# Thursday, April 13, 2006

Note that two articles for Volume 3 (2006 edition) of the Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism have been posted.

  • Craig Evans: Messianic Hopes and Messianic Figures in Late Antiquity
  • Richard Van Egmond: The Messianic 'Son of David' in Matthew

The full PDF of the articles are available until the volume is complete. Once the volume is complete, if past practice is an indicator for future expectation, the PDFs will be taken offline and the complete volume published by Sheffield-Phoenix Press. See JGRChJ's about page for more information.

Now, if JGRChJ would just have an RSS feed so I don't have to continually remember to check the site for updates ...

Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 13, 2006 10:45:23 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Wednesday, April 12, 2006

[This is part of a running series on the Didache. See the introductory post for more information — RWB]

Phrasing/Translation

Δευτέρα δὲ ἐντολὴ τῆς διδαχῆς·
And the second commandment of the teaching [is this]:
   οὐ φονεύσεις,
   Do not murder,
   οὐ μοιχεύσεις,
   do not commit adultery,
   οὐ παιδοφθορήσεις,
   do not sodomise,
   οὐ πορνεύσεις,
   do not fornicate,
   οὐ κλέψεις,
   do not steal,
   οὐ μαγεύσεις,
   do not practice magic,
   οὐ φαρμακεύσεις,
   do not use potions,
   οὐ φονεύσεις τέκνον ἐν φθορᾷ,
   do not murder a child by abortion,
      οὐδὲ γεννηθὲν ἀποκτενεῖς,
      nor kill the just-born ones,
   οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις τὰ τοῦ πλησίον.
   do not yearn after the things of your neighbor,
   οὐκ ἐπιορκήσεις,
   do not commit perjury,
   οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις,
   do not bear false witness,
   οὐ κακολογήσεις,
   do not speak evil,
   οὐ μνησικακήσεις.
   do not bear a grudge.
   οὐκ ἔσῃ διγνώμων
   Do not be double-minded
      οὐδὲ δίγλωσσος·
      or double-tongued:
         παγὶς γὰρ θανάτου ἡ διγλωσσία.
         for being double-tongued is a death trap.
   οὐκ ἔσται ὁ λόγος σου ψευδής ου κενός,
   Your speech should not be false or vain,
      ἀλλὰ μεμεστωμένος πράξει.
      but verified by action.
   οὐκ ἔσῃ πλεονέκτης
   You should not be greedy
      οὐδὲ ἅρπαξ
      or a robber
      οὐδὲ ὑποκριτὴς
      or a hypocrite
      οὐδὲ κακοήθης
      or spiteful
      οὐδὲ ὑπερήφανος.
      or proud.
   οὐ λήψῃ βουλὴν πονηρὰν
   Do not enter into evil plans
      κατὰ τοῦ πλησίον σου. 
      against your neighbor.
   οὐ μισήσεις πάντα ἄνθρωπον,
   Do not hate any man,
      ἀλλὰ οὓς μὲν ἐλέγξεις,
      but some you should correct,
      περὶ δὲ ὧν προσεύξῃ,
      some you should pray for,
      οὓς δὲ ἀγαπήσεις
      and some you should love
         ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν σου.
         even more than your own life.

Notes

The above sees Did 2.2-3 as one large list after the list preface. Lake breaks that into two sentences in his Greek, but has one sentence in the English. I think it makes sense to treat the list as a whole, even though the portion about abortion, infanticide and covetousness does offer explanatory expansion instead of just a verb. (Note: I was half-tempted to translate "do not yearn after the things of your neighbor" as "do not attempt to 'keep up with the Joneses' ", but I withstood the urge.).

It strikes me that many today wouldn't consider the Didachist's list of "thou shalt nots" to be too "politically correct". The baptismal candidates (likely new converts) reading this were urged to forsake, as BDAG's extended gloss words it, engaging "in same-sex activity with a young male" (BDAG, 750). This sort of practice (as I understand it) was socially acceptable to some degree or another. New converts were to stop doing it. No discussion. As well, new converts are made aware that the practice of killing a child in the womb (abortion) or killing a newly-born child (infanticide, likely through exposure) is unacceptable practice.

The other groups are guidelines with expansion. That is, instead of just listing stuff, these items have some further explanation. Being "double-tongued" is to be avoided because it is a snare that leads to death. Instead of saying different things to different people, Christians are to let their "yes" be yes, and their "no" be no. Doing otherwise will only lead to trouble. This is expanded further in the next statement, which I love -- maybe I'll make a sign and put it up on my bathroom mirror or office wall: "Your speech should not be false or vain, but verified by action." In other words, these baptismal candidates are taught that their words are to be proven by their actions. They are, to put it into Christian-ese, "walk the talk". Lies and empty words are to be avoided.

