Sunday, December 17, 2017

Hays on the Fourth Gospel on the Law on the Death of Jesus

This is maybe my favorite passage from the fourth chapter (on the Fourth Gospel) in Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels (Baylor, 2016).
All of this suggests that there is vivid dramatic irony in the Fourth Gospel's trial scene before the Roman governor, when Pilate says to the Jewish authorities, "Take him and judge him according to your own law" (John 18:31). It has been the consistent testimony of John's story that if they did indeed judge Jesus rightly according to their own law, they would find his testimony to be the truth. And so when they later say to Pilate, "We have a law, and according to that law, he ought to die" (19:7), this is merely one more piece of evidence showing that they have both misjudged Jesus and misinterpreted the very law that actually bears witness to him. And yet, on another reading, might we consider whether this is one more case of exquisitely complex irony? Just as Caiaphas unwittingly prophesies truly that "it is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed" (11:49–52), so also the Jewish leaders before Pilate unwittingly speak the truth: Jesus' death is indeed necessary "according to the law," in the sense that the law prefigures itas John has told us from the beginning of the story. (p. 300)
According to the note (430n44), Hoskyns (p. 523) and Keener (2.1125) also propose this "double meaning in John's statement." 

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Cyril Loukaris on the Biblical Canon: Bibliography

The Greek Orthodox Church has never made an official pronouncement on the biblical canon in a council that they consider ecumenical. Actually, they regard as ecumenical only seven councils, the last one being Nicaea II in 787.  So, anyway, the biblical canon is a little more open in the Greek Orthodox world than it is in the Western world generally, that is, among Roman Catholics and Protestants. Specifically, with regard to the status of what are sometimes called the deuterocanonical books of the Old Testament, the Greek Orthodox allow for some disagreement. They pretty much all regard these books as important, but some theologians regard these books as sharing the same status as the other books of the Old Testament, while other theologians grant the deuterocanonical books a slightly lower status, suitable for reading and edification, suitable for the liturgy, but not suitable for establishing doctrine. The recent book by Pentiuc explains this aspect of Orthodox thinking.

Whereas in the West the big century for debates about the deuterocanonical books was the sixteenth century, in the East it was the seventeenth century, and the debates mostly centered around Cyril Loukaris, the Patriarch of Constantinople from 1621 until his assassination in 1638. Cyril appreciated certain emphases of the Protestant Reformers, particularly the Calvinists. In 1629, a Calvinist confession of faith appeared in Latin under the name of Cyril, followed two years later by a Greek translation. Cyril never admitted authoring this confession, but he never denied it either. At any rate, it created much controversy in the Orthodox world, even eliciting several councils for the purpose of condemning the confession (Constantinople 1638; Constantinople 1642; Jerusalem 1672).

The confession consists of 18 articles and 4 questions, and the 3rd question concerns the biblical canon. For the Old Testament, the confession admits only 22 canonical books, thus denying canonical status to the deuterocanonical books. Whereas this issue did not come up in the condemnations of this confession at the Councils of Constantinople in 1638 and 1642, it did come up at the Council of Jerusalem in 1672 in the confession of faith, adopted at the council, written by Dositheos, the Patriarch of Jerusalem and the convener of the council. Dositheos ascribed full canonicity to the deuterocanonical books.

These resources can be hard to track down, and the secondary literature does not always provide exact citations, sometimes even omitting the names of books discussed while merely summarizing the opinions of the figures mentioned. So, here I want to collect some resources in hopes that this post might prove helpful to those interested in this subject.

The Latin confession of 1629, attributed to Cryil Loukaris, is available here, but it does not contain the four questions at the end. They are available in Greek and Latin in the text published in the mid-nineteenth century by Kimmel, here. The question about the biblical canon (question 3) appears on pp. 42–43.

As for the reception of this confession, this article by Michaelides (1943) is extremely helpful. About three months after his assassination (27 June 1638), Cyril was anathematized at the Synod of Constantinople convened in 1638 (24 September). The acts of this council have been published in vol. 4.1 of Conciliorum oecumenicorum generaliumque decreta (Brepols, 2016), pp. 231–51. According to the introduction (prepared by Niki Papaïliaki): "The Synod deals with eight subjects, which are the points of disagreement between the Reformed Church and the Catholic Church: the infallibility of the Church, predestination, the mediation of saints, free will, the number of sacraments, transubstantiation, almsgiving, prayers for the dead, and icons" (p. 232).

Four years later another council was held in Constantinople, and it again took up the matter of the confession of Cryil. The acts of this council are published in the same volume, immediately after the acts of the 1638 council. The introduction (prepared by Symeon Paschalidis) says that the 1642 council "produced the present document, which condemned eighteen propositions by Cyril Loukaris and which was sent to the Synod of Iaşi" (p. 255). Of the eighteen propositions condemned, none has to do with the biblical canon.

The next council in the same volume is the more famous Synod of Jerusalem 1672. This council once again took up the matter of Cyril Loukaris' confession, rejecting the confession but denying the authenticity of the attribution to Cyril. Again, the biblical canon was not, at this point, a matter under discussion, but, as mentioned earlier, the council also gave approval to a confession of faith by Dositheos. This confession of faith does take up the issue of the biblical canon. Unfortunately, the collection published by Brepols does not include this confession of faith. The very last line of the introduction (Vassa Kontouma and S. Garnier) says: "Dositheos' profession of faith has also been left out" (p. 278). The very beginning of the confession is printed at p. 319, to inform readers where it came in the acts, after the sixth chapter. The confession of Dositheos can be found in several other editions, referenced in the biblioigraphy (pp. 278–79) of the Brepols edition. One option would be to go to the previous edition of the Jerusalem Council, the edition prepared in the mid-twentieth century by Ioannis Karmiris, which formed the basis for the Brepols edition. Fortunately, this edition is available online here. For the confession of Dosietheos, go to vol. 2, pp. 734–73. The question on the biblical canon appears at pp. 769–70. There is also an English translation in Roberton's work, pp. 155–56.

These Synods of Constantinople/Iaçi 1642 and Jerusalem 1672 approved of a confession of faith by Peter Mogila, which also did not directly address the biblical canon, though it did quote from deuterocanonical literature. The text is also available from Karmiris, vol. 2, pp. 593–686.

