Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Bewilderment as the True Comprehension

Bonhoeffer concludes ch. 4 of (Cost ofDiscipleship with a quotation of Luther. The quotation can be found in several places on the internet (e.g. here, here).  I give it here in a more recent translation (2003).
Things must go, not according to your understanding but above your understanding. Submerge yourself in a lack of understanding, and I will give you My understanding. Lack of understanding is real understanding; not knowing where you are going is really knowing where you are going. My understanding makes you without understanding. Thus Abraham went out from his homeland and did not know where he was going (Gen. 12:1ff). He yield to My knowledge and abandoned his own knowledge; and by the right way he reached the right goal. Behold, that is the way of the cross. You cannot find it, but I must lead you like a blind man. Therefore not you, not a man, not a creature, but I, through My Spirit and the Word, will teach you the way you must go. You must not follow the work which you choose, not the suffering which you devise, but that which comes to you against your choice, thoughts, and desires. There I call; there you must be a pupil; there it is the time; there your Master has come.
Bonhoeffer does not give the exact reference to Luther. The more recent English translation I mentioned earlier provides a helpful footnote (p. 91n23) explaining that Bonhoeffer came across the quotation by way of Karl Witte's Nun freut euch lieben Christen gemein (1936), 243–44. Apparently Bonhoeffer's copy of this book has been preserved, and that copy is marked at this point.

The original text is Luther's "The Seven Penitential Psalms," 2d ed. (1525), available in Luther's Works, vol. 14, p. 152 (WA 18.489, lines 15–27). Luther originally wrote the above paragraph as a comment to Psa 32:8, "I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go." The beginning of the comment says:
This is where I want you to be. You ask that I deliver you. Then do not be uneasy about it; do not teach Me, and do not teach yourself; surrender yourself to Me. I am competent to be your Master. I will lead you in a way that is pleasing to Me. You think it wrong if things do not go as you feel they should. But your thinking harms you and hinders Me. Things must go...
And the paragraph continues as quoted by Bonhoeffer.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Alternative Psalms Manuscripts: 4QPs-q

For previous posts in this series, see here.

4QPsq (4Q98)
  • Date: Turn of the Era
  • Preserved contents: Ps 31:24–25; 33:1–18; 35:4–20
  • Alternatie sequences: 31→33 (cf. 4QPsa)
I cannot find a picture of this scroll online, so I've had to resort to scanning an image from DJD 16 (plate XIX). So the picture doesn't look great partly because it's just a scan from a printed book, but also "Towards the right side of the scroll the surface has flaked off, evidently because of stitching on the next revolution, and worm-holes are clearly visible" (DJD 16, p. 145).

A single fragment of this scroll has survived.

Scan of 4QPsq from DJD 16 (plate XIX).
Red line = Ps 31:25; Purple line = vacat; Yellow line = superscription;
Orange line = Ps 33:2–3; Green line = vacat after Ps 33:12
The red arrow in the above scan shows the end of Psalm 31, followed by a vacat at the beginning of the next line (indicated by the purple arrow), and then a superscription at the end of that same line (indicated by the yellow arrow). Psalm 32 has a superscription in the MT (לדוד משכיל), but it does not match the superscription in this scroll (לדויד שיר מזמור).

In the third line (see orange arrow), we can see the last words of Ps 33:2 (בכנור בנבל עשור זמרו לו) and the first word of v. 3 (שירו). So, our scroll does not contain Ps 32 in the spot where it appears in MT, but rather has put Ps 33 immediately after Ps 31. Moreover, whereas Ps 33 has no superscription in MT, our scroll contains a superscription for this psalm. The same sequence (31→33) is also found in 4QPsa, but this latter scroll does not contain a superscription for Ps 33.

Another interesting feature of this fragment is that there is a vacat after Ps 33:12 (green arrow in the above scan), apparently indicating that Ps 33:13–18 forms a separate poetic composition (DJD 16, p. 148; Yarchin 779–80).

Col. ii contains material from Ps 35.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Alternative Psalms Manuscripts: 4QPs-n

This is the fifth post in my series. See previously here, and follow the links back.

4QPsn (4Q95)
  • Date: late-I BCE
  • Preserved contents: Ps 135:6–9, 11–12; 136:23–24
  • Alternative sequences: Ps 135:11–12→136:23–24
There are three fragments of this scroll.

4QPsn frg. 1
This fragment preserves part of Psalm 135:6–8, with a longer (vis-a-vis MT) reading of v. 6 mentioned earlier in relation to 4QPsk. The first line shows לעשות יעש[ה, i.e., "to do he does" at the very beginning of the plus. The second line shows the last word of v. 6, תהו]מות, and the first words of v. 7, מעלה נשיאים, "raising clouds."

4QPsn frg. 2
Fragment two has a little bit of text from Psalm 135:11–12. The first line has מלך הב[שן from Ps 135:11 and the second line has נחל[ה ]ל[נו from v. 12.

4QPsn frg. 3

This third fragment contains part of Psalm 135:12 and part of Psalm 136:23–24. At the very top, we can see ונתן, which is the very first word of Psalm 135:12. The DJD editors also think they can see on the same line the next word of the verse: ארצם, which they can put together with the נחל[ה ]ל[נו of frg. 2. The next line of this fragment preserves לישראל עמו כ[י, which are the last words of Psalm 135:12 in the MT, except for the כי, which is an extra element. DJD proposes that this is the first word of the phrase כי לעולם חסדו ("for his lovingkindness is everlasting"), taken over from the refrain of Psalm 136.

The third visible line on frg. 3 shows the words זכ[ר] לנו כי לעו[לם, corresponding to Psalm 136:23 (I myself can't see any of the זכר.) That lamed at the bottom of the fragment plausibly corresponds to the לעולם in the refrain of Ps 136:24.

According to DJD 16 (p. 136), the combination of Ps 135 and 136 happened in two ways:
(a) by the introduction of the refrain that is characteristic of Psalm 136 (כי לעולם חסדו) after 135:12a and again after 135:12b; and (b) by the colon 135:12b (נחלה ]לישראל עמו) in line 3, which is very similar to the colon found in 136:22a (נחלה לישראל עבדו). 
And on p. 137:
The preserved text represents a new Psalm, which forms a coherent whole and presumably comprised 135:1–12 + 136:23–26. But since the refrain suddenly appears from v 12 onwards, it seems that the compiler fashioned the new Psalm by combining material from Psalms 135 and 136. Strictly speaking, the transition is from 135:12, which ends a pericope, to 136:23, which begins a new one. However, by introducing the refrain twice into 135:12 and in view of the close similarity between 135:12ab and 136:21–22, the compiler has succeeded in blending material from Psalm 135 with that of 136 at points where the separate Psalms contain very similar readings. 

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Alternative Psalms Manuscripts: 4QPs-k

This is the fourth post in my series on Qumran Psalms manuscripts that feature psalms known from the MT in sequences out-of-step with the MT. Previous posts covered 4QPse, 4QPsb and 4QPsd, and 4QPsa. This post covers 4QPsk.

4QPsk (4Q92)
  • Date: first half of I BCE
  • Preserved contents: 135:6–16; 99:1–5(?)
  • Reconstructed sequence: 135; 99 (with, perhaps, another psalm in between)
  • Alternative sequences: 135; 99
4QPsk (entire preserved contents) 
On that piece of twine connecting the two fragments, DJD 16 (p. 123) says:
...the two fragments are connected by a coarse piece of cord which extends upward through a hole just below the he of העמים in frg. 1 ii 4, enters frg. 2 through a hole from behind, and emerges just below the waw of לדו[ד in line 3. On PAM 43.030, frg. 2 is at a perpendicular angle above fr. 1, while PAM 42.029 documents a partially successful attempt to align the pieces correctly. The artificial join seems to be the remains of a repair undertaken in antiquity. 
The first column (on the right) contains material from Psalm 135:6–16. There's a little bit at the very top right of the fragment, more easily seen in this infrared photo

4QPsk col. i (top)
Those little lines at the point are plausibly reconstructed as the yod and final nun in the word ואין, which comes in the middle of a reconstructed form of Psa 135:6 that matches what we find for this verse in 11QPsa and 4QPsn (and does not match the MT reading of this verse). In Sanders's Cornell edition of 11QPsa, this verse reads in English:
What the LORD pleases he does, in heaven and on earth, to do he does; there is none like the LORD, there is none like the LORD, and there is none who does as the King of gods, in the seas and in all deeps. (p. 61)
(The italics mark divergences from MT. I have underlined the portion that corresponds to the proposed reconstruction of 4QPsk.)

