Thursday, December 31, 2020

How Do Scholars Understand ἀπάντησις These Days? (Part II)

The feminine noun ἀπάντησις occurs three times in the GNT: Matt. 25:6; Acts 28:15; 1 Thess. 4:17. Each occurrence is also in the accusative case.

William Mounce provides this definition: "a meeting, encounter, εἰς ἀπάντησιν to meet"

1 Thessalonians 4:17 (SBLGNT):
ἔπειτα ἡμεῖς οἱ ζῶντες οἱ περιλειπόμενοι ἅμα σὺν αὐτοῖς ἁρπαγησόμεθα ἐν νεφέλαις εἰς ἀπάντησιν τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα· καὶ οὕτως πάντοτε σὺν κυρίῳ ἐσόμεθα.

Rogers and Rogers:
ἀπάντησις meeting. The word had a technical meaning in the Hellenistic world related to the visits of dignitaries to cities where the visitor would be formally met by the citizens, or a deputation of them, who went out from the city and would then ceremonially escort him back into the city (Best).


ἀπάντησις, εως, ἡ (s. ἀπαντάω; Soph.+; Polyb. 5, 26, 8; Diod S 18, 59, 3 et al.; ins, pap, LXX; TestJob 9:7; EpArist 91; Jos., Ant. 7, 276; Philo, Quod Deus 10, 166; s. Nägeli 30; Mlt. 14, n. 4; 242; loanw. in rabb.) meeting only in the formula εἰς ἀπάντησιν (LXX freq. in friendly and hostile mng.) to meet. Abs. (PTebt 43 I, 7 [118 b.c.] παρεγενήθημεν εἰς ἀ.; 1 Km 13:15) ἐξέρχεσθαι εἰς ἀ. [αὐτοῦ] Mt 25:6 (many mss. variously read a gen. or dat. pronoun, and some omit it [s. also the variants for J 12:13]). W. dat. (1 Km 4:1; 13:10; 1 Ch 14:8; Jos., Ant. 13, 101) ἔρχεσθαι εἰς ἀ. τινι (Jdth 5:4) Ac 28:15. W. gen. (Pel.-Leg. p. 19; 1 Km 30:21; 2 Km 19:26) Mt 27:32 D. ἁρπάζεσθαι εἰς ἀ. τοῦ κυρίου εἰς ἀέρα be snatched up to meet the Lord in the air 1 Th 4:17 (s. EPeterson, D. Einholung des Kyrios: ZST 7, 1930, 682–702.—Diod S 34+35, Fgm. 33, 2 of bringing in the Great Mother of the gods by the Romans).—DELG s.v. ἄντα 1. M-M. TW.

Jeffrey A.D. Weima (Baker Exegetical Series):
"Although not all of these elements of a Hellenistic formal reception parallel the events surrounding the return of Christ described in 1 Thess. 4:15–17 (see the six points raised by Cosby 1994: 28–31), the differences can be readily explained (see the response to Cosby by Gundry 1996); thus it is highly probable that Paul’s use of apantēsis reflects this civic custom in antiquity (so most commentators). This conclusion is all the more convincing in light of the preceding reference to Christ’s return with the term parousia. As Green (2002: 227–28) declares: 'Since the context of this formal reception is the time of the royal parousia of the Lord (v. 15), there remains little doubt that this custom formed the background of this teaching.'"

See Colin R. Nicoll, From Hope to Despair in Thessalonica: Situating 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Pages 45-48.

Robert H. Gundry. “A Brief Note on “Hellenistic Formal Receptions and Paul’s Use of ΑΠΑΝΤΗΣΙΣ in 1 Thessalonians 4:17.” Bulletin for Biblical Research, Vol. 6 (1996): 39-41.

Monday, December 28, 2020

How Do Scholars Understand ἀπάντησις These Days? (Part I)

From time to time, I've posted material that deals with 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and the word, ἀπάντησις. This entry will update some of what I've previously written:

For the Greek words απαντάω and ἀπάντησις, Louw-Nida records that ἀπάντησις here can refer to a meeting, "either in a friendly or hostile sense." It adds that the term may also denote: "to draw near, to meet, to meet up with" (L-N 15.79). Most importantly, this Greek-English lexicon points out that context will help us to grasp what kind of meeting is under discussion, whether it is hostile, friendly, or we could even add "meeting a dignitary."

I also took the liberty to consult Balz and Schneider's Exegetical Dictionary of the NT and they write that απαντάω in the NT, "always refers to a nonhostile meeting" (page 115).

The Exegetical Dictionary adds that the notion of απαντάω or ἀπάντησις being a terminus technicus for welcoming dignitaries upon their arrival is still disputed (see page 115ff) since the evidence normally provided for a terminus technicus in this regard is usually only evidence for a custom and does not buttress the terminus technicus usage.

Lastly, we read in Balz and Schneider that the context, as many linguists have suggested, should influence our exegesis of απαντάω and ἀπάντησις or any other term, for that matter.

I encourage you to read F.F. Bruce's entire discussion of 1 Thess. 4:17 in his Word Biblical Commentary, but here is part of what he relates after reviewing how NT writers use ἀπάντησις:

"But there is nothing in the word ἀπάντησις or in this context which demands this interpretation; it cannot be determined from what is said here whether the Lord (with his people) continues his journey to earth or returns to heaven. Similarly it is not certain whether the Son of Man, coming 'in clouds' (Mark 13: 26 par.; 14: 62 par.), is on his way to earth or (as in Dan 7: 13) to the throne of God."

Bruce, F. F.. 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Volume 45 (Word Biblical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 4195-4198). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Saturday, December 26, 2020

The Concluding Portion of Kevin Corcoran's "Rethinking Human Nature" (Pages 127-138)

I reviewed Corcoran's book here:

The following points represent scattered notes on his book, which I have taken some time to edit.

1. Kevin Corcoran makes an important distinction between gappy and non-gappy existence. A question that I have is whether gappy existence makes a difference in the resurrection, that is, a situation in which someone experiences an existential gap postmortem.

2. Immanent causal condition (ICC): pages 127-128. How does one define this terminology? What does it actually mean?

3. ICC and gaps of existence. Corcoran insists that an earlier stage of pre-gap existence must be causally relevant to a later post-gap stage of existence in order to safeguard personal identity.

4. ICC is supposed to be a diachronic condition for biological organisms and their qualitative identities such that ICC preserves a biological organism's identity qua identity. Page 131.

5. Corcoran dicusses the terms, "diachronic," "metaphysical must" and "nomological must" on page 131. It seems that "must" could be replaced with "necessity" in this instance.

6. Death is an enemy, which is a clear biblical teaching (1 Corinthians 15:26). See  p. 131. There should be no serious debate about this point.

7. The constitution view, p. 136. Bodies constitute persons like marble or wood constitute tables. Another example that Corcoran gives is dollar bills and diplomas: both things are constituted by paper but not identical with paper. In this part of the book, he unfolds exactly what the metaphysics of constitution signifies.

8. Is reductive materialism able to provide a suitable ethic that protects the life of a human fetus and others? Corcoran says "yes," but not by itself. The benevolent divine intentions of God must supplement a materialist theory of ultimate reality. Someone might raise the famous Euthyphro Dilemma to rebut the suggestion that God's benevolence provides a suitable foundation for ethics. However, a number of robust answers have been given to the dilemma, including one by Anthony Kenny. One problem with the dilemma is that it seems to presume there is a transcendent Good which exists prior to and beyond God.

9. Another problem is the act of defining what it means to be a "person." What defines a person? Is it the capacity for a certain range of intentional state or the capacity for self-referentiality? Or maybe both? Persons are also constituted by relations, according to Corcoran. One traditional definition of personhood is by Boethius and others, "an individual substance of a rational nature." But it seems that this definition of "person" will not work unless one nuances it (thus says Aquinas). Maybe another defining criterion that we could suggest for the word "person" is incommunicability. That is to say, a person is unique or cannot be reproduced without loss of personhood (e.g., cloning).

10. Materialism and the afterlife. See p. 137-138.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

David L. Turner Comments on Matthew 6:13 (Baker Exegetical Commentary Series)


Turner apparently thinks the "evil one" could be Satan or be a reference to evil itself, which seems to be depend on whether the noun phrase in Greek is masculine or neuter.