[B-Greek] the best Metalanguage to understand the Greek NT? (was 2 Peter 1:1)

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Fri Apr 23 07:33:43 EDT 2010


Yancy wrote

<In fact, "divine beneficence" in the relationship established by the
covenant seems,
 IMHO, to be the idea in several passages. Here are a
few:

Psalm 30:2
Ἐπὶ σοί, κύριε, ἤλπισα, μὴ καταισχυνθείην εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα·
    ἐν τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ σου ῥῦσαί με καὶ ἐξελοῦ με. 
EPI SOI, KURIE, HLPISA MH KATAISUNQEIHN EIS TON AIWNA;
    EN THi DIKAIOSUNHi SOU hRUSAI ME KAI EXELOU ME.
In you, O Lord, I hoped; may I never be put to shame;
in your righteousness rescue me, and deliver me.>

Hi Yancy,

This is a particularly good parallel grammatically and
semantically.  I'm sold that "God's love" is basically
what Peter means by DIKAIOSUNHi TOU QEOU.

<Someone said once that the best commentary on the NT is the LXX.>

It's certainly is one of the better NT commentaries, and I like the fact that
it is not in English.  But I have been thinking a lot of late that the Modern
Greek NT is not only the best commentary of the NT, but it is also the
best "Metalanguage" for understanding the Greek NT.  I know it is just
a "translation" (or is it?) but compared to the Metalanguage of
NT Greek Linguistics, it is (a) easier to understand (b) prettier (c)  less of
a "traitor" in that it more accurately describes what is going on in
the Koine Text.  Here's what the Metalanguage of Today's Greek
Version says about DIKAIOSUNi TOU QEOU in 2 Peter 1:1:

η αγαπη του Θεου...δωρισε την...πιστη  (H AGAPH TOU QEOU DWRISE THN PISTH)

Compared to the Metalanguage of NT Greek Linguistics, the Metalanguage of the
Modern Greek NT is also shorter, and it solves George and Eddie's problem of
avoiding English altogether.  Do you see my point?  In other words, if you
HAVE to learn a Metalanguage to understand what the Greek NT means
(and I'm not convinced that you do) why not learn how to read the Modern
Greek NT instead of learning how to read Hoyle, which would take you about
the same amount of time?

 Mark L



FWSFOROS MARKOS




________________________________
From: "yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net" <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
To: greek B-Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Fri, April 23, 2010 12:47:04 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] 2 Peter 1:1

Iver wrote:
In the Bible, DIKAIOSUNH has to do with "right actions". The question then comes up: who decides what is right, God or the people themselves? Both of these concepts appear in the NT, especially in Romans 9 and 10, and they are often contrasted. Since the word normally refers to whether the actions of a person are right in the eyes of God, it also refers to a "right standing" or "right relationship" with God. Therefore the idea is close to "acceptance" by God. The contrast between the old and new covenant is concerned with how that right relationship is obtained.

Yancy:
This is all well and good, but not relevant to 2 Peter 1. I note that Iver doesn't attempt to relate this concept to anything in this text. At least my account attempted to deal with the immediate context, whether or not it is, on other grounds flawed, which it might well be. Iver lists three meanings of the word DIKAIOSUNH: right actions, right standing, and acceptance. Are there more? Why would one be more or less relevant to 2 Peter? If Paul or Matthew can use DIKAIOSUNH in different senses, can 2 Peter and 1 Peter?

In fact, "divine beneficence" in the relationship established by the covenant seems, IMHO, to be the idea in several passages. Here are a few:
Psalm 30:2
Ἐπὶ σοί, κύριε, ἤλπισα, μὴ καταισχυνθείην εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα·
    ἐν τῇ δικαιοσύνῃ σου ῥῦσαί με καὶ ἐξελοῦ με. 
EPI SOI, KURIE, HLPISA MH KATAISUNQEIHN EIS TON AIWNA;
    EN THi DIKAIOSUNHi SOU hRUSAI ME KAI EXELOU ME.
In you, O Lord, I hoped; may I never be put to shame;
in your righteousness rescue me, and deliver me.

Psalm 35:7
    ἡ δικαιοσύνη σου ὡσεὶ ὄρη θεοῦ,
    τὰ κρίματά σου ἄβυσσος πολλή·
    ἀνθρώπους καὶ κτήνη σώσεις, κύριε.
hH DIKAIOSUNH SOU hWSEI ORH QEOU,
TA KRIMATA SOU ABUSSOS POLLH;
ANQRWPOUS KAI KTHNH SWSEIS, KURIE.
Your righteousness is like divine mountains; 
your judgments are a great deep; 
humans and animals you will save,
O Lord.

