Wednesday, May 27, 2020

2 Corinthians 8:18, 22--Identity of the Unnamed Brother

Greek (WH): συνεπέμψαμεν δὲ μετ' αὐτοῦ τὸν ἀδελφὸν οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ διὰ πασῶν τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν

NET: "And we are sending along with him the brother who is praised by all the churches for his work in spreading the gospel."

Who was the unnamed brother (τὸν ἀδελφὸν) accompanying Titus (see verses 16-17)? No doctrinal point seems to turn on knowing his identity, but the question routinely has preoccupied scholars. Compare also 2 Cor. 8:22.

Ellicott warns us that we can do no more than conjecture this brother's identity, but going along with the patristics, he indicates it might have been Luke.

Barnes reflects the same uncertainty as Ellicott, but he suggests Luke as Titus's companion while giving the reminder that this conclusion is far from certain. On the other hand, the Cambridge Bible states that the brother might have been Luke, Trophimus or Tychicus.

I'm not sure who the anonymous brother was, but I lean toward Timothy because of his role as one of Paul's συνεργοί.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

ἐπί, Places, and People (More from Harris)

Robert Bowman claims that ἐπί should not be rendered "over" when it occurs with place names, but that view certainly is not right. See

Another claim has been that ἐπί should be rendered "on" when persons are being discussed. I've argued contra that view on this blog, but the following quote indicates another reason for rejecting that view.

Murray J. Harris (Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament, page 266, electronic version) writes:

"in marking 'power, authority, control of or over someone or someth[ing]' (BDAG 365c), ἐπί is found with: the accusative (Lk 12:14), 'as judge over you' the genitive (Lk 12:42), 'over his household servants' the dative (Lk 12:44), 'set over all his possessions'"

Two out of three examples above deal with persons ("you" and "household servants,") so how can it be true that ἐπί + the genitive must be translated "on" when the referent is personal rather than impersonal?

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Diagnosing the Human Condition: Christianity v. Hinduism

Leslie Stevenson wrote a book that has seen numerous iterations: I guess it's now called Thirteen Theories of Human Nature. See

One interesting thing that Stevenson and the other authors of this book do, is compare varying diagnoses for the human condition. What is wrong with humanity? Why are humans so aggressive? Why do we fight one another, envy and slay one another? The answers to these questions are manifold, but a stark difference between Hinduism and Christianity can be witnessed by how each religion answers this question.

The basic Hindu answer to the human predicament is ignorance (avidya). We could say that for Hindus, speaking generally, human problems occur for epistemological reasons whereas the answer Christianity that gives is sin (Romans 5:12; 7:15-23), which is somewhat of a moral failing although it's also a spiritual problem--spiritual in the sense of being related to Almighty God. The heart of a human is bad from his youth up--that is why we sin and commit evils against God and others (Genesis 8:21; Jeremiah 17:9).

This is just one way among many that Hinduism differs from Christianity.

For more on avidya, see

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

One Explanation of Pahad Elohim and Yirat Elohim (Screenshot)

The Most Popular Scripure That Non-Witnesses Ask Jehovah's Witnesses to Defend Is?

Greek: Ἐν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος.

NIV: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."

I have not taken a formal poll or studied this question scientifically, but it seems that the verse I've been asked about, more than any other, is John 1:1, particularly, John 1:1c.

Now we all know John 1:1c has been beaten to death kinda like a dead horse; therefore, I'm not going to keep flogging it, but let's briefly consider John 1:1a. Exactly what does Ἐν ἀρχῇ potentially mean? How should we understand this part of the verse?

The consensus among scholars is that John 1:1 references the same beginning as Genesis 1:1 does. That passage in the LXX states: ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν

Scholars debate just what "the beginning" of Gen. 1:1 is, but the important consideration here is that it's likely not some indefinite past or eternal past referenced in the verse. Genesis 1:1 is likely about the beginning of creation, that is, the initial point of the physical universe. Even if someone wants to question the Genesis 1:1/John 1:1 connection, it's still a fact that Greek grammar cannot settle the question pertaining to the timing for the Johannine Ἐν ἀρχῇ.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Murray J. Harris Discussing Philippians 2:10-11

I've been reading Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament by Murray Harris, and while I like some of what he does, I would venture to say these pronouncements stretch things a bit:

There can be little doubt that the climax of the “hymn” is found in the universal confession κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστός, but the four words that follow are certainly no anticlimax or afterthought, no merely formal appendage. Rather, they testify to Paul’s unwavering belief in the ultimacy of God the Father. The worship of the Son ultimately redounds to the glory of the Father, enhancing the divine prestige (cf. BDAG 257d); “wherever the Son is glorified, the Father is glorified” (Chrysostom). If the Son represents penultimacy in the divine economy, the Father represents ultimacy: at the end, God the Father will be “all in all,” utterly supreme (1Co 15:27–28). Paul can affirm not only that τὰ πάντα ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ (2Co 5:18) or ἐξ αὐτοῦ … τὰ πάντα (Ro 11:36), but also that εἰς αὐτὸν τὰ πάντα (Ro 11:36). Yet the Father himself has endowed Jesus Christ with the name (κύριος) that surpasses every name so that the title εἷς κύριος can be applied to Jesus (1Co 8:6; Eph 4:5). Paul has clearly reformulated his inherited Jewish monotheism so as to include Christ within the Godhead.

That last sentence above doesn't have to be a stretch, but when read in a wider context, one sees that Harris is claiming Jesus Christ has been taken into a Godhead that was once monotheistic (or monolatrous), but it's now supposed to be a triune Godhead. As Jurgen Moltmann used to say, Christianity does not allow for "radical monotheism," but it must rather be tritheistic. My point here is that Philippians 2:10-11 can be read another way: it stretches the textual/scriptural language to implicate Paul in some reformulation of his Jewish monotheism which affirmed the words of Deut. 6:4; Isa. 45:5.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Matthew 6:13b (Murray J. Harris)

In the last clause of the Lord’s Prayer (Mt 6:13b), not ἐκ but ἀπό follows ῥῦσαι. In the NT ῥύεσθαι ἐκ denotes deliverance from nonpersonal evil (7×; note esp. 2Pe 2:9, ἐκ πειρασμοῦ), never personal enemies, while (elsewhere) ἀπό with ῥύεσθαι is twice used with persons (Ro 15:31; 2Th 3:2) and once with a nonpersonal object (2Ti 4:18). In Mt 13:19, 38 and probably 5:37, as also in Jn 17:15, ὁ πονηρός refers to “the evil one” (= the devil/Satan). If τοῦ πονηροῦ in Mt 6:13 referred to “evil,” we might have expected ἀπὸ παντὸς πονηροῦ (“from all/every kind of evil”; cf. πᾶν πονηρόν in Mt 5:11). Cf. 2Ti 4:18, ῥύσεταί με ὁ κύριος ἀπὸ παντὸς ἔργου πονηροῦ. The probability, then, is that τοῦ πονηροῦ means “the evil one” rather than “evil.”

From Murray J, Harris, Prepositions and Theology in the Greek New Testament, page 63 (electronic edition).

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The Victory Song in Psalm 68:15ff

I don't have a set view on Psalm 68:15-16, but here's something I found in the NICOT for Psalms:

Victory songs often contain not only a declaration of victory, but a coming of the divine warrior to his new mountain temple.⁴³ This is the content of vv. 14-16. Shaddai, another ancient name for God, appears in v. 14 (the Almighty), and the scattering of the kings is associated with snow, another form of God’s control over nature and water. Verse 15 continues to proclaim that once the kings are scattered, God settles into a home on the mountain. Scholars have offered a whole host of geographical places for the names Zalmon and Bashan, but the point of the passage seems to be God’s taking of the mountain, not the exact location of the mountain conquered. Verse 16 declares that the warrior king has settled, and thus the battle is ended: the LORD will dwell forever.

11QPsd appears to contain an extra word, zah (“here”). Only the first letter is visible, and the text is very fragmentary. This would help clarify the situation, for the DSS reads this as declaring a specific place for God on this mountain (Florentino García Martínez, Eibert Tigchelaar, and A. S. van der Woude, Qumran Cave 11: II, 11Q2-18, 11Q20-31 [DJD 23; Oxford: Clarendon, 1998], p. 72).

Monday, May 11, 2020

A Brief Lesson in Latin: Why Study It?

Why study or learn Latin? Why should anyone be preoccupied with a "dead language"?

I will give three reasons for studying Latin in this blog entry. Of course, I realize that most people will never study Latin in any great depth or at any great length, but I want to impart some knowledge of Latin and show why it's important to know the language to some extent.

1) Knowing Latin facilitates the study of ancient and medieval theology. Through a knowledge of Latin, one can study ancient or medieval documents in the original language. Scholars know that it's precarious to rely on translations. Furthermore, if one also wants to establish the most likely reading of the text, then it's essential to know Latin well. Some important works written in Latin include Adversus Praxean (Tertullian), De Trinitate (Novatian/Augustine), the Latin Vulgate and the Summa Theologiae. There's also the work by Peter Abelard entitled Sic et Non. The only way to appreciate these documents fully is by knowing Latin.

2) Since Jerome translated the whole Bible into Latin, and that Bible became the official text for the Catholic Church, we have another reason to study Latin. If one compares the Masoretic Text with the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Septuagint version (LXX), and the Latin Vulgate, his or her study of the Bible will be enhanced. Moreover, many notes in critical editions of Greek texts or Greek lexicons are written in Latin.

3) Study of Latin improves vocabulary, one's writing style, and it can build knowledge of literary tropes. My erstwhile professor in classics also concentrated on Greek meter when studying for the doctoral degree; he likewise introduced me to the wonderful world of Latin meter. Admittedly, I'm still trying to master Greek and Latin meter in my reading of classical poetry, but I'm starting to discern the value of poetic scansion.

Of the many fascinating aspects of Latin can be found in section 427 of the Allen and Greenough Latin grammar, which explains how Latin describes the concept of place without using prepositions. This is not to say that Latin avoids the use of prepositions altogether when delineating location, but it sometimes does. For instance with words like bellī, mīlitiae, and domī. Terrā marīque is another good one.

This post just illustrates the remarkable value that the knowledge of Latin has.

Saturday, May 09, 2020

Book Review of "Reliability of the Gospel Tradition" by Birger Gerhardsson (In Progress)

Birger Gerhardsson, Reliability of the Gospel Tradition, Hendrickson, 2001. Foreword by Donald Hagner.

Should we trust the four Gospels, particularly the Gospel of John? Modern scholarship as a whole has cast extreme doubt on the authenticity, veracity, and reliability of the four Gospels. While pushback to these critical tendencies has appeared, one thing that makes Birger Gerhardsson's book unique is his approach to the Gospel’s reliability. He contends that like a good Jewish rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth passed on his teachings to early Christian disciples and he made them memorize his teachings.

Gerhardsson's work consists of three sections: a) The Origins of the Gospel Tradition; b) The Path of the Gospel Tradition; c) The Gospel Tradition. These sections try to address questions raised during the European Enlightenment of the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries by Hermann S. Reimarus and David F. Strauss. They question the Gospel’s historicity, hence, their reliability. Especially was this the case with Strauss, who argued that the Gospels largely consist of non-historical myths. The most crushing blow to twentieth-century New Testament readers came with Rudolf Bultmann. He was a German theologian and New Testament scholar still highly respected for his learning and ability to examine texts. However, the downside to Bultmann was his skepticism towards and lack of concern for the Gospel’s historicity: all that mattered to him was Christian kerygma (proclamation), not facts about Jesus.

It is within this context that Gerhardsson sets his task. The assault on the Gospels’ reliability continues to this day. It has not abated. So we need a study that addresses claims of those who cast doubt on the Gospels. And one finds a solid answer to the critics in Gerharddson's study.

Strengths: He contends that the Gospels can be trusted because they contain dependable accounts of what the Master said to his disciples. Granted, the Gospels existed in oral form before Matthew, Mark, Luke or John wrote them down. Does this mean that by the time they were written, possibly thirty years later, the contents of what Jesus taught his disciples had radically changed? Gerhardsson argues that is not the case. For if we compare the methods of Jesus’ teaching with ancient rabbis and other oral traditions, it seems that no changes of the sort proposed by the Jesus Seminar or Bart Ehrman occurred. The statement could be established by the method Gerhardsson uses and by the results of textual criticism.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Titus 2:13 and the "Great God"

While studying the Greek papyri some years ago, I came across another example that might be of interest for the "great god" discussion that pertains to Titus 2:13: ASKLAS ONNWFRIS hO PROGEGRAMMENOS, OSMOLCIS ADELFOS WN KAI hIEROGLUFOS OSEIRIOS QEOU MEGISTOU.

If I find the text again, I will alter the characters to make them Greek, but I find the nomenclature for Osiris of interest. And he is surely being called "the most great god" (A.S. Hunt), not great one of God.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Important Biblical Dates: Do You Remember What Happened and When?

These are the dates given in Witness publications. Some of them may coincide with secular dating.

1037 BCE-
997 BCE-
ca. 740 BCE-
632 BCE-
607 BCE-
539 BCE-
537 BCE-
515 BCE-
455 BCE-
323 BCE-
167-164 BCE-

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

How Ancient Greek Changed (Taken from "Exegetical Gems")

Quote is from Exegetical Gems from Biblical Greek by Benjamin L. Merkle:

The Greek language used during the time of the writing of the NT is known as Koine (common) Greek (300 BC–AD 330). Before this era, the Greek language is known as Classical Greek (800–500 BC) and Ionic-Attic Greek (500–300 BC). Many significant changes occurred in the transition from the Classical/Attic Greek to Koine Greek. Here are some of those changes:

•The increased use of prepositions rather than cases alone to communicate the relationship between words (e.g., Eph. 1:5, προορίσας ἡμᾶς εἰς υἱοθεσίαν διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς αὐτόν, κατὰ τὴν εὐδοκίαν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ, “He pre- destined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,” NASB), as well as a lack of precision between prepositions (e.g., διά/ἐκ [Rom. 3:30], ἐν/εἰς or περί/ὑπέρ).

•The decreased use of the optative mood (found only 68 times in the NT). Most occurrences are found in formulaic constructions such as μὴ γένοιτο (“May it never be!” NASB; used 14 times by Paul and once by Luke) and εἴη (“could be”; used 11 times by Luke and once by John).

•The spelling change of certain verbs such as first-aorist endings applied to second-aorist verbs(εἶπαν instead of εἶπον, “they said”) and omega-verb endings found on some μι verbs (ἀφίουσιν instead of ἀφιέασιν, “they allow/forgive”).

•The increase of shorter, simpler sentences and as well as the increase of coordinated clauses (parataxis).

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Observations About Revelation 21:22

Greek Text: καὶ ναὸν οὐκ εἶδον ἐν αὐτῇ· ὁ γὰρ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ παντοκράτωρ ναὸς αὐτῆς ἐστὶν καὶ τὸ ἀρνίον. (THGNT)

καὶ εἶδον is a stock formula in Revelation, but here, John employs οὐκ with the direct object ναὸν, which is accusative masculine singular: "And I did not see a temple"

"Now I saw no temple in the city" (NET Bible)

Translation Notes for NET, Rev. 21:22:

tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. Every verse from here to the end of this chapter begins with καί in Greek, but due to differences between Greek and contemporary English style, these have not been translated.

tn On this word BDAG 755 s.v. παντοκράτωρ states, “the Almighty, All-Powerful, Omnipotent (One) only of God…(ὁ) κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ π.…Rv 1:8; 4:8; 11:17; 15:3; 16:7; 21:22.”

From D. Aune:
This explicit and surprising denial of the presence of a temple within the New Jerusalem suggests that the traditions with which John was familiar expected to have an eschatological temple as the center of the eschatological Jerusalem, for οὐκ εἶδον, “I did not see,” implies “I expected to see but did not.” One important issue is whether this extremely unusual view is possible only within early Christianity, or is it a view compatible with the apocalyptic outlook of segments of early Judaism? It is possible to regard the absence of the eschatological temple in this vision as part of an anti-temple and anti-priestly polemic that existed in various segments of early Judaism, though certainly the expectation of an eschatological temple would be the normal expectation of Jewish eschatology.

Aune, Dr. David. Revelation 17-22, Volume 52C (Word Biblical Commentary) (p. 1242). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

αὐτῇ is dative feminine singular of αὐτός, but usually rendered "it" rather than "her" in Rev. 21:22: That is, there was no temple "in it" (the city of New Jerusalem).

Heinrich Meyer:
They, therefore, need not the light of sun and moon; for[4355] the δόξα of God and the Lamb itself fill them with light.[4356] Here where, indeed, the description implies that the δόξα τοῦ θεοῦ corresponds to the sun, and that of the Lamb to the moon,[4357] it does not follow that the same distinction is made also in Revelation 21:11,[4358] because there it is only a φωστήρ that is mentioned, viz., the δόξα τ. θ. appears as φωστήρ, because it φωτίζωι (Revelation 21:23).

Sunday, May 03, 2020

Some Questions from an Old Testament Exam I Gave Years Ago (Posted for Fun)

I don't plan on getting written replies for this post, and I'm definitely not going to grade this exam. :)

1. Explain the significance of Israel's Passover feast. (short answer)

2. A man named ____________________ led Israel into the Promised Land.

3. What purpose did the Sabbath serve? Why did YHWH command that Jacob's progeny should observe the Sabbath?

4. Explain the ritual procedures for Atonement Day (Yom Kippur) and why it was observed. (essay question)

5. The book of Psalms is divided into ____________ parts of unequal length.

6. Job 38:7: “When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” is an example of __________________ parallelism.

7. The longest and shortest psalms respectively are Psalm _________ and Psalm ______________.

8. Job 3:3: “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night [in which] it was said, There is a man child conceived” is an example of ____________________ parallelism.

9. Proverbs 26:4: “Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him” is an example of _____________________ parallelism.

10. Discuss the family details of the prophets Hosea and Isaiah.

11. What is the main theme of Obadiah?

Philippians 1:23 and DE

Greek for Philippians 1:23: συνέχομαι δὲ ἐκ τῶν δύο, τὴν ἐπιθυμίαν ἔχων εἰς τὸ ἀναλῦσαι καὶ σὺν Χριστῷ εἶναι, πολλῷ γὰρ μᾶλλον κρεῖσσον,

NWT 2013: "I am torn between these two things, for I do desire the releasing and the being with Christ, which is, to be sure, far better."

Expositor's GT: "Philippians 1:23. συνέχομαι δέ (with most authorr.). δέ = 'rather'. Cf. Romans 4:20.— συνέχ. ἐκ. Apparently the idea is that of a strong pressure bearing upon him from (ἐκ the source) two sides and keeping him motionless."

Friday, May 01, 2020

Another Dialogue About EPI and Revelation 5:9-10

The following is a dialogue that I had some years ago about EPI in Rev. 5:9-10. I am now more convinced than ever that "over" is a more than acceptable translation for EPI in that context, and likely to be the right translation.

Greetings H*****,

Sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to you on this subject. I'm just offering a few closing remarks, but I'll be glad to allow you the last word, if there are any other observations you want to make. My replies will be indicated by my use of the abbreviation EF below.

