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Monday, June 05, 2006

ἐπιτιμάω - Part I

Well, summer has come to the Bay Area. Bay to Breakers is past (the Justice League did well this year), the A’s have started winning, and the summer session has started at Berkeley. But there remains work for me from the large lecture class I taught in the spring.

Every semester there are a few people who plagiarize their papers and I have to deal with them, long after the grades have been turned in and, according to university regulation, everything is supposed to be immutably final. Some of the interactions with the plagiarists end up being rather confrontational and it has brought me around again to thinking about the notion that in Christian-speak we call rebuke.

Now I don’t know about you, but rebuke is not a word I use outside of Christian contexts. For quite some time now I have wondered what the Greek words translated “rebuke” really mean. It’s high time to find out.

I’m going to start a series of posts on working out the meaning of the word ἐπιτιμάω – the main Greek word translated “rebuke”. Consider it to be in the spirit of Suzanne’s series on ὀρθοτομέω. In it I will not only talk about how to figure out what ἐπιτιμάω really means, but I will also talk about what I understand the biggest problems in accuracy in translation are about – and they don’t have anything to do with gender appropriateness, or forms of they being used as singular.

“Oh,” you say, “We're not native speakers of Greek. We have to go to the dictionaries and look the words up.”

No, actually we don’t. For words that are used as much as ἐπιτιμάω is – 29 times, 30 if you count a variant reading – there is another option. We can, in effect, mimic what children do when they learn a language. By looking at words in context we can figure out what they mean.

For fifty years now linguists have known that language is about 50% redundant. We always thought that was about it being a vehicle for communication in noisy environments, but I'm coming to be of a different opinion. That redundancy is what makes language learnable. The consequence for Bible translation is that it breaks us out of being a slave to dictionaries. Through the magic of corpus linguistics we can learn the meaning of words more or less the way children do, by comparing them in context and using the redundancy of the context to figure out what the word really means. If a word is used enough in the NT (and LXX), and other words of similar meaning are as well, we can, with very high confidence, say things about what those words mean beyond, and sometimes even in contradiction to, what we read in Liddell & Scott, Arndt, Bauer, Gingrich, and Danker, and Louw and Nida. Not that these sources aren’t helpful – even indispensible, but we can do more. ἐπιτιμάω is a perfect candidate for this treatment. As I mentioned above it is used 29 times in the NT by Matthew, Mark, Luke, Paul, and the author of Jude. Its near synonyms are many and mostly well attested. (I'll discuss them in later posts.)

So let’s dig in.

In order not to prejudice the case by looking in dictionaries first and possibly get pushed in the wrong direction, let’s look at some sample verses and see what we can tell from them before looking at the reference materials.

For those of us whose Greek is not fully fluent, I’ll include the GNB translation with the gloss of ἐπιτιμάω highlighted. (I chose the GNB because when I do this kind of exercise, the GNB scores best on accuracy, hands down – although not on this word.)

Matt . 19:13

13 τοτε προσηνεχθησαν αυτω παιδια ινα τας χειρας επιθη αυτοις και προσευξηται οι δε μαθηται επετιμησαν αυτοις

13 Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and to pray for them, but the disciples scolded the people.

Mark 3: 11- 12

11 και τα πνευματα τα ακαθαρτα οταν αυτον εθεωρουν προσεπιπτον αυτω και εκραζον λεγοντες οτι συ ει ο υιος του θεου 12 και πολλα επετιμα αυτοις ινα μη αυτον φανερον ποιησωσιν

11 And whenever the people who had evil spirits in them saw him, they would fall down before him and scream, "You are the Son of God!" 12 Jesus sternly ordered the evil spirits not to tell anyone who he was.

Luke 18:39

39 και οι προαγοντες επετιμων αυτω ινα σιγηση αυτος δε πολλω μαλλον εκραζεν υιε δαυιδ ελεησον με

39 The people in front scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, "Son of David! Have mercy on me!"

In each of these cases the person (or persons) whose speech act is labelled ἐπιτιμάω is giving a command of some sort for the addressee to cease doing whatever it is that they are doing. In fact, if we look at all the verses containing ἐπιτιμάω , we’ll find that 25 of the 29 instances occur in contexts with this property. The speaker of ἐπιτιμάω is telling the addressee(s) to stop acting (12 times) or stop speaking (13 times). (At the end of the post there’s an appendix with all the verses, so you can verify this for yourself.) Three times it refers to forbidding possible future action with no clear implication of past action, as in the following verse:

Luke 9:20-21

20 ειπεν δε αυτοις υμεις δε τινα με λεγετε ειναι πετρος δε αποκριθεις ειπεν τον χριστον του θεου 21 ο δε επιτιμησας αυτοις παρηγγειλεν μηδενι λεγειν τουτο

20 "What about you?" he asked them. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are God's Messiah." 21 Then Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell this to anyone.

Only once is it unclear what is being forbidden, and that is in Jude. There it seems to be expressing simply negative communication. It could possibly be being used here in the LXX (and Classical) sense of 'punish':

Jude 1:9

9 ο δε μιχαηλ ο αρχαγγελος οτε τω διαβολω διακρινομενος διελεγετο περι του μωυσεως σωματος ουκ ετολμησεν κρισιν επενεγκειν βλασφημιας αλλα ειπεν επιτιμησαι σοι κυριος

9 Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

I’ll argue that this particular verse ought not to count too heavily in our analysis. Not only is it outvoted, as it were, by 28 other verses all of which point to a meaning of forbidding of action, but Jude is believed to have been a very late book, possibly second century. (N.B., I’m not questioning its authentic place in the canon, just its probative value in establishing the meaning of first century Koine Greek words.)

Now when we go look up ἐπιτιμάω, we find this is not what the references say. All of the lexical sources focus on the severity of the communication as the meaning rather than on the point that it is asking for a cessation of acting. (The mention of cessation of action as a result seems like almost an afterthough in BAGD.) This is not surprising. In Classical Greek it meant, among other things, ‘censure’ and ‘punish’ (see L&S for citations). But the question is, since forbidding of action was not part of the meaning in the Classical Greek, has the change in meaning into Koine included a change in the implied severity of the communication?

I think, yes. And here’ s why . Consider Matt. 16:22 (and its parallel in Mark 8:32-33):

Matt . 16:22

22 και προσλαβομενος αυτον ο πετρος ηρξατο επιτιμαν αυτω λεγων ιλεως σοι κυριε ου μη εσται σοι τουτο

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "God forbid it, Lord!" he said. "That must never happen to you!"

Outside of this passage, Peter is always deferential to Jesus. If the focus of ἐπιτιμάω is on the forbidding of action rather than the severity of the communication, it is much more consistent with the picture the rest of Scripture paints of the relation between Jesus and his disciples. I think Matt. 16:22 reports an interaction more like this:

Peter: Master, can I talk to you for a moment. You have to stop talking like you’re going to die. God forbid. That must never happen to you!

I can’t call that rebuke.


The point is that the evidence is that ἐπιτιμάω is unmarked for the severity of the communication. Sometimes the communication is clearly quite severe, as when Jesus confronts demons (e.g., Matt. 17:18), when the crowd tells the blind beggar(s) to shut up (Matt. 20:31, Mark 10:48, Luke 18:39), or Jesus tells his disciples to put a lid on it in (Luke 9:55).

It’s more ambiguous in verses like (Matt. 19:13).

Matt . 19:13

13 τοτε προσηνεχθησαν αυτω παιδια ινα τας χειρας επιθη αυτοις και προσευξηται οι δε μαθηται επετιμησαν αυτοις

13 Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and to pray for them, but the disciples scolded the people.

Did the disciples say, “Go away!”? Or did they say, “Don’t bother the Master. He has more important things to do.”?

And lastly, it makes a lot more sense that we are instructed to ask diplomatically of our fellow Christians to stop acting in a way that hurts us than that we are instructed to yell at them.

Luke 17:3

3 προσεχετε εαυτοις εαν αμαρτη ο αδελφος σου επιτιμησον αυτω και εαν μετανοηση αφες αυτω

GNB 3 So watch what you do! "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.

Better: 3 So watch what you do! "If your brother sins, tell him to stop, and if he repents, forgive him.

I’ll have a lot more to say when we’ve started to compare the near synonyms, but this post has gone on long enough.


Appendix

I’ve preprocessed the verses into groups according to what the context suggests, the way a lexicographer would group words into senses. The four senses are listed:

1) tell someone not to do something (3)

Matt. 12:15-16

15 ο δε ιησους γνους ανεχωρησεν εκειθεν και ηκολουθησαν αυτω πολλοι και εθεραπευσεν αυτους παντας 16 και επετιμησεν αυτοις ινα μη φανερον αυτον ποιησωσιν

15 When Jesus heard about the plot against him, he went away from that place; and large crowds followed him. He healed all the sick 16 and gave them orders not to tell others about him.

Matt . 16:20

20 τοτε επετιμησεν τοις μαθηταις ινα μηδενι ειπωσιν οτι αυτος εστιν ο χριστος

20 Then Jesus ordered his disciples not to tell anyone that he was the Messiah.

Mark 8:29-30

29 και αυτος επηρωτα αυτους υμεις δε τινα με λεγετε ειναι αποκριθεις ο πετρος λεγει αυτω συ ει ο χριστος 30 και επετιμησεν αυτοις ινα μηδενι λεγωσιν περι αυτου

29 "What about you?" he asked them. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are the Messiah." 30 Then Jesus ordered them, "Do not tell anyone about me."

Luke 9:20-21

20 ειπεν δε αυτοις υμεις δε τινα με λεγετε ειναι πετρος δε αποκριθεις ειπεν τον χριστον του θεου 21 ο δε επιτιμησας αυτοις παρηγγειλεν μηδενι λεγειν τουτο

20 "What about you?" he asked them. "Who do you say I am?" Peter answered, "You are God's Messiah." 21 Then Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell this to anyone.

2) tell someone to stop doing something (12)

Matt . 8:26

26 και λεγει αυτοις τι δειλοι εστε ολιγοπιστοι τοτε εγερθεις επετιμησεν τοις ανεμοις και τη θαλασση και εγενετο γαληνη μεγαλη

26 "Why are you so frightened?" Jesus answered. "What little faith you have!" Then he got up and ordered the winds and the waves to stop, and there was a great calm.

Matt . 17:18

18 και επετιμησεν αυτω ο ιησους και εξηλθεν απ αυτου το δαιμονιον και εθεραπευθη ο παις απο της ωρας εκεινης

18 Jesus gave a command to the demon, and it went out of the boy, and at that very moment he was healed.

Matt . 19:13

13 τοτε προσηνεχθησαν αυτω παιδια ινα τας χειρας επιθη αυτοις και προσευξηται οι δε μαθηται επετιμησαν αυτοις

13 Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and to pray for them, but the disciples scolded the people.

Mark 4:39

39 και διεγερθεις επετιμησεν τω ανεμω και ειπεν τη θαλασση σιωπα πεφιμωσο και εκοπασεν ο ανεμος και εγενετο γαληνη μεγαλη

39 Jesus stood up and commanded the wind, "Be quiet!" and he said to the waves, "Be still!" The wind died down, and there was a great calm.

Mark 9:25

25 ιδων δε ο ιησους οτι επισυντρεχει οχλος επετιμησεν τω πνευματι τω ακαθαρτω λεγων αυτω το αλαλον και κωφον πνευμα εγω επιτασσω σοι εξελθε εξ αυτου και μηκετι εισελθης εις αυτον

25 Jesus noticed that the crowd was closing in on them, so he gave a command to the evil spirit. "Deaf and dumb spirit," he said, "I order you to come out of the boy and never go into him again!"

Mark 10:13

13 και προσεφερον αυτω παιδια ινα αυτων αψηται οι δε μαθηται επετιμησαν αυτοις

13 Some people brought children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples scolded the people.

Luke 4:39

39 και επιστας επανω αυτης επετιμησεν τω πυρετω και αφηκεν αυτην παραχρημα δε αναστασα διηκονει αυτοις

39 He went and stood at her bedside and ordered the fever to leave her. The fever left her, and she got up at once and began to wait on them.

Luke 8:24

24 προσελθοντες δε διηγειραν αυτον λεγοντες επιστατα επιστατα απολλυμεθα ο δε διεγερθεις επετιμησεν τω ανεμω και τω κλυδωνι του υδατος και επαυσαντο και εγενετο γαληνη

24 The disciples went to Jesus and woke him up, saying, "Master, Master! We are about to die!" Jesus got up and gave an order to the wind and to the stormy water; they quieted down, and there was a great calm.

Luke 9:42

42 ετι δε προσερχομενου αυτου ερρηξεν αυτον το δαιμονιον και συνεσπαραξεν επετιμησεν δε ο ιησους τω πνευματι τω ακαθαρτω και ιασατο τον παιδα και απεδωκεν αυτον τω πατρι αυτου

42 As the boy was coming, the demon knocked him to the ground and threw him into a fit. Jesus gave a command to the evil spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.

Luke 17:3

3 προσεχετε εαυτοις εαν αμαρτη ο αδελφος σου επιτιμησον αυτω και εαν μετανοηση αφες αυτω

3 So watch what you do! "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.

Luke 18:15

15 προσεφερον δε αυτω και τα βρεφη ινα αυτων απτηται ιδοντες δε οι μαθηται επετιμων αυτοις

15 Some people brought their babies to Jesus for him to place his hands on them. The disciples saw them and scolded them for doing so

2Tim. 4:2

2 κηρυξον τον λογον επιστηθι ευκαιρως ακαιρως ελεγξον επιτιμησον παρακαλεσον εν παση μακροθυμια και διδαχη

2 to preach the message, to insist upon proclaiming it (whether the time is right or not), to convince, reproach, and encourage, as you teach with all patience.

3) tell someone to stop speaking (13) – a special case of sense 2.

Matt . 16:22

22 και προσλαβομενος αυτον ο πετρος ηρξατο επιτιμαν αυτω λεγων ιλεως σοι κυριε ου μη εσται σοι τουτο

22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. "God forbid it, Lord!" he said. "That must never happen to you!"

Matt. 20:31

31 ο δε οχλος επετιμησεν αυτοις ινα σιωπησωσιν οι δε μειζον εκραξαν λεγοντες | κυριε ελεησον ημας υιε δαυιδ

31 The crowd scolded them and told them to be quiet. But they shouted even more loudly, "Son of David! Have mercy on us , sir !"

Mark 1:25

25 και επετιμησεν αυτω ο ιησους λεγων φιμωθητι και εξελθε εξ αυτου

25 Jesus ordered the spirit, "Be quiet, and come out of the man!"

Mark 3:11-12

11 και τα πνευματα τα ακαθαρτα οταν αυτον εθεωρουν προσεπιπτον αυτω και εκραζον λεγοντες οτι συ ει ο υιος του θεου 12 και πολλα επετιμα αυτοις ινα μη αυτον φανερον ποιησωσιν

11 And whenever the people who had evil spirits in them saw him, they would fall down before him and scream, "You are the Son of God!" 12 Jesus sternly ordered the evil spirits not to tell anyone who he was.

Mark 8:32

32 και παρρησια τον λογον ελαλει και προσλαβομενος ο πετρος αυτον ηρξατο επιτιμαν αυτω

32 He made this very clear to them. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.

Mark 8:33

33 ο δε επιστραφεις και ιδων τους μαθητας αυτου επετιμησεν πετρω και λεγει υπαγε οπισω μου σατανα οτι ου φρονεις τα του θεου αλλα τα των ανθρωπων

33 But Jesus turned around, looked at his disciples, and rebuked Peter. "Get away from me, Satan," he said. "Your thoughts don't come from God but from human nature!"

Mark 10:47-48

47 και ακουσας οτι ιησους ο ναζαρηνος εστιν ηρξατο κραζειν και λεγειν υιε δαυιδ ιησου ελεησον με 48 και επετιμων αυτω πολλοι ινα σιωπηση ο δε πολλω μαλλον εκραζεν υιε δαυιδ ελεησον με

47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, "Jesus! Son of David! Have mercy on me!" 48 Many of the people scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, "Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Luke 4:35

35 και επετιμησεν αυτω ο ιησους λεγων φιμωθητι και εξελθε απ αυτου και ριψαν αυτον το δαιμονιον εις το μεσον εξηλθεν απ αυτου μηδεν βλαψαν αυτον

35 Jesus ordered the spirit, "Be quiet and come out of the man!" The demon threw the man down in front of them and went out of him without doing him any harm.

Luke 4:41

41 εξηρχετο δε και δαιμονια απο πολλων κραυγαζοντα και λεγοντα οτι συ ει ο υιος του θεου και επιτιμων ουκ εια αυτα λαλειν οτι ηδεισαν τον χριστον αυτον ειναι

41 Demons also went out from many people, screaming, "You are the Son of God!" Jesus gave the demons an order and would not let them speak, because they knew he was the Messiah.

Luke 9:54-55

54 ιδοντες δε οι μαθηται ιακωβος και ιωαννης ειπαν κυριε θελεις ειπωμεν πυρ καταβηναι απο του ουρανου και αναλωσαι αυτους 55 στραφεις δε επετιμησεν αυτοις

54 When the disciples James and John saw this, they said, "Lord, do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?" 55 Jesus turned and rebuked them.

Luke 18:39

39 και οι προαγοντες επετιμων αυτω ινα σιγηση αυτος δε πολλω μαλλον εκραζεν υιε δαυιδ ελεησον με

39 The people in front scolded him and told him to be quiet. But he shouted even more loudly, "Son of David! Have mercy on me !"

Luke 19:39

39 και τινες των φαρισαιων απο του οχλου ειπαν προς αυτον διδασκαλε επιτιμησον τοις μαθηταις σου

39 Then some of the Pharisees in the crowd spoke to Jesus. "Teacher," they said, "command your disciples to be quiet!"

Luke 23:39-40

39 εις δε των κρεμασθεντων κακουργων εβλασφημει αυτον λεγων ουχι συ ει ο χριστος σωσον σεαυτον και ημας 40 αποκριθεις δε ο ετερος επιτιμων αυτω εφη ουδε φοβη συ τον θεον οτι εν τω αυτω κριματι ει

39 One of the criminals hanging there hurled insults at him: "Aren't you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!" 40 The other one, however, rebuked him, saying, "Don't you fear God? You received the same sentence he did.

4) say something bad to someone (1)

Jude 1:9

9 ο δε μιχαηλ ο αρχαγγελος οτε τω διαβολω διακρινομενος διελεγετο περι του μωυσεως σωματος ουκ ετολμησεν κρισιν επενεγκειν βλασφημιας αλλα ειπεν επιτιμησαι σοι κυριος

9 Not even the chief angel Michael did this. In his quarrel with the Devil, when they argued about who would have the body of Moses, Michael did not dare condemn the Devil with insulting words, but said, "The Lord rebuke you!"

9 Comments:

At Mon Jun 05, 02:55:00 PM, Blogger Glennsp said...

Below is the Matt 16:22 from the Amplified version.

To stay with context, don't you think that the severity of Jesus 'rebuke' to Peter indicates that what Peter said (and how he said it)fits more with the 'traditional' translation than with your alternative?

Matt 16:22 Then Peter took Him aside to speak to Him privately and began to reprove and charge Him sharply, saying, God forbid, Lord! This must never happen to You!
Matt 16:23 But Jesus turned away from Peter and said to him, Get behind Me, Satan! You are in My way [an offense and a hindrance and a snare to Me]; for you are minding what partakes not of the nature {and} quality of God, but of men.

 
At Mon Jun 05, 02:57:00 PM, Blogger codepoke said...

Excellent, encouraging, valuable post. Thank you, Richard. I'm in for this series.

 
At Mon Jun 05, 03:35:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thank you for this! It confirms a lot of what I already thought about the unreliability of lexicons, and the potential inaccuracy of literal versions which can simply repeat an error consistently.

It seems to me that you can classify all the examples as "tell someone to stop doing something":

Jude 1:9: Whether or not the book is late, the words ἐπιτιμήσαι σοι κύριος "the Lord rebuke you" are probably not, for they are a direct quote from Zechariah 3:2 LXX. Perhaps the same words were used in The Assumption of Moses, from which Jude 1:9 is otherwise taken. The contexts in Zechariah and in Jude, although not the same, both seem clearly to indicate that Satan is being told to stop doing whatever it is that he is doing, and so this fits well with other uses of ἐπιτιμάω.

Matthew 16:20, Mark 8:30, Luke 9:21: We still have the idea of "stop doing something" because Peter has already said this once, and he and the other disciples are being told not to say it again.

Matthew 12:16: Clearly many people had already been telling others about Jesus, even if these particular individuals had not, so in general terms the action was being stopped.

I look forward to the rest of this posting.

 
At Tue Jun 06, 08:29:00 AM, Blogger lingamish said...

Richard,

I'm so glad you're back! I've been looking forward to hearing more. Furthermore I really rejoiced to read your opening comments on using the corpus to establish meaning. This is going to be an enjoyable and valuable series.

 
At Tue Jun 06, 12:25:00 PM, Blogger M. J. Mansini said...

" ...but Jude is believed to have been a very late book, possibly second century."

Ouch, this would depend on who you ask. It is a convenient argument for your reasoning that the classical and koine meanings of our English "rebuke" differ in emphasis or forcefulness.

"Peter: Master, can I talk to you for a moment. You have to stop talking like you’re going to die. God forbid. That must never happen to you!"

"You have to stop talking like you're going to die" kinda just sounds like a "light" way to rebuke someone. I think we can find some credibility for the usage of "rebuke" here by the fact that Jesus definitely turns around and delivers a stinging rebuke of what Peter (or Satan, depending on your theological position) has just uttered.

I find what Peter was doing to Jesus to be in the strain of "restraining" Christ. He may have been trying to stop Jesus from saying what he was saying, because it seemed preposterous to Peter. Or something similar. These are, of course, just random thoughts and I, as we all do, make no claims to actually be right.

 
At Tue Jun 06, 12:32:00 PM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

Glennsp said...

To stay with context [of Matt 16:22], don't you think that the severity of Jesus 'rebuke' to Peter indicates that what Peter said (and how he said it)fits more with the 'traditional' translation than with your alternative?

Actually, I don't think the strength of the response was triggered by the forcefulness of the approach, but by Jesus recognition of the temptation for what it was.

As anyone who has been married for any length of time can tell you, if you hit a sore point, the strength of the reaction can be all out of proportion to even the most subtle approach.

I'll stick by my guns on this one. The disciples are consistently deferential to Jesus.

 
At Tue Jun 06, 01:07:00 PM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

Peter Kirk said...

It seems to me that you can classify all the examples as "tell someone to stop doing something":

Jude 1:9: Whether or not the book is late, the words ἐπιτιμήσαι σοι κύριος "the Lord rebuke you" are probably not, for they are a direct quote from Zechariah 3:2 LXX. Perhaps the same words were used in The Assumption of Moses, from which Jude 1:9 is otherwise taken. The contexts in Zechariah and in Jude, although not the same, both seem clearly to indicate that Satan is being told to stop doing whatever it is that he is doing, and so this fits well with other uses of ἐπιτιμάω.


Thanks for these comments. Let me respond to each in turn.

I, too, have a sense that you could claim all of the instances of ἐπιτιμάω are cases of telling someone to stop doing something, but I intended to be very conservative in the claim. I wouldn't want someone to challenge the Jude passage, say, and walk away from the whole idea on that basis. So, on the kindest reading, yes, all of the passages could be interpreted as implying a request/command to cease an ongoing action.

As for the Jude passage, that's a forehead slapper. Of course it's a quote from the LXX. The usage of ἐπιτιμάω in the LXX is in line with the Classical sense of 'punish', so I don't have to discount Jude. Quotes are automatically to be treated separately. Thanks for catching that.

 
At Tue Jun 06, 02:55:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

Thanks, Richard. You should thank whoever marked the quotations in my Greek NT.

But I am still a bit concerned about your claim of completely different usage in LXX and NT. For the reason I was hesitant in claiming that "the words ἐπιτιμήσαι σοι κύριος "the Lord rebuke you" are probably not" late was that we are by no means sure of the date of the LXX in the form that it has come down to us. The few fragments which have survived from the time of Christ or before, e.g. among the Dead Sea Scrolls, tend to be very different from the LXX as we know it from 4th-5th century manuscripts such as Alexandrinus and Vaticanus. There are good reasons to think that in some places its form in these manuscripts has been influenced by the New Testament. Some books may not even have been translated by Jesus' time. One "deuterocanonical" book composed in Greek, the Wisdom of Solomon, in fact probably dates from the Christian era. There is so much overlap that I would want to be cautious about any claims that a word is always used in one way in LXX and always in a quite different way in NT.

 
At Tue Jun 06, 06:13:00 PM, Blogger Richard A. Rhodes said...

Actually my claim is twofold:

1) You have to bracket quotes under any circumstance.

and

2) LXX usage (regardless of when a particular passage was actually written or translated) shows a lot of classical influence throughout. (This is not a new idea.) That's not the same as saying that the LXX and the NT have "completely different usage".

Since the first point trumps the second, I'm less interested in the second at this time.

But since you bring up the matter of different usage over the period of a century or so, an English example or two might be in order.

We read 19th century literature all the time and fail to notice things like that "Sense and Sensibility" really means "Sense and Sensitivity" in 20/21st century English. (Elinor who is generally taken to represent "sense" is the sensible one in current usage.) It's this kind of difference in some modest number of words that I'm claiming for LXX vs. NT Koine usage. (I could go on with English words for some time, but you get the idea.)

 

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