Friday, May 30, 2008

'follow' in Hos. 5:11


Kirsten Nielsen in Studia Theologica:

In Hos 5.11 one of the reasons for [God's] anger is mentioned, namely that Ephraim “decided to follow lies”. In his doctoral dissertation, Goumlran Eidevall points out that the word for “follow”, אחרי
can be used either about following idols (cf. Deut 13:3; Jer 2:5) or about following Yahweh (cf. Deut 13:5; Jer 2:2). He interprets this on the basis of the flock following the shepherd.


'their fathers' source' in Jer. 50:7?

Kirsten Nielsen in Studia Theologica:

Van Hecke further suggests that the parallel expression ומקוה אבותיהם [in Jer. 50:7] should not be rendered ‘‘their fathers’ hope’’ but ‘‘their fathers’ source’’. This interpretation is supported by among other things a reference to Jer 17:13, where Yahweh is spoken of as מקוה ישראל moreover in a verse which ends with the accusation of abandoning ‘‘the Lord, the spring of living water’’. Yahweh can thus form part of a narrative about sheep and shepherds without being depicted as a shepherd or a lion, but rather as the pasture where the sheep eat.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lloyd Bailey on 'The Ambiguity of the Word “Flood”'

Lloyd Bailey in his Smyth&Helwys commentary:
Among the Mesopotamians with whom Israel’s ancestors had once lived (Gen 11:27-28; Josh 24:2), the word for “flood” (abûbu) could be used in two senses: (1) for a great deluge comparable with the biblical flood at the time of Noah; and (2) for a destructive “flood” of foreigners who had swept through and decimated the homeland. It is possible, therefore, that much later Judeans in exile to Babylonia (6th century BC) would hear the story of Noah’s flood and think of their own exile in similar terms: both events were the result of human sinfulness and both had the potential to provide for a new beginning.


Anaphora in Mark 11:2, and other fun with transference

Paul Danove in Filología Neotestamentaria(pdf):

In usages of transference, the verbs’ three required arguments receive lexical realization as their three required syntactic complements. Koine grammar, however, provides three mechanisms that permit the omission of one or more of these complements in specific circumstances. First, Anaphora permits the omission of one, two, or all three syntactic complements when the context specifies their definite semantic content. Such “definite null” complements are bracketed in the concluding clause of the following example:

Go into the town opposite you, and immediately on entering into it you will find tied a colt on which no human being ever sat: untie it and [you] bring [the colt] [to me / Jesus] (Mark 11,2)

῾Υπάγετε εἰς τὴν κώμην κατέναντι ὑμῶν, καὶ εὐθὺς εἰσπορευόμενοι εἰς
αὐτὴν εὑρήσετε πῶλον δεδεμένον ἐφ’ ὃν οὐδεὶς οὔπω ἀνθρώπων ἐκάθισεν·
λύσατε αὐτὸν καὶ φέρετε.

Second, Passivization permits the omission of the Agent complement even when its definite semantic content cannot be retrieved from the context. Such omissions, however, introduce the possibility of polysemy or multiple interpretations. This receives further consideration below. Third, Generalization permits the omission of a Theme complement whose definite semantic content is not specified in the context and
assigns to such “indefinite null” Theme complements the general but circumscribed interpretation, “whichever entities that appropriately may be transferred in the manner designated by the verb”:

And I will give to each of you [what is appropriate] according to your works (Rev 2,23)

καὶ δώσω ὑμῖν ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα ὑμῶν.

Paul Danove, "Verbs of Transference and Their Derivatives of Motion and State in the New Testament: a Study of Focus and Perspective." Filología Neotestamentaria, Vol.19(2006) 53-71

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

'Couches' in Psalm 149:5?

"Let the faithful exult in glory; let them sing for joy on their couches." (Ps. 149:5, NRSV)

Psalm 149,5: 'they shout with joy on their couches'
Th. Booij
Biblica, Vol. 89 (2008) 104-108. PDF

... In that verse, the element על־משכבותם, ‘on their couches’, is problematic.

Ps 149,5 can be understood from the literary motif of intensified spiritual activity and receptivity in resting time, particularly in the night. Formally, the statement of this verse is related to Cant 3,1. In vv. 5-9 the psalm describes the feelings and mental images of YHWH’s faithful with regard to a future judgement on the nations. The consciousness of Israel’s special position, expressed in the preceding hallelujah-psalms as well, is brought to a climax.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

'phroneo' as 'agree' in Phil. 4:2

From J.K. Gayle:

I’m sitting in church today listening to the pastor preach from Philippians 4:2-9. The jump out word from me is φρονέω, which I think I “know.” Paul’s writing in v. 2 gives instructions to two women he names: “Εὐοδίαν παρακαλῶ καὶ Συντύχην παρακαλῶ τὸ αὐτὸ φρονεῖν ἐν κυρίῳ.” My diglot has RSV, the committee of which makes it this way in English: “I entreat Euodia and I entreat Syntyche to agree in the Lord.” So I look up a few verses: chapter 2:2 has Paul giving the same instruction to the entire church: “τὸ αὐτὸ φρονῆτε” or RSV committee’s “of the same mind.” Wow. Different English.

So the same Greek gets the RSV committee take variously these ways:
τοῦτο φρονεῖτε “Have this mind” 2:5
τοῦτο φρονῶμεν καὶ εἴ τι ἑτέρως φρονεῖτε
“thus minded; and if in antyhing you are otherwise minded” 3:15
οἱ τὰ ἐπίγεια φρονοῦντες “minds set on earthly things” 3:19
τὸ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ φρονεῖν ἐφ’ ᾧ καὶ ἐφρονεῖτε “your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me” 4:10

So three different English language words by the RSV committee as they “know” one Greek word: “agreement” “mind(edness)” and “concern for”


Friday, May 9, 2008

'trample my sins' in Psalm 51

Suzanne McCarthy on 'wash' in Psalm 51:

In Ps. 51:4 and 9,

Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. JPS

the verb for "wash" is כּבס but it applies only to washing clothes, not to the body. In fact, I was rather surprised (I don't know why) to find that the Gesenius Lexicon has,

pr. to tread or trample with the feet, to wash garments by treading on them when underwater

and in Holladay,

To full, ie. clean cloth by treading, kneading or beating


I don't know how this meaning could be translated but it certainly does not mean that God daintily wipes away the stains. It does not evoke an image of gently pouring water over our bodies in a peaceful cleansing ritual.


I'll add a comment at her post that Calvin Seerveld's rendering in Voicing God's Psalms is apt:

Scrub me utterly clean of my guilty wickedness!
Make me pure from my wasteful sin!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Paul's day job - skenopoios

From L.L. Welborn:

Readers of the revised article on σκηνοποιός in [Danker] will make the surprizing discovery that the traditional understanding of the term used to describe Paul's occupation in Acts 18.3 as 'tentmaker' is wholly without lexical support outside the Bible and literature that the Bible has influenced, and futhermore is undermined by a variety of practical considerations.* Instead, Danker proposes the meaning of 'maker of stage properties', appealing to Pollux, who explains that the word is a synonym for μηχανοπιός, which is either a 'stagehand' who moves stage properties or a 'manufacturer of stage properties.'* Danker concludes: 'In the absence of any use of the term σκηνοποιός beyond the passages in Pollux and the Hermetic Writings, and the lack of specific qualifiers in the text of Acts 18.3, one is left with the strong probability that Luke's publics in urban areas, where theatrical productions were in abundance, would think of σκηνοποιός in reference to matters theatrical.'* If the report of Paul's occupation in Acts 18.3 is historically reliable, then Paul was a 'prop maker'. This would go far to explain the number, specificity, and richness of Pauline metaphors drawn from the world of the theater and amphitheater (e.g. 2 Cor. 11.1-2-12.10; Phil. 3.12-4.3, etc.)*

—L.L. Welborn, Paul, the fool of Christ: a study of 1 Corinthians 1-4 in the comic-philosophic tradition, p.11,12