Next is a short list mentioning greediness, stealing, hypocrisy, spite and pride. This is self explanatory. Following that is mention regarding plotting evil or malice towards one's neighbor. In light of Didache 1's exhortation to love one's neighbor as one's self, this doesn't really seem necessary. But it does underscore the importance of that command by restating the same thing (in essence) negatively; one's relationship with his neighbor (fellow human being) is again brought to the forefront.

This transitions into a general statement that speaks against hatred of others. The transition seems to be moving from hating others to acting in love toward others. Instead of hating others, instead of hatching evil plots against our neighbors, we are to love others through offering correction to some of them, through praying for others of them, and through loving others of them even more than we love our own selves.

Next up: Didache 3, though I may revisit portions of the above in some more detail between now and then.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, April 12, 2006 10:29:02 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, April 10, 2006

[This is part of a running series on the Didache. See the introductory post for more information — RWB]

Didache 1.2

Ἡ μὲν οὖν ὁδὸς τῆς ζωῆς ἐστιν αὕτη·
The way of life is this:
   πρῶτον ἀγαπήσεις τὸν θεὸν τὸν ποιήσαντά σε
   First, love the Lord who made you;
   δεύτερον τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν·
   Second, [love] your neighbor as yourself;
      πάντα δὲ ὅσα ἐὰν θελήσῃς μὴ γίνεσθαί σοι καὶ σὺ ἄλλῳ μὴ ποίει.
      all that you wouldn't wish to have done to you, do not do to others.

The introduction (Did 1.1) set the contrast: There are two ways, and they are very different. One leads to life, one leads to death. The above is the beginning of clarification of the way of life. It consists of two primary aspects which happen to mirror the teaching of Jesus (cf. Mk 12.28-34) on the most important/greatest commandment. This is an ordered list that further clarifies what the "way of life" consists of. The last line (above, anyway) clarifies the second point of the list—how one is to love his neighbor. Also note that the verb ἀγαπήσεις is implied in the second list item as indicated by the brackets in the translation.

Didache 1.3a

Τούτων δέ τῶν λόγων ἡ διδαχή ἐστιν αὕτη·
The teaching of these words is this:
   εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμῖν
   Bless those that curse you,
   καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν
   pray on behalf of your enemies
   νηστεύετε δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς·
   and fast on behalf of those who persecute you.

The way of life (one of the two ways) was described in Did 1.2 as loving the Lord and loving one's neighbor as one's self. This is further elaborated in Didache 1.3a with the obvious preface followed by three imperatives (in bold above). This is the practical application. By doing these things, one evidences firstly love for the Lord and secondly love for his neighbor.

Didache 1.4

ἀπέχου τῶν σαρκικῶν καὶ σωματικῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν·
Refrain from fleshly and bodily lusts.
   ἐάν τίς σοι δῷ ῥάπισμα εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα
   If someone slaps you on the right cheek,
      στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην καὶ ἔσῃ τέλειος·
      turn the other one to him and you will be perfect.
   ἐὰν ἀγγαρεύσῃ σέ τις μίλιον ἕν
   If someone compels you to go for one mile,
      ὕπαγε μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ δύο·
      go with him for two.
   ἐὰν ἄρῃ τις τὸ ἱμάτιόν σου
   If someone takes away your cloak,
      δὸς αὐτῷ καὶ τὸν χιτῶνα·
      give him your shirt too.
   ἐὰν λάβῃ τις ἀπὸ σοῦ τὸ σόν
   If someone takes from you what is yours,
      μὴ ἀπαίτει·
      do not demand repayment;
         οὐδὲ γὰρ δύνασαι.
         for you are not able.

I think this is another instance of a statement followed by explanation. The statement is "Refrain/abstain from fleshly and bodily lusts". It is explained with a series of four conditional statements, each underscoring a non-fleshly response. That is, each of these statements emphasizes a reaction that is manifestly not the reflex action one would have. If one is slapped, or robbed, or forced into service, the typical reaction is to rebel and fight back. Perhaps even to do the bare minimum involved to get out of the situation. But that is not the instruction the Didachist gives here. Instead, he says, fight against the natural instinct and provide even more. Offer your face for another slap. Excel in your conscription. Offer more to the one who steals from you. In other words, be charitable with actions and response even when someone does not treat you with charity or charitable motives.

