Apostolic Fathers Greek Reader

If you are interested in an introduction to the Greek text of the Apostolic Fathers, it looks like GlossHouse will be publishing Greek Readers for the works within the corpus. My contributions to the project will be published in the collection of Ignatius’ letters (Smyraeans) and 1 Clement. The publication of the series came as a bit of a surprise to me. Initially, the project architects started without aims at publication, but, shortly thereafter, things changed! You can read all about the project and the methodology we are using here. Also, make sure to click on the picture to see what is going on over a GlossaHouse.

Thanks again to Brian Renshaw and Shawn Wilhite for the opportunity to participate in this exciting project.

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Yale Anchor Bible Commentary

I just noticed that the Anchor Bible Commentaries went on sale today for Accordance. The whole set (OT, NT, and Apocrypha) is available for the next week for the low price of $999. If you have that kind of cash, check it out here. I can’t tell you how much use Jack Sasson’s Jonah, Abraham J. Malherbe’s The Letters to the Thessalonians, Raymond Brown’s John and Epistles of John, and John Reumann’s Philippians have been to me over the years.

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Translation Tuesday: Catenae Graecorum 04

Ἐν Θεῷ Πατρὶ καὶ Κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ.

Ἰδοὺ πάλιν τὶ “ἐν” ἐπὶ τοῦ Πατρὸς καὶ ἐπὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ· πολλαὶ γὰρ ἐκκλησίαι καὶ Ἰουδαϊκαὶ καὶ Ἑλληνικαὶ ἦσαν, ἀλλὰ τῇ “ἐν Θεῷ.”

Χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη.

Τὸ χάρις ὑμῖν οὕτω τίθησιν, ὥσπερ ἡμεῖς τὸ χαίρειν ἐν ταῖς ἐπιγραφαῖς τῶν ἐπιστολῶν εἰωθαμεν. Τὸ δὲ “ἐν Θεῷ Πατρὶ,” ὡς καὶ ἡμεῖς ἐν Κυρίῳ γράφομεν· εἴ τις δὲ ἁμαρτίας εἴη δοῦλος, οὐ δύναται λέγεσθαι ἐν Θεῷ, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη. Ἴδες εὐθέως ἀπὸ ἐγκωμίων τὸ προίμιον τῆς ἐπιστολῆς, εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ Θεῷ πάντοτε περὶ πάντων ὑμῶν, μνείαν ὑμῶν ποιούμενοι ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν ἡμῶν. Τὸ γὰρ εὐχαριστεῖν τῷ Θεῷ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν, μαρτυροῦντός ἐστιν αὐτοῖς πολλὴν προκοπὴν, ὅταν μὴ μόνον ἐπαινῶνται αὐτοὶ, ἀλλὰ καὶ Θεὸς εὐχαριστεῖται ὡς αὐτὸς ἐργασάμενος τὸ πᾶν· διδάσκει δὲ αὐτοὺς καὶ μετριάζειν, μονονουχὶ λέγων, ὅτι εἰ καὶ ὑμεῖς ἐργάζεσθε, φησὶν, ἀλλὰ τῆς Θεοῦ δυνάμεώς ἐστι τὸ πᾶν· τὸ μὲν οὖν εὐχαριστεῖν, τῶν κατορθωμάτων ἕνεκεν, τὸ δὲ μεμνῆσθαι αὐτῶν ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν, τῆς ἀγάπης τῆς πρὸς αὐτούς. Οὐ μόνον δὲ, φησὶν ἐπὶ τῶν προσευχῶν μεμνῆσθαι, ἀλλὰ καὶ “αδιαλείπτως μνημονεύοντες ὑμῶν τοῦ ἔργου τῆς πίστεως καὶ τοῦ κόπου τῆς ἀγάπης καὶ τῆς ὑπομονῆς, τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ Κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ἔμπροσθεν τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ πατρὸς ἡμῶν.” Τί ἐστι τοῦ ἔργου τῆς πίστεως; ὅτι οὐδὲν ὑμῶν παρέκλινε τοῦ ἔργου πίστεως, εἰ πιστεύεις πάντα πάσχειν· εἰ δὲ μὴ πάσχῃς οὐ πιστεύεις. “καὶ τοῦ κόπου τῆς ἀγάπης·” τὸ φιλεῖν ἁπλῶς, οὐδὲ εἷς κόπος· τὸ δὲ γνησίως φιλεῖν κόπος πολύς· ὅταν γὰρ μυρία κινῆται τῆς ἀγάπης ἡμᾶς ἀφελκῦσαι βουλόμενα, ἡμεῖς δὲ πρὸς πάντα ἀντιτείνωμεν, οὐχὶ κόπος πολὺς, εἰπέ μοι;

In God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Behold again how he says “in” applied to both the Father and the Son. For there were many Jewish and Greek assemblies, but this is one which is “in God.”

