From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Thu Feb 06 1997 - 22:19:13 EST

>1. Is GRAFH used for NT canonical writings in the first few centuries? If
>so, what are the earliest instances of this usage?

The discussion of this term so far has concentrated on the texts of the NT.
I suggest that the answer to this question about the first few centuries
suggests a look at the entry in G. W. H. Lampe, A LEXICON OF PATRISTIC
GREEK (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1961) s.v. GRAFH (pp. 322-323 (2 densely
printed colums).

The answer is that the term in Greek patristic authors most often refers to
Scripture (a) in gen for the OT; (b) of individual books--including
apocryphal writings (Iren. HAER.1.20.1); (c) of individual or particular
texts, either in OT or NT. For examaple Origen, DE PRINCIPIIS says of Matt

More rarely by far it is used of a royal edict (Eusebius, VITA CONSTANTINI
2.21; 2.23), of an indigtment or accusation both in legal texts and apart
from that in Cyril on the Psalter and Theodoret.

Finally it is even used by Justin Martyr of an image or picture (1 APOL 24.2).

None of this decides how it is used in 2 Timothy--though it is most likely
that it refers to an OT book.

I have been busy with three public lectures to different pastors groups on
preaching in Lent and on 1 Thessalonians and Philippians as examples of
Paul's use of language from the local milieu in preaching to non-Jews this
week. So I have not commented on the long string in reaction to my reading
of the 2 Timothy passage, but I will next week. At this point I will only
say as as teaser that whether one accepts it as Pauline and dates it in the
sixties or whether one dates it as I do (one personal reaction thought I
was too conservative in dating in as early as I did!), it involves a form
of circular reasoning from text to historical reconstruction and back to
see if the historical reconstruction illuminates the text. That
characerizes ALL opinions about historical reconstructions, whether
"consdrvative" or not.

Peace and joy!

Edgar Krentz, New Testament OR HOME:
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
TEL.: 773-256-0752 FAX: 773-256-0782

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