Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.
Sean Ingham
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by Sean Ingham » August 4th, 2011, 8:38 am

David Lim wrote:I agree that we cannot use syntax alone to distinguish meaning, but it is one factor in determining the range of meanings and also one factor in encouraging the audience to choose a particular meaning over others. In the text you had quoted it does not have the syntax of "X, son of Y," which requires two noun clauses in opposition. Instead, it has "X is [a] son of Y", where "son of Y" is simply predicated of X whereas "son of Y" is a defining attribute in "X, son of Y,". But I would still say that the original meaning of "son" as being "literal son of a literal father" is valid, because it is just taken from a different perspective, in which "physical flesh" is not in the picture. Furthermore, it is true that "X, son of Y," tends to predispose the audience to expecting that it refers to a literal descendant (especially Jewish audience), so it is left to the author to correct that presupposition if it was not the intended meaning.
I concur with the factual content of what you've written, but there are two issues: the first being that the relationship between "X is [a] son of Y" and "X, the son of Y" is merely transformational and the distinction is not relevant to the discussion; the second is that I was not trying to make any general statement about the significance of "son", but rather that syntax does not override other linguistic indicators.
David Lim wrote:In the particular case of Gal 1:19, as Stephen has said, "τον αδελφον του κυριου" does not refer to any "brother of the lord" but a specific one because of the article. I doubt "the fellow believer" can be a title because I do not think it is attested as such, so although it may not be a strange idea, it may not have been used in that way, just like the title "first lady" is not a strange idea but was only used after a certain point in human history.

Also I don't think "αδελφος" can directly mean "fellow believer", because it does not fit the usage well, for example:
[Rom 8] [29] οτι ους προεγνω και προωρισεν συμμορφους της εικονος του υιου αυτου εις το ειναι αυτον πρωτοτοκον εν πολλοις αδελφοις (clearly "πρωτοτοκον εν πολλοις αδελφοις" refers to "του υιου αυτου" as being one out of "many brothers")
[1 Tim 5] [1] πρεσβυτερω μη επιπληξης αλλα παρακαλει ως πατερα νεωτερους ως αδελφους [2] πρεσβυτερας ως μητερας νεωτερας ως αδελφας εν παση αγνεια (it is clearly an injunction to treat older persons as one's own parents and younger persons as one's own siblings)
James is not the only person called "the brother of the Lord", as 1 Cor 9:5 shows. There was a group, along with the apostles and Cephas, all important believers (who were allowed to be accompanied by a woman, suggesting their established value to the faith). So, the "title"--if that's what we should call it--is not "the fellow believer", for, as I've already pointed out, αδελφος unqualified would merely be a rank-and-file believer. The "title" would be the full phrase τον αδελφον του κυριου.

I'm pleased that you cite Rom 8:29 which is a strong indicator of my position regarding αδελφος, but please note that my presentation did not aim to provide my own translation of the noun as "fellow believer". I argued more that with the word αδελφος "he wasn't talking of a biological connection at all." Rom 8:29, which allows no scope for any biological significance, supports this observation. 1 Tim 5:1, part of a post-Pauline pastoral, certainly uses a family metaphor, but it is generally not thought to have been written by Paul, nor does it help us get to a biological connection.

(One may in passing look at the theology here: just as Paul indicates that faith in Jesus supersedes acts of the law, so do members of the church supersede biological families.)

Your post then goes on to quote interesting non-Pauline passages from Heb 2 and 1 Jn 3:10-12, concluding...
David Lim wrote:...that "αδελφος" retained its original meaning in the new testament in the sense that "fellow believers" were truly considered to be "brothers", even "true brothers", having God as their father and Jesus as their brother. In other words they did not change the meaning of "αδελφος" but rather they changed their understanding of their family ties.
Unless I misunderstand your logic, you have argued for a position that I would take, namely that the usage of αδελφος examined has lost its biological significance so essential for the common reading of Gal 1:19. You substitute biological connections with the notion that fellow believers somehow become real family. As I said, "he wasn't talking of a biological connection at all." This would be a significant semantic shift, if it represented Paul's usage.
David Lim wrote:Also I think we should consider that just because a person uses a word almost always with a particular literal or figurative or metaphorical meaning does not imply that his use of the word has that same meaning by default. If the audience can easily identify the special meaning that he attaches to the word, and the special meaning is not very far from the original, then it is also likely that the original meaning is still the default, but the audience learns that the word has now acquired a new possible meaning. For example, if a Christian does not have any siblings, his use of the vocative "brother" or "sister" is confined to the ones whom he considers "fellow believers", but it does not mean that he is not perfectly aware of the normal usage.
I would disagree with your first statement here: a person who uses a word almost always with a particular way sets up a default position, which requires that one find some reason not to read the word in its default sense. If I generally used the word "gay" to mean something other than its original meaning (still evinced in for example the Harry Belafonte song lyric "Down the way where the nights are gay") and people understand how I used the term, you'd have to show that I didn't mean what I normally meant. This is fairly basic. You will retain that original meaning and recognize it when other people use it, just as Paul's readers would retain the original meaning of αδελφος outside the conditioning of Paul's general usage.

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David Lim
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by David Lim » August 4th, 2011, 8:56 pm

Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:I agree that we cannot use syntax alone to distinguish meaning, but it is one factor in determining the range of meanings and also one factor in encouraging the audience to choose a particular meaning over others. In the text you had quoted it does not have the syntax of "X, son of Y," which requires two noun clauses in opposition. Instead, it has "X is [a] son of Y", where "son of Y" is simply predicated of X whereas "son of Y" is a defining attribute in "X, son of Y,". But I would still say that the original meaning of "son" as being "literal son of a literal father" is valid, because it is just taken from a different perspective, in which "physical flesh" is not in the picture. Furthermore, it is true that "X, son of Y," tends to predispose the audience to expecting that it refers to a literal descendant (especially Jewish audience), so it is left to the author to correct that presupposition if it was not the intended meaning.
I concur with the factual content of what you've written, but there are two issues: the first being that the relationship between "X is [a] son of Y" and "X, the son of Y" is merely transformational and the distinction is not relevant to the discussion; the second is that I was not trying to make any general statement about the significance of "son", but rather that syntax does not override other linguistic indicators.
Unfortunately I would have to disagree with you because there are some cultures in which specific phrases like "X, son of Y," is not equivalent to "X is [a] son of Y". So I agree that syntax is not everything, but it may be in specific cases override all other meanings of the constituent words.
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:In the particular case of Gal 1:19, as Stephen has said, "τον αδελφον του κυριου" does not refer to any "brother of the lord" but a specific one because of the article. I doubt "the fellow believer" can be a title because I do not think it is attested as such, so although it may not be a strange idea, it may not have been used in that way, just like the title "first lady" is not a strange idea but was only used after a certain point in human history.

