Sporadic theological and historical musings by Edgar Foster (Ph.D. in Theology and Religious Studies and one of Jehovah's Witnesses).
Edgar,I think this is called not seeing the wood for the trees.How can it state only of nature and then reference LXX examples?Unless this includes the shaking of people then it is clearly incorrect.What about mat 24:29 & rev 6:12 is this imagery litteraly a natural phenomenon?Seismos seems more complicated than that.
From personal experience, the closer to the epicenter, (= distance away from), and the depth, (= how far under the ground), determines the intensity of the σεισμός "shaking" that any given person will experience.I've experienced a magnitude 7.1, but the σεισμός "shaking" was not as intense, nor as violent, (savage), as a 6.3 quake that killed 180 people in the city where I live. The reason for this was, that geographically speaking, (though only slightly closer in distance from the epicenter of the 7 pointer), because of it's very shallow depth, (only 1-2km deep), and the intense vertical acceleration, (= g-forces and speeds of the land being heaved upwards), which was one of the top three in modern recorded history, this smaller 6.3 quake, gave a much much more violent σεισμός "shaking" than the 7. It gave me and my family thee most terrifying σεισμός "shaking" experience of our life.But in saying that, I've also experienced my house σεισμός "shaking" as violent as some of the earthquakes we experienced, (over 13,000 aftershocks and still counting 4 years later), in both a hurricane, a separate wind storm that tore roof's off and uprooted enormous trees.Matthew 24:7, and particularly Luke 21:11 σεισμοί τε μεγάλοι καὶ κατὰ τόπους "shakings both great-ones and according to [various] places", in other words mega-quakes in one place after another, that sign of Christ's presence, has hit home particularly hard to us.
This gives a glimpse of what went on:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxuzmYIJRdY
And of course, in recent times we have seen large earthquakes that have caused devastating tsunamis. Earthquake + Water.
Edgar,Are the other possible definitions of no relevance?http://end.translatum.gr/wiki/%CF%83%CE%B5%CE%B9%CF%83%CE%BC%CF%8C%CF%821) shaking, shock4) agitation, commotionI am just not getting this - it's strange.
Thanks for sharing your experiences and the scriptures, Matt13weedhacker. I can only imagine what it must have been like. We've had 1 minor quake in my area that I recall: it lasted for a few minutes, but caused no damage. However, the brief quaking was a scary thing.
Duncan,Maybe you now realize that the mention of natural phenomena means the lexicon (BDAG) believes the word is referring to commotions in nature (i.e. windstorms, earthquakes, etc). Even the LXX possibly contains such uses. The shaking of people would seem to be metaphorical and somewhat unlike tempests or literal earthquakes. But Mt 24:29; Rev 6:12 are likely metaphorical and I cannot help but think that Danker (who last worked on BDAG) would have realized that point.
In terms of literal earthquakes, consider also Zech. 14:5:καὶ ἐμφραχθήσεται φάραγξ ὀρέων μου καὶ ἐγκολληθήσεται φάραγξ ὀρέων ἕως Ιασολ καὶ ἐμφραχθήσεται καθὼς ἐνεφράγη ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τοῦ σεισμοῦ ἐν ἡμέραις Οζιου βασιλέως Ιουδα καὶ ἥξει κύριος ὁ θεός μου καὶ πάντες οἱ ἅγιοι μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ
Edgar,Let me just point out NWT at Zec 14:5 "[earth]quake" - by context we can assume this to be an earthquake. Now looking at Job 41:29 (LXX) compared with MT לְרַעַשׁ seems a good match but certainly not geographical.Now look at Isaiah 15:5 (LXX) compared with MT שֶׁבֶר the breaking apart of something by a cry (as you say metaphorical). So again not geographical in a natural sense since 15 as a whole is referring to the outcomes for the peoples of these locations.Not tied directly to commotions in nature but to the peoples."shaking of people would seem to be metaphorical", yes. This is why I mention Har Meggido - we assume Har to be in effect an idiom which seems reasonable since we see no literal mountain but there is tel meggido - in effect a man made mountain of cities built on top of each other (maybe one of the oldest on the planet). I cannot see how contemporary states would see this as a mountain in any other way than trade though - so again metaphorical.So coming back to my original point - Mat 24:7 & particularly how in hebraic thought and language pivotal event are usually described more than once in varying ways (compare Gen 1:27 & Gen 19:24). This is talking about nation/kingdom. So why should we interpret as a literal earthquakes? Interestingly κατὰ μονάς apparently is listed in BDAG as an idiom - not the same but interesting.Sorry if I am laboring this but I want to set my mind to rest on this point one way or the other.
Edgar,http://biblehub.com/commentaries/matthew/24-7.htm"Earthquakes. Commentators relate the occurrence of such commotions at Rome, in Crete, Laodicea, Campania, etc., and at Jerusalem (Josephus, 'Bell. Jud.,' 4:04. 5; Tacitus, 'Ann.,' 12:43, 58; 14:27; 15:22; Seneca, 'Ep.,' 91. 9; Philostraius, 'Vit. Apollon.,' 4:34; Zonaras, 'Ann.,' 11:10). Nosgen takes the term "earthquakes" in a metaphorical sense as equivalent to ταραχαί, and implying mental perturbations; but it seems incongruous to admit a metaphysical prognostication in the midst of a notice of a series of material phenomena. In divers places; κατὰ τόπους: per loca (Vulgate). Some render the words, "in all places,"Presumably the reference is to Karl Friedrich Nosgen?I am not looking at it as a metaphor but more in the sense of an idiom that is still a material phenomenon, just not of the land but rather the people of the nations/kingdoms.
Duncan,Job 41:29 is probably not referring to a literal shaking of the earth, but it illustrates how seismos can refer to a shaking or commotion whether of the earth or otherwise. Isa 15:5 is an interesting example. NETS LXX renders the passage: "The heart of Moabitis cries aloud within her as far as Segor, for she is a three-year-old heifer. And on the ascent of Louiththey will go up to you weeping; by the way of Haroniim she cries aloud, 'Destruction and an earthquake!'"The prophet could be referring to a cry that resembles destruction or a cry "on account of" destruction (Joseph A. Alexander).I'm not sure at this point whether a literal or figurative earthquake is possibly meant in the LXX.
One other observation about this issue. J.B. Rotherham (in a footnote on Mt 28:2) says that SEISMOS generally refers to an "earthquake" although he does not believe that's the case in 28:2. But see other translations like KJV, NIV, and NWT. We must look at the context and study how the ancients employed a word or idiom to understand what was likely meant in a particular verse. The occurrence of κατὰ τόπους along with the other events mentioned leads me to think that Mt 24:7 is referring to the literal earth quaking. Compare Ezek 38:19 and Rev 11:13 among other verses.
Edgar,https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.earth-prints.org/bitstream/2122/1455/1/10%2520mazza.pdf&ved=0ahUKEwjBpev3nrLLAhUmQJoKHanoDmQ4HhAWCCcwBQ&usg=AFQjCNHh5Dh_BuBoC5IMytkwRK_YOW4M8A&sig2=koKQELCAqmvExn1RovDpNwI think you will find this interesting.
Thanks, Duncan. It does look interesting and I've already checked out some of the document's contents. A worthwhile and informative read.
It does make me wonder about the re-occurrence of certain idioms throughout history, possibly being inherent to the human condition.Is this the same as the term "shakedown" in used today?Shaking the coins out of someones belongings or pockets.
What do you think about the RP Byzantine Majority Text 2005Ἐγερθήσεται γὰρ ἔθνος ἐπὶ ἔθνος, καὶ βασιλεία ἐπὶ βασιλείαν· καὶ ἔσονται λιμοὶ καὶ λοιμοὶ καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους.
Duncan,regarding the word "shakedown," see https://books.google.com/books?id=RUN-TGktYLYC&pg=PA178&dq=seismos+extortion+shakedown&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwif68C0nrTLAhUFSyYKHSojCnQQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=seismos%20extortion%20shakedown&f=falseCompare Lk 3:14As for the RP Byz Maj Text: Part of the lectio is reflected in Lk 21:11: κατὰ τόπους λοιμοὶ καὶ λιμοὶ ἔσονται (WH)But we can see the syntactical difference between these readings. On the other hand, I don't see anything that remarkable about καὶ σεισμοὶ κατὰ τόπους. See also Mk 13:8.There's a good discussion of the text here: http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/wie/TCG/TC-Matthew.pdfWillker rates the lectio as "indecisive."
Thank you Edgar,http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/wie/TCG/This is a very useful resource.
http://stephanus.tlg.uci.edu/lsj/#eid=96280&context=lsj&action=from-searchDoes BDAG not have any information on these other definitions?What is the time span of documentation covered by BDAG normally?
BDAG might have a little more to say on this subject, but I am not within proximity of my copy now. Its focus is primarily nt usage. However, some classical and patristic references are included.
I checked again and that's the entire entry for BDAG on seismos.
