John Wayne, Jesus, and Me

I finally read Jesus and John Wayne (JJW) by Kristen Kobes Du Mez. It helped me put many things into place and start to understand how we (“evangelicalism,” though I don’t think that name is redeemable anymore) got to the depths of despair.

Some personal background:

In the 2016 presidential election cycle, I really wanted John Kasich to win and still can’t fathom that Donald Trump got the nomination. I’m pretty sure that’s when I jumped off the train. I still couldn’t bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton, and am in Washington state (reliably Democrat in Federal and statewide races) and didn’t figure it really mattered, so I wrote in a candidate. It was the first time ever I hadn’t voted for an (R) candidate that was on the ticket.

It was the beginning of my wilderness wandering.

After the 2016 election cycle I was consistently disappointed by the perception of uncritical support by the “evangelical” church for Donald Trump, particularly the sycophantic B-list group of pseudo-Christian celebrities who sucked up to him with all their being, just to be in the orbit of his presidency and feel powerful. Yes, I’m thinking of Franklin Graham (and others). The phrase “sold it all for a bowl of pork and beans” comes to mind if I stop and think about it.

I was also consistently disappointed by the same people and groups (those claiming to be “evangelical”) on issues of race and gender. This disappointment turned into complete frustration during the start of the pandemic and the upheaval of society in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.

What I don’t think I realized until sometime in 2017 or 2018 was that it was my own views that were changing. Back during the election, I remembered conversations I had about immigration with friends who were enamored with Trump’s hardline approach and I was incredulous. I realized I was more pro-immigration than I thought.

So, back to JJW.

I could follow most of the history because I lived it. I mean, I was on the outskirts of evangelical (fundamental) culture from the late 70s through the 2010s.

Heck, I remember being in 2nd grade when Ronald Reagan was running against Jimmy Carter (I’m old, OK). My dad was in the Navy so I grew up in a Navy town. I remember being on the playground and talking with a kid (again, I’m in the 2nd grade here) about how he shouldn’t support Jimmy Carter because Ronald Reagan would increase the defense budget and that would be good for us Navy kids.

I remember Oliver North in the Iran Contra hearings.

I remember when Promise Keepers was cool.

I went to a Don Francisco concert when I was in Junior High.

I listened to Dobson on the Christian radio station if I happened to be in the car when it was on. I know the names “Jerry Falwell” (not Jr. but Papa), “Oral Roberts,” and many of the others. My first encounter with Bill Gothard and Institute of Basic Life Principles (IBLP) was in the late 1990’s when it was my job to bid work on converting their books into Logos Bible Software format. (Apparently my price was too high, because it never happened. You can thank me later.) But man those books were creepy.

I’ve since had more direct experience with the effects of BG’s IBLP on people and families I know and love, and WOW. Let’s just say I don’t consider the Duggars (who are BG and IBLP devotees) as heroes or entertainment, and I’m not surprised at recent events with their oldest son. Nobody should watch their train wreck of a show, even if you just think it is “entertainment.” They need their platform destroyed, and the voyeurism needs to stop.

I went to a Christian college. Northwestern College in Orange City, IA (class of ’93!); a Reformed Church in America [RCA] school, literally 10 minutes from where JJW starts at Dordt College [our nemesis and a CRC school] in Sioux Center, IA.

I wrote a letter to the editor of my hometown paper in 1991 after the first Gulf War started in support of the war. I worked the phone bank for a Republican senatorial candidate in Iowa and even got to drive a minivan in a Presidential motorcade when Bush 43 came to Sioux City, IA to campaign and fundraise for him. It didn’t work, Tom Harkin won the open seat that year, and Bush 43 lost too. Sure was fun to speed through Sioux City with a police escort, though.

The thing which I’m most afraid (ashamed?) to admit publicly: I went to a Carman concert. I know. I’ve repented, and moved on.

I redeemed myself and rocked out at Cornerstone 1992 (77s rock!). Spent a spring break in the French Quarter doing street evangelism. Spent a summer as a counselor at a Christian camp in Illinois. Graduated college in 1993. Became a productive member of society (got a job) after I graduated working for an upstart Logos Bible Software, selling Bible software over the phone.

I guess I’m saying that I lived exactly in the world and times of a large chunk of JJW. I watched Rush Limbaugh on TV. I voted against Bill Clinton and thought he should’ve been impeached and convicted for lying under oath (still do) and for receiving oral sex from an intern while in the oval office. I remember the outcry. I remember the “Moral Majority.”

Heck, I was even accepted to Regent College for fall of 1994 because I “felt called” to pursue an M.Div., but I didn’t get any financial aid and couldn’t swing it on a student visa (read: no job) so moved on.

ANYWAY.

Back to JJW (again). Reading this book connected the dots between all these seemingly disparate ministries (and many others) in ways I would have never considered, but now can never un-see.

As I said above, I still didn’t understand how on God’s green earth Donald Trump won the nomination in 2016. I certainly didn’t understand how anyone could vote for him after the “grab ’em by the p*ssy” comments and the revelation (but were we really surprised?) he’d paid off women to be quiet about his extramarital affairs with them.

What happened to the Moral Majority? What happened to these same people who were so worked up about Clinton’s extramarital activities disqualifying him yet so seemingly chill about Trump’s extramarital activities and the several credible abuse accusations against him?

And there are parts I still don’t understand and probably never will. I’m totally flummoxed by Christians over-obsessed with protecting their “freedom” (and to hell with everything else) when Jesus literally told us to love God with everything, and to love others as we love ourselves. Wear the mask, people.

But I do see now, thanks to JJW, how the “evangelical” church has these threads of patriarchy, male power, and female submission woven all throughout it (with a twist of really unhealthy attitudes about sex within marriage, and sexuality in general). I see how church leaders all throughout try to deal with conflict, by quieting it down, by muting and typically blaming the victims, and leaving the perpetrators with largely little comparative consequence (again, see current situation with Josh Duggar for how this works out).

I see how the evangelical church (as a whole, I realize there are exceptions), just about every time some popular or well-placed group or ministry had an opportunity to change course due to a scandal or some other situation coming to light, has basically doubled down.

I keep coming back to Kristen Kobes Du Mez’ quote from … I don’t remember the source. But here it is:

Jesus will save your souls, but John Wayne will save your ass.

That is, as I read it, at this point in time the “evangelical” church is pretty much exalting the people it sees as strong, who will save their ass if and when the time comes. Preach Jesus, but pack heat. Put people in power who will protect your interests. Their morality is irrelevant; their strength is the primary qualification.

QED, Donald Trump.

As for me, I do not consider myself to be an evangelical anymore. I mean, I would love to keep that word because it is a great word and it does describe how I’d like to be: One who evangelizes, one who supports and proclaims the gospel. But the social group that word is now tied to has corrupted it beyond repair. It has become synonymous with “Trump supporter.” And I cannot be in that group. If I’m honest with myself, I’ve probably been here since 2016 and Trump’s election.

Some people I know will think I’ve totally jumped the shark, that I’m naïve, and that I’ve bought in to some woke stuff.

Maybe they’re right.

But I know this: Look at what “evangelicalism” tells you today. Their primary message has either been about a need to uncritically support Donald Trump (the twice-impeached one), or it has focused on division. By that I mean the primary messages from evangelical voices with platforms are pretty much about broadcasting what people shouldn’t be doing, and about telegraphing what the in-group people should be against. BLM. LGBTQ. Immigration. COVID-19 public health regulations. Democrats. 1619 Project. Critical Race Theory.

I can’t abide this any more, and really haven’t been able to since 2016 or so. I simply don’t think matters are that clear. These things aren’t black and white; it is a spectrum and we live in the middle of the gray. You can’t just decide what your view is going to be and double down on it forever. But that’s what evangelicalism has done for at least the past 75 years.

The best and most succinct enunciation of this I’ve ever heard was in a story I heard on the radio about a guy in Seattle who spends his time on weekends setting homeless folks up with portable toilets. It is an awesome story, it is less than 9 minutes long, and you should listen to it. Anyway, this guy says the most incredible thing somewhere between 7 and 8 minutes in, but please listen to the minutes before this to get the full context of the statement:

If you have moral clarity, you aren’t in deep enough.

Mark Lloyd

We live in a complex world. As Ferris Bueller says, “Life comes at you pretty fast.” Me? I am part of a transracial family. In our immediate family unit of five, we are Asian, we are Pacific Islander, and we are African American; on top of the Dutch/Norwegian/Irish and pastiche of other European influences.

I didn’t do it on purpose, but I got in deeper. And any moral clarity I may have thought I had has been thrown out the window. The simple solutions simply don’t work anymore.

I’m not sure how to wrap this all up, and I feel I’ve drifted a bit.

Suffice it to say, I am still a Christian. But it is like real life, the life I have lived and experienced in the past 10 years or so, has totally obliterated all the theoretical theological glass houses that used to be so comfortable. It is a bit cliché, but those glass houses are broken and gone. I’m not sure if I’m deconstructing, deconstructed, reconstructing, reconstructed, or just confused.

Jesus and John Wayne has helped me reconcile, to a degree, the recoil I’ve been experiencing for the past four years trying to understand how people who profess to believe the essentials of what I profess to believe can have such a different (and I think dangerous) take on political and social issues, not to mention the gospel. And for this, thank you, Kristen Kobes Du Mez.

Easter and Holy Week in the Papyri and Christian Apocrypha

It’s that time. Today is Palm Sunday, the start of Holy Week. Christians have written about these events and how they worship for centuries.

from The Hague Medieval illuminated manuscripts, The Hague, KB, 78 D 38 II Gospels Fol. 186v

I’d like to point you to posts I’ve written in previous years for some reading this week:

  • Holy Week in Early Christian Papyri. This is a series of five posts, each examining different early Christian papyri that have something to do with Holy Week.
  • Supplementary Easter Reading: The Acts of Pilate. This post gives brief information on the Acts of Pilate, which recount the trial and crucifixion of Jesus and also the “Harrowing of Hell.” Links to PDFs of an English translation of the material are also included.

