"Near" (was: Re: Matthew 4:17 'near')
Jeffrey B. Gibson
jgibson000 at mailhost.chi.ameritech.net
Sat Dec 4 09:37:28 EST 1999
Steven Craig Miller wrote:
> To: Joe A. Friberg,
> << You are right that the extension to intimacy is not a long jump. If
> is made, what does that do to the near vs. here contrast? >>
> Both "near" and "here" are relative points of orientation. For
> example, it
> is possible to view the whole world as "here," and only that which is
> outside the world as "there."
It strikes me that all that has been, and is being, said on the matter
of whether NHGIKEN was summed up nicely some time ago by my teacher,
George Caird in his (and L.D. Hurst's) _New Testament Theology_, pp.
32ff. To tease you into reading it, I quote a relevant section:
The clause HNGIKEN hH BASILEIA TON THEON taken by itself is
ambiguous: it can mean either "the Kingdom of God has arrived"
or "the Kingdom of God is imminent". But the ambiguity arises
because the concept of nearness, spatial or temporal, involves
in any language a varying degree of distance, which cannot be
indefinitely extended, but which may diminish to vanishing
point. In the ritual of the Temple, "to bring near" is a
technical term for laying an offer on the altar, not dumping
it on the mount of olives. When Judas "drew near" to kiss
Jesus (Luke 22:47) and the centurion "drew near" to arrest
Paul (Acts 21:33), they could hardly have got closer. And when
the thieves "drew near" the household, the householder is
worried not because they happen to be in the neighbourhood,
but because they are digging through the wall. Similarly, in
temporal usage, HNGIKEN may mean "is coming shortly" (James
5:8); 1 Pet 4:7); but it is also used as a synonym for PARESTI
and means "has arrived (Lam 4:18 LXX). The REB correctly
translates Matt 26:48f. as "the hour has come ... the traitor
is upon us, and Luke 21:8 as "many will come in my name,
saying 'I am he' and 'the Day is upon us'"; in each case the
arrival of the person and the arrival of the crisis coincide.
Luke carefully distinguishes the present and perfect tenses of
the verb; his readers are to be sure that the destruction of
Jerusalem has come, but that, at a later date, their
liberation is coming (Luke 21:20, 28).
Hope this helps.
Jeffrey B. Gibson
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626
e-mail jgibson000 at ameritech.net
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