Grace to you and peace.

He includes “grace to you” in this way so that we might be accustomed to rejoice in the writings of these letters. And “in God the Father” we also write in the Lord. And if anyone is a servant of sin, he cannot be said to be in God. “Grace to you and peace.” Do you see immediately from the beginning of the letter the way he praises them, “We give thanks always concerning all of you, making mention of you in our prayers.” For to rejoice in God for them is testifying to them about their great advancement, when they themselves are not only praised, but God also is thanked as having done all this himself. And he teaches them also to be moderate, all but saying, “Though you also work,” he says, “it is all from the power of God.” Therefore, that he gives thanks is on account of their virtuous actions, but that he remembers them in his prayers is from his love which is for them. “And not only,” he says, “do I remember you in my prayers,” but also “constantly remembering your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ before our God and Father.” What is the work of faith? That nothing turned aside your work of faith. If you believe, suffer all things. And if you do not suffer, then you do not believe. And what about “your labor of love”? To love simply is not at all a burden. But to love genuinely is a great labor. For when a thousand things are set in motion drawing away from our love, and yet we resist all these things, then say to me that it is not a great labor.

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The Ship’s Hold and The Belly of Hades: Another Great Find in La Bible D’Alexandrie

I found another helpful bit from La Bible D’Alexandrie: Les Douze Prophètes this afternoon. Here, they connect the ship’s cargo hold into which Jonah went down to sleep in 1:5 with the belly of Hades in 2:3. Though there is a conceptual link within the MT, that link is made more explicit by the LXX translator with the translation of בתן with κοιλία. On page 147, the commentators write:

~ “fut dans le ventre”: le mot koilia, “ventre”, repris en 2, 2 et 2, 3 rappelle koilē, “cale” de 1, 5, suggérant une assimilation  propre au grec entre le ventre du navire, le ventre du monstre marin et le ventre de l’Hadès. Le TM a deux mots différents pour désigner l’ “intérieur”, mē’īm, du poisson (2, 1; 2, 2) et les “entrailles”, beten, de l’Hadès (2, 3).

~ “was in the belly”: the word koilia, “belly,” taken in 2:2 and 2:3, recalls koilē, “hold” of 1:5, suggesting an assimilation unique to the Greek between the belly of the ship, the belly of the sea-monster, and the belly of Hades. The MT with two different words for the designation of the “inside,” mē‘īm, of the fish (2:1, 2) and the “entrails,” beten, of Hades (2:3).

By establishing the connection between Hades and the ship’s cargo hold, the translator strengthens the author’s depiction of Jonah’s descent away from God. This descent, at each stage, is depicted as a descent into death. Jonah go down into Joppa, finds a ship and goes down/embarks, goes down into the ship’s hold, goes down into a deep sleep, is cast overboard and goes down into the depths of the sea where he claims that he is in the belly of Hades.

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La Bible D’Alexandrie: Les Douze Prophètes

jpegFor the past day and a half now, I have been working my way through an important resource on the LXX text of Jonah: La Bible D’Alexandrie: Les Douze Prophètes. This is a resource I had attempted to get my hands on early in my studies but did not have access to until yesterday when a friend graciously emailed me the relevant pages.

Though the resource comes a bit late in my research and will significantly delay my writing (translating 30+ pages of French when you have only taken High School French takes a bit of time), I have already found the insights in the Introduction to be invaluable. For instance, I came across this quote yesterday:

Dans d’autres cas, l’intention du traducteur ne semble pas d’ordre stylistique mais plutôt théologique: pour exprimer la “crainte,” le TM n’a qu’un verbe, yar’, qu’il s’agisse de la peur éprouvée par les marins (1,5, 10) ou de la crainte de Dieu chez Jonas (1,9*); la LXX, quant à elle, emploie phobeomai (de sens neutre) dans le premier cas, sebomai (de sens specifiquement religieux) dans le second (p. 123).

In other cases, the intention of the translator does not seem to be for stylistic purpose, but rather theological: For example the word “fear,” the MT has only the one verb yar’, when experienced by the sailors (1:5, 10) or the fear of God in Jonah (1:9); the LXX, meanwhile, employs phobeomai (neutral sense) in the first case, sebomai (specifically religious sense) in the second.

(Note: As I mentioned, my French is not so good, so I pray you will forgive my smoothed over translation according to what I believe is the sense of the passage. Also, feel free to correct me as I am sure I will use this particular quote as support for my own findings.)

There’s much more like this and other insights throughout the chapter on Jonah, which makes the painstaking work of translation invaluable. I am hoping that this will continue to be true as I finish working through the Introduction and move into the meat of the translation/notes.

