The Letter of the Roman Church to the Corinthian Church from the Era of Domitian: 1 Clement

I’m excited that my newest publication The Letter of the Roman Church to the Corinthian Church from the Era of Domitian: 1 Clement has now been released. It is a translation of Harnack’s famous little booklet on 1 Clement, as well as four additional articles that he penned on the letter. The publisher’s blurb says:

This farewell gift on 1 Clement to Harnack’s students of church history was formative for studies of 1 Clement for several decades after its publication, and it remains an influential work even in contemporary discussions of this ancient letter. Harnack contends that 1 Clement is the most important witness to early Christianity, and that a close study of this work will place the reader upon the right path to better understand its later developments. Also included within this volume are four influential essays that Harnack wrote throughout his career pertaining to 1 Clement as well as a historical introduction and assessment of Harnack’s work by Larry Welborn.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Daily Scriptures: 365 Readings in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin

Over the past year, I have been working on a volume for Eerdmans with my good friend Matt Fisher. And I am excited to announce that it has been completed, submitted, and officially given a title: Daily Scriptures: 365 Readings in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin.

The book consists of readings from the HB, LXX, GNT, and Biblia Sacra. Texts from the New Testament have been paired with those from the Old Testament where the NT authors have alluded to, relied on, borrowed from, shared thematic material with the passage from the OT. And then the pairings are arranged according to a salvation-historical framework. Lexical and parsing aids are provided in footnotes for each language according to statistical frequency (100x or less in HB and LXX; 30x or less in GNT and Vulgata). You can sett an example below

If all goes according to plan, the volume should be available in time for Christmas 2021 so you have a reading plan for 2022 ready to go!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Qumran, Judaism, and New Testament Interpretation

24184_00_detailOver the past two years, I have been working on translating about half of Prof. Jörg Frey’s essays on Qumran, Judaism, and New Testament Interpretation. I’m excited to say that that work has now culminated in the publication of Prof. Frey’s Qumran, Judaism, and New Testament Interpretation: Kleine Schriften III. 

The publisher’s blurb for the book is as follows:

How did the Qumran discoveries change New Testament scholarship? What are the main insights to be gained from the Qumran corpus with regard to the Jesus tradition, Paul’s language and theology, the dualistic language and worldview of the Fourth Gospel, or the formation of the biblical Canon? The articles of this volume present the fruits of 25 years of scholarship on Qumran and the New Testament.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Apostolic Fathers Greek Reader: Complete Edition

51CYtokxkSL._SX312_BO1,204,203,200_I’m excited to be able to say that Shawn Wilhite and my Apostolic Fathers Greek Reader: Complete Edition is now available for pre-order. It’s available in paperback and hardback formats, and contains all five volumes in one. If you have the previous 4 volumes (vol. 1, vol. 2, vol. 3, and vol. 4) and have been waiting for the release of the 5th and final volume, that is also now available: The Shepherd of Hermas (Apostolic Fathers Greek Reader). I hope these volumes will be an aid to those looking to expand their competency in Koine Greek and in the history, teachings, and doctrines of the early church.

Since this project has been a major undertaking and has gone through a number of iterations there are bound to be errors and typos. Feel free to send any when and if they are found to me at jacobncerone[at]gmail[dot]com. I will keep a record of them and implement them in the even there ever is a second edition.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

New Book: Polycarp, Papias, and Diognetus

41CQwMfTs0L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’m excited to announce that volume 3 of the Apostolic Fathers Greek Reader series has been released. This volume includes Polycarp, Papias, and Diognetus. Here’s a description of the book by the publisher:

The Apostolic Fathers Greek Readers series assists students of Greek in reading non-biblical Koine Greek. In this volume, readers will engage the Greek texts of Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians, The Martyrdom Polycarp, Papias, and Diognetus. Vocabulary words occurring less than 30 times in the Greek New Testament are provided to help students quickly read the text and focus on its syntax. This work also includes an introduction and a select bibliography that orients readers to the settings and theologies of each work. Together, these elements make this Greek reader an ideal resource for students of early Christianity.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of Greek beyond the New Testament, I strongly recommend you pick up this volume along with the other three volumes in the series (Vol. 1: Letters of Ignatius, Vol. 2 Didache and Barnabas, and Vol. 4: 1 and 2 Clement). And if this isn’t enough Greek literature for you, work is currently being done on the final volume, which will have Shepherd of Hermas.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

New Book: 1 & 2 Clement Greek Reader

41nnq247osl-_sx331_bo1204203200_I’m excited to announce that my (Shawn Wilhite’s, Jason Andersen’s, and Michael Haykin’s)  1 & 2 Clement Greek reader has been released. I had the pleasure of doing the Greek notes for 1 Clement, editing, and type-setting the volume. Here’s a description of the book by the publisher:

The Apostolic Fathers Greek Readers series assists students of Greek in reading non-biblical Koine Greek. In this volume, readers will engage the Greek text of 1 & 2 Clement. Vocabulary words occurring less than 30 times in the Greek New Testament are provided to help students quickly read the text and focus on its syntax. This work also includes an introduction and a select bibliography that orients readers to the life, setting, and theology of Clement. The bulk of the book focuses on the annotated Greek texts of 1 Clement (Jacob Cerone) and 2 Clement (Jason Andersen). Together, these elements make this Greek reader an ideal resource for students of early Christianity.

