Archive for the ‘Greek’ Category

Three Days and Three Nights – Hebrew Idiom for Three Consecutive Calendar Days

April 19, 2017

Jonah’s use of “three days and three nights” repeated by Jesus in prophesying his own death, burial, and resurrection has led to some confusion. As you may recall, in Jonah, it is written:

Jonah 1:15-17
So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. Then the men feared the Lord exceedingly, and offered a sacrifice unto the Lord, and made vows. Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Similarly, Jesus states:

Matthew 12:38-41
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: for as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh shall rise in judgment with this generation, and shall condemn it: because they repented at the preaching of Jonas; and, behold, a greater than Jonas is here.

Some people have taken this expression as expressing emphasis on both daylight and and dark periods, instead of understanding the expression as simply meaning three consecutive calendar days. Interestingly enough, the same expression is found in one other place, where it is fairly clear that three calendar days is meant:

1 Samuel 30:1 & 11-14
And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; … And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; and they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights. And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days agone I fell sick. We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.

The point of “three days and three nights” is just that the Egyptian had been continuously without food and water for three calendar days. The point is not the day and light portions, but the continuity. We see that from the fact that David returned “on the third day” (vs. 1) and from the fact that the Egyptian had only fallen sick “three days agone.”

The way that “on the third day” worked for the Hebrew way of counting days can be seen from Jesus’ own use:

Luke 13:32 And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.

Similarly, in Leviticus:

Leviticus 19:6 It shall be eaten the same day ye offer it, and on the morrow: and if ought remain until the third day, it shall be burnt in the fire.

Even in 1 Samuel, we see the same way of counting:

1 Samuel 20:5 And David said unto Jonathan, Behold, to morrow is the new moon, and I should not fail to sit with the king at meat: but let me go, that I may hide myself in the field unto the third day at even.

Regarding the use of days and nights, the point is not to emphasize the period of darkness, as though the Egyptian had been 72 hours without food, but simply to emphasize the continuity of his involuntary fast. We see the same principle employed in other situations where continuity is the point:

  • “forty days and forty nights” of the rain in the great flood (Genesis 7:4 and 12).
  • “forty days and forty nights” of Moses’ fasts on the mount (Exodus 24:18 and 34:28, Deuteronomy 9:9, 11, 18, and 24, Deuteronomy 10:10).
  • “forty days and forty nights” of Elijah’s fast on his journey to Horeb (1 Kings 19:8)
  • “seven days and seven nights” of Jobs’ friends’ silence (Job 2:13)
  • “forty days and forty nights” of Jesus’ fast in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2)

We also see the same thing in the use of the expression “day and night,” which is used to mean “continuously.” A few examples:

Leviticus 8:35 Therefore shall ye abide at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation day and night seven days, and keep the charge of the Lord, that ye die not: for so I am commanded.

Deuteronomy 28:66 And thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have none assurance of thy life:

Joshua 1:8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

1 Kings 8:59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:

1 Chronicles 9:33 And these are the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, who remaining in the chambers were free: for they were employed in that work day and night.

2 Chronicles 6:20 That thine eyes may be open upon this house day and night, upon the place whereof thou hast said that thou wouldest put thy name there; to hearken unto the prayer which thy servant prayeth toward this place.

Psalm 1:2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

Psalm 32:4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.

Psalm 42:3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

Luke 18:7 And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?

Acts 9:24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.

Acts 26:7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.

Revelation 4:8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.

Finally, recall that Jesus prophesied explicitly that he would rise “the third day”:

Matthew 16:21 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.

Matthew 17:23 And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.

Matthew 20:19 And shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Matthew 27:64 Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest his disciples come by night, and steal him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first.

Mark 9:31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

Mark 10:34 And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him, and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him: and the third day he shall rise again.

Luke 9:22 Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day.

Luke 18:33 And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again.

Luke 24:7 Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.

Moreover, Jesus himself confirmed that this was true:

Luke 24:21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.

Luke 24:46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:

Moreover, Paul tells us the same thing:

1 Corinthians 15:4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

So, it is clear that the reference to “Three days and three nights” refers simply to three successive or consecutive calendar days, as opposed to meaning three periods of light and darkness. Otherwise, Jesus would rise on the fourth day after having been buried for 72 hours.