Also I don't think "αδελφος" can directly mean "fellow believer", because it does not fit the usage well, for example:
[Rom 8] [29] οτι ους προεγνω και προωρισεν συμμορφους της εικονος του υιου αυτου εις το ειναι αυτον πρωτοτοκον εν πολλοις αδελφοις (clearly "πρωτοτοκον εν πολλοις αδελφοις" refers to "του υιου αυτου" as being one out of "many brothers")
[1 Tim 5] [1] πρεσβυτερω μη επιπληξης αλλα παρακαλει ως πατερα νεωτερους ως αδελφους [2] πρεσβυτερας ως μητερας νεωτερας ως αδελφας εν παση αγνεια (it is clearly an injunction to treat older persons as one's own parents and younger persons as one's own siblings)
James is not the only person called "the brother of the Lord", as 1 Cor 9:5 shows. There was a group, along with the apostles and Cephas, all important believers (who were allowed to be accompanied by a woman, suggesting their established value to the faith). So, the "title"--if that's what we should call it--is not "the fellow believer", for, as I've already pointed out, αδελφος unqualified would merely be a rank-and-file believer. The "title" would be the full phrase τον αδελφον του κυριου.

I'm pleased that you cite Rom 8:29 which is a strong indicator of my position regarding αδελφος, but please note that my presentation did not aim to provide my own translation of the noun as "fellow believer". I argued more that with the word αδελφος "he wasn't talking of a biological connection at all." Rom 8:29, which allows no scope for any biological significance, supports this observation. 1 Tim 5:1, part of a post-Pauline pastoral, certainly uses a family metaphor, but it is generally not thought to have been written by Paul, nor does it help us get to a biological connection.
I do not see how "αδελφην γυναικα περιαγειν" = "leading [a] sister [to be] [a] wife" suggests any importance... Anyway I do not think 1 Cor 9:5 can be used to support your position because it is of the same type as Gal 1:19. I think that "αδελφος" simply is considered a family member, not necessarily biologically close-related, just as in Lev 19:17, Deut 1:16, 15:1-12, 2 Sam 1:26, Jer 34:9, Mal 2:10. So my view is that Paul was simply considering all "fellow believers" as family members just as the children of Israel were supposed to consider all fellow Israelites as brothers. Therefore in the contexts which suggest biological relation, it is perfectly natural to me.
Sean Ingham wrote:(One may in passing look at the theology here: just as Paul indicates that faith in Jesus supersedes acts of the law, so do members of the church supersede biological families.)
(Jews believe that all are descendents from Adam, therefore you could likewise claim that there was nothing wrong if all called one another "brother", even as some cultures still do today.)
Sean Ingham wrote:Your post then goes on to quote interesting non-Pauline passages from Heb 2 and 1 Jn 3:10-12, concluding...
David Lim wrote:...that "αδελφος" retained its original meaning in the new testament in the sense that "fellow believers" were truly considered to be "brothers", even "true brothers", having God as their father and Jesus as their brother. In other words they did not change the meaning of "αδελφος" but rather they changed their understanding of their family ties.
Unless I misunderstand your logic, you have argued for a position that I would take, namely that the usage of αδελφος examined has lost its biological significance so essential for the common reading of Gal 1:19. You substitute biological connections with the notion that fellow believers somehow become real family. As I said, "he wasn't talking of a biological connection at all." This would be a significant semantic shift, if it represented Paul's usage.
Yep you misunderstood haha.. Previously some would only consider their immediate family as family, and some others would only consider members of their race as family. Paul considered all fellow believers as family, so "brother" was perfectly natural for him to use, regardless of direct biological relationship. In other words I was trying to say that we cannot conclude that Gal 1:19 is not using "αδελφος" with or without the meaning of a direct biological relationship.
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:Also I think we should consider that just because a person uses a word almost always with a particular literal or figurative or metaphorical meaning does not imply that his use of the word has that same meaning by default. If the audience can easily identify the special meaning that he attaches to the word, and the special meaning is not very far from the original, then it is also likely that the original meaning is still the default, but the audience learns that the word has now acquired a new possible meaning. For example, if a Christian does not have any siblings, his use of the vocative "brother" or "sister" is confined to the ones whom he considers "fellow believers", but it does not mean that he is not perfectly aware of the normal usage.
I would disagree with your first statement here: a person who uses a word almost always with a particular way sets up a default position, which requires that one find some reason not to read the word in its default sense. If I generally used the word "gay" to mean something other than its original meaning (still evinced in for example the Harry Belafonte song lyric "Down the way where the nights are gay") and people understand how I used the term, you'd have to show that I didn't mean what I normally meant. This is fairly basic. You will retain that original meaning and recognize it when other people use it, just as Paul's readers would retain the original meaning of αδελφος outside the conditioning of Paul's general usage.
I think you misunderstood me here also. I meant that if the special meaning is not far from the original, it is less likely to force people to attach a completely new understanding to the word but rather to simply extend their default understanding of the word to include the new meaning in some way. That is I think the way most people learn the meaning of "brother" among Christians for example. (I do not know anyone who attached the meaning of "fellow believer" to "brother" instead of just considering each other as family members.)

Also I would like to add that unless we have samples of Paul's daily usage of the word, it is difficult to tell what Paul's audience were "conditioned to understand" in totality because Paul's usage would be different in writing letters to Christians than in other situations, just as we use such words as "sincerely" differently in speech and in letters. Anyway hope you understand my view better now. :)
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Sean Ingham
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by Sean Ingham » August 5th, 2011, 3:30 am

David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:I concur with the factual content of what you've written, but there are two issues: the first being that the relationship between "X is [a] son of Y" and "X, the son of Y" is merely transformational and the distinction is not relevant to the discussion; the second is that I was not trying to make any general statement about the significance of "son", but rather that syntax does not override other linguistic indicators.
Unfortunately I would have to disagree with you because there are some cultures in which specific phrases like "X, son of Y," is not equivalent to "X is [a] son of Y". So I agree that syntax is not everything, but it may be in specific cases override all other meanings of the constituent words.
I did talk of relevance to the current discussion, but I'm interested to know if you are contending that some languages change the relationship between X, son and Y in using the specific phrases of the form "X, son of Y," as against those of the form "X is [a] son of Y".

One still has to find contextual evidence for overriding the default meaning of a word demonstratedly used by a writer.
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:James is not the only person called "the brother of the Lord", as 1 Cor 9:5 shows. There was a group, along with the apostles and Cephas, all important believers (who were allowed to be accompanied by a woman, suggesting their established value to the faith). So, the "title"--if that's what we should call it--is not "the fellow believer", for, as I've already pointed out, αδελφος unqualified would merely be a rank-and-file believer. The "title" would be the full phrase τον αδελφον του κυριου.

I'm pleased that you cite Rom 8:29 which is a strong indicator of my position regarding αδελφος, but please note that my presentation did not aim to provide my own translation of the noun as "fellow believer". I argued more that with the word αδελφος "he wasn't talking of a biological connection at all." Rom 8:29, which allows no scope for any biological significance, supports this observation. 1 Tim 5:1, part of a post-Pauline pastoral, certainly uses a family metaphor, but it is generally not thought to have been written by Paul, nor does it help us get to a biological connection.
I do not see how "αδελφην γυναικα περιαγειν" = "leading [a] sister [to be] [a] wife" suggests any importance... Anyway I do not think 1 Cor 9:5 can be used to support your position because it is of the same type as Gal 1:19. I think that "αδελφος" simply is considered a family member, not necessarily biologically close-related, just as in Lev 19:17, Deut 1:16, 15:1-12, 2 Sam 1:26, Jer 34:9, Mal 2:10. So my view is that Paul was simply considering all "fellow believers" as family members just as the children of Israel were supposed to consider all fellow Israelites as brothers. Therefore in the contexts which suggest biological relation, it is perfectly natural to me.
So we need the contextual evidence that suggests biological relation. We've seen that there is no necessary suggestion in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του κυριου. Would there be in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του θεου?
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:(One may in passing look at the theology here: just as Paul indicates that faith in Jesus supersedes acts of the law, so do members of the church supersede biological families.)
(Jews believe that all are descendents from Adam, therefore you could likewise claim that there was nothing wrong if all called one another "brother", even as some cultures still do today.)
(But they aren't literally "brothers", are they? We are dealing with another use of brother.)
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:Unless I misunderstand your logic, you have argued for a position that I would take, namely that the usage of αδελφος examined has lost its biological significance so essential for the common reading of Gal 1:19. You substitute biological connections with the notion that fellow believers somehow become real family. As I said, "he wasn't talking of a biological connection at all." This would be a significant semantic shift, if it represented Paul's usage.
Yep you misunderstood haha.. Previously some would only consider their immediate family as family, and some others would only consider members of their race as family. Paul considered all fellow believers as family, so "brother" was perfectly natural for him to use, regardless of direct biological relationship. In other words I was trying to say that we cannot conclude that Gal 1:19 is not using "αδελφος" with or without the meaning of a direct biological relationship.
I don't think this reflects Paul here. I have already pointed out that when talking with the Jews in Rom 9:3, Paul qualifies their brother status with κατα σαρκα, as he does with Abraham being his ancestor (Rom 4:1). He makes a clear distinction between flesh connections and his new brotherly connections. The former are κατα σαρκα.
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:a person who uses a word almost always with a particular way sets up a default position, which requires that one find some reason not to read the word in its default sense. If I generally used the word "gay" to mean something other than its original meaning (still evinced in for example the Harry Belafonte song lyric "Down the way where the nights are gay") and people understand how I used the term, you'd have to show that I didn't mean what I normally meant. This is fairly basic. You will retain that original meaning and recognize it when other people use it, just as Paul's readers would retain the original meaning of αδελφος outside the conditioning of Paul's general usage.
I think you misunderstood me here also. I meant that if the special meaning is not far from the original, it is less likely to force people to attach a completely new understanding to the word but rather to simply extend their default understanding of the word to include the new meaning in some way. That is I think the way most people learn the meaning of "brother" among Christians for example. (I do not know anyone who attached the meaning of "fellow believer" to "brother" instead of just considering each other as family members.)
What is important is the detachment of the biological connection from his use of αδελφος. The term in his usage no longer entailed it. To be members of his new family the necessary condition in the notion was the requisite belief. This is a redefinition of the term. Biology no longer counted.
David Lim wrote:Also I would like to add that unless we have samples of Paul's daily usage of the word, it is difficult to tell what Paul's audience were "conditioned to understand" in totality because Paul's usage would be different in writing letters to Christians than in other situations, just as we use such words as "sincerely" differently in speech and in letters. Anyway hope you understand my view better now. :)
We have the only thing available, his letters, in which he has regular usages and makes specific distinctions. The reader in trying to understand what a letter means deals with what is written and any ulterior information we are not privy to. We have to decide just from what he writes. That shows us to the best of our knowledge how he uses his words. Paul indicates biology κατα σαρκα and he indicates brothers not implying biology.

Our examination of Gal 1:19 finds no biological marker. We've seen that claimed grammatical context is inconclusive in leading to the status quo analysis. Why can't one, without any forcedness, read Gal 1:19 as indicating that James was an honoured member of the faith?
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David Lim
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by David Lim » August 5th, 2011, 11:54 am

Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:I concur with the factual content of what you've written, but there are two issues: the first being that the relationship between "X is [a] son of Y" and "X, the son of Y" is merely transformational and the distinction is not relevant to the discussion; the second is that I was not trying to make any general statement about the significance of "son", but rather that syntax does not override other linguistic indicators.
Unfortunately I would have to disagree with you because there are some cultures in which specific phrases like "X, son of Y," is not equivalent to "X is [a] son of Y". So I agree that syntax is not everything, but it may be in specific cases override all other meanings of the constituent words.
I did talk of relevance to the current discussion, but I'm interested to know if you are contending that some languages change the relationship between X, son and Y in using the specific phrases of the form "X, son of Y," as against those of the form "X is [a] son of Y".
Some asian cultures use "X, son of Y," to specify people's names especially since many of them do not have surnames. So in those cases it cannot be affirmed that "X, son of Y," is directly equivalent to "X is [a] son of Y" simply because people are used to hearing or reading that particular construction used for names.
Sean Ingham wrote:One still has to find contextual evidence for overriding the default meaning of a word demonstratedly used by a writer.
Agreed, but that depends subjectively on what we consider "demonstrably". I would not consider anything less than a few hundred instances as sufficient, for the reason that our usage of any word varies a great deal across our daily communication as well as across the type of communication. Letters to fellow believers cannot count as a sufficiently balanced corpus of an author's usage of a word.
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:James is not the only person called "the brother of the Lord", as 1 Cor 9:5 shows. There was a group, along with the apostles and Cephas, all important believers (who were allowed to be accompanied by a woman, suggesting their established value to the faith). So, the "title"--if that's what we should call it--is not "the fellow believer", for, as I've already pointed out, αδελφος unqualified would merely be a rank-and-file believer. The "title" would be the full phrase τον αδελφον του κυριου.

I'm pleased that you cite Rom 8:29 which is a strong indicator of my position regarding αδελφος, but please note that my presentation did not aim to provide my own translation of the noun as "fellow believer". I argued more that with the word αδελφος "he wasn't talking of a biological connection at all." Rom 8:29, which allows no scope for any biological significance, supports this observation. 1 Tim 5:1, part of a post-Pauline pastoral, certainly uses a family metaphor, but it is generally not thought to have been written by Paul, nor does it help us get to a biological connection.
I do not see how "αδελφην γυναικα περιαγειν" = "leading [a] sister [to be] [a] wife" suggests any importance... Anyway I do not think 1 Cor 9:5 can be used to support your position because it is of the same type as Gal 1:19. I think that "αδελφος" simply is considered a family member, not necessarily biologically close-related, just as in Lev 19:17, Deut 1:16, 15:1-12, 2 Sam 1:26, Jer 34:9, Mal 2:10. So my view is that Paul was simply considering all "fellow believers" as family members just as the children of Israel were supposed to consider all fellow Israelites as brothers. Therefore in the contexts which suggest biological relation, it is perfectly natural to me.
So we need the contextual evidence that suggests biological relation. We've seen that there is no necessary suggestion in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του κυριου. Would there be in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του θεου?
In my opinion, yes, because of two reasons:
(1) The article causes "τον αδελφον του κυριου" to refer to a specific individual who is either described as "αδελφον του κυριου" or well-known by that description. The first is more likely because nowhere else in the new testament do we see "τον αδελφον του κυριου" being a well-known person's title.
(2) Jewish culture has precisely such a Hebrew construction used in names, so as I mentioned above Jews would most likely consider the whole clause "ιακωβον τον αδελφον του κυριου" as description of a person similar to a name.
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:(One may in passing look at the theology here: just as Paul indicates that faith in Jesus supersedes acts of the law, so do members of the church supersede biological families.)
(Jews believe that all are descendents from Adam, therefore you could likewise claim that there was nothing wrong if all called one another "brother", even as some cultures still do today.)
(But they aren't literally "brothers", are they? We are dealing with another use of brother.)
(To them, and to me, it is literal, because they do not view "brother" as biology today may view it "biologically".. And I had always taken it literally in the sense of "family member".)
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:Yep you misunderstood haha.. Previously some would only consider their immediate family as family, and some others would only consider members of their race as family. Paul considered all fellow believers as family, so "brother" was perfectly natural for him to use, regardless of direct biological relationship. In other words I was trying to say that we cannot conclude that Gal 1:19 is not using "αδελφος" with or without the meaning of a direct biological relationship.
I don't think this reflects Paul here. I have already pointed out that when talking with the Jews in Rom 9:3, Paul qualifies their brother status with κατα σαρκα, as he does with Abraham being his ancestor (Rom 4:1). He makes a clear distinction between flesh connections and his new brotherly connections. The former are κατα σαρκα.
I believe your viewpoint rests on the interpretation of "κατα σαρκα". However I do not believe absence of this phrase is sufficient evidence for any specific meaning. Clearly its presence denotes a relationship in the flesh, but its absence does not denote a relationship that is not in the flesh. Just as we sometimes qualify what we are saying by adding words or phrases but do not always dogmatically do so, so also we cannot conclude from the absence of qualifying clauses that something different is meant.
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:I think you misunderstood me here also. I meant that if the special meaning is not far from the original, it is less likely to force people to attach a completely new understanding to the word but rather to simply extend their default understanding of the word to include the new meaning in some way. That is I think the way most people learn the meaning of "brother" among Christians for example. (I do not know anyone who attached the meaning of "fellow believer" to "brother" instead of just considering each other as family members.)
What is important is the detachment of the biological connection from his use of αδελφος. The term in his usage no longer entailed it. To be members of his new family the necessary condition in the notion was the requisite belief. This is a redefinition of the term. Biology no longer counted.
I definitely agree that to be a member in what Paul considers his true family one had to be "begotten of promise" which has nothing to do with biology, but unless the whole community in which he was in also used "αδελφος" solely to refer to fellow believers, I do not think it is possible for him to completely detach the original meaning of "family member" from the word. I never claimed that "biology" counted, if you refer to all that I had said. Rather, I said "αδελφος" probably just means "family member" who is by default male, as evidenced in Lev 19:17, Deut 1:16, 15:1-12, 2 Sam 1:26, Jer 34:9, Mal 2:10 long before Christ.
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:Also I would like to add that unless we have samples of Paul's daily usage of the word, it is difficult to tell what Paul's audience were "conditioned to understand" in totality because Paul's usage would be different in writing letters to Christians than in other situations, just as we use such words as "sincerely" differently in speech and in letters. Anyway hope you understand my view better now. :)
We have the only thing available, his letters, in which he has regular usages and makes specific distinctions. The reader in trying to understand what a letter means deals with what is written and any ulterior information we are not privy to. We have to decide just from what he writes. That shows us to the best of our knowledge how he uses his words. Paul indicates biology κατα σαρκα and he indicates brothers not implying biology.

Our examination of Gal 1:19 finds no biological marker. We've seen that claimed grammatical context is inconclusive in leading to the status quo analysis. Why can't one, without any forcedness, read Gal 1:19 as indicating that James was an honoured member of the faith?
Unfortunately I cannot, as I do not agree that the grammatical syntax is inconclusive, as I mentioned above. Anyway, I believe that if we simply take the Jewish notion of every Israelite being a "brother", it to me fits perfectly in all instances. See Rom 9:6, in which the same word "Israel" is used to refer to two different "Israels", "Israel according to the flesh" and "the true Israel". So also I believe "αδελφος" can easily refer to "brother according to one's family" if the context permits.
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Sean Ingham
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by Sean Ingham » August 5th, 2011, 4:47 pm

David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:Unfortunately I would have to disagree with you because there are some cultures in which specific phrases like "X, son of Y," is not equivalent to "X is [a] son of Y". So I agree that syntax is not everything, but it may be in specific cases override all other meanings of the constituent words.
I did talk of relevance to the current discussion, but I'm interested to know if you are contending that some languages change the relationship between X, son and Y in using the specific phrases of the form "X, son of Y," as against those of the form "X is [a] son of Y".
Some asian cultures use "X, son of Y," to specify people's names especially since many of them do not have surnames. So in those cases it cannot be affirmed that "X, son of Y," is directly equivalent to "X is [a] son of Y" simply because people are used to hearing or reading that particular construction used for names.
This does not indicate any change in the relationship between X, son and Y.

1. Christians are the children of God.
2. Christians live among non-believers.
3. Christians, the children of God, live among non-believers.

Would "Christians", "children" and "God" not function the same way together and bear the same substantive implications in both #1 and #3 in the languages you refer to?

I think this is all somewhat moot now if we consider 1 Cor 9:5, οι αδελφοι του κυριου. There is no X-factor. It is merely the plural form of the qualifier in Gal 1:19, which precludes the separation you are trying to make here.
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:One still has to find contextual evidence for overriding the default meaning of a word demonstratedly used by a writer.
Agreed, but that depends subjectively on what we consider "demonstrably". I would not consider anything less than a few hundred instances as sufficient, for the reason that our usage of any word varies a great deal across our daily communication as well as across the type of communication. Letters to fellow believers cannot count as a sufficiently balanced corpus of an author's usage of a word.
But it is all we have. You can't talk about what you have no information for. You can talk about what the language in the letters show. And that is all we are doing. It is from that language that I have argued that it is a misreading to consider any implication of biology in the fact that James is defined as τον αδελφον του κυριου, when Paul strongly points to a "spiritual" relationship implied in the notion of αδελφος.
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:I do not see how "αδελφην γυναικα περιαγειν" = "leading [a] sister [to be] [a] wife" suggests any importance... Anyway I do not think 1 Cor 9:5 can be used to support your position because it is of the same type as Gal 1:19. I think that "αδελφος" simply is considered a family member, not necessarily biologically close-related, just as in Lev 19:17, Deut 1:16, 15:1-12, 2 Sam 1:26, Jer 34:9, Mal 2:10. So my view is that Paul was simply considering all "fellow believers" as family members just as the children of Israel were supposed to consider all fellow Israelites as brothers. Therefore in the contexts which suggest biological relation, it is perfectly natural to me.
So we need the contextual evidence that suggests biological relation. We've seen that there is no necessary suggestion in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του κυριου. Would there be in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του θεου?
In my opinion, yes, because of two reasons:
(1) The article causes "τον αδελφον του κυριου" to refer to a specific individual who is either described as "αδελφον του κυριου" or well-known by that description. The first is more likely because nowhere else in the new testament do we see "τον αδελφον του κυριου" being a well-known person's title.
(2) Jewish culture has precisely such a Hebrew construction used in names, so as I mentioned above Jews would most likely consider the whole clause "ιακωβον τον αδελφον του κυριου" as description of a person similar to a name.
If you'll note, I asked a different question: "Would there be [a suggestion of biological relation] in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του θεου?" I asked this because I think there is the assumption that του κυριου does not imply God, but Jesus.
spi: (One may in passing look at the theology here: just as Paul indicates that faith in Jesus supersedes acts of the law, so do members of the church supersede biological families.)

dl: (Jews believe that all are descendents from Adam, therefore you could likewise claim that there was nothing wrong if all called one another "brother", even as some cultures still do today.)

spi: (But they aren't literally "brothers", are they? We are dealing with another use of brother.)

dl: (To them, and to me, it is literal, because they do not view "brother" as biology today may view it "biologically".. And I had always taken it literally in the sense of "family member".)
(You'd expect more adoptions to appear in the genealogies. Can you find any?)
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:Yep you misunderstood haha.. Previously some would only consider their immediate family as family, and some others would only consider members of their race as family. Paul considered all fellow believers as family, so "brother" was perfectly natural for him to use, regardless of direct biological relationship. In other words I was trying to say that we cannot conclude that Gal 1:19 is not using "αδελφος" with or without the meaning of a direct biological relationship.
I don't think this reflects Paul here. I have already pointed out that when talking with the Jews in Rom 9:3, Paul qualifies their brother status with κατα σαρκα, as he does with Abraham being his ancestor (Rom 4:1). He makes a clear distinction between flesh connections and his new brotherly connections. The former are κατα σαρκα.
I believe your viewpoint rests on the interpretation of "κατα σαρκα". However I do not believe absence of this phrase is sufficient evidence for any specific meaning. Clearly its presence denotes a relationship in the flesh, but its absence does not denote a relationship that is not in the flesh. Just as we sometimes qualify what we are saying by adding words or phrases but do not always dogmatically do so, so also we cannot conclude from the absence of qualifying clauses that something different is meant.
We have a track record in favour of the use of κατα σαρκα to indicate fleshly ties. We don't have clear evidence for a habit of talking about blood relations without it.
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:I think you misunderstood me here also. I meant that if the special meaning is not far from the original, it is less likely to force people to attach a completely new understanding to the word but rather to simply extend their default understanding of the word to include the new meaning in some way. That is I think the way most people learn the meaning of "brother" among Christians for example. (I do not know anyone who attached the meaning of "fellow believer" to "brother" instead of just considering each other as family members.)
What is important is the detachment of the biological connection from his use of αδελφος. The term in his usage no longer entailed it. To be members of his new family the necessary condition in the notion was the requisite belief. This is a redefinition of the term. Biology no longer counted.
I definitely agree that to be a member in what Paul considers his true family one had to be "begotten of promise" which has nothing to do with biology, but unless the whole community in which he was in also used "αδελφος" solely to refer to fellow believers, I do not think it is possible for him to completely detach the original meaning of "family member" from the word. I never claimed that "biology" counted, if you refer to all that I had said. Rather, I said "αδελφος" probably just means "family member" who is by default male, as evidenced in Lev 19:17, Deut 1:16, 15:1-12, 2 Sam 1:26, Jer 34:9, Mal 2:10 long before Christ.
This doesn't consider a distinction that you yourself bring up later from Rom 9:8: "the children of the flesh" (τα τεκνα της σαρκος) and "the children of the promise". Paul clearly makes the distinction between biology and a more significant "family" linkage. In so doing he is denying the validity of biology while demonstrating that it is entailed in the original notion. He is espousing a paradigm shift from the flesh as the marker of descent from Abraham to those "begotten of promise". It is a general kind of adoption through faith, but adoption implies a shifting paradigm.

When Onan refused Tamar it was because he knew that any children he sired would not belong to him by law. This works on the notion that it was normal that children one sired were of your own family, ie blood was the prime indicator, though adoption could make one like a blood member.
David Lim wrote:
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:Also I would like to add that unless we have samples of Paul's daily usage of the word, it is difficult to tell what Paul's audience were "conditioned to understand" in totality because Paul's usage would be different in writing letters to Christians than in other situations, just as we use such words as "sincerely" differently in speech and in letters. Anyway hope you understand my view better now. :)
We have the only thing available, his letters, in which he has regular usages and makes specific distinctions. The reader in trying to understand what a letter means deals with what is written and any ulterior information we are not privy to. We have to decide just from what he writes. That shows us to the best of our knowledge how he uses his words. Paul indicates biology κατα σαρκα and he indicates brothers not implying biology.

Our examination of Gal 1:19 finds no biological marker. We've seen that claimed grammatical context is inconclusive in leading to the status quo analysis. Why can't one, without any forcedness, read Gal 1:19 as indicating that James was an honoured member of the faith?
Unfortunately I cannot, as I do not agree that the grammatical syntax is inconclusive, as I mentioned above. Anyway, I believe that if we simply take the Jewish notion of every Israelite being a "brother", it to me fits perfectly in all instances. See Rom 9:6, in which the same word "Israel" is used to refer to two different "Israels", "Israel according to the flesh" and "the true Israel". So also I believe "αδελφος" can easily refer to "brother according to one's family" if the context permits.
The Jewish notion of every Israelite being a "brother" is merely a different usage of "brother". Consider how unsuccessful it would be in shedding light on the significance of 2 Sam 3:30 ("So Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon"). That verse refers to brothers as Paul would qualify κατα σαρκα, as the oldspeak descendants of Abraham were κατα σαρκα. The same distinction Paul clearly makes between two different "Israels", he also implies with αδελφος, with the same contextual distinction, των αδελφων μου των συγγενων μου κατα σαρκα (Rom 9:3). He cannot make the separation more clearly than in Rom 9:8, τα τεκνα της σαρκος versus τα τεκνα της επαγγελιας. Paul's αδελφοι are all της επαγγελιας and doesn't need to qualify them. The problem comes when dealing with fleshly links once he uses αδελφος as he does. I can accept that "αδελφος" can easily refer to "brother according to one's family" if the context permits, though I don't think the context points to the traditional notion of family here. Consider (οι χριστιανοι) τα τεκνα του κυριου or τα τεκνα του θεου.

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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by David Lim » August 6th, 2011, 4:51 am

(Hopefully we are not over-discussing this topic...)
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:Some asian cultures use "X, son of Y," to specify people's names especially since many of them do not have surnames. So in those cases it cannot be affirmed that "X, son of Y," is directly equivalent to "X is [a] son of Y" simply because people are used to hearing or reading that particular construction used for names.
This does not indicate any change in the relationship between X, son and Y.

1. Christians are the children of God.
2. Christians live among non-believers.
3. Christians, the children of God, live among non-believers.

Would "Christians", "children" and "God" not function the same way together and bear the same substantive implications in both #1 and #3 in the languages you refer to?
Well I do not think your example is valid because "children of God" naturally excludes relationship in flesh, which is what I meant by the context excluding unlikely possibilities. That does not necessarily occur with "son of Y" where "Y" is a human.
Sean Ingham wrote:I think this is all somewhat moot now if we consider 1 Cor 9:5, οι αδελφοι του κυριου. There is no X-factor. It is merely the plural form of the qualifier in Gal 1:19, which precludes the separation you are trying to make here.
I was not trying to say anything based on the difference between "X, son of Y," and "X is [a] son of Y", but because you said:
Sean Ingham wrote:In the opening post, it was suggested that the Cartesian formula, 'X, the brother of Y', had sufficient weight such that, a priori, whatever Paul generally means by the noun, in the stricture of the formula, it must mean "brother". This is an assertion, rather than evidence. In discussion elsewhere it was suggested that "proximate literature" uses αδελφος this way when in the formula, 'X, the brother of Y', so this is a sufficient indicator as to what Paul means. But how many of Paul's contemporaries can we find who actually use αδελφος regularly as Paul does? Knowing this would help construct useful contextualization for applying the formula. If such a shift can be regularly shown elsewhere from this Pauline type usage to the common meaning of the noun when in the formula 'X, the brother of Y', then it should be considered with Paul. However, an analogous a priori rule, 'X, the son of Y' means biological son, fails in the situation of "son of God". In Wisdom 2:18 the writer says,

ει γαρ εστιν ο δικαιος υιος θεου αντιλημψεται αυτου και ρυσεται αυτον εκ χειρος ανθεστηκοτων
for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him, and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries

X = ο δικαιος
Y = θεος

I doubt that anyone would want to claim that the righteous man is actually the biological son of God.
.. I was just trying to point out that it may not be a valid example of that "analogous rule". Anyway, as you said, 1 Cor 9:5 has merely the plural form of that which is found in Gal 1:19, so it does not count as evidence for understanding Gal 1:19.
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:Agreed, but that depends subjectively on what we consider "demonstrably". I would not consider anything less than a few hundred instances as sufficient, for the reason that our usage of any word varies a great deal across our daily communication as well as across the type of communication. Letters to fellow believers cannot count as a sufficiently balanced corpus of an author's usage of a word.
But it is all we have. You can't talk about what you have no information for. You can talk about what the language in the letters show. And that is all we are doing. It is from that language that I have argued that it is a misreading to consider any implication of biology in the fact that James is defined as τον αδελφον του κυριου, when Paul strongly points to a "spiritual" relationship implied in the notion of αδελφος.
Because we have too little, I would think that we cannot make reliable conclusions about Paul's usage. I definitely agree that he uses "αδελφος" often to refer to fellow believers, but I do not think we have sufficient evidence to exclude any other meaning from Paul's understanding of the word. Therefore we also have to look at the other writings in the same period because Paul is communicating through his letters with other people who will understand the word in ways evidenced by their own writings. The more peculiar the language Paul uses is to himself, the more misunderstood he would be.
Sean Ingham wrote:[[David Lim]]
I do not see how "αδελφην γυναικα περιαγειν" = "leading [a] sister [to be] [a] wife" suggests any importance... Anyway I do not think 1 Cor 9:5 can be used to support your position because it is of the same type as Gal 1:19. I think that "αδελφος" simply is considered a family member, not necessarily biologically close-related, just as in Lev 19:17, Deut 1:16, 15:1-12, 2 Sam 1:26, Jer 34:9, Mal 2:10. So my view is that Paul was simply considering all "fellow believers" as family members just as the children of Israel were supposed to consider all fellow Israelites as brothers. Therefore in the contexts which suggest biological relation, it is perfectly natural to me.

[[Sean Ingham]]
So we need the contextual evidence that suggests biological relation. We've seen that there is no necessary suggestion in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του κυριου. Would there be in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του θεου?

[[David Lim]]
In my opinion, yes, because of two reasons:
(1) The article causes "τον αδελφον του κυριου" to refer to a specific individual who is either described as "αδελφον του κυριου" or well-known by that description. The first is more likely because nowhere else in the new testament do we see "τον αδελφον του κυριου" being a well-known person's title.
(2) Jewish culture has precisely such a Hebrew construction used in names, so as I mentioned above Jews would most likely consider the whole clause "ιακωβον τον αδελφον του κυριου" as description of a person similar to a name.

[[Sean Ingham]]
If you'll note, I asked a different question: "Would there be [a suggestion of biological relation] in Ιακωβον τον αδελφον του θεου?" I asked this because I think there is the assumption that του κυριου does not imply God, but Jesus.
I noted that, but if "κυριου" does not imply "θεου", then changing the word would change the whole question, and the answer to the changed question is irrelevant to the original question because of the different resulting context. (And that would be beyond B-Greek already.)
Sean Ingham wrote:
spi: (One may in passing look at the theology here: just as Paul indicates that faith in Jesus supersedes acts of the law, so do members of the church supersede biological families.)

dl: (Jews believe that all are descendents from Adam, therefore you could likewise claim that there was nothing wrong if all called one another "brother", even as some cultures still do today.)

spi: (But they aren't literally "brothers", are they? We are dealing with another use of brother.)

dl: (To them, and to me, it is literal, because they do not view "brother" as biology today may view it "biologically".. And I had always taken it literally in the sense of "family member".)
(You'd expect more adoptions to appear in the genealogies. Can you find any?)
Sorry I do not understand what you are trying to say. However I can say that from my viewpoint there was no "adoption" because every one was either an Israelite, a brother, or a non-Israelite, a foreigner. The verses from the old testament that I mentioned clearly identify each Israelite as a brother (of any Israelite).
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:I believe your viewpoint rests on the interpretation of "κατα σαρκα". However I do not believe absence of this phrase is sufficient evidence for any specific meaning. Clearly its presence denotes a relationship in the flesh, but its absence does not denote a relationship that is not in the flesh. Just as we sometimes qualify what we are saying by adding words or phrases but do not always dogmatically do so, so also we cannot conclude from the absence of qualifying clauses that something different is meant.
We have a track record in favour of the use of κατα σαρκα to indicate fleshly ties. We don't have clear evidence for a habit of talking about blood relations without it.
The clear (in my opinion) evidence comes from the rest of the new testament. You however restrict your evidence to the small corpus of what you consider Paul's writings, so your conclusion may be valid based on your sample but may not be precise because the margin of error is large. My conclusion is likewise valid based on my sample and is more precise but is in your opinion not applicable to Paul. I think we probably will not agree then, so let each choose his own sample and thus conclusion. :)
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:I definitely agree that to be a member in what Paul considers his true family one had to be "begotten of promise" which has nothing to do with biology, but unless the whole community in which he was in also used "αδελφος" solely to refer to fellow believers, I do not think it is possible for him to completely detach the original meaning of "family member" from the word. I never claimed that "biology" counted, if you refer to all that I had said. Rather, I said "αδελφος" probably just means "family member" who is by default male, as evidenced in Lev 19:17, Deut 1:16, 15:1-12, 2 Sam 1:26, Jer 34:9, Mal 2:10 long before Christ.
This doesn't consider a distinction that you yourself bring up later from Rom 9:8: "the children of the flesh" (τα τεκνα της σαρκος) and "the children of the promise". Paul clearly makes the distinction between biology and a more significant "family" linkage. In so doing he is denying the validity of biology while demonstrating that it is entailed in the original notion. He is espousing a paradigm shift from the flesh as the marker of descent from Abraham to those "begotten of promise". It is a general kind of adoption through faith, but adoption implies a shifting paradigm.

