"upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

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Stephen Hughes
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 24th, 2017, 11:46 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 6:03 am
And then context, culture, history, and other things help guide our understanding of which possibilities are most likely.
Perhaps, theology (our own or Biblical) and belief (the Faith).
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 24th, 2017, 12:35 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 11:29 am
Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 6:01 am
I don't want this to get lost - Timothy is correct here, and this is the one direct response to the question in the OP.

ταυτη is not referring back to anything, it refers to πετρα. For WAYK folks, it's analogous to this dialogue:

τί ἐστιν τοῦτο;
αὕτη ἐστιν ἡ ἐπιστολή.
Jonathan, I question your assertation about it referring to πέτρα.

I think it agrees with πετρα in number, case and gender, when it functions syntactically here as a demonstrative adjective with πέτρα or in apposition to πέτρα. In your example, αὕτη is used syntactically as demonstrative pronoun referring back to what was before, viz. the thing that the questioner was gesturing towards. That is a good illustration of a different syntax.
I don't want to quibble too much about metalanguage, but I think the reference is semantic rather than syntactic. Syntactically, αὕτη ἐστιν ἡ ἐπιστολή or ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ does not necessarily imply a reference unless the context does.

If Jesus were pointing to a physical rock on the ground when he said ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ, nobody would ask what he was referring to by looking at what he had said previously. It's not the syntax. Which is why the syntax doesn't answer the question here.
Stephen Hughes wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 11:29 am
The demonstrative adjective in Matthew 16:18 lends its demonstrative force to πέτρα. In effect it is saying "there was a πέτρα just mentioned, and I'm gunna build my Church on it."
I don't think that's syntactic. When he says "on this rock", everyone thinks, "what rock?", and they have to think about what he just said to look for an answer. And ταύτῃ agrees with πέτρᾳ in the phrase ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ, it doesn't syntactically agree with whatever Jesus meant.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 24th, 2017, 12:39 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 11:46 am
Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 6:03 am
And then context, culture, history, and other things help guide our understanding of which possibilities are most likely.
Perhaps, theology (our own or Biblical) and belief (the Faith).
The syntax of English doesn't answer all questions we have about English texts. The syntax of Greek doesn't answer all questions we have about Greek texts. Human beings do interpret these texts differently, even when we have the same grasp of the language.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 24th, 2017, 1:09 pm

Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 12:35 pm
Syntactically, αὕτη ἐστιν ἡ ἐπιστολή or ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ does not necessarily imply a reference unless the context does.
I agree. I said the referent was found independent of the syntax. There is another level of understanding that shouldn't be ignored
Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 12:35 pm
If Jesus were pointing to a physical rock on the ground when he said ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ, nobody would ask what he was referring to by looking at what he had said previously.
Gesturing is a non-verbal communicative strategy. Any bodily movement made with the intent of conveying meaning is a speech act.

The point of my penultimate post was to point out the error in this statement:
Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 12:35 pm
ταυτη is not referring back to anything, it refers to πετρα.
It is incorrect. ταυτη doesn't refer to πετρα. It agrees with πετρα. (Agreement is a feature of syntax.) ταύτη ἡ πέτρα refers to something or somebody, which or who is either literally or metaphorically a rock.

To put it another way, without the ταύτη, we would not be wondering whether the rock was Jesus, Peter's confession or Peter himself (or any other tongue-in-cheek grammatically possible suggestions).
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by Jonathan Robie » October 24th, 2017, 1:15 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 1:09 pm
The point of my penultimate post was to point out the error in this statement:
Jonathan Robie wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 12:35 pm
ταυτη is not referring back to anything, it refers to πετρα.
It is incorrect. ταυτη doesn't refer to πετρα. It agrees with πετρα.
Yes, I used the wrong word.
Stephen Hughes wrote:
October 24th, 2017, 1:09 pm
(Agreement is a feature of syntax.) ταύτη ἡ πέτρα refers to something or somebody, which or who is either literally or metaphorically a rock.
Yup.
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PhillipLebsack
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by PhillipLebsack » July 12th, 2018, 8:42 am

Hi Jeffery.

I'm going to argue from the discourse analysis perspective here.

Reading the text here in English and even in the Greek with just a "translation" understanding can make the context appear to suggest that Jesus was referring to Peter here.

However, I would like to direct your attention to the word "και". "και" is often translated as "and", but this doesn't help you understand how "και" actually functions. The purpose of "και" is typically to equate two things that are different.

This is opposed to "τε" which is meant to equate two things that are viewed as the same or similar.

So, with this understanding, from the discourse analysis point of view, (if you strictly go by grammar and ignore the possibilities of stylistic choice by Matthew) "συ ει Πέτρος" and "επι ταυτη τη πέτρα οικοδομησω μου την εκκλησιαν" are meant to be two different things being equated, as demonstrated by the use of "και".

Therefore, it is likely Jesus is not referring to Peter, but instead "ταυτη τη πέτρα" is referring to something else. I'm not saying we can know this with 100% certainty. All i'm saying is that grammatically you can argue that "ταυτη τη πέτρα" does not refer to Peter.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 12th, 2018, 9:54 am

PhillipLebsack wrote:
July 12th, 2018, 8:42 am
Hi Jeffery.

I'm going to argue from the discourse analysis perspective here.

Reading the text here in English and even in the Greek with just a "translation" understanding can make the context appear to suggest that Jesus was referring to Peter here.

However, I would like to direct your attention to the word "και". "και" is often translated as "and", but this doesn't help you understand how "και" actually functions. The purpose of "και" is typically to equate two things that are different.

This is opposed to "τε" which is meant to equate two things that are viewed as the same or similar.

So, with this understanding, from the discourse analysis point of view, (if you strictly go by grammar and ignore the possibilities of stylistic choice by Matthew) "συ ει Πέτρος" and "επι ταυτη τη πέτρα οικοδομησω μου την εκκλησιαν" are meant to be two different things being equated, as demonstrated by the use of "και".

Therefore, it is likely Jesus is not referring to Peter, but instead "ταυτη τη πέτρα" is referring to something else. I'm not saying we can know this with 100% certainty. All i'm saying is that grammatically you can argue that "ταυτη τη πέτρα" does not refer to Peter.
κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

This is not a good argument on more than one level, but particularly here καί coordinates the clauses, not the nouns.

In other news, when connecting substantives, when are two items exactly the same? They may have the same referent, but they are certainly not the same. That καί can connect two nouns having the same referent is pretty easily demonstrated, e.g., τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, 2 Pet 1:11. Secondly, there is a great deal of overlap between τε and καί (!), ἐν ἀγάπῃ πνεύματί τε πραΰτητος (1 Cor 4:21), where καί could just as easily have been used. And let's not forget the combination τε καί... :)
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PhillipLebsack
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by PhillipLebsack » July 12th, 2018, 8:24 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
July 12th, 2018, 9:54 am

κἀγὼ δέ σοι λέγω ὅτι σὺ εἶ Πέτρος, καὶ ἐπὶ ταύτῃ τῇ πέτρᾳ οἰκοδομήσω μου τὴν ἐκκλησίαν καὶ πύλαι ᾅδου οὐ κατισχύσουσιν αὐτῆς.

This is not a good argument on more than one level, but particularly here καί coordinates the clauses, not the nouns.

In other news, when connecting substantives, when are two items exactly the same? They may have the same referent, but they are certainly not the same. That καί can connect two nouns having the same referent is pretty easily demonstrated, e.g., τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν καὶ σωτῆρος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, 2 Pet 1:11. Secondly, there is a great deal of overlap between τε and καί (!), ἐν ἀγάπῃ πνεύματί τε πραΰτητος (1 Cor 4:21), where καί could just as easily have been used. And let's not forget the combination τε καί... :)
This is not a good argument on more than one level
Back at ya.
particularly here καί coordinates the clauses, not the nouns.
Precisely. The clauses are being equated as two different things.
when connecting substantives, when are two items exactly the same?
I used italics for a reason. I was giving a simple explanation. Same does not by itself fully explain the concept. Which is also why I said, "viewed as" and "similar".

The reference to 2 Peter 1:11 you refer to is the Granville sharp construction. It is an exception to the rule. Even if it is not though, I said that my point in the comment was based on the assumption that the author was not utilizing stylistic choice, which could be the case here or anywhere.

I don't see how 1 Cor 4:21 challenges my point. πνεύματί and πραΰτητος are being equated as two things that are viewed as similar or the same types of things by Paul. That is the significance of τε!
where καί could just as easily have been used.
Precisely. It could have been used, but Paul instead chose to use τε to show that he viewed them as two things of the same type of things. Again, the grammatical and theological significance of τε.
And let's not forget the combination τε καί
There is no problem with my point here about καί and τε either. If τε and καί are used to together, it means the author is equating two things that are viewed both as the same types of things and different types of things.
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by Barry Hofstetter » July 13th, 2018, 6:42 am

Well, I see you've come a long way from the your "humble introduction," and since January 17th of this year you have become quite the expert. Wondering how much more of the NT than John and 1st John, Mark and Jude that you've read?

You have not, in fact, answered my arguments, you have only repeated your assertions in somewhat different words.

1) No, being part of a G-S construction is not an exception to the rule, but shows something of the usage of καί.

2) You really want to say that ἀγάπῃ and πνεύματί τε πραΰτητος are "similar or the same types of things?" In that case διδάσκειν καὶ κηρύσσειν (Matt 11:1) are similar or the same type of things, or even better, πᾶσαν νόσον καὶ πᾶσαν μαλακίαν (Matt 10:10), since νόσος and μαλακία are practical synonyms. In fact for 1 Cor 4:21 two distinctly different things are joined, they are not "the same thing" and do not share the same referent, and in the two examples I just cited, distinctly similar or the same things are joined. If you need another example with τε, consider Acts 23:10, ἁρπάσαι αὐτὸν ἐκ μέσου αὐτῶν ἄγειν τε εἰς τὴν παρεμβολήν. Do you want to argue that "taking him out of their midst" and "leading him to the camp" are "similar" or "the same thing?"

I would suggest at this point also that you avoid expressions like "back at ya" in discussions on this forum. They don't help your case at all. Citing the Greek and making your arguments are sufficient.
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Scott Lawson
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Re: "upon this rock" in Matthew 16:18

Post by Scott Lawson » July 16th, 2018, 6:00 pm

Here’s some historical background from Michael Heiser’s book THE UNSEEN REALM Recovering the supernatural worldview of the Bible Michael S. Heiser pgg 283-284.

Heiser offers an intriguing possibility for what the rock is. In short the rock is the geographical location, Mt. Hermon and the gates of hell are Bashan. Jesus is telegraphing a theological point by his words at Matthew 16:13-20:


“GROUND ZERO: The Gates of Hell The spiritual skirmishes against the powers of darkness are evident throughout Jesus’ ministry. One of the more dramatic is described in Matthew 16:13–20 . Jesus goes with his disciples to the district of Caesarea Philippi. On the way he asks the famous question, “Who do people say that I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus commends Peter: Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it ( Matt 16:17–18 ESV ). This passage is among the most controversial in the Bible, as it is a focal point of debate between Roman Catholics, who reference it to argue that the passage makes Peter the leader of the original church (and thus the first pope) and those who oppose that idea. There’s actually something much more cosmic going on here. The location of the incident—Caesarea Philippi—and the reference to the “gates of hell” provide the context for the “rock” of which Jesus is speaking. The location of Caesarea Philippi should be familiar from our earlier discussions about the wars against the giant clans. Caesarea Philippi is adjacent to the Pharpar River. Noting this geography, we can see exactly where Jesus was when he uttered the famous words about “this rock” and the “gates of hell” to Peter. Caesarea Philippi was located in the northern part of the Old Testament region of Bashan, the “place of the serpent,” at the foot of Mount Hermon. 10 Things hadn’t changed much by Jesus’ day, at least in terms of spiritual control. You may have noticed on these maps that Caesarea Philippi was also called “Panias.” The early church historian Eusebius notes: “Until today the mount in front of Panias and Lebanon is known as Hermon and it is respected by nations as a sanctuary. The site was famous in the ancient world as a center of the worship of Pan and for a temple to the high god Zeus, considered in Jesus’ day to be incarnate in Augustus Caesar. 12 As one authority notes: More than twenty temples have been surveyed on Mt. Hermon and its environs. This is an unprecedented number in comparison with other regions of the Phoenician coast. They appear to be the ancient cult sites of the Mt. Hermon population and represent the Canaanite/Phoenician concept of open-air cult centers dedicated, evidently, to the celestial gods. 13 The reference in the quotation to “celestial gods” takes our minds back to the “host of heaven,” the sons of God who were put in authority over the nations at Babel ( Deut 32:8–9 ) who were not to be worshiped by Israelites ( Deut 4:19–20 ; 17:3 ; 29:25 ). The basis for Catholicism’s contention that the Church is built on Peter’s leadership is that his name means “stone.” 14 For sure there is wordplay going on in Peter’s confession, but I would suggest there is also an important double entendre: the “rock” refers to the mountain location where Jesus makes the statement. When viewed from this perspective, Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, at “this rock” (this mountain Mount Hermon). Why? This place was considered the “gates of hell,” the gateway to the realm of the dead, in Old Testament times. 15 The theological messaging couldn’t be more dramatic. Jesus says he will build his church—and the “gates of hell” will not prevail against it. We often think of this phrase as though God’s people are in a posture of having to bravely fend off Satan and his demons. This simply isn’t correct. Gates are defensive structures, not offensive weapons. The kingdom of God is the aggressor. 16 Jesus begins at ground zero in the cosmic geography of both testaments to announce the great reversal. It is the gates of hell that are under assault and they will not hold up against the Church. Hell will one day be Satan’s tomb.”
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