Christoph Markschies on Portraying the History of Theology as a One-Way Street

Since I am now pressing toward the submission of my translation of Christoph Markschies’ book Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen: Prolegomena zu einer Geschichte der antiken christlichen Theologie / Christian Theology and its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire: Prolegomena to a History of Early Christian Theology, it seemed fitting to include an excerpt from this work as today’s key quotation.

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the (selective) grammatical commentary directly follows the German text.

I. Translation and German Original

Christian Theology and Its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire: Many classical and present-day portrayals of the history of Christian theology describe the path of Christian theology as a kind of one-way street … I wish to designate this hermeneutical model as a “one-way street” because it basically starts implicitly from the present organizational form of scholarly theological reflection at universities and reconstructs the development of the history of theology from this endpoint as teleology. … Such a teleology, which—as indicated—starts implicitly from the present form of theological reflection, which is oriented to philosophical standards of rationality as its norm, must almost inevitably marginalize other forms of theological reflection as unimportant byways or even as unfruitful dead ends—and it is then left to general ecclesial or even societal trends to discover the relevance of these alleged byways and dead ends.

Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen: (pp. 11-12): Viele klassische und aktuelle Darstellungen der christlichen Theologiegeschichte beschreiben den Weg der christlichen Theologie als eine Art von Einbahnstraße … Als „Einbahnstraße“ möchte ich dieses hermeneutische Modell bezeichnen, weil es im Grunde implizit von der gegenwärtigen Organisationsgestalt wissenschaftlicher theologischer Reflexion an Universitäten ausgeht und von diesem Endpunkt her die Entwicklung der Theologiegesichchte als Teleologie rekonstruiert. … Eine solche Teleologie, die – wie gesagt – implizit von der heutigen, an philosophischen Rationalitätsstandards orientierten Form von theologischer Reflexion als Norm ausgeht, muß nahezu zwangsläufig andere Formen von theologischer Reflexion als unwichtigere Seitenwege oder gar als unfruchtbare Sackgassen marginalisieren – und es bleibt dann allgemeinen kirchlichen oder gar gesellschaftlichen Modeströmungen vorbehalten, die Relevanz dieser angeblichen Seitenwege und Sackgassen zu entdecken.

II. Select grammatical analysis

One of the first lessons learned in German is that the verb occupies the second position in a sentence, which requires some clarification. It does not mean that the verb is always the second word but that it occurs as the second element in a sentence. Here, the first element is the rather lengthy phrase Viele … Darstellungen … der … Theologiegeschichte, which forms the subject of the verb beschreiben. I considered translating wissenschaftlicher as “academic” in this context, but stuck with “scholarly” in view of its broader associations (for further discussion of the translation of Wissenschaft/wissenschaftliche, see here).  As usual, the participial modifier an … orientierten in the phrase von der heutigen, an philosophischen Rationalitätsstandards orientierten Form von theologischer Reflexion has to be transformed into a relative clause: from the present form of theological reflection, which is oriented to philosophical standards of rationality

III. Substantive analysis

At first glance, it may seem surprising that Markschies structures the argument of the second major section of his book around three rather different institutional contexts, namely The Free Teachers and Christian Schools (2.1), The Montanist Prophets and their Circle (2.2), and The Christian Worship Service and its Prayers (2.3). Against the background of this programmatic key statement, however, his logic becomes much clearer. In short, once one has become conscious of the extent to which the “one-way street model” has influenced one’s approach to the material, it becomes evident that greater attention must be given to a diverse range of institutional contexts if one wishes to grasp something of the full range of the dynamics and forms that characterized the history of theology in the first centuries of Christianity.

For my other posts on Christoph Markschies, see here.

For a few audio recordings and videos of Christoph Markschies, see here.

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For two interviews with me about the Baylor-Mohr Siebeck Series, see Clifford Kvidahl and Michael Hölscher.

German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! In an effort to provide a sense of regularity and predictability for this blog’s readership, I plan on writing a new post each Monday. So hopefully I will ‘see’ you again in a week’s time. Best, Wayne.

 

Teilungshypothesen and Cicerobriefe according to Peter Arzt-Grabner, Hans-Joseph Klauck, and Thomas Schmeller (Paulus Handbuch Series)

Paulus Handbuch (ed. Friedrich W. Horn; Mohr Siebeck, 2013; see here and PDF).

In my second Paulus Handbuch Series post, I looked at Peter Arzt-Grabner‘s section on the text of the Corpus Paulinum, focusing on his interpretation of ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ in Rom 16:7. In today’s post, I turn to Arzt-Grabner’s discussion of the collection of the Corpus Paulinum, a subsection that is divided into three parts: Beginning of the Collection and Redactional Reworking (2.1), First Editions of the Letters of Paul (2.2), and The Oldest Preserved Witnesses (2.3). Today’s key quotation on Teilungshypothesen is taken from section 2.1.

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the (selective) grammatical commentary directly follows the German text.

English Translation and German Original

English translation (wmc): But the question of a possible fitting together of originally multiple letters into larger unities has experienced an especially extensive discussion – or put otherwise – the question of whether the canonical form of individual letters of Paul is to be divided into multiple original letters (partition theories) … Hans-Joseph Klauck (Klauck 2003 c [here or here]) and Thomas Schmeller (Schmeller 2004) have lifted the discussion to a new level insofar as they have drawn on the extensive collection of Cicero’s letters for comparison with Paul’s letters and thus attempted for the first time to study the nature and scope of the compilation processes that can be shown with reference to this letter collection. The investigations show that no efforts were made to smooth over inner-textual contradictions that may have arisen during the compilation, but that these were evidently not experienced as overly disturbing. Stringing together of original letters arose, whereas interpolations in the framework of a redactional compilation process cannot be shown.

Paulus Handbuch (p. 12 and p. 13): Eine besonders ausführliche Diskussion hat aber die Frage einer möglichen Zusammenfügung von ursprünglich mehreren Briefen zu größeren Einheiten erfahren oder – anders gesagt – die Frage, ob die kanonische Form einzelner Paulusbriefe auf mehrere ursprüngliche Briefe aufzuteilen ist (Telungshypothesen). … Hans-Joseph Klauck (Klauck 2003c) and Thomas Schmeller (Schmeller 2004) haben die Diskussion insofern auf eine neue Ebene gehoben, als sie die umfangreiche Sammlung der Cicerobriefe zu einem Vergleich mit den Paulusbriefen herangezogen und somit erstmals versucht haben, Art und Umfang der an dieser Briefsammlung nachweisbaren Kompilationsprozesse zu studieren. Die Untersuchungen zeigen, dass es keinerlei Bemühungen gegeben hat, die bei der Kompilation eventuell entstandenen innertextlichen Widersprüche zu glätten, sondern dass diese offenbar nicht als übermäßig störend empfunden wurden. Aneinanderreihung der ursprunglichen Briefe entstanden, wohingegen Interpolationen im Rahmen eines redaktionellen Kompilationsprozesses nicht nachweisbar sind.

Select grammatical analysis

ausführliche hard to capture well: I usually go with “detailed”, “extensive”, or “in-depth”. aber often comes relatively late in a German sentence: I often translate it as “but” and move it to the beginning of the sentence, though it sometimes works better to retain its placement and translate it with “however”. The main verb is hat … erfahren (as usual hat is in the second position and the rest of the verb moves toward the end of the sentence). The direct object Eine … Diskussion has been placed at the beginning of the sentence. Die Frage + gen phrase + von-zu phrase forms the subject of the verb. aufzuteilen ist = “is to be divided into” or “must be divided into”. als sie introduces a subordinate clause, so haben moves to the end of the sentence: it goes with herangezogen and verucht. I wasn’t sure how to render Art und Umfang, but I opted for “nature” rather than “type” or “kind” as a rendering of Art and for “scope” rather than “extent” for Umfang. zu studieren complements the meaning of versuchen: attempted to study. The genitive der … Kompilationsprozesse modifies the direct object Art und Umfang. The concern is with compilation processes that are nachweisbaren (provable/demonstrable/can be demonstrated-shown-verified) an dieser Briefsammlung (on this letter collection, in relation to this letter collection, with reference to this letter collection, using this letter collection as an example). As elsewhere, the translation of “an” is difficult to capture. Bemühungen … zu glätten (= efforts to smooth over). die … Wiedersprüche is the object of glätten. bei der Kompilation eventuell entstanden, is difficult to render but hopefully “that may have arisen during the compilation” captures the intended sense. As usual, it needs to be transformed into a definite clause rather than kept as a participial modifier. nicht nachweisbar sind = cannot be shown/demonstrated/documented.

Substantive analysis

Like many scholars, I am often at a loss with regard to how to assess the numerous partition theories that have been advocated in the history of scholarship. At times, I find that exegetical observations call such hypotheses into question (e.g., in relation to the unity of 1 Cor 8-10), but at other times, I certainly feel the weight of the phenomena that move others to propose them (e.g., with respect to 2 Corinthians). What I like about this key quotation is that it shows how this discussion has indeed been lifted to a new level by looking at Cicero’s letters with an eye to determining what they can teach us about how ancient editors worked, since this has the potential of bringing us much further than our own assumptions about how an ancient editor would supposedly have had to work. Beyond this, I also found this quotation meaningful at a more personal level, because it reminded me of one of the last emails I received from my friend and teacher, the late Friedrich Avemarie (see herehere, and here), who wrote to me with great enthusiasm about this precise area of research in August 2011. For me at least, this is a great testimony to the importance and promise of this line of questioning.

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For a complete list of my blog posts, please see here.

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For two interviews with me about the Baylor-Mohr Siebeck Series, see Clifford Kvidahl and Michael Hölscher.

