Book Announcement

pericopeadulteraeLast April, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary hosted a conference on the  Pericope Adulterae. Conference participants discussed whether or not the passage of the woman caught in adultery was original to John’s Gospel or if it was a later interpolation.

I’m pleased to announce that the essays from the conference will be published by Bloomsbury’s Library of New Testament Studies!

The book will be titled The Pericope of the Adulteress in Modern Research and will be co-edited by David Alan Black and Jacob N. Cerone (!). The contents of the volume with their tentative titles are below:

Foreword:  Gail O’Day

Preface: David Alan Black

Introduction: Jacob N. Cerone

Chapter 1: John David Punch – “The Piously Offensive Pericope Adulterae

Chapter 2: Jennifer Knust – ” ‘Taking Away From': Patristic Evidence and the Omission of the Pericope Adulterae from John’s Gospel”

Chapter 3: Tommy Wasserman – “The Strange Case of the Missing Adulteress”

Chapter 4:  Chris Keith – “The Pericope Adulterae: A Theory of Attentive Insertion”

Chapter 5: Maurice Robinson – “The Pericope Adulterae: A Johannine Tapestry with Double Interlock”

Chapter 6: Larry Hurtado – “The Pericope Adulterae: Where from Here?

Make sure to keep an eye out for its release. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as it gets closer to publication.

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Greek Morphology of the Afternoon

Yesterday I mentioned that the ω and ουσιν endings of the first singular and third plural respectively were not as straight forward as we might like to believe. Instead of overloading the few that made it through the post, I decided to save this discussion for a different day. Today is that day.

Technically, according to Smyth’s Greek Grammar for Colleges, the present active indicative first singular has no ending. This might seem odd since λυω has the stem form λυ. But why the ω? The ω comes from the omicron, the thematic vowel.

Since there is no ending, the thematic vowel, omicron, lengthens, becoming ω. Thus:

λυ + ο + ø ending
λυ + 0
λυω <– lengthened omicron becomes omega

Now that we’ve solved the case of the lengthened omicron, we can turn our attention to the enigmatic ου in the third person plural of λυουσι(ν).

Would it surprise you to know that the third person plural ending is actually νσι(ν)? Here’s how we get λυουσιν:

λυ + ο + νσι(ν)
λυ + ο – ν + σι(ν)
λυ + ο + σι(ν)
λυ + ου + σι(ν)
λυ + ουσι(ν)

When the ν combines with the σ, the ν drops out. Greek makes up for the loss of the ν through compensatory lengthening. Thus, the thematic vowel omicron becomes the diphthong ου.

The more you know!

(nb: The original third plural ending was οντι and is retained as such in Doric Greek. In Attic Greek, τ very often becomes σ. Thus, οντι becomes ονσι, which drops the ν because of the νσ combination, and then lengthens the thematic vowel to ου and producing the final form ουσιν)

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Greek Morphology Lesson of the Evening

If you’ve learned Greek, you know that the present active indicative paradigm for λυω is:

λυω      λυομεν
λυεις    λυετε
λυει      λυουσιν

You also learned that the ε and the ο are not a part of the “true” person-number endings of the verb.

λυω      λυομεν
λυεις    λυετε
λυει      λυουσιν

(nb: I haven’t bolded the ω and ου because I don’t want to overwhelm you by telling you that more is involved in the formation of those forms. So…just disregard that for now).

Have you ever wondered why we have ει instead of ε for λυεις and λυει?  I, for one, just accepted it as being a part of the person number suffix endings. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that.

Let’s take the third person singular λυει for example. It comes from the verb λυω, which means that the stem of this verb is λυ. But it’s “true” ending isn’t ει. It’s σι. Whence comes σι?

Well, the theme vowel (ε, ο), which comes between the stem and the ending would be, in this example, an ε. This is according to the rule that says ο is the theme vowel when before μ or ν, and an ε before any other letter.

That gives us the following form:

λυ + ε + σι

But Greek doesn’t like having an intervocalic (between two vowels) sigma. Thus, the sigma drops out:

λυ + ε – σ + ι

That leaves us with:

λυ + ε + ι

And, according to the rules of contraction, the epsilon contracts with the iota to form the diphthong ει, giving us the final form:


Stay tuned to find an explanation for why we have ω in the first singular and ουσιν for the third plural.

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Greek Morphology Lesson of the Evening

Have you ever wondered whence comes the nominative singular for ear, οὖς, when the genitive is ὠτός?

Well, with third declension nouns, it is best to find the stem of the word by going to the genitive singular and removing the ος ending. That leaves us with ωτ.

But why the ου and where did the τ go?

Well, when we add the nominative singular ending σ to the τ  on the stem of the word, the τ drops off because the combination τσ is not permitted within Greek. This leaves us with ως. But why ου?

Often, though not always, when a word loses a consonant or consonants, a vowel is lengthened to make up for the loss. This is called compensatory lengthening. Thus, ως becomes οὖς.


ωτ + ς [stem + ending]
ω – τ + ς [stem – τ (because dentals and sibilants don’t play well with each other + ending]
ω + ς [stem + ending]
οὖς [stem (compensatory lengthening due to loss of τ) + ending]

ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκουέτω (translated “he who has ears, let him hear”)

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Free Book of the Month: Logos

Screen Shot 2015-03-31 at 10.01.01 AMLogos has a great free book of the month. Bervard Childs’ Isaiah commentary in the Old Testament Library is completely free…and you can add Leslie Allen’s Jeremiah commentary in the same series for only .99.

