May 2010


ὁ ψαλμος
Psa. 13:1 ¶         Εἰς τὸ τέλος· ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ.
        Εἶπεν ἄφρων ἐν καρδίᾳ αὐτοῦ Οὐκ ἔστιν θεός·
        διέφθειραν καὶ ἐβδελύχθησαν ἐν ἐπιτηδεύμασιν,
        οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα, οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός.
Psa. 13:2         κύριος ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ διέκυψεν ἐπὶ τοὺς υἱοὺς τῶν ἀνθρώπων
        τοῦ ἰδεῖν εἰ ἔστιν συνίων ἢ ἐκζητῶν τὸν θεόν.
Psa. 13:3         πάντες ἐξέκλιναν, ἅμα ἠχρεώθησαν,
        οὐκ ἔστιν ποιῶν χρηστότητα, οὐκ ἔστιν ἕως ἑνός.
        τάφος ἀνεῳγμένος ὁ λάρυγξ αὐτῶν,
        ταῖς γλώσσαις αὐτῶν ἐδολιοῦσαν·
        ἰὸς ἀσπίδων ὑπὸ τὰ χείλη αὐτῶν,
        ὧν τὸ στόμα ἀρᾶς καὶ πικρίας γέμει·
        ὀξεῖς οἱ πόδες αὐτῶν ἐκχέαι αἷμα·
        σύντριμμα καὶ ταλαιπωρία ἐν ταῖς ὁδοῖς αὐτῶν,
        καὶ ὁδὸν εἰρήνης οὐκ ἔγνωσαν·
        οὐκ ἔστιν φόβος θεοῦ ἀπέναντι τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν.
Psa. 13:4         οὐχὶ γνώσονται πάντες οἱ ἐργαζόμενοι τὴν ἀνομίαν;
        οἱ κατεσθίοντες τὸν λαόν μου βρώσει ἄρτου τὸν κύριον οὐκ ἐπεκαλέσαντο.
Psa. 13:5         ἐκεῖ ἐδειλίασαν φόβῳ, οὗ οὐκ ἦν φόβος,
        ὅτι ὁ θεὸς ἐν γενεᾷ δικαίᾳ.
Psa. 13:6         βουλὴν πτωχοῦ κατῃσχύνατε,
        ὅτι κύριος ἐλπὶς αὐτοῦ ἐστιν.
Psa. 13:7         τίς δώσει ἐκ Σιων τὸ σωτήριον τοῦ Ισραηλ;
        ἐν τῷ ἐπιστρέψαι κύριον τὴν αἰχμαλωσίαν τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτοῦ
        ἀγαλλιάσθω Ιακωβ καὶ εὐφρανθήτω Ισραηλ.

τουτος ψαλμος εστιν βοη τῳ κριματι. εστιν πολλυς ασηβης. πας ουκ εκζητει θεον. Παυλος εγραψεν απο τουτου ψαλμου εν επιστολῃ αυτου προς Ρωμην. βλεπωμεν την διαστολην μεν ἡ πλουτης μεν ὁ πτωκον. ὁ κακος κατεκρινει τον πτωκον, αλλα κυριος κατεκρινει πλουτον. ὁ κυριος αγαπα τον πτωοκον και ἡ ελπις του πτωκου εστιν ὁ κυριος. ουκ εστιν αλεθεια της ασηβης. ὁ κακος λεγει “ουκ εστιν θεος” αλλα θεος ηκουσεν αυτον. ὁ κυριος κρινεσει επι ημεραν κριτης, δικαιαν και αδικιαν.

ευχαριστω σε, θεος μου, οτι εἶ πτωχῳ. αγαπας ταπεινον και αντισσεσαι τον ὑπερεφανον. θελω ειναι ως σὐ κυριε μου. συ εἶ δικαιος, συ εἶ αξιος. ουκ αξιος ειμι. ψευδος και κακος ειμι. ευχαριστω σε οτι σταυρος Ιησοῦ! ουκ αξιος ειμι, αλλα εδικαιοσεν με εν ὑιῳ σου. μονος εστιν χαρις σου. ειμι ως ειμι χαριτι θεου. κυριε, θελω ποιεν δικαιῶ. θελω αγαπαν τον πτωκον ως συ. ελεησον με κυριε, τον ἁμαρτωλον.