H***** wrote:

"We are approaching the end of our discussion, but let me add a few comments to the new points you raise below"

Also, H***** said:
"Let us agree that both 'on' (location) and 'over' (jurisdiction) are possible (based on the grammars and major Greek-English lexica). We can cite dozens of translations, and the majority have chosen 'on'. This does not mean that the majority is necessarily right, but it does indicate that many translators believed this to be a possible and legitimate translation of the text, just like others believed that 'over' was to be preferred.

H***** continues:
The choice between 'on' or 'over' is not in my view based on the grammar or lexicons, but on what the text is not saying. It seems fairly clear from the context that this 'rulership' will take take place on what in Revelation is called 'earth' in contrast to 'heaven' and 'under the earth'. This is a very common contrast in Revelation (5:3,13; 6:13, 9:1, 12:4, 13:13, 14:7, 18:1, 20:11, 21:1). Whether the 'earth' in 5:10 refers to the earth during the 1000 years or the new earth, or both, is not clear. Many things in Revelation are not clear because of the many pictures and metaphors that are open to several interpretations. With the assumption that the ruling takes place on earth, it makes no real difference whether you say 'on' or 'over'. With another assumption, it seems to make a difference."

EF: With all due respect, H*****, none of the passages that you cite above substantiates the view that the "kings and priests" mentioned in Revelation (Rev. 5:9-10; 20:4-6) will rule "on" the earth. The writer of the Apocalypse juxtaposes the "new earth" with the "new heavens" (Rev. 21:1-2). This language has to be explained along with texts like Rev. 22:1-5 which suggests the fulfillment of what many have called the VISIO BEATIFICA or VISIO DEI. As far as appeals to context are concerned, that is fine, but we have to guard against subjective interpretations when we make that move. Finally, the choice for "over" is well established by what we read in the lexica and grammars. Of course, none of this means that we have to go with "over"; however, the preponderance of evidence from the best NT Greek research seems to favor it.

H***** wrote:

"And my point is that one needs to look at what kind of object is used for BASILEUW, if an object at all. This Greek preposition is indeed best rendered "over" when the object of ruling refers to people."

EF: You are the linguist, so I first granted you the benefit of the doubt. I still respect you concerning your field, but I do not believe that the conceptual (i.e., referential) and grammatical distinction that you are making between the preposition "on" being used for an object like the "earth" (i.e., the planet or land) and "over" being employed with reference to "people" will hold up under even the briefest scrutiny. The distinction does not appear to be one rooted in English grammar nor is it consistent with what we encounter in the GNT. For example, one English dictionary gives these examples for the preposition "on":

"In a position to rule or control: The director presides over the meeting.

There is no one over him in the department."

What about the nouns "meeting" and department" in these two examples. What about Matthew 24:47 (NWT): "Truly I say to you, He will appoint him over all his belongings" (AMHN LEGW hUMIN hOTI EPI PASIN TOIS hUPARXOUSIN AUTOU KATASTHSEI AUTON). Compare Acts 8:27 (hOS HN EPI PASHS THS GAZHS).

H***** replies:

"meeting and 'ruling over the meeting' is not quite the same. I doubt the second is natural English. The two NT passages listed support my point. To be placed or be in a position "over" someTHING is different from ruling someBODY."

EF: English is relevant because that is what started the whole debate and you have leaned on English semantics to make your case throughout this discussion. Moreover, we're trying to figure out how best to render Rev. 5:10 in English (the receptor language). Why would it not be relevant in this case?

My point with the quote from the American Heritage Dictionary is that in English one can speak of being "over" people. Therefore, the distinction you have made hitherto between being "on" with respect to people and being "over" something non-personal just won't stand. English does allow for us to speak of being "over" someone in the sense of exercising authority or ruling over a person(s).

