# Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In the “what have I been doing lately” column:

First, I’ve been doing a lot of blogging at PastoralEpistles.com. I’ve done a lot of work translating and evaluating 2Ti 1.1-2.7 (at present) and will continue to work on it until I’ve worked through the whole letter. You may want to check out the posts.

Second, I’ve been doing a lot of reading in Peter Lampe’s From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries (amazon.com). This is an awesome book, I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve learned more about the cultural milieu of early Christians, and more about Christians in early Rome, than I knew was possible. Just the few pages on Priscilla and Aquila are worth it.

Third, my friend Bobby Koduvalil at Hendrickson Academic set me up with a few books. First is J. Harold Greenlee’s The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition. This is a thin volume and from what I can tell is geared toward the guy who realizes that his NASB New Testament is inexplicably different from his KJV New Testament and wants to figure out why. It is most certainly not an academic introduction to textual criticism, it is an introduction geared toward the laity. As such, it will make most text-critics cringe. But that’s good. From what I’ve read so far, Greenlee hits his audience, and most of what he says is defensible in that context. Introduction, TOC and Sample Chapter are all online at Hendrickson’s web site, hit the book page and scroll to the bottom for links to those bad boys. Second is Steve Mason’s Josephus, Judea, and Christian Origins: Methods and Categories, which is a compilation of several other articles Mason has written over the years, organized and somewhat edited into a new volume. Mason is a top-notch scholar and a nice guy to boot, and I’m really looking forward to reading this one — though it’ll be after Lampe (amazon.com) & Greenlee. I’ll blog about both of these books as I read more.

Fourth, in the past month I’ve installed the following Logos Bible Software and have already received benefit from most of it:

Fifth, since it has been lighter later, I’ve been able to take a few walks with our nearly-two-year-old daughter Ella after getting home from work. It’s still cold, but we brave it for a little while. She like to pick up a rock right when we start, and hold onto it the whole way. She also likes to keep me informed of when she sees birds, dogs, cats, dirt, trucks, cars, and busses. All in all, a hoot of a time.

Post Author: rico
Wednesday, March 11, 2009 7:19:32 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, March 10, 2009

After logging in, be sure to visit all the options under Configuration in the Admin Menu Bar above. There are 26 themes to choose from, and you can also create your own.


Post Author: admin
Tuesday, March 10, 2009 11:00:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Wednesday, March 04, 2009

It was three years ago today that Amy and I sat on the beach at Semiahmoo, and I asked her to marry me. I still praise God today that she said "Yes!"

I love you, Amy, and life with you is incredible. I wouldn't trade it for anything, and I can't wait to see where God is leading us!


Post Author: rico
Wednesday, March 04, 2009 6:32:27 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Before I start this, I should say that I greatly appreciate Bill Mounce and all of the work he's done. It's not easy to write a first-year grammar that anyone besides yourself can productively use. And have you ever really dug into his Morphology of Biblical Greek book? While not my cup of tea, there's an astounding amount of work and understanding distilled in there. So Bill, if you ever read this, know I greatly appreciate your efforts.

But did anyone else skim the Koinonia blog "Mondays with Mounce" this week and find themselves saying "huh?" after the first few paragraphs? Here's the text I'm talking about:

In Mark 5:7 the demon says to Jesus, "I adjure you by God (horkizo se ton theon), do not torment me" (ESV). The TNIV says, "In God’s name don’t torture me!" There are two issues here. The accusative ton theon is an accusative of oath, the name by which the oath is taken. That is why you can translate an accusative with "by," an idea normally connected with the dative.

The other issue is horkizo. BDAG lists its meaning as, "to give a command to someone under oath, adjure, implore." It is more than just a command or a strong request from the demon. The demon wants Jesus to take an oath not to torment him. This explains the "adjure" and "In God’s name." Pretty bold of the demon—asking the Son of God to swear an oath in the name of God.

The bold part is the part that threw me. An "accusative of oath"? Now, I have to admit, I don't have Wallace's grammar handy, so I don't know if he actually lists that one in his accusative categories. But the translation logic, at least as written and briefly argued here, astounds me: We are permitted to translate the accusative with "by" in this instance because τον θεον is an "accusative of oath"? Actually, I guess we're permitted to translate the accusative article τον with "by" because of this label?

Funny, I thought the verb ορκιζω had something to do with that. There's nothing about τον θεον in and of itself here that would cause one to label it as "accusative of oath". We know oaths are involved here because ... well ... the verb ορκιζω is put in the mouth of the demon. In other words, it's the context, not just the accusative.

While we typically wouldn't use "by" to put a Greek accusative structure to English, for some reason the Greeks did use accusatives in such contexts. The Greeks used one particular structure to accomplish this; in English we use a different structure. It doesn't mean we need to give it a fancy label to clue us in to "English" it as if we are translating a standard Greek dative into English; like we need to appeal somewhere for permission or something. We just need to understand the whole structure.

True, BDF §149 describes "Accusative with verbs of fearing, etc., and of swearing", including Mk 5.7 as an example (though in a section on "The Simple Accusative of the Object", not as double accusative, which is discussed in §§155-158). Robertson (p. 483, XI.VII(i)), at least at the point cited by BDAG, takes the causative route here and notes the double accusative in that context.

But all of that stymies me. I'm really supposed to know (and recall?) all that hooey before I can translate ὁρκίζω σε τὸν θεόν as "I implore you by God"? The label doesn't help me understand the Greek any better, it gives one shorthand to English it (lemma + parsing/declension + force labels == English translation). Actually, I may even be understanding the Greek less because I'm relying on the label to tell me how to English something instead of actually understanding the Greek itself. Doesn't the occurrence of ορκιζω along with the double accusative (σε + τον θεον) clue me in to something different going on without having to label the blasted thing "accusative of oath"?

You know, I'm liking some aspects of Robertson's grammar more and more each time I pull it off of my Logos Bible Software bookshelf.

But I don't begrudge BDF for including §149; it is very useful for the information it provides. I do, however, begrudge the notion that I need to have a label in order to justify a translation, because the labels quickly move from explanation of translation to prescription for translation. It's not, "Oh, oaths and stuff, particularly ορκιζω, are "causative" verbs, and they typically take double accusatives — so they get translated like so-and-so" (and yes, I'm not even really a fan of calling the verb "causative"); it is "well this is an accusative of oath, so we translate it using 'by'". Assigning the label becomes the task, with understanding (and translation) following; when the reverse of that process should really be what's going on.

So, in closing, I'll again say I appreciate Bill Mounce's work. And I'll end the post with some words from (near) the end of his post:

The point is this: languages are not codes. You can’t go neatly from one into the other. Words don’t have exactly the same meanings, and neither do grammatical constructions. All translation is both science and art.

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, March 03, 2009 6:57:04 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Sunday, March 01, 2009

Nijay points to a forthcoming book called Paul's Parallels: An Echoes Synopsis, to be published by Continuum (T&T Clark). Amazon lists it under a slightly different title (Pauline and Pseudo-Pauline Parallels, Echoes, and Musings (amazon.com)), the Continuum site says April 2009. It sounds awesome:

PaulsParallelsPaul's Parallels is the first and only New Testament resource text in tables format presenting Paul's verses in column one, next to a row of parallels, echoes, or like-minded quotes from Old and New Testament resources as well as other extant biblical materials. The passages are cited in full.

This master of the epistolary writings, gives a verse by verse demonstration of Paul's thoughts, his ethic, and his actions that were picked-up by later Christian writers, copied by pseudo-Pauline admirers. It delineates some as distinctively Christian while others remained only in Paul's writing.

In addition, Luke's history about Paul in Acts is presented using the same format so the reader can easily cross-reference each epistle to its chronological setting. Documenting the history of Paul’s ministry in the same text allows the reader to instantly turn to the time and place in which Paul wrote that particular message. While investigating serious textual, literary, genre, and other theological characteristics, the reader has the opportunity of simultaneously locating Acts in its historical context.

But there's a catch: It is priced at $225.00! (No, the '2' on my keyboard didn't stick, that $225.00 is correct; Amazon provides some savings with a price-as-of-this-post of $163.87). I can safely say that I will never get this book, unless someone with unlimited income and kindness sends it my way, or I happen upon a really cheap used copy somewhere. I realize these are basically books targeted to libraries with budgets (though that customer base is surely shrinking) and not single-person users, for the most part. I also realize these things can be spendy to produce, but also have limited audiences. But cryin' in the night, that's spendy! Of course, if someone at Continuum/T&T Clark would like to send a review copy my way, I'd be interested. (Hey, had to try!)


Update (2009-03-01): I saw a comment from Michael Bird on Nijay's post referring to a similar book by Walter Wilson to be released soon. A search on Amazon informs me the title is Pauline Parallels: A Comprehensive Guide (amazon.com), published by Westminster/John Knox. This sounds relatively similar to the above book, but is priced at $32.97! And Amazon has a release of Jan 27, 2009, so that means it is available for purchase. I'd love to see a smackdown between the two titles, particularly to see if the one book is really $200 better than the other. Again, I'd consider doing the smack-down if the publishers can get copies of the books my way.

Also, please don't confuse either of these books with the similarly-named Pauline Parallels (amazon.com) by Fred O. Francis and J. Paul Sampley. That book is published by Fortress Press and puts the Pauline epistles (sans the Pastorals, sadly) in topical synopsis. It's a handy book, and it is also affordable: the new book price is $21.78; used copies from about $13 (as of this posting, anyway)! I've found Francis & Sampley's work useful. It's a great place to turn when examining one Pauline passage to see if there may be other similar Pauline passages worthy of examination.

books | links | rants
Post Author: rico
Sunday, March 01, 2009 8:03:10 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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Darrell Pursiful has posted BSC:XXXIX at his blog, Dr. Platypus.

Check it out. Darrell was kind enough to link to several posts on both ricoblog (here and here) and PastoralEpistles.com (here and here). In spite of that, the carnival is wonderful. Do give it a read, and do check out the items that sound interesting to you!

Post Author: rico
Sunday, March 01, 2009 12:10:44 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Friday, February 27, 2009

New books are always a joyous thing; new books given to you by friends are even more joyous.

There are two books I've recently received that qualify as "even more joyous".

The first is a gift from a ricoblog and PastoralEpistles.com reader whom I won't name. Out of the kindness of his heart he sent along a copy of Perry L. Stepp and W. Hullitt Gloer's Reading Paul's Letters to Individuals: A Literary and Theological Commentary on Paul's Letters to Philemon, Titus and Timothy (amazon.com). This is awesome because I'm lucky enough to count Perry as a friend (though I've only met him in passing once, he does blog occasionally at PastoralEpistles.com) and Perry was kind enough to send along a few extended portions of the commentary while he was writing it for feedback. It's nice to see it in print. Perry has done an excellent job with the book, and I can highly recommend it as a readable yet substantive and stimulating commentary on the Pastorals. To the gentleman who sent this my way: Thank you, I really appreciate it!


The second was a gift from Michael Aubrey, who was cleaning off his bookshelf and ran across a volume that he knew I'd be interested in: George Weiland's The Significance of Salvation: A Study of Salvation Language in the Pastoral Epistles (amazon.com), part of Paternoster's Biblical Monographs series. Mike thinks he got the book just over two years ago when James Spinti (Eisenbrauns) had a book giveaway via RSS feed. I received a copy of John Eifion Morgan-Wynne's superb book Holy Spirit and Religious Experience in Christian Literature ca. AD 90-200 (amazon.com) during the same promo/giveaway. I can highly recommend Morgan-Wynne's book as excellent, and I have similar hope for Wieland's tome.

Post Author: rico
Friday, February 27, 2009 12:51:49 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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