Saturday, 31 October 2015

Understanding SUNIEEMI

#greeknewtestament #sunieemi

When you read through the #parables section of #matthew you will see forms of #sunieemi used frequently. This verb demonstrated how adding a prefix (SUN) can change meanings and how "Irregular" forms change into more regular forms with sunieemi being declined as if it was sunioo.

Matthew 13:13 suniousin
Matthew 13: 14 suneete
13:15 sunoosin
13:19 sunientos
13:23 suniesis

other forms derived from this verb you might see are sunesis and sunetos

Now it should mean something like bringing together but  here its applied to the process of bringing together of perceptions and thoughts  leading to ideas and insights so translated as UNDERSTAND.

Greek often treats thought as an active process of thinking a process not merely a recall of facts and in this case understanding is not merely knowing.

Mid week more on the Cities of ionia
Next weekend more on sowing and gardening

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The Ionian Confederacy

Our next mid week sequence will focus on the Ionian Confederacy.

There were 12 cities including Miletus.

Of the many cities marked on this old map those in the Confederacy were,  from North to South:

Phocaea Smyrna Erythrae Clazomenae Teos Lebedus Colophon Ephesus Priene Miletus  and the two islands Chios and Samos>

I have chosen this old map despite the changes in coastlines since the 1880s  as it clearly shows the mountain ranges and rivers in the area. Also as many of you have probably noticed when looking into the geography of the region modern maps tend to show the Greek or Turkish names but not both or show the Turkish and only mark the archaeological sites unless they are major or give you the impression the nearest modern Turkish  village or town is a short walk away when its not!

More on this next time.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Parable or Myth and Hellenic influence on Jewish culture

and Hellenic Influence on Jewish Culture

Why does New testament Greek use the word parable rather than Myth when both mean story and can refer to fiction and prose.

Many scholars have suggested parabolee is a translation of mashal(im) but why would Matthew chose that word amongst several available?

I suggest and suspect if we had the textual evidence we would find the usage can be traced to the Alexandrian Greek speaking Jewish community which had been exposed to Greek philosophy and rhetoric.

In Greek rhetoric a parabolee is a short story inserted within a longer text or speech used to illustrate an idea or compare it to another idea.

There is also another Greek word parabolos that can be translated as side meaning and the prefix para implies parallels , juxtaposition, something nearby moving along with a similar course ...

Given Alexandria and First century AD Palestine had large populations with people with varying degrees of fluency in Greek I can see the two words fusing into one?

It is also intriguing as it suggests the possibility that rhetorical texts like Aristotles Topics and Rhetoric or Isocrates speeches were well known outside the Hellenic speaking communities in major cities?

Were there Jewish teachers of basic rhetoric training other scribes and teachers on how to explain mashalim to Greek speaking Jews or even teaching Aristotle or Isocrates to students who might need to interact with Greek speakers?

In Northern Galilee of all places?

Or does this tell us something about Matthew himself?

In a single lies hidden lost histories!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Miletus and Mud

#Miletos #Miletus #Balat #turkey #Greekcolony #Ionia

I was looking for more town plans showing agoras when I came across this map that shows the the intersection of #history and #geography.

Yes now that gray green area in the middle was once open water!

Now Miletus has been occupied since at least the Bronze Age and hence probably even earlier. Who was there before the Minoans and Mycenaeans I don't know but it was a city and port both multicultural and yet a classic Ionian Greek Polis too! However like Ephesus silting turned it from a major port to a declining backwater now in ruins near the modern Turkish village of Balat.

Odd that the Romans who could drain lakes and build canals and breakwaters for their ports never turned their engineering skills to divert the silt behind dykes.

Of the ancient note that Smyrna now Izmir is still a port but it lies in a narrower river valley in which the river flows straight with less silt buildup.

Back to Miletus home of philosophers and the Milesians.

They had a double agora and no not because the Romans expanded the agora area building a forum next to the Greek agora as happened in many cities.

While the bay marked D was the primary port the other bays and coves were probably used too by fishermen. However with the silt buildup moving the shore line closer and closer what was once a sheltered bay with great anchorage and clear views of any enemy fleets became an indefensible site. 

Poor Miletus conquered by geography!

The nearby fertile riverlands that attracted Greek colonists  ended up becoming a bane instead of a blessing!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Thrilling Future Passives

#Greek #newtestamentgreek #Classicalgreekgrammar #futurepassive #biblestudy

Matthew 13: 11-12 Thrilling Future passives

While this is the start of a new section about the parables and the parable of the sowes be warned this first  post will focus on language features.

If you're not into #biblestudy but rather looking for verb forms examples these two verses have three beauties!

Note that he's talking to the disciples after a public preaching of a parable.

13: 11

to you it has been given dedotai PERFECT PASSIVE didoomi
to know Aorist Infinitive the mysteries of the realm of the heavens,
to them but not it has been given.

13: 12

He who(ever) note that hostis is used in Greek for has / owns hold
 (the knowledge and interpretation Jesus is about to give?)
dotheesetai FUTURE PASSIVE from didoomi will be given to him
and more / and he will have abundance / abundant knowledge?
perisseutheesetai FUTURE PASSIVE

hewhoever not has and what (he) has will have taken away from him
FUTURE PASSIVE artheesetai

If you're reading this for bible study do read and reread the rest of Chapter 13 in English or Greek or both.

Any section involving a Parable requires thought.

If you're reading cos you're studying or teaching Greek I hope you enjoy and make good use of the future passives I pointed out and the usage of hostis too!

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Corinth Agora

Another major site where you can see the outlay of an ancient #agora is at #Corinth.
While like many sites it's mainly foundations that remain the overlaying that obscures sites like Athens is lesser here. 

Note the layout 

A Bouleuterion or Council Hall and other public buildings.
 Stoas Temples Theaters A open area for markets and meetings. 

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Random Sowing

The first #parable in Matthew Chapter 13 is actually kinda wierd and zen like or maybe not?

#biblestudy #greeknewtestament #parables

The language is 13:3-9 seems quite straight forward and plain. Very few unusual words or features ... some lovely examples of aorist but rereading it I came to the conclusion the main insights I can share with you come from my gardening experience not just my knowledge of Greek!

Neither in English or Greek does it specify WHAT KIND OF SEED is being sown. The sower isn't carefully making holes and planting seeds in rows or a pattern but randomly scattering them while walking alike and apparently not in a field but a long a path or road hodos so the birds eat them or onto stony ground unprepared soil or amongst weeds or thorns?


We get given one clue!

Jesus says he who having ears let him listen !

Now all sorts of explanations have been given but consider this?

Maybe soil is being tested.

When I have a lot of seed depending on the plant I put a couple of seeds in several pots to test both the soil and the seeds whether or not the seeds are fertile and whether or not my mixtures of fresh potting mix old soil seaweed soil and other mystery ingredients are working.

A lot of people hear this story and think of sowing a grain crop but what if this is a garden not a farm? The type of plant is never mentioned.

Maybe the lessons to be learnt are multiple?

And one is to take risks testing soil and seed and don't just go for easy crops?

Parables ... mystery or common sense?

Midweek we're back to agoras!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Philippi Agora to Forum

The ruins of Ancient Philippi are an excellent and compact example of how an agora can change to a forum and then a Byzatine town centre.

Fortunately for archaeologists it seems to have been abandoned some time after 1345 despite having fortifications as the population shifted to other towns in the region or possibly just around the mountain to what became modern Krinides?

There may have been a Thracian settlement nearby and the original Greek colony from the nearby island of Thasos was called the Fountains Kreenidees so perhaps the wetlands that have now been drained for agriculture were once fed by springs whose surface outlets have disappeared. The Thracians were noted for horse raising so if those wetlands dried up to grasslands in summer and autumn ...

Here's the most useful map and photo I could find on the web.

If you want more images make sure you specify Philippi in Greece!

The city acquired its name from a Macedonian ruler.

The "Acropolis" seems to have mainly been used as a watch post with a clear post over the road a major trade route later incorporated into the Roman Via Egnatia. The Roman forum was built right next to an older agora and various public buildings. There were also several Byzantine churches and chapels and the modern village of Krinides may have been the "garden suburb" outside the walls of the main polis.  Drama is an actual city on Thrace! Not shown on the map are shrines to Bendis and several tombs.

As with many Greek cities the original larger agora acquired more and more public structures over the centuries. 

Google Earth has an aerial view but I rather like this photo !

I rather suspect the original Agora covered most of the area in the middle of that shot with the "Library" Basilicas and Roman era Forum replacing older stoas or council buildings. 

Yes this is the Philippi of the New Testament! 

Remember however this one is in Thrace in modern Greece!

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Saturday, 3 October 2015

MY family is ... Matthew 12:50

#biblestudy #greeknewtestament #whatjesussaid #gospel


whoever for should / would do / make (poiew aorist subjunctive)
the will of father mine / of me  in the heavens that person (my translation of autos) of me brother and sister and mother is.

Now Jesus was gesturing towards his disciples when he said this but note it is not just being a follower of Christ that makes you part of the family of God it is doing the will of GOD. Faith and works! Unlike the Pharisees he's been rebuking!

For more about faith and works and the necessity for both please read the Letter of James!

Sorry this post is so short but local weather conditions combined with pollen or something has caused a nasty sinusitis attack and I'm fighting the urge to slump back onto pillows as I type .

Thursday, 1 October 2015

The Greek Agora One Thasos

The Greek Agora is surely the ancestor of the European plaza and town square!

Google #Agora and your usual result will be a plan of the Agora at Athens at any stage from the Archaic to the Roman era.

However I've hunted up some diagrams and maps of the agora area of other cities for your use.

Note the common characteristics :

An open near a shrine or temple or public buildings used both for markets and gatherings.

It does not always have palaces nearby nor do the main roads or streets lead straight away into it.

Large public buildings like stoas or basilicas or courtrooms are often later additions.

Even the smallest polises seem to be have had one.

Now for some images:

The Agora of THASOS

and a map of the city to show its relation to other areas

Sometime next week Corinth !

This weekend we return to the Gospel of Matthew !