The conditional statements appear to be direct allusions to the preaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount:

  • slaps you on the right cheek: cf. Mt 5.39, Lu 6.29a
  • compels you to go for one mile: cf. Mt 5.41
  • takes away your cloak: cf. Mt 5.40, Lu 6.29b
  • takes from what is yours: cf. Lu 6.30

Again, for the Didachist, the impetus for proper action of a Christian is based on the words of Christ. This in the late 1st century or early 2nd century, before the "New Testament" as we know it had really come into being. Somehow the sayings of Jesus were known and transmitted—either in editions of the synoptic Gospels themselves, or in some other source we don't know much about.

This is interesting to me, anyway. Some posit that the Didache, or at least the first six chapters of it, functioned as a manual for new converts (baptismal candidates). You know, to acquaint them with how to live as Christians. And (at least in the first chapter) the basic instruction involved making sure that baptismal candidates knew the greatest commandment (Love the Lord) and the second commandment (Love your neighbor). And these two commandments were specifically explicated using the words of Christ as foundation for action in life. In other words, the words of Christ were foundational and normative. They were appealed to for authority in the life of a Christian. And this, likely, within 100 years of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Post Author: rico
Monday, April 10, 2006 5:40:24 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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In working on the paper for the SBL meeting in DC, I've come across a citation for an article I'm interested in reading, but the closest university library (Trinity Western University) does not have the periodical.

If anyone can help out with the article, I'd be very appreciative. Here's the citation:

Reed, Jeffrey T. 'Cohesive Ties in 1 Timothy', Neotestamentica. 26.1: 131-47. 1992.

Otherwise I guess I'll try some other schools in the area and see what I can dig up.

Update (2006-04-10): Cheers to Cliff (Theological Musings) for attempting to locate a copy via interlibrary loan.

Update (2006-04-10): Cheers also to Ken Penner for pointing me to Regent College's Library, which is just up the street in Vancouver BC. Regent/UBC was my next stop, but I don't know when I'll get up there so I thought I'd try seeing if anyone had the article handy in the interim. If interlibrary loan doesn't do it, then I'll schedule a pilgrimage north of the border.

Post Author: rico
Monday, April 10, 2006 12:31:30 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Sunday, April 09, 2006

Since everyone else is blogging about the Gospel of Judas, I figure I will too. But briefly.

Best Post about Gospel of Judas: Ben Witherington III. Awesome. And I've really got to get my hands on his Pastorals/Johannines commentary when it comes out. I'll offer again: Need any advance readers, Dr. Witherington? I'm available! And I'm into the Pastorals!

Best Aggregation of Links: Mark Goodacre's Gospel of Judas megapost. Though note that Mark links to Roger Pearse as the go-to spot for ongoing internet coverage/references.

Best Live-Blogging of National Geographic Special: Jim West. I don't have a TV, and I spent the day with Amy anyway. (My thought process: Spend the day with my beloved, or wait around to watch some seemingly-authoritative sensationalisation of a 4th century gnostic MS likely derived from 2nd century source. Now that's an easy choice, no?) I read the English translation when it came out on Friday (or whenever that was). As many others (including Jim) said: Standard gnostic fare, nothing really new to see here.

Now, if you'll indulge me, here's a tale of what I thought when reading the English translation:

What came to mind when I read the English translation of this heretical and false "gospel", you know, where Judas recieves the oh-so-typical gnostic secret knowledge, and then he betrays Jesus and therefore ushers in Jesus' death?

All I could think of was the original Star Wars movie ("Episode IV" to you young'uns). You know, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Darth Vader duking it out? Obi-Wan stops and says something like, "if you strike me down, you will make me more powerful than you could ever imagine", and then Vader cuts him in half?

Yeah, that's what I thought of.

