b-greek-digest V1 #847

b-greek-digest            Sunday, 3 September 1995      Volume 01 : Number 847

In this issue:

        Re: TOTE in Matt. 24:23
        Re: BG: Synoptic Apocalypse (LONG!)
        Greek or Faith
        Re: BG: Synoptic Apocalypse (LONG!)
        Re: TOTE in Matt. 24:23
        Re: Worship
        BG: Thanks for TOTE 
        Re: BG: Thanks for TOTE


From: Jan.Haugland@uib.no
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 1995 15:46:57 +0200
Subject: Re: TOTE in Matt. 24:23

Larry Swain said:
>                                                        In your mind your 
> understanding of the texts is the most direct and natural.

Ok, we've all agreed to stick to facts.

tote - most naturally refers to direct chronological succession of events. 
"Then" in English can of course also refer to next event in order separated 
by a long time (ie, "then, after many hundred years..."), but like with "tote" 
that's not the natural understanding of "then".

"soon", "at hand", means just that.

Mt 16:27,28: Speaks for itself, IMO. Me and you have had a long private 
discussion earlier. You argued this "coming in the clouds" referred to the 
transfiguration. For some reason, this and a large number of other claims you 
made to me privately has not been repeated on this mailing list.

>                                                             However, the 
> majority of academia views these texts as referring to the events of 70 
> AD because they do so after the fact:  Matthew is usually dated in the 
> 70s or 80s and Luke almost certainly and universally in the 80s.  If the 
> majority of scholarship is correct in this regard, then for the people 
> who recorded these words in the Little Apocalypse, the parousia is yet 
> future.  Thus, the most natural understanding of the text changes.

This is a premise that changes the understanding. If you have read my messages, 
you will have seen I have posted several arguments against this. Where is it 
written in stone that we have to accept "majority of scholarship" without 
asking questions?

I can summarize two of my arguments again, so you can deal with them instead of 
the assumptions:

* Matthew made Jesus say that the parousia would occur "immediately after" the 
siege of Jerusalem. This is a strange thing to quote Jesus as saying if Matthew 
already knew that this saying had been falsified.

* Early Pauline letters are dated before 70AD. In 1The2:16, Paul forsees that 
the Jews will be reached by judgment, yes, that this judgment is so close Paul 
can mention it as present:  "But God's wrath has come upon them at last!" In 
the apocalyptic sayings, in 5:3, Paul says "sudden destruction will come upon 
them." So this letter, practically universally agreed to have been written in 
50AD (some say 51AD), states the same thing as the synoptics. (see also 

Something I did not say, but I find very important, is that post-dating these 
books make their writers look like heartless cynics. They had just experienced 
their homeland, the beloved holy city and the sacred place of their nation 
being swept away, and hundreds of thousands of countrymen being slaughtered and 
taken as slaves. Then, they write a book where they claim their master 
predicted this event decades earlier.

Can you imagine someone writing a book -- two books in fact -- after WW2, 
claiming that their religious master had predicted the Holocaust as a rightful 
punishment for the Jews? Doesn't the mere thought make us shudder? Would it not 
be the most tasteless act imaginable?  Think about it.

>                                                                    If on 
> the other hand you take the preterist viewpoint, a stance of faith by the 
> way, then the natural understanding of the text changes again.  The 
> natural understanding of the text depends on where you begin, and you Jan 
> have made it very clear that you begin with a belief that the parousia 
> took place in 70 AD: 

No, I did not "begin" with this belief. It was a conclusion after examining 
arguments pro and con.

>                      your first post on this subject to this list stated 
> it baldly.  That is a statement of faith, not a statement dealing with 
> academic issues.

When you date Matthew and Luke after 70AD this is based on the assumption that 
nobody could have predicted the destruction of Jerusalem. I see this as a 
natural assumption in scholarship, but when you use this *assumption* to 
contradict statements to the contrary you make a logical error. Religious 
studies is *neutral* to the question of divine revelation, it does not deny it. 
The assumption cannot become the conclusion, like you use it.

> > It requires an enormous amount of faith to squeeze 1900+ years inside a
>  "tote" 
> > like you do, and it has nothing more to do with scholarship than whatever
> > I may have said.
> Again I must confront you on ad hominem statements. 

"Ad hominem" means to discredit an argument based on an irrelevant attack on a 
person. I don't make such an attack. Like many people, you don't fully 
understand what "ad hominem" is about.
>                                                     First, in none of my 
> posts either on list or off have I suggested that TOTE means 1900 years:
> Quote me. 

