Saturday, September 29, 2012

John 7:8 and OUPW

Bruce Metzger observes that OUPW in Jn 7:8 "was introduced at an early date (it is attested by P66, 75) in order to alleviate the inconsistency between ver. 8 and ver. 10" (A Textual Commentary). However Ernst Haenchen (in his commentary on John) seems to think that OUPW is original. He reasons: "If Jesus does not know when his time is fulfilled and the Father calls him to Jerusalem (to die?) then logically he cannot say 'not,' but must say, as in v 6, 'not yet.' "

Even if OUK is not original, and we cannot be positively sure about its status, John's possible use of OUK does not mean that Jesus lied. A.T. Robertson points out that Jesus "did not change his plans . . . He simply refused to fall in with his brothers' sneering proposal for a grand Messianic procession with the caravan on the way to the feast" (Word Pictures in the NT).

Another scholar also makes this observation: "the more definite--and more difficult--reading, 'I am not going,' is undoubtedly the correct one. Jesus is represented as clearly refusing his brothers' proposal. He will not go to this festival at their request or initiative but only as his Father directs" (J.R. Michaels, John, 127).

C. K. Barrett writes: "He refuses in the plainest terms to comply with human--and unbelieving--advice, acting with complete freedom and independence with regard to men, but in complete obedience to his Father" (Barrett, John, 313).

Finally, we have these words from George Beasley-Murray: "That Jesus eventually goes to the festival EN KRUPTWi is to be interpreted strictly in relation to [John 7:4]: he journeys quietly to Jerusalem, without making any ostentatious entry into the city or drawing attention to himself on arrival at the festival" (Murray, John 107).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Scotus, Aquinas and Infinity

John Duns Scotus defines infinite being as "a measure of intrinsic excellence that is not finite." For the Subtle Doctor, God is qualitatively infinite or exemplifies all of His divine qualities without limit. The Most High is therefore infinite power, infinite wisdom and infinite goodness. Infinity, for Scotus, is an intrinsic (non-relational) property.

Thomas Aquinas also considers divine infinity to be a negative property: it describes what God is not. He writes in Summa Contra Gentiles 1.43.1:

"But in God infinity can be understood negatively only, inasmuch as there is no term or limit to His perfection. And so infinity ought to be attributed to God."

In the same part of SCG, Aquinas supplies this data about infinity:

"Infinity cannot be attributed to God on the score of multitude, seeing there is but one God. Nor on the score of quantitative extension, seeing He is incorporeal. It remains to consider whether infinity belongs to Him in point of spiritual greatness. Spiritual greatness may be either in power or in goodness (or completeness) of nature. Of these two greatnesses the one follows upon the other: for by the fact of a thing being in actuality it is capable of action. According then to the completeness of its actuality is the measure of the greatness of its power."

Many years later, Louis Berkof similarly construes God's infinity in a qualitative (intensive) sense. He argues that infinity (as a descriptive term for God's perfection) "should not be understood in a quantitative, but in a qualitative sense; it qualifies all the communicable attributes of God. Infinite power is not an absolute quantum, but an exhaustless potency of power; and infinite holiness is not a boundless quantum of holiness, but a holiness which is, qualitatively free from all limitation or defect. The same may be said of infinite knowledge and wisdom, and of infinite love and righteousness" (Systematic Theology, p. 60).

Saturday, September 15, 2012

DIKAIOW and BDAG Greek-English Lexicon

For DIKAIOW, Bauer, Danker, Arndt and Gingrich (BDAG) state that the potential senses of this word are (1) to take up a legal cause, show justice, do justice, take up a cause; (2) to render a favorable verdict, vindicate (Luke 7:35; 16:15); (3) be acquitted, be pronounced or treated as righteous and thereby become DIKAIOS (Galatians 2:16ff); (4) Concerning the view that DIAKAIOW can mean "make righteous," BDAG says the following:

"For the view (held since Chrysostom) that [DIKAIOW]
in these [Romans 3:24; 8:30, 33, Galatians 3:8] and
other pass[ages] means 'make upright' s[ee]
Goodsp[eed], Probs. 143-46, JBL 73, '54, 86-91."

