Sunday, April 15, 2007


In line with the earlier question about a Text-Criticism section at ETS 2008, I have a parable to share that may lead to another, related Greek section at ETS 2008.

Ἆρά γε τιμῶμεν τὰς ἡμῶν γραφάς;

τίνι ὁμοιοῦται ὁ λόγος; παραβολή·

ἄνθρωπός τις ἀπὸ τῶν Ἰνδωνησίων ἦν σόφος τοῦ Κωρᾶν,
ἀποδημήσας δὲ εἰς τὴν Κάϊραν (ἐν τῇ Αἰγύπτῳ)
συνήντησε φίλῳ σοφῷ Γαλλικῷ ἀπὸ τῆς Πόλεως τοῦ Φωτός (Πάρις)
καὶ ὡμίλουν τῇ Ἀραβικῇ γλώσσῃ.

Ἕτερος δὲ ἀπὸ τῆς Μώσκουα, Ἰουδαῖος ράββει,
ἦλθεν εἰς τὰς Ἀθήνας
ἐν αἷς συνήντησεν ἄλλῳ ράββει ἀπὸ τῶν Καλῶν Ἀνέμων (Βουαίνος Ἀέρες)
καὶ ὡμίλουν τῇ Ἑβραϊκῇ γλώσσῃ.

λοιπὸν δὲ εὐαγγελικός τις ἀπὸ τῆς Πόλεως τῆς Μεχίκω
ὁδοιπορῶν εἰς τὰ Ἱεροσόλυμα
συνήντησεν ἄλλῳ Χριστιανῷ ἀπὸ τῶν τῆς Βρεττανίας νήσων.
πλὴν ὡμίλουν τῇ Ἀγγλικῇ μόνον,
μήτε τῇ Ἑβραϊκῇ μήτε τῇ Ἑλληνικῇ δυνάμενοι.

τίς οὖν τούτων πλεῖον (ἢ ἦσσον) ἠγάπα τὰς ἰδίας γραφάς;

Naturally, there is more than one way to apply the parable, but some of the main point should come through clearly enough.

A potential question for us becomes, would we like to have a section at ETS 2008 to discuss points of Greek, in which at least one of the papers would be delivered in Greek (ancient, koiné, Ἑλληνική) ? It would be one way in which to join in solidarity with the chain of scribes with whom we spend so much time.

We would, of course, invoke the rules of the "Third Sophistic": K.I.S.S., 'keep it simple, stupid', the opposite of the Second Sophistic. Plain, clear speech would be preferable to flowery, elegant waxing. And even very simple language use could raise the bar in our field.


  1. I would be interested in that idea. But I have to admit, I think I would need to spend some time beforehand learning how to hear Greek and comprehend it as the speaker goes along. I'm ashamed to say that even after many courses that involved studying written Greek, there's just no way I would be prepared to hear a paper presented in it, regardless the dialect. It's a challenge I would relish nevertheless.
    P.S. Still working on the parable.

  2. OK, I get the gist. Surely the Muslims and Rabbis are the one's who truly love their own Scriptures in this parable.
    So Mexico is spelled with a chi?

  3. I just spelled Μεχικω like it felt, from Cuidad de Mexico,
    but using an o-mega and feminine like ἡ γῆ.

    In Modern Greek they spell it
    Μεχικο, το Μεχικο, I believe.

    Mexico, of course, is a prop, and the point is for some of the scholars of a faith community to be (re-)connected to the canonical source text(s). What we call in Hebrew שפה שגורה בפה. We owe it to ourselves, if not to our communities.

  4. Sorry for this. Someone tell Jim Snapp that his domain name for needs renewed.

  5. I didn't have any trouble reading this but I am worried about how the poor εὐαγγελικός is going to get from Mexico to Jerusalem travelling by road. Or has ὁδοιπορεω become a more generic word for travel since I last checked. ;-)

  6. Language is a team sport. Thank you for the query, Suzanne. Forgive the English, I am responding 'in language'.

    While someone usually travels by land, and starts and ends a journey on land, your question may be a little like asking if a 'wayfarer' in English could not travel some of a journey by boat. See 2 Cor 11:26 below. Or might the fact that Bob Dylan is currently 'on the road' in England mean that he didn't fly there?

    There are several issues here.

    a. did the word οδοιπορειν restrict itself to its literal etymological meaning?
    I suspect that it included both off-road and sea-travel within a journey, just like επορευθη in Luk 19:12 was referring to someone travelling to Rome.

    b. if it was limited to 100% road travel initially, then when, if ever, is the first recorded use including some water?

    I don't have resources here to check this, the following are suggestive that they exist:
    Josephus Ant 3:3
    τῷ τε συνεχεῖ τῆς ὁδοιπορίας "in the continuation of the journey" referring to the exodus, with a dry crossing of the sea, but probably without 'roads' for some of the way.
    Wisdom 13:18 would seem to be very generic for beginning any travel (even if in a negative context):
    "For health he calleth upon that which is weak:
    for life prayeth to that which is dead;
    for aid humbly beseecheth that which hath least means to help:
    and for a good journey he asketh of that which cannot set a foot forward"
    however, I have a possibly contrary quote from Plutarch, depending on the kind of overlap or contrast that was intended in ἢ:
    ὅταν ὁδοιπορῶσιν ἢ πλέωσιν 'whenever they travel or sail'

    Finally, 2 Cor 11:26 appears to list dangers that were associated with Paul's οδοιπορια journeys: ... at sea ... .

    c. Greek has some interesting extensions within this semantic field. E.g. βαδιζειν is probably the most generic word for 'walk, march', yet imagine one's chagrin at seeing Jonah 1:3 in the LXX: καὶ εὗρεν πλοῖον βαδίζον εἰς Θαρσις 'he found a boat walking/going (= should we picture 'oar-slapping'?) to Sardinia'.

    Anyway, ο ημων ευαγγελικος ηρξατο εν γη και ετελεσε εν γη εν ταις οδοιποριαις.

  7. ευρισκω δικιαν την απολογιαν σου.