I don't think Moulton-Milligan was posted the last time we had this discussion. See https://archive.org/stream/vocabularyofgree00mouluoft#page/570/mode/2up
Looks like diaseismos was a fairly common practice.https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=4aX-W6AVNv8C&pg=PA218&lpg=PA218&dq=diaseismos+extortion&source=bl&ots=A2p7DXfP8d&sig=ARjRAq_WVBU70AVSqC5fQok1TV4&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwia39P--sTLAhWLXBQKHd-xA-YQ6AEIHDAA#v=onepage&q=diaseismos%20extortion&f=falsehttps://books.google.co.uk/books?id=7HKFAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA132&lpg=PA132&dq=diaseismos+extortion&source=bl&ots=-To4GQ_AVf&sig=8GqGLNKJTkjAaS3aRPmkmSQwZmk&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwia39P--sTLAhWLXBQKHd-xA-YQ6AEIJDAC#v=onepage&q=diaseismos%20extortion&f=falseBut I noticed that one of the examples in my earlier reference does not use this form to indicate extortion.
Mat 23:25 αρπαγης puts my understanding on the radar at least. In terms of the historical perspective I see no shift in the time frame of the cumulative prophecy.https://www.aeaweb.org/annual_mtg_papers/2007/0105_1015_1002.pdfhttps://www.globalfinancialdata.com/gfdblog/?p=2750The fundamental point here is there is never really a market crash but rather the transfer of wealth from a majority to a small minority.
http://www.christswords.com/node/716This is all about context & this blogger has recognized the same issue.
One of the links I posted earlier has disappeared (.aeaweb.org) but I have managed to track down the original document:-https://archive.nyu.edu/bitstream/2451/26369/2/FIN-06-009.pdfToday this is called "quantitative easing".
the second link has also been shut down:-https://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:F235WfjgGl4J:https://www.globalfinancialdata.com/gfdblog/%3Fp%3D2750+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk
Could our normal understanding of this have more to do with terrae motus than seismos?
I understand what you mean by terrae motus, but while seismos could be used figuratively in some contexts and apparently is, there's good evidence that ancient Greeks and Jews used the word for literal earthquakes too.
In Luke 21:10-11, we start with wide spread war ""Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom" followed by "great earthquakes". Could it possibly be that the "great earthquakes" in this context may well be the use of nuclear weapons on multiple countries? Obviously Jesus could not say "nuclear weapons" as no one of his day knew what that was. The damage of great earthquakes and nuclear weapons can be comparable. And if there is to be a third world war, which is looking more and more likely, then no doubt these weapons will be used.US and Russia could 'start Third World War over Syria conflict', says Turkeyhttp://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/us-russia-third-world-war-syria-conflict-aleppo-turkey-deputy-prime-minister-numan-kurtulmus-a7366571.html
Brilldag came in ahead of schedule.Pg1901 on seismois is extremely comprehensive and we have variants that can be understood as extortion and blackmail.I'm an not able to type out the details as yet.
Congrats on the book acquisition, Duncan--thanks for also emailing the images for SEISMOS. I noticed that the refeences appeared to be all classical, but maybe some biblical references are included; either way, I still want to buy the Brill work.
Yes they are late classical. I have been searching elsewhere and have found references that include dia seismos through to the third century CE.but not just seismos for this kind of meaning as yet.
One thing that does interest me and may be coloring the interpretation of seismos at Mat 24:7 & Mark 13:8 is the additional remarks at Luke 21:11.Where does it come from, why is not something this significant in the other accounts?Anything do do with any of these verses?LXX Gen 1:14Mat 16:3Rev 13:13
On the definitional subject, no source that I've consulted so far denies that Mt 24:7 is discussing literal earthquakes. We've been through the diachronic-synchronic distinction, so I don't see a need to revisit that debate now. Classical and patristic lexical evidence are important, but synchronic data could be the best. You might also like this study, and benefit from its contents. Wish I had time to read it, but other concerns are placing demands on my time. See http://escholarship.org/uc/item/9rv3v8tc
Looks like I have got two to read:https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download%3Fdoi%3D10.1.1.393.3596%26rep%3Drep1%26type%3Dpdf&ved=0ahUKEwiBovf5v9HQAhVnKsAKHVIKAFwQFggtMAU&usg=AFQjCNGtgC28Hxo-6EMZJq7QA1zvKW6Q5w&sig2=Q5ObxWTJfY0ItTIU6MMEEw
To make the same arguments again would be pointless but I still think mat 24:7 could have this meaning. There is no way to prove it that I can think of. Even if I could prove a contemporary usage I would still not prove it for this verse. So let me look at contemporary associations at Luke 3:14 nwt. See footnotes. Soldiers (war) specifically associated with extortion.
Somebody might have that view of 24:7, but I still think context must be king, as you say. After studying Isa. 11 which will constitute our Bible reading around 12/25, it's apparent that prophecies can have multiple meanings/fulfillments. I just have to see a reason for imputing that meaning to the text. A source I also consulted today for seismos said that the word usually has a literal meaning in the NT, but there are metaphorical uses. In REvelation, for instance.
There is another interesting point at Matthew 24:2.How did the stones become separated? - this could have been understood as earthquake (cf. Joshua 6)
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