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Re: Greek idiom

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  • Thomas R. W. Longstaff
    ... Someone may correct me if I am mistaken, but I understood that the term triclinium (which does come from the root to lean ) referred to a couch, or
    Message 1 of 8 , Dec 4, 1998
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      At 12:33 PM 12/4/98 -0500, Dennis C. Sullivan wrote:
      >
      >>The author I read stated, "leaning against someone's breast" was a Greek
      >>idiom used(commonly?) to describe sitting next to someone. I wondered if
      >>such usage had been found in other work for it is hard to accept in our
      >>current culture a man leaning on another man.
      >>
      >>David Hall
      >>http://www.erols.com/quentino
      >>quentino@...

      >As far as we know, the custom in the First Century was not to "sit" at a
      >table, but to recline at a low U-shaped table called a triclinium. The
      >servers would move about in the center of the triclinium, and the diners
      >were positioned around the outside of the U shape. The participants in the
      >meal would lean on the left elbow facing the table, and eat with the right
      >hand. If...The Beloved Disciple were next to Jesus and leaned over (or,
      >back) to ask him a question, he might have been "leaning on Jesus' breast".
      >There could be, as has been suggested, some theological import in the
      >statement as well. EN TW KOLPW may be an example of a Hebrew idiom
      >transliterated into Greek.

      Someone may correct me if I am mistaken, but I understood that the term
      "triclinium" (which does come from the root "to lean") referred to a couch,
      or couches, usually placed in a U-shaped configuration around a low table.
      The term "triclinium," I believe, refers to the couches and not to the table.
      The term is also used to refer to the dining room in which the triclinium
      (couches) were located. An absolutely magnificent triclinium (dining room),
      with a mosaic incorporating motifs from the Dionysian myth, was unearthed by
      the Hebrew University/Duke University excavations at Sepphoris (only about
      6 km from Nazareth).

      >We've been influenced by Leonardo's beautiful last supper painting which is
      >unfortunately inaccurate in many details. Assuming that this was a Passover
      >meal (so say the synoptics), this service always took place after sundown,
      >so there would not have been a pretty blue sky visible through the window.
      >The big, puffy leavened bread shown on the table contrasts with the flat,
      >unleavened matza that has always been traditional (even commanded in Exodus)
      >for Passover. And we don't have any textual witness for Jesus saying
      >anything like "Everybody who wants to be in the picture come around to this
      >side of the table". (Sorry about that!)

      We've also been influenced by a host of other cultural factors. As an
      archaeologist who has worked in the Galilee for more than 25 years, I find
      myself wondering whether a triclinium would be found in most homes. The
      ones I've seen have been in very elaborate villas; I see no trace of any
      such use of space in the more modest homes, either in urban or rural contexts.
      When talking about a triclinium are we talking about the dining patterns of
      a very elite segment of society? Do we envision Jesus and the disciples
      gathering in the banqet hall of some elegant mansion?

      And what has all of this to do with the synoptic problem, I ask myself.
      I think that this thread should end here.

      trwl

      And the child said, "Look! The emperor isn't wearing any clothes."

      Dr. Thomas R. W. Longstaff
      Crawford Family Professor of Religious Studies
      Colby College
      Waterville, ME 04901
      Email: t_longst@...
      Office phone: 207 872-3150
      FAX: 207 872-3802
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 98-12-04 10:22:13 EST, K.Hanhart@net.HCC.nl writes:
      Message 2 of 8 , Dec 4, 1998
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        In a message dated 98-12-04 10:22:13 EST, K.Hanhart@... writes:

        << Dear David,
        I haven't found such usage. I believe that not common usage but the
        author's theology is at stake in this arresting phrase.
        The Greek expression "en tooi kolpooi tou Jesou" is sometimes (rightly I
        think) interpreted in light of 1,18 "eis ton kolpon tou patros" -"who is
        close to the Father's heart". The latter expression obviously expresses
        the notion of predestination. >>

