Showing posts from April, 2006
"Turn the other cheek?"

The "good news" exhorts us to not resist evil:

(Mat 5:39) " not resist the evil; but whoever strikes you on the right cheek, turn the other to him also."
This passage has been interpreted by some as a literal injunction that if a person has been slapped in the face by another, he ought not to respond by hitting back. Rather, he ought to move in the other direction, presenting the other cheek (the one that has not been slapped yet) and offer to let that cheek also be slapped.

Another interpretation cites the common conception that people were using Exodus 21:24-25 (the guidelines for a magistrate to punish convicted offenders) as a justification for personal vengeance. In this context, the command to "turn the other cheek" would not be a command to allow someone to beat or rob a person, but a command not to take vengeance.

Both, interpretations above fail to comprehend the subtleties of semitic idiom. The phrases, "…
The Son of Man coming in his kingdom?

The three synoptic gospels all portray a version of the same story in which Yeshua says to a gathering of Pharisees:
Mat 16:28 "....There are some of those standing here who in no way shall taste of death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. "
What exactly could Yeshua have meant by this statement, assuming that it has been handed down to us English speakers correctly? Either Yeshua has returned in his kingdom and did so in the first century AD, or someone among those standing in that crowd has not yet died? Or, perhaps, just possibly, this is a misunderstanding of the Greek words.

The key word is the Greek word "erxomenon," which means "to come" or "to go." The easy expaination is the latter.

A better translation would be: "...There are some of those standing here who in no way shall taste of death until they see the Son of Man going in his kingdom."

Of course, this renders the statemen…
From faith to faith?
Paul, in referring to the good news, wrote in Romans 1:17:
"For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith."
or, at least this is the English language version we have been left with (KJV). But, this translation presents a delima. The phrase, "from faith to faith," is utterly meaningless in our normal way of speaking and therefore is a source of great confusion.
First of all, dump the english words "righteousness" and "faith." "Righteousness" is a "church word" and "faith" has lost its semitic meaning. In place of "righteousness" substitute the word "uprightness" or the word "rectitude." For "faith," substitute the word "faithfulness," or the word "fidelity."
The Greek versions of the phrase which has been translated "from faith to faith" say:
"ek pisteos eis …
"Hearing" is "doing"....literally!

When we are instructed to "hear" by the Bible, it is often assumed (and taught) that this means to "hear," in other words, to perceive via the auditory senses. This mistaken understanding most likely stems from the tri-lingual culture of the Paul and the early Church and points to the fact that many of Paul's early teaching was, in fact, in Aramaic.

The Greek word for "hear" is akoos.
Romans 10:17 ara e pistis ex akoos, e de akoo dia rematos theos.
then faithfulness comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of God.
But, the Aramaic says:
mkyl hymnwta mn mshme adna hy wmshme adna mn mlta dalha
therefore, faithfulness is from obedience of the ear, and obedience of the ear from the word of God.The term "obedience of the ear" is idiomatic for "obeying the word." Psalm 18:44 clearly equates the two terms:
(Psa 18:44) l'Shama, `ozeN yiSham',u
"at the o…