Wednesday, July 23, 2014

1 Peter 3:13-17 Exegetical Notes

Text

13 Καὶ τίς κακώσων ὑμᾶς ἐὰν τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ ζηλωταὶ γένησθε; 14 ἀλλʼ εἰ καὶ πάσχοιτε διὰ δικαιοσύνην, μακάριοι. τὸν δὲ φόβον αὐτῶν μὴ φοβηθῆτε μηδὲ ταραχθῆτε, 15 κύριον δὲ τὸν Χριστὸν ἁγιάσατε ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν, ἕτοιμοι ἀεὶ πρὸς ἀπολογίαν παντὶ τῷ αἰτοῦντι ὑμᾶς λόγον περὶ τῆς ἐν ὑμῖν ἐλπίδος, 16 ἀλλὰ μετὰ πραΰτητος καὶ φόβου, συνείδησιν ἔχοντες ἀγαθήν, ἵνα ἐν καταλαλεῖσθε καταισχυνθῶσιν οἱ ἐπηρεάζοντες ὑμῶν τὴν ἀγαθὴν ἐν Χριστῷ ἀναστροφήν. 17 κρεῖττον γὰρ ἀγαθοποιοῦντας, εἰ θέλοι τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, πάσχειν κακοποιοῦντας.

Critical

v14 μηδὲ ταραχθῆτε / καὶ οὐ μὴ ταραχθῆτε / omit
The first reading has strong support. Omission can be explained as the eye moving from φοβηθητε to ταραχθητε.

v15 τὸν Χριστόν / τὸν θεόν
The former reading has widespread and early support.

v16 καταλαλεῖσθε / καταλαλοῦσιν ὑμῶν / καταλαλοῦσιν ὑμῶν ὡς κακοποιῶν / καταλαλῶσιν ὑμῶν ὡς κακοποιῶν
Again, the shorter reading is preferable, the later readings more likely explicable as accretions.

Translation

And who is the one who will harm you if you become zealots of what is good? But even if you should suffer on account of righteousness, you are blessed. “Do not fear their fear nor be troubled”, but consecrate the Lord Christ in your hearts, being always prepared to give a defense to all that inquire of you concerning the hope that is in you, but with humility and respect, having a good conscience, so that in that which they speak against you they may be ashamed, those that malign your good way of life in Christ. For it is better, doing good, if the will of God wills it, to suffer, than [because of] doing evil.

Commentary

Verse 13 offers us a rhetorical question following from verse 12, possibly an allusion to Isa 50:9 LXX. The implied answer is “no one”, though that answer must be nuanced by the reality of the situation Peter is addressing. It is indeed possible that someone will bring harm against the believers. Peter, rather, is configuring the situation in light of God’s sovereign goodness. It is the Petrine parallel to a passage like Romans 8:31, “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

However, given the general tone of the passage, it is probably correct to understand the socio-historical setting as prior to the Neronic persecution, for otherwise the rhetorical power of the question is lost; if the setting were one of significant persecution or the possibility of the same, then the perceived answer would be that there were indeed those seeking to harm believers. We must, then, balance the reality of possible suffering, as Peter addresses repeatedly not only for believers who are slaves, but all believers, against the Christocentric expression of God’s goodness through unjust suffering. This is seen in the first part of v14, where the the real possibility of various forms of suffering is acknowledged, in the conditional + optative phrase. In light of this, believers are “blessed”; the only other reference to believers being blessed in this way comes in 4:14, in a similar context. We would do well to compare with Matthew 5:10 and I suggest that Peter’s understanding in this context derives from Jesus’ own teaching. Jobes puts it well, “for Peter the privilege of living rightly because of Christ and suffering for it is nothing less than a blessing, a sign of God’s favor and evidence of one’s salvation.”

Verse 14b offers the first half of a response, quoting from Isa 8:12 LXX. IN context, Isaiah is encouraging Judah not to feer the Israel-Aram alliance of Assyria, because ultimately (a) God is with them, and (b) God is to be feared. While the grammar of v14 is difficult in English translation, “do not fear their fear”, the sense is “the fear that they cause” rather than “the fear which they fear”. This is complicated by the fact that in the Isaiah context it is the latter sense that is intended. Peter modifies the quotation slightly replacing a singular 3rd person pronoun referring back to ‘this people’ with a plural, ‘their’, but this really only adjusts to the lack of a collective antecedent. It is the setting in Peter that transforms the meaning.

Verse 15 continues the quotation, and provides the counter-part to the negative command in 14b, “sanctify the Lord, Christ”. Again there is modification from Isa 8:13 LXX, and this time more significant. Peter takes κύριον αὐτὸν ἁγιάσατε (sanctify the Lord himself) and substitutes in τὸν Χριστόν for αὐτόν. Assuming that the grammatical construction remains similar, this yields to appositional phrase “sanctify the Lord, Christ”, giving a clear example of identifying the Christ with the Lord of the OT.

The setting is different, and so the exhortation is appropriately adjusted, but its basic thrust is the same. In the face of opposition and threat, believers are to put their trust in the Lord himself, as he is both with believers, and is to be feared. For NT believers, the Lord they know, the Lord who is with them, the Lord to be feared, is Christ himself. Theocentric faith is, post-incarnation, always Christocentric faith.

The second part of v15 has long been used as the springboard verse for Christian apologetics, and not without good reason. However it is unlikely that Peter has in mind either philosophical presentation or a strict legal setting for ‘defence’, but rather the readiness of believers to give an account of their belief in the face of inquiry, particularly pointed or hostile inquiry. “Hope that is in you” means something like “the eschatological expectation of salvation that is shared among the community of believers.” Such a presentation must be a meaningful communication with outsiders, not the mere re-patterning of insider language for self-affirmation.
Further, v16 consists of qualifications of the manner and purpose of such an account. Firstly, with fear and humility. Fear is probably better understood here as ‘reverence’ or ‘respect’, in keeping with Peter’s general usage through the letter. Achtemeier understands it as respect towards God, while Jobes prefers respect towards outsiders grounded in respect towards God (cf 2:17-18).

Secondly, having a good conscience, believers are to offer such an account with integrity, both of message and of conduct. Integrity of witness is dependent not only upon the content of the message, but the conduct of the speaker, both in the delivery of the account, and in the day-to-day life of the believer.

Thirdly, the purpose of such giving an answer is to evoke shame for those that malign believers’ way of life in Christ. Again, we must not directly read contemporary western notions of shame as embarrassment into the text, but recognise that shame has to do with social status in terms of loss of face and social defeat. Christians are not to engage in the same kind of honour-contest behaviour as unbelievers, i.e. using malignant language and insult, but rather by patient, honourable, upright discourse and lifestyle shaped by continual trust in the Lord and eventual vindication.

This ethical response is brought full circle in v17 with a “better than” proverbial statement, comparable to Jesus’ teaching, as well as OT Wisdom literature.


Candida Moss on 'Persecuted'

I think Moss is wrong about ancient persecution, deliberately misreading the evidence to downplay actual events. But she is dead right about this:


"Given the amount of violence in the world—the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, ISIS’s destructive rampage through Iraq, war in the Ukraine, and actual persecution of various religious groups around the globe—it might seem strange or, I daresay, insensitive and delusional for any American Christian to claim that they are persecuted. And yet they do. Claims that American Christians are unfairly victimized, attacked, and persecuted continue. Some even think they are on the cusp of being martyred. Martyrdom, in this context, being defined as “mockery, slander, ostracism.” Or, as I like to call it, middle school."

~ from her review of the film 'Persecuted', available here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

You know, when I speak English, my English not so good.

I have a chronic language problem. I'm an over-accommodater, and it's sub-conscious.

Whenever I speak with someone I accommodate my language. This ranges from imitation of vocal range and accent, through to language structures. It's particularly acute when I speak with Mongolians in English. Firstly, whenever I am talking to, or even mentally thinking about talking to, Mongolians, my first instinct is to try to frame things in Mongolian. But sometimes I can't, I don't have either the vocabulary, or my brain is not quick enough to frame some more complex sentences, and then I revert to English. Also I have some Mongolian friends who just prefer to speak English. So when I speak English, I accommodate my English as well.

This drives my wife crazy.

Recently I was giving a talk to Mongolians, speaking English and using a translator. Because of this my level of accommodation was very high. And the result was that my English became very poor and ungrammatical. Especially, I drop almost all my articles. This is because Mongolian has neither definite or indefinite articles, so they're just cluttering up the airwaves!

Consciously, I can observe this phenomenon as it happens, but I find that it takes an extreme amount of control to counter-act it. Even when speaking with some very English-competent Mongolians, I will accommodate not to their level of English, but to my version Mongolian-English. Good thing I am not teaching English here.




Monday, July 21, 2014

Interviews with Communicative Greek Teachers (1): Sebastian Carnazzo

Introduction

All the way back in March I posted about Communicative Approaches to Latin and Greek: Who is doing what? and tried to summarise a little about what I know various people are doing. I thought that over the summer it would be good to interview a few of these folk and find out more about what they are doing, and how they ended up there. Today I'm pleased to share responses from Sebastian Carnazzo from the Academy of Classical Languages. So without further ado, let's hear from Sebastian.

1. What is your personal academic background?

My BS was in Animal Science with a pre-veterinary concentration.  Having become more interested in religious studies toward the end of that program, I decided to change directions and went on to complete an MA in Theology with a concentration in Sacred Scripture.  After that I entered a doctoral program at Catholic University of America (DC) and completed a PhD in Biblical Studies.  My dissertation was published as Seeing Blood and Water: A Narrative-Critical Study of John 19:34.

2. How did you first learn Greek?

I dabbled a bit in Greek during my MA but only began serious study during the doctoral program where, along with the study of Hebrew and Aramaic,  I had the immense privilege and honor of taking five intensive semesters of Greek under the late Francis T. Gignac, author of, among others works, A Grammar of the Greek Papyri of the Roman and Byzantine Periods.  The program was very fast paced.  Using Gignac's beginning Greek grammar (An Introductory New Testament Greek Course), we completed basic Greek grammar by Thanksgiving vacation the first semester.  After that it was speed reading/translation with Gignac.  Gignac was a marathon runner and I think he was always on a race no matter what he was doing.  So studying Greek with him was basically like running a marathon at a full sprint.  The pace was taxing but as a result we covered an amazing amount of material in those five semesters.  The last semester, the history of the Greek language, was the most enjoyable.  We began by reading Mycenaean Greek in the Linear B syllabary.  Then through looking at various sample texts, we surveyed the particular characteristics of the disparate dialects of the classical period.  After that we examined and discussed the Koine, Byzantine, and modern periods.  It was incredible.  Gignac was not only a world class Greek grammarian, he was also a master Semitic and Indo-european Linguist.

3. What made you shift to a communicative methodology?

During my language studies in the doctoral program, while racking my brain memorizing paradigms and principle parts, I would often think back to the ancient world and wonder about the natural acquisition of these languages by the ancient native speakers.  After the doctoral program I got a job teaching Scripture and Biblical Languages in a seminary.  I continued to ponder this question as I would watch the pain in the faces of my students going through the same process as I did memorizing those same paradigms and principle parts.  I knew there had to be a better way.  Once I learned about the communicative method and saw the results I shifted almost over night.

4. How did you first equip yourself to use a communicative method? What were some of the difficulties?

While teaching at the seminary and continuing the search for answers to the above stated question I did an internet search "Koine Greek Living Language" and came upon Randall Buth's program, Living Koine Greek.  I ordered the first volume and started to reteach myself Greek.  After spending a few hours with the program I was convinced that I had found a treasure.  I decided to experiment on my kids.  They loved the program.  I was so impressed with the results that I began incorporating the program into my Greek courses at the seminary.  You asked about difficulties.  The problem at this stage was I just didn't really understand the teaching techniques.  I had never seen someone teach Greek this way.  Then I went to an intensive program in Fresno, CA, put on by Randall Buth and the Biblical Language Center to help Greek teachers learn how to teach Greek as a Living Language.  While there, among a number of other things, I also learned about the work of James Asher and his work in TPR.  I read all the pertinent articles about TPR and TPRS on his website.  That summer changed everything.  The following fall semester  I went back to the seminary classroom with the tools to accomplish my goals.  The seminarians loved it and so did I.

