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Greek Syntax: First Thessalonians 4:16, Part IV


I’ve blogged a bit about the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω in 1Th 4.16. There are three previous posts in this series:

Today’s post, the last in the series, is a follow-up to Part II. We’ll further explore how to search for εν Χριστω in relation to the verb (predicator) that it co-occurs with; only today we’ll search for this with both adverbial (as in Part II) and adjectival instances. For those of you who can’t wait, here’s a link to the video:

In 1Th 4.16, εν Χριστω occurs before the verb, as shown below:

1Th 4.16

This instance is somewhat ambiguous (indeed, that’s the reason why the JBL article was written); there are equally good reasons for the prepositional phrase to modify the subject or the verb. OpenText.org SAGNT annotates this as an adjectival relation, further modifying the subject. In order to examine like cases, we need to find where the prepositional phrase itself (whether the OpenText.org SAGNT annotates it adjectivally or adverbially) occurs preceding the predicator. Our earlier search in Part II only located OpenText.org’s adverbial instances.
So today’s video starts there and then shows how to search for where OpenText.org’s adjectival instances precede the predicator. The combination of those two lists provides the whole set of instances where the prepositional phrase precedes the predicator.

Once the lists are available, the analysis can proceed. Examine not only the verbs, but also the other clausal components that are similar to 1Th 4.16. Which of these instances, like 1Th 4.16, appear to be genuinely ambiguous as to where the prepositional phrase can attach? And can those instances help in establishing reasons to prefer either adjectival or adverbial modification in 1Th 4.16?
Lastly, after surveying the material, you may want to do a reference search of your Greek grammars to see if any of them discuss the issue of how the prepositional phrase functions in 1Th 4.16; you may also want to check some of your commentaries (like NIGTC on Thessalonians, perhaps; or the WBC or ICC volumes if you’ve got ‘em) to see what they say.

Greek Syntax: First Thessalonians 4:16, Part III

I’ve blogged a few times about 1Th 4.16 and the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω (see here and here).

1Th 4.16

But there’s more to talk about.
One thing that could be handy is searching for when the prepositional object (Χριστω) is articular, and when it is anarthrous. Our initial search for the prepositional phrase found both articular and anarthrous instances.
But in tracking how εν Χριστω functions, it may be necessary to consider articular and anarthrous instances separately. With syntax searching, you can do this. I’ve created a video that starts with the basic search for the prepositional phrase and adjusts it to first locate articular instances (so, εν τω Χριστω) and then to locate anarthrous instances (εν Χριστω) .

Greek Syntax: First Thessalonians 4:16, Part II

A few days back, I posted an article about 1Th 4.16, specifically on using syntax searching to find all instances of the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω. And that is helpful, but it isn’t the whole story.

1Th 4.16

Today’s article will build on that previous article. In the previous article, I discussed how one can find instances of prepositional phrases that modify a verb; so, adverbial instances of prepositional phrases. What can be more interesting, particularly when attempting to discern what is going on with a particular prepositional phrase such as occurs in 1Th 4.16, is to do some searching that examines how the prepositional phrase stands in relationship to the syntactic items around it.
So today’s article will use the same basic concept to find instances of εν Χριστω that modify the clausal verb; but we’ll look for where the prepositional phrase precedes the verb; for where it follows the verb, and if it occurs modifying a supplied verb.

prepositional phrase functioning adverbally

Because it is easier to show than document in writing, I’ve created a video that walks through these searches.

Why is this important? Well, in examining 1Th 4.16′s use of εν Χριστω, you’ll notice that there are two strong possibilities for the prepositional phrase. It can either attach to the subject οι νεκροι, or it can attach to the verb αναστησονται. In 1Th 4.16, the verb follows the prepositional phrase. One strategy, then, is to look for analogues (similar instances). Where else does the verb follow the prepositional phrase? And where it does, what else is going on in those verses syntactically?
That won’t give the whole answer; but it may help in getting there. And syntax searching isn’t just searching for words, or collocations of words, or even collocations of words with some morphological data thrown in — it is searching for relationships between words, and for relationships between higher-level syntactic components (such as subjects, predicators, and the like).
In this case, we’ve specified relationships between words to define the structure that represents the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω (which is why syntax searches implicitly locate items like εν γαρ Χριστω even though postpositives are not explicitly accounted for in the search) and we’ve also specified structures that specify relationships between clause components (the predicator and the component containing the prepositional phrase).
We’ve been able to sift our hits with (relatively) little effort and, more importantly, with precision. These different search results, then, can help us walk through like structures, looking for analogues that may shed some light on how to determine whether or not εν Χριστω in 1Th 4.16 is functioning adverbially or adjectivally.

