[b-greek] Re: what is a station? (Shep. 54:1-2)

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (mauros@iol.ie)
Date: Thu Sep 14 2000 - 18:25:38 EDT

<x-flowed>At 22:10 14/09/00, Bart Ehrman wrote:

>Or should I think instead that the reader -- and the angel -- do *not*
>understand the Latinism, and so translate it as "Why have you come out so
>early?" "Because, Lord," I replied, "I have a station." "And what," he
>asked, "is a station?"

Carolyn Osiek [ Osiek, Carolyn, and Helmut Koester. Ed. Shepherd of Hermas:
A Commentary. Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.]
points out that in this ( and the next verse ) . the usual rhetorical
device of Hermas asking the annoying questions so as to elicit the
Shepherd's teaching is reversed, with the Shepherd asking naive questions,
and Hermas explaining.

Osiek points out that the Shepherd seems not to know , "no more than the
modern reader" what is behind the Latinism of " a station ", which she
regards as an indication that this is a new term in Hermas' church, and
therefore needs to be explained.
This passage, [ along with Didache 8.1 ] she maintains, witnesses to " the
custom of personal fasting at this time " and v.2 indicates a regular
practice of this on the part of Hermas.

In a footnote she cites a work in French by Hillhorst ( 1976) on "Semitisms
and Latinisms in the Shepherd of Hermas ) in which it is accepted that the
term refers to Christian fasting and summarizes scholarly opinion on its
derivation as:
1. a Semitic word for standing, possibly the Mishnaic 'amad' , translated
into the Latin of Greek speakers in a Latin world
2. a Latin loanword into a Semitic language and from there into Christian Greek
3. origin in a Latin milieu by Jews or Christians familiar with the
biblical injunction to "stand before the face of the Lord" , translated
into Latin as _stare ante faciem Domini_, the verb then nominalised into

Hillhorst, it turns out, favours the third.

Hope this helps

Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]

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