Category Archives: New Testament

2 Peter and the Transfiguration

Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord Jesus Christ.Transfiguration_by_Feofan_Grek_from_Spaso-Preobrazhensky_Cathedral_in_Pereslavl-Zalessky_(15th_c,_Tretyakov_gallery).jpeg

Οὐ γὰρ σεσοφισμένοις μύθοις ἐξακολουθήσαντες ἐγνωρίσαμεν ὑμῖν τὴν τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δύναμιν καὶ παρουσίαν ἀλλ’ ἐπόπται γενηθέντες τῆς ἐκείνου μεγαλειότητος. λαβὼν γὰρ παρὰ θεοῦ πατρὸς τιμὴν καὶ δόξαν φωνῆς ἐνεχθείσης αὐτῷ τοιᾶσδε ὑπὸ τῆς μεγαλοπρεποῦς δόξης, Ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός μου οὗτός ἐστιν εἰς ὅν ἐγὼ εὐδόκησα, καὶ ταύτην τὴν φωνὴν ἡμεῖς ἠκούσαμεν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐνεχθεῖσαν σὺν αὐτῷ ὄντες ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ ὄρει.

For we followed not craftily devised myths when we made known to you the power and the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were made eyewitnesses of his greatness. Receiving from God the Father the honor and glory, such a voice was brought upon him by the majestic glory, “This is my beloved Son – this is the one in whom I am well-pleased.” And we heard this voice borne from Heaven, for we were with Him on the holy mountain. (2 Peter 1.16-18)

 

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Filed under Catholicism, New Testament

Research Languages

I have, in an earlier post, pointed out a resource I consider very helpful in learning and practicing modern research languages (French, Italian, German, etc): http://www.duolingo.com. Another practice I use is to read the Bible in these languages. As an undergraduate, I was completely opposed to using materials which I knew in English to study foreign languages. I promised if I ever was asked to teach Koine Greek, we would only use Josephus or Philo – I didn’t want those future students of mine to get off too easily. Granted, this probably assumes that students would know the Bible well enough to recognize it and this is assuming a lot.

I’ve changed my mind a bit, or at least relaxed my philosophy. There are a lot of benefits to studying a language with materials which you know in English.

I’m reading through St. John’s prologue this morning in German (in the Hoffnung Für Alle translation) and I noticed that 1.6-7 is not exactly what the Greek says. The Greek reads:

Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης· οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύωσιν δι’ αὐτοῦ.

And there was a man, having been sent by God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, in order to witness concerning the light, in order that all men might believe in Him.

The German translation, however, reads as such:

Gott schickte einen Boten, einen Mann, der Johannes hieß. Er sollte die Menschen auf das Licht hinweisen, damit alle durch seine Botschaft an den glauben, der das Licht ist.

God sent a messenger, a man called John. He was meant to point out to men the light so that all men might believe in Him who is the light.

You can see the differences – in the Greek, St. John the Baptist is the subject of the sentence (Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος – “There was a man”), but in the German translation I’m using, God becomes the subject (Gott schickte – God sent).  It’s not as though German does not have the passive voice – the translators very well could have written, “Ein Mann war schickten” (A man was sent), but chose not to.

My point in writing this short post is to point out that it’s fun to read these familiar texts in other languages because it’s not always the exact equivalent of what you’re used to. Not only did I get the benefit of reading the German, but because of the oddity, I thought for awhile about German passive construction. Win-win, really.

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Filed under German, Graduate School, New Testament

Brant Pitre’s “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist”

I have just placed my order on Amazon.com for Brant Pitre‘s second book, “Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist.” I’ve read Dr. Pitre’s first book, “Jesus, the Tribulation, and the End of Exile” which I said should cause a major paradigm shift in how we view “exile” in the New Testament. I’m looking forward to digging into this second book and will blog about it after I’ve read it.

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Bart Ehrman: Mind-reading Time Traveler

Thanks to Brian LePort and Jim West for bringing this article to my attention. I really laughed at Brian LePort’s title: “Bart Ehrman has a magical time machine!”  While I respect Ehrman’s work on a lot of different issues and I think he’s a serious academic, this quote is silly:

“The authors intended to deceive their readers, and their readers were all too easily deceived,” Ehrman writes. “The use of deception to promote the truth may well be considered one of the most unsettling ironies of the early Christian tradition.”

Not only did he zip back 2000 years, but he read the minds of those who were writing the Gospels.

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‘Prophetic writings’ in Rom 16.25-26

A friend of mine in my program has put together this great program of reading the Bible. We’re reading through the OT every 6 months, the NT in English every 2 months, the NT in Greek every year, the Catechism once a year, and I’m adding a Psalm in Latin every day. Tonight’s NT reading came from Romans and I read something I’ve never paid attention to:

[25]τῷ δὲ δυναμένῳ ὑμᾶς στηρίξαι κατὰ τὸ εὐαγγέλιόν μου καὶ τὸ κήρυγμα Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, κατὰ ἀποκάλυψιν μυστηρίου χρόνοις αἰωνίοις σεσιγημένου, [26] φανερωθέντος δὲ νῦν διά τε γραφῶν προφητικῶν κατ’ ἐπιταγὴν τοῦ αἰωνίου θεοῦ εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως εἰς πάντα τὰ ἔθνη γνωρισθέντος….

My translation is:

To the one who is able to support you according to my Gospel and the preaching of Christ, according to the unveiling of the mystery having been hidden for a long time but now is made manifest through prophetic writings according to the command of the Eternal God, who has been made known, for the sake of obedience of faith among all nations…

The last bit there kind of stinks and I’d polish it up, but my main concern is what I underlined. The “mystery” about which Paul speaks – what is it? And, more interestingly, what “prophetic writings” does Paul here have in mind? Are the prophetic writings the Hebrew Bible and now, because of Christ’s teaching, we can see what was hidden there for ages? Or, was there a mystery there that is now revealed in new writings? I’m going to have to check some commentaries tomorrow to see what the deal is here. Any suggestions are welcome, of course.

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Filed under New Testament