The first words you can really see on the fragment (in what is actually the second line of preserved writing) constitute the very end of Psa 135:7 (מאצרתיו) and beginning of v. 8 (שהכה בכורי). The last visible words in that same column are the final words of v. 15 (וזה]ב מעשי ידי אדם) and the first word of v. 16 (פה), followed by the bottom margin of the scroll.

As for the second column, here's the picture that shows the "partially successful attempt to align the pieces correctly," mentioned in the DJD quotation above.

4QPsk  col. ii

Apparently those first visible letters above the coarse cord in the second column are the remnants of a superscription attached to Psalm 99 (the name David, לדוד), though MT contains no superscription for this psalm. On the second line we have the word העמים (= the last word of MT Psa 99:2). Remember, the fragments are not properly aligned; you can see the he on frg. 1 and the mem on frg. 2, preceded by the ayin (partially visible) and part of the top stroke of the he. After the mem on frg. 2 you can see the yod, but the cord is covering the final mem which is visible (upside down) on this picture:

4QPsk frg 2 (upside down)
On the third line of col. ii we have רממו, followed by the first two letters of the Tetragrammaton; these words are the beginning of Psa 99:5.

The identification of the words in this column with Psa 99 depends on the rarity of the term רממו, which in the MT appears only in Psa 99:5, 9 (spelled both times רוממו). The word also appears in Psa 135:2 in 11QPsa, but this would leave the העמים in the preceding line unexplained.

Based on this evidence, Lange (p. 387) can say: "There is no question that Ps 99 in 4QPsk followed Ps 135. The material reconstruction of 4QPsk makes it probable that between Ps 135 and Ps 99 in this manuscript there stood another psalm: Ps 135→Ps ?→Ps 99."

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Alternative Psalms Manuscripts: 4QPs-e (4Q87)

This is the third in a series of posts on the Psalms manuscripts from Qumran that contain psalms known from the MT Psalter but in a sequence that does not correspond to the MT. Today's post covers the fourth of these manuscripts, 4QPse.

4QPse  (4Q87)
  • Date: mid-I CE
  • Preserved contents: 76:10–12; 77:1; 78:6–7, 31–33; 81:2–3; 86:10–11; 88:1–5; 89:44–48, 50–53; 103:22(?); 109:1(?), 8(?), 13; 114:5; 115:15–18; 116:1–4; 118:29; 104:1–3, 20–22; 105:1–3, 23–25, 36–45; 146:1(?); 120:6–7; 125:2–5; 126:1–5; 129:8; 130:1–3, 6. 
  • Reconstructed sequence: Ps 76→77; 78; 81; 86; 88; 89; [103?]→109(?); 114; 115→116; [118(?)]→104[→147(?)→]105→[146(?)] or [106(?)]; 120; 125→126[→127→128→]129→130
  • Alternative sequences: [103?]→109(?); [118(?)]→104[→147(?)→]105→[146(?)] or [106(?)]
The supposed join between Ps 103 and 109 is preserved on frg. 9. I cannot find a picture of this fragment online. The photo (plate XI) in DJD 16 shows that it is exceedingly small, and the reconstruction on p. 79 shows that it preserves parts of only three words.

Here's a (not great) scan of the fragment.

scan of DJD 16, plate XI, frg. 9
The second line contains the words לדו]יד מזמו[ר, clearly a superscription, attributed by DJD to Ps 109, because "[o]nly three Psalms that fall within the preserved range of this scroll (76–130) have a superscription containing the two words preserved in this fragment," those being Psalms 101, 109, and 110, but on the other fragments of this scroll we have portions of Psalm 109 but not the other two. Obviously, this reconstruction is very speculative, especially in light of the fact that the DSS sometimes have superscriptions where the MT does not (as proposed later for this very scroll--see on Ps 104--and, e.g., in 4QPsk, to be discussed in a later post).

