Re: Acts 20:28 Whose blood?

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Tue Mar 30 1999 - 11:20:25 EST

At 11:54 29/03/99 -0600, you wrote:
>This morning I've checked the commentary of F.F. Bruce, who is certainly a
>conservative yet careful scholar (F.F.Bruce, _The Acts of the Apostles:
>Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary_ 3rd ed.).


I see that Fitzmyer lists -- in addition to Bruce -- Knapp, Pesch, Weiser
as having preferred to understand this phrase to mean, "with the blood of
his Own," i.e., his own Son.

And, _pace_ Jim Denley, Fitzmyer sees this not as a grammatical but a
text-critical problem. He goes on to say:

"Such an absolute use of HO IDIOS is found in Creek papyri as a term of
endearment for relatives. Perhaps, then, it might be used here for Jesus,
somewhat like Rom 8:32 or 1 Tim 5:8. That, however, is a last-ditch
solution for this text-critical problem." [ He has already adduced a list
of "all the important MSS"]

He goes on to say:

"The mention of blood" must refer to the vicarious shedding of the blood of
Jesus, the Son. Through his blood the Christian community has become God's
own possession, the people acquired for his renewed covenant. Cf. Eph 1 :
14; Heb 9: 12; 1 Pet 2:9-10, which speak of God acquiring a people, echoing
an OT motif(1Sa 43:21; Ps 74:2j. Luke may be thinking of the action of God
the Father and the Son as so close]y related that his mode of speaking
slips from one to the other; if so. it resembles the speech patterns of the
Johannine Gospel. "

HAIMA, as used in classical and Hellenistic Greek for 'bloodrelationship,
kin" is covered, drawing on the citations in LS, and the suggestion of
K.G.Dolfe that it means " by means of one nearest to him[self] " he
dismisses as " really seems farfetched".

His final comment is that " in any case, one should not miss the triadic
nuance of this verse: the explicit nention of"God," "the Spirit," and the
"b]ood,' which implies the Son. It is a trinitarian dimension that Luke
associates with the Christian community and its governance."

To my surprise, Haenchen's large volume on Acts ignores this issue
entirely, whereas Krodel's much more condensed volume has this to say:

".the church belongs to God ( 1 Cor. 1 :2; 10:32; 15:9) because he has
"purchased" or obtained it with the blood of his own Son. This translation
of v. 28 in the second edition of the RSV is better than that found in the
first edition, The Greek text does not contain the word Son, but reads"his
own.'. Like 'the Beloved'. (Eph. 1:6), so "his own" refers to the Son of
God. Only once in Acts does Luke speak of the saving efficacy of the death
of Jesus (cf. Rom. 3:25; 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Peter 2:24; 3: l8) by using a
traditional formulation. God redeemed his people, the church, through the
atoning death of his Son, Therefore the church is God's possession."

Perhaps someone on the list can provide the comparison with the RSV first

Incidentally, Ignatius of Antioch had no problem with EN hAIMATI QEOU in
his Eph. 1:1. though I am amused to see that in the old Edinburgh edition
( now on Logos CD-ROM) the 'shorter' translation preserves ' the blood of
God' as against 'the blood of Christ' in the 'longer' translation.
Lightfoot, of course, respects the text and gives us " the blood of God".

On p. 434 he writes:
>DIA TOU hAIMATOS TOU IDIOU: "with the blood of his own one; byz reads DIA
>TOU IDIOU hAIMATOS, "with his own blood." In the present sense IDIOS is the
>equivalent of Heb. YAHID, "only," "well-beloved," otherwise rendered
>AGAPHTOS, EKLEKTOS, MONOGENHS. For the absolute sense of hO IDIOS (but in
>the plural) cf. 4:23; 24:23; also Jn 1:11; 13:1. (Cf. TA IDIA, "one's own
>place," 21:6). In the papyri we find the singular used thus as a term of
>endearment to near relations, e.g. hO DEINA TWi IDIWi CAIREIN ["So-and-so
>to his own (friend), greeting']" (J.H. Moulton, MHTI, p. 90). It is
>unnecessary to conjecture, with Hort, that hUIOU may have fallen out after
>Carl W. Conrad
>Department of Classics/Washington University
>One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
>Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
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Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]

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