LSJ observes that DIKAIOW may denote "set right, proved, tested, hold or deem right, claim or demand as a right, pronounce judgment, do a man right, chastise, punish, pass sentence on, have right done one, and pronounce and treat as righteous, justify, vindicate" (Exodus 23:7; Jeremiah 3:11; Luke 7:35; 16:15).

Louw and Nida's Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament Based on Semantic Domains observes that
DIKAIOW has the semantic range:

(a) to put right with
(b) show to be right
(c) acquit
(d) set free
(e) obey righteous commands

There are some interesting comments made regarding the forensic interpretation of DIKAIOW in semantic domain 34.46 of Louw and Nida. They basically argue that Paul stresses the covenant relationship between God and Christians as opposed to legal aspects of forensic judgment when he employs DIKAIOW. Under semantic domain 56.34, they also expand on the significance of the potential denotation, "acquit" by including the definition: "the act of clearing someone of transgression." See Acts 13:38; Romans 5:16, 18.

Finally, TDNT (2:215) states:

"For Paul the word DIKAIOUN does not suggest the
infusion of moral qualities, a justum efficere in the
sense of creation of right conduct. It implies the
justification of the ungodly who believe, on the basis
of the justifying action of God in the death and
resurrection of Christ."

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Revised Book Review of Tim Weldon's "Subtle Wisdom" (Link)

Tim Weldon has written a brief, but helpful introduction on John Duns Scotus. It's one of the simplest works I've ever read on Scotus. Please see



Saturday, September 08, 2012

How Augustine Explains the Relationship Between Christ and the Holy Spirit


Maybe this quote from Augustine will be helpful. I post this information to promote understanding:

Therefore also the Lord Jesus Christ Himself not only gave the Holy Spirit as God, but also received it as man, and therefore He is said to be full of grace, and of the Holy Spirit. And in the Acts of the Apostles it is more plainly written of Him, "Because God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit." Certainly not with visible oil but with the gift of grace which is signified by the visible ointment wherewith the Church anoints the baptized. And Christ was certainly not then anointed with the Holy Spirit, when He, as a dove, descended upon Him at His baptism. For at that time He deigned to prefigure His body, i.e. His Church, in which especially the baptized receive the Holy Spirit. But He is to be understood to have been then anointed with that mystical and invisible unction, when the Word of God was made flesh, i.e. when human nature, without any precedent merits of good works, was joined to God the Word in the womb of the Virgin, so that with it it became one person. Therefore it is that we confess Him to have been born of the Holy Spirit and of the Virgin Mary. For it is most absurd to believe Him to have received the Holy Spirit when He was near thirty years old: for at that age He was baptized by John; but that He came to baptism as without any sin at all, so not without the Holy Spirit. For if it was written of His servant and forerunner John himself, "He shall be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother’s womb," because, although generated by his father, yet he received the Holy Spirit when formed in the womb; what must be understood and believed of the man Christ, of whose flesh the very conception was not carnal, but spiritual? Both natures, too, as well the human as the divine, are shown in that also that is written of Him, that He received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, and shed forth the Holy Spirit: seeing that He received as man, and shed forth as God. And we indeed can receive that gift according to our small measure, but assuredly we cannot shed it forth upon others; but, that this may be done, we invoke over them God, by whom this is accomplished.

This quote is from De Trinitate 26.46.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Augustine of Hippo's Delineation of the Trinity Doctrine

"Wherefore also the Holy Spirit consists in the same unity of substance, and in the same equality. For whether He is the unity of both, or the holiness, or the love, or therefore the unity because the love, and therefore the love because the holiness, it is manifest that He is not one of the two, through whom the two are joined, through whom the Begotten is loved by the Begetter, and loves Him that begot Him, and through whom, not by participation, but by their own essence, neither by the gift of any superior, but by their own, they are 'keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace;' which we are commanded to imitate by grace, both towards God and towards ourselves" (De Trinitate VI.5.7).

Source: Translated by Arthur West Haddan. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .