# Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thanks to the generosity of the author, I’ve received a copy of Will Varner’s The Book of James: A New Perspective (amazon.com). The subtitle is “A Linguistic Commentary Applying Discourse Analysis.” Thanks, Dr. Varner!

I’ve been interested in working through this for a few reasons. First, the church I attend will be working through the book of James in the late summer/fall, I think, and I’d like to work through Varner’s stuff as part of that. Second, I haven’t seen a commentary focused on linguistics/discourse targeted at a less academic level (outside of Runge’s High Def Commentary on Philippians, but it is a different beast altogether) and wanted to see how it frames the discussion and approaches the problem of discourse/linguistics for the non-academic. Third (and related to the second) I’ve always had the idea that I’d like to write something discourse-y (is that a word?) on the Pastorals, so it’s good to see what others have done and are doing.

I’ve done an initial read of the introduction and a bit more. Varner seems to have hitched his syntactic wagons to the OpenText.org analysis (which I am intimately familiar with, having implemented it for Logos Bible Software; a static visual representation is also available online at OpenText.org). This is good and bad. It is good because OpenText.org is out there and known to some degree, it is bad because there is an (admittedly not too steep) learning curve to begin to think in OpenText.org-ese. It’s bad (at least for me) because I’m not a fan of the contained-box-style notation that OpenText.org uses in its online form, and that is what Dr. Varner has emulated in his commentary. All told, Varner includes the Greek text with translation beside it in a table, and then has the contained-box-style visuals after that. I’d rather have had the Greek text once, perhaps even with a less detailed block outline or some other notation influenced by OpenText.org. I just think it would’ve been easier to refer to and it would lose the confusion of the unfamiliar box notation. The other thing I’m dealing with is that I would probably describe myself as post-OpenText.org these days. It was great and formative as I really began to understand how text functions above the word level, but it is now, to me, quirky enough in terminology and approach (what, really, is a ‘definer’ and how is it different than a ‘qualifier’ in ways that aren’t describable using more standard morphological or syntactical terminology?) that I tend to lean more toward the Cascadia analysis these days (this is also in Logos).

What I’ve read of the commentary is good; I hope to dig into it in greater detail soon. Discussion of cohesion is promising, and there is some discussion/use of semantic chaining as well. The introduction seems heavy on citations from Porter and Reed; though they have done some foundational work in this area (particularly Reed in his Philippians volume). I’ve been reading some stuff from Scandiavians lately (in the Coniectanea Biblica New Testament Series), while this is more “textlinguistics” than “Discourse Analysis” (slight differences), there is some good stuff (particularly in discourse markers, continuity/discontinuity, and the like) that should make its way into more stuff than it has.

Also sad (in the intro), for me, were the “forthcoming” citations of Porter and O’Donnell’s Intro to Discourse Analysis that has been “forthcoming” for more years than I have digits to count on my right hand. I’d love to see that one, too, but will be waiting for a few more years if past history of Porter’s cited “forthcoming” titles is any indicator. (note: I know this isn’t Dr. Varner’s fault, he’s using the sources he has and needs to use. I just wish the blasted thing would finally be published.)

I plan on blogging more as I get further into the book. That may be awhile, though, as my available time is largely consumed by my work with the Apostolic Fathers and a class on the text of the NT I’m teaching for six weeks (through mid September).

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, July 26, 2011 10:05:54 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Titles are listed below. Shipping is $4 for the first item, $2 for each additional item. First class to 48 contiguous states unless stuff is really heavy, then I'll ship the fastest I can for the shipping charged. A three-volume set is considered to be three items (books are heavy).

Please note: I'm using PayPal to do the payments, but you can use credit cards. I've never done this before, so please be patient with me.

These are books I have for sale in the "Biblical Studies" subject area. I’ve already listed some Greek books. I will have more books later, in different subject areas (Biblical Studies, Commentaries, Theology, etc.). Consider this a test run to work out some kinks.

If you have questions about the books, please email me, textgeek@gmail.com.

Bruce L. Shelley
Church History in Plain Language . Softcover
$15 + $4
C.H. Dodd
The Bible and the Greeks (First Edition) . Hardcover
$50 + $4
C.H. Dodd
The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel . Hardcover
$20 + $4
Donald McKim, ed.
Historical Handbook of Major Biblical Interpreters . Hardcover
$15 + $4
Jerome Murphy O'Connor
St. Paul's Ephesus . Softcover
$15 + $4
Neil Eliott
The Arrogance of Nations: Reading Romans in the Shadow of Empire . Hardcover
$15 + $4
Stanley E. Porter, ed.
Diglossia and Other Topics in New Testament Linguistics (JSNTSup 193, SNTG 6) . Hardcover
$60 + $4
Stanley E. Porter, ed.
Handbook to Exegesis of the New Testament . Hardcover
$90 + $4
Stanley E. Porter
Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood Softcover.
$75 + $4
Stanley E. Porter, ed.
Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period Softcover.
$40 + $4

Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 24, 2011 8:45:23 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Friday, May 20, 2011

As May 21, 2011 is tomorrow; and there are predictions from some that it will be the date of the Lord’s return (rapture, judgment, whatever you want to call it), I thought I’d share what Second Clement, one of the writings in the corpus known as the “Apostolic Fathers” has to say on the subject.

This isn’t canonical; it was probably a sermon preached in Corinth in the early/mid 2nd century (120-135?), but it is appropriate to all the hullabaloo circulating today. What follows is my own translation.

12.1 Therefore let us wait for the kingdom of God hour by hour with love and righteousness, since we do not know the day of God's appearance. 2 For when the Lord himself was asked by someone when his kingdom will come, he said, "When the two shall be one, and the outside as the inside, and the male with the female neither male nor female."[1] 3 And "the two are one" when we speak the truth with ourselves, and there is one soul in two bodies with no hypocrisy. 4 And "the outside as the inside" means this: "the inside" means the soul and "the outside" means the body. Therefore in this manner your body is made visible, so also let your soul be evident in good works. 5 And "the male with the female neither male nor female" means this: that a brother, upon seeing a sister, thinks nothing about her [being a] female, nor does she think anything about him [being a] male. 6 When you do these things, he says, the kingdom of my Father will come.

[1] This saying of Jesus is not found in the New Testament. It is found in the Gospel of Thomas (§22) an also in Clement of Alexandria's Stromata 3.13.92, where the saying is attributed to the Gospel of the Egyptians.

The author is using this to exhort his audience to repent (cf. 13.1, “Therefore brothers, now at last let us repent.”) The author’s idea is: We never know when the Lord will return, so we should live as if he is coming back at any moment.

If someone is preaching a specific date of the Lord’s return to try to get people to repent, they may be sincere and mean well, but it won’t have any real long-term fruit. But if one preaches reminding of the general fact that the Lord will return, and that we don’t know when it will be, and that he’s clearly told us we should be ready at any time … well, that seems like pretty sound teaching to me.

Post Author: rico
Friday, May 20, 2011 9:19:07 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Titles are listed below. Shipping is $4 for the first item, $2 for each additional item. First class to 48 contiguous states unless stuff is really heavy, then I'll ship the fastest I can for the shipping charged. A three-volume set is considered to be three items (books are heavy).

Please note: I'm using PayPal to do the payments, but you can use credit cards. I've never done this before, so please be patient with me.

These are books I have for sale in the "Greek" subject area. I will have more books later, in different subject areas (Biblical Studies, Commentaries, Theology, etc.). Consider this a test run to work out some kinks.

If you have questions about the books, please email me, textgeek@gmail.com.

Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, Danker
A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, Second Edition (BAGD). Hardcover
$50 + $4
Borgen, Fuglseth and Skarsten
The Philo Index Hardcover.
$10 + $4
Joint Association of Classics Teachers (JACT)
Reading Greek: Grammar, Vocabulary and Exercises Softcover.
1993 reprint of 1978 edition
$10 + $4
Joint Association of Classics Teachers (JACT)
Reading Greek: Text Softcover.
1999 reprint of 1978 edition
$10 + $4
Joint Association of Classics Teachers (JACT)
The Teacher's Notes to Reading Greek Softcover.
1986 edition
$20 + $4
Ray Summers, rev. by Thomas Sawyer
Essentials of New Testament Greek: Revised Edition Hardcover.
$15 + $4
Stanley E. Porter
Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood Softcover.
$75 + $4
Stanley E. Porter, ed.
Handbook of Classical Rhetoric in the Hellenistic Period Softcover.
$40 + $4
William D. Mounce
Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar (2nd Edition) Hardcover.
$20 + $4
Post Author: rico
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 8:53:20 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, April 21, 2011
 

Over the past months, I’ve been reviewing (off and on and, admittedly, more off than on) two different introductions to the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. The two introductions are:

Here’s my context: I’m considering teaching “Introduction to the Writings of the Apostolic Fathers” as an online class through MEMRA, perhaps sometime in fall or winter 2011. I need a text to use along with an edition of the Apostolic Fathers themselves. The edition is easy (Holmes, of course). The introduction is the harder part. Any class participants will likely have very little pre-existing knowledge about the fathers. Because MEMRA is not a structured program of instruction like some schools, I can’t really count on any prerequisites. So I have to assume and start with a blank slate.

Both of these books are good; but Jefford is better for my situation. The format, while initially not to my liking, is a Q&A format that actually works as a true introduction. Pratscher is more of an academic introduction and (on my estimation) seems to be written to an audience that already has a strong NT academic background: think advanced undergrad or grad student with a good understanding of NT stuff who needs to be brought up to date quickly. Pratscher is a new translation of the German edition, so much of the bibliography cites stuff in German, less than optimal for my teaching context.

While I personally learned a lot reading and reviewing Pratscher, I think Jefford is better for my context. So that’s what we’ll use. If you’re interested in more details on the course, zap me an email: textgeek@gmail.com.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, April 21, 2011 8:50:31 PM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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# Thursday, March 24, 2011

I’ve been working on translating the Epistle of Barnabas for my Apostolic Fathers Interlinear. This morning I was in chapter 9, and ran across verses 3–4. The Greek text is that of Lake:

3 καὶ πάλιν λέγει· Ἀκουε οὐρανέ, καὶ ἐνωτίζου γῆ, ὅτι κύριος ἐλάλησεν ταῦτα εἰς μαρτύριον.
καὶ πάλιν λέγει· Ἀκούσατε λόγον κυρίου, ἄρχοντες τοῦ λαοῦ τούτου.
καὶ πάλιν λέγει· Ἀκούσατε, τέκνα, φωνῆς βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ. οὐκοῦν περιέτεμεν ἡμῶν τὰς ἀκοάς, ἵνα ἀκούσαντες λόγον πιστεύσωμεν ἡμεῖς.
4 ἀλλὰ καὶ ἡ περιτομή, ἐφʼ ᾗ πεποίθασιν, κατήργηται. περιτομὴν γὰρ εἴρηκεν οὐ σαρκὸς γενηθῆναι· ἀλλὰ παρέβησαν, ὅτι ἄγγελος πονηρὸς ἐσόφιζεν αὐτούς.

Here’s my rough translation thus far:

3 And again he says, “Hear, O heaven, and give ear, O earth, because the Lord has spoken these things as a testimony.”
And again he says, “Hear the word of the Lord, rulers of the people.”
And again he says, “Hear, O children, the voice of one crying out in the wilderness.” So then he circumcised our ears so that upon hearing the word, we might believe, 4 but even the circumcision upon which they trust has been abolished. For he declared that circumcision is not of the flesh, but they disobeyed because an evil angel tricked them. (Barn 9.3–4)

This is so interesting on a number of levels. First, some editions vary on the verse break. Lightfoot, Holmes and Kraft begin verse 4 earlier, after the last quotation (after “wilderness”). That leaves the αλλα structure together. But strangely (at least to me) Holmes and Kraft both insert a paragraph break in the middle of their v. 4, before αλλα και. Ehrman has no paragraph break. And Kraft has a section title (for vv. 4b–5) breaking it up as well. This is a section break?

I think that Lake’s v.4 boundary ends up in the middle of a sentence when translating. I think the αλλα και is a hinge, with the part following the αλλα και (“but even”) correcting/replacing what went before, and thus being highlighted. Follow it with me: After some discussion about circumcision and appeal to OT texts (in previous verses as well) we get Barnabas’ conclusion: “He circumcised our ears so that we might believe”. At least, that is what the OT texts would lead you to believe. However, Barnabas tells us that was wrong: “but even the circumcision upon which they trust has been abolished.” That’s the salient bit (forget the part about the evil angel, that’s Barnabas’ own contribution), that circumcision was no longer the coin of the realm. This is followed with a γαρ clause, giving reason for the correction (that they got hoodwinked by an evil angel).

I suppose in the larger scheme of Barnabas 9, one could put a paragraph break here because it is a hinge in the argument. I can see that. But my view of αλλα is such that I think we get more mileage in seeing a tight relation here, with focus on the portion following αλλα και. Barnabas’ point is that circumcision isn’t what they think it is, and this part of the argument is where he sticks it to ‘em. Of the translations I’ve consulted, I think Ehrman is closest; he at least has no paragraph break—but that could be a function of his edition, he rarely if ever has paragraph breaks within chapters.

Post Author: rico
Thursday, March 24, 2011 6:13:38 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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# Monday, March 07, 2011
To Each Their Own Letter

To Each Their Own Letter
Structure, Themes,
and Rhetorical Strategies
in the Letters
of Ignatius of Antioch

Coniectanea Biblica
New Testament Series
CBNTS 42
by Mikael Isacson
Almqvist and Wiksell, 2004
238 pages, English
Paper
ISBN: 9789122020707

Awhile back, Eisenbrauns’ Twitter “Deal of the Day” (DOTD) was a steal of a deal on Mikael Isacson’s To Each Their Own Letter: Structure, Themes, and Rhetorical Strategies in the Letters of Ignatius to Antioch. I couldn’t pass it up. Here’s the back-cover description:

The collection of letters by Ignatius of Antioch has until now mainly been treated as a coherent whole. This has been the case irrespective of analyses of the authenticity or theology of these letters, or of discussions about the identity of Ignatius' opponents. The present work underlines that each individual letter should be read as a specific act of communication between a sender and his recipients, and emphasizes that Ignatius wrote different letters to different addressees.

The five Ignatian letters to the churches at Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Philadelphia, and Smyrna are studied in order to highlihght the individual character of each letter. Tools from text linguistic analysis (discourse analysis) and rhetorical criticism are employed in order to allow the structure, the (main) themes, and the rhetorical strategy of each respective letter to emerge.

The five letters can be divided into two groups: letters to churches that Ignatius visited (Philapelphians, Smyrnaeans), and letters to churches that have sent delegates to him during his stay at Smyrna (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians). The difference between these two groups affects the structure and the (main) themes as well as the rhetorical strategies. Ignatius shows greater acquaintance with the situation prevailing in Philadelphia and Smyrna than with the other churches.

The result has implications for several fields of Ignatian research: the systematic surveys of Ignatius' theology and the question whether the letters reflect the situation in Antioch or that in the receiving churches, as well as the "eternal" question about the authenticity of these letters.

Now, I need to make sure I tell you that I haven’t read the whole book yet. But this isn’t a book one sits down to enjoy over an afternoon. While reading it, I’ve made strenuous use of Logos on my iPod, looking up the references to the Apostolic Fathers, while tracking with Isacson’s analysis.

I have worked through the introduction and most of Isacson’s analysis of Ignatius’ letter to the Ephesians, however. And I like what I see in his structural analysis and rhetorical analysis. Portions of the analysis are based on “textlinguistic” principles. If you’ve read much on discourse and textlinguistics, you’ll know that “textlinguistic” usually indicates the European and South African take on discourse stuff; “discourse analysis” usually indicates a North American approach. Anyway, this pleased me because a lot of Steve Runge’s stuff (Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament (amazon.com)) shares the same theoretical basis, and you can even begin to map over Isacson’s terminology to Runge’s. For example, Isacson speaks of “metacommunicative clauses”, giving them an “Mc” abbreviation when discussing in his analysis; these roughly map to Runge’s “Meta-Comment”. “Text-summarizing expressions” (Tsum) are, I think, akin to Runge’s “Tail-Head linkage”.

The abbreviations Isacson uses are a bit obtuse. I actually wrote them down, plus their extensions and a Runge-map (where applicable), on my bookmark while I work through the book. This has helped immensely (I had forgotten what we used to do before hypertext) and made chugging through the analysis easier.

If you’re into writings of the early post-apostolic church, then you probably want to consider Isacson’s stuff. I will probably consult it when I review the relevant portions of the Apostolic Fathers Interlinear I’m presently working on.

Post Author: rico
Monday, March 07, 2011 9:22:30 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) 

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