Psalm 39:10
εὐηγγελισάμην δικαιοσύνην ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ μεγάλῃ·
    ἰδοὺ τὰ χείλη μου οὐ μὴ κωλύσω·
    κύριε, σὺ ἔγνως.
EUHGGELISAMHN DIKAIOSUNHN EN EKKLHSIA MEGALH
KURIE, SU EGNWS.
EUHGGELISAMHN DIKAIOSUNH EN EKKLHSIA MEGALH
IDOU TA CEILH MOU OU MH KWLOSW, KURIE,
SU EGNWS.
11 τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου οὐκ ἔκρυψα ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ μου,
    τὴν ἀλήθειάν σου καὶ τὸ σωτήριόν σου εἶπα,
    οὐκ ἔκρυψα τὸ ἔλεός σου καὶ τὴν ἀλήθειάν σου ἀπὸ συναγωγῆς πολλῆς.
THN DIKAIOSUNH SOU OUK EKRUYA EN THi KARDIA MOU,
THN ALHQEIAN SOU KAI TO SWTHRION SOU EIPA,
OUK EKRUYA TO ELEOS SOU KAI THN ALHQEIAN SOU APO SUNAGWGHS POLLHS. 
I told the glad news of righteousness in a great assembly;
look, my lips I will not restrain;
O Lord, you knew. 11(10) Your righteousness I did not hide in my
heart; of your truth and your deliverance I spoke;
I did not conceal your mercy and your truth from a large gathering.
Psalm 50:11
    ῥῦσαί με ἐξ αἱμάτων, ὁ θεὸς ὁ θεὸς τῆς σωτηρίας μου·
    ἀγαλλιάσεται ἡ γλῶσσά μου τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου. 
hRUSAI ME EX AIMATWN, hO QEOS hO QEOS THS SWTHRIAS MOU;
AGALLIASETAI hH GLWSSA MOU THN DIKAIOSUNHN SOU.
Rescue me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my deliverance;
my tongue will rejoice at your righteousness.

Psalm 97:2
ἐγνώρισεν κύριος τὸ σωτήριον αὐτοῦ,
    ἐναντίον τῶν ἐθνῶν ἀπεκάλυψεν τὴν δικαιοσύνην αὐτοῦ. 
3 ἐμνήσθη τοῦ ἐλέους αὐτοῦ τῷ Ιακωβ
    καὶ τῆς ἀληθείας αὐτοῦ τῷ οἴκῳ Ισραηλ·
    εἴδοσαν πάντα τὰ πέρατα τῆς γῆς τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῶν. 
EGNWRISEN KURIOS TO SWTHRION AUTOU,
ENANTION TWN EQNWN APEKALUYEN THN DIKAIOSUNHN AUTOU.
EMNHSQH TOU ELEOUS AUTOU TWi IAKWB
KAI THS ALHQEIAS AUTOU TWi ISRAHL
EIDOSAN PANTA TA PERATA THS GHS TO SWTHRION TOY QEOU hHMWN.
The Lord made known his deliverance; before the nations he revealed his
righteousness.
He remembered his mercy to Iakob
and his truth to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth saw
the deliverance of our God.
Psalm 102:17
τὸ δὲ ἔλεος τοῦ κυρίου ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος καὶ ἕως τοῦ αἰῶνος ἐπὶ τοὺς φοβουμένους αὐτόν,
    καὶ ἡ δικαιοσύνη αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ υἱοὺς υἱῶν 
TO DE ELEOS TOY KURIOU APO TOY AIWNOS KAI hEWS TOY AIWNOS EPI TOUS FOBOUMENOUS AUTON
KAI hH DIKAIOSUNH AUTOY EPI hUIOUS hUIWN.
But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting even to everlasting
on those who fear him,
and his righteousness on sons’ sons,

Someone said once that the best commentary on the NT is the LXX. Whether that is true or not, the usages of the LXX are never too far from the usages we find in the NT. It is not really the similarities that need to be noted and explained, rather, the divergences. In the case of 2 Pet. 1:1, a good case can be made that the author was relying upon a significant commonplace in ancient Christianity that made frequent use of the LXX Psalms in its devotion, that God's DIKAIOSUNH is his beneficence in faithfulness to his covenant promises. It is these precious promises that Peter encourages his hearers to lay hold of in reciprocal faithfulness in order to partake of God's divine nature, as his sons and daughters.

Yancy Smith, PhD
yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
yancy at wbtc.com
5636 Wedgworth Road
Fort Worth, TX 76133
817-361-7565






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