Just go to Logos, click on the Free Book of the Month banner, and get yours.

(Edit: the product page won’t be live until tomorrow. The link above will put both volumes in your cart. If you want more details about each commentary, here are the links to their individual product pages: Isaiah and Jeremiah.)

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Public Shaming of Christ


AD 200–250 image of a man kneeling before and worshipping the crucified Christ depicted as a donkey.

Earlier this afternoon I was reading along in the book of Hebrews and came across Hebrews 6:4–6:

For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

Now, these verses are among some of the most debated passages within the New Testament. To whom does the author refer? What does it mean they have tasted the heavenly gift and shared in the Holy Spirit? While these are all pertinent and necessary questions, I have no intention of addressing any of them. Instead, I want to take a look at the word παραδειγματίζοντας, “holding him up to contempt.”

It is a well known fact that the Romans would use crucifixion as a means of not only publicly shaming the victim but as an advertisement throughout that region that Rome didn’t mess around. If you are found guilty of the same crime, the same punishment would fall upon you.

This is precisely what the word παραδειγματίζω “hold up to contempt” or “disgrace publicly” is getting at. As we look through the LXX, the Greek version of the Old Testament, we find it used in a number of places. Though crucifixion isn’t in view in these instances [[Edit: As J. K. Gayle has pointed out over at BLT, crucifixion is indeed in view in the Esther passage cited below. My apologizes for this oversight.]], the punishment that befalls these individuals is meant to serve as a warning to the larger community:

  • Num. 25:4 “And the Lord said to Moyses, “Take the chiefs of the people, and make an example of them to the Lord before the sun, and the anger of the Lord’s wrath shall be turned away from Israel.”

  • Esth. 14:11 “O Lord, do not surrender your scepter to those who don’t exist, and do not let them laugh at our downfall, but turn their plan against them, and make a public example of him who began this against us.”

  • Dan. 2:5 “Then the king said in reply to the Chaldeans, “Unless you tell me the dream with certainty and disclose its sense, you will be made an example, and your possessions will be expropriated into the royal treasury.”

In Numbers, those who were initiated into Beel-Phegor (idolatry) were to be made an example of, as was Hammond for his plot against Mordecai in Esther and the Chaldeans if they failed to interpret the king’s dreams.

On Hebrews 6:6, Guthrie writes in his NIV Application Commentary:

The language of crucifixion and public shaming is both potent and ironic. Instead of being blessed by accepting the forgiveness found in the crucified Christ, the ones who have fallen away identify with those who used the cross as an ultimate expression of rejection. Instead of being shamed in the eyes of the world by identification with the Son, “bearing the disgrace he bore” (13:13), the apostates stand with those before the cross who cast insults, disparaging Christ’s claims as the true Messiah (p. 220).

Now, I’d like to offer an inter-textual addition to this interpretation. [[Nota Bene:  I’m not suggesting that the author of Hebrews is drawing upon this text or even that he had it in mind. That is to say, the following observation is not offered on the basis of the Hebrews’ awareness of Colossians or vice versa.]]

In Colossians 2:13–15 we find an interesting understanding of Christ’s crucifixion:

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.

Colossians 2:15 [widescreen]The word used in Colossians is the uncompounded form of παραδειγματίζω and is similar to the usage found in Hebrews. Paul, in Colossians, is saying that, though the rulers and authorities intended to put Christ to public shame by crucifying him, Jesus transforms that shame into his exaltation, the forgiveness of sins, and the shame of the rulers and leaders.

Now, here’s a tentative suggestion I would like to offer. If the Christian community at large understood Jesus’ crucifixion as an act that transforms an inherently shameful form of capital punishment into a means of exaltation and glorification that functions as the salvation of his people, then one’s rejection of Christ after having participated in the covenant community (however one defines that in the context of Hebrews) in effect denies that Christ’s death had any transformative function. Though they once would have seen Christ’s death as a reversal of the shame it was meant to be, they are now confirming that Christ died a shameful death at the hands of the Romans and should, thus, be disgraced and regarded as no better than the criminals and seditionists that experienced a similar fate at the hands of the Roman empire.

As I noted above, these are only some preliminary thoughts based upon the similarity of the two passages and I would love to hear any input you might have.

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QOTD: Mark Strauss on Mark 7:9

downloadI’ve been reading through Mark Strauss’ Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on Mark and found this great discussion on Mark 7:9.

7:9 He continued, “You are very good at rejecting the commandment of God in order to observe your own tradition!” (καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· καλῶς ἀθετεῖτε τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ θεοῦ, ἵνα τὴν παράδοσιν ὑμῶν στήσητε.) Mark introduces Jesus’ second response (vv. 9–13) with an introduction similar to the first (v.6). In standard English we can say, “He continued . . . ” In this case Jesus starts with the statement of principle and then moves to an illustration.

Jesus’ words are probably meant to be ironic sarcasm. While the Pharisees prided themselves in meticulously keeping the law, Jesus congratulates them for become [sic.] experts at “rejecting” or “nullifying” (ἀθετέω) God’s commands. The NAB captures the sense nicely: “How well you have set aside the commandment of God!” . . . . There is also a play on words with v.6. Just as Isaiah prophesied “well” (= “correctly”; καλῶς) about their hypocrisy (v.6), so they have done very “well” (καλῶς) at practicing that hypocrisy (v.9).

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