Articles in TynBul 65.1 (May 2014)

A Fake Coptic John and Its Implications for the 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife'
Christian Askeland (Indiana Wesleyan University)

The recent revelation of a Coptic Gospel of John fragment from the same source as the so-called 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife' has decisively altered the discussion concerning the authenticity of the 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife' fragment. The Coptic John fragment is a crude copy from Herbert Thompson's 1924 edition of the 'Qau codex' and is a product of the same modern writing event as the 'Gospel of Jesus's Wife' fragment. Both texts are modern forgeries written on genuinely ancient fragments of papyrus.

The Deliverance of Rahab (Joshua 2, 6) as the Gentile Exodus
Nicholas P. Lunn (Wycliffe Bible Translators, UK)

This short article argues for an intertextual interpretation of the Rahab narratives in the book of Joshua in the light of the deliverance of the Hebrews from Egypt as recorded in the book of Exodus. The presence of a range of different verbal and thematic correspondences supports such a notion. This is further confirmed once a structural parallelism between the two portions of text is identified. Suggestions are given as to what the relationship was designed to indicate.

Then David Wrote a Letter (2 Sam. 11:14) – He Himself or Was It His Secretary? A Study of the Criteria for Handling the 'Semantic Causative'
Andreas Käser (Internationale Hochschule Liebenzell)

One often speaks of important people as if they did everything on their own. 'Caesar beat the Gauls', thus reads a verse in a poem by Bertolt Brecht. In the following line he makes the point: 'Did he not even have a cook with him?' This way of speaking about kings and lords, rulers and commanders, is a very common literary device used not only in many ancient but also in contemporary languages. In speech it is usually used unconsciously­and even decoded unconsciously. But it is at least noticeable, because sometimes the translators of the Old Testament use a causative in its place. As a result of this usually unnoticed decoding, this characteristic has rarely been explicitly described as a literary phenomenon. The only exception I know of is to be found in Hermann Menge's book about Latin syntax and stylistics, where it is referred to as a 'causative active'. Because it is grammatically an 'active' voice which is to be semantically decoded functionally as a 'causative', I would like to suggest calling this literary device a 'semantic causative'. Now, if this 'semantic causative' is a common form used when speaking about important people, it raises the question: are there criteria which enable us to determine which of the acts are carried out by themselves and which are delegated to others. In my opinion there are indeed certain criteria which can be used to exclude the one or other scenario, but oftentimes a grey area of uncertainty seems to remain. So, did David write this letter himself or was it written by a secretary? In the following I intend to investigate the question of whether a definite answer can be found.

Mothers of Offspring in 1–2 Kings: A Messianic Hope in David's Line?
Jesse R. Scheumann (Bethlehem College and Seminary, Minneapolis)

In the books of 1 and 2 Kings, the mothers of Judaean kings are given a unique focus in being mentioned. Historically-minded scholars, neglecting a more message-minded approach, have not sufficiently explored why this is the case. However, when viewed as an allusion to Genesis 3:15, the focus on mothers reveals a literary marking of each Judaean king as an offspring of the woman, maintaining messianic hope within a dark period of Judah's history.

Death-Dealing Witchcraft in the Bible? Notes on the Condemnation of the 'Daughters' in Ezekiel 13:17–23
John F. Evans (Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology)

The essay proposes a new reading of Ezekiel 13:17–23, drawing on ancient Near Eastern materials to argue that the exiled 'daughters' were likely not practising the binding magic of the kaššaptu (Akk.) 'witch' but a defensive, even therapeutic, binding magic similar to that of the Babylonian ašipu 'exorcist'. Through their magic-bands Ezekiel's female opponents are said to bring 'death' (v. 19), but this is best explained as either the women's prophetic declaration of who was to live or die, or as the judgement of YHWH upon those in the community who believed their 'lies' and 'false visions', refusing to heed Ezekiel's warnings. Deception by unauthorised prophecy, divination, and magic is the key issue..

Monotheism and the Language of Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls
Michael S. Heiser (Bellingham, WA)

Most Hebrew Bible scholars believe that Israelite religion evolved from polytheism to monotheism, an evolution in which the biblical writers participated. The dominant version of this consensus is that this religious evolution culminated by the end of the exile or shortly thereafter. A minority perspective places the evolutionary end point later. At issue is the presence of the language of divine plurality, positive references to other gods ( or ) under YHWH's authority, in Jewish religious texts composed during and after the Second Temple period. This article surveys the language of divine plurality in the Hebrew Bible and the sectarian literature at Qumran to show its conceptual continuity and longevity, and rejects the notion that it is incongruent with a belief in the uniqueness of YHWH.

Testimony in John's Gospel: The Puzzle of 5:31 and 8:14
Thomas W. Simpson (Blavatnik School, University of Oxford)      101

Testimony is a central theme in John's Gospel and John has a developed view on how it works. This paper makes two contributions. First, I show the complexity and sophistication with which John handles different kinds of testimony in his narrative; this constitutes a category of evidence for the centrality of testimony not noted hitherto. Second, I address the central puzzle, namely the prima facie contradiction between 5:31 and 8:14. At issue is whether Jesus' testimony about himself requires corroborating testimony for it rationally to be believed. I argue that 8:14 has interpretative priority: according to John, no such corroboration is required.

The Interpretation of Pros in Romans 3:26
David Hall (Stamford Bridge, York)

In an article published in 1980, Richard Hays argued that Romans 3 should be seen as a unity. The whole chapter is an assertion of God's in­tegrity­that God is . Verses 21–26 'close the circle by answering the objections raised in verses 1–7'. Hays's thesis has been largely rejected. S. K. Stowers stated in 1984 that Hays was 'almost alone' in stressing the internal coherence of the argument in Romans 3, and subsequent scholarship has largely concentrated on the analysis of specific sections of the chapter rather than on the chapter as a whole. My aim in this article is to support Hays's thesis by examining verse 26, and in particular Paul's use of the preposition in that verse.

'Interpreting Homer from Homer': Aristarchus of Samothrace and the Notion of Scriptural Authorship in the New Testament
Benjamin Sargent (Bransgore, Hampshire)

This study attempts to explore certain exegetical arguments within the New Testament that operate upon the basis of an assumption that a scriptural text's meaning is in some way contingent upon its author. The exegetical and text-critical Homeric scholarship of Aristarchus of Samothrace is examined as a possible parallel to this assumption of authorial contingency. Aristarchus makes exegetical and text-critical decisions about the Iliad by means of a conception of Homer as the perfect writer. Whilst it is unlikely that any New Testament writer was aware of Aristarchus' work, Aristarchus undoubtedly represents more widespread Greek thought about authorship and meaning that may have been shared by certain New Testament writers.

Very Early Trinitarian Expressions
Very Early Trinitarian Expressions
Stuart E. Parsons (Trinity College of Florida)

While older scholarship identified the earliest use of Trinitarian terminology near the end of the second century in the work of Theophilus of Antioch, some recent studies have challenged this view. However, while affirming certain insights of these newer studies, it is necessary to revisit them in light of the historical setting of the second-century apologists. In reality, Theophilus and other early apologists evidenced a certain implicit Trinitarianism by affirming unity, distinction, eternal pre-existence and economic subordination in the Godhead. Studies of early Trinitarian terminology must look beyond explicit descriptions of the Godhead. They must consider also broad patterns of implicit Trinitarianism.

Dissertation Summaries:         

Codex Schøyen 2650
James M. Leonard (St Edmund's, Cambridge)

Codex Schøyen 2650 (hereafter, mae2) is a fragmentary yet substantial manuscript of Matthew's Gospel. It was written in a rare dialect of Coptic (Middle Egyptian). This thesis is the first substantial text-critical assessment of its implied underlying Greek text. Mae2 is significant for multiple reasons. First, it is often cited as having an early Fourth Century date, and as such, eleven of its chapters in their entirety, and a large number of verses elsewhere, may be the earliest witnesses to those respective parts of Matthew's Gospel. Secondly, it provides substantial attestation of a minor Coptic dialect which was hardly known until the second half of the Twentieth Century. Thirdly, its subdialect is hitherto unattested. Fourthly, it is independent from all other Coptic versions of Matthew. Fifthly, the text of mae2 is probably one of the earliest Middle Egyptian Coptic translations, and thus from it one might infer the boundaries early translators may have had in translation technique. Finally, as I have argued, when translational phenomena are identified and accounted for, mae2's strong alliance with both Sinaiticus and Vaticanus is evident, and this has implications for establishing the initial text of Matthew's Gospel and its early transmission history.

The Verb and the Paragraph in Biblical Hebrew: A Cognitive Linguistic Approach
Elizabeth Robar (Tyndale House)

The last few decades have witnessed a continual stream of publications on the biblical Hebrew verbal system, arguing whether it is fundamentally about aspect, or tense, or mood, or discourse pragmatics; or whether it is best understood synchronically, dia­chronically, or panchronically. In admittedly another work on the verbal system, this thesis constructs a theoretical framework that goes beyond postulating an additional possibility: it comprehensively includes the other views and explains how they relate to each other, including what value each has to offer. Within this framework, the thesis also suggests a new analysis of the waw-prefixed forms, the paragogic suffixes (including energic nun), and the semantic analysis of qatal and yiqtol.