Offline you have stated that the parousia still belongs to the future. 

You asked me to quote you, and I take that as a permission:

"Why?  Why 70?  It is so against the scriptures themselves which speak of 
the evil being removed from the earth, not the righteous, where his elect 
are gathered, not scattered."

"I expect Jesus' words just before this to be taken seriously: see vs 27.  
An event which can't be missed."

Now, unless you will not agree that it's been about 1900 years since the 
statements were made, I can hardly understand it differently.

>                                            Fourth, and finally on this 
> statement, again I challenge you to show where in my statement to this 
> list my scholarship is in question.  You may disagree with the conclusion 
> which I drew, but that is not the same as saying that the scholarship is 
> faulty.

I have never said your scholarship is faulty. I have other conclusions than 
you. I have failed to see you point out arguments instead of referring to 

>  > So, stick to the facts.
> Which is basically my adjuration here Jan.  As I noted in this too long a 
> post, there are several glaring factual errors both in the 
> presuppositions you make, as well as in your reportage.

Well, point out my "several glaring factual errors" then. You have pointed out 
none so far.

Seriously, I suggest we just bury this discussion. What I wanted to know by 
posting on this list was if my understanding of the Greek key words was 
correct: genea, tote, aion, etc. This has been confirmed, and I have no reason 
to continue this discussion where it does not belong. 

I do of course observe that my summary of arguments caused some irritation. 
This fact just amuses me.


- - Jan
- --
    Q: What is the Unitarian hymn?  A: "Praise Be to Whom It May Concern"


From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 1995 10:02:27 -0500
Subject: Re: BG: Synoptic Apocalypse (LONG!)

I have been reviewing the whole thread of correspondence under the above
subject heading and I think I have seen one major point made (or proposed,
I should say) by Jan Haugland regarding the Parousia:

At 7:52 PM 8/28/95, Jan.Haugland@uib.no wrote:
>Never forget that the whole so-called eschatology in the gospels is
>*about* the
>destruction of Jerusalem. That's the question the disciples want the answer to
>in the first place. Christ's "visitation" or "parousia" as King was to bring
>punishment to the fallen Israel and forever end the Mosaic dispensation. That
>was the end of the age!

I think I had overlooked this or skimmed over it too lightly when I first
read it at the end of one of Jan's posts. But this is precisely where I,
and also, I would think, many others must disagree very sharply with Jan. I
think that most of us hold the view that the Parousia of Jesus as Son of
Man is not focused at all upon the destruction of Jerusalem but on the
inauguration of the Kingdom of God "with power," including, in traditional
terms, the raising of the dead, the judgment of all humanity, and the
definitive establishment of the reign of God, in terms of Jewish
apocalyptic eschatological traditions. However varied they may have been,
they do include, it seems, decisive judgment upon those who oppose the will
of God--which might, I suppose, be viewed as one-half of the Last Judgment,
the other half being the resurrection of the dead and their assignment to
life in God's realm.

Now, if I have read Jan's posts in terms of his intentions, he understands
the Parousia to refer only to what I have said is the first-half, "decisive
judgment upon those who oppose the will of God," but this (again I say, if
I have understood him rightly, of which I cannot be sure) he understands to
be fully consummated with the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple: that
is the sum and total of God's decisive judgment upon those who oppose the
will of God. And that marks, he says, the "end of the age."

The problem that most of us have is that we have seen (to paraphrase Jan),
1900+ additional years in which it appears that God's will has been
thwarted to no little extent by humanity, and therefore we cannot recognize
the events of the year 70 as that consummation referred to in those strange
sayings recorded of Jesus, "There are some of those standing here who will
not taste death before they see ... "

I want to look more closely at those statements as they are formulated in
the Synoptic gospels, but only after I have responded to some of Jan's most
recent comments on our earlier correspondence.

At 6:08 PM 9/1/95, Jan.Haugland@uib.no wrote:
>Carl W. Conrad wrote:
>> I am less confident that in these passages the gospel do in fact reflect
>> "true, authentic oral statements made by Jesus to the disciples, but I
>> grant that the statements are there in each of the three synoptics.
>All right. Then I assume we also agree that this "synoptic apocalypse" has one
>common origin. Somebody made these statements in one original form, and
>all the
>three synoptics derives from an original source, oral or written (unless
>one of
>them *is* the original of course). Whether this source is Jesus himself or
>simply an imaginative writer does not change the fact that the source had a
>specific story to tell, and a reason for choosing the words he used.