Finally, of course, we know that Jesus was killed on Friday, which is also called “Preparation”:

Mark 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.

John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Moreover, we know that Jesus rose in the morning on the first day of the week:

Matthew 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.

Mark 16:2 And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

Mark 16:9 Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Luke 24:1 Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them.

John 20:1The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.

John 20:19Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you.

So, again, we can see that the three consecutive days were Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

In short, while the expression “three days and three nights” is a little unfamiliar as an idiom to our English-listening ears, with all the Biblical data, it becomes clear what was meant, and that what was meant was fully consistent with the rest of Scripture.

Pseudo-Greek Propaganda Regarding the Eucharist

June 10, 2011

I ran across this gem in the Called to Communion comment box (from Nathan B.):

The Greek in “Do this in remembrance of me” is anamnesis. It does not mean to “intellectually recall a memory”. It means to “again make present a past event or action or state which those now present enter into”, to be a bit long winded about it.

Doesn’t that sound great? The Greek meaning of the term turns out to be so handy for Rome! But what do actual lexicons of Greek say:


ἀνάμνη-σις , εως, , (ἀναμιμνῄσκω)

1. calling to mind, reminiscence, Pl. Phd.72e, 92d, Phlb.34c (pl.), Arist.Mem.451a21; . τινος λαβεῖν recall it to memory, IG2.628.20; ἀναμνήσεις θυσιῶν reminders to the gods of sacrifices offered, Lys.2.39.
2. memorial sacrifice, LXX Nu.10.10, cf. Ev.Luc.22.19.
3. παλίνδρομος ., of the moon, Secund.Sent.6.

And, of course, other lexicons say much the same thing:

“means of remembering, remembrance, reminder” (Friberg)
“reminder, remembrance” (Barclay-Newman)
“reminder” (Louw-Nida)
“a remembering, recollection” (Thayer)
“calling to mind, reminiscence, remembrance” (Lust-Eynikel-Hauspie)
“reminder; remembrance, memory” (Gingrich)

If you think this is just a conspiracy of modern Greek scholars, consider that the Vulgate translates the term “commemorationem,” from which we get “commemoration.”

Of course, more sophisticated defenses of Rome’s error attempt to have it both ways:

The Church constantly draws her life from the redeeming sacrifice; she approaches it not only through faith-filled remembrance, but also through a real contact, since this sacrifice is made present ever anew, sacramentally perpetuated, in every community which offers it at the hands of the consecrated minister.

Ecclesia de Eucharistia, John Paul II, 17 April 2003, at section 12 (bold emphasis added, italics in original).

But, of course, Scripture only teaches us remembrance, not “real contact.” There’s nothing about sacramental perpetuation in Scripture and the Scriptures describe the sacrifice of Christ as being a completed and finished activity, not one that is present, on-going, or continued.


Dan on Pluperfects Again

November 5, 2009

I had previously pointed out how Dan was misunderstanding the pluperfect tense as applied to Acts 13:48 (link). Unfortunately, Dan does not listen to me and has chosen instead to prove by his actions how a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing (link).

Dan thinks I’m mistaken and provides the following evidence:

The Pluperfect of Completed Action. The Pluperfect is used of an action which was complete at a point of past time implied in the context. (Burton)

The Pluperfect represents an action as already finished at some specified past time (Goodwin)

The problem is not that Dan’s evidence is bad, but that Dan doesn’t understand the evidence.

The pluperfect is a verb tense that indicates that something happened before time X, where time X is itself a specified (at least usually) past event. That’s a bit like the future perfect: a tense that indicates that something will have happened before time X, where time X is itself a specified (at least usually) future event.

The ordaining in Acts 13:48 takes place prior to the specified hearing, being glad, rejoicing, and believing. That’s what the pluperfect indicates. It was complete by that time, it was not performed at that time. It does not indicate that we can state when precisely the ordaining itself occurred. I would suggest that Dan contact a Greek professor who he knows and trusts to clarify this grammatical point to him, as he obviously doesn’t trust me.

To provide a simple English example, the following sentence uses the pluperfect: “I had cleaned my room when my mother came home.” In this example, “when my mother came home” is the specified time. It is not the time when the cleaning took place, but rather time before which the cleaning took place. I could have cleaned my room long before that event, or just before that event, but anyway when my mother came home, the room was clean.

The same goes for Acts 13:48. The ordaining was done before the specified time, such that at the specified time, the action of ordaining had already been completed. That’s what Burton and Goodwin are trying to tell Dan, if only Dan would listen to them more carefully or to me. Hopefully, Dan will avail himself of someone whom he knows is familiar with Greek grammar: someone Dan trusts. That way, Dan can receive confirmation that what I am telling him is true, since it appears plain that Dan is not willing to take my word for it.


Basil the Great (Works – Greek With Latin Translation) – Index Page

June 3, 2009

Google has apparently just one index for this series (link).

Volume 1 (Part 2) (Archive Part 1)(Archive Part 2)

Homiliae in Hexaemeron Novem

I. In illud, In principio fecit Deus etc.
II. In illud, Invisibilis erat terra etc.
III. De firmamento
IV. De aquarum congregatione
V. De germinatione terrae
VI. De generatione luminarium
VII. De reptilibus
VIII. De volatilibus
IX. De terrestribus


I. In Psalmum primum
II. In Psalmum septimum
III. In partem Psalmum XIV, et contra feneratores
IV. In Psalmum XXVIII
V. In Psalmum XXIX
VI. In Psalmum XXXII
VII. In Psalmum XXXIII
VIII. In Psalmum XLIV
IX. In Psalmum XLV
X. In Psalmum XLVIII
XI. In Psalmum LIX
XII. In Psalmum LXI
XIII. In Psalmum CXIV

Libri Adversus Eunomium V.

Liber I
Liber II
Liber III
Liber IV
Liber V

Appendix (Part 2)

De hominis structura oratio I
De hominis structura oratio II
De Paradiso
In Psalmum XIV
In Psalmum XXVIII
In Psalmum XXXVII
In Psalmum CXV
In Psalmum CXXXII
Enarratio in prophetam Esaiam
Eunomii liber
Eustathri in Hexaëmeron Basilii Magni Latina metaphrasis
Notae Frontonis Ducaei
Notae Federici Morelli
Praecipuae antiquarum editionum Prefationes

Volume 2 (Part 2)(Archive Part 1)(Archive Part 2)

Homiliae De Diversis

I. De Jejunio (First)
II. De Jejunion (Second)
III. In illud, Attende tibiipsi
IV. De gratiarum actione
V. In Martyrem Julittam, etc.
VI. In illud, Destruam horrea mea, et majora aedificabo, etc. et de Avaritia
VII. In Divites
VIII. In Famem et siccitatem
IX. In illud, Quod Deus non est auctor malorum
X. Adversus iratos
XI. De Invidia
XII. In principium Proverbiorum
XIII. In sanctum Baptisma
XIV. In Ebriosos
XV. De Fide
XVI. In illud, In principio erat Verbum
XVII. In Barlaam Martyrem
XVIII. In Godium Martyrem
XIX. In sanctos quandraginta Martyres
XX. De Humilitate
XXI. Quod rebus mundanis adhaerendum non sit, et de incendio extra ecclesiam facto
XXII. Ad adolescentes, de legendis libris Gentilium
XXIII. In Mamantem Martyrem
XXIV. Contra Sabellianos et Arium et Anomaaeos


Praevia Insititutio ascetica
Sermo asceticus de renuntiatione saeculi, etc.
Sermo de ascetica disciplina, quomodo monachum ornari oporteat
Proaemium de Judicio Dei
Sermo de Fide
Index Moralium
Initium Moralium
Sermo asceticus (first)
Sermo asceticus (second)
Proaemium in Regulas fusius tractatas
Capita Regularum fusius tractatas
Regulae fusius tractatae

(Part 2)

Capita Regularum brevis tractatarum
Proaemium in Regulas breviores
Regulae brevius tractatae
Poenae in Monachos delinquentes
Epitimia in Canonicas
Capita Constitutionum
Constitutiones monasticae
Homilia de Spiritu sancto
Homilia in aliquot Scripturae locos, dicta in Lacizis
Homilia in sanctam Christi generationem
Homilia de Poenitentia
Homilia adversus calumniatores S. Trinitatis
Sermo de libero arbitrio
Homilia in illud, Ne dederis somnum oculis tuis, etc.
Homilia III de Jejunio
Sermo asceticus, de religiosae exercitationis informatione
Liber I de Baptismo
Liber II de Baptismo
Liturgia S. Basilii Alexandrina
Liturgia S. Basilii Coptica. Latine
Tractatus de consolatione in adversis. Latine
De Laude solitariae vitae. Latine
Admonitio ad filium spiritualem. Latine

Homiliae S. Basilii

Quas transtulit Ruffinus e Graeco in Latinum (which Ruffinus translated from Greek into Latin)

I. In Psalmum I
II. In illud, Attende tibi ne forte fiat in corde tuo sermo occultus iniquitas
III. In illud Lucae, Cujusdam divitis fructus uberes ager attulit, etc.
IV. De Invidia
V. In Principium Proverbiorum Solomonis
VI. De Fide
VII. Ad virginem lapsam
VIII. In Psalmum LIX
IX. Homilia ad invitatos in Baptismum
X. Translatio Latina vetustae versionis Armeniacae, quae hanc homiliam Severiano tribuit

Volume 3 (Part 2)(Second Edition)(Archive Part 1)(Archive Part 2)

Vita S. Basilii Magni (A long biography of Basil in the preface – Latin only, of course, except where Greek words are quoted)

Liber de Spiritu sancto
Sancti Basilii Epistolae secundum ordinem temporum nunc primum dispositae et in tres classes distributae. (An extensive mapping of the number of these letters comes at the end of the preface, after the biography of Basil.)
– Classis I: Continent epistolas ante episcopatum scriptas ab anno 357 ad annum 370, quibus adduntur nonnullae dubiae, quia videntur ad hoc tempus pertinere
– Classis II: Quas episcopus scripsit ab anno 370 ad annum 378
– Classis III: Epistolas nulla temporis nota signatas cum pluribus dubiis et spuriis nonnullis


Sermones viginti quatuor de moribus per Symeonem Magistrum et Logothetam selecti ex omnibus sancti Basilii operibus

– I. De virtute et vitio
– II. De doctrina et admonitione
– III. De caritate in Deum et proximum
– IV. De eleemosyna
– V. De divitiis et paupertate
– VI. De avaritia
– VII. De peccato
– VIII. De poenitentia
– IX. De oratione
– X. De jejunio
– XI. De morte
– XII. De tristitia et animi dejectione
– XIII. De patientia et longanimitate
– XIV. De futuro judicio
– XV. De imperio ac potestate
– XVI. De ingluvie et ebrietate
– XVII. De ira et odio
– XVIII. De invidia et malevolentia
– XIX. De temperantia et incontentinentia
– XX. De humilitate et inani gloria
– XXI. De prospera et adversa fortuna, et de prudentia
– XXII. De providentia
– XXIII. De anima
– XXIV. De honore parentibus exhibendo, ac de senectute atque juventute

Liber de Virginitate


I’ve tried to follow the table of contents laide out in the books. As you should know, the same works appear in Migne PG 29 – 32 (see the Migne PG index). Please note: just because a sermon (or other work or letter) can be found on the list above doesn’t mean that it is a genuine work of Basil of Caesarea. Read carefully!



Veneration of Mary Debate – Thoughts on Reflection – Part 1

May 8, 2009

There were a few issues that arose during the Veneration of Mary Debate that I thought could use a little attention. Also, I see that Mr. Albrecht has posted some thoughts of his own regarding the debate (although I haven’t yet listened to his thoughts … I’ll save that for a later segment).

One issue that arose during the debate was whether the term for “highly favoured” is in the “titular form.” This issue came up only briefly in the debate. I would have liked to explore it a bit more, but it is clearly not central to the thesis. In other words, even if Albrecht’s seemingly creative position were correct, it wouldn’t really affect the fact that Scripture does not teach the veneration of Mary.

But why is Albrecht’s position absurd? There is nothing especially “titular” about the word. The word is just a plain old perfect, passive participle.

There is nothing grammatically special about the term that makes it a title. I asked Mr. Albrecht during the debate whether he had considered the use of the term in Ephesians 1:6 and then asked him why he did not consider it a title there. This was not a question that I asked for my own information, but to determine whether this argument was Mr. Albrecht’s own, or whether it had been fed to him from outside. His response seemed somewhat faltering, but perhaps it was just because the question caught him off guard.

The question could have lead him to several arguments in favor of it being a title in Luke 1:28. I’ll address those below, before I turn to the reasons to reject such a conclusion.

The very first reason that the use in Ephesians 1:6 cannot be a title is that it is not a participle. It is an indicative verb. This is quite basic Greek grammar. I’m not sure whether the question rattled Mr. Albrecht or whether he simply didn’t know why the term couldn’t be a title in the only other instance it is used. One would think that if Mr. Albrecht came up with the “titular usage” argument he would at least understand that strongest reason for making that argument – and the fact that the verb is a participle is the strongest reason.

Had we gotten more of a clear answer from Mr. Albrecht in that regard, we could then have explored what I hinted at during the debate, namely that just because a participle is used doesn’t mean that participle is being used as a title. I also hinted at some ways in which a title could not have been indicated, such using a capital letter (since Greek was all capitals at the time).

There is a secondary argument for it being a title, namely that it follows immediately after the word translated “Hail.” This is perhaps an even better positive argument that the term is a title. The reason it is a better argument is that the term translated “Hail” can be used in connection with a greeting that includes a title. Thus, for example, we see the following greetings involving the word translated “Hail” plus a title:

Matthew 26:49 And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him.

Matthew 27:29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

Mark 15:18 And began to salute him, Hail, King of the Jews!

John 19:3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they smote him with their hands.

In each case, the word following “Hail” is a title of sorts: Master, King, or Rabbi. But, unlike the situation with Mary, the title is a noun, not a participle.

Furthermore, although this term for “Hail” is not used simply as a command to rejoice in the NT, it is used that way in the LXX. In Proverbs 24:19 and Hosea 9:1 the command is negative. In Joel 2:21, Zephaniah 3:14, Zechariah 9:9, and Lamentations 4:21 the command is positive.

So, there is an interesting preliminary question about whether the translation should be “Hail” “Greetings” or the like (as the KJV and many other translations including the Vulgate have it) or as “Rejoice!” (which is found in very few translations). A compromise would be “Cheers!” which makes it a greeting while preserving the literal sense of the word (although it is a little odd for an English-speaker as a greeting).

The context does suggest that the word is being used as a greeting (as in the other cases that it is used as a greeting in the New Testament), although the context does not contradict a usage as “Rejoice!” In fact, perhaps both are intended: as a greeting and as a command to rejoice.

The greeting or command to rejoice (or both) is followed in the text by the following items about Mary, which show why she should rejoice (which she does in verse 47, using a different Greek word for rejoice):

1) having been highly favored (perfect passive participle)
2) the Lord is with you (singular)
3) having been blessed (perfect passive participle)
4) you (nominative)
5) among women.

It’s worth noting that items 3-5 are not found in the critical text. Nevertheless, items 3-5 highlight an additional item grammatically that supports the idea that the participle is serving as a title: in the second instance, “having been blessed” is accompanied by the nominative pronoun “you,” which provides a subject for the participle; in the first instance, however, “having been highly favored” has no explicit nominative pronoun.

But here are some problems:

1) If the participle was supposed to serve as a title, one would expect an article to accompany the participle. As, for example, the titles in the examples above have an article. In fact, however, there is no article.

2) It is possible for the pronoun to be implied (it is already clear from the context and the fact that the participle is singular and feminine). In general when (as here) the participle is being used as an adjective it is not necessary for it to be accompanied by the pronoun. Thus, the absence of a nominative pronoun is not particularly problematic.

