# Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's up at Blue Cord. Check it out!

Thanks, Kevin, for your work in putting it together and hosting BSC:V.

BSC:VI is scheduled for Benjamin Myers' Faith and Theology blog next month, so keep your eyes peeled for potential submissions. 

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 02, 2006 10:39:17 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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If you'll be going to the regional SBL meeting in Spokane this weekend, I'd like to meet with you. Whether it is to talk about ricoblog, Pastoral Epistles, or Logos Bible Software 3 (Greek resources and syntax stuff especially), we can get together.

Zap me an email (text geek at gmail d o t com) and we can set something up. I'm guessing I'll arrive Friday afternoon and be leaving late Sunday morning. Just about any time in there is fair game, so let me know what works for you!

See you there!

Update (2006-05-04): I actually won't be attending due to a family situation that has come up. To those who do attend — enjoy your time!

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 02, 2006 5:45:15 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Monday, May 01, 2006

As many readers know, I work for Logos Bible Software. We've been working on a substantial upgrade for two years now. The upgrade is substantial in both application capability and in data sets.

Well, today is the day. It's finally here. And it's shipping. We have stock in-house and it is leaving the building starting today. I'm sooooooo stoked!

First, check out the post to the Logos Bible Software blog about Logos 3.

Next, check out the message that was just sent to our newsgroups:

Logos Bible Software 3 is here!

Visit our online upgrade tool http://www.logos.com/upgrade to get a personalized discount and a chart showing all the new books and Addins you'll get when you upgrade.

More details are coming online as we make the pages live; here are a few that are up now:

My role has been specifically in New Testament Greek stuff — reverse interlinears, syntax databases, new morphological databases and a few other things. I'll just say: I think the Bible Word Study report is awesome!

Also note that H.H. Hardy at the Daily Hebrew blog has been blogging a bit about Logos Bible Software 3. See his software category for several posts that have to do with the new version. (note: Direct links to posts removed due to problems linking to URLs with spaces in them).

Post Author: rico
Monday, May 01, 2006 1:28:35 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Sunday, April 30, 2006

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


Τέκνον μου,
My child,
      ἀπὸ παντὸς πονηροῦ
      from all evil
      καὶ ἀπὸ παντὸς ὁμοίου αὐτοῦ.
      and from all like it.
   μὴ γίνου ὀργίλος,
   do not be proud,
      ὁδηγεῖ γὰρ ἡ ὀργὴ πρὸς τὸν φόνον,
      for pride leads to murder,
   μηδὲ ζηλωτὴς
   nor (be) jealous
   μηδὲ ἐριστικὸς
   nor (be) quarrelsome
   μηδὲ θυμικός·
   nor (be) easily stoked to anger:
      ἐκ γὰρ τούτων ἁπάντων φόνοι γεννῶνται.
      for from all of these murder is borne.

τέκνον μου,
My child,
   μὴ γίνου ἐπιθυμητής,
   do not be lustful,
      ὁδηγεῖ γὰρ ἡ ἐπιθυμία πρὸς τὴν πορνείαν,
      for lust leads to sexual immorality,
   μηδὲ αἰσχρολόγος
   nor (be) filthy-mouthed
   μηδὲ ὑψηλόφθαλμος·
   nor (have) eyes prone to desire:
      ἐκ γὰρ τούτων ἁπάντων μοιχεῖαι γεννῶνται.
      for from all of these adulterous acts are borne.

τέκνον μου,
My child,
   μὴ γίνου οἰωνοσκόπος,
   do not be one who consults soothsayers,
      ἐπειδὴ ὁδηγεῖ εἰς τὴν εἰδωλολατρίαν,
      for this leads to idolotry,
   μηδὲ ἐπαοιδὸς
   nor (be) an enchanter
   μηδὲ μαθηματικὸς
   nor (follow) astrology
   μηδὲ περικαθαίρων,
   nor (be) a magician,
   μηδὲ θέλε αὐτὰ βλέπειν·
   nor desire to see these things:
      ἐκ γὰρ τοῦτων ἁπάντων εἰδωλολατρία γεννᾶται.
      for from all of these idolotry is borne.

τέκνον μου,
My child,
   μή γίνου ψεύστης,
   do not be a liar,
      ἐπειδὴ ὁδηγεῖ τὸ ψεῦσμα εἰς τὴν κλοπήν,
      because lying leads to theivery,
   μηδὲ φιλάργυρος
   nor (be) a lover of money
   μηδὲ κενόδοξος·
   nor (be) conceited:
      ἐκ γὰρ τούτων ἁπάντων κλοπαὶ γεννῶνται.
      for from all of these theivery is borne.

τέκνον μου,
My child,
   μὴ γίνου γόγγυσος,
   do not be a grumbler,
      ἐπειδὴ ὁδηγεῖ εἰς τὴν βλασφημίαν,
      because it leads to blasphemy,
   μηδὲ αὐθάδης
   nor (be) arrogant
   μηδὲ πονηρόφρων·
   nor (be) evil-minded:
      ἐκ γὰρ τούτων ἁπάντων βλασφημίαι γεννῶνται.
      for from all of these blasphemy is borne.


The Didachist uses a simple structure to warn the baptismal candidate against five kinds of evil. Those evils are:

  • Murder
  • Sexual Immorality
  • Idolotry
  • Thievery
  • Blasphemy

The baptismal candidate isn't just warned about these areas generally, he is warned about specific sorts of action that may lead one to these areas.

And at the beginning of the section, the baptismal candidate is warned against evil in general. So this section goes from general to specific. Sort of like this:

  • Evil
    • Murder
      • pride, jealousy, being prone to quarrel, easily stoked to anger 
    • Sexual Immorality
      • lustful, filthy-mouthed, eyes prone to desire
    • Idolotry
      • consult soothsayers, enchanters, astrology, magicians, desire to see such things
    • Thievery
      • liar, lover of money, conceited
    • Blasphemy
      • grumbler, arrogant, evil-minded

The baptismal candidate isn't just to generally abstain from evil, or even from things all would acknowledge are evil. He is to refrain from smaller things, he is to be in control of his passions and doings. He is not only to not be a thief, he is to avoid lying and the love of money because those things could lead to thievery (and thus lead toward evil).

As said above, the structure starts generally and works down into specifics. And the specifics are what the candidate is to take home and apply in his overall quest to live according to the way of life (cf. Did 1) and avoid the way of death.

That's just the first part (Did 3.1-6). I'll do something on the second part (Did 3.7-10) some time later.

Post Author: rico
Sunday, April 30, 2006 4:23:27 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, April 28, 2006

Regular readers know one thing that helps me think through a passage is to do some block-style diagramming. For me, this means indenting things that I deem are dependent on things that come before them. Admittedly, this is quite subjective and more art than systematized practice. Different folks come up with different things; I'm not saying I'm right, I'm just saying this is what I saw when I worked through the text this morning. I do this on a sentence-by-sentence basis, so each chunk is a sentence.

Here's my block (with my own translation) for 1Th 1.6-10. The spot with the ellipsis is where I wanted to show the verb was to be read with the text above it, it isn't a new level. I didn't really ellipse the text of the NT.

Καὶ ὑμεῖς μιμηταὶ ἡμῶν ἐγενήθητε καὶ τοῦ κυρίου,
And you became imitators of us and of the Lord,
   δεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον
   receiving the word
      ἐν θλίψει πολλῇ
      in great affliction
      μετὰ χαρᾶς πνεύματος ἁγίου,
      with the joy of the Holy Spirit,
   ὥστε γενέσθαι ὑμᾶς τύπον πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν
   so that you might become a model to all who believe
      ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ
      in Macedonia
      καὶ ἐν τῇ Ἀχαΐᾳ.
      and in Achaia.

ἀφ’ ὑμῶν γὰρ ἐξήχηται ὁ λόγος τοῦ κυρίου
For from you the word of the Lord has sounded forth
   οὐ μόνον
   not only
      ἐν τῇ Μακεδονίᾳ
      in Macedonia
      καὶ [ἐν τῇ] Ἀχαΐᾳ,
      and in Achaia,
   ἀλλ’ ἐν παντὶ τόπῳ
   but in every place
      ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν
      your faith,
      ἡ πρὸς τὸν θεὸν
      which is in God,
    … ἐξελήλυθεν,
   has gone out.
   ὥστε μὴ χρείαν ἔχειν ἡμᾶς λαλεῖν τι.
   so that we have no need to say anything.

αὐτοὶ γὰρ περὶ ἡμῶν ἀπαγγέλλουσιν
Concerning us, they themselves report
   ὁποίαν εἴσοδον ἔσχομεν
   the sort of welcome we had
      πρὸς ὑμᾶς,
      from you,
   καὶ πῶς ἐπεστρέψατε
   and how you turned
      πρὸς τὸν θεὸν
      toward God
      ἀπὸ τῶν εἰδώλων
      (and) away from idols
      δουλεύειν θεῷ ζῶντι καὶ ἀληθινῷ
      to serve the living and true God
      καὶ ἀναμένειν τὸν υἱὸν αὐτοῦ
      and to expectantly wait for his Son
         ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν,
         from heaven,
         ὃν ἤγειρεν
         whom he raised
            ἐκ [τῶν] νεκρῶν,
            from the dead,
         Ἰησοῦν τὸν ῥυόμενον ἡμᾶς
         Jesus, the one rescuing us
            ἐκ τῆς ὀργῆς τῆς ἐρχομένης.
            from the coming wrath.

Things that stand out to me, in no particular order:

  • Repetition of Macedonia & Achaia.
  • Contrast between Macedonia & Achaia and "every place your faith ... has gone out".
  • The Thessalonians' testimony precedes them and is known throughout the region.
  • The Thessalonians' response to Paul's gospel. They turned:
    • Toward God
    • Away from idols
    • To serve the living and true God
    • To wait for the return of Christ
  • Jesus as rescuer instead of the more-often-used picture of savior.
  • A specific thing Jesus rescues us from ("the coming wrath").
  • Jesus identified as being raised from the dead by God.
  • Apposition? Between "the one from heaven, whom he raised from the dead" and "Jesus, the one rescuing us from the coming wrath"?

Perhaps I'll post regularly as I work through the text each week in the home study, perhaps not — it all depends on time, of course.

Post Author: rico
Friday, April 28, 2006 4:30:24 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, April 27, 2006

I'm part of a home Bible study group that's going over First Thessalonians. During last week's meeting, our first, I was thinking about the epistolary salutation:

Παῦλος καὶ Σιλουανὸς καὶ Τιμόθεος
τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ Θεσσαλονικέων ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ καὶ κυρίῳ Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ,
χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη.

I was thinking about the word χάρις. The form Paul uses is similar to standard epistolary form (A to B, χαίρειν) but not the same. I know folks have likely written about this, but during the study I was wondering about the phonetic similarity of χάρις and χαίρειν. Is this an example of Paul subverting the standard form with a little phonetic wordplay and making it his own?

So today during lunch I poked through Francis Xavier J. Exler's excellent little book, A Study in Greek Epistlography: The Form of the Ancient Greek Letter. Exler looks at a huge number of letters (papyri) that date from 300 BC through 300 AD. He catalogues salutations according to form and then evaluates closings used with each salutation. Nothing in Exler's study documents the use of χάρις in the salutations, at least in the letters he examines.

Tonight, I poked into a few commentaries on Thessalonians to see if any had more to say on this mattter.

Here's George Milligan:

χάρις ὑμῖν κ. εἰρήνη] a greeting doubtless suggested by the union of the ordinary Gk. and Heb. forms of salutation (cf. 2 Macc. 1:1), though both are deepened and spiritualized. Thus χαίρειν (cf. Ac. 15:23, 23:26, Jas. 1:1) now gives place to χάρις, a word which, without losing sight of the Hellenic charm and joy associated with the older formula, is the regular Pauline expression for the Divine favour as shown in all its freeness and universality; while εἰρήνη, so far from being a mere phrase of social intercourse (cf. Judg. 19:20, 19:2 Esdr. 4:17), is not even confined to its general O.T. sense of harmony restored between God and man (e.g. Num. 6:26), but has definitely in view that harmony as secured through the person and the work of Christ (cf. Jo. 14:27).
St. Paul's Epistles to the Thessalonians. 1908 (G. Milligan, Ed.) (4). London: Macmillan and co., limited. Emphasis (bold) added.

