Re: Mt 2:22-23/Herod's Sons: questions for this list?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Nov 03 1996 - 07:46:33 EST

At 4:18 PM -0600 11/2/96, Mr. Timothy T. Dickens wrote:
>Dear friends at the above scholarly list:
> This evening my question is two-fold: First, in Matthew's gospel we
>are told:
> 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place
>of his father Herod, hewas afraid to go there. Having been warned in a
>dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, 23and he went and lived in a
>town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets:
>"He will be called a Nazarene."
> Given the narrative in Matthew 2, it is understandable that Joseph
>was afraid of Herod: for he sought to kill Jesus. Why is it, however, that
>when Joseph returned to "the land of Israel" he was afraid to go into one
>region ruled by Archelaus (Herod's son), but not afraid to go into the
>realms of Galilee? Herod's other son, Herod Antipas, was ruling this area
>(or at least according to the Macmillan Bible Atlas). Joseph seems afraid of
>(divinely so v.22) one son of herod, but not another.
> My second question has to do with the proper term 'Bethlehem.' I
>found in the Macmillan Bible atlas that there are two Bethlehems. The first
>is found in Judah; the other is found near Galilee, near what the Hebrew
>Bible calls the tribe of Zebulun, bordering Asher. My question is, Does
>anyone know if the term "Bethlehem was still used for the portion of land
>near Galilee in Jesus' time?

Tim, I hope you will take the following in the right spirit. I think you
are going about your search for answers to particular quesions in a
scatter-cast, "all-points-bulletin" manner that is not unlikely to offend
some subscribers to several of these lists and to bore others. You are at
Columbia University in NYC where you have superb research tools: you might
ask the reference library for help in using them to your own better
advantage before putting questions like this to people who are genuinely
willing to help you but who expect you to do your own "homework" beyond the
research tools within your private library before you come to them.

The questions you pose in the message above, as well as your later one
about where to find the Gospel of Thomas in the larger corpus of Gnostic
writings, fall outside the ordinary scope of B-Greek, which ordinarily
deals with questions concerning the Greek text of the New Testament rather
than broader questions regarding NT data or early Christianity. There is
one web site devoted to extra-canonical texts, another to Gnostic texts in
general, and there are two concerned specifically with the Gospel of
Thomas; you'll find links to them on my New Testament page at my own web
site (under the heading, I think, of "extra-canonical texts." If, as you
say, you have a copy of Robinson's edition of the Nag Hammadi texts, I'm
somewhat surprised that you couldn't find the Gospel of Thomas in it.

These general information questions that you're asking, insofar as they
don't really have reference to the GREEK of the NT text, would be addressed
better to one of the topical lists such as Elenchus, Ioudaios-L, or even
the Bible list maintained at the same site as B-Greek

Upon checking your addressees, I see that you have,in fact, posted this
message to several lists; of those to whom you have posted it, I think
probably Ioudaios-L is the only one to which this question or the question
about the Gospel of Thomas is directly germane; the B-Hebrew list is
concerned with questions on the Hebrew text of the OT; the intro-Greek list
at Perseus may have subscribers interested in NT Greek, but I would expect
most of them are learning classical Attic Greek and are not directly
concerned with this sort of questions.

While it might be useful to post a listing of web sites devoted to topics
of interest to members of this list, I think it would probably be easier
for those who have web browsers to visit the web sites that can readily
lead to any information available on the net in this area. At my own site I
have cross-links to sites maintained by David Moore and Stephen Carlson,
each of whom has links to many of the same sites as I do and many others
besides those. I don't say that the information you're looking for isn't to
be found in the heads of many members of this list, but rather that this
isn't the most appropriate place to direct an inquiry that doesn't more
directly concern the Greek text.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:37:55 EDT