Theophilus of Antioch

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Girgis Boshra
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Joined: January 25th, 2012, 3:40 pm

Theophilus of Antioch

Post by Girgis Boshra » June 10th, 2017, 8:59 am

Can anyone what Theophilus means by this text:
Ὅπως δὲ καὶ ἡ πλάσις δειχθῇ, πρὸς τὸ μὴ δοκεῖν εἶναι ζήτημα
ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἀνεύρετον, (Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, 2. 19. 13-14)
But that the creation of man might be made plain, so that there should not seem to be an insoluble problem existing among men, (NAF02)

cwconrad
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Re: Theophilus of Antioch

Post by cwconrad » June 10th, 2017, 11:22 am

Girgis Boshra wrote:
June 10th, 2017, 8:59 am
Can anyone what Theophilus means by this text:
Ὅπως δὲ καὶ ἡ πλάσις δειχθῇ, πρὸς τὸ μὴ δοκεῖν εἶναι ζήτημα
ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἀνεύρετον, (Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, 2. 19. 13-14)
But that the creation of man might be made plain, so that there should not seem to be an insoluble problem existing among men, (NAF02)
It's unclear whether you're asking about the Greek text or about the intent of the text. I don't see anything problematic about the Greek text as such nor do I find the cited translation unsatisfactory. It seems to me that the whole point here is that the text (of Genesis 2) has been formulated so as to demonstrate the clear intent of God's creation of humanity as an intelligent creature. I take it to mean more or less what Einstein meant in his theological formulation of the rationality of the universe: "Raffiniert ist der Herr Gott, aber boshaft ist er nicht." (God is sophisticated, not malicious: He wants us to reason things out, not to make creation imponderable.)
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stirling Bartholomew
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Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Theophilus of Antioch

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » June 10th, 2017, 1:34 pm

Girgis Boshra wrote:
June 10th, 2017, 8:59 am
Can anyone what Theophilus means by this text:
Ὅπως δὲ καὶ ἡ πλάσις δειχθῇ, πρὸς τὸ μὴ δοκεῖν εἶναι ζήτημα
ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἀνεύρετον, (Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, 2. 19. 13-14)
But that the creation of man might be made plain, so that there should not seem to be an insoluble problem existing among men, (NAF02)
Theophilus of Antioch appears to be arguing that the genesis account of creation including the origin of man is superior and anterior to the pagan philosophers, for example:
CHAPTER XII.—THE GLORY OF THE SIX DAYS’ WORK.

Many writers indeed have imitated [the narration], and essayed to give an explanation of these things; yet, though they thence derived some suggestions, both concerning the creation of the world and the nature of man, they have emitted no slightest spark of truth. And the utterances of the philosophers, and writers, and poets have an appearance of trustworthiness, on account of the beauty of their diction; but their discourse is proved to be foolish and idle, because the multitude of their nonsensical frivolities is very great; and not a stray morsel of truth is found in them. For even if any truth seems to have been uttered by them, it has a mixture of error. And as a deleterious drug, when mixed with honey or wine, or some other thing, makes the whole [mixture] hurtful and profitless; so also eloquence is in their case found to be labour in vain; yea, rather an injurious thing to those who credit it
πρὸς τὸ introduces an infinitive purpose clause. ζήτημα a question or controversy BDAG, Grimm-Thayer, Lampe ἡ ζήτησις exegetical problem.

The question seems to be what exactly is the focus of this controversy? He is talking about the state of paradise before the fall and how man didn't need to labor for food or till the land because the garden was being watered and so forth. The subtext seems to be that pagan philosophers have introduced contrary notions about origins. The exact focus of his argument against the pagan philosophers would require reading large portions of this text.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
Posts: 551
Joined: August 9th, 2012, 4:19 pm

Re: Theophilus of Antioch

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » June 10th, 2017, 2:41 pm

Can anyone what Theophilus means by this text:
Ὅπως δὲ καὶ ἡ πλάσις δειχθῇ, πρὸς τὸ μὴ δοκεῖν εἶναι ζήτημα
ἐν ἀνθρώποις ἀνεύρετον, (Theophilus of Antioch, Ad Autolycum, 2. 19. 13-14)
ἀνεύρετον Lampe p137, undiscoverable.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

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