From: Edgar M. Krentz (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Sep 04 1995 - 20:59:10 EDT
I have been reading what has been said about the synoptic apocalypse with
some interest--though not with the attention to detail that would have been
necessary to take a position in the discussion that has been going on.
Carl Conrad recently wrote:
>I would like to propose a discussion on the function of SHMEIA in the
>Synoptic Jesus-sayings--or, if there is a standard treatise on the subject
>(or 2 or 3 or more!), I'd be grateful to have it pointed out. I would be
>inclined to omit the Johannine SHMEIA, partly because it is generally
>thought (isn't it) that a distinct SHMEIA-source underlies the first half
>of John's gospel, but also because this is a matter of narrative rather
>than dominical sayings on the subject of SHMEIA. In part this is a
>follow-up to an off-list query from Larry Swain regarding the following
>part of an exchange between Jan Haugland and myself:
I think that the suggestion to study the term SHMEION in the Jesus logia in
the synoptic gospels that Carl Conrad makes is a good one, for a number of
1. The precise meaning of the term in Matt 24:30 (KAI TOTE FANHSETAI TO
SHMEION TOU jUIOU TOU ANQRWPOU EN OURANOU) is extremely interesting.
2. Carl proposes the study of a series of key passages in the synoptic
gospels. He suggests at least the following
>Mk 8:12: TI hH GENEA hAUTH ZHTEI SHMEION? AMHN LEGW hUMIN, EI DOQHSETAI THi
>ENEAi TAUTHi SHMEION, and what may be an alternative form of the same saying
>in >the Q tradition (or, if you prefer, in the shared tradition of Mt & Lk),
>as >found, e.g., in Mt 12:39-42, of which I cite only the beginning: GENEA
>PONHRA >KAI MOIXALIS SHMEION EPIZHTEI, KAI SHMEION OU DOQHSETAI
> AUTHi EI MH TO SHMEION IWNA TOU PROFHTOU. hWSPER GAR HN IWNAS EN THi
> KOILIAi TOU KHTOUS TREIS hHMERAS KAI TREIS NUKTAS. hOUTWS ESTAI hO
> TOU ANQRWPOOU EN THi KARDIAi THS GHS TREIS hHMERAS KAI TREIS NUKTAS.
3. I suggest that one should also pay attention to the last line of the
citation in Matt 24:29: KAIT hAI DUNAMEIS TWN OURANWN SALEUQHSONTAI. Just
what are these powers and how are they shaken? How does this relate to Lk
10:18? And how do these relate to the world view of Colossians 2?
>So my questions are: (1) Is there a bibliography on this subject already
>that one turn to for useful discussion of the matter? and/or (2) what do
>list-members think about these dominical sayings and the question of Jesus'
>own attitude toward SHMEIA (a) as valid indicators of the COMING, and (b)
>as validations of his mission?
I note that the Markan Jesus categorically refuses to give a sign. Jesus in
Lk 11:29-32 seems to say that the only sign that will be given is the
proclation that he gives, "something greater"! In Matt 12:39-42 Matt
expands this with the equivalent of a footnote, the reference to the
eschatological correlative between Jonah in the belly of the sea creature
and Jesus in the heart of the earth.
>I realize that my formulation of the second question betrays some
>skepticism about whether Jesus actually offered these SHMEIA as indicators
>of the end-time, but I don't really want to prejudice that question. It
>does seem to me than Jan is right in asserting that some of this is
>literary in inspiration and derives from older Biblical traditions. My
>question, then, is is it really MORE than literary in terms of Jesus'
>actual predictions of signs indicating the PAROUSIA?
>Now of course it may be felt that this inquiry is more historical than
>textual and therefore has no place in discussions on b-greek. I'd be
>grateful, however, even for discussion of the way in which SHMEION is being
>used in these sayings.
I think the question of the denotation and the connotation(s) of the term
SHMEION in the dominical saysings is well worth some attention.
I could provide some of my own answers to the above and some bibliography,
I think. But for the moment I prefer to see whether others share an
interest in the complex of questions that Carl raises.
Edgar Krentz <email@example.com>
New Testament, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Voice: 312-753-0752; FAX: 312-753-0782
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