Post Author: rico
Sunday, April 09, 2006 10:50:45 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, April 07, 2006

[This is part of a running series on the Didache. See the introductory post for more information -- RWB]

Phrasing/Translation

Ὁδοί δύο εἰσί,
There are two ways,
   μία τῆς ζωῆς
   one of life
   καὶ μία τοῦ θανάθου,
   and one of death;
      διαφορὰ δὲ πολλὴ μεταξὺ τῶν δύο ὁδῶν.
      there is great difference between the two ways.
Ἡ μὲν οὖν ὁδὸς τῆς ζωῆς ἐστιν αὕτη·
The way of life is this:
   πρῶτον ἀγαπήσεις τὸν θεὸν τὸν ποιήσαντά σε
   First, love the Lord who made you;
   δεύτερον τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν·
   Second, [love] your neighbor as yourself;
      πάντα δὲ ὅσα ἐὰν θελήσῃς μὴ γίνεσθαί σοι καὶ σὺ ἄλλῳ μὴ ποίει.
      all that you wouldn't wish to have done to you, do not do to others.
Τούτων δέ τῶν λόγων ἡ διδαχή ἐστιν αὕτη·
The teaching of these words is this:
   εὐλογεῖτε τοὺς καταρωμένους ὑμῖν
   Bless those that curse you,
   καὶ προσεύχεσθε ὑπὲρ τῶν ἐχθρῶν ὑμῶν
   pray on behalf of your enemies
   νηστεύετε δὲ ὑπὲρ τῶν διωκόντων ὑμᾶς·
   and fast on behalf of those who persecute you.
ποία γὰρ χάρις ἐὰν ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς ἀγαπῶντας ὑμᾶς;
For what benefit is it if we love those who love us?
   οὐχὶ καὶ τὰ ἔθνη τὸ αὐτὸ ποιοῦσιν;
   Do not the even the Gentiles do this?
   ὑμεῖς δὲ ἀγαπᾶτε τοὺς μισοῦντας ὑμᾶς
   But love those who detest you
      καὶ οὐχ ἕξετε ἐχθρόν.
      and you will not have an enemy.
ἀπέχου τῶν σαρκικῶν καὶ σωματικῶν ἐπιθυμιῶν·
Refrain from fleshly and bodily lusts.
   ἐάν τίς σοι δῷ ῥάπισμα εἰς τὴν δεξιὰν σιαγόνα
   If someone slaps you on the right cheek,
      στρέψον αὐτῷ καὶ τὴν ἄλλην καὶ ἔσῃ τέλειος·
      turn the other one to him and you will be perfect.
   ἐὰν ἀγγαρεύσῃ σέ τις μίλιον ἕν
   If someone compels you to go for one mile,
      ὕπαγε μετ ̓ αὐτοῦ δύο·
      go with him for two.
   ἐὰν ἄρῃ τις τὸ ἱμάτιόν σου
   If someone takes away your cloak,
      δὸς αὐτῷ καὶ τὸν χιτῶνα·
      give him your shirt too.
   ἐὰν λάβῃ τις ἀπὸ σοῦ τὸ σόν
   If someone takes from you what is yours,
      μὴ ἀπαίτει·
      do not demand repayment;
         οὐδὲ γὰρ δύνασαι.
         for you are not able.
παντὶ τῷ αἰοῦντί σε
To all that ask of you,
   δίδου καὶ μὴ ἀπαίτει·
   give and do not demand repayment;
      πᾶσι γὰρ θέλει δίδοσθαι ὁ πατὴρ
      for the Father desires to give them gifts
         ἐκ τῶν ἰδίων χαρισμάτων.
         from his own beneficence.
μακάριος ὁ διδοὺς κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν·
Blessed is the one who gives according to the command;
   ἀθῷος γάρ ἐστιν.
   for he is without guilt.
οὐαὶ τῷ λαμβάνοντι·
Woe to the one who receives;
   εἰ μὲν γὰρ χρείαν ἔχων λαμβάνει τις ἀθῷος ἔσται·
   for if anyone having need receives, he is guiltless;
   ὁ δὲ μὴ χρείαν ἔχων δώσει δίκην,
   but anyone having no need will give testimony:
      ἱνατί ἔλαβε καὶ εἰς τί·
      Why has he received, and for what purpose?
      ἐν συνοχῇ δὲ γενόμενος ἐξετασθήσεται περὶ ὧν ἔπραξε
      He will be put into prison, interrogated concerning what he did
         καὶ οὐκ ἐξελεύσεται ἐκεῖθεν
         and he will not be set free from there
            μέχρις οὗ ἀποδῷ τὸν ἔσχατον κοδράντην.
            until he has paid back the last cent.
ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τούτου δὲ εἴρηται·
And concerning this it has also been said:
    Ἱδρωσάτω ἡ ἐλεημοσύνη σου εἰς τὰς χεῖράς σου
   Your charitable gift must sweat in your hands
      μέχρις ἂν γνῷς τίνι δῷς.
      until you know to whom to give it.