In the first line of frg. 9, only a few ink traces are visible.
While these traces are somewhat consistent with the bottom tip of nun and the waw in צרינו at the end of Psalm 108, they are better read as the two legs of the he in [the Tetragrammaton] which ends Psalm 103. The combination of Psalm 103→109 is also the most likely sequence in 11QPsa. (DJD 16, p. 79) 
The connection to 11QPsa is pretty important for the DJD reconstruction of the entire scroll of 4QPse. Here's a passage from DJD 16, pp. 74–76: 
Although very fragmentarily and badly preserved, 4QPse appears to be textually affiliated with the Psalter represented by 11QPsa (and 11QPsb) since the preserved pieces share some features with the large Cave 11 scroll. 4QPse contains several differences in arrangement from the received text; most notably, Psalm 104 in frgs. 14–16 cannot be followed by Psalm 105 in frgs. 17–24 given the location of the two column tops on frgs. 15–16 and frgs. 18 ii, 20–24.
And here are the relevant fragments.
4QPse frgs 15–16 (Ps 104:20–22) 

4QPse frg 18; col. i = Ps 105:3; col. ii = Ps 105:36–45 + 146:1(?)
4QPse frg 20; Psa 105:36–40
It's fragment 20 here that actually preserves the column top, along with frgs. 15–16. According to DJD 16 (p. 81): "A text of approximately 15 lines would be required between the two compositions [Ps 104 and 105]; the only ancient source incorporating such a text is 11QPsa, where Psalm 147 is placed between Psalms 104 and 105." 

As for Ps 146 rather than Ps 106 following Ps 105 on frg 18--the final word visible on frg 18 is a hallelujah, immediately preceded in the previous line by the end of Ps 105 (v. 45). While DJD 16 (p. 82) admits that this hallelujah could be the one found at the beginning of Ps 106 in MT, "it more likely denotes the beginning of Psalm 146 (as originally in 11QPsa)."

Now, back to the beginning of this sequence. The DJD reconstruction identifies Ps 118 as preceding Ps 104. This idea is based on the evidence of frg. 14.
4QPse frg. 14
This fragment contains 4 lines of text. Lines 2–4 correspond to Ps 104:1–3. In line 2, the first letter that is visible (at least to my eye and based on the above photo) is the yod in ברכי, which is the first word of MT Ps 104. (The DJD reconstruction proposes a superscription לדויד based on spacing considerations in the fragment. MT does not have this superscription.) The fragment continues on line 2 with נפשי את, then the Tetragrammaton followed by the yod of another Tetragrammaton (and DJD thinks it can also see the first he). So, anyway, we have Psalm 104 here. Line 3 contains almost the end of v. 2, and line 4 shows the very end of v. 3. The top line contains some writing that DJD identifies as טוב כי לע[ולם, and reconstructs the line as the end of Ps 118, "since in the received text this ending for a Psalm occurs only at 118:29, which also precedes Psalm 104 in 11QPsa" (p. 81).

As a general conclusion to the discussion on this scroll, Willgren (p. 100) says: "Although intriguing, the quite extensive reconstructions have been questioned, and other scholars have chosen a more cautious approach, stating that the argument can be neither confirmed, nor refuted" (citing Jain, p. 104).

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Alternative Psalms Manuscripts: 4QPs-b (4Q84) and 4QPs-d (4Q86)

This post picks up the theme introduced previously concerning the Dead Sea Psalms Scrolls that preserve alternative sequences (alternative to the MT sequence) of psalms in the MT. There are nine such scrolls, and I've already introduced the first, 4QPsa. Here are the second and third. 

4QPsb (4Q84)
  • Date: mid-I CE
  • Preserved contents: Ps 91:5–8, 12–15; 92:4–8, 13–15; 93:5; 94:1–4, 7–9, 10–14, 17–18, 21–22; 96:2; 98:4–5; 99:5–6; 100:1–2; 102:5?, 10–29; 103::1–6, 9–14, 20–21; 112:4–5; 113:1; 115:2–3; 116:17–19; 118:1–3, 5–10, 12, 18–20, 23–26, 29.
  • Reconstructed sequence of preserved contents: Ps 91[→]92[→]93[→]94, 96, 98, 99[→]100, 102→103[→]112[→]113, 115, 116[→117→]118
  • Alternative sequences: 103→112
To focus on that alternative sequence, here's a picture. 
Frag. 25, cols. ii–iv
In this picture, the column on the right (col. ii of the fragment = col. XXV of the scroll) is the end of Ps 103; you can see all of v. 20 and the beginning of v. 21. The next column (col. iii = col. XXVI) contains part of Ps 112; you can see most of v. 4 and the beginning of v. 5 (in the third line). In the next column you can sort of see a hallelujah, presumably the one that begins Ps 113.

4QPsd (4Q86)
  • Date: mid-I BCE
  • Preserved contents: Ps 106:48?; 147:1–4, 13–17, 20; 104:1–5, 8–11, 14–15, 22–25, 33–35.
  • Reconstructed sequence: 106:48?→147→104
  • Alternative sequences: 106:48?→147→104
First alternative sequence: 106:48?→147
Frag. 1
This fragment shows a hallelujah at the top, preceded by something. Here's the comment in DJD 16, p. 66: "Halleluyah is preceded by a final letter that extends below the line which cannot be the reš of ודר in Ps 146:10. The only Psalm with such an ending is 106." Of course, this reasoning assumes that we are looking at a psalm that we know from the traditional Psalter. At any rate, what comes next, in the second visible line, is the opening of Ps 147: [הללו]יה כי טוב זמרה אלהינו נא[וה זמרה].

Second alternative sequence: 147→104

Frag. 6
The top of this fragment shows the very end of Ps 147. The second visible line has the hallelujah at the end of the psalm, followed by a vacat on the same line. The next line (third visible line) contains the opening of Ps 104.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Marcion's Gospel and the New Testament

The latest issue of New Testament Studies contains a collection of brief essays on the topic of Marcion's Gospel. Since none of his literary works survive, we know about Marcion only from his opponents, especially Tertullian (Against Marcion) and Epiphanius (Panarion §42). Marcion came to Rome from his native Pontus around the year 140. Marcion wrote something called the Antitheses, which Tertullian tells us about (see, e.g., Adv. Marc. 1.19), but most famously there is a Gospel associated with Marcion as well as a collection of Pauline letters (the Apostolikon). Marcion's opponents insist that Marcion himself had corrupted the text of his Pauline letters, as also his Gospel, which, they claim, had been based on the Gospel according to Luke.

On this latter point, see Irenaeus, Haereses 1.27.2; 3.12.12; Tertullian, Marc. 4.6.2; Epiphanius, Pan. 42.9.1; 42.11.3–6. For a recent reconstruction of Marcion's Gospel, see Roth, who also provides a history of research (pp. 7–45).

The debate in NTS gathers three scholars who have recently published substantial volumes on Marcion: Matthias Klinghardt (his book here, 2015) and Jason BeDuhn (his book here, 2013) both argue against the charge leveled by Marcion's patristic opponents that Marcion redacted a form of Luke's Gospel, asserting to the contrary that Marcion's Gospel preceded both Marcion and Luke and was in fact the earliest Gospel written. [This is different from the view of Markus Vinzent, who thinks that Marcion himself actually wrote the earliest Gospel; for a critical interaction with Vinzent's book, see here.] The third participant in this exchange is Judith Lieu (her book here), who takes a somewhat more traditional line.

The rest of this post offers some summary and choice quotations from the three essays.


