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

Bryant J. Williams III bjwvmw at com-pair.net
Fri Apr 23 16:44:30 EDT 2010

Dear List,

It appears that II Peter 2:1 uses DIKAIOSUNH as "conformity to a norm." In this
case, conformity to the norm of God in Christ by faith. The Hebrew OT had
conformity to the norm, God's character, as revealed in the Torah. The LXX used
Dikaios + cognates to translate the Tsedeqah + cognates. Both are used in a
Legal and Ethical manner. An example of the ethical would be James 2 and Matthew
6:1 where "correct behavior/attitude" is used. I would think that II Peter 2:1
would fit in this latter category; although it could be also that of which
corresponds to what God is doing through Christ to make Christians do what they
are supposed be doing. All this by faith. It is not a question of either/or, but
could very well be both/and.

En Xristwi,

Rev. Bryant J. Williams III
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "George F Somsel" <gfsomsel at yahoo.com>
To: <dlpost at comcast.net>; <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
Cc: "B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Friday, April 23, 2010 8:38 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] the best Metalanguage to understand the Greek NT?(was "2
Peter 1:1")

> Is it really theologizing or is it simply discerning how the word δικαιοσύνη
DIKAIOWUNH is being used in this context. Note how Paul contrasts the δικαιοσύνη
DIKAIOSUNH of God with his ὀργή ORGH in Rom 1.17-18.
> 17δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν, καθὼς
γέγραπται·ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται.
> 18Ἀποκαλύπτεται γὰρ ὀργὴ θεοῦ ἀπʼ οὐρανοῦ ἐπὶ πᾶσαν ἀσέβειαν καὶ ἀδικίαν
ἀνθρώπων τῶν τὴν ἀλήθειαν ἐν ἀδικίᾳ κατεχόντων
> Here he also contrasts the δικαιοσύνη DIKAIOSUNH of God with the ἀδικίαν
ἀνθρώπων ADIKIAN ANQRWPWN. We are accustomed to think of δικαιοσύνη DIKAIOWUNH
in judicial terms, but this obviously cannot be the meaning in 2 Pt 1.1 since it
leads not to judgment but to salvation.
> george
> gfsomsel
> … search for truth, hear truth,
> learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth,
> defend the truth till death.
> - Jan Hus
> _________
> ________________________________
> From: "dlpost at comcast.net" <dlpost at comcast.net>
> To: yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
> Cc: B-Greek <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Fri, April 23, 2010 7:26:04 AM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] the best Metalanguage to understand the Greek NT? (was
"2 Peter 1:1")
> Here it seems to me that one's theology has entered the discussion of 2 Peter
1:1. It seems the grammarians have stopped being grammarians and are offering
their commentary. For what it's worht.
> Doug Post
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Yancy Smith" <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
> To: "B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Friday, April 23, 2010 10:16:23 AM GMT -05:00 US/Canada Eastern
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] the best Metalanguage to understand the Greek NT? (was
"2 Peter 1:1")
> Mark wrote:
> Today's GreekVersion says about DIKAIOSUNi TOU QEOU in 2 Peter 1:1 η αγαπη του
Θεου...δωρισε την...πιστη (H AGAPH TOU QEOU DWRISE THN PISTH)
> [Yancy Smith] I think this is a marvelous translation, similar to the Parole
de vie: Moi, Simon-Pierre, // serviteur et apôtre de Jésus-Christ, // j'écris à
ceux qui ont reçu une foi aussi précieuse // que la nôtre, par la générosité //
de Jésus-Christ, notre Dieu et notre Sauveur.
> I, Simon Peter, servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, am writing to those who
have received a faith just as precious as ours, by the generosity of Jesus
Christ, our God and our Savior.
> "par la générosité" (=by the generosity) is equally felicitous. I note that
the UBS Handbook gives the following discussion on this phrase: But what does
righteousness mean here? This word is one of those biblical terms that are rich
in meaning and can be translated in various ways, depending on their context.
For example, the expression “the righteousness of God” appears in different
contexts with different meanings and emphases. In Rom 1.17 the righteousness of
God refers to God's activity of putting people into a right relationship with
himself (as TEV correctly translates). In Matt 6.33, however, the righteousness
of God refers to what he requires people to do in order that they will be
pleasing to him. In the present verse righteousness has been interpreted in the
following ways:
> 1. It refers to Christ's righteous, redemptive work. It is through Christ's
righteousness (that is, his dying on the cross) that Christians are given the
power to put their trust in him.
> 2. It refers to Christ's righteous character as Savior and Redeemer. It is
because of Christ's righteousness (that is, his sinlessness, holiness,
uprightness, goodness) that he is able to do his work as Savior and redeemer.
> 3. It refers to Christ's righteous sense of justice, generosity, fairness and
impartiality. This means that Christ is no respecter of persons; he plays no
favorites. When applied in the realm of faith, it means that Christ makes it
possible for anyone, Jew or Gentile, apostle or nonapostle, to have the same
> In the light of the context, and in the light of the usage of “righteousness”
in the rest of the letter, the second and third meanings seem to be the more
logical choices.
> That the Handbook on 2 Peter ignores any LXX or Second Temple Jewish
background completely and interprets in terms of Reformation dogmatic categories
is a pity. OFF-LIST interlocutors have accused me of theologically biasing the
grammar here by arguing that in the phrase DIKAIOSUNHi TOU QEOU the genitive is
subjective. But the Translator's handbook, the Greek version, and the French
version all land pretty much in the same place. So, at least I'm in good
company. The NLT takes makes the translation that, I think, Iver suggested:
> "I am writing to all of you who share the same precious faith we have, faith
given to us by Jesus Christ, our God and Savior, who makes us right with God."
> One must exercise caution in dealing with DIKAIOSUNH, as BDAG cautions, "A
strict classification of DIKAIOSUNH in the NT is complicated by frequent
interplay of abstract and concrete aspects drawn from OT and Greco-Roman
cultures, in which a sense of equitableness combines with awareness of