Notes

The above groups are made largely based on sentence boundaries in Lake's edition. They do not necessarily align with established verse boundaries. I should also say that I'm simply doing a relatively quick glance at the text, thinking about how it was intended to be understood. This is not a critical study -- not by any means. Also, I don't consider the Didache to be on par with Scripture, but I do think the Didache offers insight regarding how Scripture was interpreted, taught and applied in these very early days of the church. This is where my interest lies.

The first group serves as an introduction to the section of the "Two Ways", which runs from here through chapter 6. The binary image of one way leading to life and another leading to death is common. Most of the focus of this first large section is on the way of life (chaps 1-4).

The second group begins to explain the first. If there is a way that leads to life, what is it? The way of life is summed up in the same way that Jesus summed up the whole of the law: Love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself.

The third group expands the teaching of the second group, giving practical advice and application as to how to go about loving the Lord and loving neighbors. When folks hurl invective at you, bless them. Pray for those who work against you. Fast for those who persecute you. This is really three ways of saying the same thing: earnestly desire the salvation of those who are opposed to you. Fast and pray for their souls. All of these actions are testified to in the New Testament; the Didachist is providing instruction on how to live according to those principles, tying the generic statements (Love God, love your neighbor) with specific application (desire salvation for those working against you).

The fourth group continues expounding on how to love, providing more application. As well, these are based in the New Testament (largely from the sermon on the mount). The idea is to be in control of one's own actions; the natural response is likely not the correct response. Work to override it and be in control. If slapped on the face, instead of striking back one is to turn the other cheek. If conscripted for some sort of service, excel in your work and provide more than was expected of you. If something is taken, give more than is asked and do not pursue repayment.

The fifth group sums up the fourth group. When asked, we are to give with no expectation of repayment. What we have is the Lord's, and if the Lord desires to reallocate his resources from his goodness, who are we to question it? We should give and be grateful.

The sixth group continues and transitions from the positive side of obedience (those who obey are blessed) to the negative side.

The seventh group is the negative side: Woe to those who receive needlessly. The important realization is that whether requesting, giving or receiving, we will be held responsible for our actions.

The eighth group continues the summation. Because we are responsible, we are to give responsibly. We are stewards of God's resources, and we should give freely. But we should not give lackadaisically. Consider available options for the gift, and give according to the discerned will of God.

Next: Didache 2. No idea when that will be.

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 07, 2006 12:30:41 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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I'm finally beginning a series of random, unscheduled posts on the Didache. I'm less interested in textual history (e.g. Niederwimmer and his endless discussion of textual history and parallels on the "Two Ways" literature) and more interested what the Didache says. So if you're looking for discussion on textual history, parallels, musings on source documents, how the Didachist might have edited his source into the Didache, and stuff like that ... well, read Niederwimmer's Didache volume in the Hermeneia commentary series.

Me, I'll just be reading the document and blogging about what I read. I hope to do the following for each chapter:

  • Translation. OK, this really isn't a from-scratch translation, I'm reading Lake's edition of the Greek and English. My "translation" is really just working over Lake's stuff and rico-tizing it. Most times that will include wholesale changes, other times (when I'm really confused) it will be a simple modernization of the language.
  • Phrasing Breakdown. I hope to do simple phrasing breakdown (some might call it "sentence phrasing" or "block diagramming") of the Greek. This is largely based on my intuition. I don't claim to have the last word on this and realize that others would break things in other ways. I largely use punctuation of the printed Greek editon as guide, along with examining conjunctions, prepositional phrases, and other natural (to me) breaking points in the text. This produces a simple tabbed "hierarchy" that I'll base my notes on.
  • Notes. I'll write whatever comes to mind based on how I worked through the text. Nothing systematic here, particularly since this will be work done over time and really only taking the current chapter (and perhaps some previous context) into account.

Sound good? Ok. Let's get started. For some background, check out EarlyChristianWritings.com on the Didache.

Update (2006-04-07): Thanks to Mike Aquilina (The Way of the Fathers) for linking to this little series of mine. Also note his Introduction to the Didache.

As of March 29, 2007, this series is complete.

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 07, 2006 11:37:17 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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I took today off and went for a quick kayak paddle on Lake Whatcom. It was awesome. It was calm, relatively temperate, and I think I was the only boat of any kind on the lake. Now, reality has set in. I really need to mow my lawn this afternoon. Take the good with the bad, right?

I was going to take pictures but I forgot my camera. Maybe next time. More info on my kayak is on my personal web site.

Before I mow the lawn, though ... maybe ... look for a post on the Didache.

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 07, 2006 11:23:30 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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