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Monday, February 4, 2013

Clanging Cymbals

This semester I'm in a grad course on preaching Psalms and Wisdom Literature. It's a hybrid, so we spent about three days together last week and the rest will be online (all pertinent information, I'm sure).  One requirement was to give a sermon on one of the Psalms during the in-person portion, and one of my peers chose Ps 150.

*Fast-forward two days* Yesterday the preacher read through 1 Cor 13, and something caught my ear in a way it hadn't before. 13.1 mentions that, without love, he's like a clanging cymbal or noisy gong. I was fairly certain I had heard that phrase, and recently. It was in my peer's sermon on Ps 150, where the psalmist calls for the audience to praise God with x, y, z, and clanging cymbals. So I had to look something up.

First, the Greek for 1 Cor 13.1:
Ἐὰν ταῖς γλώσσαις τῶν ἀνθρώπων λαλῶ καὶ τῶν ἀγγέλων, ἀγάπην δὲ μὴ ἔχω, γέγονα χαλκὸς ἠχῶν ἢ κύμβαλον ἀλαλάζον.
Second, the LXX for Ps 150.5:
αἰνεῖτε αὐτὸν ἐν κυμβάλοις εὐήχοις, αἰνεῖτε αὐτὸν ἐν κυβάλοις ἀλαλαγμοῦ.
Now, this isn't an extensive list of where either κύμβαλον or ἀλαλαγός occur in either the NT or LXX (though Lust, Eynikel, and Hauspie list count κ. 20x and ἀ. 9x). I see off the bat, however, that for Ps 150 ἀ. is a genitive noun, whereas in 1 Cor 13 it's a participle from ἀλαλάζω.

Even so, I can't help but wonder: is there a connection here? Is Ps 150 sitting quietly in the background of 1 Cor 13? Let's say it does for just a moment. There is no small amount of research on OT texts in NT contexts, but there's no theological library in my town so I'm stuck speculating for the time being. I also don't have awesome Bible software to look up every instance of certain words or phrases.

But what if Ps 150 had some influence on 1 Cor 13? The works and gifts of the Spirit, outside the context of love, are apparently worthless to Paul. Or are they? Is there something inherently wrong with clanging cymbals? Not in Ps 150. It's just one more way to glorify God. But if it's not used to praise God, it's just a piece of metal. If I've got supernatural linguistic powers from heaven, but they're not used for God, what are they worth? Not much more than a piece of metal, I presume.

I've always heard 1 Cor 13 used in weddings. I have not, however, heard it used much in the context of worship. This would be a very different way of looking at things for me. However, it certainly makes sense. Clanging cymbals are all well and good, as are gifts from the Spirit.

So how does it change things if 1 Cor 13.1 is read in light of Ps. 150?

Friday, January 18, 2013

Ephesians 1.7-10

1.7 In him* we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of wrongdoings,1 according to the riches of his grace2 8 which was more than enough for us, in all wisdom and insight, 9 making known3 to us the mystery of his will,4 according to his purpose which he put forward in him 10 in a plan for the fulfilling5 of the times,6 to unite7 all things in Christ: those in the heavens and those on the earth, in him.
1τῶν παραπτωμάτων, Gen.: Objective (of ἄφεσιν, from ἀφίημι)
2τῆς χάριτος, Gen.: Attributed ("gracious riches"), Epexegetical (the riches are ambiguous, and χάριτος explains them)
3γνωρίσας, Ptc.: Substantival (related to προορίσας in 1.5; see above asterisk note)
4τοῦ θελήματος, Gen.: Attributed, Epexegetical ("the mystery of his will," where the mystery is ambiguous, and the will explains it. Q: "What kind of mystery is it?" A: "The one about what God wants.")
5τοῦ πληρώματος, Gen.: Purpose (though a different option may be better)
6τῶν καιρῶν, Gen.: Objective (of πληρώματος, from πληρόω)
7ανακεφαλαιώσασθαι, Inf.: Appositional ("the plan, namely, the plan to unite")
*The phrase ἐν ᾧ appears three times throughout the beginning of Ephesians (1.7, 11, 13). It is translated as "him" instead of "whom" to avoid making vv. 3-14 an enormous run-on sentence. However, I suspect that the "whom" is part of a long string of relative clauses ["Blessed be the God who: (1.3) blessed us and (1.5) chose us beforehand; and in whom (1.7) we have redemption, (1.11) we were chosen as heirs, and (1.13) we heard the word of truth]. When I get to vv. 11 and 13, I'll just link them back to this post.
-Τῆς χάριτος at the end of v. 7 has two possibilities here: attributed and epexegetical. I don't see any significant difference between the two. If attributive, it highlights the source of the "redemption" and "forgiveness." If exegetical, it merely explains the type of riches, saying that God is rich in grace. If there is any difference, it is on whether the riches or the grace is the emphasis of the phrase (though this may be important after all).
-A similar situation happens in v. 9 with τοῦ θελήματος, though I suspect it cannot be attributive, but attributed. "Willful mystery" doesn't make much sense, does it? A "mysterious will," however, fits perfectly. The epexegetical option is clearer in fn. 4.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ephesians 1.1-6

1.1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God.1 To the saints [who are2 in Ephesus] and the faithful in Christ, 2 grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who blessed3 us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly (realms) in Christ, 4 just as he chose us in him before the creation of the cosmos that we might be4 holy and faultless in his presence in love, 5 who chose us beforehand5 in adoption through Jesus in him, according to the purpose of his will,6 6 in glorious7 praise of his grace8 which he bestowed freely on us in him who has been loved.9
1θεοῦ, Gen.: Subjective (of θελήματος, from θέλλω)
2τοῖς οὖσιν, Ptc.: Substantival
3ὁ εὐλογήσας, Ptc.: Substantival
4εἶναι, Inf.: Purpose, Result
5προορίσας, Ptc.: Substantival
6τοῦ θελήματος, Gen.: Objective (of εὐδοκίαν, from εὐδοκέω?)
7δόξης, Gen.: Attributive
8τῆς χάριτος, Gen.: Objective (of ἔπαινον, from ἐπαινέω)
9τῷ παραπτωμάτων, Ptc.: Substantival
-Nothing magnificent or particularly difficult here. For a while I wondered whether προορίσας could be causal, in that the blessing (εὐλογήσας) was the result of the pre-choosing. It sounded clunky, and didn't quite fit the structure of the rest of the sentence. It seemed, rather, to parallel the previous participle, perhaps even going so far as to borrow its definite article.
-The genitive string in v. 6 (εἰς ἔπαινον δόξης τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ) could go a few other ways: (1) "in praise of his glorious grace," in which δόξης is attributed to χάριτος; (2) "in praise of his graceful glory," in which χάριτος is attributive of δόξης; or (3) "in praise of the grace of his glory," which remains ambiguous but best preserves the word order.
-A dynamic rendering of τῷ παραπτωμάτων could be "him whom he has loved," putting the emphasis on the Father instead of the Son. In NA27, however, there are some manuscripts which add υιω αυτου after the participle, further enforcing the focus on the Son here. (While I would like to include more work incorporating the textual variants and their importance, that may belong to another project.)

For the future, I feel I must say it's taking a while to transfer these from handwritten notes into Blogger. Since the editor for posting does not normally have the option for super- and subscripting texts, I've had to learn some HTML and do it myself. Also, I have to decipher my handwriting and recall interpretive choices from almost a year ago, so bear with me.

Grace and peace,

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Translating: Introduction

Over the course of 2012, I attempted a translation of Ephesians. I'm posting my work here, focusing on the classification of participles, infinitives, and genitives. As with any translation, even a finished one is a work in progress (which totally makes sense, right?). Still, I'm going to post what I've got. Here are the specs for the translation:

  1. Text Used: UBS Greek New Testament, 4th Ed.: A Reader's Edition.
  2. Grammar for Classification: Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics.
  3. Excluded Classifications: Genitives which follow certain prepositions or are simple possessives.
I'm done for now doing Ephesians, and have started Revelation. I might move back and forth between them, or I might not.

If you have any suggestions for further posts, leave a comment.

Grace and peace.


Reedeemed Exegesis is now up and running! This being the initial post, I'll just explain a few things. This is the academic sister-blog to the Reedeemed Weblog. I recently made a decision to split the blog into two, so that I can distinguish the types of things I enjoy to discuss. This blog deals with issues of biblical interpretation and exegesis, hermeneutics, and other academic aspects of biblical studies. Reedeemed Exegesis is a place for conversation and growth, particularly for those who desire a deeper level of study. I'm no scholar (not yet, anyway), but I hope to learn here as well.

Grace and peace,