Time for an Update

Apparently it’s been around 3 months since I last posted here (on Dec. 23, 2020, about Christmas Papyri). Three days before that I posted about my 2021 writing plans.

In that post I listed three priorities for the year:

  • Finish the Prayer and Amulet papyri fragments
  • Write about papyri letters
  • Write about theological and homiletical papyri fragments

I’m actually almost done with these three priorities. That is, I’ve got a draft of Prayer and Amulet papyri in the can (yay!). Then I realized that papyri letters don’t really fit in with what I’m hoping to do and there are multiple sources to point people to that handle them well. I’ve written about the theological fragments and need to write the discussion for one more homilietical fragment (1,000-2,000 words, likely). The end (of the first draft) is near.

This is good for multiple reasons. The first reason is that I’ve been working on and off in my “spare” time on this since 2018. It really took form in 2019, and went through a few changes in 2020. I’m ready to start tying the whole thing together (around 150 pages or so, I think). The second reason is that I have a few other projects cooking for the next few years (can’t say much about them yet) so it would be good to get the major portions of the papyri volume from the draft stage into rewrite/edit stage.

Now, about the pandemic …

Different people have different experiences. I can’t say I have much to complain about as I am still gainfully employed in a job I enjoy with amazing and smart colleagues. I’ve been able to work from home (er, “live from work”) for over a year now. I’ve actually been fairly productive (we released Logos 9 in October 2020, some of my contributions here), especially considering three kids (now 4, 8, and 13) have been at home for the same period of time, largely because we were not comfortable with the laissez-faire approach their private Christian school was taking toward health and safety in the midst of the pandemic. At times being at home has been a horrible shit-show; at other times it’s been the best thing. Most times, I’m just tired. Our family has various medical needs and constraints (in other words, we will hit our family medical deductible by the end of the month, and that’s normal, let the reader understand), and it can get fairly exhausting fairly quickly.

What has frustrated me has been to witness the pushback that people who claim to follow Christ have regarding social justice issues (especially those related to race and unjust use of force by police on people of color) and regarding public health issues (masks, large public groups gatherings, restrictions on actions in public groups). I am especially horrified by the current rise of Christian nationalism and what happened at the Capitol on January 6. I am a parent in a transracial family, and I have safety concerns for my family based on what I’ve seen and heard (both locally and on the social medias) about attitudes towards people of color.

I have a lot in common with Beth Moore at this point, it seems. If you haven’t read her recent interview regarding her disassociation with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), you need to. Here’s just one of many things I read in the article that resonates with where I am in regards to what “evangelicals” have done in the past 5 years:

In October 2016, Moore had what she called “the shock of my life,” when reading the transcripts of the “Access Hollywood” tapes, where Trump boasted of his sexual exploits with women.

“This wasn’t just immorality,” she said. “This smacked of sexual assault.”

She expected her fellow evangelicals, especially Southern Baptist leaders she trusted, to be outraged, especially given how they had reacted to Bill Clinton’s conduct in the 1990s. Instead, she said, they rallied around Trump.

“The disorientation of this was staggering,” she said. “Just staggering.”

“Disorientation” is a great word to describe this. I have experienced similar disorientation. There’s more, and you should read the whole article.

BUT: Our 4 year old is back in preschool two mornings a week. Our 13 year old is back in school with a hybrid schedule (2 days in, 2 days at home). Our 8 year old is still being homeschooled, and there are both joys and pressures with that arrangement. These are luxuries for us, largely because our public school district has been and is being diligent in putting the safety of students and staff first. Our fingers are crossed hoping that next school year will be a few steps closer to normal.

How to wrap this up? How about a simple plea: People, wear masks when you’re out of your house. Also, get vaccinated when you have opportunity.

Two “Christmas” Papyri

It’s getting close to Christmas, so why not mention some “Christmas” papyri? While there are surely more, in my traversing through different papyrus collections these two are mentioned with some frequency. I’ve filed both of these papyri under the “Liturgical” heading at my repository of transcriptions, though one (with tune information) may better be considered a “hymn.”

For sources and bibliography, see links to each papyrus (either TM or my repository of transcriptions).

P.Vindob. G 2326

P.Vindob. G. 2326 (TM 64614), also known as P. Erzherzog Rainer 542 or MPER 542, is dated in the fifth to sixth centuries (AD 400‑550).

Transcription

Recto

  1. † ο γεννηθεις εν Βηθλεεμ και ανατραφεις εν Ναζαρετ, κατοικησας εν τη Γαλιλαια
  2. ειδομεν σημειον εξ ουρανου· τω αστερος φανεντος, ποιμενες αγραυλουντες
  3. εθαυμασαν· ου γονυπεσοντες ελεγον· δοξα τω Πατρι αλληλουια·
  4. δοξα τω Υιω και τω αγιω Πνευματι, αλληλουια, αλληλουια, αλληλουια.

Verso

  1. τυβι ε
  2. †† εκλεκτος ο αγιος Ιωαννης ο βαπτιστης ο κηρυξας μετανοιαν
  3. εν ολω τω κοσμω εις αφεσιν των αμαρτιων ημων.