Greek Syntax: First Thessalonians 4:16

[NB: The update at the bottom of the article is new; if you've found this article useful please review it. Thanks! — Rick]
The most recent issue of the SBL’s Journal of Biblical Literature (vol 126, no 3) has an article entitled “The Syntax of εν Χριστω in 1 Thessalonians 4:16″ (pp. 579-593). SBL members are able to download the article from the Society of Biblical Literature web site.
The article’s authors, David Konstan and Ilaria Ramelli, examine the question of whether or not the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω (“in Christ”) attaches to the clause subject (οι νεκροι, “the dead”) or to the clause verb (αναστησονται, “will rise”).
Why is this important? Basically the question the authors seek to answer is whether it is more appropriate to translate the clause “the dead in Christ will rise” or “the dead will rise in Christ”; important to the authors as they state:

The choice between the two versions is of considerable importance. On the first interpretation, only those who have died in Christ will be resurrected, whereas the second can be taken to signify that all the dead will be resurrected in Christ—the necessary premise for the thesis of universal salvation or apocatastasis defined by Origen and other patristics writers, including Gregory of Nyssa. (580)

At this point, I think it is worth stating that the way one answers the question may allow for an interpretation of universal salvation, but it surely doesn’t dictate it. I should also note that the authors don’t say that the way one answers the question dictates interpretation; I just thought I should make that clear.
I’m not going to interact directly with the article’s argument; I just thought it would be helpful to use this as a springboard to talk some more about (surprise!) syntax searching. Because examining questions like this really is syntax searching.
The authors of the article locate all instances of the prepositional phrase (there are 84 instances)* and then work through many of them looking to see what light they shed on how the prepositional phrase is attached. Of course, if you’ve used the OpenText.org Syntactically Analyzed Greek New Testament, you know that you can at least get their reading on questions like this. Here is how they organize 1Th 4.16:

1Th 4.16

As you can see, the OpenText.org SAGNT read the prepositional phrase (εν Χριστω, “in Christ”) as modifying the noun phrase, thus “the dead in Christ.”
Next we can search to find all instances of the prepositional phrase εν Χριστω. As you can see, The OpenText.org SAGNT does not specifically mark items as prepositional phrases, but it does have consistent encoding. There are two ways that prepositional phrases are annotated, and it depends on if they are adjectival (modifying a noun) or adverbial (modifying a verb). As can be seen in the above example, when the prepositional phrase is adverbial, one has a modifier that contains a modifier that is a specifier followed by a word that is the prepositional object. This query could be expressed as follows:

εν Χριστω functioning adjectivally

Adverbial instances are different; Romans 9.1 is a good example:

Ro 9.1

Inside of the word group (wg), the head term contains the exact same structure as the modifier in the adjectival version above. This can be expressed in the Syntax Search dialog as follows:

εν Χριστω functioning adverbally

If you combine both searches with an OR, you can get a list of all of the instances of εν Χριστω to follow along and consult as you read the article.

εν Χριστω as prepositional phrase

This essentially gives you a second opinion to check out while you follow the authors’ argument. And for technical arguments like the sort made in this article; that can be helpful.