I agree that there's a common source and I would argue that it's a
tradition that Mark uses in 9:1 and that appears also in Matthew 16:28 and
Luke 9:27. In my opinion the Marcan form is earliest and it has been
redacted separately by Matthew and Luke, each in his own distinct way.

>>                                                                     There
>> are some significant differences in the wording of the versions in the
>> three gospels, but whatever it is that they are to see, in each there is
>> asserted that "there are some standing here who will not taste death before
>> they see ..."
>Exactly. And here we have an example where Luke is *most* explicit when he
>that what will happen is that Jesus will come in the clouds *with power*.
>words pretty much exclude the possibility to interprete this "coming in
>to be the transfiguration, the resurrection or another recorded event in the

Here you have misstated the facts. Actually it is only in Mark 9:1 that we
find that phrase, "with power." More on this anon.

>>               Nevertheless, these statements, crucial as they may be, do
>> not by any means constitute the whole teaching of any one of the synoptic
>> gospels. I think it comes closest to the teaching of Mark's gospel, but I
>> think there are clear indications of a "delayed Parousia" in Matthew and
>> Luke.
>I cannot fully agree with this. First, see above. Since all 3 synoptic
>revelations has a common source, and they are very much alike, we should
>try to
>interprete them to mean the same thing. There may be a theoretical possibility
>to squeeze in some delay between the siege of Jerusalem (tribulation; Luke
>21:24) and the coming in verse 25-27, but it isn't *the* natural understanding
>even of this gospel.

They are not nearly so much alike as you assert. The differences in detail
are quite significant, in my opinion. Or to put it differently, although
there are similarities, they are, to some extent, superficial.

>I think we have to note that words about celestial phenomenons ("signs in sun
>and moon and stars" etc) in the OT, where these word-pictures originated, does
>not stand alone. Some people have had their nose against the skies for a long
>time with no good reason, for those words do not refer to anything that shakes
>the physical universe. We find these words all over the OT, like in Hag
>where God is "about to shake the heavens and the earth, and to overthrow the
>throne of kingdoms." Note the parallelism; the last part -- literal --
>the first -- which is figurative. We see pretty clearly that celestial
>phenomenon and natural disasters are used to refer to great *moral* and
>*political* changes and upheavals (like in Ha 2:6,7; Ze 4:7; Ez 26:15; 38:19;
>Jo 3:16; see also Heb 12:26,27).
>This is the a key to understand the celestial phenomenon referred to in Mt
>24:29 etc.

I won't argue this point; I agree that it is standard; it isn't even unique
to the Jewish tradition. There's a standard list of portents that
accompanied the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 B.C., many of them
similar to those you've cited above. I don't attribute any more
significance to them than you do. I do attribute more significance to Mk
13:7-8, because I think it is very likely that Mark had in mind the
upheavals in the Roman empire following the assassination of Nero in 69.

>> My own reading of the gospel of John is that the Parousia of Jesus is
>> presented as occurring fundamentally on the day of Easter,and that this is
>> the dominant eschatology of John's gospel,but there are some passages in
>> John that seem to point to a more distant futuristic consummation also.
>As I pointed out, there is nearness in the Gospel of John as well. Now *if*
>John had already written the Apocalypse, it becomes pretty evident what *his*
>parousia was about. The Apocalypse is practically the "synoptic
>apocalypse" and
>other synoptic eschatological statements repeated in Jewish apocalyptic
>language, point for point.

I'm sorry, but I just cannot take seriously the proposition that the
Apocalypse/Book of Revelation was composed by the same author as the gospel
of John. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most important, in
my own view, is that the eschatology of Revelation is intensely
apocalyptic, whereas the eschatology of John's gospel uses the apocalyptic
language in an inverted sense to express a predominantly realized

>> I won't try to argue the case about Paul. It is quite evident that he looks
>> forward to an early return of Jesus. I would say, however, that if (as I
>> think) Romans is his most mature letter, his statement at the end of
>> chapter 8 is less bound to an eschatological timetable such as that offered
>> in 1 Cor 15 and is couched more in simple confidence in God's power to
>> consummate his promises to believers.
>If I dare to make a general comment about this line of arguments, I will have
>to say that I feel they are sometimes overly reductionistic. You seem to be
>talking about the "eschatology of Lu 9:27" and say it's different from "the
>eschatology of Lu 21:24." I would believe that if we can see agreement between
>statements by the same author in the same book we should do that. Also, if
>is very explicit about the timetable of the parousia in many places, I find it
>hard to believe that he changed his opinion on such a central doctrine unless
>he made such a change explicit. Ro8 is not that. Ro8:18 talks about "the glory
>that is to be revealed to us."  "That is to be" is again the word "melloysan"
>which reflects urgency. Perhaps "which is about to be revealed" better conveys
>the original idea. In Ro13:12 Paul again affirms that "the day is at hand."
>This mature letter is far from being less urgent as I see it. On the contrary,
>in 2Thes we find that Paul still waited for "the lawless one" to come before
>the parousia could take place. I see no such call to caution in Romans.

I doubt also that we ought to view 2 Thessalonians as a genuine letter of
Paul. As for Romans 8, I was referring to the final words of the chapter,
which I have always felt were far more comforting and reassuring at
funerals than all that stuff about trumpets blowing in 1 Cor 15--the simple
assurance that the bond of love between God and believers in Christ in
inseparable and inseverable. As for agreement between statements by the
same author in the same book, I welcome them, but where there are
contradicitions I want them explained, not passed over in silence.

> . . .  My line of interpretation of course implies that all NT books were
>written prior to 70AD. This idea is certainly not flavour of the month, but
>there is *internal* evidence for it. I think a conclusion hinges on frame of
>interpretation; whether we accept divine revelation or not. And then we are
>probably outside the scope of this mailing list. :-)

There are many on the list that will agree with your views on the dating,
but I do not. I do accept divine revelation, but I probably conceive of its
operation in a different way from yours, and each of us must express
himself conscientiously in terms of his own belief and understanding.

To return finally to the key passage, Mark 9:1 and parallels. Let me first
reiterate that in my view the Marcan form of this is the earliest and that
Matthew and Luke have both redacted the Marcan form of the tradition.


Brief note: I simply do not know whether this is what Jesus actually said;
I will only say that it is what Mark the evangelist clearly understood
Jesus to mean. What is emphasized by the use of the perfect participle
ELHLUQUIAN qualified by EN DUNAMEI would certainly appear to be that some
of those who hear Jesus will see the establishment of the Reign of God as a
_fait accompli_.


Brief note: For one thing Matthew has improved the grammar by putting hWDE
inside the article. Far more important, however, is the change in the
phrasing: these members of Jesus' audience will see "the Son of Man coming
in his Kingdom." I'm not sure exactly what this means, but it doesn't seem
to me to mean the same thing as Mark's Jesus-saying. Perhaps it refers to
the portents at the death of Jesus; perhaps more likely it refers to the
vision of the risen and and ascended Christ by the disciples on the
mountain in Galilee that Matthew records in chapter 28, for it would appear
to be Christ the reigning Son of Man who is seen there, but it could hardly
be asserted, I think, that he reigns "with power," in terms of Mark's EN


Brief note: This is surely the same tradition as that found in the parallel
pericope in Mark and Matthew, but its phrasing is certainly far vaguer than
that of Matthew. What exactly does it mean that these witnesses will "see
the Kingdom of God?" Are they to be confident of its coming? Or perhaps
they may see, as Stephen does before being stoned in Acts 7:55, EIDEN DOJAN
QEOU KAI IHSOUN hESTWTA EK DEJIWN TOU QEOU. At any rate, the nature of the
vision is very different from Mark's vision of a Kingdom that HAS COME WITH

In sum then, while I will agree that there are numerous points on which we
can summarize a teaching of the NT as a whole, I think it is highly
questionable to ignore what are significant textual differences in the
phrasing of similar statements and make a blanket assertion that "such is
the teaching of the whole NT."

Finally, I repeat what I said on my last posting of substance on this
issue; I really think we ought to focus upon the Greek text of verses we
wish to discuss and leave the broader interpretation of what the NT as a
whole says to those who are writing books where they can back up their
assertions with a full battery of footnotes.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


From: Bill Renner <WILLARD@univscvm.csd.scarolina.edu>
Date: Sat, 02 Sep 95 12:09:43 EDT
Subject: Greek or Faith

I have learned a lot on this list about NT Greek, which I had assumed was what
the list was about. It seems that in 70 years my Faith commitment is well
esstablished. If we are changing to a Theology list, then to me it will not
have much value.


From: Jan.Haugland@uib.no
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 1995 18:23:52 +0200
Subject: Re: BG: Synoptic Apocalypse (LONG!)