So Milligan (in 1908) note the similarity between Pauline and standard form. And here's C.A. Wanamaker (NIGTC):

χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη (“grace to you and peace”) concludes the prescript of the letter by offering a somewhat abbreviated form of the standard Pauline greeting. It differs markedly from the greeting in the normal Greek letter, where some form of χαίρειν (“greetings” or “rejoice”) is used, but it has some correspondence to the normal Jewish greeting, “peace.”
Wanamaker, C. A. (1990). The Epistles to the Thessalonians : A commentary on the Greek text. Spine title: Commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians.; Includes indexes. (71). Grand Rapids, Mich.: W.B. Eerdmans. Emphasis (bold) added.

Wanamaker skims over χάρις and any similarity to χαίρειν. He then takes it a step further noting how bestowing “peace” as part of a greeting is reminiscent of the standard Hebrew greeting, shalom. I can see that, but I also think Milligan is spot on in regard to χάρις and χαίρειν.

Interestingly, the epistle from James doesn't use χάρις but 1&2 Peter do. I say "interestingly" because, if I have my chronology right, many think James pre-dates Pauline material. 1&2 Peter post-date Pauline material (at least 2 Peter does as Pauline material is explicitly referenced). The Johannines are split on the issue (2 John does, 1 & 3 John do not) and Jude uses a completely different formula ("mercy, peace and love be multiplied to you").

Anyway, just a little thought I wanted to pass along. So next time you read a Pauline saluation, think about greetings of "grace" and what that means; and how Paul keeps to the form (somewhat) but also makes it his own.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 27, 2006 11:53:07 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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Don't know what to cook? Looking for something a little exotic to spice up your menu?

I just noticed this book (originally published 1908) in Project Gutenberg: 365 Foreign Recipes. Stuff like:

  • February 2: Haggis.
  • February 8: Bombay Spinach (that actually sounds good!)
  • March 7: Austrian Apple Strudel
  • March 14: Spanish Stewed Rabbit

What's on the menu for today, April 27? Why, Vienna Milk Rolls, of course:

Sift 1-1/2 quarts of flour; add 1/2 teaspoonful of salt; work in a large tablespoonful of butter; then stir in 1/2 cup of milk with a piece of yeast dissolved in the milk and a teaspoonful of sugar. Beat all up well with 1 pint of milk; let raise over night. Roll out an inch thick; cut with a biscuit-cutter; rub with melted butter; lay in a buttered baking-pan; let raise one hour; then bake in a hot oven twenty minutes.

And what should my birthday meal be, according to the book? Belgian Chicken:

Cut a cooked chicken into pieces; add some slices of cold veal. Heat 1 cup of stock; add 1/4 teaspoonful of mustard, 1/2 teaspoonful of paprica, a pinch of white pepper and salt to taste. Add the chicken and 1 glass of sherry wine. Let all cook ten minutes. Add 3 tablespoonfuls of currant jelly. Serve hot with toasted croutons.


Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 27, 2006 11:15:07 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Amy (my beloved fiance) called me at work the other day. She was adding some last-minute stuff to a wedding registry and had a question about the bathroom faucets in my house (which will be our house). "Are they silver or gold colored?" she asked. She was thinking about stuff for bathrooms and needed to know the color.

Hey, I'm a guy. It's news to me that folks think about these things. I love that Amy thinks about them, though. Our house is going to be so cool!

Anyway, after I answered the question (they're silver, BTW) I began describing the faucets. But the problem was I that was describing the bathroom faucets in the house I grew up in, not in the house in which I currently reside. I honestly couldn't remember exactly what the bathroom faucets in my house look like.

But I do know I use them every day for their intended purpose, and I never get the hot and cold mixed up. I use the faucet, I don't stop and think about the appearance or mechanics of it all.

I was thinking about this over the weekend, and I thought, "Gee, that's a lot like language". Let me explain a bit.

Sometimes when folks study the Bible, they put a lot of stock in word studies. Word studies are a necessary part of the exegetical process, we should do them. But it is very easy to dwell too much on studying a word in the original language and end up missing the point: The word means what it means in a particular context; all possible or attested nuances of a given word are not intended to be understood with each use of the word.

Think again about bathroom faucets. I learned how these work in the house I grew up in, and I haven't really paid attention to them since I learned that lesson: Hot left, cold right, middle warm. Up on, down off. Every single-handle faucet is pretty much a variation on this theme.

So I haven't had to think about faucets since I learned the basic lessons. That's why when I had to actually stop and picture a bathroom faucet for my sweetheart, I thought about the one I learned the lesson on -- the one in the house I grew up in. The principles are the same, my use of them isn't any different since I understand implicitly how they work.

Now, houses have all sorts of different faucets. There are different faucets in kitchens, in bathtub/shower units, outside of the house for hoses, ones you hook washing machines up to ... the list goes on.

When I say "faucet" outside of specific context, I really could mean any one of those. But chances are the rest of the context of the sentence provides the cues that clue native speakers in regarding exactly which type of faucet is under discussion.

That, and we know that if we were in a kitchen but the faucet on the kitchen sink was reminiscent of a bathtub/shower faucet ... well, we'd find that very, very strange.

The same sort of thing can be said for words used in the Bible. When the native speaker/reader encounters a multiple-sense word, he is able (given coherent text) to disambiguate sense. That is, he can pick up the contextual cues and infer the proper sense of the word. When he's asked to "hook up the sprinkler to the faucet and water the lawn", he knows that happens outside. He's not running the hose to the bathroom and trying to attach it to the sink. Likewise, when drawing a bath, he doesn't turn on the kitchen faucet thinking it'll somehow fill the bathtub.

We need to do better to remember this when doing word studies. I know that D.A. Carson (Exegetical Fallacies), James Barr (Semantics of Biblical Language) and others have written on this, but it is worth mentioning again (and again, and again). It is great to examine how a word is used in, say, the New Testament. But that doesn't mean that all nuances one runs across (or finds in a dictionary) are intended with each instance of the word in the New Testament. In a specific context, a word means a specific thing. In some instances, multiple senses can be attributed. I've seen contexts where I think both literal and figurative senses of a word are intended; but these are usually obvious in context and are the exception, not the rule.

In other words, when exegeting a particular passage, we shouldn't be asking "What does [word] mean?" Instead, we should ask "What does [word] mean here?" Why? Because that is the sort of thing that native speakers/readers implicitly understand. They know which faucet is intended based on context. They don't get confused by studying the vast and numerous types of faucets; how they dispense hot, warm and cold water; different styles and whatnot. If, when reading something like "hook up the sprinkler to the faucet and water the lawn", we stop and look at kitchen faucets and bathroom faucets and import those concepts onto the context of an outside faucet we don't learn anything from the statement even though the same word (perhaps even 'root word') is used in the description. Our understanding is completely muddied and our exegesis is poorer for it. If we read the statement thinking about outside faucets, though, then we understand what was originally communicated.

I know I'm rambling and have mixed concepts to a degree here. I guess what I want to underscore is:

  • Words have senses. Individual usages of words normally only utilise one of a word's possible senses. Word studies should focus on isolating that particular sense for the current, specific context. They shouldn't discuss all possible senses and import wide-ranging definitions in a particular context.
  • Native language users understand these things implicitly. This means when working with a language foreign to us, we must do due diligence to find the cues that native language speakers rely on to ensure our exegesis is proper.

So, next time you find yourself in a word study examining other instances of a word, make sure to consider similar instances and not just the most widely different instances. You likely aren't looking for super-wide fields of meaning but instead need to narrow down to the particular context.

Can that be boring? Yeah. But remember: faucets are boring too.

Update (2006-04-26): Ken Penner points me to some more information about relevance theory. Thanks for the reminder, Ken. I dug into relevance theory about a year ago and find it fascinating. For those looking for a gentle introduction to relevance theory as applied to Bible translation, I can recommend Kevin G. Smith's dissertation on Bible Translation and Relevance Theory (first link on the list, look for 'pdf'). He works through the issues and then applies them to the translation of Titus. Cool stuff!

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, April 25, 2006 11:04:41 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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