Sometimes reviews of this period also mention a confession of faith by Metrophanes Kritopoulos, a friend of Cyril Loukaris, who sent Kritopoulos to Oxford for study. Kritopoulos published his confession in 1625, so before the one attributed to Cyril, and in ch. 7 he restricted the Old Testament canon to the 22 books. This confession of faith can also be accessed in Karmiris, with the comments on the biblical canon coming at pp. 529–30. Interestingly, when Kritopoulos had become Patriarch of Alexandria, he signed the condemnation of Cyril Loukaris issued from the Council of Constantinople 1638. 

Finally, I'll mention Meletios Syrigos, who wrote a work in 1640 against the confession of Cyril. This work was published later in 1690 by Dositheos, in an edition that also includes the confession of faith by Dositheos. This 1690 edition is available online in a very annoying PDF. The bit about the biblical canon appears on pp. 155v–156r. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Grabe, The History of the Seventy Two Interpreters (Preface)

On a recent trip to Harvard's Houghton Library I was able to take a look at one of the first English translations of the Letter of Aristeas, published in 1715, edited by John Ernest Grabe and translated into English by Thomas Lewis. This volume is apparently not available online (at any rate, my searches have proven fruitless), though several American libraries hold a copy (if WorldCat can be trusted). (Images of some pages may be viewed here.) I took advantage of my trip to Boston for the SBL to take a look at this book, especially its preface.

The preface was apparently written by Lewis rather than by Grabe and translated by Lewis. Primarily two reasons lead me to this view. First, after the Letter of Aristeas there appears "The History of the Angels, and Their Gallantry with the Daughters of Men," and the preface to this document is explicitly the work of Lewis insomuch as he refers to Grabe by name (p. 177). Also, I take it that the "best Authority"mentioned in the last paragraph of our preface as constituting the basis for the presentation of Aristeasis Grabe, and so this third person reference would again indicate that it is Lewis who penned the preface.

I was interested in this preface primarily because it is sometimes cited as an important early articulation of the Alexandrian Canon idea. See, for instance, Albert C. Sundberg, Jr., "The Old Testament: A Christian Canon," Catholic Biblical Quarterly 30 (1968): 143–55, at 144n4, who attributes this view to Lewis.

In a slightly more extensive, but still brief, interaction with this preface, Sundberg says the following:
Grabe had published an edition of the Letter of Aristeas in Greek. Thomas Lewis "made English" this work and published it in 1715. In the preface, presumably prefixed by Lewis, it is asserted that a larger Old Testament collection was used at the Jewish temple at Leontopolis in Egypt, from which it passed by the hands of wandering Jews, into Palestine. Jesus and his apostles, when they cited from the scriptures, made use of this version, and thus it passed into the church. But Lewis' theory is too fantastic to merit serious consideration. (The Old Testament of the Early Church [Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964], 19)
In the context of this statement from Sundberg, the implication is that the "larger Old Testament collection" in use among Jews at Leontopolis would have included the deuterocanonical books. In the preface, Lewis does propose that a Greek translation of a large collection of Jewish Scripture was in use at Heliopolis (= Leontopolis), but this collection was "large" in comparison to the Greek translation of the Septuagint, whichas Lewis arguedamounted to the Pentateuch alone. So, Lewis is talking about books of the Hebrew Bible outside the Pentateuch. In fact, Lewis explicitly mentions the Law and the Prophets as contained in this translation. That means that this preface has nothing at all to do with the Alexandrian Canon idea, and the earliest articulation of the view should be attributed to Francis Lee in 1719 (note again this post). 

But you can see for yourself whether I'm misinterpreting Lewis. Here is the complete preface, along with inserted page numbers in brackets. The bit about Heliopolis appears at pp. viii–ix. 

The Preface

The History of Aristeas, concerning the Version of the Septuagint, is of that Antiquity, and so Particular and Faithful in the Account, that I wonder it never appeared in our Language to any Advantage. We have no Record of this Immortal Action, but what we receive from Josephus (who imperfectly transcribed our Author) and [ii] some uncertain Traditions, which afford but a broken Idea of an Enterprize so Glorious, that deserves so well of Religion and the Learned World.

The Author before us was a Jew by Extraction, who resided at the Court of Ptolomaeus Philadelphus King of Egypt. He was a Person of singular Moderation and Wisdom; of great Esteem with the King for his Judgment and Modesty, and admitted into all his Counsels. To Aristeas we owe, not only the Relation, but the Being of the Septuagint. He was the first who advanced the Undertaking; was principally in the Management of the Business, and therefore the best [iii] qualified to deliver the Circumstances of it.

It is past Controversie, I suppose, that the Person who bears the Name of this Treatise, was in the same Character we represent him; though I am sensible it is disputed by the Great Scaliger; who imagines the History of the Interpreters to be later in Time, than wherein we have placed it: But we may as well debate upon the Authority of all Ancient Writings; since Josephus (of the same Nation, and Faithful where Moses is not to be opposed) and Philo the Jew, allow this Relation to be the Genuine produce of Aristeas the Embassador to Jerusalem, and the Favourite in the Egyptian Court.

[iv] The name of the Septuagint proceeds from the Seventy Two Interpreters, and call'd so for the sake of the Sound: For I cannot believe a Manuscript in the Bodleian Library, which informs us that two of the Elders never arriv'd at Alexandria, but died upon their Journey.

The Learned in all Ages have been various in their Opinions concerning the Version of the Septuagint: St. Jerome assures us, that the Seventy Two Translated only the Five Books of Moses, because our Author, Aristobulus, and Philo say, they only interpreted the Law; which, in the common Acceptation, [v] only signifies the Pentateuch; and if any one takes it to imply all the Books of the Old Testament, they will find Josephus informing us, that the Word Law only imports the Writings of the Jewish Legislator, which is only applicable to Moses. The Thalmudists are of the same mind: Yet Justin, and most of the Ancient Fathers were of Opinion, that the Seventy Translated the whole Bible: But this, in my Judgment, seems to be Physically impossible: For (to use the Words of D'Espieres) we cannot morally suppose, that those immense Volumes of the Holy Scriptures, could be even Transcrib'd in the Space of Seventy Two Days; much less be perfectly Translated out of [vi] the Hebrew into the Greek Language.

We may believe therefore, that the Five Books of Moses, and no more, were Interpreted at Alexandria, and that they were dispos'd of in the Royal Library there. The Version, we cannot doubt, was accurate and exact, according to the Purity of the Hebrew Text; but the Corruptions and Mistakes that are obvious to be discover'd in our common Translation, seem to convince, that our Greek Septuagint is either altogether different from the Interpretation of the Seventy, or very miserably abus'd and deprav'd insomuch that a Learned* Jesuit [vii] declares it to be rather a Labour of Divine Omnipotence, than Human Industry, to recover it to its Primitive Integrity. And his Censure appears to be just; For we are assur'd by History, that the Library of Ptolomaeus Philadelphus was burnt in the time of the Alexandrian War, and the Original Version, 'tis certain, perish'd in the Flames: We are satisfied, that there was another Library erected (which was called the Daughter of the First) by Cleopatra, the last of the Alexandrian Queens, in the Temple of Serapis; to furnish this Library, Herod the King of the Jews at that time sent the Holy Books, in the Hebrew Language, and likewise a Greek Interpretation, [viii] that was made use of by the Greeks in Syria and Palestine, and was to be seen in the time of St. Chrysostom: But by what means that Version, which was in use among the Primitive Fathers of the Church, came to pass upon the World for the Genuine Labour of the Seventy Two Interpreters, it cannot be improper to look into Antiquity and discover.

[*Petrus Possinus]

Before the Fall of the Ptolomaean Library, wherein the Perfect Interpretation was dispos'd, we have an Account from Alexander Polyhistor, that there was a confus'd Interpretation, not only of the Pentateuch, but likewise of the Prophets, in the Hands of the Jews: [ix] The Author of this Version is supposed to be a Jew, who Officiated in the Temple of Heliopolis; which was built by Onias, one of the Generals of Ptolomaeus Philometor, in opposition to the Temple at Jerusalem: And, it is probable, this Version was read in that Temple by some Apostate Priests, who ministered in the Offices, and were very little concern'd about the Justness or Purity of the Translation. From Egypt this corrupt Interpretation was receiv'd by many of those Jews, who were dispers'd among the Greeks, in whose Synagogues, part of the Law, and the Prophets, was read out of those imperfect Books, every Sabbath Day. From these wandering Hebrews, this Version was [x] deliver'd to the Grecians, and from them to the Latins. And our Saviour, and his Apostles, when they had occasion for Citations out of the Old Scriptures, made use of this vitious Interpretation, for this reason, I suppose, because it was commonly admitted, and universally known by all the Jews: Yet this, by the way, is no Argument to prove the Authority of this Version; for it was Prudence in the Apostles not to appeal to any other Interpretation than what was familiarly handled and every Body was intimately acquainted with.

[xi] But yet it cannot be deny'd, that the Greek Edition, corrupt as it was, was very Authentic in the Christian Church, though it varies in Chronology, and the Relation of some Historical Facts, from the Purity of the Hebrew Original: But that which confirm'd it in the Opinion of the Learned, was the Glorious Title of the Seventy Two Interpreters; which it gradually assum'd, as the Copies of the Pure Version grew in disuse, and out of the Hands of the World. this Additional Character gave it a Recommendation; and to fortifie it with Divine Authority, there was invented a Device, That the Seventy two Hebrews were shut up in diffe- [xii] rent Apartments, out of the Communication of each other; and that upon a Comparison of their Translations, there was a perfect Harmony and Agreement between them, to the minutest Words and Circumstances: As if (says a great* Critic in Sacred Writings) to satisfie the Request of Ptolomaeus the King, every Interpreter must have a Manuscript of the Law to himself: Or, as if the High Priest could divine, that the King of Egypt would make such an Experiment, and tempt the Divine Power, without any [xiii] manner of Occasion. I know not who (says St. Jerom) thought of the Fiction of the Seventy Cells at Alexandria, into which the Elders were dispos'd, that they might be separate in their Labours; since Aristeas and Josephus after him, have given us no such Account, but that they compar'd their Works together in one Apartment; I never heard that they Prophesied.

[*Lud. Capellanus]

I confess the contrary Opinion has very great Authority to support it: St. Justin the Martyr, or the Author of the Oration against the Greeks; St. Irenaeus and St. Clement, are very positive on the [xiv] other side: The Words of St. Justin upon the occasion, run thus: These Things, ye Grecians, we relate to you, not as a Fable, or fictitious History, but as Men who have seen the Ruins of those several Apartments in the Tower; we deliver to you what we heard from the Natives, the Inhabitants, who successively receive the Accounts of their Countrey from their Ancestors.

To this I observe that it is no wonder if St. Justin was induc'd by the Inhabitants to give Belief to this Narration, which they affirm'd to flow down to them from their [xv] Fathers; expecially since it consisted so well with the Interest of the Church, for whose Service it was, that the Divine Authority of that Interpretation should be preserv'd, which was to be an Instrument of Conviction and Persuasion to Jews and Gentles. And here Eusebius of Caesarea very justly admires the Divine Providence; alledging, that the Jews would not have suffer'd any Translation after the coming of Christ; or at best would have impos'd a corrupt Version upon the World: But they could not object against This of the Septuagint, as being done by Hebrews (as they believ'd) chosen by their High Priest, and, by Consequence, was [xvi] very just, and of the best Authority.

The Time of the Alexandrian Interpretation has been likewise disputed: The Learned Dr. Stillingfleet acknowledges, that Tradition varies about this Matter but all agree, that it was about the Time of Ptolomaeus Philadelphus, yet are not certain in which Year of his Reign; Scaliger places it in the Thirty Third; but Eusebius and Jerom in the Beginning; which the Doctor thinks most probable, and settles it in the Time wherein Ptolomaeus Philadelphus reign'd with his Father Lagus; and so the difference a- [xvii] mong the Fathers (some of whom place it in Lagus's Time, and others in his Son's Reign) is reconciled; and this Remark appears to be exact, because Demetrius Phalereus, who is mentioned as President of the Royal Library, was banished by Philadelphus, as soon as his Father was dead; which proves, that this Affair was executed before the Death of Ptolomaeus Lagus.