When Onan refused Tamar it was because he knew that any children he sired would not belong to him by law. This works on the notion that it was normal that children one sired were of your own family, ie blood was the prime indicator, though adoption could make one like a blood member.
In the example you cite, the situation resulted because of the law, and therefore "physical fathering" was not the indicator that Israel lived according to. I cannot see any evidence that the Israelites had only "biology" in mind when calling people "brother" or "son".
Sean Ingham wrote:
David Lim wrote:I believe that if we simply take the Jewish notion of every Israelite being a "brother", it to me fits perfectly in all instances. See Rom 9:6, in which the same word "Israel" is used to refer to two different "Israels", "Israel according to the flesh" and "the true Israel". So also I believe "αδελφος" can easily refer to "brother according to one's family" if the context permits.
The Jewish notion of every Israelite being a "brother" is merely a different usage of "brother". Consider how unsuccessful it would be in shedding light on the significance of 2 Sam 3:30 ("So Joab and his brother Abishai murdered Abner because he had killed their brother Asahel in the battle at Gibeon"). That verse refers to brothers as Paul would qualify κατα σαρκα, as the oldspeak descendants of Abraham were κατα σαρκα. The same distinction Paul clearly makes between two different "Israels", he also implies with αδελφος, with the same contextual distinction, των αδελφων μου των συγγενων μου κατα σαρκα (Rom 9:3). He cannot make the separation more clearly than in Rom 9:8, τα τεκνα της σαρκος versus τα τεκνα της επαγγελιας. Paul's αδελφοι are all της επαγγελιας and doesn't need to qualify them. The problem comes when dealing with fleshly links once he uses αδελφος as he does. I can accept that "αδελφος" can easily refer to "brother according to one's family" if the context permits, though I don't think the context points to the traditional notion of family here. Consider (οι χριστιανοι) τα τεκνα του κυριου or τα τεκνα του θεου.
My point in mentioning the Jewish notion of every Israelite being a "brother" is to show that there was already a well-established use of "brother" referring to "family member", normally in the "immediate family" but sometimes in the "true family". It is easily the same use that Paul had, only that Paul in his letters to fellow believers obviously used "brother" more for "true family". Also the fact that Paul used "ου παντες οι εξ ισραηλ ουτοι ισραηλ" in Rom 9:6 without using any qualifying "κατα σαρκα" for the first "ισραηλ" shows that he did not dogmatically qualify every word that he used, so likewise the unqualified nouns in Gal 1:19 and 1 Cor 9:5 do not imply something different from "brother according to flesh", just as the first "ισραηλ" in Rom 9:6 does not imply something different from "τον ισραηλ κατα σαρκα" in 1 Cor 10:18.
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by Jason Hare » August 6th, 2011, 7:51 am

It really is a strange conversion. I mean, the Gospels state clearly that Jesus had brothers (Matthew 12:46; 13:55; Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19; John 7:3).

It's clear that ἀδελφός has a few different meanings, as does brother in English. However, the appearance with the name of James is peculiar. It would be natural for Paul to write ὁ ἀδελφὸς ἡμῶν (τὸν ἀδελφὸν ἡμῶν) if he was just referring to him as a brother in the faith. He does this with other people on occasion, such as Timothy. He doesn't say "our brother" here, though, but rather "the lord's brother" (in accusative) τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου (Gal. 1:19).

I think that makes it particularly poignant and separates it as a class from "brothers and sisters" (ἀδελφοί) in general and more specifically "our brothers and sisters" (ἀδελφοὶ ἡμῶν) — which are phrases used to refer to those of the same faith group.

It's with the introduction of the genitive τοῦ κυρίου that this discussion takes a shift, since no one else is referred to directly as a "brother of the lord" except those who were mentioned in Matthew 13:55 (οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωσὴφ καὶ Σίμων καὶ Ἰούδας). It's generally assumed, in fact, that the author of the Epistle of Jude was another of Jesus' brothers.

There's a class distinction among the early followers. We see that there were the "disciples" and the "brothers of the lord," which surely refers to those among Jesus' brothers who came to believe in his claims to messiahship.

John 2:12
Μετὰ τοῦτο κατέβη εἰς Καφαρναοὺμ αὐτὸς καὶ ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ [αὐτοῦ] καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐκεῖ ἔμειναν οὐ πολλὰς ἡμέρας.
After this he went down to Capernaum, himself and his bother and [his] brothers and his disciples, and there they remained not many days.

Once you add a person into the equation, I think it shifts the meaning to biological family. For instance, when it speaks of Simon Peter and Andrew, it says that one was the brother of the other (e.g., Matthew 4:18; John 6:8). Should I just think that they were "close" in some way, or should it be established that they were brothers? Or, would you argue that people at that time gave up familial ties and just used the word "brother" without any physical connection?

There must be some reason why James was given the designation "the lord's brother" rather than "our brother" or "the brother," which would both naturally lend themselves to religious affiliation. Given that Jesus had, according to the Gospels, a brother named James, I'm very easily inclined to interpret it just as it says — that this James of whom Paul wrote was purported to be the physical brother of Jesus. I really cannot see the justification for contention here.
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by Jason Hare » August 6th, 2011, 8:20 am

The same arguments could be raised for all family ties, I guess. When we say "my son," it's natural for that to refer to our progeny, but it's not uncommon for it to refer to someone who is considered your inferior in a religious sense. "Father" is used of a priest; "son" of a parishioner; "mother" of a nun; etc.

Let's assume that instead of saying ἕτερον δὲ τῶν ἀποστόλων οὐκ εἶδον, εἰ μὴ Ἰάκωβον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου (but I saw none of the other apostles, except James, the Lord's brother), Paul wrote ἕτερον δὲ τῶν ἀποστόλων οὐκ εἶδον, εἰ μὴ Μαρίαν τὴν μητέρα τοῦ κυρίου, would we argue that "mother" is somehow symbolic?

It seems to me that the motivation for doing so must be theological. There's no reason to understand "the Lord's brother" as anything other than a brother, especially given that James was listed among this brothers and sisters in Matthew's Gospels, which was clearly speaking of family.

Perhaps this argument could be held over Jude 1, in which the meaning of ἀδελφὸς... Ἰακώβου might be construed to refer to someone who was of James' religious group in Jerusalem, rather than his physical brother. That would be entirely possible, since we are aware that James was a leader of the group in Jerusalem, and that sometimes those who came from Jerusalem were said to come "from James" (Gal. 2:12) even if they didn't come with James' authority or consent (Acts 15:24). So, whether or not the Jude who wrote the letter is the same as the Jude who was listed as a brother of Jesus could be incontention — especially since he didn't classify himself as a brother of Jesus in his letter, but rather as a Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος, ἀδελφὸς δὲ Ἰακώβου (servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James).
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by Sean Ingham » August 6th, 2011, 10:27 am

Jason Hare wrote:It really is a strange conversion. I mean, the Gospels state clearly that Jesus had brothers (Matthew 12:46; 13:55; Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19; John 7:3).
The phrase τον αδελφον του κυριου says nothing about Jesus. That's why it's strange.
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Re: Differentiating fictive and biological kinship

Post by Jason Hare » August 6th, 2011, 10:37 am

Sean Ingham wrote:
Jason Hare wrote:It really is a strange conversion. I mean, the Gospels state clearly that Jesus had brothers (Matthew 12:46; 13:55; Mark 3:31; Luke 8:19; John 7:3).
The phrase τον αδελφον του κυριου says nothing about Jesus. That's why it's strange.
You think it's strange that the NT would say κύριος instead of Ἰησοῦς? I just don't understand what the problem is here. I can't see what's causing the confusion.
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