* The authors’ count is 84; however a syntax search returns 86 hits. There are two verses that have two hits apiece. First is 1Co 4.15, which has εν and Χριστω separated by a postpositive γαρ in the second hit of the verse. The other verse is Php 4.19, which has an ambiguous modification structure (εν δοξη εν Χριστω Ιησου) that causes searches to locate each εν as the basis of the hit. Therefore a Syntax Search provides evidence of 85 instances; as the authors of the article do not provide a comprehensive hit list, there is no way to tell where these lists differ. My guess is that their count is a count of verse instances (84) and not of hits (85), though they do phrase it as if the number 84 reflects instances and not number of verses in which instances are found—a subtle but important difference.
Update (2007-12-07): I’ve revisited my original syntax search and the hit count discrepancy (84 vs 85). I’ve determined that 84 is the proper number. In my original syntax search, I should have done two things differently. First, I should have stated morphological criteria for the lexical form χριστος; or I should have just searched for the inflected text Χριστω. Second, the anything objects were unnecessary. A screen shot of the revised query is below. This query returns 84 instances, and these are likely the same 84 instances cited by Konstan and Ramelli in their article.

Syntax Search for εν Χριστω

Hopefully this clarification helps.

Luther’s Works — Now That’s a Deal!

We’ve talked about the concept of publishing one’s “life’s work” electronically on the blog before (here and here). But the concept isn’t new; some of these “life work” sets have even been published in print already.
If you’ve been around Biblical studies for any portion of time, you have likely heard of many of the big names of the protestant reformation — Luther, Calvin, Zwingli and the like. Did you know that the 55 volume set of Luther’s Works, translated from German into English and edited by Jaroslav Pelikan, has been available in Logos Bible Software format for over five years? And that, at least of the writing of this blog post, the price is only $199.95? (so, less than $5 a volume?!) A price of $199.95 is a pretty good value, even if you’re only interested in the commentary portion of the set.
I occasionally browse the products section of the Logos web site to remind myself of the cool things we’ve done, and I’d forgotten about Luther’s Works. I remember when we did the work on it. The books take up at least three shelves of a standard sized bookshelf. The first 30 volumes are volumes of commentary; the next 24 volumes are topical writings (including vol. 54, the always entertaining and sometimes rather earthy “Table Talk”), and the last volume is a massive index.
If you’re looking for some resources to compliment the books you already have and use in Logos Bible Software format, then maybe you should look into Luther’s Works and see if it floats your boat. Check out the volume list on this baby:

  • Volume 1: Lectures on Genesis — Chapters 1-5
  • Volume 2: Lectures on Genesis — Chapters 6-14
  • Volume 3: Lectures on Genesis — Chapters 15-20
  • Volume 4: Lectures on Genesis — Chapters 21-25
  • Volume 5: Lectures on Genesis — Chapters 26-30
  • Volume 6: Lectures on Genesis — Chapters 31-37
  • Volume 7: Lectures on Genesis — Chapters 38-44
  • Volume 8: Lectures on Genesis — Chapters 45-50
  • Volume 9 Lectures on Deuteronomy
  • Volume 10: First Lectures on the Psalms — 1-75
  • Volume 11: First Lectures on the Psalms — 76-126
  • Volume 12: Selected Psalms I
  • Volume 13: Selected Psalms II
  • Volume 14: Selected Psalms III
  • Volume 15: Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, Last Words of David, 2 Samuel 23:1-7
  • Volume 16: Lectures on Isaiah — Chapters 1-39
  • Volume 17: Lectures on Isaiah — Chapters 40-66
  • Volume 18: Minor Prophets I: Hosea-Malachi
  • Volume 19: Minor Prophets II: Jonah and Habakkuk
  • Volume 20: Minor Prophets III: Zechariah
  • Volume 21: The Sermon on the Mount and the Magnificat
  • Volume 22: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John — Chapters 1-4
  • Volume 23: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John — Chapters 6-8
  • Volume 24: Sermons on the Gospel of St. John — Chapters 14-16
  • Volume 25: Lectures on Romans
  • Volume 26: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 1-4
  • Volume 27: Lectures on Galatians, 1535, Chapters 5-6; 1519, Chapters 1-6
  • Volume 28: 1 Corinthians 7, 1 Corinthians 15, Lectures on 1 Timothy
  • Volume 29: Lectures on Titus, Philemon, and Hebrews
  • Volume 30: The Catholic Epistles
  • Volume 31: Career of the Reformer I
  • Volume 32: Career of the Reformer II
  • Volume 33: Career of the Reformer III
  • Volume 34: Career of the Reformer IV
  • Volume 35: Word and Sacrament I
  • Volume 36: Word and Sacrament II
  • Volume 37: Word and Sacrament III
  • Volume 38: Word and Sacrament IV
  • Volume 39: Church and Ministry I
  • Volume 40: Church and Ministry II
  • Volume 41: Church and Ministry III
  • Volume 42: Devotional Writings I
  • Volume 43: Devotional Writings II
  • Volume 44: The Christian in Society I
  • Volume 45: The Christian in Society II
  • Volume 46: The Christian in Society III
  • Volume 47: The Christian in Society IV
  • Volume 48: Letters I
  • Volume 49: Letters II
  • Volume 50: Letters III
  • Volume 51: Sermons I
  • Volume 52: Sermons II
  • Volume 53: Liturgy and Hymns
  • Volume 54: Table Talk
  • Volume 55: Index