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Translation Tuesday: Catenae Graecorum 03


Ἔπαινος Θεσσαλονικέων ἐπὶ τοίς ἀξίοις τῶν Ἀποστόλων ἀγῶσιν.

             Παῦλος καὶ Σιλουανὸς καὶ Τιμόθεος.

(Χρυσοστόμου.) Ὁ μακάριος Ἰωάννης—τί δήποτε Ἐφεσίοις μὲν ἐπιστέλλων, καὶ τὸν Τιμόθεον ἐχων μεθ᾽ἑαυτοῦ, οὐχὶ συνέταξεν ἑαυτῷ· καίτοι γνωριζόμενον παρ᾽αὐτοῖς καὶ θαυμαζόμενον· “τὴν γὰρ δοκιμὴν αὐτοῦ γινώσκετε,” φησὶ, “ὅτι ὡς πατρὶ τέκνον σὺν ἐμοὶ ἐδούλευσεν,” καὶ πάλιν, “ὅτι οὐδένα ἔχω ἰσόψυχον, ὅστις γνησίως τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν μεριμνήσει·” ἐνταῦθα δὲ συντάττει αὐτὸν ἑαυτῷ; ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ, ὅτι τότε μὲν ἔμελλεν αὐτὸν πέμπειν εὐθέως, καὶ περιττὸν ἦν ἐπιστέλλειν τὸν τὰ γράμματα καταληψόμενον· φησὶ γὰρ, “τοῦτον ἐλπίζω πέμψαι ἐξ αὐτῆς,” ἐνταῦθα δὲ, οὐχ οὕτως, ἀλλ᾽ἐπανελθὼν ἦν εὐθέως, ὥστε εἰκότως ἐπέστελλεν· “ἄρτι γὰρ,” φησὶ, “ἐλθόντος Τιμοθέον πρὸς ἡμᾶς ἀφ᾽ “ὑμῶν.” Διατί δὲ αὐτοῦ προτίθησι τὸν Σιλουανὸν, καίτοι μυρία αὐτῷ μαρτυρῶν ἀγαθὰ, καὶ πάντων αὐτὸν προτιθείς; ἴσως μὲν ἐκείνου τοῦτο ἀξιοῦντος κατὰ πολλὴν ταπεινοφροσύνην, καὶ παρακαλοῦντος. ἐπειδὴ γὰρ τὸν διδάσκαλον ἑώρων οὕτω ταπεινοφρονοῦντα, ὡς τὸν μαθητὴν ἑαυτῷ συντάττειν, πολλῷ μᾶλλον καὶ αὐτὸν ἂν τοῦτο ἐζήτησε καὶ ἐπέδραμεν· οὐδὲν δὲ ἐνταῦθα αὐτὸς περὶ ἑαυτοῦ τίθησιν, οὐχ ὁ Ἀπόστολος, οὐχ ὁ δοῦλος· ἐμοὶ δοκεῖ διὰ τὸ νεοκατηχήτους εἶναι τοὺς ἄνδρας, καὶ μηδέπω αὐτοῦ πεῖραν εἰληφέναι· ἄλλως τε, καὶ ἀρχὴ τοῦ κηρύγματος ἔτι ἦν τοῦ πρὸς αὐτούς· ἀκούσας δὲ ἦν ὁ Ἀπόστολος θλιβομένους τοὺς Θεσσαλονικεῖς, καὶ δειλιάσας μήποτε μετατεθῶσιν ἀπὸ τῆς πίστεως, πέμπει Τιμόθτεον πρὸς αὐτοὺς ἀπὸ τῶν Ἀθηνῶν· ἐκείνου δὲ ἐλθόντος καὶ ἀπαγγείλαντος ὡς εἰσὶν ἑδραῖοι, χαίρων γράφει πρὸς αὐτούς· ἅμα δὲ ἀκούσας, ὅτι περὶ τὸν βίον ἐλαττώματά τινα εἶχον, καὶ πρὸς ταῦτα γράφει, καὶ αὕτη ἡ ὑπόθεσις· τὸ δὲ προοίμιον προεξηγησάμεθα “τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέων, τῇ ἐν Θεῷ Πατρὶ καὶ Κυριῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ.”

ἸΩΆΝΝΟΥ. Εἰκὸς ἦν ὀλίγους εἶναι καὶ οὐδέπω συνεστάναι· διὰ τοῦτο παραμυθεῖται διὰ τοῦ ὀνόματος τῆς ἐκκλησίας· ἔνθα μὲν γὰρ τολὺς παρεληλύθει χρόνος, καὶ τὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας σύστημα πολὺ ἦν, οὐ τίθησι τοῦτο· ἐπειδὴ δὲ ὄνομα πλύθους ἐστὶν ὡς τὰ πολλὰ τὸ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ὄνομα, καὶ συστήματος ἤδη συγκεκροτημένου, διὰ τοῦτο αὐτὸς οὕτω καλεῖ.


