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Re: [ematthew] the mission to the gentiles - POREUQENTES

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  • Munachi E. Ezeogu
    INTRODUCTION Larry wrote: Ernest, I will say that you give one plenty to think about in your posts. My response: Thanks, Larry. This is about all one can hope
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 5, 2002
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      INTRODUCTION

      Larry wrote:
      Ernest, I will say that you give one plenty to think about in your posts.

      My response:
      Thanks, Larry. This is about all one can hope to achieve given the fragmentary
      nature of e-list discussion postings. I do not think that a list like this is
      meant to give in-depth expositions or definitive answers. The list would have
      achieved its purpose if it can fire our imagination, give us something to think
      about, and set us looking for that library book or article to update our
      thinking on an issue.

      Larry wrote:
      Ernest, I'd still really like to see your ideas on Matt 28:19ff fleshed out, and
      we can do it either as an "article" in prep, or via email messages. But you
      have an intriguing idea.

      My response:
      Larry, it might interest you to know that I am doing my doctoral dissertation on
      Matt 28:16-20. My thesis director is as intrigued as anyone else. My initial aim
      in studying Matt 28:16-20 was to examine the Great Commission text alongside
      other missiological texts in the gospels and show that Matt 28:16-20 is a very
      problematic text when read as programmatic for world mission. As I began working
      with the text, I was intrigued (and disappointed) to see that a critical reading
      of the pericope within the content of Matthew's gospel alone does not sustain
      the traditional understanding of the Great Commission as a mission mandate. I
      observed that even though a lot of scholarly work has been done on the passage,
      many of them simply presupposed the conclusion of scholarship from a period when
      the four canonical gospels were presumed to be harmonious with one another. Thus
      the concept of discipleship from Luke was imported into the reading of Matthew
      and the commissioning passage in Mt (28:16-20) was understood as a variant of
      that in the addition to Mark (16:14-20) where world mission is explicitly
      commanded . The result is that POREUQENTES came to be understood as a command to
      "go," MAQHTEUSATE came to be understood as making converts, and EQNH came to be
      understood in the territorial sense.

      Larry is quite on target when he demands that I elaborate on POREUQENTES and
      EQNH , as we struggle to deepen our understanding of MAQHTEUSATE .


      POREUQENTES

      Larry wrote:
      I would like to see a defence of your position here on "poreuthentes". Yes, it
      is a participle, but how is that participle used? Attendant circumstance in
      which it is best translated as a parallel to the main verb (the typical
      understanding). Circumstantial, explaining the circumstances of the verb--such
      as temporal (as you go, while you go, etc)? I might accept this, but would like
      to see an argument for it.

      My response:

      The use of POREUQENTES in Matt 28:19 raises two semantic-syntactical questions.
      Should POREUQENTES be translated by the English imperative "go?" If it is
      translated by "go," should that be understood as having the force of a command
      in its own right or simply as an auxiliary reinforcing the main verb in the
      imperative?

      POREUQENTES is the aorist passive participle, nominative masculine 2nd person
      plural form of POREUOMAI which is used in Matthew's Gospel with the literal
      meaning of to go, to travel, to journey. When the point of origin is indicated
      it signifies to depart from (Matt 25.41), and when the destination is indicated,
      it signifies to proceed toward (Matt 2:20).

      With regard to the use of this verb in Matt 28:19, our concern is to determine
      the connotation of POREUOMAI in the aorist passive participle when it is
      followed by a verb in the aorist imperative. Matthew uses the verb six times in
      this way [Matt 2:8; 9:13; 11:4; 17:27; 28:7, 19]. Scholars identify this usage
      as a Hebraism but are divided as to its precise linguistic significance. On one
      hand, there are those who believe that the aorist participle so used has the
      force of an imperative. They are supported by Friberg's Analytical Lexicon which
      states: "Hebraistically, the participle followed by an imperative has a similar
      imperatival sense." On the other hand, there are those who believe that it has
      only the force of an auxiliary verb. These are supported by Arndt-Gingrich's
      Lexicon which argues that the aorist participle of POREUOMAI is often "used
      pleonastically to enliven the narrative; . in any case the idea of going or
      traveling is not emphasized." Curiously, both lexicons cite the same text, Matt
      9:13, to substantiate their claims.

      We shall now look at the six passages in which Matthew has used the aorist
      participle of POREUOMAI in conjuction with another verb in the aorist imperative
      to determine whether their usage is imperatival or auxiliary.