Translation

recto

(1) † He who was born in Bethlehem and raised in Nazareth, living in Galilee, (2) we have seen a sign from heaven, the shining star. Shepherds who lived outdoors (3) were astonished, who were kneeling down and said: (4) “Glory to the Father, alleluia! Glory to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia!”

verso

(5)    December 31
(6)    †† Chosen/Elect Holy John the Baptist who preached repentance (7) in the whole world to forgiveness of our sins.

Discussion

This papyrus reflects many of the basics of the Christian story in compressed form: Born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth, and living in Galilee, the star of Bethlehem, shepherds who saw and responded and sang glory to God. It uses curious language of the star of Bethlehem as a “sign from heaven,” language that is not used of the nativity in the canonical gospels.

I will have more detail on this papyrus in my (hopefully) forthcoming book about early fragmentary Christian papryi.

P.Berol. 13269 (source)

P.Berol. 13269

P.Berol. 13269 (TM 65395, aka BKT VI 6 2) was originally dated to the seventh century but Mihálykó has recently re-dated the papyrus to the ninth or tenth century.

Transcription

  1. εις αʼ δʼ
  2. Ἐν Βηθλεὲμ ποιμένης ἀγ-
  3. ραυλοῦντες ἄγγελος τοῦ θ(εο)ῦ
  4. αὐτὴν εὐεγγελίσατο τὸν τόκον
  5. τοῦ Ἐμμανουὴλʼ κ(αὶ) ποιμένης
  6. περιλάμψας τὴν δόξαν κ(υρίο)υ
  7. κ(αὶ) ἶπεν· μὴ φοβῖσθε ἀσώματος
  8. ἐκύρισεν αὐτ̣ῖς μεγάλης χαρᾶς
  9. ἥτις ἐστὶν παντὶ τῷ λαῷ, ὅτι
  10. ἐτέχθη τὸν βασιλέαν Χ(ριστὸ)ν
  11. κ(αὶ) σ(ωτῆ)ρα θ(εὸ)ν σήμερον ἐν πόλει
  12. Δ(αβὶ)δ εἱμῖς σὺν ἀγγέλος τε.
  13. Δόξα ἐν ἡψίστις θ(εο)ῦ κ(αὶ) ἐπὶ κῆς
  14. [εἰρήνη ἐν ἀνθρώποις εὐδοκίας]

Translation

(the tune of alpha and delta)

In Bethlehem shepherds were living out of doors. An angel of God proclaimed the good news, the birth of Emmanuel, and the glory of the Lord shone around the shepherds. And the bodiless one said: “Do not be afraid.” He announced great joy to them, which is to all the people, that the King and Savior God, Christ, was born today in the city of David. We and the angel (sing), “Glory to God in the highest, and upon the earth, peace with people with whom he is pleased.”

Discussion

This papyrus has much in common with Luke 2:8-14, and like P.Vindob. G 2326 mentions many of the basics of the Christian story: Shepherds living outdoors, an angel of God. Notably the text diverges from Luke by referring to the child as “Emmanuel” (or “Immanuel,” cf. Mt 1:23, quoting Is 7:14). Another unique feature of the text is to refer to the angel as the “bodiless one.”

The first line is tune notation according to the Byzantine system. You can find a nice image of this papyrus online.

As this text is later (ninth-tenth century) it falls outside of my “reliably dated in the fifth century or before” bounds for the early fragmentary Christian papyri project, so I do not plan on discussing it further (but it will be in footnotes!).

Rick’s 2021 Writing Schedule: Fragmentary Early Christian Papyri

I’ve posted writing schedules in the past (2016 through 2019). For some reason, I didn’t do it for 2020. But it’s time again to try and sketch things out and make some plans for how to spend my research and writing time in 2021.

Things are always subject to change, but for 2021, my planned focus is on fragmentary early Christian papyri. I’ve done research and writing in this area since late 2018 (as sporadically evidenced on this blog) and have posted numerous transcriptions and translations as well.

At various times in the crap-hole that will historically be known as “2020” I’ve been able to get some further writing done on these fragmentary wonders. I have drafts together for the liturgical papyri (16K words) and hymn papyri (11K words) and am probably 60% through the prayer and amulet papyri (15K words at present). This means my hopes for 2021 are to:

  • Finish the Prayer and Amulet papyri fragments
  • Write about papyri letters
  • Write about theological and homiletical papyri fragments

My goal is to introduce biblical studies folks to these papyri as they are excellent and typically overlooked material. Each papyri will have a transcription, a translation, a content description, and a discussion (some short, some long) on the papyrus itself. These will typically be focused on examining affinity and interaction with Old Testament, New Testament, and other early Christian literature, with references (and hopefully decent indexes for facilitating lookup).

Not sure on word counts for letters and theological/homiletical fragments, but I’m guessing the total will be 100-120K words, maybe more. Below is a sample of one of the hymn fragments, P.Berol. 16595.

I’m not sure where or how this material will be published. I’ve had one publisher express interest but want to go in a different direction with the material (and I was not interested in their direction). I’ve also had one publisher pass on publishing. If you’re reading this, and you’re an acquisitions editor or otherwise involved with a publisher and want some more information, feel free to contact me via the blog contact form.