If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of Greek beyond the New Testament, I strongly recommend you pick up this volume along with the previous two (Letters of Ignatius and Didache and Barnabas). And if this isn’t enough Greek literature for you, work is currently being done on the Polycarp, Diognetus, and Papias volume (as well as the final volume which will have Shepherd of Hermas).

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Δεσπότης and the New International Dictionar(ies) of New Testament Theology

content1Are there significant differences between the first edition of the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology edited by Colin Brown and the revision by Moisés Silva? In doing some preliminary study of δεσπότης, I’ve pulled up various theological dictionaries and decided to see if there are any significant developments or changes within the newest revision of NIDNT.

For δεσπότης, at least, the answer is a resounding yes. Significant changes have taken place. I will only point out one  here:

Having defined the word, Bietenhard—the author of the original entry—turns to look at its usage within the Greek Old Testament. He writes:

OT despotēs occurs only about 60 times in the LXX. Where there is a Heb. original it mostly translates ’āḏôn, lord, master. The word is used less than kyrios. This was no doubt because despotēs expresses the arbitrary, unlimited exercise of power without any real conditions, which must have been foreign to Israel’s concept of God. For Israel had experienced the Lordship of God in his gracious, saving actions in history. . . . The retreat of the term despotēs in the face of kyrios is theologically significant.

This is a rather sweeping statement that has significant implications for theology or, rather, is highly influenced by a specific theological orientation. Bientenhard is not the only one that draws these conclusions about the word’s usage within the Greek OT, however. As a matter of fact, he has most likely gotten the idea from TDNT and has simply reworked it for this volume (see Rengstorf’s comments in TDNT 2:44–49).

Does the newest edition of NIDNT maintain this analysis? No. Instead, Silva completely revises this material, refutes it, and provides an alternative suggestion for the paucity of usage in the Greek OT:

The infreq. of δεσπότης in the canonical books may reflect a concern that this term expresses an arbitrary, unrestrained exercise of power, something foreign to Israel’s concept of God (cf. K. H. Rengstorf in TDNT 2:47). This consideration, however, fails to explain why the term is seldom used of human beings as well. Moreover, the fact that it is used at all with ref. to God (incl. many instances in the Apoc., e.g., 2 Macc 5:20; 3 Macc 2:2; Wis 6:7; Sir 23:1) suggests that Gk.-speaking Jews did not regard δεσπότης as a negative term. Because the word is used with greater relative freq. in the Apoc., Rengstorf states that “the term is not really at home in the biblical world and only comes to be more closely linked with it as the years pass” (TDNT 2:46), but it must be remembered that many of the OT books were transl. from Heb. into Gk. in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, i.e., about the same time as the books of the Apoc. were produced. Perhaps a better explanation is the simple fact that the Heb. language does not have a close equivalent to δεσπότης. Once the obvious correspondence between ָאדוֹן and κύριος had been established, no other Heb. term would have motivated the translators to use δεσπότης.

In view of contemporaneous or even later Hellenistic Jewish writings, Silva’s corrective here is of great importance. One particular author I have recently read has taken up the idea from Rengstorf that the use of δεσπότης for God is a more remote, abstract concept that, while present within the biblical texts is not really at home in them. As we read later Hellenized, Jewish authors, we see a more Hellenistic picture of God, one that depicts him as an abstract power that is not intimately involved within human affairs or the course of history. While it is not my intent to challenge the idea of Hellenization or even the idea that the word became more acceptable as a title for the Jewish (and Christian) God, it is important to not base that idea on faulty assumptions.

As a closing remark, I remind those working in the original languages not to be overly reliant on secondary literature. Even Silva’s revision must be tested and evaluated in light of the primary source evidence, to which I now return.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

Epistle vs. Letter

contentI found Deissmann’s comments in Light from the Ancient East concerning the differences between and epistle and a letter to be very insightful. This quote is taken within the context of a discussion of the non-literary papyri that contains a host of non-literary letters versus the genre of epistle, which takes on the form of a letter but is written not between two individuals within the context of a private exchange, but rather is written for the general public and possesses artistic qualities.

What is an epistle? An epistle is an artistic literary form, a species of literature, just like the dialogue, the oration, or the drama. It has nothing in common with the letter except its form; apart from that one might venture the paradox that the epistle is the opposite of a real letter. The contents of an epistle are intended for publicity—they aim at interesting “the public.” If the letter is a secret, the epistle is cried in the market; every one may read it, and is expected to read it: the more readers it obtains, the better its purpose will be fulfilled. The main feature of the letter, viz. the address and the detail peculiar to the letter, becomes in the epistle mere external ornament, intended to keep up the illusion of “epistolary” form. Most letters are, partly at least, unintelligible unless we know the addressees and the situation of the sender. Most epistles are intelligible even without our knowing the supposed addressee and the author. To attempt to fathom the soul of a letter-writer is always venturesome; to understand what an epistolographer has written is apprentice-work by comparison. The epistle differs from a letter as the dialogue from a conversation, as the historical drama does from history, as the carefully turned funeral oration does from the halting words of consolation spoken by a father to his motherless child—as art differs from nature. The letter is a piece of life, the epistle is a product of literary art.

Adolf Deissmann and Lionel Richard Mortimer Strachan, Light from the Ancient East the New Testament Illustrated by Recently Discovered Texts of the Graeco-Roman World (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1910), 220–221.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Logos and German Translation

Lately, I have been translating a lot of German. I have a number of tools that I use when trying to understand tricky passages or unfamiliar vocabulary. You might think that discovering the meaning of a German word used within biblical studies would be as easy as searching an online German-English dictionary. And in many instances you’d be right. For instance, is an indispensable tool that I regularly use. But, it doesn’t have close to everything.

That’s when I look for help elsewhere. And my Logos library, which includes a good number of German and English resources, is a big help. Searching my entire library for the word I’m struggling to define often produces results in the footnote of an English commentary that proceeds to talk about that term. If the definition isn’t outright given within the discussion, the context helps to make things clearer.

Other times, however, the search will produce a result in the Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Alten Testament, better known in the English-speaking world as the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament. Having these volumes in both English and German means I have a massive work that functions much like a diglot.

Let me give you an example. Today I was translating the following passage:

Nach seiner Interpretation der Grabungsbefunde ist die Anlage von Qumran insgesamt das Zentrum einer hochgradig organisierten religiösen ‚Sekte‘, der Essener, deren Mitglieder nicht nur dort, sondern auch verstreut in der Umgebung lebten und in der Anlage zu gemeinschaftlichen Begängnissen zusammenkamen, in den Werkstätten in Qumran oder der Landwirtschaft in ῾Ein Feshkha arbeiteten und schließlich auf den sehr großen Friedhöfen begraben wurden.

-J. Frey, Qumran und die Archäologie, 3

I couldn’t find the word “Begängnissen” in my German-English dictionary, my Langenscheidt’s DaF dictionary, on, and the definition of “celebrations” from didn’t quite seem right. So, I searched for it in my Logos library. Sure enough, THWAT (TDOT) produced two results:

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 1.47.46 PM

Clicking on the word opened the resource to the right page. Then opening TDOT from my library took me to the correct article.

Screen Shot 2017-10-20 at 1.51.11 PM

All I needed to do from here was navigate to the proper section in TDOT to discover that the translator uses the word “procedures” for Begängnissen.

Repeating this process for the second result, I found that the phrase “kultischen Begängnissen”  was translated as “cultic rites,” an expression that correlates nicely to the “cultic” or “sectarian” environment addressed in the passage I’m translating.

While neither of the uses of the word in these results dictates that it will be the same usage/nuance in my passage, it gives me a much better idea of the word’s meaning and allows me to make a better decision about how to translate it.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments

German Theological Vocabulary

Since I have been doing a considerable amount of translation lately, I thought it was time to start working on a toolkit of my own in the fashion of the Wayne Coppins’ German-English Dictionary. As I have been translating, I have encountered a number of technical terms or compound words that aren’t in any of the German-English dictionaries I have and aren’t in any of the online German-English dictionaries either.

To help me in my future translation and perhaps others that translate on a regular basis or need help reading through a work, I have provided the terms with the best English approximation I have come up with. I’ve also included some notes, a broader context of the word’s usage, the source of the quote, and—where necessary—a citation of whomever may have helped me provide a definition for the term when I was unable to come up with a solution myself. Although I only have about 30 terms in the spreadsheet at the moment, I hope to add to it on a daily/weekly basis. I only wish I had started earlier.

You can access the dictionary HERE. Feel free to contact me if you would like to add entries yourself and I will enable the spreadsheet for editing instead of just viewing.

Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments