From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Feb 06 1997 - 09:31:08 EST
I fear that Jonathan opened a can of worms yesterday with the question of
whether GRAFAI in 2 Tim 3:16 can refer to writings other than "scriptures."
I had my doubts that it could, so did a quick check for forms of GRAFH in
UBS3 and found 49 instances, a quick (in retrospect, too quick a one) look
at which in context seemed to indicate that GRAFH in the NT normally DOES
mean "Scripture." This now leads, thanks to Fred Nofer's very interesting
post yesterday afternoon, to a broader consideration of what GRAFH may be
referring to in a couple passages he has indicated. All of this has a
bearing on the questions of the way we construe 2 Tim 3:15, whether GRAFAI
may refer to Christian writings, and questions of dating the pastoral
letters (and also 2 Peter).
This is, unfortunately, one of these issues where theological
presuppositions may very well incline people to different readings of the
probabilities, but the issue at stake here is not itself a theological one
but rather the meaning of the word GRAFH in the NT: it clearly refers quite
regularly to authoritative OT Scripture; does it ever refer to "writing" of
a secular sort? and does it ever refer to authoritative WRITTEN Christian
texts? Through a freak accident that I have described in embarrassing
detail previously, I've lost my BAGD. What does it say? Does it give any
guidance regarding the perhaps naive questions I raise below in response to
Fred Nofer's message?
At 5:03 PM -0600 2/5/97, H. Fred Nofer wrote:
>1. Is GRAFH used for NT canonical writings in the first few centuries? If
>so, what are the earliest instances of this usage?
>These are not extra-biblical citations, but would seem to support for
>your previous conclusions.
>Though the plural, GRAFAS, is used, it seems as though Peter is referring
>to some of Paul's writings, at least, as being Scripture in II Peter
This one really is very interesting; one has to look at it carefully to see
15 KAI THN TOU KURIOU hHMWN MAKROYUMIAN SWTHRIAN hHGEISQE, KAQWS KAI hO
AGAPHTOS hHMWN ADELFOS PAULOS KATA THN DOQEISAN AUTWi SOFIAN EGRAYEN hUMIN,
16 hWS KAI EN PASAIS EPISTOLAIS LALWN EN AUTAIS PERI TOUTWN, EN hAIS ESTIN
DUSNOHTA TINA, hA hOI AMAQEIS KAI ASTHRIKTOI STREBLOUSIN hWS TAS LOIPAS
GRAFAS PROS THN IDIAN AUTWN APWLEIAN.
15 refers to what is implicitly a whole collection of Pauline letters,
whichever ones of the canonical ones this may include, and then says that
some people twist their meaning "just as they do THE REMAINING "GRAFAS"
toward their own destruction. It certainly is clear that the LOIPAS implies
that the Pauline letters are deemed GRAFAI: does that have the sense
"scripture" here as it does in other places in the NT? Personally I think
one would have to doubt that if one really believes that Peter wrote this
letter--it seems highly improbable (to me at least) that the Pauline
letters would have been termed "scriptures" before the martyrdom of Peter.
Of course many (by which I certainly realize that "many" here is by no
means the majority) do hold that 2 Peter is the very latest of texts in the
NT canon and to be dated hardly earlier than the mid 2nd century. BUT, even
given that dating, which would be about the time of Marcion, would GRAFAI
be applied to the Pauline letters in the sense of "scripture"? OR would it
be preferable, even if one assumes the late dating, to see GRAFAS in this
instance meaning "writings" rather than "scriptures?" I don't know what to
think in this instance: even if GRAFAI does not mean "scriptures" in 2
Peter 3:16 but only "writings," the texts in question are clearly viewed as
authoritative works that are being interpreted in a distorted fashion by
interpreters roundly condemned by the writer.
>Also, in I Timothy 5:18, GRAFH is apparently used to refer to both Deut.
>25:4 and Luke 10:7.
This is a somewhat more complicated passage. Again let me cite it for
18 LEGEI GAR hH GRAFH, 'BOUN ALOWNTA OU FIMWSEIS,' KAI, 'AXIOS hO ERGATHS
TOU MISQOU AUTOU.'
The first citation is indeed from Deuteronomy 25:4, but the second is found
in Lk 10:7 and also in Mt 10:10 ("Q texts")--but it is also in the Didache
13:1-2, and Paul cites the Deuteronomy passage and appears to be referring
to the saying, "The worker deserves his pay" in 1 Cor 9:5-14. This is
pretty clearly a "Dominical saying"--one of the sayings of the Lord Jesus
that were transmitted in the oral tradition long before the first gospel
was put into writing; Paul refers to such Dominical sayings on several
different occasions, and no doubt this particular item was deemed very
authoritative regarding the livelihood of an
evangelist/missionary--authoritative enough that Paul has to defend himself
against those who accuse him of not heeding it when he earns his own upkeep
by means of his trade. So in this instance, GRAFH clearly refers to the
Deuteronomy passage about muzzling an ox, but it would seem dubious, all
the more so if one deems 1 Timothy to be authentically Pauline, to say that
either Matthew or Luke is being cited. It is oral tradition that is deemed
authoritative that is most likely being cited, rather than a written text
of Matthew or Luke that would be in general circulation among Christian
communities in the middle of the first century. OR: one other alternative
which I hesitate to raise does suggest itself: that 'AXIOS hO ERGATHS TOU
MISQOU AUTOU' is being cited from a WRITTEN version of "Q."
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
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