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Re: [XTalk] MAQHTHS vs. akolouthein

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  • Bob Schacht
    ... Jim, The thesis that the concept of discipleship goes back to Jesus is supported by Hans Weder s article on Disciple, Discipleship in the Anchor Bible
    Message 1 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
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      At 03:55 PM 12/31/01 -0500, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
      >Jim Bacon wrote:
      >
      > > ...early Christians did *not* speak of one another as disciples.
      > > Therefore, the term had to originate with Jesus himself. Further, Meier
      > > argues that the Greek word *mathetes* occurs very rarely in the 1st
      >century
      > > at all. Josephus uses the word, but he post-dated the historical Jesus,
      >so
      > > he is of little use to us.

      Jim,
      The thesis that the concept of discipleship goes back to Jesus is supported
      by Hans Weder's article on Disciple, Discipleship in the Anchor Bible
      Dictionary.

      However, Weder makes an even better point, IMHO, by drawing attention to
      the importance of Greek *akolouthein,* "to walk behind, to follow" which,
      Weder notes, was frequently used as a specialized term in the NT for
      following Jesus. My BibleWorks glosses the term as
      "akoloutheo {ak-ol-oo-theh'-o} • from 1 (as a particle of union)
      and keleuthos (a road); TDNT - 1:210,33; v • AV - follow 91, reach 1; 92
      • 1) to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him
      2) to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple 2a) side with his
      party".

      The classic phrase, "Follow me" is couched in these terms, e.g.,
      (Mark 2:14//Matt 9:9//Luke 5:27; Mark 8:34//Matt 16:24//Luke 9:23; Mark
      10:21//Matt 19:21//Luke 18:22; Matt 8:22//Luke 9:59; John 10:27;12:26;
      13:36; 21:19)

      In contrast, the term "disciple" (MAQHTHS) in the singular form is never
      used by Jesus in direct address to a disciple; instead, all usages are
      talking *about* disciples. Furthermore, the term in the singular is not
      used at all by Mark, only 4 times each by Matthew and Luke, and 14 times by
      John. Of course the plural is much more numerous; but both singular and
      plural are completely lacking from Paul's letters. Instead, in Paul's
      letters, we get the term *mimetes* [{mim-ay-tace'} • from 3401; TDNT -
      4:659,594; n m • AV - follower 7; 7 • 1) an imitator] , e.g., 1 Cor 11:1,
      and other words with the same base.

      Interestingly, when a replacement for Judas is called for in Acts 1:21, the
      term is not disciple, but
      sunerchomai [{soon-er'-khom-ahee} • from 4862 and 2064; TDNT
      - 2:684,257; v • AV - come together 18, go with 4, come with 2, resort
      2, come 2, come with + 2258 1, company with 1, accompany 1, assemble with
      1; 32 • 1) to come together 1a) to assemble 1b) of conjugal cohabitation
      2) to go (depart) or come with one, to accompany one ]

      Acts 1:21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time
      that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us,
      22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up
      from us-- one of these must become a witness with us to his resurrection."

      Note also that what was required was not discipleship but witness.

      From this I conclude that
      1. the followers of Jesus were not initially thought of as disciples, but
      simply as companions.
      2. During Paul's era, the idea of followers as imitators began to develop;
      3. with Mark and Q the followers were collectively referred to as disciples;
      4. and then with Matthew and Mark specific individual followers began to be
      regarded as disciples (interestingly, first with Joseph of Arimethea! [Matt
      27:57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named
      Joseph, who was also a disciple of Jesus.]

      Happy New Year!
      Bob







      >All of the gospels also "post-dated the historical Jesus." So are they to be
      >dismissed as "of little use to us"?
      >
      >There is a syllogistic error in reasoning that the term MAQHTHS in the
      >gospels must have originated with Jesus simply because there is no evidence
      >that Xns used that term to refer to each other after his death. The term
      >MAQHTHS is not an absolute title but describes a particular temporal social
      >relationship (learner-teacher). It is dependent on access to the
      >instructional activity of a DIDASKALOS. People aren't generally referred to
      >as perpetual "students" after their teacher has passed away. Apart from
      >alleged resurrection appearances, HJ's role as instructor ended with his
      >crucifixion, if not before. Ergo with HJ's disappearance from the historical
      >stage Kephas & Co. graduated to a post-MAQHTHS status in the Jesus movement.
      >They became APOSTOLOI ("missionaries").
      >
      >Paul, pseudo-James & the Pastor are witnesses that there continued to be Xn
      >DIDASKALOI in the primitive church (1 Cor 12:28, 1 Tim 1:7, Jms 3:1), each
      >of whom would have had his/her own MAQHTAI (even if that word is not used in
      >these texts). But the term MAQHTAI did not properly describe the current
      >social relationship of any member of the EKKLHSIA to Jesus himself; nor was
      >its implication of subservience adequate to characterize early
      >Xns'egalitarian ideal of their relationship to each other. Xns
      >demonstrably preferred to refer to each other as ADELFOS (presumably because
      >HJ referred to his own associates as such - Mark 3:35par).
      >
      >*If* HJ taught his groupies to regard God as their personal ABBA &
      >themselves as his brothers, then it is highly unlikely that the term MAQHTHS
      >in the gospels would have originated with HJ himself. Rather, MAQHTHS was
      >the standard Attic academic term from Plato on (cf. Liddell-Scott 1072) for
      >designating those who subordinated themselves to a mentor & committed
      >themselves to passing on *his* instruction (as Plato pretends to do for
      >Socrates). Thus, as Hellenistic authors who claimed to be transmitting the
      >DIDAXH of HJ himself, it is easy to see why the evangelists regularly
      >characterized HJ's followers as MAQHTAI. For in the social world in which
      >they were writing this automatically accorded HJ the social status of a
      >protean sage & vested his words with the authority of eternal wisdom. At
      >the same time it was useful for down-playing the reputations of pillars of
      >the early church such as Peter, James & John -- just as it makes a
      >difference to my reputation whether I am presented as a "disciple of R.W.
      >Funk" (one of his many students) or "Prof. Smith" (i.e., a teaching
      >authority in my own right).
      >
      >If the *concept* of learning implied by the term MAQHTHS is retrojected to
      >the time of HJ himself, then it approximates the status of a Jewish TALMID
      >(learner) who was accustomed to addressing his mentor as RABBI. In this
      >case, then the concept is better seen as originating with HJ's followers
      >themselves rather than with the one whom *they* addressed as "Master" (MAR,
      >KYRIOS). For it could be argued (akin to Mark's thesis) that the term
      >MAQHTHS reflects the failure of HJ's most avid devotees to grasp fully the
      >anti-hierarchical implications of their mentor's own social message.
      >
      >Shalom!
      >
      >Mahlon
      >
      >
      >Mahlon H. Smith
      >Department of Religion
      >Rutgers University
      >New Brunswick NJ 08901
      >
      ><http://religion.rutgers.edu/profiles/mh_smith.html>http://religion.rutgers
      >.edu/profiles/mh_smith.html
      >
      >Synoptic Gospels Primer
      ><http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/>http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/
      >
      >Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
      ><http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/>http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/
      >
      >
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    • David C. Hindley
      ... Gospels/Acts and only 12 times in the corpus of the Apostolic Fathers, nine of which occur in the writings of Ignatius. I could find no reference in
      Message 2 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
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        Jim Bacon replied:

        >>By Meier's count, the term *mathetes* occurs 261 times in
        Gospels/Acts and only 12 times in the corpus of the
        "Apostolic Fathers," nine of which occur in the writings of
        Ignatius. I could find no reference in Meier's footnotes to
        the Letter to Diognetus. He doesn't address the
        post-Apostolic Fathers literature.<<

        Well ... I may just have to break down and secure a copy of
        a Greek concordance of the Apostolic Fathers. None of the
        translations of these works in my possession seems to have
        the word "disciple" indexed, nor are there Greek word
        indices.

        If Meier is true to form, the answer to the question of
        whether Diognetus includes one or more of those 3 occasions
        of use of the word MAQHTHS (spelled right this time) not in
        Ignatius is probably buried in one of those references in
        the notes.

        Thank you!

        Respectfully,

        Dave Hindley
        Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      • Jeffrey B. Gibson
        ... I have just uploaded a TLG D Disk search of all instances of MAQHTH (using MAQHT as my search term) from the 3rd cent. BCE through the second century CE
        Message 3 of 7 , Jan 1, 2002
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          "David C. Hindley" wrote:

          > Jim Bacon replied:
          >
          > >>By Meier's count, the term *mathetes* occurs 261 times in
          > Gospels/Acts and only 12 times in the corpus of the
          > "Apostolic Fathers," nine of which occur in the writings of
          > Ignatius. I could find no reference in Meier's footnotes to
          > the Letter to Diognetus. He doesn't address the
          > post-Apostolic Fathers literature.<<
          >
          > Well ... I may just have to break down and secure a copy of
          > a Greek concordance of the Apostolic Fathers. None of the
          > translations of these works in my possession seems to have
          > the word "disciple" indexed, nor are there Greek word
          > indices.
          >
          > If Meier is true to form, the answer to the question of
          > whether Diognetus includes one or more of those 3 occasions
          > of use of the word MAQHTHS (spelled right this time) not in
          > Ignatius is probably buried in one of those references in
          > the notes.
          >

          I have just uploaded a TLG D Disk search of all instances of MAQHTH
          (using MAQHT as my search term) from the 3rd cent. BCE through the
          second century CE (excluding the instances in Galen, Origen, and the
          Ecumenical Councils) to our files section.

          It may be accessed at

          http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/files/MAQHTH.htm

          The Greek text is in beta code. To transform it to Greek, you will need
          to have SGreek in your fonts file.

          I hope this helps, rather than hinders, the discussion.

          Yours,

          Jeffrey Gibson
          --
          Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
          1500 W. Pratt Blvd.
          Floor 1
          Chicago, Illinois 60626
          e-mail jgibson000@...
          jgibson000@...



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