αλεξανδρος

So I made two purchases recently, one for accordance and one more traditional. I had a coupon for Accordance, so I went ahead and got the BDAG/HALOT bundle. I’m quite happy to add these two lexicons to my library. HALOT won’t do me much good until I start learning Hebrew, but since I do plan to at least pick up the basics one day I’m sure it will come in handy. And I’m definitely excited about BDAG. The 2nd edition print version is fantastic. Having the 3rd version on the computer will be even better. I’m looking forward to not having to open Thayer as often ;-). I also added the “Apologists” module which includes the Greek texts of Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Athenagoras, and Theophylus of Antioch. It’s always nice to have additional morphologically tagged Greek texts ;-).

The other purchase was from Borders.com, also with a coupon. I got Whitacre’s Patristic Greek Reader and also the Barnes and Noble classic edition of Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric. I’m extremely excited about the Patristic Greek Reader. I had forgotten that it existed and was looking for a Patristic reader! The Aristotle works were largely to get free shipping, but I’m excited to read more on Greek rhetoric. Perhaps one day I’ll be able to read them in Greek!

~alex

So this post requires a bit of explanation. This post is essentially a response to this post. Matthew over at Crypto-Theology suggested that I post some of my Greek reflection and prayer. I was reluctant at first, but I decided that it was a good idea (thanks for the suggestion Matthew!). I was reluctant for a few reasons. First, I’m still a Greek newbie! I misunderstand lots of things and frankly I didn’t want to embarrass my self ;-). Second, reflecting on the psalms is, by nature, an extremely personal endeavor. I’m often hesitant to “get personal” here because that’s not “academic.” However, I think we’re often too quick to divorce the devotional and the academic (at least I am!). I think it’s imperative we hold the two together if theology would serve the Church. So, these “Greek Psalms” posts will hopefully work to keep those two together, at least for me. It will also serve to humble, because I’ll make lots of mistakes and because my Greek composition skills would be matched by a young child! I won’t post a translation yet since a primary purpose of it is to “grow in Greek.” If I decide to keep this up, I’ll likely split them off into a separate blog so as not to bug those who don’t read Greek.

A few more notes: I’m copying the psalm from Accordance, to the accents there should be fine. The accents in my reflection and prayer, however, will be sporadic. I’ve tried to add them in the most helpful places, like εἶ, ὁ, or ῳ but I’ve left out a lot of the others. Some if this is because it takes way to much time to type, and some of it is that I simply don’t know most of them ;-). If sporadic accents are worse than no accents, then I’ll switch to the latter ;-). Also, I’m using the Greek numbering system, which is slightly different than the one our English bibles use. A good explanation can be found here (a great link!). Basically, this is the 12th Greek Psalm, but it’s the 11th Hebrew (and thus English) Psalm.

Comments are appreciated, as is constructive criticism (ie, Greek mistakes!). However, please be gentle :-).

And now, we can begin! Thankfully this psalm was short and relatively simple, and good one to start with.

ὁ ψαλμος:

Psa. 12:1         Εἰς τὸ τέλος· ψαλμὸς τῷ Δαυιδ.
Psa. 12:2         Ἕως πότε, κύριε, ἐπιλήσῃ μου εἰς τέλος;
        ἕως πότε ἀποστρέψεις τὸ πρόσωπόν σου ἀπ᾿ ἐμοῦ;
Psa. 12:3         ἕως τίνος θήσομαι βουλὰς ἐν ψυχῇ μου,
        ὀδύνας ἐν καρδίᾳ μου ἡμέρας;
        ἕως πότε ὑψωθήσεται ὁ ἐχθρός μου ἐπ᾿ ἐμέ;
Psa. 12:4         ἐπίβλεψον, εἰσάκουσόν μου, κύριε ὁ θεός μου·
        φώτισον τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς μου, μήποτε ὑπνώσω εἰς θάνατον,
Psa. 12:5         μήποτε εἴπῃ ὁ ἐχθρός μου Ἴσχυσα πρὸς αὐτόν·
        οἱ θλίβοντές με ἀγαλλιάσονται, ἐὰν σαλευθῶ.
Psa. 12:6         ἐγὼ δὲ ἐπὶ τῷ ἐλέει σου ἤλπισα,
        ἀγαλλιάσεται ἡ καρδία μου ἐπὶ τῷ σωτηρίῳ σου·
        ᾄσω τῷ κυρίῳ τῷ εὐεργετήσαντί με
        καὶ ψαλῶ τῷ ὀνόματι κυρίου τοῦ ὑψίστου.

τουτος ψαλμος εστιν βοη ανθροπου ἐν θλιψῳ. Κραζει, “Εως ποτε, κυριε.” Βλεπει τους εχθρους αυτου και κραζει τῳ κυριῳ. Ὁ κυριος εστιν ὑψιστος, υψοθεται δε ὁ εχθρος επ ὑμνογραφον. Βλεπει θανατον και ουκι ζωην. Εν δε θλιψῳ αυτος επι τῳ ελεει κυριου ελπιζει. Ενεκα τουτου, ὁ κυριος εσωσα αυτον, κυριος ερυσατο.

αξιος εἶ, κυριε. Ευχαριστω σε, εἶ γαρ μεγας. εσωσας με απο θανατου και ολεθρου. Υψω σε εις αιωνα ὁτι καλος εἶ. Σωζεις ἡμᾶς απο εχθρῶν ἡμων. δει ειναι ἡ χαρις σου, ἡμεις γαρ αξιοι ουκ εσμεν. Κυριε, θελω ανεχεσθαι καλῶς τους θλιψους. Επαγγελεται οτι εστιν θλιψις εν ἠμιν, και θελω φερειν αυτον ὡς Ιησους ενενγκεν τους θλιψους ἡμων. Θελω γνῶναι την δυναμιν Χριστου, και την κοινανιαν του παθηματῶν αυτου. Εν Χριστῳ θελω ειναι. Ελεησον με, ἁμαρτωλον κυριε. Ουκ ειμι ει μη χαρις σου.

I’ve started recently taking the advice of several folks regarding Greek composition. I’ve known for a while that only way I’ll learn the language well is to express my own thought in it. As I’ve been reading through the Psalms, I’ve finally changed my strategy to include a small bit of Greek composition. I had been going through bit by bit, attempting to learn all of the words I didn’t know. This was quite tedious, since there are so many words I don’t know!

What I have discovered is that I know enough to get a gist of what’s going on by a few re-readings. For instance, I can usually pick out the transition in a Psalm. Today, I was in Psalm 10 (LXX, Psalm 11 in our English Bibles) and the contrast was between the ungodly, and the righteous Lord. By focusing on the bigger picture instead of the granular details, I’m able to keep the whole Psalm in view much better. I know I’m missing details, but it’s much less tiresome and much more rewarding this way.

After reading a few times, I start to summarize the Psalms in Greek. I’ll vary the wording so I don’t just end up copying out of the Psalms. Where I can, I’ll use synonyms. After some summary, the reflection into a prayer. The prayers aren’t terribly long (and a First Century kindergartener would no doubt put me to shame in terms of style and vocab!) , but I must say that they’re tremendously helpful, especially spiritually. Thankfully, God has turned these into wonderful devotional moments! I’m starting to appreciate the Psalms in a way I never have before. I’m both learning lots of Greek, and constantly seeing the God for whom I’m doing so.

Πιστος εστιν ὁ Κυριος!

εν αυτῳ,
alex

I recently picked up a few of the classical rhetorical writers at the Library, and have been reading through some of Quintilian. Quintilian was a first century Roman orator, and I must say: this guy was smart! I’m embarrassed to say I’ve hardly read any of the classic writers from Greek or Rome. I think the extent before this week Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. But nevertheless, I’m trying to remedy this now.

The work I’m reading is titled Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, in the Loeb Classical Library series. The work is basically a treatise on rhetoric, both what it is and how it should be taught. It’s immensely insightful, and quite dense at points! These guys were very, very smart and it shows. I’m hoping that reading this will give me some insight into the ancient practice of rhetoric, and in turn help me understand how the early Christians used (or didn’t use) it. At the very least, I’ll understand argument better! I also plan on working through at least some of Aristotle’s work on rhetoric.