This Account of the Septuagint I have taken from the Judgment of the best Authority, and, perhaps, some Satisfaction may arise from it: But whether the Old [xviii] Testament, or the Writings of Moses only, were Translated by the Seventy Hebrews; whether the Genuine Version be entirely lost, or continued down to us, I observe, upon the whole, that the Common Interpretation is of great Authority in the Christian Church and a Glorious Emolument to Religion: that the Encouragement and Protection of Learning, give a greater Lustre, even to the Character of Kings, than the brightest Circumstance of their Reign; for the Name of Ptolomaeus Philadelphus may expect to flourish, by his Alexandrian Library, and the Interpretation of the Septuagint, when the greatest [xix] Heroes in Story are lost in Revolutions of Time, and their Memories are no more.

Monday, October 16, 2017

New Book: Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity

In just a couple weeks, those living in the UK (or those who order books thence) can pick up a copy of The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis, published by Oxford and written by yours truly along with John Meade. It goes on sale in the UK at the beginning of November, whereas we in the USA have to wait until the beginning of next year.

You can see a preview at Google Books, and of course you'll want to check out the Amazon page (US site, or UK site). It's offered for the very reasonable price of $45 or £35. Feel free to pre-order now.

The main attraction of the book--the reason you'll want your own copy--is because John and I have collected all the biblical canon lists from the first four centuries of Christianity, and we present them in the original languages and English translation (in parallel columns) with introductions and extensive notes. So, you've heard so much about the 39th Festal Letter of Athanasius, which listed for the first time in history the exact 27 books of the NT that we now accept, and you'd like to read the letter for yourself--our book has it, or the extant portions in Greek, anyway, with an English translation. Read the letter for yourself. We also print the Muratorian Fragment in Latin and English, and the canon list of Eusebius of Caesarea (Greek and English), and the various lists of Origen (in Greek/Latin and English). And, of course, many more: Jerome, Augustine, Gregory of Nazianzus, Cyril of Jerusalem, Epiphanius, Pope Innocent I, etc.

Most of these lists include the OT and the NT. We print all relevant portions, typically erring on the side of providing more than enough of the context rather than too little.

We recognize that Jewish canon lists are also important for study of the OT canon. Unfortunately, there aren't a whole lot of early Jewish lists, but there are the lists of Josephus (more of a discussion than a list) and the Talmud (Baba Bathra 14b). Despite the name of the book, with its focus on early Christianity, we do have a chapter in which we present these two Jewish lists, Josephus in Greek and English, the Talmudic list in Hebrew and English.

There is one Syriac list included, and a chapter on biblical manuscripts in Greek, Latin, and Syriac from the first millennium of Christianity. An appendix covers basic information about the books "on the fringe" of the canon (e.g., Esther, Tobit, Laodiceans, Gospel of Thomas, etc.). A substantial introduction (56 pages) surveys the development of the biblical canon, providing a context for study of the canon lists that follow.

We think it will be a book that scholars and students will want to refer to often when dealing with the biblical canon.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Septuagint and Canon: Hengel, part 5

This is the final post in the Hengel series, covering the final chapter of his The Septuagint as Christian Scripture.

Chapter 5: The Origin of the 'Christian Septuagint' and Its Additional Writings (pp. 105–27)

Hengel begins with a survey of Christian terminology for Scripture, showing that usually they were simply called "Scriptures," occasionally "holy Scriptures," less frequently "Law and Prophets" or similar, sometimes just Prophets (referring to all Jewish Scripture) and sometimes just Law. As for texts actually cited, you've got just a few books that predominate, especially Isaiah, Psalms, Deuteronomy, the rest of the Torah (not so much Numbers) and the Twelve. There are some "strange quotations," the source of which is debated, but the source is certainly not the extra books of the LXX codices.
The question of the origin of the larger canon of the early church, which so occupies us today, was apparently not yet in view. On the basis of the New Testament's use of Scripture, one would actually expect a smaller canon. (p. 111)
And here is the answer to the whole question addressed by this book:
The question of why the Old Testament attained in the church precisely the form present--still not completely uniformly--in the great codices of the fourth and fifth centuries is essentially insoluble. (p. 112)
Hengel finds knowledge of the extra writings quite early. "It also seems noteworthy that traces of the documents with which we are concerned occurred primarily in the West, but are scarcely transmitted in the East until Clement of Alexandria" (p. 116). Very helpfully, Hengel takes these documents one-by-one and traces their early reception in the church, focusing on citations and clear allusions. He had previously pointed out that there's not much in the way of explicit quotations in the first two centuries of Christian literature.

So, why did these writings prevail in the church, "immediately in the West, more slowly and half-heartedly in the East?" (p. 122). Because, as Luther said, they were useful and good to read. That's exactly why Athanasius prescribed some of this literature to catechumens. Hengel makes the interesting suggestion that these books may have "already had an analogous function in the instruction of proselytes in a number of synagogues of the Diaspora. This remains mere speculation, however; it is mentioned by neither Philo nor Josephus" (p. 123).

Hengel proposes that it was the library at Rome that served as the gateway for this literature to enter the wider Christian community.

He concludes with some reflections on the suitability of the OT canon, wondering whether a Christian needs a strictly delimited OT canon, since it finds its fulfillment in the NT.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Septuagint and Canon: Hengel, part 4

Continuing the current series.

Chapter 4: The Origin of the Jewish LXX (pp. 75–103)

Hengel first stresses the predominance of the Greek Pentateuch in our Jewish sources about the LXX and our Alexandrian Jewish sources generally (pp. 75–80). Then he argues that the translation of the books comprising the LXX always had a close relationship with Palestine, and some were even accomplished in Palestine (pp. 80–83). But it is difficult to know when and where they were translated.
It is fundamental that the documents in their Greek form comprise no unity whatsoever; rather, each must be investigated individually, although they all naturally draw on the great linguistic reservoir of the Greek Pentateuch and are, to a significant degree, linguistically shaped by it. (p. 84)
This comment from Hengel is interesting in light of Joosten's more recent argument for a coherent literary corpus comprising the LXX.
This series of new translations, which created an entirely new literary corpus, was an intellectual accomplishment of the first order. (p. 85)
The main point of this section seems to be that the Greek translation of the documents now in the Hebrew Bible were often quite different from the Hebrew original.

