I had been thinking about a good topic for summer fun. We had Psalm 68 last year, which was wonderful, but I thought we should do something Greek this year.
It must be ESP, because just this afternoon, I was thinking of all the good buddies who blog about Greek, and then I decided to choose “Word play in Paul. ” And lucky for me, Iyov has given the topic a great introduction, so I don’t have to do that. (As they say, great minds think alike.) So, I hereby second the opening of the summer blog play on Paul! We can do a round up at the end of the month or the end of the summer.
The object will be to write something about the language that Paul uses. Is it influenced by Hebrew, by his rabbinical training, by Greek rhetoric, or what? I have not the remotest clue, so I await your contributions eagerly. Post a sample translation or a passage or discussion of some aspect of Paul’s use of language. Examples and comparisons can come from anywhere in the Bible. How does he use the Hebrew Bible, for example. Link to something you have already written, contribute whatever you like. A picture of the hippo dressed up as Paul would also count as an entry.
Here is my meager opening sample, from Romans 15:30-16:2,
- 30 παρακαλῶ δὲ ὑμᾶς ἀδελφοί διὰ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ διὰ τῆς ἀγάπης τοῦ πνεύματος συναγωνίσασθαί μοι ἐν ταῖς προσευχαῖς ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ πρὸς τὸν θεόν
31 ἵνα ῥυσθῶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀπειθούντων ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ καὶ ἡ διακονία μου ἡ εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ εὐπρόσδεκτος τοῖς ἁγίοις γένηται
32 ἵνα ἐν χαρᾷ ἐλθὼν πρὸς ὑμᾶς διὰ θελήματος θεοῦ συναναπαύσωμαι ὑμῖν 33 ὁ δὲ θεὸς τῆς εἰρήνης μετὰ πάντων ὑμῶν ἀμήν
16:1 συνίστημι δὲ ὑμῖν Φοίβην τὴν ἀδελφὴν ἡμῶν οὖσαν καὶ διάκονον τῆς ἐκκλησίας τῆς ἐν Κεγχρεαῖς
2 ἵνα αὐτὴν προσδέξησθε ἐν κυρίῳ ἀξίως τῶν ἁγίων καὶ παραστῆτε αὐτῇ ἐν ᾧ ἂν ὑμῶν χρῄζῃ πράγματι καὶ γὰρ αὐτὴ προστάτις πολλῶν ἐγενήθη καὶ ἐμοῦ αὐτοῦ
30 I urge you, brothers, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to struggle together with me in prayers on my behalf to God.
31 that I may be rescued from the unbelievers in Judea and that my ministry which is for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,
32 so that I may come to you with joy by God’s will and together with you be refreshed. 33 The God of peace be with you all. Amen.
16:1 I stand Phoebe with you, being a minister of the church at Cenchrea, 2 that you accept her in the Lord, in a manner worthy of the saints, and stand beside her in whatever matter she may have need of you; because she also has stood before many, even me.
a) I use “brothers” here in the sense of peers or equals, in the sense that women really are “brothers.” It is also easier in a concordant translation like this.
b) Paul repeats the root words for “minister,” “accept” and “saints” first for himself and then for Phoebe. Is this chance or deliberate?
c) Paul uses three three related words that create a word play that many translations have tried to imitate in part. συνίστημι – stand together, παρίστημι – stand beside, and προΐστημι – stand before. This is why you see the repeated use of “help” in some translations. Here is the RSV and other translations.
- and help her in whatever she may require from you, for she has been a helper of many and of myself as well.
Of course, this is based on etymological fallacies, and some meaning may not be communicated properly, but maybe some meaning elements are clearer.
I hope to hear from some of you who are really blogging up the Greek. TC (whom I have lost momentarily, Mike, Rick, everybody. It doesn’t have to contain a translation, just some insight, no matter how tangential, into Paul’s use of language.
As always I owe a debt to Rotherham’s Emphasized Bible.