Re: Matthew 5:48

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Sun Feb 13 2000 - 12:41:52 EST

>From: "clayton stirling bartholomew" <>
>Subject: Re: Matthew 5:48
>Date: Sat, Feb 12, 2000, 9:38 PM

> Back to your question. The future is used several times in the immediate
> context to mark the function of "commanding." So in my mind there is
> little doubt that we see that also taking place in Matt. 5:48 ESESQE.
> BDF #362 argues that the use of the Future form for a command, only
> takes place in quotes or allusions to the OT, including Matt. 5:48
> connecting it with Dt 18:13 and Lev. 19:2. Porter blows a hole in this
> by saying that the semitic connection here is not absolute, that this
> idiom can be found in texts unaffected by semitic usage.

It has been pointed out to me off list that Porter does not exactly
"blow a hole" but perhaps only adds a nuance to the discussions of this
idiom in BDF and Zerwick. BDF states that this idiom never appears
except quotes or allusions to the OT. So we can use it as a discourse
marker to identify when Jesus is using OT material and not speaking
something new and or independent of the OT.

I wonder about this. If Porter could give us five or six examples of the
future indicative used for issuing a command from sources which are
clearly independent of the OT, then I would conclude that this idiom
could not be relied upon as a marker to identify allusions to OT
material. Of course there are lots of other ways to identify OT
material, most important being the substance of the quote or allusion.

The objection I am raising is simple. If an idiom is found in Homer or
Euripides then how can we call it a marker of dependence on the OT?
Perhaps Homer and Euripides read the Pentateuch? (c.f. Cyrus Gordon).

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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