Here’s hoping 2021 is a productive year for writing. If I can get through drafts of most of this material, that would be most excellent.

Logos 9: Manuscripts of the Bible

[Note: all screen captures taken using Verbum, the version of Logos Bible Software customized for Catholic users; features and data discussed are the same between Logos and Verbum.]

We’ve long wanted to make manuscript data more accessible in Logos Bible Software. With Logos 6, we introduced the New Testament Manuscript Explorer, which provides manuscript-level information (date, location, contents, etc.) based on the incredible NTVMR from the INTF. Throughout the Logos 6 lifecycle (if I recall correctly) we also released the Septuagint Manuscript Explorer and the Hebrew Bible Manuscript Explorer.

While that information is useful, as an interactive resource it is not able to be easily accessed or linked to other resources. And since we wanted to pull manuscript information into Factbook, we needed something different.

Manuscripts of the New Testament, in English, Portuguese, and Chinese (Traditional)

We also wanted to provide page-level links to manuscript images indexed to Bible reference.

That sentence doesn’t make much sense. Let me try again. We wanted to be able to search for a reference (e.g. Mark 1:41) and list images one could browse at the NTVMR with links straight to the images. We wanted to provide something like the below, showing the 278 manuscript pages indexed to Mark 1:41 with links directly to the page at the NTVMR.

Search for manuscript pages indexed to Mark 1:41

We’ve created similar resources for the Septuagint (LXX) and the Hebrew Bible, but unfortunately there isn’t nearly the available page-level data for these corpora (Hats off to the NTVMR folks!). So we’ve made page-level references where data was available (LXX Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) and incorporated manuscript-level references to other manuscripts where data is available.

All three resources, in English

Hebrew Bible stuff is different from Greek NT or LXX because we (Logos) have transcriptions of all of the biblical scrolls, and many of the scroll fragments have images published on the web. So for the Hebrew Bible we have links to the transcriptions in Logos and available images at official sites.

But the big gain here is this information is now accessible in Factbook. We all know we can look up what “1Q1 Gen” is if we have the right resource open, or if we do a search across the library. But now, because it is all accessible from Factbook, you don’t have to remember which book or series to open to look. Just open Factbook and type in “1q1 gen”, and see what happens.

P52 entry in Factbook, and looking up “1q1 gen”

Now when you run across a reference to an NT, LXX, or Hebrew Bible manuscript, you just need to open the Factbook and look. You can read the article in Factbook’s Key Article section, or click the link to read it in the relevant manuscripts resource. We’re hoping this incorporation of manuscript information in Factbook makes it easier to follow up on questions about manuscripts you may encounter after reading technical commentaries or consulting textual apparatuses.

We have some ideas about how to integrate these manuscript resources even further with existing apparatuses (particularly of the GNT and LXX). No promises, but hopefully we’ll be able to make manuscript data even more accessible from the apparatuses themselves. Cross your fingers.

Logos 9: Lexham Research Lexicons

[Note: all screen captures taken using Verbum, the version of Logos Bible Software customized for Catholic users; features and data discussed are the same between Logos and Verbum.]

One of the best-kept secrets (in a bad way) of tools in Logos Bible Software is the Bible Sense Lexicon (BSL). It is unfortunate because the BSL is this great tool that provides a cross-linguistic sense analysis of every instance of every noun, verb, adjective, and adverb in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek New Testament. But outside of in-passage mention (where it is available in a context window or by link) it is pretty hard to find, especially if you’re starting with a lemma.

We did some evaluation and figured out that we could use the BSL information to aggregate sense data by lemma and provide the skeleton of a lexicon. Even better: The BSL has been localized into all of the core language editions of Logos Bible Software, so if we could figure out what to do with the English, we’d get six more languages for basically free. Here’s an example of the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, in English, Spanish, and Korean.

Lexham Research Lexicon of the Greek New Testament (English, Spanish, and Korean)

Focusing on the English, there are a few things to note. The material drawn from the BSL is “peaceful (whole) — characterized by …” Before that material, we have part of speech and generalized gloss as well as, where applicable, equivalent Hebrew lemmas based on an analysis of available reverse interlinear data. Sometimes there will also be a link to the Lexham Theological Wordbook.

The references listed (in this case) are all the available instances of this sense+lemma combination. We also list a snippet of context in the original language (Greek here) in an interlinear view (only English and Spanish; other languages do not have the data available to support the interlinear view). Don’t worry, the interlinear is customizeable and you can turn off the gloss line if you’d like (using the aleph/omega button in the toolbar). The context given in the snippet is based on propositional data from the Lexham Discourse Greek New Testament. We select appropriate example references to list based on an analysis of Important Words data.

After this, for the New Testament, there are references of the same word from the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament). These reference listings (and the alternate corpus listings underneath it) are based on an analysis of existing Greek lexica and the manner in which they cite non-New Testament material.

After this we have the Commentary Articles section, which has listings of commentaries where the lemma is discussed. These listings are based on an analysis of all available commentaries with Greek or Hebrew words (or transliterations; presently over 8,300 commentaries are analyzed). We’re basically leveraging existing data here. Logos has had a Lemma in Passage feature that analyzes commentaries and tags lemmas where discernable. This is combined with information from another feature (Important Words) to determine which words are more significant in a passage. We then put the dots together to locate discussions in commentaries where the current lemma is important, and list the best scoring items.