      2:8 Going/Go, search diligently for the child.
      9:13 And going/go, learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'
      11:4 Going/Go, tell John what you hear and see.
      17:27 Going/Go, to the sea, cast a hook.
      28:7 And going/go quickly, tell his disciples,
      28:19 Going/Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations,

      In each and every one of these cases it is easy to see that (1) the command
      given in the imperative is not a command that the speaker expects to be
      fulfilled there and then. The person(s) commanded needs to go away from the
      scene of the command to another location where the command can possibly or
      reasonably be fulfilled. Thus the common connotation of POREUOMAI in all of the
      above examples is for the addressee to leave/depart the present location to
      another location where the command can reasonably be fulfilled. (2) There is a
      presumption on the part of the person issuing the command that the addressee
      knows or can infer the locus for the fulfilment of the command. Thus in 2:8 it
      is wherever the child is, in 9:13 it is the rabbinical school, in 11:14 it is
      the prison where John is locked up, in 17:27 it is the sea of Galilee, in 28:7
      it is the house where the disciples are in Jerusalem, and in 28:19 it is where
      people of all nations are to be found. In this regard the fact that the
      participle in 17:27 has an explicit object whereas others do not, does not seem
      to make much of a difference. Even if the object were missing, "Going/Go, cast a
      hook" would still be understood as implying "to the sea." (3) Even when it is
      clear that the participle implies the act of "going," it is equally clear that
      the act of going itself does not satisfy the required command but only fulfils
      the condition for the satisfaction of the command. Thus the core of the command
      is the verb in the imperative and not POREUOMAI in the participle. In fact, one
      can say, at least hypothetically, that is possible to fulfil some of the
      commands without actually having to go somewhere. [A good example is Matt 9:13
      ("And going/go, learn what this means, 'I want mercy, not sacrifice'") that has
      been treated as a test case for the use of POREUQENTES in 28:19. Is it possible,
      theoretically speaking, to fulfil this command without having to "go" somewhere?
      In other words, would the command be considered to have been met if the persons
      commanded simply learnt what they were required to learn without leaving the
      scene and going somewhere else, or would one insist that the command had not
      been met because they had not "gone?" Seen in this light, it becomes clear that
      the essence of the command is to "learn" not to "go," and that one could fulfill
      the command without having to "go." Practically speaking, however, going to the
      place where learning normally takes place could be a necessity. To that extent,
      "go" which indeed is ancillary to the command, could be seen as a necessary
      condition for the fulfilment of the command.]

      Most scholars are of the view that in Matthew the aorist participle followed by
      the imperative functions in some contexts as an imperative and in other contexts
      as a mere auxiliary. Yet few have analyzed the textual data and arrived at
      consistent criteria for distinguishing between the imperatival and the auxiliary
      participles. Among the few who have done this and come up with concrete results
      is Bruce J. Malina. ["The Literary Structure and Form of Matt. XXVIII. 16-20"
      New Testament Studies 17 (1970-71) 87-103]

      Malina starts out with the observation that the aorist participle preceding an
      aorist in the main verb is typically Matthean. Sometimes it is used as an
      auxiliary which "simply serves to reinforce the action of the main verb" and at
      other times as a "participial imperative." Malina then goes on to determine
      grammatical criteria for distinguishing between the two. For a usage to be
      imperatival, it must meet three "grammatical requirements" regarding the object
      of the command. What it commands must be something (a) requisite or customary,
      not ad hoc, (b) qualified, i.e., not an absolute law, and (c) impersonal, as
      used in codes. With these criteria Malina is able to show that the usage in Matt
      28:19a is auxiliary, as opposed to the usages in v. 19b which are imperatival.
      He buttresses this conclusion by pointing out that, unlike the participles in
      28:19b, POREUQENTES "lacks the noun/pronoun object that the rest of the verbs
      have and therefore does not share in the total action that the command
      enjoins." [Malina, "Literary Structure," 91.]

      So, how are we to understand and translate POREUQENTES in Matt 28:19? Every
      scholar today, including scholars who believe that POREUQENTES is a participial
      imperative, recognizes the fact that POREUQENTES could or should be translated
      in other ways than the traditional "Go" which comes across in English as a
      command in its own right. LaGrand, for example, observes that over and above the
      traditional translation "Go," POREUQENTES OUN could be translated as "Going
      therefore ." or even, "As you go ." Hubbard, similarly, observes that the
      emphasis is not on the participle POREUQENTES (lit. "going"), but on the
      imperative, MAQHTEUSATE ("make disciples") and compares the usage here to that
      in Matt 10:7 ("and preach as you go"). And Malina thinks that it might be better
      to leave POREUQENTES untranslated altogether, "since the idea of sending, being
      sent, mission (in the sense of being sent) and the like is not linguistically
      essential but peripheral and unemphasized." [Malina, "Literary Structure," 90]

      There is, therefore, no doubt that a literal translation of POREUQENTES would,
      as much as possible, maintain its aorist participial flavour. Consequently, we
      think that "Having gone (back) is a better literal translation that the
      traditional "Go" which gives the false impression of a direct and unqualified
      command. "Having gone (back)" could signify, with respect to the point of
      departure, "When you go back from the mountain," or with respect to the point of
      arrival, "When you return to your place of ministry." POREUOMAI here signifies
      that the command to make disciples was not expected to be fulfilled there and
      then on the mountain top.
    • Larry J. Swain
      Ernest, My apologies about the delay in answering your post. Thank you for laying out your views and the work of your thesis. If you don t mind I would like
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 9, 2002
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        Ernest,

        My apologies about the delay in answering your post. Thank you for
        laying out your views and the work of your thesis. If you don't mind
        I would like to ask some questions over the next several days about
        various parts of your analysis, and invite anyone else to do so.

        Larry Swain



        -- In ematthew@y..., "Munachi E. Ezeogu" <eezeogu@m...> wrote:
        > INTRODUCTION
        >
        > Larry wrote:
        > Ernest, I will say that you give one plenty to think about in your
        posts.
        >
        > My response:
        > Thanks, Larry. This is about all one can hope to achieve given the
        fragmentary
        > nature of e-list discussion postings. I do not think that a list
        like this is
        > meant to give in-depth expositions or definitive answers. The list
        would have
        > achieved its purpose if it can fire our imagination, give us
        something to think
        > about, and set us looking for that library book or article to update
        our
        > thinking on an issue.
        >
        > Larry wrote:
        > Ernest, I'd still really like to see your ideas on Matt 28:19ff
        fleshed out, and
        > we can do it either as an "article" in prep, or via email messages.
        But you
        > have an intriguing idea.
        >
        > My response:
        > Larry, it might interest you to know that I am doing my doctoral
        dissertation on
        > Matt 28:16-20. My thesis director is as intrigued as anyone else. My
        initial aim
        > in studying Matt 28:16-20 was to examine the Great Commission text
        alongside
        > other missiological texts in the gospels and show that Matt 28:16-20
        is a very
        > problematic text when read as programmatic for world mission. As I
        began working
        > with the text, I was intrigued (and disappointed) to see that a
        critical reading
        > of the pericope within the content of Matthew's gospel alone does
        not sustain
        > the traditional understanding of the Great Commission as a mission
        mandate. I
        > observed that even though a lot of scholarly work has been done on
        the passage,
        > many of them simply presupposed the conclusion of scholarship from a
        period when
        > the four canonical gospels were presumed to be harmonious with one
        another. Thus
        > the concept of discipleship from Luke was imported into the reading
        of Matthew
        > and the commissioning passage in Mt (28:16-20) was understood as a
        variant of
        > that in the addition to Mark (16:14-20) where world mission is
        explicitly
        > commanded . The result is that POREUQENTES came to be understood as
        a command to
        > "go," MAQHTEUSATE came to be understood as making converts, and EQNH
        came to be
        > understood in the territorial sense.
        >
        > Larry is quite on target when he demands that I elaborate on
        POREUQENTES and
        > EQNH , as we struggle to deepen our understanding of MAQHTEUSATE .
        >
        >
        > POREUQENTES
        >
        > Larry wrote:
        > I would like to see a defence of your position here on
        "poreuthentes". Yes, it
        > is a participle, but how is that participle used? Attendant
        circumstance in
        > which it is best translated as a parallel to the main verb (the
        typical
        > understanding). Circumstantial, explaining the circumstances of the
        verb--such
        > as temporal (as you go, while you go, etc)? I might accept this,
        but would like
        > to see an argument for it.
        >
        > My response:
        >
        > The use of POREUQENTES in Matt 28:19 raises two
        semantic-syntactical questions.
        > Should POREUQENTES be translated by the English imperative "go?" If
        it is
        > translated by "go," should that be understood as having the force of
        a command
        > in its own right or simply as an auxiliary reinforcing the main
        verb in the
        > imperative?
        >
        > POREUQENTES is the aorist passive participle, nominative masculine
        2nd person
        > plural form of POREUOMAI which is used in Matthew's Gospel with the
        literal
        > meaning of to go, to travel, to journey. When the point of origin is
        indicated
        > it signifies to depart from (Matt 25.41), and when the destination
        is indicated,
        > it signifies to proceed toward (Matt 2:20).
        >
        > With regard to the use of this verb in Matt 28:19, our concern is to
        determine
        > the connotation of POREUOMAI in the aorist passive participle when
        it is
        > followed by a verb in the aorist imperative. Matthew uses the verb
        six times in
        > this way [Matt 2:8; 9:13; 11:4; 17:27; 28:7, 19]. Scholars identify
        this usage
        > as a Hebraism but are divided as to its precise linguistic
        significance. On one
        > hand, there are those who believe that the aorist participle so used
        has the
        > force of an imperative. They are supported by Friberg's Analytical
        Lexicon which
        > states: "Hebraistically, the participle followed by an imperative
        has a similar
        > imperatival sense." On the other hand, there are those who believe
        that it has
        > only the force of an auxiliary verb. These are supported by
        Arndt-Gingrich's
        > Lexicon which argues that the aorist participle of POREUOMAI is
        often "used
        > pleonastically to enliven the narrative; . in any case the idea of
        going or
        > traveling is not emphasized." Curiously, both lexicons cite the same
        text, Matt
        > 9:13, to substantiate their claims.
        >
        > We shall now look at the six passages in which Matthew has used the
        aorist
        > participle of POREUOMAI in conjuction with another verb in the
        aorist imperative
        > to determine whether their usage is imperatival or auxiliary.
        >
        > 2:8 Going/Go, search diligently for the child.
        > 9:13 And going/go, learn what this means, 'I desire mercy, not
        sacrifice.'
        > 11:4 Going/Go, tell John what you hear and see.
        > 17:27 Going/Go, to the sea, cast a hook.
        > 28:7 And going/go quickly, tell his disciples,
        > 28:19 Going/Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations,
        >
        > In each and every one of these cases it is easy to see that (1) the
        command
        > given in the imperative is not a command that the speaker expects to
        be
        > fulfilled there and then. The person(s) commanded needs to go away
        from the
        > scene of the command to another location where the command can
        possibly or
        > reasonably be fulfilled. Thus the common connotation of POREUOMAI in
        all of the
        > above examples is for the addressee to leave/depart the present
        location to
        > another location where the command can reasonably be fulfilled. (2)
        There is a
        > presumption on the part of the person issuing the command that the
        addressee
        > knows or can infer the locus for the fulfilment of the command. Thus
        in 2:8 it
        > is wherever the child is, in 9:13 it is the rabbinical school, in
        11:14 it is
        > the prison where John is locked up, in 17:27 it is the sea of
        Galilee, in 28:7
        > it is the house where the disciples are in Jerusalem, and in 28:19
        it is where
        > people of all nations are to be found. In this regard the fact that
        the
        > participle in 17:27 has an explicit object whereas others do not,
        does not seem
        > to make much of a difference. Even if the object were missing,
        "Going/Go, cast a
        > hook" would still be understood as implying "to the sea." (3) Even
        when it is
        > clear that the participle implies the act of "going," it is equally
        clear that
        > the act of going itself does not satisfy the required command but
        only fulfils
        > the condition for the satisfaction of the command. Thus the core of
        the command
        > is the verb in the imperative and not POREUOMAI in the participle.
        In fact, one
        > can say, at least hypothetically, that is possible to fulfil some of
        the
        > commands without actually having to go somewhere. [A good example is
        Matt 9:13
        > ("And going/go, learn what this means, 'I want mercy, not
        sacrifice'") that has
        > been treated as a test case for the use of POREUQENTES in 28:19. Is
        it possible,
        > theoretically speaking, to fulfil this command without having to
        "go" somewhere?
        > In other words, would the command be considered to have been met if
        the persons
        > commanded simply learnt what they were required to learn without
        leaving the
        > scene and going somewhere else, or would one insist that the command
        had not
        > been met because they had not "gone?" Seen in this light, it becomes
        clear that
        > the essence of the command is to "learn" not to "go," and that one
        could fulfill
        > the command without having to "go." Practically speaking, however,
        going to the
        > place where learning normally takes place could be a necessity. To
        that extent,
        > "go" which indeed is ancillary to the command, could be seen as a
        necessary
        > condition for the fulfilment of the command.]
        >
        > Most scholars are of the view that in Matthew the aorist participle
        followed by
        > the imperative functions in some contexts as an imperative and in
        other contexts
        > as a mere auxiliary. Yet few have analyzed the textual data and
        arrived at
        > consistent criteria for distinguishing between the imperatival and
        the auxiliary
        > participles. Among the few who have done this and come up with
        concrete results
        > is Bruce J. Malina. ["The Literary Structure and Form of Matt.
        XXVIII. 16-20"
        > New Testament Studies 17 (1970-71) 87-103]
        >
        > Malina starts out with the observation that the aorist participle
        preceding an
        > aorist in the main verb is typically Matthean. Sometimes it is used
        as an
        > auxiliary which "simply serves to reinforce the action of the main
        verb" and at
        > other times as a "participial imperative." Malina then goes on to
        determine
        > grammatical criteria for distinguishing between the two. For a usage
        to be
        > imperatival, it must meet three "grammatical requirements" regarding
        the object
        > of the command. What it commands must be something (a) requisite or
        customary,
        > not ad hoc, (b) qualified, i.e., not an absolute law, and (c)
        impersonal, as
        > used in codes. With these criteria Malina is able to show that the
        usage in Matt
        > 28:19a is auxiliary, as opposed to the usages in v. 19b which are
        imperatival.
        > He buttresses this conclusion by pointing out that, unlike the
        participles in
        > 28:19b, POREUQENTES "lacks the noun/pronoun object that the rest of
        the verbs
        > have and therefore does not share in the total action that the
        command
        > enjoins." [Malina, "Literary Structure," 91.]
        >
        > So, how are we to understand and translate POREUQENTES in Matt
        28:19? Every
        > scholar today, including scholars who believe that POREUQENTES is a
        participial
        > imperative, recognizes the fact that POREUQENTES could or should be
        translated
        > in other ways than the traditional "Go" which comes across in
        English as a
        > command in its own right. LaGrand, for example, observes that over
        and above the
        > traditional translation "Go," POREUQENTES OUN could be translated as
        "Going
        > therefore ." or even, "As you go ." Hubbard, similarly, observes
        that the
        > emphasis is not on the participle POREUQENTES (lit. "going"), but on
        the
        > imperative, MAQHTEUSATE ("make disciples") and compares the usage
        here to that
        > in Matt 10:7 ("and preach as you go"). And Malina thinks that it
        might be better
        > to leave POREUQENTES untranslated altogether, "since the idea of
        sending, being
        > sent, mission (in the sense of being sent) and the like is not
        linguistically
        > essential but peripheral and unemphasized." [Malina, "Literary
        Structure," 90]
        >
        > There is, therefore, no doubt that a literal translation of
        POREUQENTES would,
        > as much as possible, maintain its aorist participial flavour.
        Consequently, we
        > think that "Having gone (back) is a better literal translation that
        the
        > traditional "Go" which gives the false impression of a direct and
        unqualified
        > command. "Having gone (back)" could signify, with respect to the
        point of
        > departure, "When you go back from the mountain," or with respect to
        the point of
        > arrival, "When you return to your place of ministry." POREUOMAI here
        signifies
        > that the command to make disciples was not expected to be fulfilled
        there and
        > then on the mountain top.
      • Bob MacDonald
        Two translations (NRSV and NET) translate verse 32 as he shall separate the people rather than he shall separate them (autous referring to the nations of the
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 24, 2002
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          Two translations (NRSV and NET) translate verse 32 as "he shall separate the
          people" rather than he shall separate them (autous referring to the nations
          of the prior verse - the gentiles)

          Is there some reason why they (the translators) have gone to a vague
          collective noun that can be interpreted as singular or plural rather than
          the unambiguous plural? Is there a textual variant that calls for this?

          Thanks for the help

          Bob

          mailto::BobMacDonald@...
          + + + Victoria, B.C., Canada + + +

          Catch the foxes for us,
          the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards,
          for our vineyards are in flower. (Song 2.15)
          http://bobmacdonald.gx.ca
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