Volume 12 (2016)
Seth M. Ehorn and Mark Lee
Wheaton College, Wheaton, IL, USA
In this article we attempt to correct the majority understanding of ἀλλὰ καί in Phil. 2.4. While most interpreters attempt to solve the syntactical problem by supplying μόνον earlier in the verse or dropping καί, the best solution understands the ἀλλὰ καί construction as an emphatic contrast with the preceding clause. Not only does this rendering give proper deference to Paul’s linguistic choices, it also makes Phil. 2.4 an unequivocal call to self-denial in service to others. This serves to frame the description of the self-emptying Christ in the verses that follow.
Matthew Oseka
Concordia Theological Seminary, Kowloon, Hong Kong
The present paper is focused on the explanation of the grammatical features of the generic name of God which was offered in the classic mediaeval Jewish lexica and grammars as typified by the works of Menahem ben Saruq, Jonah ibn Janah, Nathan ben Jehiel of Rome, Solomon Parhon and David Kimhi. Given that the Christian Hebrew studies originated from the Jewish Hebrew scholarship, the early 16th- century Christian reception of the grammatical and lexical instruments devised in the Jewish tradition comes under close scrutiny as well.
David I. Yoon
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, ON, Canada
It is often unintentional that contemporary readers of Scripture interpret the ancient text according to modern cultural notions. Certainly, regarding the ancient letter of recommendation, it is easy for a modern interpreter to understand Paul’s statements to the Corinthians in light of contemporary conceptions of letters of recommendation, especially in light of the academic contexts most interpreters are a part of. Drawing upon epistolary theory and literary theory, and by examining a selection of the documentary papyri, this article attempts to understand the nature of the ancient letter of recommendation to construct a hypothetical letter of recommendation that Paul would be referring to in 2 Cor 3:1–2, to provide a clearer picture of what is meant when he called the Corinthians his “letter of recommendation.”
Stanley E. Porter
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, ON, Canada
The dominance of Markan priority and the two/four document hypothesis regarding the Synoptic Gospels has been challenged from several quarters in recent times. Although this traditional explanation—which dates back to the nineteenth century—continues to exercise much influence, several other theories have garnered serious attention. Among the most prominent of the alternatives are the Farrer/Goulder hypothesis, an explanation that includes Markan priority but has no place for Q; the two Gospel hypothesis, which revives the proposal of J.J. Griesbach with Matthean priority and Lukan and then Markan dependence; and various oral tradition hypotheses. Other proposals have been made as well, even if they have not commanded the same attention these have. This paper offers a history of discussion of the Synoptic problem and then, in the current climate, asses the major issues remaining, especially those where the various views continue to differ.
Greg Stanton
University of New England, Armidale, Australia
Terms in the New Testament that bear on the social standing of the earliest followers of Jesus of Nazareth can be clarified by their usage in Greek papyri. There, words that the Gospels use to describe the partnership between Andrew, Simon, James, John and Zebedee point to their having a fishing business that possessed at least two boats and hired laborers. The regular as well as the windfall catches of this enterprise could be salted at Taricheiai on the Sea of Galilee and sold as far away as Rome. There is a firm indication in a parable in Luke 17 that at least one of the apostles owned a slave. The women who supported Jesus’ travelling entourage should be emphasized. Other wealthier supporters can be brought together to form an impressive list. Finally, a study of the usage of τέκτων, the word used in the Gospels to describe what Joseph and Jesus did for a living, raises the possibility of a Joseph and son(s) building construction enterprise comparable with the fishing business on the lake. This last point remains uncertain, but the vocabulary of the evangelists counts strongly against the common view that the earliest supporters of Jesus were peasants.
Preston T. Massey
Indiana Wesleyan University, Marion, IN, USA
The two texts of 1 Cor. 11.5 and 14.34-35 have resulted in clashing conclusions among scholars. In the former text women are permitted to pray and prophesy, if properly attired; in the latter text women are enjoined to maintain silence with no exceptions or conditions attached. Some scholars see one or both texts as interpolations; others see the texts as containing convoluted and confusing arguments offering little hope of resolution; yet others see the texts as contradicting one another. This present study offers the alternate view that both texts can be understood as compatible when placed against the background of Greco-Roman culture.
Hughson T. Ong
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, ON, Canada
This article provides an overview of the scholarly discussion on the language of the New Testament and its other related topics, explaining why the New Testament was transmitted to us in Greek. More specifically, it describes the linguistic context of the language of the New Testament—the substrata behind the Greek text of the New Testament—via a sociolinguistic framework.
Jonathan M. Watt
Geneva College & Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Linguistic communities draw upon the options present in their language repertoire, though sometimes without categorizing particular forms in quite the same manner as a formal grammarian. Though Hebrew and Aramaic (along with Greek, of course) were certainly available within the repertoire of Late Second Temple Period Palestinian Jews, their use of these codes sometimes differed from Jews living elsewhere, as did their perception of the prestige status of Greek, since even in the presence of what many would have considered a sacred language, synchronic and diachronic factors influenced the ways in which Jews performed (in speech and writing) their Semitic language variables because these were only sometimes considered necessarily emblematic of Jewish-Palestinian identity.
Stanley E. Porter
McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, ON, Canada
The complex multilingualism of Palestine (Roman Judea and Galilee) in the first century (Greek, Aramaic, Hebrew, and, in some social strata, Latin) has resulted in various sociolinguistic descriptions of the varied people groups and their varieties of language. This study focuses upon Koine (or Hellenistic) Greek within multilingual Palestine, and examines the data both diachronically and synchronically to capture the complex set of factors that resulted in Koine Greek becoming the lingua franca and prestige language of Palestine, as well as a secondary and even primary vernacular variety for some of the population. The paper traces the recent history of discussion and then examines the diachronic development of Greek in the eastern Mediterranean and synchronic evidence of Greek usage in first-century Palestine.