We also have implemented a Journal Articles section that does similar things, only for Journals. This is based on a similar (in-development) analysis of over 3,700 journals for original language discussions. Not quite sure where the journal data is going yet, but this seemed to be an appropriate use of the data to surface Journal articles relevant to the lexicon article lemma.

The Lexham Research Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible is similarly organized. It also uses an interlinear view of example references (though only for the English), with contextual selections based on an analysis of the cantillation marks of the Hebrew Bible. Entries for verb are broken up further by verb stem. In the screen capture below, note the term reflecting the lemma of the entry is black and the other words are a lighter shade of grey, making it easier to determine the word related to the article even if the gloss line is not present.

Lexham Research Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible (English, Spanish, and Korean)

Note we have also created the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Aramaic Portions of the Hebrew Bible. The structure is the same as that of the Hebrew Bible volume.

The Bible Sense Lexicon (BSL) analysis is only of the Greek New Testament and the Hebrew Bible. We have not, as yet, analyzed the Septuagint (and we do not presently have plans to do so). But we do have a fair amount of lexical data for the Septuagint, so we also created a (slightly different) Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint. We presently have only created a lexicon for English users as we have not yet curated and localized some key Septuagint data in other languages.

Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint

For words that also occur in the Greek New Testament, the article in the Lexham Research Lexicon of the Septuagint shows much of the same data, only without the senses from the BSL. The Commentary Articles are drawn from commentaries on Old Testament books but which mention Greek in their discussions. There are no Journal Articles sections in the Septuagint volume.

We’re really excited about the Lexham Research Lexicons and their availability (for GNT, Hebrew Bible, and Aramaic) not only in English but also in Spanish, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese (Simplified) and Chinese (Traditional). The early feedback from beta testers has been encouraging. We hope you find these tools useful in your study of the Bible.

Logos 9 is here!

[Note: all screen captures taken using Verbum, the version of Logos Bible Software customized for Catholic users; features and data discussed are the same between Logos and Verbum.]

It’s true, Logos 9 is here! It’s been around two years since Logos 8 released, so it must be time for Logos 9. As with Logos 8, this release is multi-OS (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android), multi-platform (desktop, phone, tablet, web), and multilinguial (English, Spanish, German, Korean, Portuguese, Chinese (Traditional), and Chinese (Simplified), with French on the way sometime next year). Lots and lots and lots of work.

For Logos 9, the team I’m part of worked on the improved Factbook. One of my responsibilities was to create resources that would allow the Factbook to access lexical information and manuscript information. So I examined all the data presently available in these areas and came up with some new stuff that will make its debut in Logos 9 (some shown below).

Lexicons and Manuscripts and Images, oh my!

Later this morning I’ll post about the four new Lexham Research Lexicons. After that I’ll post again about the three resources that make up the Manuscripts of the Bible series. So stay tuned!

Supplementary Easter Reading: The Acts of Pilate

GreekReadersIf you’ve celebrated Easter as a Christian, you’re familiar with the story as it is presented in the canonical gospels.

But you also probably have questions. What was the trial really like? Who were the other two dudes crucified next to Jesus? What was with Joseph of Arimathea and why did he want Jesus’ body? What was Hades like? How did the “harrowing of hell” happen? Was the repentant criminal on the cross actually saved?

Early Christians had these questions too. So they wrote about them. This is not canonical, this is not authoritative, but if you want to see some of the ways the early church filled these gaps, then you want to read the Acts of Pilate and the Descent of Christ to Hades.

Fortunately, I created a Greek reader for the Greek text of these writings a few years back. I also included a modernized version of an older translation.

If you’re not familiar with these stories, then take some time this Easter to read them. For those who don’t read Greek, I’m posting translations here today.

I recommend reading the first portion of the Acts of Pilate on Good Friday as it is focused on the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.

I recommend reading the second portion of the Acts of Pilate, known also as the Descent of Christ to Hades, on Saturday as it focuses on what happens between the death and resurrection of Jesus and also the post-resurrection period.

 

P.Berol. 11633: Epiphany and Theophany

This is one of a short series of posts about Epiphany themes in early Christian papyri.

This one is long, so we’re just going to jump right in.


P.Berol. 11633

Description

P. 11633: Theophanie-Hymne

Hymne über die Taufe Christi im Jordan durch Johannes, die innerhalb des liturgischen Jahres zum Theophaneia-Fest (Epiphanias) am 6. Januar gehört. 5. – 6. Jh. n.Chr.

P.Berol. 11633 (TM 64689), dated to ad 400–599, is called a “Theophany Hymn” by the editor of its editio princeps.[1] The papyrus focuses on events traditionally associated with the epiphany of Jesus.[2] It is a single sheet, 12cm wide and over 32cm long, with writing only on the recto. Nomina sacra and other abbreviations are used in the papyrus. Three primary sections are marked in the text by use of ekthesis at the start of a section. In some cases colons and tildes (lines 28 and 44) are used to fill remaining line space at the end of a section. Slashes (“/”) are used throughout to mark units.

Contents

Epiphany is a feast of the church (January 6) that was originally associated with the baptism of Jesus. While the feast originated in the eastern church and also included themes of the nativity, the western church began celebrating it in association with the miracle at the wedding in Cana.[3] The word “epiphany” has ties to the Greek word that means “to reveal,” so epiphany is about the revelation of Christ to the world. This revealing could be understood as his nativity, or as his baptism by John marking the beginning of his ministry, or as the miracle at the wedding in Cana indicating his first recorded miracle.

This liturgical papyrus mentions all these events as well as others from the life of Jesus as recorded in the gospels. At least one line from the first part is missing, but the available text begins with rejoicing “in the holy pool,” a reference to a baptismal font.[4] References to the glory and power of the Lord function as allusions to Luke 1:35 and 2:9 to end the first part.

The second part begins by echoing the Psalms (100:1 [lxx 99:1]; 66:1 [lxx 65:1]; 98:4 [lxx 97:4]) with a call to the whole earth to shout aloud to the Lord. This call to worship is followed by a call to rejoice (perhaps echoing Ps 96:4b [lxx 97:4b]) and a call to “meet the bridegroom” in Bethlehem (referencing Jesus’ birth) who also performed the miracle at Cana changing water into wine (Jn 2:1–11), who also healed the blind man at Siloam (Jn 9:1–12), who cleansed the leper by simply speaking (possibly Mt 8:1–4 || Mk 1:40–45; Lk 5:12–16), and who used five loaves to feed five thousand (Mt 14:13–31 || Mk 6:32–34; Lk 9:10–17; Jn 6:1–15). The balance of the second part sets the scene of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan. Jesus’ title of “the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (Jn 1:29) is echoed, John the Baptist is referred to as “the forerunner,” and the response of God the Father to Jesus’ baptism, “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Mt 3:17) ends the section.

Part three returns to the baptism of Jesus, providing what amounts to an intimate overhearing of what seems framed as a whispered conversation between Jesus and John immediately before the baptism. After the baptism, the mountains and hills rejoice, and the words of the Father are extended with an additional command: “This is my beloved son, in whom I am well-pleased. Fear him.”

Translation[5]

Part I

(1) And he rejoiced upon the (2) holy pool
For in the midst of the (3) earth and heaven (4) confessing the Christ
and (5) treating the enemies arrogantly …
For the glory (6) of the Lord encircled him
(7) and his power will overshadow you.

Part II

(8) Shout aloud to the Lord all the earth
(9) because he appeared upon the earth, who was God before the (10) ages, the Word.
(11) Come, let us rejoice exceedingly and let (12) us celebrate!
Come, let us (13) meet the bridegroom, the one in (14) Bethlehem,
the one who with the Father (15) and the Holy Spirit
who was invited (16) to the wedding as a man and the (17) water was changed into wine;
who (18) gave sight to the blind one in Siloam;
(19) who cleansed the leper by his word.
(20) From five loaves (21) into five thousands were satisfied
(22) He went into the water of the Jordan,
(23) the lamb of God who takes away the (24) sin of the world,
to be baptized (25) by the forerunner.
(26) And the voice from the Father saying,
(27) “This one is my beloved (28) Son in whom I am well pleased.”~

Part III

(29) We were filled with great joy (30) upon seeing the Jordan
(31) when the one born upon earth as a man (32–34) appeared in it
and the forerunner himself listened to your voice saying,
“Let us (35) complete the plans of the Father.”
(36) “Like the Lord wanted,” (37) said John
You, Christ, came down (38) into the water,
The mountains leaped (39) like rams
and the hills like a lamb (40) of the sheep.
As you arose (41) from the Jordan
a voice has (42) come from the sky to you
(43) “This one is my beloved (44) Son in whom I am well pleased.
(45) Fear him.”~

Discussion

Visual indicators (ekthesis and sometimes extended tildes) mark the start or end of three sections on this 32-centimeter-long papyrus. The first part (lines 1–7) is missing at least a portion from its beginning, but the available material alludes to passages in the Psalms and in Luke.

The first available line mentions “rejoicing” using the same terminology found in Luke 1:47 and Ps. 35:9 [lxx 34:9] that speaks of rejoicing in the Lord. Here, however, the focus is on rejoicing for the baptismal font (“holy pool”) due to the epiphany emphasis on the baptism of Christ. The next lines (2–4) testify that Christ is being confessed from the midst of earth and heaven; this is followed by further allusion to Lucan nativity passages (lines 5–6 to Luke 2:9; line 7 to Luke 1:35).

The second part (lines 8–28) begins with phrasing common to the Psalms: “Shout aloud to the Lord all the earth!” (cf. Ps 100:1 [lxx 99:1]; 66:1 [lxx 65:1]; 98:4 [lxx 97:4]), providing the reason for shouting (perhaps in praise): “because he (Jesus) appeared upon the earth.” The next line provides information to reconcile the “he” with Jesus. It describes him as the one “who was God before the ages” and then further appositionally associates him with the term used to represent Jesus in John 1:1, the word. Again, there is rejoicing and celebration at this arrival. The nativity is directly referenced with mention of “Bethlehem” (13–14), even though the one in Bethlehem is equated with “the bridegroom.”

The frame of reference moves from the nativity (the earthly arrival and manifestation of the Messiah) to the wedding in Cana (the first recorded miracle of Christ in the gospels, a public manifestation of the Messiah). The entire Trinity is posited to be where “the water was changed into wine” (14–17). From here more miracles from the early ministry of Jesus are mentioned. Regarding Epiphany and early miracles of Jesus, Martinez notes:

Miracle narratives, especially those that Jesus performed early in his career, are always appropriate in an epiphanal context, since they, like his birth and baptism, manifest his true nature. We should however note, that the roster of miracles in this section is not randomly selected. In fact, three that are here listed have distinct ties to the celebration of Epiphany in various traditions.[6]

The miracles referenced include the healing of the blind man at Siloam (17–19, John 9), the healing of a leper (19–20, Mt 8:1–4 || Mk 1:40–45; Lk 5:12–16), and the feeding of the 5,000 (20–21, Mt 14:13–31 || Mk 6:32–34; Lk 9:10–17; Jn 6:1–15). Each of these miracles, as Martinez notes, has been tied to Epiphany in one way or another, and each of them contribute to the increasing expectation of the mention of the baptism of Jesus, the other central event tied to Epiphany. It has been foreshadowed with “bridegroom” language (13) and was explicitly alluded to by listing the changing of water into wine as the first miracle (15–16) in the miracle list.

The transition into the account of Jesus’ baptism is introduced by simply placing Jesus in the water of the Jordan river (22–23), directly referencing to the account of Jesus’ baptism (Mk 1:9–11 || Mt 3:13–17; Lk 3:21–22) and then borrowing phrasing from Jn 1:29, “The lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (lines 23–24). The effect is to identify the “lamb of God” as the subject who went into the water, skilfully placing Jesus as identified in John’s gospel – which does not directly mention John baptizing Jesus (Jn 1:19–34) – as the subject of synoptic gospels’ account of Jesus’ baptism.

The purpose of Jesus’ entering the Jordan river was “to be baptized by the forerunner” (lines 24–25). The “forerunner,” also mentioned in line 34, is a reference to John the Baptist. This language styles John as one who goes before Jesus, calling out attention to him to announce his arrival (cf. Is 40:3–11; Mal 3:1).[7] Jesus here is referred to as “the one born upon earth as a man” (30–31), testifying to the human nature of Jesus and implying at the same time that he is more than human.

After this is perhaps the most normal, human portion of the entire liturgy. Before the baptism of Jesus happens, John and Jesus have a brief conversation. The words “Let us complete the plans of the Father” are put in the mouth of Jesus, with an immediate response from John of “Like the Lord wanted” (34–37). The moment reads almost as a whispered conversation between the two primary participants immediately prior to the actual act of baptism. In the context of the liturgy, the conversation also confirms that John the Baptist and Jesus knew exactly what they were doing and knew the impact of the baptism. Unlike the canonical accounts of Jesus’ baptism which record John’s protestations about not being worthy (Mt 3:14–15), this account paints John as in tune with the will of God and willing to perform the baptism without hesitation.

This account of Jesus’ baptism is framed in a liturgy as a group recollection of the baptism event. The response of the group to the baptism is testimony of the earth and the animals upon it rejoicing as Jesus descends into the water. The rejoicing is affirmed as Jesus rises out of the water again with a repetition and expansion of lines 27–28 as audible testimony from the Father: “This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Fear him” (cf. Mk 1:11 || Mt 3:17; Lk 3:22).

Bibliography

Cross, F. L., and E. A. Livingstone, eds. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 3rd Revised. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Friedman, David Noel, ed. The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary. 6 vols. New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1992.

Martinez, David G. “Epiphany Themes in Christian Liturgies on Papyrus.” Pages 187–215 in Light from the East. Papyrologische Kommentare Zum Neuen Testament. Edited by Peter Artz-Grabner and Christina Kreinecker. Vol. 39 of Philippika. Harrassowitz Verlag, 2010.

Treu, Kurt. “Neue Berliner Liturgische Papyri.” AfP 21 (1971): 57–82.


[1] Kurt Treu, “Neue Berliner Liturgische Papyri,” AfP 21 (1971): 62–67.

[2] David G. Martinez, “Epiphany Themes in Christian Liturgies on Papyrus,” in Light from the East. Papyrologische Kommentare Zum Neuen Testament, ed. Peter Artz-Grabner and Christina Kreinecker, vol. 39 of Philippika (Harrassowitz Verlag, 2010), 198–199.

[3] F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 3rd Revised. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 557.

[4] Martinez, “Epiphany Themes in Christian Liturgies on Papyrus,” 198.

[5] Treu, “Neue Berliner Liturgische Papyri,” 64–65.

[6] Martinez, “Epiphany Themes in Christian Liturgies on Papyrus,” 198–99.

[7] David Noel Friedman, ed., The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, 6 vols. (New York: Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1992), 2:830.