Logos at the Evangelical Theological Society’s National Conference

Logos will be at the Evangelical Theological Society’s (ETS) National Conference in San Diego. A few of us are giving papers at the conference. Here are the details; if they sound interesting to you we’d love to see you drop by the sessions.
Of course, we’d also love for you to drop by our booth any time during the conference. So if you’re in San Diego at ETS, come on by and see what we’ve been up to (like the Qumran Biblical Scrolls and also the Semitic Inscriptions project).
We’ll see you in San Diego!



Wednesday, Nov. 14, 4:10-4:50 PM
Garden Salon Two
Richard W. Brannan
Richard Bauckham and Eyewitness Testimony: Does His Narrative Device Occur Outside of the Synoptics?
A recent book by Richard Bauckham (Jesus and the Eyewitnesses) describes Marcan usage of something he calls the “plural to singular narrative device” (Bauckham 156-157). He defines the device using syntactic terminology: “a plural verb … without an explicit subject is used to describe the movements of Jesus and his disciples, followed immediately by a singular verb or pronoun referring to Jesus alone” (Bauckham 156-157). Using this device, Bauckham posits Mark’s usage of Peter’s eyewitness testimony as underlying source for 21 different movements of Jesus (e.g. Mk 1.21).
Bauckham’s exploration of this narrative device is limited to the synoptic gospels. But does the device occur elsewhere? This paper argues that if such a thing as the plural-to-singular narrative device exists, then Ac 18.19 should be considered an additional Lucan instance of the device.



Thursday, Nov. 15, 11:10-11:40 AM
Sunset
Michael S. Heiser
The Professor and Mariamne: The Textual and Statistical Justification for Marooning James Tabor’s “Jesus Tomb Theory” on Gullible’s Island
(This session is part of the Near East Archaeological Society’s general session)
On March 4, 2007 the Discovery Channel aired a documentary touting the discovery of the “Lost Tomb of Jesus.” Negative responses quickly followed from all quarters of academia, across the theological spectrum. There has been one notable exception among biblical scholars, Dr. James Tabor, Professor and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Despite the fact that popular interest in the Jesus Family Tomb has declined steadily in the wake of the overwhelmingly unfavorable response, Tabor has defended the film’s thesis. The reason is straightforward: an identification of the Talpiot tomb as the Jesus Family Tomb would lend support to Tabor’s own theory about the historical Jesus. This paper overviews and evaluates Tabor’s ongoing arguments for a Jesus family tomb in support of his own larger thesis about the historical Jesus.



Thursday, Nov. 15, 3:00-3:40 PM
Royal Palm Salon Two
Steven Runge
Teaching them what NOT to Do: The Nuances of Negation in the Greek New Testament
Most descriptions of negation are primarily concerned with highlighting the distinctions between ου and μη. Little attention is given to variation in the syntax of negation constructions. The biblical writers frequently used negation to describe what did not happen as a means of adding emphasis to what did happen. Emphasis can also be assigned by emphasizing a specific component of a clause rather than the entire negated clause. The purpose of this paper is to describe and illustrate the basic patterns observed in the Greek NT. Based on this description, representative examples will be presented that demonstrate the exegetical payoff of careful attention to negation.


