One happy Barnabas

From: Bart Ehrman (
Date: Wed Feb 23 2000 - 08:06:56 EST

   The body of the letter of Barnabas begins:

2 The righteous acts of God toward you are so great, so rich, that I am
exceedingly overjoyed -- beyond measure -- by your most fortunate and
glorious spirits; for such a firmly implanted grace have you received --
the gift that comes from the Spirit! 3 DIO KAI MALLON SUGXARIZW EMAUTWi
ELPIZWN SWQHNAI; for truly I see in you the Spirit that has been poured
out upon you from the riches of the Lord's fountain. It is the sight of
your face, which I have so long desired, that has so amazed me about you

   What to do with this beginning to v. 3? SUGXARIZEIN with the dative
can mean to "congratulate," and so it's usually translated here. But it's
hard to see how what he has just said in v. 2, or what he says here in v.
3, that would make him want to congratulate himself (these are not his
converts and he regularly claims, somewhat disingenuously, not to be their
teacher, just one of the hoi polloi). So does it mean that he's rejoicing
together with the recipients? That might make better sense, but then what
to do with the EMAUTWi? Could it be going with ELPIXWN ("hoping in
myself"/"hoping deep down"?)? Seems unlikely. But then it must be going
with SUXARIZEIN, and so we're back to "congratulate myself."

   Anyone want to bring their total up to 4 cents?

-- Bart Ehrman
   University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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