Sunday, June 22, 2014

Deuteronomy 8:3:
‘Yehwah yihyeh’ /

Δευτερονόμιο 8:3:
‘Γεχβά γιχγιέ’.
Τι μπορεί να χαθεί σε μια μετάφραση;

 לֹ֣א עַל־הַלֶּ֤חֶם לְבַדֹּו֙ יִחְיֶ֣ה הָֽאָדָ֔ם
כִּ֛י עַל־כָּל־מֹוצָ֥א פִֽי־יְהוָ֖ה
יִחְיֶ֥ה הָאָדָֽם׃


yehwah yihyeh

ο άνθρωπος δε ζει μόνο με ψωμί
αλλά και με ό,τι ο Κύριος προστάζει

ο άνθρωπος δεν ζει μόνο με ψωμί,
αλλά με κάθε έκφραση από το στόμα του Ιεχωβά ζει ο άνθρωπος

The theological emphasis of the passage is that Yhwh himself is the source of both his commandment and life. Two observations may support this claim. Firstly, the phrase employs a wordplay between ‘Yhwh’ and ‘will live’ that is easily visible in the consonantal text (יהוה יחיה) and which was clearly recognizable in the reading as long as the Tetragrammaton was pronounced. This paronomastic sequence of words suggests that the name of Yhwh itself is the source of dynamic human life. [...]

Η θεολογική έμφαση του αποσπάσματος είναι ότι ο ίδιος ο Γχβχ είναι η πηγή αμφοτέρων της εντολής και της ζωής. Δύο παρατηρήσεις μπορούν να υποστηρίξουν αυτό τον ισχυρισμό. Πρώτον, η φράση εμπεριέχει ένα λογοπαίγνιο μεταξύ του όρου ‘Γχβχ’ και της φράσης ‘θα ζήσει’ το οποίο είναι ευδιάκριτο στο συμφωνικό κείμενο (יהוה יחיה) και το οποίο αναγνωριζόταν εύκολα κατά την ανάγνωση ενόσω προφερόταν το Τετραγράμματο. Αυτή η παρονομαστική ακολουθία λέξεων υποδηλώνει ότι αυτό το όνομα του Γχβχ είναι η πηγή της δυναμικής ανθρώπινης ζωής. [...]

* Dominik Markl,
This Word is Your Life: The Theology of ‘Life’ in Deuteronomy
Αυτός ο Λόγος είναι η Ζωή Σου: Η Θεολογία της ‘Ζωής’ στο Δευτερονόμιο»]

in D. Markl, C. Paganini, S. Paganini (Hg.),
Gottes Wort im Menschenwort. Festschrift für Georg Fischer SJ zum 60. Geburtstag (ÖBS 43),
Frankfurt a.M. 2014,
p./σ. 87 [71-96].

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Matthew 16:16-18:
"אב" (father) + "בן" (son) =
the "אבן" (stone) of the Christian church
An underlying pun in Hebrew? /

Ματθαίος 16:16-18:
"אב" (πατέρας) + "בן" (γιος) =
ο "אבן" (λίθος) της χριστιανικής εκκλησίας
Ένα υποκείμενο λογοπαίγνιο στα Εβραϊκά;

Matthew/Ματθαίος 16:16-18,
Shem-Tob NT (1385) & 28N-A:

ויען שמעון נקרא פייט''רוס ויאמר
אתה משיח לעז קְרִיסְט''וֹ בן אלקים  חיים שבאתה בזה העולם
17 ויאמרו אליו
יש''ו אשריך שמעון בר יונה
שבשר ודם לא גלה לך כי אם אבי שבשמים
18 ואני אומר לך שאתה אבן
ואני אבנה עליך בית תפלתי
ושערי גהינם לא יוכלו נגדך

16 ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Σίμων Πέτρος εἶπεν·
σὺ εἶ ὁ χριστὸς ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ ζῶντος. 
17 Ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτῷ·
μακάριος εἶ, Σίμων Βαριωνᾶ, ὅτι σὰρξ καὶ αἷμα οὐκ ἀπεκάλυψέν σοι
ἀλλ’ ὁ πατήρ μου ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς.
18 κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος,
καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν
καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jesus spoke Hebrew as well /

Ο Ιησούς μιλούσε και Εβραϊκά

The recent tête-à-tête between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Pope Francis has set the blogosphere atwitter. While their exchange was amicable, the prime minister’s correction of the holy father ushered into public discourse a subject more at home in the arcane halls of scholarly deliberation.

What language did Jesus speak?

Their differences of opinion reflect changes taking place among scholars, but which have yet to make their way fully to mainstream, popular understanding. Beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century a mistaken notion took hold that has by-and-large continued to dominate both scholarly and popular opinion.

Today many still assume that by the first century C.E. Hebrew was a dead language, or existed only among sparse pockets of the highly educated – not dissimilar to Medieval Latin.

As a consequence, it is commonly thought that Jesus only knew Aramaic.

Yet, the results of a century of archaeological evidence have challenged this assumption and brought a sea change of understanding regarding the linguistic environment of first-century Judaea.

The inscriptional and literary evidence reflects a reality not unlike what we find with the Dead Sea Scrolls. Of the 700 non-biblical texts from the Qumran library, 120 are in Aramaic and 28 in Greek, while 550 scrolls were written in Hebrew.

Jesus lived in a trilingual land in which Hebrew and Aramaic were widely in use. A relative latecomer, Greek was introduced in the 4th century B.C.E. with the arrival of Alexander the Great and his Hellenistic successors.

By the first century C.E. Aramaic served as the lingua franca of the Near East, and there is little question that Jesus knew and spoke Aramaic. Hebrew, on the other hand, was in more limited use as the language of discourse among the Jewish people.

The New Testament presents Jesus knowledgeable of both written and spoken Hebrew.

He is portrayed reading and teaching from the Bible, and there are clear indications in these accounts that he used the Hebrew Scriptures. In this he was not alone. We have not a single example of a Jewish teacher of the first century in the land of Israel teaching from any other version of the scriptures than Hebrew.

In addition, Jesus is often described speaking in parables. These were delivered orally in popular, non-scholarly settings. They were also in Hebrew. Outside of the Gospels, story-parables of the type associated with Jesus are to be found only in rabbinic literature, and without exception they are all in Hebrew. We have not a single parable in Aramaic, so it seems that according to Jewish custom one did not tell parables in Aramaic. To suggest that Jesus told his parables in Aramaic is to ignore overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Old ideas die hard, and it appears this also to be the case concerning the languages of Jesus. Why scholars and others continue to believe Hebrew was not Jesus’ mother tongue is another question, but it is not for lack of evidence.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The trend of Hellenistic Judaism-Christianity
to multiply the use
of Greek divine appellations /

Η τάση του Ελληνιστικού Ιουδαϊσμού-Χριστιανισμού
να πολλαπλασιάζει
τη χρήση ελληνικών θεονυμιών

1 Samuel / 1 Reigns 1:11, LXX & NETS:

καὶ ηὔξατο εὐχὴν κυρίῳ λέγουσα
Αδωναι κύριε ελωαι σαβαωθ,
ἐὰν ἐπιβλέπων ἐπιβλέψῃς ἐπὶ τὴν ταπείνωσιν τῆς δούλης σου
καὶ μνησθῇς μου

and vowed a vow to the Lord, saying:
'Adonai, Lord, Eloai, Sabaoth,
if looking you will look on the humiliation of your slave
and remember me

1 Esdras / 3 Ezra 9:46, LXX & NETS:

καὶ εὐλόγησεν Εσδρας
τῷ κυρίῳ θεῷ ὑψίστῳ θεῷ σαβαωθ παντοκράτορι
and Esdras blessed
the Lord, God Most High, God Sabaoth, Almighty

Sirach / Ecclesiasticus 50:17, LXX & NETS:

τότε πᾶς ὁ λαὸς κοινῇ κατέσπευσαν καὶ ἔπεσαν ἐπὶ πρόσωπον ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν
τκυρίῳ αὐτῶν παντοκράτορι θεῷ ὑψίστῳ