In the present article, Klinghardt summarizes his work, arguing that
in almost every single instance the direction of the editorial process runs from the Marcionite Gospel to Luke. Some passages - such as the beginning of the gospel or the account of the Last Supper - confirm this editorial direction beyond any doubt. True, there are indeed a few examples where the editorial process could run in either direction, but none of these examples requires, or even suggests, a reversal of the Marcionite priority. (319) 
How do the other Gospels - especially Matthew and Mark - fit into the picture?
The most obvious consequence of the priority of the Marcionite Gospel over Luke relates to the Synoptic Problem: when taking this 'pre-Lukan' gospel into account, the model of the inter-gospel relations changes profoundly. Most remarkably, this model disposes of the need for 'Q': the Two-Source Theory becomes entirely redundant, and the other models in discussion - such as the Farrer-Goulder-Goodacre hypothesis or the Neo-Griesbach Theory - are irrelevant. (320) 

Klinghardt suggests that the Marcionite Gospel is first, on which Mark dependended. Matthew used both Mark and the Marcionite Gospel. John used the previous three, and Luke used all the previous four.

"The search for the 'historical Jesus', therefore, becomes a completely different, if not an impossible, task" (321).

"although it is not impossible that a gospel existed before the middle of the second century, there is simply not even the slightest shred of evidence for any written gospel prior to that time" (322).

Klinghardt notes that many of the readings attributed to Marcion's Gospel show up as variant readings in the textual tradition of Luke, leading him to conclude that "this gospel was not the arbitrary product of a mean-spirited heretic but, quite simply and obviously, an older text utilised by many, including Marcion himself. And that text was, quite simply and obviously, edited by Luke" (322).

Once we ... objectively examine the texts of the two gospels, it becomes immediately clear that Marcion's Gospel cannot be an ideologically motivated redaction of Luke, for the simple reason that the two gospels are practically identical in ideology. (324)
What separates BeDuhn from Klinghardt is, according to BeDuhn (p. 326), that Klinghardt sees Luke as an anti-Marcionite redaction of the Marcionite Gospel, and BeDuhn sees Luke as a Marcionite-neutral redaction of the Marcionite Gospel, which perhaps took place prior to Marcion. He says: "...it could even be suggested that Luke is a second edition of Marcion's Gospel by the same author." BeDuhn also thinks that the Two-Source hypothesis may be correct, once Luke is replaced in the equation with the Marcionite Gospel and the reconstruction of Q proceeds along these new lines.

BeDuhn takes up his last couple of pages addressing the issue of whether Marcion's scriptural collection provided the impetus for the non-Marcionite church to develop a canon of scripture. Whereas BeDuhn doesn't provide the answer here, he does (I seem to recall) argue in favor of this view in his book on the subject. But in this article he offers an interesting discussion of the divergent concepts of the collection of books promoted by Marcion and his opponents. He does seem to assume that Marcion had a clearly defined canon.


In this article she argues that our complete ignorance of Marcion and his Gospel from any source other than his opponents should make us cautious.
It is, therefore, misleading to suppose that Marcion's Gospel has survived and is available for comparative analysis, as one might with the canonical gospels. Although attempts to reconstruct Marcion's Gospel multiply, claims to achieve any precision must be treated with considerable scepticism. (330)
[Elsewhere she judges rather positively Roth's work.]

Lieu then runs through some difficult obstacles, such as the textual transmission of the writings of our prime sources for Marcion - Tertullian and Epiphanius -  as well as their accuracy in quoting Marcion and their selectivity, etc.

She appeals to the continuing influence of oral tradition on the written Gospels (331–32, and idea to which Klinghardt had objected, 321).
The editorial practices conventionally identified through redaction criticism are part of a much wider continuous activity encompassing both Marcion and Luke and different textual trajectories. On this model, the hypothesis that Marcion received, and probably edited, a predecessor of canonical Luke seems most likely. (332)
As for Marcion's canon:
it is not at all evident that his gospel and 'apostolikon' formed a single corpus any more than they do in Irenaeus; their status in relation to each other remains problematic, as too does the so-called 'Antitheses', a work to which only Tertullian explicitly attests. At the same time the 'Jewish' scriptures continued to be necessary for his system, inasmuch as they demonstrated the multiple deficiencies of the Creator / Demiurge. It is anachronistic to speak of 'Marcion's Bible' or 'canon'. (332)