As for the deuterocanonical writings--thewritings not received in the Hebrew canon--Hengel identifies these common elements.

  1. They are all late. Of course, some writings in the Hebrew canon might be late, but they were assumed to be earlier, whereas these deuterocanonical writings were not. "The rejection of the ten or eleven [deuterocanonical] documents, the later 'Christian apocrypha', by the Pharisees and later rabbis, is thus less a question of content than of chronology" (p. 92). 
  2. The intention of these documents is "to edify, educate or entertain" (p. 93). 
  3. They are largely non-apocalyptic, whereas the abundant apocalyptic literature from the same time period is mostly rejected. Hengel discusses the book of Daniel as an exception. 
Hengel again mentions that "the Christian church of the second century held to them [= the deuterocanonical books] so that they were finally accepted in the Christian canon, although with a certain persistent second-class character" (p. 94). I can't think of what evidence Hengel has provided to suggest that the second-century church held to these documents. He has cited Melito's canon list, which does not contain them, and he has mentioned how Justin and other writers of the second century (aside from Clement of Alexandria) ignored them. In a previous post I complained about a similar statement from ch. 2 of Hengel's book.

Finally, Hengel explores the "Diaspora Jewish canon" by looking at three texts: Sirach's prologue, Philo's On Contemplation 25, and Josephus' Against Apion 1.37–43. About Sirach's prologue, Hengel thinks it witnesses a fairly well determined Scriptural collection in Palestine, but suggests only that Alexandrian Judaism needed instruction about the canon. Philo's report tells us nothing definite. Josephus tells us something definite, but probably about Palestinian Judaism more than Diaspora Judaism. At any rate, he clearly does not consider the "extra" writings to be as high valuable as are the writings from Moses to Artaxerxes. It seems that Hengel's main point in this section on the "Diaspora Jewish canon" is to say that we don't know much about the Diaspora Jewish canon. 

Monday, October 9, 2017

Septuagint and Canon: Hengel, part 3

This post is a part of a series on Martin Hengel's book The Septuagint as Christian Scripture (see previously here).

Chapter 3: The Later Consolidation of the Christian 'Septuagint Canon' (pp. 57–74)

This chapter focuses more on the canon than does ch. 2. Hengel does a good job here showing the rather scarce nature of explicit use of the deuterocanonical books in Christianity of the first two centuries. I'm not sure he does a very good job trying to explain the ultimate acceptance of this literature within Christianity, but he does offer a discussion of some of the crucial factors to be considered.

Here's a summary of his chapter.

Hengel first surveys the major codices, and finds a few books constituting a core accepted in these codices though not included in the Hebrew Bible: Tobit, Judith, 1 Esdras, Wisdom, Sirach. But (next), the early canon lists stick pretty closely to the Jewish canon. Hengel then finds indications of a "second class" status for the "extra" books: they are cited relatively infrequently, and no one in the Greek church wrote a commentary on them until the late Middle Ages. "The Apostolic Fathers--except for Clement of Rome (see below, pp. 121–2)--and the Apologists, from Justin to Theophilus of Antioch, ignored these documents almost entirely" (p. 66). The same for Irenaeus and Tertullian, but Clement of Alexandria made use of Tobit, Wisdom, and Sirach (pp. 115–17). "In view of the grand scope of the totality of his work, even Origen made rather limited use of writings such as Esther, Tobit, Judith, and the books of Maccabees" (p. 67).
It remains to ask why, beginning with the third century, 'Apocryphal books' (as they were later called) such as Esther, Judith, Tobit, Baruch, Wisdom, Sirach and the books of Maccabees were accepted at all--even though rather grudgingly--while other somewhat theologically interesting documents [i.e., 1 Enoch and other pseudepigrapha] were finally completely rejected. (pp. 70–71) 
Hengel partially answers this question--the part about why they rejected the pseudepigrapha--by mentioning the reliance of Gnostics on secret writings attributed to the patriarchs preceding Moses. A way of rejecting such heretical writings would be to insist that Moses was the earliest author of Scripture. The deuterocanonical literature (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach--the latter two attributed to Solomon) derived, according to their assumed date, from the "biblical period" as defined by Josephus (i.e., Moses to Artaxerxes, C. Ap. 1.37–43). Not so the Maccabees, excluded by Vaticanus and Athanasius. But they formed the "historical bridge" between the testaments, perhaps leading to their final inclusion. Also important was the martyr theology of the Maccabean books.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Septuagint and Canon: Hengel, part 2

Continuing the series.

Chapter 2: The LXX as a Collection of Writings Claimed by Christians (pp. 25–56)

This is a chapter that is not so much about the canon as about the text of the LXX. It surveys how the LXX became entrenched in the church as the OT text of choice, and how the legend about the LXX grew over time. But Hengel does address the canon in some places. Importantly, he does not think that there was a final closing of the Jewish canon until the late first century, and he believes this was (at least, partially) an anti-Christian action on the part of the Rabbis.

Hengel begins by tracing the development of the LXX translation legend, looking especially for evidence about which writings were included within the translation. For Jews, it was just the Pentateuch. For Justin (pp. 26–35), it was the entire Hebrew canon (pp. 26–29). Hengel summarizes other early Christian authors, all apparently to establish the point that Jewish-Christian polemics contributed to the insistence by Christians that the LXX was the correct Bible in terms of its text (see summary, pp. 40–41). Hengel has not yet addressed how the canon was expanded beyond the narrow Hebrew Bible canon.

The next (brief) section of the chapter mentions the Christian use of the codex and nomina sacra, thus distinguishing their copies from others.

How did Jews react? Some Jews had already been revising the Greek text of some biblical books to stand more in line with the Hebrew text (Hebraizing revisions). Then there were Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion. And some rabbinic traditions that seem quite negative toward the LXX.

Hengel begins addressing the canon again on p. 44, first in regard to the Pharisaic canon, the closing of which he believes to have been an anti-Christian action, since the Rabbis excluded books that were considered valuable especially by Christians. (See again p. 105.)

