Translation Tuesday: Catenae Graecorum 03

ΚΕΦ. Α.

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.

CHAPTER ONE

 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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Seattle: Last Day of “Vacation”

We have finally arrived at the end of my parents’ stay in Bellingham. Before sending my mom and dad back to North Carolina’s summer heat, we thought it would be fun to spend the day exploring Seattle. We saw four things: the Space Needle, the Chihuly Glass Museum, Pike Place, and the Puget Sound. Here are the pics!

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Space Needle

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Neon Handblown Glass

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Persian Ceiling

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Lilly Pond (Not sure of the exact name)

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Very cool canoes

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Chandelier

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Glass House

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Pike Place

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Very first Starbucks

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Elijah and mom having fun after eating fish and chips.

As you can tell, we had a very fun time in Seattle and a delightful week with my parents. It will very difficult to get back in the swing of our routine, but I’m ready to sink my teeth into chapter 3 of my thesis. (That’s right. I finished and submitted chapter 2 before my parents arrived. It still has some edits and kinks to work out, but significant progress is being made!

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Artist Point at Mount Baker

Today, the Cerones went to Mount Baker and saw the gorgeous view there. Here are the pictures from our adventure:

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A shot of us all together

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Here we are before the hike

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Looks like it might make for a good climbing wall…for someone who isn’t me.=

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Several little ponds of water at the top of the mountain

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Mary Beth and Elijah just chilling out

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Of the mountain itself, I think I like the last two pictures the best. You get to see it reflected in the pond. If I’m honest, I would admit that the very last picture was taken my father…but we’ll just keep that a secret.

All in all, I think it was a rather successful trip. The first time we went up to Mount Baker—it was only about a month after being in Bellingham—there was snow everywhere. As a matter of fact, we couldn’t even get up to Artist Point because it was closed off. I’m glad we got to see it this time because the view was incredible. The pictures only tell a part of the story.

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Wise Words from 1 Clement

This evening I was translating a bit in 1 Clement and came across Clement’s praise of the pleasant qualities in his readers. Among the various qualities he enumerates, he writes the following in 1 Clement 2:6:

πᾶσα στάσις καὶ πᾶν σχίσμα βδελυκτὸν ἦν ὑμῖν. ἐπὶ τοῖς παραπτώμασιν τοῖς πλησίον ἐπενθεῖτε· τὰ ὑστερήματα αὐτῶν ἴδια ἐκρίνετε.

Every faction and every schism was abominable to you. You mourn for the transgressions [of your] neighbors. You judged their shortcomings your own.

What a profound difference that little word ἴδια (your own) makes. Our natural inclination—I use “our” as an extrapolation from my own inclination—is to omit that word: “you judged their shortcomings.”

Instead, Clement praises them for considering/judging their neighbors’ shortcomings as their own. Rather than distancing themselves from those who transgress, Clement’s audience grieves over their transgressions and places the impetus for forward progress squarely on their own shoulders.

My intent is not to eliminate the Christian’s ability to identify sin as sin. But my question is, how often is our first response a move inward rather than outward. That is to say, how often do we sit in judgment on those who transgress and fall short rather than reaching outward to those who transgress, recognizing that it is the responsibility of every believer to build up one another.

 

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My Boy Is Ahead of the Class

Since it’s a cloudy day here in Bellingham, E thought it would be a good idea to nap and then wake up to a light read of “Letzte Wirksamkeit in Jerusalem” in Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum. If only I had his discipline and intellect!

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Whale Watching

As promised, here are some of the shots from our whale watching excursion. We started off in Bellingham, went to San Juan Island (Friday Harbor), and made the return voyage. I will say, I was a bit disappointed with the adventure. For a whale watching cruise, there was a lot of cruising and very little whale watching (a grand total of ~6mins for an 8+ hr excursion). Nevertheless, here we go:

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Grandparents were spoiling him with brownies. Doesn’t he look pleased with himself.

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Ich und meine Frau. Sitting at the Bow of the ship.

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We found a window to peak our heads out of and none other than grandpa was down on the deck snapping pics.

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A couple ocras surfacing.

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Three whale coming up to the surface. We even got them blowing out water.

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Um . . . cool looking rock.

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 Here’s a hangout spot for bachelor sea lions. No, seriously, all the sea lions that can’t win a harem for themselves find refuge on an island together. They aren’t allowed to rejoin the pack.

A short video of the whales swimming about looking for something to eat.

Here is a very shaky video of the sea lions doing their thing.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more adventures in Washington. I’m certain we will be doing something outdoors with a gorgeous view.

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