German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! In an effort to provide a sense of regularity and predictability for this blog’s readership, I plan on writing a new post each Monday. So hopefully I will ‘see’ you again in a week’s time. Best, Wayne.

 

 

Jens Schröter on Luke as an Ancient Historian and the Need for Differentiation in Assessing the Historical Value of Acts

Whereas my posts from January 13February 17, and March 17 dealt with Jens Schröter’s theoretical reflections on historiography, this post, like my post from May 19, will  focus more specifically on Jens Schröter’s perspectives on the historical value of Acts in From Jesus to the New Testament, which will presumably inform his forthcoming HNT commentary on Acts. Needless to say, I would be delighted if these posts, to which one more will be added, would initiate/provoke a more substantive response to Schröter’s treatment of this topic by one (or several) of the many Acts specialists in the blogging community!

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the (selective) grammatical commentary directly follows the German text.

English Translation and German Version

From Jesus to the New Testament, p. 224: “If we evaluate these findings, then it can be said that the presentation of Luke moves within the framework of what was expected from an ancient historian. He possesses knowledge about the areas concerning which he reports; sometimes chronological inaccuracies slip in; and entirely in the sense of Lucian he has shaped his presentation and in this way drawn a picture of the development of Christianity in the first decades. … It has been shown further that one cannot adjudicate the historical value of Acts in general but only in detail. Luke possesses variously detailed information and local knowledge about different stages of the narrated history, which possibly provides a clue to his own background, perhaps even to his participation in the events.”

Von Jesus zum Neuen Testament, p. 244: Werten wir diesen Befund aus, so lässt sich formulieren, dass sich die Darstellung des Lukas im Rahmen des von einem antiken Historiker zu Erwartenden bewegt. Er besitzt Kenntnis über die Gegenden, von denen er berichtet, mitunter unterlaufen ihm chronologische Ungenauigkeiten, ganz im Sinne Lukians hat er seine Darstellung geformt und auf diese Weise ein Bild der Erwicklung des Christentums in den ersten Jahrzehnten gezeichnet.  … Es zeigt sich weiter, dass über den Geschichtswert der Apg nicht pauschal, sondern nur im Detail befunden werden kann. Lukas hat über die verschiedenen Etappen der erzählten Geschichte unterschiedlich detaillierte Informationen und Lokalkenntnisse, was möglicherweise einen Hinweis auf seine eigene Herkunft, vielleicht sogar auf seine Beteiligung an den Ereignissen, gibt.

Selective grammatical analysis

wertenaus (auswerten) = evaluate. I usually translate lässt sich + infinitive (here: formulieren) as “can be x-ed (here: formulated/stated/said). Since it is a subordinate clause introduced by dass, the verb bewegt moves to the end of the sentence. von einim antiken Historiker qualifies zu Erwartenden, which goes with des: “of the thing that is to be expected” / “of what was expected from”. mitunter = sometimes, occasionally, or every once in a while. Rather than using “slip in” unterlaufen ihm could also be translated as “slip by him” (unlike Wolter, I believe that Schröter explains the Quirinus census as an example of such a slip). I have translated im Sinne as “in the sense of”, but it might be preferable to write “in the vein of” or “along the lines of” (for the related phrase in diesem Sinne I think “in this vein”, adopted from Kathleen Ess, is a great solution). Es zeigt sich could be translated with “it becomes clear” or “it is shown”, but here I think a past tense is needed to capture the intended sense. It might be preferable to translate pauschal in a more precise manner as “across the board” or “in a sweeping manner”, but it seems to me that “in general” might convey the intended sense more clearly. befunden werden (befunden) seems to have the force of “decide”, “adjudge”, or “adjudicate”. Here, I have changed the passive verb to an active formulation for the sake of readability.

Substantive analysis

Let me develop my comments on the importance of this quotation by Jens Schröter by setting it in relation to a statement by Richard Bauckham. In his important book The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple (p. 27), Richard Bauckham writes: “I do not think that everything in John’s Gospel can be verified historically in these ways. As with any other source, what needs to be assessed is its general reliability. (This is the best reason why commentators are either consistently skeptical of historicity in John or consistently inclined to accept it.) If the Gospel is judged trustworthy so far as we can test it, then we should probably trust it for what we cannot verify. That is ordinary historical method.” Without wishing to affirm or reject this quotation in its entirety, today’s key quotation by Jens Schröter leads me to believe that Bauckham’s fundamental statement on “ordinary historical method” probably needs to be further nuanced, at least in relation to the question of the historicity of Acts. In particular, I think it needs to be stressed that our “testing” of the apparent relation between events and narrative in a given work might very well reveal that the author possesses “variously detailed information and local knowledge about different stages of the narrated history”, so that our conclusions about the “general reliability” of a given work may need to include the observation that the author appears to be more or less “reliable” in relation to various aspects of the narrative, i.e. in terms of precision, accuracy, or both. My point here is NOT that Richard Bauckham himself would necessarily disagree with this line of thought, but simply that it needs to be made explicit if his statement about ordinary historical method is not to be appropriated in unhelpful ways.

 

 

Michael Wolter on Luke’s Correct Placement of the Quirinius Census

As I press towards the completion of my translation of Christoph Markschies’ book Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen / Christian Theology and its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire, I am already looking forward to starting my next translation project, namely Michael Wolter’s commentary Das Lukasevangelium / The Gospel According to Luke. With this in mind, today’s key quotation will be excerpted from his comments on Luke 2:1-3.

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the (selective) grammatical commentary directly follows the German text.

Translation and German Original

 

English Translation (wmc):

1. ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις refers back not to 1.5 but takes up 1.80 and thereby dates the narrated event in the time of the growing up of the Baptist … Thus, the temporal distance between the events narrated in chapter 1 and the newly opened narrative collecting bowl remains unspecified…

2… This information  has the function of clearly distancing the following connection of episodes chronologically from the time of the reign of Herod the Great. Between his death and the provincial census carried out under Quirinius lay a period of time of about 10 years in which Herod’s son Archelaus reigned as ethnarch over Judea, Samaria, and Idumea (cf. Josephus, Ant. 17.342; see also at 19.11-27). A contradiction to the relative chronology of the Lukan presentation does not thereby arise (see on v. 1). The longstanding debate over this problem … started, to this extent, from false presuppositions. There is admittedly an irreconcilable contradiction to the dating of the birth of Jesus in the time of the reign of Herod the Great by Matthew.

Das Lukasevangelium (pp. 121-122):

1. ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις bezieht sich nicht auf 1,5 zurück, sondern knüpft an 1,80 an und datiert damit das erzählte Geschehen in die Zeit des Heranwachsens des Täufers … Der zeitliche Abstand zwischen den in Kap. 1 erzählten Ereignissen und dem neu eröffneten erzählerischen Sammelbecken bleibt also unbestimmt…

2… Dieser Information kommt die Funktion zu, den folgenden Episodenzusammenhang von der Zeit der Herrschaft Herodes’ d.Gr. chronologisch eindeutig zu distanzieren: Zwischen dessen Tod und dem unter Quirinius durchgeführten Provinzialzensus lag ein Zeitraum von ca. 10 Jahren, in dem der Herodessohn Archelaus als Ethnarch über Judäa, Samaria und Idumäa herrschte (vgl. Josephus, Ant. 17,342; s. Auch bei 19,11-27). Ein Widerspruch zur relativen Chronologie der lk Darstellung entsteht dadurch nicht (s. Zu V. 1). Die langjährige Debatte über diese Problematik … ging insofern von falschen Voraussetzungen aus. Einen unausgleichbaren Widerspruch gibt es freilich zur Datierung der Geburt Jesu in die Regierungszeit Herodes’ d.Gr. durch Matthäus.

Selective Grammatical Analysis

1. knüpft an (anknüpfen) is often challenging: here I chose “takes up”, but “links to” or “picks up on”, or “follows on from” would also work. damit is often best left untranslated, but I sometimes translate it as “thereby”, “here”, or even “thus”, depending on the context. I usually translate both Ereignis and Geschehen as “event” instead of translating Geschehen as “happening” or the like (but cf. Translator’s Notes 1: Eugene Boring [378n2]). Sammelbecken could be translated as “collecting bowl”, “collecting basin”, “collecting tank”, “reservoir”, etc. I wanted to retain the word “collecting” and felt that “bowl” provided the most helpful image. I initially translated as “unbestimmt” as “undetermined”, but then decided that “unspecified” conveyed the sense more clearly.

2 Dieser Information kommt die Funktion zu [verb: zukommen] could be rendered more woodenly as “the function is given to this information of…” but I think “This information has the function” conveys the meaning more clearly.  zu distanzieren depends on Funktion (the function of distancing). I translated herrschte as “reigned”, though “ruled” would also have been possible. I chose to write Herod’s son Archelaus rather than the Herod son Archelaus, choosing readability over precision in this case. I often translate entstehen as “emerge” but “arise” seemed better here.  ging … aus [verb: ausgehen] can usually be rendered as started from. Insofern is often difficult: Depending on the context, I have adopted a range of solutions, such as “to this extent”, “in this respect”, “from this perspective”, “insofar”. I couldn’t find a way to capture the precise sense of unausgleichbaren/uncompensatable, so it seemed best to adopt the phrase “unreconciliable contradiction”, which seemed to capture the basic thrust. Gibt es [es gibt] can often be translated as “exist” but “there is” sometimes works better. The sense of “freilich” is sometimes best captured with “of course”, sometimes with “however” or “though”, and sometimes with “admittedly”.

Substantive Analysis:

For me at least, Wolter’s argument added a new option to a classic interpretative crux, so that I now see five possible options before me: 1) Luke dated the Quirinius census to the time of Herod the Great, which  stands in contradiction to the testimony of Josephus who correctly dates the Quirinius census to the time of Archelaus. 2) Luke correctly placed the Quirinius census at the time of Archelaus, while previously placing Jesus birth during the reign of Herod the Great, so that there is a chronological contradiction within his Gospel, 3) Luke correctly dated the Quirinius census to the time of Herod the Great in contrast to Josephus’ incorrect dating of the Quirinius census to the time of Archelaus. 4) This passage of Luke can be translated and interpreted in such a way that no contradiction emerges in relation to other ancient sources, including Josephus and Matthew, 5) Luke has correctly dated the Quirinius passage to the time of Archelaus (in agreement with Josephus), which does not result in a contradiction to Luke’s chronological statements elsewhere, though it does stand in contradiction to Matthew’s placement of Jesus’ birth in the time of Herod the Great. At present I think option 1 is the most convincing view, while regarding the arguments for 4) and 5) as worthy of continued study and debate. Perhaps options 2 and 3 should also be considered further, but from my present perspective they seem less likely.

Other Resources on the Quirinius Census

For Michael Wolter’s position, see further M. Wolter. “Erstmals unter Quirinius! Zum Verständnis von Lk 2,2.” Biblische Notizen 102 (2000), 35-41 and M. Wolter. “Wann wurde Maria schwanger?” Pages 405-422 in Von Jesus zum Christus. Christologische Studien. FS Paul Hoffman. BZNW 93. Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1998 (also published in Theologie und Ethos in Frühem Christentum. Tübingen: Mohr, 2009. here).

For an overview of some of the key texts from Josephus and Luke and various translations of Luke 2:1-3, see Bruce Fisk PDF.

For some of the many other discussions of this topic on the web (listed in alphabetical order), see Paul Barnett, Darrell BockJohn Byron )cf. here), Stephen C. CarlsonRichard Carrier, Jared Compton (cf. here), N. F. GierMark Goodacre (cf. here), Bill HeromanBrian LePortJames McGrath, Ian Paul, Jason Staples, Daniel B. WallaceWikipedia.

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Peter Arzt-Grabner on the Interpretation of ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ in Rom 16.7 (Paulus Handbuch Series)

Paulus Handbuch (ed. Friedrich W. Horn; Mohr Siebeck, 2013; see here and PDF).

My second post in the Paulus Handbuch Series is taken from Peter Arzt-Grabner’s discussion of the text of the Corpus Paulinum. This valuable section includes a discussion of Greek as the Language of the Pauline Letters (1.1), Papyri (1.2), Parchment Manuscripts (1.3), Translations (1.4), Commentaries of the Church Fathers (1.5), and Textual Critical Questions and Examples (1.6).

In his final section Prof. Arzt-Grabner discusses a) the original end of Romans, b) the originality of 1 Cor 14.14-35, and c) the interpretation of the Accusative ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ in Rom 16.7. Today’s key quotation will be taken from this last interpretive crux.

As usual I will begin with the English translation so that the (selective) grammatical commentary directly follows the German text.

English Translation and German Original

English Translation (wmc): In the meantime it has been recognized to the greatest possible extent that in Rom 16.7 the Greek accusative ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ must be interpreted with reference to a woman by the name of Junia (and not with reference to the man Junias as postulated since the time of Martin Luther). Greek manuscripts that already have/exhibit the placement of accents contradict the conjecture/hypothesis that the male name Junias, which is not attested in all of antiquity, could be an abbreviation for the well-attested Junianus. The Junia-interpretation is confirmed by Latin, Sahidic, and Syrian manuscripts, which clearly contain a feminine form, thus intending a woman by the name of Junia (Arzt 1993; Epp 2005). The Boharic translation speaks of a woman named Julia, a variant that is found, for example, also in P46.

Paulus Handbuch (p. 11; see PDF): Dass in Röm 16,7 der griechische Akkusativ ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ auf eine Frau namens Junia (und nicht auf den seit Martin Luther postulierten Mann Junias) zu deuten ist, ist mittlerweile weitestgehend anerkannt. Griechische Handschriften, die bereits Akzentsetzung aufweisen, widersprechen der Vermutung, der in der gesamten Antike nicht bezeugte männliche Name Junias könnte eine Abkürzung für den gut bezeugten Junianus sein. Die Junia-Deutung wird durch lateinische, sahidische und syrische Handschriften bestätigt, die eindeutig eine weibliche Form enthalten, also eine Frau namens Junia meinen (Arzt 1993; Epp 2005). Die bohairische Übersetzung spricht von einer Frau namens Julia, eine Variante, die z.B. auch in P46 begegnet.

Selective grammatical analysis

Since it is awkward to begin with “That…” in English, I have reversed the order of the first German sentence. Because the beginning of the sentence is a subordinate clause (Dass…), the verb moves to the end of the sentence and ist zu deuten becomes zu deuten ist. I usually translate the construction “ist zu + infinitive” as “must be x-ed” or “has to be x-ed”, though the wooden translation “is to be x-ed” is better in some cases. seit is problematic in English: “from” or “from x on” is often best, but it sometimes seems preferable to go with “since” or “since the time of”, despite the problems with this solution. Though it is awkward, I decided to adopt “to the greatest extent possible” for weitestgehend in order convey that a very strong claim is being made. It is unclear to me whether aufweisen would be best translated as “have” or whether a more precise word such as “exhibit” would be better. The force of Vermutung is probably somewhat critical, so that “conjecture” might best capture the intended sense, but it could be more neutral (hypothesis).

Substantive Commentary

What I like about this quotation from Arzt-Grabner is that it highlights well one of the strongest arguments in support of the Junia-interpretation of ΙΟΥΝΙΑΝ in Rom 16:7, namely the testimony of the ancient manuscripts in languages other than Greek that clearly understand Paul to be speaking of a woman rather than a man in this text.

While there are admittedly further debated points concerning the translation and interpretation of this verse, it also seems most likely to me that Paul refers to Junia as an apostle in this text and that Junia was, in turn, an influential person in early Christianity.

Readers of this post may be interested in the Junia Project, which is named after Junia from Rom 16:7.

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T. Michael Law, Jens Schröter, and Christoph Markschies on the Muratorian Fragment

In a previous Law-Markschies-Origen post, I mentioned how much I had profited from reading T Michael Law’s book When God Spoke Greek in conjunction with my work translating Jens Schröter’s book Von Jesus zum Neuen Testament From Jesus to the New Testament and Christoph Markschies’ book Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen Christian Theology and its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire, and I conveyed then my desire to devote a few more posts to a comparison of these works on select points. Continuing that discussion, this post will compare how these three works treat the question of the dating and character of the Muratorian Fragment. But before doing so, let me congratulate T Michael Law for his new appointment as Research and Teaching Fellow in the School of Divinity at St Andrews (starting Dec 1)!

I. T. Michael Law

WGSG, p. 183n.9: “The Muratorian fragment should probably be dated later than the traditional second-century date.”

II. Jens Schröter

FJNT, p. 285n60: “I will not deal here with the question of the dating of the Muratorian Fragment, which has come under discussion since Sundberg 1968; 1973; as well as Hahnemann 1992. The attempt to date it late has not established itself, for which reason I continue to start from the traditional placement around 180-200. For fundamental criticism of the late dating, cf. Verheyden 2003. Cf. further Ferguson 1982; 1993; Stanton 2004, 68-71.”

VJNT, p. 310n60: “Auf die seit SUNDBERG, Revised History; Ders., Canon Muratori, sowie HAHNEMAN, Muratorian Fragment, in die Diskussion geratene Frage der Datierung des muratorischen Fragmens gehe ich hier nicht ein. Der Versuch der Spätdatierung hat sich nicht durchgesetzt, weshalb ich weiterhin von der traditionellen Ansetzung um 180-200 ausgehe. Zur grundsätzlichen Kritik der Spätdatierung vgl. VERHHEYDEN, The Canon Muratori. A Matter of Dispute, in: Auwers, Canons, 487-556. Vgl. Weiter FERGUSON, Canon Muratori; STANTON, Jesus and Gospel, 68-71, sowie die Rezension der Untersuchung Hahnemans von FERGUSON.”

Selective grammatical analysis: In translating “gehe ich hier nicht ein”, it seemed preferable to use the future with a view to English style. Likewise, “deal with” seemed to read better than “go into” in this case. Instead of “established itself” the verb “durchgesetzt” could alternatively be translated as “prevailed”.

III. Christoph Markschies

Christian Theology and its Institutions in the Early Roman Empire (wmc, forthcoming): “The text, which is better designated as Fragmentum Muratorianum or Muratori, is, in reality, not a “list” with a mere listing of biblical books at all, but a fragment without its original beginning and conclusion, which—if one considers its literary form—can be linked only with great difficulty to an ancient literary genre. … Whatever option one settles on, the most recent debate over the dating of the highly fragmented text should at least urge caution both for those who—like Harnack—see in the Fragmentum Muratori an official list translated from the Greek with which the Roman church in the second century wished to impose its conception of a canonical New Testament on to the Christianity of the empire and for those who are completely convinced of the late dating of the text. The majority of the arguments still speak for a dating around 200 CE, although the exact historical background and the precise literary form of the text remain unclear.”

Kaiserzeitliche christliche Theologie und ihre Institutionen (pp.  229 and 234; cf. 228-236): “Bei dem besser als Fragmentum Muratorianum bzw. Muratori bezeichneten Text handelt es sich in Wirklichkeit gar nicht um eine ‚Liste‘ mit der bloßen Aufzählung biblischer Bücher, sondern ein Fragment ohne seinen originalen Anfang und Schluß, das – betrachtet man seine literarische Form – nur sehr schwer mit einem antiken literarischen Genre zu verbinden ist. … Wie man auch immer optiert: Die jüngste Debatte über die Datierung des stark fragmentierten Textes sollte mindestens die zur Zurückhaltung mahnen, die – wie Harnack – im Fragmentum Muratori eine aus dem Griechischen übersetzte offizielle Liste sehen, mit der die römische Kirche im zweiten Jahrhundert ihre Vorstellung von eine kanonischen Neuen Testament in der Christenheit des Reiches imponieren wollte, oder von der Spätdatierung des Textes vollkommen überzeugt sind. Die Mehrzahl der Argumente spricht nach wie vor für eine Datierung um 200 n. Chr., obwohl der exakte historische Hintergrund und die präzise literarische Form des Textes unklar bleiben.”

Selective grammatical analysis: Instead of translating “Bei dem … Text … es geht um” as “In/With/In the case of … the text … it is a matter of/the concern is with/we are dealing with” I have adopted the simplifying translation “The text … is …” (for further discussion of the translation of Es geht um see here). The difficult phrase “nur schwer zu verbinden ist” has the force of “can be linked only with great difficulty”. I am uncertain how to translate “Wie man auch immer optiert”, but “Whatever option one settles on” is perhaps more precise than “whatever one decides”. Although the German version has “die zur Zurückhaltung mahnen, die … oder von …”, I have translated “oder” with “and” with a view to English style and repeated  “on those” in order to clarify the sense.

IV. Substantive Analysis:

For me, it seems that there are two points to draw from this post. First, while it seems to be the case that the majority of scholars continue to favor an early date for the Muratorian Fragment (ca. 180-200), it would probably go too far to speak of a “consensus” in relation to this point, since Sundberg, Hahnemann, T Michael Law, and other scholars have advocated a later date for this text. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, the debate about the dating of the text should not be allowed to overshadow a second point of (perhaps greater and more significant) uncertainty, namely the uncertainty surrounding the classification of the genre or form of the text, which, due to its fragmentary character, arguably should not be classified too quickly as a “canon list”, which is not to say that this possibility should be ruled out too quickly either.

Let me close this post with a plug for Josh Mann’s new project Expositus: Helping Humans Learn About the Humanities, which could prove to be a valuable venture if enough people help him to get it off the ground.

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For two interviews with me about the Baylor-Mohr Siebeck Series, see Clifford Kvidahl and Michael Hölscher.

German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! In an effort to provide a sense of regularity and predictability for this blog’s readership, I plan on writing a new post each Monday. So hopefully I will ‘see’ you again in a week’s time. Best, Wayne.

Translator’s Notes 1: Eugene Boring on Udo Schnelle’s Theology of the New Testament

​This will be my first blog post in the category “translator’s notes”, which will involve compilations of relevant “translator’s notes” from existing translations, organized by translator and/or by volume. During my work as a translator, I have generally felt like I am figuring out things as I go, so I hope that the process of compiling these notes will prove beneficial to my own translation ability and that the result will also be a resource for future translators and other readers of German New Testament scholarship, who should be able to work through these notes as a unit or identify posts that discuss various terms by searching my blog, i.e., by using it as a dictionary of sorts. Today’s translator’s notes are taken from Eugene Boring’s excellent translation of Udo Schnelle’s Theology of the New Testament. Boring’s notes are conveniently set off in square brackets with his initials [… – MEB]. The material that is not in brackets is from Udo Schnelle.

Before turning to some of his most valuable notes on translation, let me begin by referencing some of Boring’s other valuable notes on content and literature: see 26n1 (meaning-formation), 28n6 (Jörn Rüsen on history), 30n16 (radical construction/constructivism), 746n223 (chronos and kairos).

Eugene Boring’s Notes on Translation

26n1 (Sinnbildung and Sinnwelt): [… I have generally rendered Sinnbildung by “meaning-formation,” but not its relation to Sinnwelt, usually translated “universe of meaning” or “symbolic universe.” – MEB]

27n5 (Geschichte/Historie: see here for my blog post on Schnelle’s use of these terms): Main text: How was history (Geschichte) made and how does research and writing about history (Historie) take place? Footnote 5: Regarding terminology: I use the German terms “Geschichte”/“geschichtlich” to refer to what happened, and “Historie”/“historisch” to indicate the ways in which historians attempt to determine what this was. “Historik” refers to the philosophical theory of history. Cf. H./W. Hedinger, “Historik”, in Historisches Wörterbuch der Philosophie (ed. Karfried Gründer et al.; Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1974). “Geschichte” is never directly available except as “Historie,” but nonetheless the two concepts and terms must be distinguished, because the questions posed from the point of view of philosophical theories of history are not simply identical with “what happened” as that was understood by people in the past. [The German language has two words for “history,” while English has but one. Many German authors, including some quoted by Schnelle, use the two words interchangeably. The nuances distinguished by Schnelle are sometimes difficult to preserve in English. Since the context usually makes clear which meaning is intended, I have generally rendered both words by history and its cognates, though sometimes using event or story for Geschichte to preserve the author’s nuance, or rendering geschichtlich by historic in contrast to historical. See note 2 in § 2.1 below. Here the original reads : “Wie entsteht Geschichte/Historie?” – MEB].

