Re: Acts 1:3-EN POLLOIS TEKMHRIOIS

From: Edgar Foster (questioning1@yahoo.com)
Date: Sun Aug 23 1998 - 19:15:34 EDT


Greetings Brian,

---"mail.access1.net" wrote:

> Greetings Again:

> Your little hapaxlegomena has become curiouser and curiouser (as
usually happens)<

> >Acts 1:3 reads (in part):

> >hOIS KAI PARESTHSEN hEAUTON ZWNTA META TO PAQEIN AUTON EN POLLOIS
TEKMHRIOIS< <

> >Is the following paraphrase too strong? I was about to argue in
your favor, but actually, the terminology is not strong enough.
Moulton - Milligan Vocabularly of the GNTp.628 translates tekmerion,
"infallible proof".< <

> Luke evidently felt a by far more classical term, less common to the
readers usage, if not vocabulary would be appropriate- by far more
intense. Regardless, in one's common experiences in life there is no
such thing. Proof in a court of law where the rules of evidence are
most rigorous is always "beyond a REASONABLE shadow of a doubt".<

Since Carl and I discussed the appropriateness or inappropriateness of
the paraphrase "irrefutable," I have given more thought to this
matter. IMHO, "irrefutable" does not have to negate the forensic
significance of TEKMHRION. In fact, that is exactly how I am using the
term. In a court of law, there is a forensic concept called _prima
facie_ evidence. That is, irrefutable evidence. Now, one may want to
argue that such evidence is theoretical. Nevertheless, there is such a
legal, judicial concept. Similarly, I think the apostles were
presented with undeniable, inarguable evidence. It was "indubitable."
Peter later recorded that the Christian KERUGMA was not based on
MUQOIS (2 Pet. 1:16). Of course, his words related the impression the
earthly Jesus made on his apostles. What a grander impression was made
when the apostles saw the resurrected Christ!

> Ok so what extant evidence might lead us to render this passage in
such a fashion?<

Thank you for the examples you give. Here also are some Classical
examples I found at Perseus (LSJ). They seem to indicate that either
"infallible" or "irrefutable" would accurately convey the sense of
TEKMHRION.

Herodotus writes:

[2.13.1] This, too, that the priests told me about Egypt, is a STRONG
PROOF: when Moeris was king, if the river rose as much as thirteen
feet, it watered all of Egypt below Memphis. Moeris had not been dead
nine
hundred years when I heard this from the priests. But now, if the
river does not rise at least twenty-six or twenty-five feet, the land
is not flooded.

[2.13.1] elegon de kai tode moi mega tekmÍrion peri tÍs chŰrÍs tautÍs
hoi hirees, hŰs epi Moirios basileos, hokŰs elthoi ho potamos epi oktŰ
pÍcheas to elachiston, ardeske Aigupton tÍn enerthe Memphios: kai Moiri
oukŰ Ín etea einakosia teteleutÍkoti hote tŰn hireŰn tauta egŰ Íkouon.
nun de ei mÍ ep' hekkaideka Í pentekaideka pÍcheas anabÍi to
elachiston ho potamos, ouk huperbainei es tÍn chŰrÍn.

Sophecles also records:

Clytaemnestra:

No, not in vain; how can you say "in vain" when you have brought me
SURE PROOFS of his death? (Soph. Electra 774)

KlutaimnÍstra

outoi matÍn ge: pŰs gar an matÍn legois,ei moi thanontos pist' echŰn
tekmÍria.

>Interestingly enough, Gallen employs the difference between these
words when he expressly speaks of the medical distinctions between
tekmherion -demonstative evidence- and semeion, stating that
rhetoricians as well as physicians have examined the evidence" (M-M)<

> A vision of the resurrected Christ, is more than irrefutable, it
compares in degree of INTENSITY with the impressions made upon human
soul by a natural
distaster, war. Whether such events occurred or not isn't remotely an
issue to the observer.<

I like your comments here and agree for the most part. I guess the
only difference is that I view Luke's words as indicative of forensic
evidence, and capable of being expressed by human witnesses. The Risen
Christ is a historical reality, and I see no need to make the
experience more than irrefutable (possibly even outside of
temporality). Conversely, it is true that human words can hardly
express the "intense" ANASTASIS of Jesus Christ. In the end, I would
probably still render Acts 1:3 as "irrefutable" or "indubitable"
(Thayer).

In this regard, I think the following comments are worthy of
consideration:

"Infallible Proofs--This is one word in Greek, TEKMHRIOIS--a strong
term (only here in the NT). JR Lumby says, "A TEKMHRION is such an
evidence as to remove all doubt" (Word Meanings of The NT, R. Earle 97).

In the final analysis, Earle cites "convincing proofs" (NASB) as a
suitable rendering of TEKMHRION. This too could be acceptable, I
guess, as long as the reader understands the "intensity" behind the
original Greek. The sense I am arguing for, is the sense staed by
Lumby. Let me ask you, Brian, how would you render Acts 1:3?

Thanks for the stimulating thoughts,

Edgar Foster

Classics Major

Lenoir-Rhyne College

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