Update to καίγε in Joel 2:29 and Acts 2:18

I have made an update to the post καίγε in Joel 2:29 and Acts 2:18, which interacts briefly with Steve Runge’s comments on Acts 2:18.

I post the Update here as well:

UPDATE: Brian Davidson informed me that Steve Runge wrote a paper on Joel 3:1-5 in Acts 2. Steve gives a great discussion of the Hebrew discourse function of גם and the Greek discourse function of γε. The particles גם and γε disambiguate the intended function of the following prepositional phrases marking the fullest extent to which the outpouring of the Spirit will be experienced. The LXX is ambiguous with καί only, but γε in Acts 2:18 indicates that the fronting of the prepositional phrases is emphatic and not contrastive. Excellent analysis of the grammar. What Steve does not mention (not the intention of this paper) is the καίγε tradition, which probably influences Acts 2:18. Before Acts 2, the Jews were already revising גם/וגם with καίγε where the OG had only καί. Therefore, καί γε is not an adaptation on the part of Luke (Steve does not actually suggest this from what I read), rather Luke received a text with καίγε in all probability.

Let’s keep the discussion going.

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καίγε in Joel 2:29 and Acts 2:18

Blogging has been a low priority for me this past year since my transition to Phoenix last summer. My first year of teaching at Phoenix Seminary was both challenging and satisfying. Currently I am teaching a course on the Septuagint, Readings in the Septuagint, and in my preparation I came across an interesting piece in Joel 2:29.

As I was reading Joseph Ziegler’s apparatus for the Duodecim Prophetae for Joel 2:29, I found a curious variant. I provide the first part of the Hebrew, LXX, and NT followed by the apparatus for LXX:

HT: וְגַ֥ם עַל־הָֽעֲבָדִ֖ים

LXX: καὶ ἐπὶ τοὺς δούλους

NT: καί γε ἐπὶ τοὺς δούλους

καί 1° W* B-S*-V L-36 C-68 AchSa] + γε rel. = Act. 2:18.

No doubt Ziegler has determined the original text in this instance and perhaps Acts 2:18 influenced the rest of the Greek manuscript tradition with the addition of γε. Acts 2:18 is the earliest witness to this variant but it probably did not introduce this reading into the textual transmission. Where did γε come from? We now have enough evidence, especially for the Twelve Prophets, that shows that the Jews were revising the (O)ld (G)reek to a text closer to the proto-Masoretic Text long before the time of Jesus and the NT. One of the characteristics, indeed the characteristic after which the tradition became named, was the revision of the translation of וגם/גם with καίγε (sometimes two words καί γε) where OG had simple καί. This characteristic and the general tradition was brought to its pinnacle in the revision of Aquila. The most significant piece of evidence for the tradition comes from the Nahal Hever Scroll of the 12 Prophets dated to the middle of the 1st century BCE.

One can see that the use of καίγε brings the Greek text into greater quantitative alignment with the Hebrew source, for now גם has an equivalent in the Greek text.

What is intriguing to me in this example and others like it is that the NT has a reading which in all probability goes back to the καίγε tradition of the 1st century BCE and therefore a reading in close alignment with the proto-MT.

It is very intriguing to me that at times they cite what is close to the OG (even when it departs from the proto-MT) and at other times they cite what is closer to καίγε or Theodotion (a prominent member of the former tradition; see here). Did the NT authors have a choice between texts or did they simply use what they had at their disposal? This is an open question in my mind and I invite you to list your opinions in the comments.

UPDATE: Brian Davidson informed me that Steve Runge wrote a paper on Joel 3:1-5 in Acts 2. Steve gives a great discussion of the Hebrew discourse function of גם and the Greek discourse function of γε. The particles גם and γε disambiguate the intended function of the following prepositional phrases marking the fullest extent to which the outpouring of the Spirit will be experienced. The LXX is ambiguous with καί only, but γε in Acts 2:18 indicates that the fronting of the prepositional phrases is emphatic and not contrastive. Excellent analysis of the grammar. What Steve does not mention (not the intention of this paper) is the καίγε tradition, which probably influences Acts 2:18. Before Acts 2, the Jews were already revising גם/וגם with καίγε where the OG had only καί.

The Lexis of Acts 2:41 or Who were the First Christian Baptizees?

This study only introduces an argument, which needs more research in the Classical and Patristic periods.  The argument concerns the description of the first baptizees in Acts 2:41.  The book of Acts records the history of the earliest apostolic church.  The question of what is normative in the book of Acts vs. what is only descriptive is a lingering question to ask of this book.  There seems to be components of the book of Acts that may not be normative for Christians today but simply applied to the first century church.  Perhaps, the description of the church community as sharing all of their possessions so that no one was in need may be an example of description, but does not constitute normative practice for the church in all ages and at all times; however, baptism is a normative aspect of the church (Matt. 28:18-20).  Therefore, the book of Acts must shape our doctrine and practice of baptism.  Most do not debate that the book of Acts reveals the subject or the recipient of baptism.  Presbyterians usually look to household baptism texts and conclude that infants of believers ought to be baptized.  Baptists appeal to texts in Acts where the subjects of baptism are reported as having believed and then were baptized.  The book of Acts has many baptismal accounts to examine, but this post is devoted to one aspect of the first account in Acts 2.

Another assumption I have about the book of Acts is that earlier accounts are expanded, while later accounts are abbreviated.  In other words, Luke describes in detail who was baptized in the first few baptismal accounts, while in the later accounts he simply reports that a baptism happened.  He does not explain what happens to the baptized members in later accounts, while in the earlier account he explains that baptism leads to membership in the church for example. Continue reading “The Lexis of Acts 2:41 or Who were the First Christian Baptizees?”

The Peshitta’s Reading of Acts 16.34

Acts 16.34 contains that wonderful and glorious text of the salvation of the Philippian jailer and his household.  However, the question that has intrigued interpreters is who is believing according to this verse?  Is only the jailer believing? Or is the jailer believing together with his household?  Allow me to cite the Greek text of the verse then I will describe the exegetical difficulties, and finally I will provide the Syriac Peshitta reading of the verse and draw some conclusions from it.

Greek Text: αναγαγων τε αυτους εις τον οικον παρεθηκεν τραπεζαν και ηγαλλιασατο πανοικει πεπιστευκως τω θεω.

Difficulty: Does πανοικει (an adverb meaning “with the whole house”) modify the main verb ηγαλλιασατο or the participle πεπιστευκως?  As an adverb, grammatically it may modify either word.  What is the difference between the options? If it modifies the first verb, the translation is something like: “He rejoiced with his whole household because he believed in God.”  If it modifies the second, the text reads: He rejoiced because he believed in God–together with his whole household.  In the second translation the adverb indicates that the whole household believed with the jailer and were subsequently baptized according to 16.33.  The first translation has only the jailer believing, but the whole household is rejoicing with him and if the oikos argument is granted, this whole household is baptized apart from faith. Continue reading “The Peshitta’s Reading of Acts 16.34”