Then all the people hurried with one accord, and they fell face down on the ground,
to do obeisance to
their Lord, the Almighty, God Most High.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The adventure of
rendering פסח (“passover”) in Greek /

Η περιπέτεια της απόδοσης
του פסח («πάσχα») στα Ελληνικά

Strong: pecach <06453>
פסח  pecach
Pronunciation:    peh'-sakh
Origin:    from 06452, Greek 3957 pasca
Reference:    TWOT - 1786a
PrtSpch:    noun masculine

Jeremiah / Ιερεμίας 35:8, LXX/Ο':

ἰδοὺ ἐγὼ ἄγω αὐτοὺς ἀπὸ βορρᾶ καὶ συνάξω αὐτοὺς ἀπ᾽ ἐσχάτου τῆς γῆς ἐν ἑορτῇ φασεκ· καὶ τεκνοποιήσῃ ὄχλον πολύν, καὶ ἀποστρέψουσιν ὧδε.

2 Chronicles / Παραλειπομένων Β' / 2 Χρονικών 35, LXX/Ο':

1Καὶ ἐποίησεν Ιωσιας τὸ φασεχ τῷ κυρίῳ θεῷ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἔθυσαν τὸ φασεχ τῇ τεσσαρεσκαιδεκάτῃ τοῦ μηνὸς τοῦ πρώτου.
16καὶ κατωρθώθη καὶ ἡτοιμάσθη πᾶσα ἡ λειτουργία κυρίου ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ φασεχ καὶ ἐνεγκεῖν τὰ ὁλοκαυτώματα ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριον κυρίου κατὰ τὴν ἐντολὴν τοῦ βασιλέως Ιωσια.
17καὶ ἐποίησαν οἱ υἱοὶ Ισραηλ οἱ εὑρεθέντες τὸ φασεχ ἐν τῷ καιρῷ ἐκείνῳ καὶ τὴν ἑορτὴν τῶν ἀζύμων ἑπτὰ ἡμέρας.
18καὶ οὐκ ἐγένετο φασεχ ὅμοιον αὐτῷ ἐν Ισραηλ ἀπὸ ἡμερῶν Σαμουηλ τοῦ προφήτου, καὶ πάντες βασιλεῖς Ισραηλ οὐκ ἐποίησαν ὡς τὸ φασεχ, ὃ ἐποίησεν Ιωσιας καὶ οἱ ἱερεῖς καὶ οἱ Λευῖται καὶ πᾶς Ιουδα καὶ Ισραηλ ὁ εὑρεθεὶς καὶ οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐν Ιερουσαλημ τῷ κυρίῳ
19τῷ ὀκτωκαιδεκάτῳ ἔτει τῆς βασιλείας Ιωσια.

Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae (ed. B. Niese) /
Φλάβιος Ιώσηπος, Ιουδαϊκή Αρχαιολογία 5:1.4

Οἱ δὲ πεντήκοντα προελθόντες στάδια βάλλονται στρατόπεδον ἀπὸ δέκα σταδίων τῆς Ἱεριχοῦντος, Ἰησοῦς τε τόν τε βωμὸν ἐκ τῶν λίθων ὧν ἕκαστος ἀνείλετο τῶν φυλάρχων ἐκ τοῦ βυθοῦ τοῦ προφήτου κελεύσαντος ἱδρυσάμενος τεκμήριον γενησόμενον τῆς ἀνακοπῆς τοῦ ῥεύματος ἔθυεν ἐπ᾽ αὐτοῦ τῷ θεῷ, καὶ τὴν φάσκα ἑώρταζον ἐν ἐκείνῳ τῷ χωρίῳ

1 Corinthians / 1 Κορινθίους 5:7:

καὶ γὰρ τὸ πάσχα ἡμῶν ἐτύθη Χριστός

Adamantios Korais / Αδαμάντιος Κοραής,
Άτακτα (1832), Vol./τόμ. 4, p./σ. 401:


Friday, May 16, 2014

Larry Hurtado
on Jesus divinity /

Ο Larry Hurtado
περί της θεϊκότητας του Ιησού

What about texts such as John 1:1-2, where, of the “Logos” (here, the “pre-incarnate” identity/form of the incarnate Jesus), we read:  “he was with God and he was God”? Well, the first thing to emphasize is that both statements have to be read together, and taking the one without the other results in a serious loss of meaningThe Logos here is portrayed as both “with” God (i.e., distinguishable from “God” albeit in closest relation to God) and “was God” (i.e., in some way partaking of this status).  The next statement helps “unpack” this a bit:  The Logos was the agent of creation. Creation in biblical perspective is God’s act, and so positing the Logos as the agency through whom God created “all things” places the Logos outside of “all things” and into the action of God.  But note that the Logos is the agent/medium of creation, “God” remaining the creator in ultimate sense.  (This distinction remained pretty central even in much later creedal developments.)

This role as agent of creation, by the way, isn’t original or confined to GJohn.  Decades earlier it is affirmed in 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, where explicitly the “Lord Jesus Christ” is posited as the one “through whom are all things and we are through him” (to render the Greek somewhat woodenly).  Here, likewise, the “one God the Father” is the one “from who are all things and we (are) for him” (“God the Father” the creator and the ultimate destiny of believers).

"Jesus, “Pre-existence,” etc.: Responding to Questions",
May 15, 2014.

World War 1:
Great Britain
& the conscientious objectors
who refused to fight /

Α' Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος:
Η Μεγάλη Βρετανία
& οι αντιρρησίες συνείδησης
που αρνήθηκαν να πολεμήσουν

Postcard 1916.
Cards such as this ridiculed men
who refused to be coerced into the armed forces

Despite being controversial in WW1, Mr Lawson insists it is "to Britain's credit" that, during a war with a great need for conscripts, conscientious objection was allowed by law.

* Holly Wallis,
WW1: The conscientious objectors who refused to fight,
[Α' Π.Π.: Οι αντιρρησίες συνείδησης που αρνήθηκαν να πολεμήσουν]
BBC News, 15 May 2014.

Jan Joosten:

‘Conjectural emendations’
revisited /

Οι "εικασιακές τροποποιήσεις"

Textual criticism, according to one famous definition, is ‘the science of discovering error in texts and the art of removing it.’ The procedure here consists of two steps, the first of which is qualified as a science, the second as art: identifying errors in a transmitted text is deemed a more dependable, more ‘scientific’, practice than that of correcting the reading, which will always retain some ‘artistic’ quality. The definition seems eminently logical and certainly reflects a very broad and long experience in the editing of texts.

In textual criticism of the Hebrew Bible, however, we do not usually start out by scanning the received text for errors only thereafter to reflect upon possible solutions. Our first operation is to compare the received Hebrew text with other witnesses: Qumran fragments, the Septuagint, other versions, and in the Pentateuch also the Samaritan text. This means that, as textual critics, we usually come to the ‘error’ in the text after having already encountered possible ‘ways to remove it’.

One could object that the comparative approach is just a matter of expediency. The collation of the witnesses is a heuristic device. Once a divergence has been identified as being textually based, we do search for error. Where, for instance, the Septuagint Vorlage is deemed to diverge from the MT, a decision in favor of one of the witnesses must be based inter alia on a demonstration of what went wrong in the other one. All this is true enough, as is the fact that textual corruption will usually create turbulence among the witnesses even when they preserve nothing of the original reading. Still, it would be fair to say our methods are geared toward identifying variant readings, not – as Housman has it – errors. We are thus in danger of developing a ‘blind spot’. If a corrupt reading should be attested in all our witnesses, we might never ‘discover’ it. We may still find such reading in the secondary literature. Indeed, in times bygone text-critical method was practiced in a way that more closely resembled the approach envisaged by Housman. An example will illustrate some of these dynamics.