5. What courses or materials do you currently offer?

A few years ago I created the Academy of Classical Language site and began teaching Greek online (academyofclassicallanguages.com).  The Greek program is multi-level in both Koine and Classical and incorporates Randall Buth's, Living Koine Greek, vol. 1 and Athenaze, vol. 1, respectively.

6. What sort of outcomes do your students generally finish with? Where are they ‘at’ when they’ve completed a course of study with you?

They all come to the program with different backgrounds.  Some have never studied Greek.  Others have quite substantial experience.  Our goals are simple.  Teach Greek (Latin is also taught on the same site) as a living language to help those who have never studied Greek learn Greek and those who have already studied Greek learn Greek in a more natural way.  Everyone moves through the program at their own pace.  Most of the students come with a desire to learn a little Greek for their own personal bible study.  Once they have learned enough to satisfy their desire they move on to other things.  Others, like myself, can't get enough of it and, I think, would study Greek to the detriment of their health if given the opportunity.

All joking aside, I have been quite impressed with the results.  I have seen a number of students go from not knowing hardly anything about Greek to becoming quite proficient at it, surely beyond a typical seminary program, and that's through spending only a few hours a week and enjoying it all along the way.  That's a far cry from the pain of memorizing paradigms and principle parts only to be able to do little more than recite paradigms and principle parts.

As I have said to my students and other teachers involved in this way of teaching Greek, it is clearly superior to the conventional method, but we are not yet able to reach the full potential because we don't yet have the proper environment.  For example, when someone studies a modern language like Spanish or French as a living language in a classroom, they can then go from the classroom to a few months or a semester in a real language immersion environment, like Spain or France.  There they can complete their living acquisition of the language in a real world.  This is, in fact, the way most modern language programs work.  We who teach ancient Greek can create the same classroom experience but don't have a way, at least yet, to then put that student in a real language immersion environment for a few months were they can complete their living acquisition of the language in a real world.  I'm currently pondering buying a small country like San Marino or Liechtenstein to where we can all immigrate..hmm...or maybe a Greek Island would be more appropriate.  Any donors?



Epilogue: And that's all from Sebastian, thanks very much for taking the time to share with us. I have about 6 more of these little interviews lined up, and should be posting one every Monday for the next month and a half. If you happen to be doing something in this field and would like to be interviewed, please send me an email and it can be arranged.


Friday, July 18, 2014

State of the Ørberg, II, with another excerpt

I have to confess that progress on my Greek translation of Lingua Latina is going quite slow this summer, which is a shame because I had high hopes for making solid progress. There are a number of reasons: more attention being paid to my doctorate, work on other exciting projects, needing to preach almost weekly, and a little less than perfect enthusiasm. It is also difficult to motivate when I have no guarantee that I can release a full version of it. Last month I attempted to email the publishing house response (Domus Latina, not Focus), but heard no reply to my inquiry about translation rights. Since my work is almost entirely derivative, I don't see how I could release a copy into the public without some permission for it.

Anyway, I am still working on it. It's excellent work for myself, and earlier this week I completed most of (the text portion anyway) chapter 12. So here's another little excerpt from the draft version.

Στέφανος· ἆρα ἔτι οἱ Γερμανικοὶ τὴν πατρίδα ἑαυτῶν ἀμύνονται;

Δημοσθένης· ἀλλὰ ἡ πατρὶς ἡμέτερα καλλίων ἢ ἐκείνων! καὶ δὲ καὶ οἱ Γερμανικοὶ ἄνθρωποι βάρβαροί εἰσιν.

Στέφανος· ἆρα μὴ ἀνδρεῖοί εἰσι οἱ Γερμανικοί;