responsibility within a social context." My reasoning in based on the idea that
calling Jesus σωτῆρος in 2 Peter 1:1 may activate a scenario that combines both
OT and Greco-Roman notions of the social responsibility (covenant) and
beneficence (stipulated within covenant) of the σωτῆρος. The reason I don't
think that the specialized, Pauline meaning of DIKAIOSUNH is apropos here is
that, if had Peter indeed introduced it, one might surmise that he would
elaborated in 1:3-11 or discuss it in the rest of the letter.
> In Paul's use of DIKAIOSUNH TOU QEOU, as BDAG notes, the intimate association
of God’s interest in retaining a reputation for justice that rewards goodness
and requites evil, while at the same time working out a plan of salvation for
all humanity, complicates classification of his use of δικαιοσύνη DIKAIOSUNH. On
the one hand, God’s DIKAIOSUNH is pardoning action, and on the other a way of
sharing God’s character with believers, who then exhibit righteousness in the
moral sense [one might think of the sort of transformation that takes place when
a slave is declare an adopted son, YWS]. God achieves this objective through
exercise of executive privilege in dispensing justice equitably without
reference to νόμος by making salvation available to all humanity (which shares a
common problem of liability to wrath by being unanimously in revolt against God
Ro 3:9–18, 23) through faith in God’s action in Jesus Christ. The genitival
>  constr. DIKAIOSUNH TOU QEOU accents the uniqueness of this DIKAIOSUNH Ro
1:17; 3:21f, 25, 26.
> > Yancy wrote
> >
> > <Someone said once that the best commentary on the NT is the LXX.>
> Mark wrote:
> > It's certainly is one of the better NT commentaries, and I like the fact
> > it is not in English.
> Carl wrote:
> No, nor in ordinary Greek either. But it is the source of a good deal of the
> language and expressions used by NT authors and therefore one of the more
> important resources for an interpreter of the GNT.
> The saying reminds me of what a mentor of mine once said: the Iliad and
> Odyssey are the best commentaries on Vergil's Aeneid; one cannot fully
> appreciate Vergil's achievement without a deep familiarity with the Greek
> text of the Homeric poems.
> [Yancy Smith] I completely agree and comments that do not take into account
the intertextual nature of much of the NT often miss the point of the original
author who could assume a certain amount of familiarity with the LXX as a
resource document.
> Mark wrote:
> > 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
> > 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
> > 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?
> Carl wrote:
> A curiously facile suggestion, this. It mixes apples not with oranges but with
brussels sprouts.
> (1) There's more than one Modern Greek version of the GNT; the versions that
exist are
> no less interpretations of the original than are the various translations of
the GNT into
> other target languages. Every version depends upon a solution to the
text-critical problems,
> and every version depends upon a resolution of alternative understandings of
those passages
> that are in any way ambiguous.
> (2) Using Koine Greek or even Modern Greek as the language of reference for
> terms and explanation of the structure and usage of Koine Greek is as
reasonable as using
> any modern langauge, perhaps even more reasonable. But the notion that any one
> of the GNT fills the need for an explanation of HOW and WHY a given text is to
be understood
> in one or another particular way confounds explanation with translation. Mark
may want to
> throw away lexica and grammatical reference works and continue to pooh-pooh
the utility
> or relevance of Linguists working in Biblical Greek, but others may be
inclined to think
> this is going down a blind alley.
> [Yancy Smith] I agree and might add that educated Greeks that I know do use
metalanguage to understand their own language and the languages of others, just
as many musicians use music theory to understand music. You don't have to be
able to read music to perform it, though, which may be a point Mark is trying to
stress. Often, however, I think Mark is more accurate in his affirmations than
in his denials. Music theory may actually get in the way of performance or
creative composition. Still, all in all, a knowledgeable use of metalanguage is
another tool in the learning and teaching of language that simply learning other
ways to say something in the same language or a later form of it cannot teach,
just as music theory helps in a way that learning another arrangement or version
of some piece of music cannot teach. It won't do to say, I don't need
metalanguage because I can say the same thing as DIKAIOSUNH TOU QEOU in other
words, i.e. H AGAPH TOU QEOU.
>  That could be like saying I don't need music theory because I can play two
different versions of chopsticks.
> Yancy Smith
> Yancy W. Smith, PhD
> World Bible Translation Center
> 4028 Daley Ave., Suite 201
> Fort Worth, TX 76180
> p 817-595-1664
> f 817580-7013
> yancy at wbtc.org
> Be kinder than necessary for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of
> Confidentiality Notice: This e-mail communication and any attachments may
contain confidential and privileged information for the use of the designated
recipients named above. If you are not the intended recipient, you are hereby
notified that you have received this communication in error and that any review,
disclosure, dissemination, distribution or copying of it or its contents is
prohibited. If you have received this communication in error, please notify me
immediately by replying to this message and deleting it from your computer.
Thank you.
> --- 
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
> B-Greek mailing list
> B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
> --- 
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
> B-Greek mailing list
> B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
> B-Greek mailing list
> B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek
> ---
> B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
> B-Greek mailing list
> B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
> http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek


Internal Virus Database is out-of-date.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.446 / Virus Database: 268.18.3/696 - Release Date: 02/21/2007 3:19

More information about the B-Greek mailing list