 Praise of the Thessalonians for their struggles worthy of the apostles.

            Paul, and Silas, and Timothy.

(Chrysostom) The blessed John—when writing to the Ephesians, and having Timothy with him, he did not include himself, being known and admired by them, he says, “For you know his character, that as a son serves his father, Timothy served with me,” and again, “that I have no one as like-minded, who will be as concerned as he is about you.” But here, does he associate Timothy with himself? It seems to me that then he was immediately about to send Timothy, and it would have been far too cumbersome to write the words, “the one who will deliver this letter.” For he says, “I hope to send him,” but here it is not the case. Instead, having returned, Timothy was nearby, so he likewise sent the letter. For Paul writes, “now Timothy has come to us from you.” But for what reason does he place Silas before Timothy, though indeed he testifies to the myriad good things about Timothy and places him above everyone? Perhaps Timothy thought it worthy and exhorted Paul to do so according to his great humility. For since he saw the teacher humbling himself thus so as to associate himself with his disciple, he sought and ran after this all the more. And neither does Paul here appoint for himself a title, neither “an Apostle” nor “a servant.” It seems to me that he did not include a title because the men were newly instructed, and they had not yet encountered an issue on account of him as of yet, and because it was still the beginning of his preaching to them. And when the Apostle heard about the Thessalonians afflictions and being afraid that they might abandon the faith, he sends Timothy to them from Athens. When Timothy returned and brought news of how they were stable, Paul writes to them rejoicing. And at the same time he heard that certain people were dejected concerning life, he writes these things to them, and this is his advice. And now let us explain the introduction, “to the church of the Thessalonians which is in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

CHRYSOSTOM. It is likely that there were few people in the church and that it was not yet established. For this reason, Paul exhorts them by the name of the church. For where a large amount of time has passed and the whole of the church was composed of many people, he does not add this. But since the name is much the same as the name of many of those who attended the church and the whole having already been joined together, therefore he calls them the Thessalonians.

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Jesus, the Insurrectionist?

There are three elements within Luke 23 that I have always understood independently, but never put together as a coherent whole until today.

In 23:2, Luke narrates Jesus’ appearance before Pilate wherein the Jewish leaders claim, “We found this one misleading our nation and forbidding us to pay our taxes to Caesar and saying that he is Christ, a king.”

Never mind the blatant falsity of their statement since Jesus had explicitly stated that they should render to God what is God’s and to Caesar what is Caesar’s, the Jewish leaders claim two specific activities that would have created significant eyebrow raising for the Roman authorities:

  1. denying Caesar’s right to his tribute
  2. and claiming to be the rightful heir to the Davidic throne.

Combine these things with the claim that he was misleading the nation over which Pilate governed a part of meant certain trouble. Jesus, according to the Jewish leadership, was an insurrectionist in an historically unstable subject-nation.

Pilate, being unconvinced of Jesus’ guilt sent him off to Herod, only to have Herod send him back. After all the shuffling back and forth, Pilate convenes a meeting with the chief priests and rulers of the people and declares that both he and Herod have found no cause for imprisonment much less crucifixion.

And yet, the people remain unsatisfied with Pilate’s ruling, requesting he release Barabbas and not Jesus. Luke provides the identity of Barabbas in the relative clause of v.19: “[Barabbas], who was thrown in prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder.”

When I hear this passage preached, often much is made of the fact that Barabbas is identified as a murderer and little of his activities as an insurrectionist. While his murderous act(s) are a part of Luke’s description, it seems to be contextually tied to his insurrection.

My point?

The chief priests and the rulers accused Jesus of inciting insurrection against Roman rule and are, at the same time, protesting Pilate to release a known insurrectionist.

Luke further compounds the ridiculousness of their hypocrisy by depicting the chief priests and rulers as threatening insurrection themselves. Notice how Luke recounts the event in 23:18–25:

  • “they all cried out together, ‘Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas’ “
  • “they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’ “
  • “they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.”

In sum, the chief priests and rulers accuse Jesus of insurrection, demand Pilate to free a known insurrectionist, and are successful because they threaten him with insurrection.

Luke seems to present the narrative in such a way that minimizes Pilate’s participation in the whole affair by detailing three pronouncements of Jesus’ innocence and maximizing the ironic actions of the Jewish religious leaders. I noticed something similar in Matthew where he rarely refers to Pilate by his name but instead calls him ἡγεμών (governor).

I’m sure several studies exist that explore Pilate’s complicity in Jesus’ crucifixion as well as the Gospel writers’ presentation of his involvement towards specific ends, so these are likely not new observations. Just some initial impressions as I translate my way through the NT.

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