[b-greek] Re: Barnabas patting himself on the back...

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Fri Nov 10 2000 - 15:37:39 EST

on 11/10/00 11:23 AM, Bart Ehrman wrote:

> The Epistle of Barnabas starts out a shade rough; among other little
> believe I've asked the list about a different aspect of this, but now I'm
> curious about the SUGXAIRW hEMAUTWi. The preceding verse indicates that
> the author rejoices over the readers because they've received such a heavy
> dose of God's grace -- the spirit planted within them.
> For SUGXAIRW hEMAUTWi Bauer suggests "congratulate myself," and gives
> several other references from the Apostolic Fathers and possibly the NT.
> The idiom doesn't occur much elsewhere -- just a short reference in the
> big Scott (congratulate = wish one joy). But, well, I'm not so sure (Lake
> and Holmes both go for it). Why can't it simply be "rejoice within
> myself" (or "rejoice deep down") or some such thing? Part of the questoin
> is what it might mean for him to congratulate himself, hoping to be saved.
> What's he congratulating himself for? That *God* has given them the
> spirit that leads to salvation? Maybe he should be congratulating *God*!


There is a long footnote in P.T. O'Brien* on SUNCAIRW in Phil. 2:17. O'Brien
gives a brief history of the major commentators on this issue, including
Lightfoot, H.A.W. Meyer who adopted the "to congratulate" solution. O'Brien
takes exception to this reading on several grounds not the least of which is
Paul's macro level thematic structure in the letter with its emphasis on joy
and rejoicing. Since you are at a university you should be able to lay hands
on this book and read the footnote.

Then rendering "congratulate myself" has a problem in English. This is not a
Greek problem but an English problem. The English idiom has a distinctly
odious flavor to it. One would want to make sure that this odious flavor was
part of the intent of the ancient author. If not then a different English
idiom should be chosen.

In short, I agree with you. Something like "rejoice within myself" seems
like a better choice than "congratulate myself."


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

*P.T. O'Brien, NIGTC, Philippians Eerdmans 1991, page311

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