Friday, February 29, 2008

Coptic Matthew 7:21-27

What Does It Mean to Call Jesus "Lord"? Proofs of Discipleship

Matthew 7:21-27,Sahidic Coptic and my English translation

21.ouon nim an etJw mmos nai Je pJoeis pJoeis petnabwk eHoun etmntrro nmphue. alla peteire pe mpouwS mpaeiwt etHn mphue
Not everyone who calls me "Lord! Lord!" will go into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one who is working the will of my Father who is in the heavens.

22.ounHaH gar naJoos nai Hm peHoou etmmau Je pJoeis pJoeis mh Hrai an Hm pekran anprofhteue. auw Hrai Hm pekran anneJdaimwnion ebol. mh Hrai an Hm pekran anrHaH nCom
For there are many who will tell me on that Day, "Lord! Lord, was it not in your name that we prophesied, and in your name cast out demons? Was it not in your name that we performed wondrous acts?"

23.auw tote TnaHomologei nau Je mpeisounthutn eneH. saHethutn ebol mmoi netrHwb etanomia
And then I will confess to them, "I never knew you. Depart from me, you workers of lawlessness!"

24.ouon Ce nim etswtm enaSaJe etenai ne eFeire mmoou. eFnaeine nourwme nsabe. pai ntaFkwt mpeFhi eHrai eJn tpetra
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and is performing them will resemble a wise man that built his house upon the (solid) rock.

25.aFei epesht nCi pHwou auei nCi neierwou auneiFe nCi nthu auHioue eHoun Hm phi etmmau auw mpeFHe Je neFtaJrhu gar eHrai eJn tpetra
The rain came down, the (flood) rivers came , the winds blew (and) they beat against that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded upon the (solid) rock.

26.auw ouon nim etswtm enaSaJe etenai ne nFeire mmoou an. eFnaeine nourwme nsoC. pai ntaFkwt mpeFhi HiJm pSw
And everyone who hears these words of mine and is not performing them will resemble a stupid man that built his house upon the sand.

27.aFei epesht nCi pHwou auei nCi neierwou auneiFe nCi nthu auHioue eHoun Hm phi etmmau aFHe auw peFHe neFo nounoC
The rain came down, the (flood) rivers came, the winds blew (and) they beat against that house. It fell, and its fall was great.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What does Athens have to do with Jerusalem?

“What indeed has Athens to do with Jerusalem? What concord is there between the Academy and the Church? What between heretics and Christians? Our instruction comes from ‘the porch of Solomon.’....Away with all attempts to produce a mottled Christianity of Stoic, Platonic, and dialectic composition!....With our faith, we desire no further belief.” So Tertullian in De Praescriptione Haereticorum. (Ante-Nicene Fathers, volume 3, p. 246)

Apparently for Tertullian, syncretism was synonymous with sin. Jerusalem had its divine revelation; Athens represented the blander fruit of human endeavor. Tertullian was expounding on Colossians 2:8, 9, in which the Pauline writer employs the Greek term philosophia, “philosophy” for the first and only time in the New Testament, and that pejoratively. He connects the word to "empty deception." (Coptic, tefilosofia mn tapath etSoueit). He argues that the fullness of divinity rests bodily in Christ alone. (Coptic, Je ere pJwk thrF ntmntnoute ouhH nHhtF swmatikws). Those who believe in another All or Pleroma have been "kidnapped, carried away as spoil" (Coptic, Swl) by false teachers.

Some scholars feel that the whole thrust of Colossians is to combat one or another form of gnosticism. Certainly that was Tertullian's concern since he specifically mentions "the the system of Valentinus, who was of Plato's school" and "Marcion's better god." (ibid.)

For moderns, however, that struggle has lost its urgency. "Jerusalem" today is the mirror image of "Athens." It's basically "game over," and philosophy won out in Western thought. The fruit of human endeavor has trumped claims of divine revelation.

I find it of more interest that the orthodox aversion to gnosticism apparently found its way into the Sahidic Coptic version of the New Testament. At Colossians 2:8, they make it plain that true salvific work is only through pecristos ihsous , i.e., Christ Jesus, whereas the best Greek texts only say "Christ." There must be no division, in the mind of these translators, between Christ and Jesus.

An even more obvious example is found in the Sahidic Coptic version of 2 Corinthians 4:4. This translation unabashedly follows the exegesis of Irenaeus against Marcion.
Among other things that conflicted with orthodox belief, Marcion taught the gnostic idea that the Creator God of the "Old Testament" was a separate, inferior God to the God of the "New Testament," and that this inferior God was the one responsible for all the evils of the world.

Irenaeus and other leaders of the church fiercely combated this view of two Gods, so much so that Irenaeus did not accept that the "God of this world" mentioned at 2 Corinthians 4:4 could be other than God himself. In Against Heresies book 3, chapter 7, he writes: "The true contained in the expression, "God has blinded the minds of the unbelievers of this world."....For Paul does not say, "the God of this world," as if recognizing any other beyond Him; but he confessed God as indeed God. And he says, "the unbelievers of this world," because they shall not inherit the future age of incorruption. I shall show from Paul himself, how it is that God has blinded the minds of those that believe not."