        I'm not sure what you mean by "predestination", but the term is loaded in
        theological discourse, and doesn't seem fully appropriate here. The cited
        phrase from Jn 1:18 is most recently translated by Fr. I. de la Potterie: "qui
        est de retour au sein du Pere" (if my memory, and my French, serve me well),
        which would mean: "who is now back with the Father, back in the Father's
        embrace" (Italian: tornato [ora] nel seno del Padre). The Italian is taken
        from notes of same on the Prologue of John, published for students in Rome,
        Editrice Pontificio Istituto Biblico 1987, opposite p. 20. I believe de la
        Potterie also has a published article on the subject of the prologue (from
        which I recall the French expression given above), perhaps NTS, or possibly
        Biblica, mid-80's or so, that discusses this translation. He had changed his
        opinion on the subject in about the mid-80's, so earlier works by him may give
        a different translation. I think his earlier opinion was that the phrase
        referred to the historical (pre-resurrection) Jesus in his dynamic orientation
        to the Father.

        Leonard Maluf
      • Daniel Grolin
        Dear Leonard, I am not familiar with Potterie, however, I find it interesting that he should translate thus:
        Message 3 of 8 , Dec 5, 1998
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          Dear Leonard,

          I am not familiar with Potterie, however, I find it interesting that he
          should translate thus:

          <"qui est de retour au sein du Pere" (if my memory, and my French, serve
          me well), which would mean: "who is now back with the Father, back in the
          Father's embrace" (Italian: tornato [ora] nel seno del Padre).>

          I would render the French as: "who is returning to the bosom of the
          Father." The Italian on the other hand would be "[chi e/who is] returned
          [now] to the bosom of the Father."

          Regards,

          Daniel
        • Maluflen@aol.com
          In a message dated 98-12-05 06:34:52 EST, grolin@mip.ou.dk writes:
          Message 4 of 8 , Dec 6, 1998
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            In a message dated 98-12-05 06:34:52 EST, grolin@... writes:

            << I am not familiar with Potterie, however, I find it interesting that he
            should translate thus:

            <"qui est de retour au sein du Pere" (if my memory, and my French, serve
            me well), which would mean: "who is now back with the Father, back in the
            Father's embrace" (Italian: tornato [ora] nel seno del Padre).>

            I would render the French as: "who is returning to the bosom of the
            Father." The Italian on the other hand would be "[chi e/who is] returned
            [now] to the bosom of the Father.">>

            Thanks, Daniel, for the above. I am extremely hesitant to correct your
            understanding of the French phrase here (because your family name looks French
            to me!) but I do think "etre de retour" is a French idiom meaning "just back".
            Thus the Italian phrase (tornato nel seno del Padre) is (I think) de la
            Potterie's best effort to exactly render the French phrase into idiomatic
            Italian. If you are interested in an introduction to the thought of de la
            Potterie, you might start with his magnificent two-volume opus on :La Verite
            dans Saint Jean (published in the Analecta Biblica series, with a date about
            1978-80.)

            Regards,
            Leonard
          • Daniel Grolin
            Dear Leonard, ... No you are quite correct etre de retour is indeed idiomatic and does translate to be back . While I have lived in Italy, my French is only
            Message 5 of 8 , Dec 6, 1998
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              Dear Leonard,

              On Sun, 6 Dec 1998 Maluflen@... wrote:

              > Thanks, Daniel, for the above. I am extremely hesitant to correct your
              > understanding of the French phrase here (because your family name
              > looks French to me!) but I do think "etre de retour" is a French idiom
              > meaning "just back". Thus the Italian phrase (tornato nel seno del
              > Padre) is (I think) de la Potterie's best effort to exactly render the
              > French phrase into idiomatic Italian. If you are interested in an
              > introduction to the thought of de la Potterie, you might start with
              > his magnificent two-volume opus on :La Verite dans Saint Jean
              > (published in the Analecta Biblica series, with a date about 1978-80.)

              No you are quite correct "etre de retour" is indeed idiomatic and does
              translate "to be back". While I have lived in Italy, my French is only
              High School French, hence ...

              Regards,

              Daniel
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