Δημοσθένης· ἀνδρεῖοί εἰσι ἐκεῖνοι, ἀλλὰ οἱ Ῥωμαϊκοὶ ἀνδρειότεροί εἰσιν, οὐδὲ τὸ ὅπλα τῶν Γερμανικῶν τοσαῦτα ἀγαθά ἐστι ὅσα ἡμέτερα. ἡ ἀσπὶς αὐτῶν λίαν μικρά ἐστιν, ὁ ὑσσὸς λίαν μακρὸς καὶ βαρύς· οὺδὲ γὰρ ὑσσὸς τοσοῦτος βαρύς πόρρω βαλλέσθαι δύναται. ὁ οὖν ὑσσὸς ἡμέτερος βραχὺς καὶ κοῦφός ἐστιβαρχύτερος καὶ κουφότερος  ἢ ὑσσὸς τῶν Γερμανικῶν. οἱ στρατίωται οἱ Ῥωμαϊκοὶ εὖ μάχονται, ὅτι οἱ ὑσσοι αὐτῶν βραχεῖς καὶ κοῦφοί εἰσιν, οὐ μακροὶ καὶ βαρεῖς ὡς Γερμανικῶν. τὴν πατρίδα ἡμῶν ὅπλα ἀγαθά ἀμύνονται. οὐδεῖς πολέμιος τὴν πόλιν καταπολεμεῖν δύναται.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A simplified Thrax

I've been working on a little Greek piece at the moment that is taking Dionysius Thrax's little Art of Grammar, and cross-breeding a little with Donatus' Ars Grammatica, with a gene-splice of modern takes on ancient Greek, to produce a very short grammar summary in Greek. You can download the whole thing right now, right here. Here's the section on the verb for your reading pleasure:



(Δ δύναται ὁ διδάσκαλος, Μ δὲ μαθηθής)

περὶ ῥήματος


Δ· τί ἐστι ῥῆμα;
Μ· ῥῆμά ἐστι μέρος τοῦ λογου ἢ λέξις ἄπτωτος, ἐπιδεκτικὴ χρόνων τε καὶ προσώπων καὶ ἀριθμῶν, ὄψεων καὶ διαθέσεων.
Δ· τίνες εἰσὶ αἱ ἐγκλίσεις τοῦ ῥήματος;
Μ· αἱ ἐγκλίσεις τοῦ ῥήματός εἰσι πεντέ, ὁριστική, προστακτική, εὐκτική, ὑποτακτική, ἀπαρέμφατος.
 Δ· πόσαι διαθέσεις;
Μ· δύο, ἢ κατὰ τοὺς πάλαι γραμματικοὺς τρεῖς.
Δ· τίνες;
Μ· ἡ κοινὴ διάθεησις, οἷον λέγω, ἡ δὲ ἑαυτικὴ διάθεσις, οἷον δὲ λέγομαι.
Δ· καὶ κατὰ τοὺς πάλαι γραμματικοὺς;
Μ· ἐνέργεια, πάθος, μεσότης· ἐνέργεια μὲν οἷον τύπτω, πάθος δὲ οἷον τύπτομαι, μεσότης δὲ ἡ ποτὲ μὲν ἐνέργειαν ποτὲ δὲ πάθος παριστᾶσα, οἷον πέπηγα, διέφθορα, ἐποιησάμην, ἐγραψάμην.
Δ· πόσοι ἀριθμοί;
Μ· τρεῖς.
Δ· τίνες;
Μ· ἑνικός, δυϊκός, πληθυντικός· ἑνικὸς μὲν οἷον τύπτω, δυϊκὸς δὲ οἷον τύπτετον, πληθυντικὸς δὲ οἷον τύπτομεν.
Δ· ποσοὶ χρόνοι;
Μ· τρεῖς μὲν χρόνοι τοῦ ἔργου, ἕξ δὲ χρόνοι τοῦ ῥήματος.
Δ· χρόνοι τοῦ ἔργου τίνες;
Μ· ἐνεστώς, παρεληλύθώς, μέλλων.
Δ· καὶ τίνες χρόνοι τοῦ ῥήματος;
Μ· ἐνεστώς, παρατατικός, ἀόριστος, παρακείμενος, ὑπερσυντέλικος, καὶ μέλλων.
Δ· πόσαι ὄψεις;
Μ: τρεῖς, ὡς οἱ πλείονες νομίζουσιν
Δ· τίνες;
Μ: παρατατική ἢ παράτασις, οἷον ὁ χρόνος ἐνεσώς καὶ παρατατικός, παρακειμένη ἢ συντελική, οἷον δὲ ὁ ἀόριστος χρόνος, καὶ στατική, οἷον δὲ παρακείμενος καὶ ὑπερσυντέλικος.
Δ· τίς ὄψις ἐστὶ ὁ μέλλων χρόνος;
Μ· ἄλλοι μὲν παρακειμένη, ἄλλοι δε παρατατική, ἄλλοι δὲ ἀοριστική
Δ· πόσα πρώσοπα;
Μ· τρία
Δ· τίνα

Μ· πρῶτον, δεύτερον, τρίτον· πρῶτον μὲν ἀφ᾽ οὗ ὁ λόγος, δεύτερον δὲ πρὸς ὃν ὁ λόγος, τρίτον δὲ περὶ οὗ ὁ λόγος.

The Martyrdom of Polycarp

I have recently posted over at Patristic Readers, a first pdf version of The Martyrdom of Polycarp. The text is free to download, as all the electronic versions will be. Next I will be working on the Greek text of Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis.

MP was a relatively short text, just over 2500 words, and I have been able to work quite quickly on it. The Greek is not difficult, so I did not feel compelled to offer too much commentary as I went. On every page my goal was simply this: could someone coming from a couple of years of Koine Greek make their way through the Greek text without having to refer to an English translation? Whenever I felt this was not the case, I made some comments. I also made a few other comments on things of passing interest/pedagogical note. I believe this, coupled with the vocabulary keyed for each page, makes an attractive little reader.

What next?

After a few days rest I begin on the next text, which is considerably longer, at around 4000 words. Based on how long Polycarp took, PPF should take about 40 work hours to complete, assuming the text is not overly difficult. Ad Ablabium is a similar length, and is likely to take a little more than 40 hours, as it is more complex and will require more commentary as well as more of my own brain power.

Print versions?

I will combine MP and PPF into a single print volume later in the year. I have a few extra things to do to set up the print side of this, including deciding myself what sort of covers to go for, some tax details, and there is the issue of getting print-proofs to approve before general production may be possible (even for POD this is necessary). However, if all goes well, I hope to see these 2 volumes in print in time for Christmas.

So please, take a look, have a read of Polycarp if you haven't tried your hand at it before, and above all feel free to pass on any feedback you may have, it can only improve.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

1 Peter 3:8-12 Exegetical Notes

Text

8 Τὸ δὲ τέλος πάντες ὁμόφρονες, συμπαθεῖς, φιλάδελφοι, εὔσπλαγχνοι, ταπεινόφρονες, 9 μὴ ἀποδιδόντες κακὸν ἀντὶ κακοῦ λοιδορίαν ἀντὶ λοιδορίας τοὐναντίον δὲ εὐλογοῦντες, ὅτι εἰς τοῦτο ἐκλήθητε ἵνα εὐλογίαν κληρονομήσητε. 10 γὰρ θέλων ζωὴν ἀγαπᾶν καὶ ἰδεῖν ἡμέρας ἀγαθὰς παυσάτω τὴν γλῶσσαν ἀπὸ κακοῦ καὶ χείλη τοῦ μὴ λαλῆσαι δόλον, 11 ἐκκλινάτω δὲ ἀπὸ κακοῦ καὶ ποιησάτω ἀγαθόν, ζητησάτω εἰρήνην καὶ διωξάτω αὐτήν· 12 ὅτι ὀφθαλμοὶ κυρίου ἐπὶ δικαίους καὶ ὦτα αὐτοῦ εἰς δέησιν αὐτῶν, πρόσωπον δὲ κυρίου ἐπὶ ποιοῦντας κακά.

Critical

v8 ταπεινόφρονες / φιλόφρονες / φιλόφρονες ταπεινόφρονες
Only Textus Receptus and similar have φιλόφρονες. The mss support for ταπεινόφρονες is secure.

Translation

Finally all of you, be harmonious, understanding, showing brotherly love, compassionate, and humble, not repaying evil in place of evil or insult in place of insult, but in place of this – blessing, because you were called to this so that you might inherit blessing. For
               He that wishes to love life
               And to see good days
Let him cease his tongue from evil
And lips from speaking deceit,
Let him turn aside from evil and do good
Let him seek peace and pursue it.

(Because)
the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are toward their prayers,
but the face of the Lord is against those doing evil.

Commentary

While 2:11-3:7 has formed a discrete set of instructions primarily aimed at 3 distinct groups, the opening of 3:8 addresses all members of the Christian community, and certainly the bulk of them might be aptly described as one of those categories; however the instruction is universal and moves to relate Christian virtues to be seen both internally and externally to the Christian community. Overall, Peter’s initial list of virtues are aimed at community harmony and good relations, internally (harmony, understanding, brotherly love), as well as externally. We may note, as Jobes does, that some of these terms are transferred or utilised primarily in kinship domains. The church forms a new kinship network.

There is, as throughout this letter, expectation of hostility or difficulty from those outside the believing community – that believers will indeed suffer evil or insult. While Peter has addressed this with the exemplar of Christ in chapter 2, he draws back to this theme from a different perspective with the language of call and of blessing, and it transitions into the major theme from this point through until 4:19. In terms of the dynamics of honour-shame relations in the socio-cultural setting, refusing to meet challenges and ‘play the game’ would be both distinctive, as well as emerge as a new way of ‘playing’ the game. [1]

Is the call to ‘return blessing for evil’, or is the call to ‘inherit a blessing’? The occurrence in 4:6 of a similar structure points backwards, then followed by a purpose, while the occurrence in 2:20 likewise refers backwards. However a text of this size hardly provides enough of a sample to draw conclusions of this kind. So the decision is open. However, in my view, deictic markers are generally more likely to be anaphoric than kataphoric, and so the reference is backwards, to “return blessing for evil”. The purpose clause is then the outcome of the way of life that believers are called to; outcome, not reward, as it is inheritance.

What follows as scriptural support is a quotation of LXX Ps 33 (English 34), which we have encountered earlier in 2:3, as well as allusions following on. It is clear that the Psalm provides a basis for both structure and content of Peter’s teaching in this epistle. The text-type is LXX, and the LXX is close to the Hebrew, though Jobes notes that “terrors” (מְגוּרוֹת) was turned into ‘sojournings’ in original reference to David’s time among the Philistines, but very apt to the setting of Peter’s audience.

The citation is LXX Ps 33:13-15 and then 16-17, interrupted by a ὅτι which Peter uses to explicate the first part by way of the second. The application of the Psalm for Peter is very much contrasted with a straightforward ‘reading’, since “life” and “good days” are not what his readers are experiencing, except insofar as they experience the goodness of God and life in him. Indeed, as he earlier made mention to “tasting” that the Lord is Good. Then comes the ethical instruction, which is finally supported by the character of God, who is for the righteous and against the evildoers. The faithfulness and goodness of God is the guarantee and guarantor that ought to motivate believers to continue to turn from evil, and repay evil with good, for however long, in light of the just judge.




[1] I use the language of ‘playing the honour game’ because it matches the reality as well as the literature. But ‘game’ here should not be thought to trivialise the activity. It merely reflects that there were well established social conventions, dynamics, ‘moves’, and ‘goals’, which patterned social life around the gaining/contesting/holding of honour.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Confused about all my blogs? Sometimes so am I.

I actually 'run' a lot of disparate blogs. Some of them might even interest you.

This one is the most active, and certainly has been lately. You get my main thoughts on the main four topics of Language, Classics, Patristics, and Theology. Occasionally I digress and talk about other areas of thought and interest.

What else do I sometimes write/update? Let me (re-)introduce to those that are most active.

1. Macdonalds in Mongolia

If you haven't realised, I currently live and work in Mongolia. This blog contains news and insights from our life and ministry here.

2. cotidie

Recently I revived my efforts at this site. The idea is to write daily in foreign languages. Lately I am writing short pieces/dialogues/collections of sentences in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Gaelic. You can read these posts categorised by language, if you want to just read one. My main focus is developing a conversational language 'databank' as well as practice my own skills.

You can subscribe to individual language streams now! Ancient Greek, Latin, Gaelic.

3. Sermons, etc.,

This is basically a feed site set up to post sermons. It gets updated whenever I preach (in English), and so that is much more sporadic these days. It can also be used to subscribe through iTunes.

4. Patristic Readers

I set up this site specifically for my forthcoming volumes of Patristic text designed for reading, with vocabulary and commentary. Not much to see at the moment, but you could subscribe and you'll see some updates later this year. Actually you should see a free pdf version of the Martyrdom of Polycarp by the end of the month!

5. PhD Progress blog

The most boring blog that I regularly update. Each day I work on the PhD I jot down what I do. Keeps me honest.