Friday, Nov. 16, 11:30 AM -12:10 PM
Royal Palm Salon Five
Michael S. Heiser
Did Jesus Allow for Reincarnation? Assessing the Syntax of John 9:3-4
In a 2003 article in the scholarly journal Filología Neotestamentaria entitled, “The True Meaning of Jn 9:3-4,” J. D. M. Derrett raised the possibility that Jn 9:3-4 (the man blind from birth) could plausibly be construed as evidence that Jesus was not opposed to the idea of reincarnation. Derrett argued that the disciples’ question about why the man was born blind suggests that the disciples were prepared to accept that the man had sinned in the womb or in a previous life. According to Derrett a specific syntactical structure (the “relative negative”— ου/μη [or any negative particle] . . . αλλα, followed by ινα) in Jesus’ response does not denote a categorical denial of the idea. This paper tests this assertion by means of Logos’ implementation of the OpenText.org syntactically-tagged database.

Logos at the Society of Biblical Literature National Conference

If you will be attending the SBL national conference in San Diego next week, you might be interested in some of these additional sessions that Logos is sponsoring. You’ll see new stuff we’ve been working on (like the Qumran Biblical Dead Sea Scrolls Database and the Semitic Inscriptions) and you’ll be able to associate some faces with names!
If you’re not able to make these additional meetings but will be at the AAR/SBL meetings, please do at least drop by the booth and say “hello” to us!
(Yes, we’ll be at the ETS national conference too; we’ll have a post on what’s going on there next week)



AM17-36 An Electronic Database of the Biblical Qumran Scrolls
Date: 11/17/2007 – 11:45AM-12:45PM
Room: New York – MM
This meeting presents, for the first time, a searchable database of the biblical Dead Sea Scrolls. The session will demonstrate searching and display strategies for comparison of the biblical scrolls with the other texts of the Hebrew Bible. In addition, a variety of books now available in digital form for the study of the Dead Sea Scrolls will be presented.
Additional Links:


AM17-51 Syntactically-Tagged Databases for the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament
Date: 11/17/2007 – 1:00-3:30PM
Room: New York – MM
This session will overview the latest quantum leap for computerized research and teaching in biblical texts: databases tagged for syntactical structures and functions. The session is appropriate for anyone interested in computer applications for exegesis and teaching of the Hebrew Bible and Greek New Testament.
Additional Links:


AM 18-21 Electronic Books and Databases for Research in Josephus, Philo and the Pseudepigrapha
Date: 11/18/2007 – 11:45AM-12:45PM
Room: Manchester 1 – MM
This meeting presents an overview of searchable, morphologically tagged databases of the Greek Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, the writings of Philo (the Philo Concordance project), and the Niese edition of The Works of Josephus with critical apparatus. Along with these databases, scholarly monographs now available in digital form for the study of these texts will be presented.
Additional Links:


AM 18-51 A Discourse Annotation Database for Biblical Texts
Date: 11/18/2007 – 1:00-3:30PM
Room: Columbia 1 – MM
This meeting presents a searchable database of descriptive annotations of grammatical features based on their function within the discourse. These annotations describe the pragmatic choices of the biblical writers/editors and their effects. The descriptive aspect of the methodology takes into account stylistic idiosyncrasies. The function-based aspect allows for stylistic comparison. The Greek NT database is complete. Preliminary data for the Hebrew Bible and LXX will be presented.
We don’t have any additional links describing this at present because it is still in development, but you may want to examine some papers by the project editor, Steven Runge, D.Litt, housed on his Logos bio page.



AM 19-11 Electronic Books and Databases for Ugaritic and Northwest Semitic Inscriptions
Date: 11/19/2007 – 11:45AM-12:45PM
Room: Orlando – MM
This meeting includes a demonstration of the use of a searchable database for the Ugaritic corpus (Ugaritic Databank, Madrid) and searchable scholarly reference works for Ugaritic. The session will also feature a new database for Microsoft Windows users for select Northwest Semitic Inscriptions representing languages and dialects such as Hebrew, Aramaic, Phoenician, Moabite, and Ammonite. The inscriptions database includes morphological tagging.
Additional Links:

Using BDAG as You’ve Never Used It Before

My friend and colleague Johnny recently came up with some pretty cool tricks for using BDAG to help when reading the Apostolic Fathers in Greek.
The trick is pretty simple, but is involved to explain. So I made a video.

Think about other applications of this same technique:

  • Maybe you’re interested in where BDAG has cited a particular section of BDF? You could use this same trick. As an example, BDF §260 has to do with how the article is used with personal names. Want to know where BDAG cites or points to this section? Search BDAG for “bdf in 260″.
  • Maybe you want to see where BDF has referenced Ignatius to Polycarp. You can do the same search the video demonstrates, only do it in BDF: “af in ipol”.
  • You get the gist. I’m sure you can think of others.

How cool is that?

Newer Greek Stuff You Might’ve Missed

Keeping up with the new books we release can be a chore. There are a few ways to make sure you’re in the loop, though.

  • NewsWire:The first is to make sure you’re subscribed to NewsWire. NewsWire is delivered via email three or four times a month and is one of the main methods we use to notify y’all of new products and special prices. If you’re not subscribed already, you can subscribe here.
  • RSS Feeds:RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, provides a way for you to receive regularly updated information on your computer, from a variety of sources such as newspapers, religion websites, blogs, or shopping websites. Read more about it here. Logos uses RSS to “push” feeds detailing new pre-pub and community pricing opportunities. Check the pre-pub RSS feed and community pricing RSS feed, and subscribe to ‘em to get the best deals.

Now, with that over, here’s the reason for the post. I thought some folks might’ve missed notice of these cool and relatively new Greek resources. So here you go.

  • Moulton & Milligan’s Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament.This is not a vocabulary list, it is a Greek lexicon. And it isn’t just any Greek lexicon, but the definitions cite and point toward how important words in the New Testament were used in papyri and ostraca. So, how the words were used in everyday speech. This lexicon is frequently referred to in BDAG; if you’ve ever seen the abbreviation M-M; you’ve seen the lexicon indicate you should check out the Moulton & Milligan article.
  • Stanley Porter’s Idioms of the Greek New Testament, Second Edition.This is an intermediate handbook that fits between a first-year grammar/coursebook and a full-fledged reference grammar. As such, it is very helpful. It can be used as an instructive handbook, as an intermediate level textbook, and as a basic reference work. Substantial discussions are provided on Greek verb structure, the case system, the use of prepositions, particles, and various types of clauses
  • Blass, Debrunner, and Funk’s A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature.This is the standard reference grammar for New Testament Greek. If you’ve seen references to BDF, then you’ve seen this referenced. It is commonly referenced in technical commentaries (e.g. ICC and NIGTC) exegetical commentaries focusing on Greek (e.g. WBC). Why not allow yourself to look up the discussions that these commentaries refer to?
  • A.T. Robertson’s Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research.Robertson’s grammar is a reference grammar, and it is impressive. Nearly 1500 pages, chock-full of examples which are indexed by scripture reference, so they’ll show up in your Exegetical Guide Grammars section. This one is hard to use in print because of its size and organization; but searching by reference pinpoints you to the discussions that are relevant for the passage you’re working through. This is very useful.

Of course, that’s not everything (for example, check the Introduction to Biblical Greek Collection, with Swetnam and Zerwick’s Biblical Greek! Zounds!) but it is a significant chunk.
If you’re looking to round out your Greek lexical and grammar resources, then these are good places to start. And look to our Greek Resources Product Guide for even more information on even more Greek stuff!

Using Exegetical Guide When Reading Greek NT or Hebrew Bible

I was hanging out with some Logos users at Camp Logos II, held here in Bellingham on August 27-28, when my friend and colleague Johnny asked me about ways to emulate a “Reader’s Greek New Testament” inside of Logos. Johnny is always working on his Greek (and Hebrew) skills as he’s pursuing a Masters degree up at Regent College. He wanted to read the Greek NT but only have glosses available for words (lemmas) that occur less than, say, 20 times in the Greek NT.
There is a way to do this, but you might not think of it. It involves paring down your Exegetical Guide preferences and also using the chain link to link your Exegetical Guide with the Greek New Testament.
Don’t worry, I recorded a video to explain how you can do this too. Check it out.

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