# Thursday, February 22, 2007

I mentioned yesterday that I'd post my translation of James 2.14-26, so here it is.

I typically translate clause-by-clause and my translations try to convey Greek word order where doing so isn't overly unweildy. And I haven't thought much about paragraph boundaries either. Anyway, here it is:

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith but does not have works? Is it possible for that faith to save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and lacking in food for the day, 16 and if one from out of your number says, "Go away in peace, keep warm and stay filled with food", and does not give them their bodily needs, what good is it? 17 Faith is like this, if it does not have works it is dead by itself.

18 But someone will say: "You have faith, and I have works". Show me your faith without works, and I will show you my faith from works. 19 You believe that God is one and you do well. Even the demons believe this and tremble. 20 But do you desire to know, you empty-headed human, that faith without works is useless?

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works in offering up Isaac his son on the altar? 22 You see that faith was a co-laborer with his works and by his works faith was proven 23 and the scripture was fulfilled which says: "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness", and he became a friend of God.

24 You see that from works a person is justified and not from faith alone.

25 And was not Rahab the whore in the same way justified by receiving the messengers and sending them out another way?

26 For just as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, February 22, 2007 8:27:35 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, February 21, 2007

In the past few weeks, my employer (Logos Bible Software) released an application that is basically designed to help one keep track of those blasted post-it notes that end up stuck to your monitor frame. It's called NoteScraps. Why did we do it? Well, that's laid out in a post on the Logos Blog, but the answer is that it was a small, tightly spec'd application that allowed our programmers to play with new WPF goodies and learn more before doing so inside of Logos Bible Software itself.

Why do I mention it now? Well, I've found it to be daggum handy for keeping track of those little inspirations I have for blog posts an any of the three blogs I participate in. Here's a screen capture:

NoteScraps (http://www.NoteScraps.com)

See? All those post-it notes that used to adorn my monitor are now easily skimmed and managed. The app is fairly single-purpose, and the trial version allows you to keep up to 10 notes. No formatting, URLs automatically located and made active. If unlimited notes are desired, then the full version is 20 bucks. More on the NoteScraps web site.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 5:11:43 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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I'm in a home group Bible study going over the book of James. So I study the week's passage for my morning study time.

Yesterday and today I read and translated James 2.14-26. Wow. Familiar text to most folks who have been around the church for awhile, I'm sure. But stop and read it again sometime soon, and focus on the context of surrounding discussion in James (particularly 1.19-2.13, which speaks of the futility of hearing and not doing).

I'm at the office now, my translation is at home. Maybe I'll post it later.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, February 21, 2007 9:20:27 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, February 20, 2007

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


1 Πᾶς δὲ προφήτης ἀληθινὸς
But every true prophet
   θέλων καθῆσθαι
   (who) wishes to reside
      πρὸς ὑμᾶς
      among you
ἄξιός ἐστι τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ.
is worthy of his food.

2 ὡσαύτως διδάσκαλος ἀληθινός ἐστιν ἄξιος
In the same way a true teacher is worthy
   καὶ αὐτὸς ὥσπερ ὁ ἐργάτης
   and he, just as the worker,
   τῆς τροφῆς αὐτοῦ.
   (is worthy) of his food.

3 πᾶσαν οὖν ἀπαρχὴν γεννημάτων ληνοῦ
Therefore all of the firstfruits of the produce of the winepress
   καὶ ἅλωνος,
   and (of the produce of the) threshing floor,
   βοῶν τε καὶ προβάτων λαβὼν
   and of (the produce of) oxen and sheep take (all of the firstfruits),
      δώσεις τὴν ἀπαρχὴν τοῖς προφήταις·
      and you shall give (them) as firstfruits to the prophets:
         αὐτοὶ γάρ εἰσιν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ὑμῶν.
         for they are your high priests.

4 ἐὰν δὲ μὴ ἔχητε προφήτην,
And if you do not have a prophet,
   δότε τοῖς πτωχοῖς.
   give (the firstfruits) to the poor.

5 ἐὰν σιτίαν ποιῇς,
If you make bread,
   τὴν ἀπαρχὴν λαβὼν
   take the firstfruits
   and give (them)
      κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν.
      according to the commandment.

6 ὡσαύτως κεράμιον οἴνου ἢ ἐλαίου ἀνοίξας,
Likewise, when you open a jar of wine or olives,
   τὴν ἀπαρχὴν λαβὼν
   take the firstfruits
      δὸς τοῖς προφήταις·
      and give (them) to the prophets.
7 ἀργυρίου δὲ
And of money
   καὶ ἱματισμοῦ
   and of clothing
   καὶ παντὸς κτήματος
   and of all possessions,
      λαβὼν τὴν ἀπαρχήν,
      take the firstfruits,
         ὡς ἂν σοι δόξῃ,
         however you deem worthy,
         and give (them)
            κατὰ τὴν ἐντολήν.
            according to the commandment.


The progression from chapter 11 to chapter 13 is clear. True teachers have been distinguished; those foreigners entering the fellowship have been tested to see if they will work for their keep. Verses 1-2 sum this up: "true" prophets and teachers (you know, the ones who jive with what's described in chaps 11-12) are "worthy" just as those who work for their food are worthy.

The "prophets" are to receive the "firstfruits". Much like Israelite society of old took care of the priests via offering of firstfruits, so the Didachist's community (communities?) are to take care of the prophets (and teachers, I'd guess) through the offering of firstfruits. Several categories are hit: produce of the winepress, threshing floor, sheep and oxen; bread, olives, wine; money clothing and "of all possessions". The approach is the same as found in the NT lists of vice and virtue; mention some of the larger items and areas intended, even overlapping (e.g. "produce of the winepress" and later "wine") and follow it up with a catch-all: "of all possessions".

Also note that communities that had no prophet were to similarly give of firstfruits, but instead were to give the produce to the poor.

Next up: Didache 14. We're in the home stretch, three chapters left. But the last one (Did 16) is a doozy!

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, February 20, 2007 7:09:44 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, February 16, 2007

Check this out from Wallace's Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (amazon.com): p. 79-81.

No, first you need background. I was looking at James 2.1:

Ἀδελφοί μου, μὴ ἐν προσωπολημψίαις ἔχετε τὴν πίστιν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τῆς δόξης. (NA27)

My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. (ESV)

My brothers and sisters, do you with your acts of favoritism really believe in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ? (NRSV)

Confused about τῆς δόξης and what it modifies, I went to the Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament.  It notes that δόξης is a "Descriptive Genitive" and cites Wallace pp. 79-81. The Lexham SGNT cleared up the modification issue for me, but it provoked a different question. What in the world is a "descriptive genitive"? (I mean, aren't all genitives descriptive?) I went to read the pages cited in Wallace. Here's what I found, which I quote verbatim. This text is really in there!

†1. Descriptive Genitive (“Aporetic” Genitive21) [characterized by, described by]

a. Definition

The genitive substantive describes the head noun in a loose manner. The nature of the collocation of the two nouns in this construction is usually quite ambiguous.

b. Amplification

This is the “catch-all” genitive, the “drip pan” genitive, the “black hole” of genitive categories that tries to suck many a genitive into its grasp! In some respects, all adjectival genitives are descriptive, yet no adjectival genitive is descriptive. That is to say, although all adjectival genitives are, by their nature, descriptive, very few, if any, belong only to this specific category of usage. This use truly embodies the root idea of the (adjectival) genitive. It is often the usage of the genitive when it has not been affected by other linguistic considerations-that is, when there are no contextual, lexemic, or other grammatical features that suggest a more specific nuance.22

Frequently, however, it is close to the attributive genitive, being either other than or broader than the attributive use.23 (See chart 7 below.) Hence, this use of the genitive should be a last resort. If one cannot find a narrower category to which a genitive belongs, this is where he or she should look for solace.24

Further, some footnotes are worthy of evaluation as well:

Note 21: That is, the “I am at a loss” gen. (from the Greek word, ἀπορέω, “I am at a loss,” a tongue-in-cheek title suggested to me by J. Will Johnston). This is the category one should appeal to when another slot cannot be found. The title is descriptive not of the gen., but of the feeling one has in the pit of his/her stomach for having spent so much time on this case and coming up with nothing.

Note 24: Since there is already a plethora of gen. categories, we had to stop somewhere. The descriptive gen. covers a multitude of syntactical categories which have, as yet, to receive published sanction (though this would be a worthy project). It seems that one of the chief situations in which descriptive genitives occur is when either the head noun or the gen. noun is highly idiomatic, figurative, or informed by Semitic usage. Thus, υἱός + noungen is perhaps frequently descriptive (e.g., “son of disobedience”). To call this merely attributive (“disobedient son”) is not adequate, for “son” then does not get interpreted. (υἱός with gen. is notoriously complex; see Zerwick, Biblical Greek, 15–16 [§42–43] for summary of uses.) Also, when the head noun is figurative, such as in “root of bitterness” (ῥίζα πικρίας, Heb 12:15), the gen. can frequently be described as descriptive.
At the same time, our approach in this chapter overall is different from grammars that refuse to analyze the descriptive gen. (e.g., Young, Intermediate Greek, 23; Moule, Idiom Book, 37), because we believe that such analysis is not intuitive with most students of Greek and, further, that the additional categories have exegetical value.


Post Author: rico
Friday, February 16, 2007 9:42:07 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, February 14, 2007

PJ Williams at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog was the first to note it; word came to him via Michael Holmes.

Bruce M. Metzger has passed.

Textual criticism is a strange field. It takes years—decades, even—to be comfortable with the variety of languages, witnesses, manuscripts, not to mention the paleography. Metzger had decades of information filed away in his head, along with recall of resources. It seems textual criticism is one field where the elder statesmen who retain critical faculties along the way become more valuable to the field, not less valuable.

He will be impossible to replace and sorely missed.

I couldn't locate a formal bibliography of his works (well, at least not quickly). Here, however, is his author page on LibraryThing. Take a look. The list is only books, so articles, monographs, fetschriften essays, conference papers and whatnot are not included, but the ground he covered is amazing.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, February 14, 2007 2:24:14 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Thursday, February 08, 2007

Note Michael Pahl's thoughts about Richard Bauckham's Jesus and the Eyewitnesses (amazon.com), where he breaks his discussion into "things I like" and "areas that failed to convince".

Some of the areas that failed to convince Michael also failed to convince me — notably the "inclusio of eyewitness testimony". As regards Mark, if his main source is Peter, what is the likelihood that the first and last testimony he uses are Peter's? Er ... uh ... probably the most likely of the options. It is interesting, and Bauckham provokes thought here, but it just doesn't hit me.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, February 08, 2007 9:36:57 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, February 06, 2007

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


1 Πᾶς δὲ ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου δεχθήτω·
But everyone coming in the name of the Lord let be received:
   ἔπειτα δὲ δοκιμάσαντες αὐτὸν γνώσεσθε,
   When you have examined him, you will know him,
      σύνεσιν γὰρ ἕξετε δεξιὰν καὶ ἀριστεράν.
      for you will be able to distinguish [whether he is] true or false.

2 εἰ μὲν παρόδιός ἐστιν ὁ ἐρχόμενος,
If the one coming is a traveler,
   βοηθεῖτε αὐτῷ, ὅσον δύνασθε·
   help him, as far as you are able.
   οὐ μενεῖ δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς εἰ μὴ δύο ἢ τρεῖς ἡμέρας,
   but he shall not remain among you more than two or three days,
      ἐὰν ᾖ ἀνάγκη.
      if there is need.

3 εἰ δὲ θέλει πρὸς ὑμᾶς καθῆσθαι,
If he desires to stay with you,
   τεχνίτης ὤν,
   being an artisan,
   ἐργαζέσθω καὶ φαγέτω.
   let him work and eat.

4 εἰ δὲ οὐκ ἔχει τέχνην,
But if he has no craft,
   κατὰ τὴν σύνεσιν ὑμῶν προνοήσατε,
   take this into consideration according to your understanding,
   πῶς μὴ ἀργὸς μεθ ̓ ὑμῶν ζήσεται Χριστιανός.
   that nobody who is idle shall live among you as a Christian.

5 εἰ δ ̓οὐ θέλει οὕτω ποιεῖν,
If he will not do this,
   χριστέμπορός ἐστι·
   he is trading on Christ:
      προσέχετε ἀπὸ τῶν τοιούτων.
      stay away from such as these.


This is a logical follow-up to Didache 11, which dealt with discerning true teachers from false teachers. This is a further corollary, it seems. Those who come to the fellowship are to be received. If they're just Christians passing through, that's fine. They can hang out for two, maybe three days at the maximum. But if they want to stay with the fellowship, they must have something to contribute.

My sense (as I'm writing this, I haven't thought about it more than when I translated it a few days ago) is that the bit in verse 1 about "examining" is referring to the previous section, Didache 11. In other words, the Didachist is saying, "When you check out this new person -- you know, like I just showed you -- you'll know if they are fellow believers, or if they're not."

If it is a fellow believer who is just passing through, then the fellowship is to help meet the traveler's need as they are able. If the "traveler" wants to make an extended stay, this is a clue that they could be a freeloader whose only interest in Christ is room and board. In that case, the traveler must be put to the test: Is he willing to work for his keep? If he is, then he is to be welcomed. If he is unable, he must be reminded that freeloading isn't an option and they must come to some equitable arrangement.

If the traveler wants to stay, but will not work, he is to be removed from the fellowship and sent along his way.

The word I translated "trading on Christ" could literally be translated "Christmonger". The idea is that this person is using the name of Christ for his own needs. He is no Christian, he only acknowledges the teachings for his own ill-gotten gain. These, says the Didachist, are to be avoided.

Preach it.

It's advice like this that is so practical and sensible that endears me to the Didache.

Next up: Didache 13.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, February 06, 2007 8:45:05 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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