3) If the participle was supposed to be a title, we would expect ancient translations to reflect translation as a title. Likewise, if the traditional view were that the participle was a title, one would expect to see this reflected in the traditional translations. However, neither the ancient nor the traditional translations render it as a title, but instead attempt to literally translate its sense.

4) If the traditional view were that the participle was a title, one would expect that the “Ave Maria” would not have the noun “Maria” which is inserted in the prayer between “Ave” (“Hail”) and “plena gratia” (“full of grace,” the attempted – though mistaken – literal translation of the word in the Vulgate).

5) If the traditional view were that the participle was a title, we’d expect to see some evidence of this in the writings of the early to later medieval period, once veneration of Mary had taken widespread root. However, there does not appear to be any such evidence (I leave this a bit open, since there may be evidence of which I’m simply unaware – the same qualification applies to item 7, below).

6) If grammatically the participle were a title, we’d expect it to be translated with a capital letter and to be represented with a capital letter in critical Greek texts. Although, as noted above, the ancient texts would have been all capitals, the modern critical Greek texts employ capitals selectively, including for showing things like titles.

7) If grammatically the participle were a title, we’d expect to find evidence of this in at least a few Greek grammars and/or analytical lexicons. Such evidence, however, is absent.

That’s the conclusion for now to my additional thoughts on the issue of the word for “having been highly favored” being in the “titular form,” which we can clearly see it is not. I plan to have a few other comments about the debate, in due course.


Migne – Greek Patrology – Index Page

April 10, 2009

The following is an index of the volumes of Migne’s Greek Patrology that are freely downloadable at Google’s book site and through the books section of See also two other helpful linked indices, which may be updated independently of my index (link one link two – see sidebar). I tried to use those lists to supplement the list below in a few places where the list below was incomplete. At this time (7 April 2009) my list is more extensive and exhaustive, though it is not by any means completely exhaustive of the resources at Google Books.

There seem to be two main indices for the Greek Patrology series in Google Books (first index) (second index) The second index appears to be much more extensive than the first. At this time (7 April 2009) the first index lists about 81 tomes in “full view” and the second index lists 172 tomes in “full view.” There may be overlap between the lists, though. I have not included the volumes in Google Books where there is merely a limited preview, snippet view, or no preview, although doing so would make the list more complete. [Update: There is also a third index (link) that includes about 75 “full view” tomes. This index, however, appears to be completely encompassed within the two lists above. Additionally, there is a further index (link) that includes some tomes from both the Latin and Greek series.]

I should also note that I have included redundant copies of the tomes whenever I found them. There are several reasons for doing this. As you may notice, the Google scanning team is fast, but not always accurate. Also, the books themselves were not necessarily bound perfectly or maintained in pristine condition. Accordingly, inevitably, when one wishes to look up what so-and-so actually said in Greek, one finds that the line is blurry or smudged, or has the scanner’s finger over it — or perhaps the entire page or section has fallen out of the book (look around in the book, though, sometimes people shoved the leaves back in, in the wrong places. Also, Google sometimes pulls items from full view. This is one reason that the other indices I identified above are out of date: a significant number of its entries have been pulled out of full-view by Google. In such cases, one can perhaps turn to one of the other copies, where available.

UPDATE: I must also express my appreciation to the Cyprian project (link) who have assisted me in tracking down several additional volumes I had not indexed, as well as hosting two volumes that don’t seem to be readily available elsewhere at the moment (21 January 2010)(Update: October 9, 2010, a few more copies added.).

If you use this list, please let me know if any of the links are broken, if you find any links to Google full views of tomes I haven’t found, or if you can otherwise help me improve the list. Right now I have not provided the identification of authors for each volume. If I have time, I will do so at a later date.

PG 001 (Copy 2)(Copy 3)(Copy 4)(Copy 5)(Copy 6)(Open Source Books via Archive)
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Additionally, one can find many of these volumes, in bits and pieces and/or transcriptions at the Documenta Catholica Omnia website (image files, works-by-author index, works-by-tome index) and at the Library of Ruslan Khazarzar website (link).

Eastern Orthodox Monks (Again)

November 9, 2008

We’ve reported on this sort of thing before. Eastern Orthodox monks sparring with each other. Here are two reports of a clash (one clash, two reports) between Greek and Armenian monks in Jerusalem (first reportsecond report). Why even mention it?

a) Because people forget that there is disunity both among those who claim to hold to Sola Scriptura and those who claim to deny it;

b) Because the monks, being some of the most zealous members of their religions, are fair representatives, not merely nominal adherents;

c) Because, today, disagreements between Evangelical denominations (even if fierce) are not addressed by violence.


Yet More Territorial Squabbling in the East

April 21, 2008

Further to my post (here), we have another example of “Orthodox” priests (and congregants) who seem to find combat appropriate for territorial reasons (link). This post also helps to put some recent controversies within Reformed circles in perspective. Whatever else may be going on, it has not yet come to palm fronds!


Virgin Shall Conceive

March 3, 2008

I stumbled across this very odd video of a young man who thinks he has found an error in Christian doctrine. His point is this:

Sam Harris, in “The End of Faith” claims that the idea of the Virgin Birth comes from a mistranslation. Now, unfortunately the young man does not get it. He does not get the truth of the Virgin Birth and he does not yet Sam Harris’ claims.

1. The basic idea here is that the word in Hebrew that is translated “virgin” means “young woman.”

2. What the young man fails to recognize is that the argument for mistranslation is about the translation of the Old Testament prophecy, not about the translation of the New Testament account.

3. The doctrine of the Virgin Birth is not the doctrine of the “immaculate conception,” though certainly Jesus himself was conceived and born sinless.

4. The gospel accounts (whether originally written in Greek – or in any other language) were clear about Mary’s virginity prior to Christ’s birth. The issue is clarified various ways, but the primary way is by the repeated discussion of the fact that Mary did not “know” (i.e. make love to) any man before Christ’s birth; indeed, she did not even “know” Joseph, until Jesus was born. There is no possibility in the gospels, therefore, of a mistranslation from Hebrew to Greek, even if someone subscribed to the novel theory of Aramaic priority of the gospels, or the like.

5. The prophecy in Isaiah is this:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign, Behold a virgin (עלמה – almah) shall conceive and bear a son and shall his name Immanuel.

Now, the LXX translators who lived before the virgin birth of Christ correctly translated almah as παρθένος (parthenos), which means “virgin.” It is true that almah has a broader semantic range. Nevertheless, there is a valid contextual reason for selecting the specific sense of “virgin.” That reason is that a young woman giving birth is not particularly significant, but a virgin conceiving is something extraordinary. Yet, as you can see from the first part of the verse, the point of the communication is to relate a sign, something startling. Hence, the LXX translators correctly translated almah as parthenos, even though almah can have a more generic sense of “young woman.”

Well, here is the link to the young man’s video (link). It’s sort of a watch it and weep scenario, but it is important to recognize the errors that are circulating out there.


Redundancy in James?

February 23, 2008

In the King James Version, the James 5:16 seems to contain a little redundancy and/or truism:

James 5:16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

The redundancy is “effectual” and “availeth much.” If it is effectual (in modern usage) then it means it works.

The apparent redundancy is a result of a slight semantic shift and an attempt to convey a Greek word in English.

The underlying Greek is:

Jas 5:16 εξομολογεισθε αλληλοις τα παραπτωματα και ευχεσθε υπερ αλληλων οπως ιαθητε πολυ ισχυει δεησις δικαιου ενεργουμενη

In this, the phrase in question is: “πολυ ισχυει δεησις δικαιου ενεργουμενη”

πολυ => greatly
ισχυει => enables/has force
δεησις => (a / the) prayer
δικαιου => righteous
ενεργουμενη => [(the thing that) is (itself) empowering]

The tricky word, as you can guess, is the last one – it is a present middle participle, which is a bit challenging to express in English. The KJV translators tried to express its meaning using the phrase “effectual fervent.” The point of the passage is that we should pray for one another, and that we should have confidence to pray for one another on the basis that an empowered prayer by a righteous man can accomplish great things, both as to physical healing and also conversion: with Elias’ prayers for and against rain provided as an example.

Pray to God and pray boldly, for if God gives your prayer power, you may save a soul by prayer!


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