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.

No comments: