# Friday, January 21, 2005

[Note: the term 'bleg' is a combination of the words “blog” and “beg”, typically used when blog authors make requests of readers.]

As regular ricoblog readers know, I've been working on writing some stuff on the Pastoral Epistles.

I'm still not sure how to label what it is that I'm doing. It isn't a commentary in the traditional sense, though it does share the same basic structure (verse-by-verse organization). Some have suggested the label “Word Studies”, but I dislike that term and don't think it applies to what I'm doing either. I'd thought “exegetical notes” and that's the alternative I'm sticking with at present, though I still don't think it is really descriptive.

At this point, I'm working through the text at the word/phrase level and examining word/phrase occurrences in the NT and also in the LXX, Pseudepigrapha, Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, Philo or whatever other place I can find (either cited or through searching) where it seems the citation helps with understanding the word as it is used in the Pastoral Epistles. A later project, after these notes are complete, will be to use this data while examining the text at a higher level. I'd say 'discourse' level, but I don't plan on doing full-on discourse analysis.

So, I've decided to upload a sample and ask y'all what you think about it. Please feel free to contact me via email at textgeek (at) gmail (dot) com if you have suggestions for a label that I can use to describe this stuff succinctly, or if you have general feedback be it good or bad or in between somewhere. I'm not looking for an editor or nitpicks; there will be plenty of future opportunity in those areas.

This is a PDF doc with notes on 1Ti 3.5. It's 2.5 pages. The English NT translation is that of the ESV.

1 Timothy 3.5 Rough Draft Sample.pdf (53.6 KB)

I post this with the typical author apprehension about others reading his stuff. It's a rough draft and hasn't been edited at all. The first half is a bit more solid than the second half (which needs some work; I threw that part together pretty quickly). And the translations of the LXX need to be checked again. I'll be editing it in a few weeks. But it's a nice little passage that gives some idea of what I'm doing. Hopefully the conventions (bold, italics, single vs. double quotes) will be clear.

Thanks in advance if you're able to give it a look-see and offer some feedback.

Post Author: Rico
Friday, January 21, 2005 9:51:11 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, January 19, 2005

To the person who happened across ricoblog while Googling for “who sat on 26 hours on the toilet” — I hope you find what you're looking for.

Well he must not have found it. He just hit again with “sat 26 hours on the toilet + constipation”.

That's a little more disturbing. Whoever you are, I really do hope you find what you're looking for. Perhaps this will help.

If you're curious, ricoblog came up as a link because of my post on the recent find of Luther's commode (Luther's Loo?).

(sorry, couldn't resist)

Post Author: Rico
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 11:34:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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[Notes on EpDiog §7.1-2]

EpDiog 7.1-2 discussed the one sent by God to man. §7.3 picks up at this point.

The author of the letter asks Diognetus a question about the nature of the mission this one sent from God is on. Did God “... send him to rule in tyranny, fear, and terror?”

Such a mission could be expected — after all, man pretty much screwed it up at the beginning of it all. Wouldn't God be justified in sending a representative to whip things back into shape and give us what we deserve?

Well, God would be justified in doing that, but thankfully he didn't send someone to rule in tyranny, fear, and terror. The author explains this starting in verse 4. If you look at the Greek, you can catch the rhythm:

4 οὐ μὲν οὖν·
ἀλλ ̓ ἐν ἐπιεικείᾳ καὶ πραύτητι
ὡς βασιλεὺς πέμπων υἱὸν
βασιλέα ἔπεμψεν,
ὡς θεὸν ἔπεμψεν,
ὡς ἄνθρωπον πρὸς ἀνθρώπους ἔπεμψεν,
ὡς σώζων ἔπεμψεν,
ὡς πείθων, οὐ βιαζόμενος·
βία γὰρ οὐ πρόσεστι τῷ θεῷ.
5 ἔπεμψεν ὡς καλῶν, οὐ διώκων·
ἔπεμψεν ὡς ἀγαπῶν, οὐ κρίνων.

You can see the repeated use of ὡς (“as”) and ἔπεμψεν (“he sent”) and pick up the cadence/rhythm. I love passages like this because they beat the syntax into my head through the repetition. (Hint: EpDiog 5.5-16 has similar repetition, though not as direct.)

This one whom God sent was sent as a king sending his own son. Though the author doesn't say it explicitly, he obviously means Jesus, the Son of God. He has been alluded to/referred to with some of the same phrases used in the NT. Now the author is mentioning that this one (Jesus) is sent in the same way that a king would send his own son. Could there even be an allusion to the parable of the wicked tenants of the vineyard (Lu 20.9-18)?

Yet the author of the letter tells Diognetus that this one sent from God comes to “show forth his love”, not to judge — at least not to judge yet; that part comes later (EpDiog 7.6). And when it comes, none will be able to “withstand” it.

There is a lacuna right here in the best and most complete MSS for the Epistle to Diognetus, none of the other sources fill the two-line gap. Meecham* (p. 122) lists various theories as to what is missing, but all we really know is from a marginal note at this point that says something like “and in this manner the copy was found (cut?), being very old”. So the copyist didn't have the material; who knows if the space of two lines accurately measures the amount of missing material.

Whatever the missing content, v. 7 in Ehrman's edition has been emended. The last three verses speak of martyrs refusing to deny “the Lord” and noting the curious phenomena this spectacle had on recruitment — according to EpDiog 7.8-9 these sorts of things only increased the numbers of Christians. As soon as one was martyred, another was in his place. What, asks the author of the letter, could drive men to do this? Surely not anything natural or logical. Surely not common sense. Therefore, this must be evidence that God is in it: “These things do not appear to be human works. These are the power of God; these are proofs of his coming.”

Fragmented, random comments — oh well. Thanks for puttin' up with me.


* Meecham, H.G. The Epistle to Diognetus: The Greek Text with Introduction, Translation and Notes. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1949.

Post Author: Rico
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 11:15:37 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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Over at Ralph the Sacred River, Dr. Edward Cook posted Some Lines from Milosz in which he reproduced a poem from Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz.

I was unfamiliar with Milosz, and don't know anything of the man besides this poem. But the poem hit me like poetry seldom does. I'd highly recommend that you read it. Then read it again.

Thank you, Dr. Cook.

(also note: Ralph the Sacred River is now on the blogroll to the right) 

Post Author: Rico
Wednesday, January 19, 2005 9:33:09 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, January 17, 2005

[Notes on EpDiog §6. Due to the length of this post, my random thoughts on §7 are broken into at least two posts. The next post will be at some future point, and in it I hope to cover EpDiog 7.3-9]

In §7, the author of EpDiog moves from telling Diognetus about Christians to telling Diognetus about Jesus. This is really a fascinating little chapter — we see how Jesus was seen (in the context of a letter to convince someone else of the rightness of Christianity, anyway) by the early church. There's a lot in here.

EpDiog 7.1 starts out confirming a few things discussed earlier regarding Christians:

  • Christianity isn't something conjured up by man (cf. EpDiog 5.3).
  • Christianity isn't bound to the topic of “human mysteries” (again, EpDiog 5.3)

EpDiog 7.2 is a marathon verse, taking nearly 3/4 of the page in Ehrman's edition.* It is discussed below in pieces:

But the truly all-powerful God himself, creator of all and invisible, set up and established in their hearts the truth and the holy word from heaven, which cannot be comprehended by humans.

God is all-powerful, he is the creator of the seen and unseen. This all-powerful God has worked (somehow) in the hearts (the innermost part) of Christians, placing the “truth and holy word from heaven” which cannot be comprehended (ἀπερινόητον) by humans into the hearts of humans. Was this dude an Augustinian?

To do so, he did not, as one might suppose, send them one of his servants or an angel or a ruler or any of those who administer earthly activities or who are entrusted with heavenly affairs, but he sent the craftsman and maker of all things himself, ...

Wow. Just above God specifically is “creator of all and invisble” (παντοκτίστης καὶ ἀόρατος θεός) and now the one whom God sends is “the craftsman and maker of all things” (ἀλλ ̓ αὐτὸν τὸν τεχνίτην καὶ δημιουργὸν τῶν ὅλων).

Here's the fun part: τεχνίτην and δημιουργὸν are used together in Heb 11.10 and they're speaking of God: “For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer (τεχνίτης) and builder (δημιουργὸς) is God.” (cf. also Wis. 13.1). Indeed, the author of the epistle himself uses δημιουργὸς of God in EpDiog 8.6. LSJ and BDAG have abundant evidence of δημιουργὸς being used in a number of contexts, so there's not too much to read into the usage of this particular word (which, according to LSJ, has meaning ranging from craftsman to creator to a title used by magistrates). But δημιουργὸς combined with ὅλων, implying the one who made or created everything leads me to think that there is some relation between these two bits of text. I should probably do some searching on Perseus to search for where these words occur in close proximity, to see if they form some sort of stock phrase.

... by whom he created the heavens,
by whom he enclosed the sea within its own boundaries,
whose mysteries all the elements of creation guard faithfully,
from whom the sun was appointed to guard the courses that it runs during the day,
whom the moon obeys when he commands it to shine at night,
whom the stars obey by following the course of the moon,
by whom all things are set in order and arranged and put into subjection, ...

Upon reading this, I immediately have mental cross-references firing off to Col 1.15-17, “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, ... ”. This one who was sent by God is the one by whom God did these things, these works of creation. And these things are under subjection to him.

... the heavens and the things in the heavens,
the earth and the things in the earth,
the sea and the things in the sea,
fire, air, the abyss,
creatures in the heights,
creatures in the depths,
and creatures in between—this is the one he sent to them.

Wow. And that's just verse two! Next up, EpDiog 7.3-9. In it, we see more about the one God sent — how he was sent, in what form he came, and what his task was.


* Ehrman, Bart. The Apostolic Fathers, Vol. 2 (Loeb Classical Library vol. 25). Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2003.

 

Post Author: Rico
Monday, January 17, 2005 10:57:01 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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Time for another non-biblioblog entry (sorry, Eli — deal with it. I might feel some sympathy if you posted more often than once a month ... ). I'll be back on track soon, don't worry.

Here's a sampling of what's been in the rotation at the office for the past week or so. As usual, links only work if you have Real Rhapsody.

Recently in the Rotation (January 2005)

Here's the entire playlist. These are in no particular order, so cue it up, pop it on "shuffle", and enjoy.

Post Author: Rico
Monday, January 17, 2005 8:38:58 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Sunday, January 16, 2005

I picked this recipe up off of a web page somewhere; I'd give a link if I had one. But I don't, so here's the recipe:

1 clove garlic
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

Put garlic, mustard, and balsamic vinegar in a small container and let it sit for 10 minutes. On the mustard, the recipe recommended using the “country style” Grey Poupon. I went a step further and used Maille Old-Style “Whole Grain Dijon Mustard”.

After 10 minutes, remove the clove of garlic. I used minced garlic and just left it in there — but I like garlic. Add the olive oil. I'm assuming you're using a small container that you have a lid for. Seal the container and shake the mixture like crazy.

It's ready to use. I used some (no additional salt/pepper) on a Spinach/Feta/Pine Nut creation of mine, and whoa — I actually had seconds on salad. If you know me, and you know my history with salad, then you know that's saying something.

Note the proportions; this recipe should be easy to scale if necessary.

Update: Welcome, PunditGuy readers. I figured since someone linked to me, I should find the source of this recipe, so after a little digging, here it is. Enjoy! And have a look around. Here's a little about me and what this thing is all about. If you dig this sort of stuff, I'd recommend you check out some of the “Biblioblogs” listed in the blogroll to the right. Thanks! (and thanks, PunditGuy, for the link!)

Post Author: rico
Sunday, January 16, 2005 3:26:17 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Saturday, January 15, 2005

In his book The Reformation: A History, Diarmaid MacCulloch writes:

Calvin's preaching represented an intensive examination of the details of God's Word that few other expositors would equal, sucking the last drops of meaning from every last syllable and turn of phrase: 189 sermons on Acts between 1549 and 1554, 174 on Ezekiel form 1552 to 1554, and 200 on Deuteronomy in 1555 to 1556. This could be liberating to an audience precisely because it was so demanding. Calvin and the preachers who followed him asked a lot of their audience and were thus taking them seriously as adults in the faith. Reformed congregations were expected to absorb and understand complex and abstract material and therefore were encouraged to see the value of education. (MacCulloch 239)

This sort of demanding teaching is missing in the church today. Are the sermons you suffer through listen to demanding and challenging, or are they merely platitudinous and thus lacking practicality or applicability?* Is the text itself examined and wrestled with, or is the text referred to simply as a starting point for some sort of tangential “deep thought” that somehow makes everyone listening feel better?

Christians are capable of critical thinking; the intelligence of a fair portion of those assembled for the teaching is insulted when preachers/teachers simply shoot for a lowest common denominator. Do pastors today make demands of their congregants similar to those described above? Are sermons just to be listened to, or are they to be understood?

Calvin had his problems (yes, you heard me say that — now get up off the floor!) but in his favor, he strove to work though the text, understand it and apply it and teach others what was in the Scripture. His commentaries are still valuable to consult today because of this drive.

Too often (and I'm guilty of this) important arguments (either supporting or contradicting) are dulled or glossed over because of concern over the ability of the students/congregants/whomever to understand. Instead of being cause to skip over something, this should be cause to slow down and examine the issue in greater detail, working through the seemingly tough problem so that those on the receiving end can — with some work and effort, don't get me wrong — come to an understanding of what's going on.

The problem has many sides. Passivity on the part of the student/congregant is a real problem. I have no silver-bullet solution for it. But what motive does one have to break free from passivity if one is not challenged?

Ok, I've ranted enough. You may now return to your normally-scheduled blog reading.


* Clarification: I'm not speaking of the teaching in the church I currently attend, though I have in the past “suffered through” some truly horrible sermons. I've dutifully forgotten their content though I do have memories of their occurrence.

Post Author: Rico
Saturday, January 15, 2005 11:36:55 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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