32n23 (Fiktion): “Fiction” is not here used in the popular sense of “unreal” or “untrue,” but is intended in the functional-communications sense, and thus approaches the original meaning of “fictio”: “construction,” “formation.” [Cf. the use of fabrication” in English. – MEB]

39n53 (Nachträglichkeit and Nachzeitigkeit): Eckart Reinmuth, “Neutestamentliche Historik,” TLZ 8 (2003): 47-55, uses the term Nachträglichkeit, “supplementary-character” that memory adds to the event in the process of remembering [Schnelle had used Nachzeitigkeit, translated posterity above. In grammar the term refers to the action of a subordinate clause that takes place later than the action of the main clause, e.g., “I know what you will do.” – MEB]

55n38 (Anschlussfähigkeit): [I have throughout translated Anschlussfähigkeit as “capacity for openness and integration” or “integrative capacity.” Schnelle uses this term to indicate early Christianity’s openness to ideas in its culture that had hermeneutical potential, and its capacity to integrate them into its developing theology without losing or compromising itself. – MEB]

99n106 (Gleichnis and Parabel): [German has two words for parable, usually not distinguished in English: Gleichnis, which might be rendered by “analogy,” and Parabel. Schnelle’s footnote here indicates that he uses Gleichnis in the nontechnical, comprehensive sense as the term for parabolic speech in general, but in the treatment of individual texts distinguishes the terms as follows: Gleichnis is used for familiar, usual experiences, everyday scenes, for the world as perceived and experienced by everyone, the world that follows the conventional order of things. Parabel is used for the particular, individual case; it does not focus on the usual, but the extraordinary, the unique. These nuances are usually clear from the context, so I have not attempted to maintain them in translation, and have generally translated both by parable/parabolic. – MEB]

150n274 (Gretchenfrage: see here for my blog post on this term): [To ask the “Gretchen question” is to ask about someone’s deepest religious or political convictions; from Goethe, Faust, I. – MEB]

162n314 (Pro-Existenz): [Pro-Existenz is a German theological term designating a life lived for others. Cf. Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s portrayal of Jesus as the Man for Others. – MEB]

275n25 (grammatical gender and choosing English pronouns for the Spirit): [In German, as in Greek, the pronoun referring to the Spirit is determined by the grammatical gender of the word “Spirit” (neuter in Greek; masculine in German). English is not so structured, and so the choice of pronoun seems to communicate whether the Spirit is thought of in personal terms (he, she) or not (it) and thus cannot communicate the way the term is used in either Greek or German. English translations of the Bible and of theological works in German (and other languages) must make choices not necessary or meaningful in Greek or German. – MEB]

329n406: Main Text : Thus, terminologically, ἐκκλησία as the assembly of Christians in one location should be translated ‘congregation’ (Gemeinde), and when it means the worldwide group of Christians as a whole, it should be translated ‘church’ (Kirche). Note: Cf. Roloff, “ἐκκλησία,” 1:413. [This distinction is more important in Europe, where there is a long tradition of an establish church, than in North America and other English-speaking areas, where ‘church’ has always been used for the local congregation, for groups of congregations, for the denomination, and for the church as a whole. I have therefore not attempted to maintain this distinction consistently in the English translation. – MEB]

378n2 (Ereignis and Geschehen): Main Text: First, we must distinguish between the element of the act-event-story continuum (Ereignis, Geschehen, Geschichte). Note: [Schnelle makes a distinction between two German words that are both usually translated as event. I have used act for the smaller elements of which an event is composed. – MEB]

621n60 (Werke/Taten): The dual translation of ἔργαwith Werke/Taten (works/deeds) attempts to grasp the multilayered aspect of the term; recent commentaries on James 2:14-16 translate variously (Frankem;lle, Werke; Burchard and Popkes, Taten). [The translation generally renders Schnelle’s original “Werke/Taten as “works.” – MEB]

For a complete list of my blog posts, please see here.

For tips on how to use this blog, please see here.

For two interviews with me about the Baylor-Mohr Siebeck Series, see Clifford Kvidahl and Michael Hölscher.

Facebook Page: To receive notifications of future blog posts, please subscribe to this blog and/or like my facebook page here.

German Mondays: Thank you for making it to the end of this blog post! In an effort to provide a sense of regularity and predictability for this blog’s readership, I plan on writing a new post each Monday. So hopefully I will ‘see’ you again in a week’s time. Best, Wayne.