[b-greek] Re: ESCATH

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (mauros@iol.ie)
Date: Wed Jul 19 2000 - 07:24:02 EDT

<x-flowed>At 05:44 19/07/00, B.J. Williamson wrote:
>Regarding ESCATH, you stated:
>>The idea, at least as it is translated into English, seems to imply an
>>event that is, with reference to time, soon to happen.
>To which Maurice responded:
>Perhaps the answer is to be found --- even still -- in Ps. 90:4
> >>To your eyes a thousand years
> are like yesterday, come and gone,
> no more than a watch in the night.<<
>On few occasions, ESCATH can denote "time" in the sense of days, months,
>and years. But it can only denote that if the CONTEXT develops that idea,
>not by the use of ESCATH itself.

In citing Ps 90 I was trying, by a little gentle ( I hope ) irony to show
Mark that there is no bigger gulf between a twenty first century
understanding of time and that of the biblical world. But then irony is a
dangerous device sometimes.

So I never did think that the psalmist was talking about "time" --- we do
not have here a metric measure but a cosmic yardstick to reinforce " My
ways are not your ways, says the Lord ". In fact there is a useful a rule
of thumb in reflecting on "time" in the Bible in the title of a
presidential address given some years ago to the Catholic Biblical
Association of America and subsequently printed in the CBQ ( I do not have
the details to hand --- doubtless Kevin Woodruff will be able to retrieve
the details for us ? ). The paper bore the title: "Christ and Time: Swiss
or Mediterranean ? ".

Perhaps this ( apocryphal ? ) story will illustrate one point in the paper
about "peasant" time:
An Irish academic attending a conference on Celtic Spirituality was asked
if there was any equivalent of " manana " in Old Irish. " Oh, yes,
several " was his reply " but none of them have that sense of pressing
urgency conveyed by 'manana' "


Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]

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