It's a little unclear to me, but I think Hengel next argues that the emphasis on the LXX text in Christianity led to some ambiguity on the canon, and the charge that Jews falsified the text of their Bible spilled over into a uncertainty among Christians as to whether the Jewish Bible should determine the scope of the Christian OT (pp. 47–50). Mostly, Hengel discusses in this section the exchange of letters between Julius Africanus and Origen, and the position articulated by Jerome. But the next section (pp. 51–54), on Augustine, concentrates on the City of God and its defense of the LXX. This has nothing to do with canon, as far as I can tell, only the text of the LXX, which Augustine says is inspired even when it diverges from the (equally inspired) Hebrew text.

In the final section, Hengel returns (abruptly, as it seems to me) to the topic of the OT canon, discussing the position of 1 Enoch, particularly Tertullian's inclusion of 1 Enoch within his collection of Scripture because of Jude's citation of it. Within this discussion, Hengel writes:
The uncertainty with respect to the delineation of the 'Scriptures of the Old Covenant' (Melito, see below, pp. 60–1) which is perceptible throughout the second century may be related to the fact that Christian theologians (including the Gnostics) in this period attempted for the first time to work carefully through the rich Jewish literature which was originally Greek or had been translated into Greek and to investigate its usefulness for church doctrine and practice and theological speculation. (p. 55)
But I don't think Hengel has shown that there was widespread uncertainty in the second century on this point.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Septuagint and Canon: Hengel, part 1

I've now re-read (again) Martin Hengel's book The Septuagint as Christian Scripture: Its Prehistory and the Problem of Its Canon from 2002. The translation of Hengel's book is already 15 years old, so there are plenty of reactions to this book available: here's a review by Kristin De Troyer, here's one by James Sanders, and here's a reference to one by Alison Salvesen.

The whole book is available here.

So, at the risk of seeming out-dated in devoting so much time to a 15-year old (or older) book, I'm going to blog my way through each chapter. Maybe it will help some readers. It will help me, anyway, as I take stock of this brief but dense book. This post continues my occasional series on the Septuagint and canon mentioned here.

Chapter 1: A Difficult Subject (pp. 19–23)

Hengel defines his subject as "the Alexandrian canon of the Septuagint" (p. 19), but he admits both his own lack of expertise in the area and the ambiguity of the subject itself, since "We cannot prove the existence of a genuine Jewish, pre-Christian collection of canonical value, unambiguously and clearly delimited, distinguishable through its greater scope from the canon of the Hebrew Bible in the realm of the historical books and wisdom writings and written in Greek" (p. 19; see the similar comment on p. 22). That is, we cannot prove the existence of the Alexandrian Jewish biblical canon as it has usually been conceived.

What evidence we do have for Alexandrian Judaism (most prominently, Philo) would rather indicate a more limited canon than Palestinian Judaism, consisting especially of the Greek Pentateuch, instead of an expanded canon with the entire Hebrew Bible plus the deuterocanonical books. After Philo, we have very little information on Alexandrian Judaism, which was largely wiped out after the rebellion of 115–17.

The citations of Scripture within the New Testament do not indicate adherence to a wider Alexandrian canon.

The research question:
On the basis of this complicated situation, the question presents itself: how did it come about that the collection of Jewish writings in the Greek language, significantly larger than the scope of the Hebrew Bible, become, under the designation 'the Seventy', the authoritative 'Holy Scriptures' of the Old Testament in the Christian church? (p. 22)
I would only ask at this point whether the premise is true: is the OT canon, as defined here by Hengel, really the OT canon attested by early Christian sources? What he means by that, apparently, is that these are the books found in the LXX codices of the fourth and fifth centuries.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Septuagint and Canon (3): Joosten

This is a third post in my occasional series on issues relating to the canon of Scripture and the Septuagint. See previously here. (Wow, has it really been a year since the last time I did this?)

Some time ago I mentioned the Alexandrian Canon hypothesis, noting that it is making a partial comeback in some circles, and I pointed to Jan Joosten's recent article as a part of this comeback.

Joosten signals his main point a few pages into the article: "To my mind, the hypothesis of an 'Alexandrian canon' ... has been abandoned over-hastily" (p. 690). (Joosten says that Alexandria does not matter to the theory, but Egypt is important.) He says this despite having just admitted that "the hypothesis of an Alexandrian canon lacks proof" in the way of external evidence: Philo does not cite the deuterocanonical books, other Egyptian Jews don't, and the NT does not either. This post will survey Joosten's argument.

Joosten begins by mentioning the 'extra' books in the LXX codices, describing "an irreducible core" consisting of Sirach, Wisdom, Tobit, and Judith. In a note he mentions also the books of the Maccabees as sometimes included, and that Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremiah would form part of the core, though they are not counted separately but as a part of Jeremiah. As for 1 Esdras, it was perhaps considered the Greek equivalent to Ezra-Nehemiah rather than an additional book.

I'm not sure what to make of the statement that "The outlines of a distinct Septuagint canon are recognized also in Patristic and synodic lists of the early Christian centuries" (p. 688). Joosten does not cite anything, except for a discussion by Bogaert (here) and another by Sweet. I guess Joosten is thinking of the canon lists that contain 'extra' books, but those lists are not in Greek, at least not early on, only in Latin, as a perusal of Swete 203–14 makes clear. Bogaert's article referenced by Joosten concentrates on the Latin evidence. To be clear, the early (first four centuries) Greek lists do contain some of these books, like Baruch and 1 Esdras, but Joosten has already told us (quite rightly) that these are special cases. The Greek lists do not contain the "irreducible core" of Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, and Sirach. I find a similar problem in Joosten's comment, at note 5, that in a different article (this one) "Bogaert has convincingly argued that the distinction of two categories within the larger canon--books that are also in the Hebrew canon and books that are not--is secondary and reflects an attempt to reconcile the two canons." Bogaert made this argument primarily in respect to the Latin evidence, not the Greek, though, to be sure, Bogaert does think that the evidence indicates that Christianity in general received from Jews a wide range of religious literature (I don't think he cites Sundberg's famous phrase in this regard) and only subsequently attempted to define the borders in relation to the rabbinic definition of the canon.

Joosten again: "The more extensive list is hardly of Christian origin" (p. 689). The note says that "this statement is true only in regard to the historical origins of the Septuagint canon, not to its explicit definition as a rule of the faith" (n. 6)--meaning, I think, that all of the books were written and valued by Jews, but they never actually developed a list of books (= explicit definition as a rule of faith?); this was done only by Christians. But the note continues: "But the collection as such can hardly have been drawn up first in the Christian church." I find this phrasing somewhat confusing, because if Jews "drew up" a collection, that seems pretty close to defining a list, which I think is what Joosten has already denied.

Joosten sees the problem thus: these books were Jewish writings, not quoted in the NT, but accepted within the wider canon of Christianity. Why? "It is hard to see why Christian groups would have selected them and added them to an existing canon" (p. 689). Joosten says most scholars believe "Christianity inherited the Septuagint canon from some form of Judaism." The common view (argued by Swete) had been the Alexandrian canon hypothesis, but this idea was attacked by Sundberg, which led scholars to turn away from it. (We saw in that previous post that the Alexandrian canon hypothesis was not widely accepted until the very end of the nineteenth century, only about 7 decades before Sundberg's attack.)

Here Joosten turns to his positive evidence for the Alexandrian canon hypothesis. "The hypothesis is favored by internal data ... The Septuagint canon is a Greek canon that could not possibly have existed in a Semitic version. It possesses a degree of coherence that characterizes it as a corpus" (p. 691).

What does Joosten mean by canon? "A canon implies a limited list of writings, but also a definite status, or function, within a given community. ... the list is usually clearly circumscribed ... In the present paper, the term 'canon' will be used in reference to the collection as such, while wider religious or theological implications will play a subordinate role only" (p. 691). I think what he's saying is that he can't (at least, not here) say exactly what status this collection held for Egyptian Jews, but his argument does depend on the idea that it was a clearly circumscribed collection of books, not a wide religious literature without definite bounds, as Sundberg argued. Joosten also insists that "a canon involves not only the number of books belonging to it, but also other features such as the sequence of the books, the inner organization of the corpus, and the names of the single writings" (pp. 691–92).

Joosten makes his case under several headings:
  • "The Septuagint canon and the Greek language." He says "the question of language is in fact crucial" (p. 692). The different types of Greek literature in this corpus include both translations and original Greek compositions, and so this corpus could not have existed in a Semitic language. 
  • "The Septuagint canon as a coherent corpus." Here Joosten explores "the way linguistic and intertextual links tie together its various parts" (p. 693). Examples: translations of isolated words--not the obvious translations for the Hebrew words--used throughout the Greek Pentateuch. Joosten admits exceptions, with some translation equivalents varying among the books. The Pentateuchal vocabulary then influences other translations. Moreover, the books translated later attest "the creation of intertextual references to the Pentateuch (occasionally also to other Septuagint books), sometimes against the Hebrew text" (p. 694; citing his earlier article and this book by Myrto Theocharous). Joosten's example is Sir 7:31, the Greek translation of which (against the Hebrew Ben Sira) creates a link with the Pentateuch (he points for more detail to this article, available here). The 'extra' books of the LXX also adopt the LXX Pentateuch vocabulary, but more than this, "the Prayer of Azariah in Dan 3 is made up of a dense web of allusions and references to earlier texts: Exodus, Deuteronomy, 2 Samuel, Ezekiel, Micah, Psalms" (p. 695, pointing to an article of his). Since the allusions rely on the Greek text of these previously translated books, Joosten argues that "the prayer was composed from the start in 'Septuagint Greek'" (more here). The books written originally in Greek exhibit the same reliance on the LXX; examples: Wisdom, Judith. Thus the conclusion: 
...the entire Septuagint canon, including the extra books, stems from a milieu where biblical books were studied intensely in their Greek translation. ... The literary coherence makes it unlikely that the Septuagint canon came about by random selection. It seems, rather, that the books making up the canon of the Greek Bible always belonged together. ... a process of conscious amplification. Perhaps it is even possible to speak of a form of canonical awareness: the post-Pentateuchal translators, supplementers and authors may have used the vocabulary and style of the earlier books in order to lend their writings an aura of "scripturality". (p. 695, italics original).
  • "The Egyptian background of the Septuagint." The Pentateuch was probably translated in Egypt (see Joosten's article here), and the other books probably were too (see Tov's article), except for probably those books whose original translation is close to Theodotion or Aquila (Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Ruth, Second Esdras [= Ezra-Nehemeiah]). Some of the extra books can also be associated with Egypt: Sirach, Wisdom, Judith. 
  • "A wider perspective." Although it is true that all Jews, no matter the geography, were hellenized to a greater or lesser extent, Qumran has also shown us the great diversity within Judaism at the time. The point is: Egyptian Jews could have had a Bible distinct from Palestinian Jews. 
He seems to think that this expanded canon has "by-passed" Philo, and it was transferred to Christians after the NT, which "reveals no trace of acquaintance with" it, so probably in "the early second century, when Egyptian Judaism was wiped out by the Romans and its intellectual heritage appropriated by Christian groups" (p. 698). The LXX canon has a distinct sequence and inner organization, as well as unique names for the individual books. Joosten says that future research is needed on exactly which books belong to it. The LXX canon might have lacked some books received in the Tanak, perhaps explaining the absence of an OG translation for Song of Songs, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, and Ruth.

It seems to me that the major points here are *literary influence and *entrance into the Christian biblical codices. Joseph and Aseneth evinces all the features of Joosten's first three points above--composition in Greek, in Egypt, attesting interextual linkage with LXX ... but "it never became part of the Septuagint canon" (p. 699), meaning it does not appear in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus. The fact of literary influence in the direction of the Greek Pentateuch on later Greek Jewish writings I take as proven. But it seems that Joosten is using this fact to try to explain the existence of  Jewish Greek canon that I think remains unproven. He seems to think its existence can be assumed because of the "irreducible core" of "extra" books in the Christian codices, which makes the patristic evidence rather important in this theory. And it is the patristic evidence that I think is susceptible of different, and better, explanations. As one point: it is curious that patristic authors seem universally to think that Jews do not accept these "extra" books as Scripture. At least, we have all sorts of patristic comments to this effect, and none that I remember claiming that Jews do accept these books. 