Carl Conrad stated:
>Here you have misstated the facts. Actually it is only in Mark 9:1 that we
>find that phrase, "with power." More on this anon.

*Blush* :-)  Sorry for this mistake. 

That said, I have to note that you always picked the one minor piece of my 
argument you felt you could answer and ignored the rest.

As for the *interpretation* of the synoptic apocalypse: I interpret it to be 
local event. The normal interpretation is to treat it as a global event. The 
Jews missed the first coming of Christ because they expected a grandiose coming 
more as a result of imagination than sober examination of scriptures. 
Christians have done exactly the same mistake.

I wonder how many thousand years will have to pass before it is obvious that 
Christ will never come back. I don't think they will change their mind "soon." 
No reinterpretation is "at hand."


- - Jan
- --


From: "Philip L. Graber" <pgraber@emory.edu>
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 1995 17:38:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Re: TOTE in Matt. 24:23

On Fri, 1 Sep 1995, Larry Swain wrote:

> Finally I do disagree that it refers to Jerusalem, I am one of a minority 
> who would date Matthew before 70, in fact as early as 62.  There it is.  
> So that for me is not taken for granted.


I realize that we have discussed this in the past with regard to the 
synoptic problem, but I would appreciate seeing a summary of your 
arguments in favor of dating Matthew this early, especially if there are 
arguments that do not depend on Matthean priority.

Philip Graber				Graduate Division of Religion
Graduate Student in New Testament	211 Bishops Hall, Emory University
pgraber@emory.edu			Atlanta, GA  30322  USA


From: hilbercj@plu.edu
Date: Sat, 02 Sep 1995 16:05:59 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: Worship

On Thu, 31 Aug 1995 PSRoadKill@aol.com wrote:

> My basic topic is as follows:  What exactly is worship??

Dear Brian:

I don't know your ecclesiastical (church) tradition (background), but a 
good place for you to start is Ron Allen's book *Worship: the Missing 
Jewel* published (I think) by Multnomah Press. I think you could follow 
what he has to say with great profit. If you are a very bright reader, 
try Ralph Martin's work on worship published by (again I think) 
Eerdmann's. Your Christian bookstore ought to be able to help you find 
both of those.

This list is for discussion between those who are competent already with 
biblical Hebrew. If you choose to read Allen, I would be happy to discuss 
a few ideas *briefly* by private E-mail AFTER you have taken the trouble 
to read Allen.

A note to others who have responded--let's be gracious. It took some guts 
to ask this! I would say "probably a great mouser"!! Perhaps some day a 
great Hebraist!!!


John Hilber


From: Bruce Terry <terry@bible.acu.edu>
Date: Sat, 02 Sep 1995 19:58:05 CST
Subject: BG: Thanks for TOTE 

Thanks to everyone who delivered an opinion on TOTE in Matt. 24:23.  Isn't it
interesting how one's view of what this discourse is saying colors our view of
what the little words mean.  And we say that our view of the discourse is just
a natural understanding of combining the meanings of the little words.  Shades
of the hermeneutic circle!

I still wonder how all three major English lexicons in the Biblical studies
tradition came up with the same understanding of TOTE when this list showed so
much diversity.  Maybe this is a case of intertextuality at work? :)

Bruce Terry                            E-MAIL: terry@bible.acu.edu
Box 8426, ACU Station		       Phone:  915/674-3759
Abilene, Texas 79699		       Fax:    915/674-3769


From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Sat, 2 Sep 1995 21:20:22 -0500
Subject: Re: BG: Thanks for TOTE

At 8:58 PM 9/2/95, Bruce Terry wrote:
>Thanks to everyone who delivered an opinion on TOTE in Matt. 24:23.  Isn't it
>interesting how one's view of what this discourse is saying colors our view of
>what the little words mean.  And we say that our view of the discourse is just
>a natural understanding of combining the meanings of the little words.  Shades
>of the hermeneutic circle!
>I still wonder how all three major English lexicons in the Biblical studies
>tradition came up with the same understanding of TOTE when this list showed so
>much diversity.  Maybe this is a case of intertextuality at work? :)

Isn't it obvious, Bruce? (1) The lexicographers conspired with each other
and planted a false entry on TOTE in order to achieve a conviction among NT
scholars; (2) contributors to this list have no loyalty to the guild, and
some of them (myself, for instance) aren't even NT scholars; (3) quot
homines tot sententiae. Maybe one of these explanations ought to account
for it, but since Aristotle postulated four causes, we should add your
suggestion as (4) a case of intertextuality at work.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


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