* Jan Joosten,
Is There a Place for Conjectures in a Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible? Reflections in Preparation of a Critical Text of 1 Kings
[«Υπάρχει χώρος για Εικασίες στην Κριτική Έκδοση της Εβραϊκής Βίβλου; Σκέψεις πάνω στην Προετοιμασία του Κριτικού Κειμένου του 1 Βασιλέων»],
in De Troyer, Law & Liljesstrom (eds.),
In the footsteps of Sherlock Holmes: Studies in the Biblical Text in Honour of Anneli Aegmelaus,
pp./σσ. 365-375.
[English/Αγγλικά, PDF]

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception:

"Florovsky, Georges"

Encyclopedia of the Bible and its Reception
Offprint / Volume OP
Editor(s): Dale C. Allison, Jr., Christine Helmer, Volker Leppin, Choon-Leong Seow, Hermann Spieckermann, Barry Dov Walfish, Eric J. Ziolkowski
De Gruyter (Berlin, Boston) 2014

Florovsky, Georges
Jennifer Wasmuth

Protopresbyter Georges V. Florovsky (Georgij Vasil’evič Florovskij), one of the most influential Orthodox theologians of the 20th century with a strong commitment to the ecumenical movement, was born on August 23 (or 28), 1893, in Odessa (Ukraine). Due to political circumstances, he was forced to emigrate in 1920. Playing an important role in the Russian Diaspora in Sofia and Prague, he became professor for patristics at the St. Sergius Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris in 1926. Besides two volumes on the church fathers, his main work, The Ways of Russian theology(1937), was published during this time. In 1948, he moved to the United States where he continued his academic work at different places, among others, in New York (St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary; 1948–55), Harvard (1956–64), and Princeton (1964–72), where he died on August 11, 1979.
Questioning the Western influence on Russian Orthodox theology for being a phenomenon of “pseudomorphosis,” Florovsky outlined a concept of “neo-Patristic synthesis.” In reception and positive reversal of Adolf von Harnack’s (1851–1930) criticism of “Hellenizing of Christianity,” he called for a “return to the Fathers” as the essential condition for any renewal of Orthodox theology. In this conceptual frame, the tradition of the church gained an important role: In contrast to the Protestant understanding of “sola scriptura,” Florovsky emphasized that the revelation of God in Christ, being the center of history, is preserved in the church in a twofold manner: first by tradition and then by Scripture. Tradition, therefore, has to be the guiding principle and criterion of scriptural interpretation, even if tradition cannot add anything to Scripture. Florovsky, thereby, not despising modern methods of historical-critical exegesis in general, favored a type of typological exegesis: A combination of the school traditions of Alexandria and Antiochia.

o    Baker, M./N. Asproulis, “Secondary Bibliography of Scholarly Literature and Conferences on Florovsky,”ΘΕΟΛΟΓΙΑ 81/40 (2010) 357–96.
o    Florovsky, G., Collected Works, 14 vols. (Belmont, Mass. 1972–89).
o    Blane, A. (ed.), Georges Florovsky: Russian Intellectual – Orthodox Churchman (Crestwood, N.Y. 1993).
o    Künkel, C., Totus Christus: Die Theologie Georges V. Florovskys (FSÖTh 62; Göttingen 1991).
o    Williams, G. H., “Georges Vasilievich Florovsky: His American Career (1948–1965),” GOTR 1 (1965) 7–107.

Friday, May 9, 2014

1 Corinthians 10:9:
The “Lord”:
Is he the “Christ” or “Jehovah”? /

1 Κορινθίους 10:9:
Είναι ο “Χριστός” ή ο “Ιεχωβά”;

μηδὲ ἐκπειράζωμεν τὸν Χριστόν/Θεόν/Κύριον/יהוה,
καθώς τινες αὐτῶν ἐπείρασαν
καὶ ὑπὸ τῶν ὄφεων ἀπώλλυντο.

1 Corinthians/Κορινθίους 10:9, 27NA

The Hebrew New Testament
of the British and Foreign Bible Society

transl. Franz Delitzsch,
Berlin, 1901,
p./σ. 316.