~alex

I stumbled across something in Ignatius today which I’ve found fascinating! The way he adapts Paul is intriguing, and quite beautiful if I may say so. In this post, I want to highlight Ignatius’ musical metaphor. He makes use of musical language several places, but here I’ll look at Ephesians 4 (Ignatius’ letter to the Ephesians of course!).

Here’s a rather rough translation (and thus my own!):
“Thus it is proper for you to run to the mind of the bishop, just as you are now doing. Your elders are worthy of bearing this name, the worthy name of God, for they have been joined to the bishop as strings to a harp. Because of this, Jesus Christ is sung in unified, harmonious love. All of you must join this chorus, so that you may be unified and harmonious, receiving your pitch from God. In unity, sing in one voice through Jesus Christ to the Father. Do this so that he may hear and know you, through the good you do as members (μέλη) of his son’s body.”

I find this metaphor stunning, especially since it was written by someone imprisoned and on his way to meet “wild beasts” in Rome. Ignatius imagines the bishop as a harp, and the priests/elders (Gk πρεσβυτέριον) as the strings of the harp. To this music the congregation sings Jesus Christ “in unified, harmonious love.” This chorus is joined together in harmony, receiving its pitch from God, singing to the Father through Jesus Christ. Clearly music is significant for Ignatius (and for the Early Church).

What I see here is a beautiful adaptation of 1 Corinthians 12. Scholars quibble over which of Paul’s letters Ignatius knew, but 1 Corinthians is one everyone agrees on. Here, Ignatius has taken over the theme of “diverse gifttings, unified Church” and expressed it with music. People have different roles, but they are all joined together in one “symphony” to God through Christ.

What especially strikes me is how Ignatius arrives this metaphor. I think there are two ways he comes to it. First, I’m sure it’s rooted in the liturgy of the earlier Church. Sacramental theology was already developing as early as Paul (1 Cor 10:14-17 as an example). Part of this liturgy contained “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs,” which Paul exhorts the Ephesians to in Eph 5. Perhaps the creeds and confessions of the Church were sung early on, just as the Eastern church does now. When Ignatius talks about “singing Jesus Christ,” I wouldn’t be surprised if this is a reference to the prayer sung at the Eucharist. Ignatius uses loads of liturgical language through his letters, and I’m positive that he had had profound experiences with Christ in the liturgy.

Second, Ignatius makes use of a play on words. In 1 Corinthians, Paul reminds the Corinthians several times that they are “members of Christ’s body.” The Greek word for “member” here is  μέλη, and it generally means “part” or “member.” However, it also has a musical sense as well. I don’t know nearly enough about music to identify what exactly it refers to (LSJ lists “melody of an instrument” or “music to which a song is put”), but the double entendre here is intentional on Ignatius’ part. In addition to being members of Christ’s body, they are God’s “chorus” or “symphony.”

Thus, I’m convinced that Ignatius of Antioch was a rather amazing figure :-). People are put off by his martyrdom language, but he has a lot of good stuff to say. His theological reflection is beautiful, and he has a lot to teach us about Christ.

έν φωνῆ μιᾷ τῳ πατρἱ,
~alex

So now that I’m back working full time, I’m contemplating what my next Accordance purchase should be. I know I need to get BDAG: it is the standard Greek lexicon. I currently have the 2nd edition in print, but having the newest electronically would be quite handy. You get a discount when you get it bundled with HALOT (the standard Hebrew lexicon), but it would be strange for me to spend >$100 on a language I don’t know yet! I’m also contemplating getting the “Church Father and Church History” set.  It appears to be quite extensive, and even has Greek/Latin in the footnotes from what I can tell.  However, I’m afraid that the translations would be old and difficult to read, and that Greek/Latin would be difficult to access.  Still, it’s an impressive set.  Finally, I could add to my Greek collection with some works from people like Philo, Josephus, or the Greek pseudepigrapha.  The last sounds especially tempting….

I’m pretty sure I’ll be getting BDAG in some way.  Beyond that, any suggestions?

~alex

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