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

Yancy W Smith yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
Fri Apr 23 16:54:13 EDT 2010

Would you say the "norm" is a free floating norm or a norm connected  
to some larger social relationship? Perhaps a stipulation/promise in a  

Sent from my iPhone

On Apr 23, 2010, at 3:44 PM, "Bryant J. Williams III" <bjwvmw at com-pair.net 
 > wrote:

> 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  
>> [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
> faith.
>> In the light of the context, and in the light of the usage of “rig 
>> hteousness”
> 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 righteousne 
> ss 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  
> 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
> that
>>> 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
> 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  
>>> 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?
>> 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
> descriptive
>> 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
> translation
>> 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
> battle.
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