Epistle of Jeremiah at Qumran

I believe the only bit of the deuterocanonical books that we have from a Jewish source in Greek is this little scrap of the Epistle of Jeremiah found in Cave 7 at Qumran.

pap7QLXXEpJer = Ra 804

It dates to the first century BCE, and it contains 22 letters from EpJer 43–44. 

Here's Rahlfs' text of those verses.  

ὅταν δέ τις αὐτῶν ἐφελκυσθεῖσα ὑπό τινος τῶν παραπορευομένων κοιμηθῇ, τὴν πλησίον ὀνειδίζει, ὅτι οὐκ ἠξίωται ὥσπερ καὶ αὐτὴ οὔτε τὸ σχοινίον αὐτῆς διερράγη.  44 πάντα τὰ γινόμενα αὐτοῖς ἐστιν ψευδῆ· πῶς οὖν νομιστέον ἢ κλητέον ὥστε θεοὺς αὐτοὺς ὑπάρχειν; 
And NETS: 

And when one of them is drawn away by one of those who passes by to have sexual intercourse, she chides her companion, because she was not valued as she herself was, nor has she had her cord torn.  44 Everything that happens for them is fake. How then should one consider or call them gods?
This Qumran fragment appears to have a textual variant, since the last letter on the fourth line appears to be either an epsilon or theta, and the editor (Baillet; DJD 3, p. 143) goes with theta. He proposes this reading (with preserved letters highlighted):
οὔτε τὸ σχοινίον αὐτῆς διερράγη.  44 πάντα τὰ γινόμενα αὐτοῖς ἐστιν ψευδῆ· πῶς οὖν νομιστέον ὑπάρχειν αὐτοὺς θεοὺς ἢ κλητέον αὐτοὺς θεοὺς;
The meaning is not much different: "How then should one consider them gods or should one call them gods?"

Friday, September 29, 2017

Grabe's Edition of the Septuagint

In the early eighteenth century, John Ernest Grabe produced in Oxford an edition of the LXX based on Codex Alexandrinus, which had come to England eighty years earlier (1627) as a gift from Cyril Lucar, at the time the Patriarch of Constantinople. Grabe's edition was published in four volumes, but only the first and the last volume were printed during Grabe's lifetime. The second volume was completed by Francis Lee and the third by William Wigan.

All four volumes are available on Google Books.

vol. 1 (1707), Octateuch
vol. 2 (1719), Historical Books
vol. 3 (1720), Prophets
vol. 4 (1709), Poetical Books

Note that vol. 4 is bound together with vol. 3, so you have to scroll down about halfway to see the title page to vol. 4.

The second volume contains the preface provided by Lee that proposes a theory of an Alexandrian Canon (previously mentioned here, with the exact reference).

By the way, if you want to look at Codex Alexandrinus itself, you can find images of the NT at the British Library website. For the OT, your best bet is the CSNTM website, which has images of the entire facsimile published in 4 vols. by E. M. Thompson in 1879–1880.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Epiphanius on Ephesians 5:14

This is just a bibliographical note. I've been doing a little reading about the strange "quotations" in the New Testament, that is, the NT passages that seem to quote material that does not appear in our OT. Some examples are Luke 11:49; John 7:38–39; 1 Corinthians 2:9; Ephesians 5:14.

Ancient Christian writers noticed these same strange quotations, and they sometimes developed explanations for them, often either considering them free adaptions of verses from the OT or suggesting that they derive from apocryphal sources. Of course, the trouble with the latter suggestion is that we don't have apocryphal sources that contain the relevant text, either.

Jerome, for one, related John 7:38–39 to Proverbs (18:4?) and 1 Corinthians 2:9 to Isaiah 64:4 (see his Preface to the Pentateuch).

What about Ephesians 5:14? Jerome says that the simple answer would be to relate this verse to the apocrypha (he doesn't name an example), and that he hasn't been able to locate the verse in the Hebrew Bible, so he's unsure what Paul is quoting. (See his commentary, ad loc., p. 223.)

But, as my title indicates, I'm mostly interested in Epiphanius at the moment, and his comment on the origins of the quotation in Ephesians 5:14. This post comes after about a bit of digging, trying to locate Epiphanius' comment in his Panarion. Early on in this process, I learned (I forget where) that Epiphanius located the quoted material in an apocryphal work called the Apocalypse of Elijah. (Origen [Comm. Matt. ser. 117] had said this same apocryphal work was the source of the quotation at 1 Cor 2:9.) So I googled those search terms and obtained only imprecise references (e.g., here, here, here). They all refer to Haer. 42, and [Adversus] Haer[esies] is the alternative name for the Panarion, but ch. 42 (on Marcion) is a long chapter (100 pages long), so that citation is not exactly helpful.

Actually, it is more helpful than I realized, because the second part of this chapter has Epiphanius going through Marcion's Bible bit by bit, so had I realized that, I could have turned to ch. 42 and found the section dealing with Ephesians, and my search would have been over. But I did find a reference in a prominent commentary (can't remember if it was the AB or the ICC of Ephesians) that referenced Haer. 42.2.3, which is not at all the right reference.

Anyway, here's the right, more precise reference: Pan. 42.12.3, and to be even more precise (since that section itself goes on for 22 pages) you could cite it as, meaning the 37th Pauline passage discussed in §12.3 of ch. 42. Very fortunately, both the recent English translation of this work and the critical Greek text are both available online, and the relevant passage is located at pp. 179–80 of the Greek text and pp. 358–59 of the English translation. You'll see that Epiphanius actually does not mention the Apocalypse of Elijah. He merely says that the quotation circulates "in Elijah" (παρἀ τῷ Ἠλίᾳ). Since this immediately follows his statement that it comes from the OT, something strange seems to be happening, and Holl (the editor of the Greek text) proposes that we emend the reference to "Isaiah" (with a parallel in Hippolytus) so that we would understand Epiphanius to mean that Paul is freely adapting a verse out of Isaiah, perhaps Isa 26:19.

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."