Re: XRISTOS and other questions

From: Larry W. Hurtado (
Date: Tue Sep 12 1995 - 10:00:30 EDT

On Mon, 11 Sep 1995, Russell Williamson wrote:

> The recent discussion on the translation of XRISTOS and other Greek words
> which are of non-Hellenic origin sparks a very important question:
> How can a minister teach his congregation the richness of these ideas
> without casting doubts in the congregation's faithfulness concerning
> the Scriptures or without making his congregation feel ignorant or
> unable to know this richness of the Scriptures?

I'm not quite sure I catch the meaning of the lst part of the sentence.
How would helping people to see the historical richness behind the
biblical text "cast doubts in the congregation's faithfulness concerning
Scriptures"? As to the latter part of the question, I should think it's
all in the way it's done. I've seen half-educated ministers with a
smattering of Greek drop bits of (often misapprehended) grammatical or
semantic info in sermons where it was clear the main (though perhaps
unacknowledged) aim/result was the enhance the status ofthe speaker. BUt
I've also seen (and frequently done it!) historical and grammatical info
presented, both in sermons and in church classes, with grace and
simplicity (but accuracy), with the result that people got really turned
on the Bible in degrees not there before. Jesus, Paul, Jeremiah, etc.
"come alive" as real people, in real situations. And the historical
facticity of biblical revelation as come to us in real historical form
means that people *must* be reminded that the Bible was *not* written in
English, or in the 20th cent. or by westerners. The only scriptural
witness to revelation Christians have is a collection of documents
originally written in Hebrew (and a bit in Aramaic) and Koine Greek,
across several centuries, by near eastern folk, using their languages
just the way we use ours--shaped by contemporary usage. Anything that
can demystify the Bible, make it less "magic" and more the sacred
historical witness and revelation it really is, this can only benefit and
enrich Christian faith, and help it to become more authentic and less

P.S. I realize this is primarily a list to be devoted to the Greek Bible,
but the question seemed to deserve a reply.

Larry Hurtado, Religion, Univ. of

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