H***** replies:
This Greek verb occurs 21 times in the NT. In the vast majority of cases (15) there is no explicit object, so the text does not use EPI or anything else to show what is being ruled over. There is one case with a simple genitive:

Then there are four cases where it is clearly a person or group of people who are being ruled over- and in these cases, the translation "over" is appropriate and agreed upon by all (RSV):

Luk 1:33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever

Luk 19:14 But his citizens hated him and sent an embassy after him, saying, 'We do not want this man to reign over us.

Luk 19:27 But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them,

Rom 8:14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam

Rev 5:10 is different from all of these.

H***** continues:
In one way, it is closest to Mat 2:22 since the area of rulership is here given as "Judea" or "the Judean (land)". But it is still different, because each king is recognized by the territory he rules, so you have a "ruler of Judea",
"ruler of Galilee". One could argue that Rev 5:10 ought to be without EPI if the sense is "ruling the earth".

The entry for EPI in BDAG (not the old BAGD) is worth reading again. I also need to look up the examples listed by the lexicon. BDAG states that EPI can function as a "marker of power, authority, control of or over someone or someth., over" (see the entry for EPI, 9a). Revelation 5:10; 17:18; 20:6 are included as examples for EPI apparently functioning in this way.

H***** replies:
It is questionable to say that "EPI can function as a *marker* of power, authority or control over". This is importing the sense of a verb into the sense of the preposition. In the case of BASILEUW EPI, it is the verb that carries the sense of ruling, not EPI. EPI may indicate either the jurisdiction of that power or the location where the power is executed. If the object refers to people, then jurisdiction (over) is in view. The old BAGD is better at this point, since it does not talk about a marker.

I have demonstrated that the conceptual distinction you are making vis-a-vis "on" and "over" is artificial and AD HOC. English grammar does not seem to require that we limit our use of "over" to impersonal entities. That claim does not appear to be correct. Concerning the argument that you make about BDAG's use of the word "marker," I fail to see the probative force of your objection in the light of how linguistics commonly uses that word: "An element that indicates grammatical class or function; a derivational or inflectional morpheme."

H***** replies:
Since there is really no parallel to Rev 5:10, it seems reasonable to me to take the verb as one of those standard cases where no object is explicitly given, but the place of rulership is "the earth".

What do you think of the examples that we have in 2 Kings 11:3; 2 Chronicles 22:12?


like Jehu ruled EPI ISRAEL in the preceding vers 10:36. In each case, the ruler and his/her subjects live in the same land. Translations vary, e.g. reigned over the land (RSV), ruled the land (NIV), ruled as queen (GNB), ruled the country (GW). Here it would not be appropriate to say "ruled on the land". One could say for Jehu that he "ruled in Israel" and for Athaliah that she "ruled in Judah". It all communicates the same thing. We have had kings and queens in my country for a thousand years. We could say that the king ruled Denmark. We might say that he ruled over Denmark in case we wanted to exclude Norway and Sweden (once ruled by Danish royals). We could also say he ruled in Denmark, but this would be more common if the king ruled both in Denmark and in Norway. We could never say he ruled on Denmark, but we can easily say "they will rule on earth". This has to do with the preposition "in" versus "on" that are used with different types of objects. We can also say "they will rule over the earth". But as soon as we use "world" rather than "earth" it is different. Then we can say "they will rule the world" (NJB does that for Rev 5:10), or "they will rule over the world". The reasons is that "world" often implies the people in the world (like KOSMOS in Greek), whereas "earth" does not normally imply the people living on the earth. (Rolf cited the Seidelin translation in Danish, but may not be fully aware that this translation often does not use normal Danish. Mrs. Seidelin was a poet and writer and she preferred poetic language for ordinary language. Why they chose "over" here I don't know.)

EF: Aside from the disagreement that I have with you on the point about using "over" for people, I concur with how you choose to translate the examples from the LXX and how you understand them from a referential aspect.

As a concluding part of this email, I thought the observations of Carl Conrad on this issue were illuminating. See


Edgar Foster