Re: GRAFAI (was Predicate adjectives)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Feb 07 1997 - 09:41:47 EST

At 7:34 AM -0600 2/7/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Did this go out? I sent it last night, but didn't see it in the archives, so
>I'm sending it again...

I didn't get to last night's mail until this morning, but the original
message did get to me.

> but I'm adding some stuff at the top. Does anybody
>have access to the following patristic writings, cited in BAGD, which might
>shed some light on this?
>1 Clement 23:3, 23:5, 34:6, 35:7, 45:2, 53:1
>2 Clement 2:4, 6:8, 14:1f
>Barnabas 4:7, 4:11, 5:4, 6:12, 13:2, 16:5
>Petruskerygma 4 p. 16, 6
>I don't have ready access to them. Also, BAGD makes the following
>interesting comment:
>"The close acquaintance of Christians with Scripture has its parallels in
>the familiarity of the greeks with Homer Herclit. Sto. 1 p. 2 1. 3ff: EK
>PRWTHS hHLIKIAS the child is trained on Homer. To the end of his life he
>occupies himself with Homer's works."

This is true; readers of Plato or extensive readers in other Greek prose
will know that the poetic tradition of the Greeks is cited repeatedly in
the course of discussion of almost any topic and will realize that these
citations are from memory (sometimes not quite accurate), which indicates
that learning the poetic tradition was an essential part of Greek
aristocratic and later even more democratized education.

>Here's the original message I sent:
>Carl W. Conrad ( wrote:
>> 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."
>Now, Carl, you know I would never open a can of worms ;->

Gee, I've somehow had the impression that your posts to B-Greek were
fishing expeditions. ;-)

>> 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?
>Let me try outlining BAGD's discussion of GRAFH:
>1. a little book (not a NT meaning)
>2. in the NT exclusively w. a sacred meaning, of Holy Scripture
>2.A. hH GRAFH the individual scripture passage
>2.B. Scripture as a whole
>2.B.a. the plural hAI GRAFAI : "the scriptures"
>2.B.b. the singular as designation of scripture as a whole
>BAGD cites 2 Tim 3:16 in category 2.A. As for the scriptures Fred Nofer
>cited, BAGD cites 1 Timothy 5:18 as 2.B.b. and 2 Peter 3:15-16 as 2.B.a. I
>find this surprising - I would have classified them both as 2.A. There are a
>number of references to the early patristic writings; unfortunately, I don't
>have ready access to these writings.

I think some of these passages are judgment matters upon which one might
disagree with BAGD (I would repeat here that although BAGD is a respectable
"authority," we have on occasion dealt with some egregious errors in it
{such as its identification of Junias as a masculine Greek form, an error
which Fred Danker informed me is corrected in the as-yet-unpublished next
edition}--and no one should assume that BAGD's conclusions on any given
matter are unassailable).

>In Louw and Nida, they clearly specified "Old Testament" rather than "Holy
>Scripture" for category 2. BAGD leaves it more open.

I think that Louw and Nida are very good indeed on defining Greek words
precisely, but I think that they are more conservative than open-minded on
this particularly question about GRAFH/GRAFAI; i.e., they would appear to
take for granted authenticity of the Pastorals and Second Peter and for
that reason hold those books to be so early that the word cannot possible
refer to Christian writings. I would say that one has to be satisfied in
one's own mind about the authenticity and dating questions before one can
decide the possibility of GRAFH/GRAFAI referring to Christian literature.

>> >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
>> clearer reference:
>hH GRAFH is singular here. Doesn't it apply only to the first quote?

Possibly, BUT--if 2 Tim is late enough to be citing Luke's gospel rather
than Deuteronomy directly, then it's conceivable that the 2 texts together
are deemed to constitute hH GRAFH.

Interesting worms in this can. methinks.

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 - 15:38:05 EDT