This rendering by Irenaeus of 2 Corinthians 4:4 does not follow the plain sense of the Greek, which indeed says "the God of this world," but evidently referring to the devil. (Jesus called the devil the "ruler of this world," Coptic parcwn mpeikosmos at John 12:31.) However, the Syriac Peshitta according to George Lamsa’s Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text reads similarly: "To those in this world whose minds have been blinded by God, because they did not believe, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the likeness of God, should shine on them."

Likewise, the Sahidic Coptic text of 2 Corinthians 4:4 says: "In these, God has closed the minds of the unbelievers of this world, so that they might not see the light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God." (Coptic, Hn nai pnoute aFtwm nnHht nnapistos mpeeiaiwn Je nneunau epouoein mpeuaggelion mpeoou mpecristos ete pai pe qikwn mpnoute)

It appears that the Coptic translators wished to translate this verse of Scripture as far away from gnostic teaching as possible.

Today, however, "Athens," philosophy, and even gnosticism permeate Western thought in many ways.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

"Jesus said to his disciples," continuing

Jesus Sayings from the Canonical Gospel of Matthew

Chapter 5

Verse 8

naiatou nnetouaab Hm peuHht Je ntoou netnanau epnoute
Divinely favored are those pure [innocent, holy] in heart, because they will behold God.

Verse 9

naiatou nnreFreirhnh Je ntoou netounamoute eroou Je nShre mpnoute
Divinely favored are the makers of peace, because they will be called sons of God.

Verse 10

naiatou nntaupwt nswou etbe tdikaiosunh Je twou te tmntrro nmphue
Divinely favored are those who have been persued (in persecution) on account of righteousness, because theirs is Heaven's kingdom.

Verse 11

naiatthutn euSanneCneCthutn. nsepwt nswtn. nseJeHwb nim eqoou eHoun erwtn euJiCol erwtn etbhht
Divinely favored are you whenever they mock you and pursue you (in persecution), and speak every (sort of) lying evil against you because of me.

Verse 12

raSe ntetn telhl Je petnbeke naSwF Hrai Hn mphue. tai gar te qe ntaupwt nsaneprofhths etHatetnHh
Rejoice, rejoice (greatly), because your wage is great in the heavens. For in this way they pursued (in persecution) the prophets who were before you.

Verse 13

ntwtn pe peHmou mpkaH erSanpeHmou de baabe eunamolHF nou. meFrSau nlaau nsanoJF ebol nseHomF Hitn nerwme
You are the salt of the earth. If the salt should become insipid, how will it be made salty? It is not useful for anything except for throwing outside, to be trampled on by people.

Verse 14

ntwtn pe pouoein mpkosmos. mn SCom noupolis eHwp eskh eHrai HiJn outoou
You are the world's light. It is impossible for a city lying upon a mountain to be hidden.

Verse 15

oude meuJereouHhbs nsekaaF HaouSi. alla nSaukaaF HiJn tlucnia nFrouoein enetSoop throu Hm phi
Nor is it customary to kindle a lamp and set it under a measure(-basket), but they set it upon the lampstand and it gives light to all those in the house.

Verse 16

tai te qe mareFrouoein nCi petnouoen mpemto ebol nnerwme Jekaas euenau enetnHbhue etnanouou nseTeoou mpetneiwt etHn mphue
In this manner, let your light shine (openly) in the presence of people, so that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in the heavens.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Jesus said to his disciples..."

Many people are familiar with apocryphal Coptic gospels that begin this way. However, this blog contains sayings from the Canonical Gospels about the Lord Jesus Christ, as found in the Holy Bible, i.e., Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The purpose is to highlight the wisdom found in the Sahidic Coptic version (2nd/3rd centuries) of the Canonical Gospels, often overshadowed by the current popularity of possibly Gnostic works like the gospels of Thomas, Philip, or Judas.

A secondary purpose is to enhance my continuing study of the Egyptian language (in its Sahidic Coptic form), by means of practical translating exercises.

The Coptic verses below are generally conformable to those found in the Sahidic Coptic New Testament, J. Warren Wells, editor, 2006. The English translations are mine.

The translations are not overly literal, but attempt to bring out, succinctly, the flavor of the Coptic. For example, the Sahidic word that translates the Greek makarios, "fortunate or happy; blessed or favored," derives from the Coptic word for "eye," eia, signifying divine favor in this context.

Jesus Sayings from the Canonical Gospel of Matthew

Chapter 5

Verse 3
naiatou nnHhke Hm pepneuma Je twou te tmntrro nmphue
Divinely favored are the poor for the Spirit, because theirs is Heaven's kingdom.

Verse 4
naiatou nnetrHhbe Je ntoou netounaspswpou
Divinely favored are the mourners, because they will be comforted.

Verse 5
naiatou nnrmraS Je ntoou netnaklhronomei mpkaH
Divinely favored are the mild (and) gentle, because they will inherit the earth.

Verse 6
naiatou nnetHkaeit etobe ntdikaiosunh Je ntoou netnasei
Divinely favored are those hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be satisfied.

Verse 7
naiatou nnnaht Je ntoou netounana nau
Divinely favored are the compassionate, because they will be treated with compassion.

This is just a beginning...

Constuctive comments are welcome: