian), namely, structured and unstructured types. We usually find PERIODOI that are more loosely structured in dialogues and letters. This could well explain why Paul's epistles often contain protracted SENTENTIAE.

According to Aristotle, PERIODOI must contain whole thoughts and avoid being too short or too long. The usual parts of a PERIOD are called COLA. That is because the colon is the basic constituent of a PERIOD. Lanham has much to say about the PERIOD that is of interest. I particularly like Cicero's remark that a PERIOD must not be longer than "four iambic trimeters." I'm sure that you poetry buffs will immediately apprehend the gist of Tully's thought.

Finally, the reason for a PERIOD is to suspend syntax. In other words, a reader doesn't know the writer's complete thought until he/she arrives at the end of the PERIOD.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

A Little More on Michael the Archangel

"Not only did several of the references to angels in the Shepherd evidently mean the preexistent Christ, but Christ was also identified with the archangel Michael, 'who has the power over this people and is their captain. For this is he that puts the law into the hearts of believers'" (Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition, 1:183).

Pelikan is quoting from Similitudes 8.3.3.

"The counterpart to this is afforded by an identification of Christ with the archangel Michael, an identification which is made in the Shepherd of Hermas, if not in a wholly consistent manner (Martin Werner, The Formation of Christian Dogma, 135).

"In a number of passages we read of an angel who is superior to the six angels forming God's inner council, and who is regularly described as 'most venerable', 'holy', and 'glorious'. This angel is given the name of Michael, and the conclusion is difficult to escape that Hermas saw in him the Son of God and equated him with the archangel Michael . . . There is evidence also, as we observed in the preceding paragraph, of attempts to interpret Christ as a sort of supreme angel; here the influence of Jewish angelology is discernible" (J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines, 95).

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Cardinal Jean Danielou on the Identification of Michael in the Shepherd

The late Cardinal Jean Danielou was known as one of the foremost authorities on the ante-Nicene fathers. His landmark study of Greek, Jewish and Latin Christianity--while being justly criticized in some respects--is well worth the read. It is from his work on Jewish Christianity that I will now quote.

Discussing the Shepherd of Hermas, Danielou points out that this early Christian work plainly identifies Michael the archangel with the LOGOS. He writes:

"A characteristic feature of the theology of _Hermas_ is to call the Word 'glorious (ENDOXOS) angel' or 'most venerable (SEMNOTATOS) angel.' He distinguishes very clearly the angel who visits him, whom he calls variously 'shepherd' and 'angel of repentance' from the supreme being, whom he also calls an angel, but who is quite different from the other since it is he who sends that other" (Danielou 119).

Danielou here hints at the fact that the LOGOS is identified with Michael in Hermas although angel, according to the late Cardinal, in this case evidently means one who bears the very substance of God. Regardless of whether Danielou is correct here, the main point I am concerned with is what he has to say about Michael.

Quoting from the Fifth Similitude of Hermas, Danielou informs us that "the holy angel and the Kyrios are placed on the same footing" (Danielou 119). This conclusion seems warranted by Similitude 5.4.4 which reads in part:

"thou who hast been strengthened by the holy one (hAGIOS) angel, and hast received from him such powers of intercession . . . wherefore dost thou not ask understanding of the Lord? (KURIOS)."

Another part of Hermas that also points to Christ as Michael is Similitudes 8.2:1-3:

"the angel of the Lord commanded crowns to be brought, made as it were of palm-branches; and he crowned the men that had given up rods which had shoots and some fruit, and sent them away into the tower. And the others also he sent into the tower, even those who had given up rods green and with shoots, but the shoots were without fruit; and he set a seal (SFRAGIS) upon them. And all they that went into the tower had the same raiment, white as snow."

See also Similitudes 9.12.

From both the eighth and ninth Similitude, Danielou views Michael as being synonymous with the LOGOS in Hermas. The relevant passages from his book are as follows:

"The designation of Christ as the seventh day may be compared to another, which comes in Hermas, in which Christ is identified with the archangel Michael" (Danielou, 123).

"The comparison of the two texts [Similitudes 78.1 and 8.3.3.] shows
that it is really the Word who is called Michael" (124).

"Paul contrasts with this [the promulgation of the OT by angels] the new Law communicated by the Word himself (Gal. 3:20; Heb. 2:3). In Hermas this function is performed by Michael. This name must therefore be regarded as a name of the Word" (124).

"The assimilation of Michael to the Word is not, however, peculiar to Hermas. It occurs in other Jewish Christian texts which show up still more clearly the unskillful christianisation of the Jewish theme" (124).

The aforementioned quotes do not mean that Danielou rejects the Trinity doctrine. My point is simply that he supplies evidence that at least some early professed Christians regarded the LOGOS as Michael the archangel.

These quotes were taken from A History of Early Christian Doctrine: The Theology of Jewish Christianity (Jean Danielou).



Sunday, January 01, 2012

Michael the Archangel as Christ?

The information below was once submitted to a yahoogroup that I used to moderate which is now inactive. I have changed the names of those who participated in this discussion; however, I have not edited the material itself.

To help you appreciate the context, a question had been asked regarding Michael's possible identity with Christ.


Quadratus said:

Aurelius, I'd like to take your second question. I don't know of anyone who
says that the Bible EXPLICITLY calls the Christ, Michael.

However, I believe that there are a number of lines of evidence that point
to this conclusion. Here is one.


a) There is only ONE VOICE that can raise the dead in the coming
resurrection. This authority has been given to the Christ by
his Father. (John 5:25-28).

b) It is the VOICE of an ARCHANGEL that raises the dead during
the unique SINGULAR act of the resurrection at the time of
the end. (1Th 4:16; cf Da 12:2 ).

c) Since the archangel shares the unique characteristic that only
Christ posesses, the authority to raise the dead with his voice,
Christ is an archangel.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words -- Topic:
Archangel says regarding the character of the Lord Jesus' voice

"In 1 Thess. 4:16 the meaning seems to be that the voice of the
Lord Jesus will be of the character of an 'archangelic' shout."

1Th 4:16 NWT
"because the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a
commanding call, with an archangel's voice and with God's
trumpet, and those who are dead in union with Christ will
rise first."

Vines assigns the voice of Jesus with the character of
the archangel, because the grammar demands it.

Thayers calls the voice that raises the dead at John 5:28 "the
Resurrection-Cry" and "Christ's voice that raises the dead" at
1Th 4:16 as "an awakening shout". The Greek for 'with an archangel's voice'
is literally 'EN FWNHi ARXAGGELOU', in the oblique dative case.

In all other occurences of this idiom in the Greek New Testament it
describes the voice of the subject in the clause.

It is only logical that the voice expressing this commanding call be
described by a word that would not diminish or detract from the great
authority that Christ Jesus now has as King of kings and Lord of
lords. (Mt 28:18; Re 17:14). If the designation "archangel" applied,
not to Jesus Christ, but to other angels, then the reference to "an
archangel's voice" would be describing a voice of lesser authority
than that of the Son of God.

Protestant Reformer JOHN CALVIN said regarding "Michael" in its occurence at
Daniel 12:1:

"I embrace the opinion of those who refer this to the person of
Christ, because it suits the subject best to represent him as
standing forward for the defense of his elect people." J. Calvin,
(Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), vol. 2 p. 369.

John A. Lees, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1930, Vol. 3,
page 2048 states:

"The earlier Protestant scholars usually identified Michael
with the preincarnate Christ, finding support for their view,
not only in the juxtaposition of the "child" and the archangel
in Rev 12, but also in the attributes ascribed to him in Dnl"