Re: What does Apostolos mean?
- Hi everyone,
I think this question is very important and it has been answered very well by Jack and others. I would like to take the time to stress the Marcionite origins of BOTH the concept of 'euaggelion' and 'apostolos.'
I have never heard a sensible explanation of why the term 'gospel' was used to describe the story of Jesus. I think BOTH terms are rooted in Samaritan concepts related to the messianic Jubilee (which Jesus announced in the synagogue viz. the coming 'year of favor'). Most of these ideas were developed with the help of Rory Boid of Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.
The bassorah is the equivalent of the Greek 'euaggelion.'
It is a little known fact (little known because no one bothers to study the Samaritan tradition) that the Samaritan Arabic commentary on the Torah, on Leviticus XXV:9. Slightly condensed and slightly re-arranged translation. "The High Priest and the King acting together are to send heralds out on the Day of Atonement to go into all countries over the next six months blowing the shofar in every land and region [not just Canaan] with the announcement [bashâ'ir, plural of bashîrah] of the information of the approach of the Jubilee Year and the release of captives SO THAT IT REACHES THE WHOLE NATION". The Arabic bashîrah = the Hebrew bassorah. The person doing it is the mubashshir = Hebrew mevasser, or the bashîr. Notice carefully that the bashîrah is not the information, but the announcement of it. This is the connotation of the Greek euangelion. Notice that the meaning only becomes clear and sharp in the context of the SAMARITAN halachah. Please put this in the book somewhere in my name.
A Samaritan-Christian interpretation of the gospel Jesus announcing the coming 'year of favor' explains the title of the 'gospel.'
The opening words of Mark are
"I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way"
The reference to Isaiah is incorrect. While the text is often ascribed to Micah its ultimate source is Exodus 23:20. The Samaritan exegete Mark (Marqe) renders these words in the Samaritan Targum as:
I send My Apostle before you in order to keep you and protect you on the way, and to bring you into the place which I have prepared. Give heed to him and obey his voice. Do not rebel against him, because he will not pardon your transgressions; for My Name is in him. But if you hearken attentively to his voice and do all that I say, then I will be an enemy to your enemies and an adversary to your adversaries. For my Apostle shall go among you ...
We have already demonstrated the term 'Evangelist' has a specific Samaritan meaning - so too the term 'Apostle.' The term is rarely emphasized in rabbinic texts but very pronounced in Samaritan sources. Moses is repeatedly identified as 'the Apostle of God' in Marqeh. In that tradition it is also a messianic title. The second Moses will be 'the Apostle of God' like Moses [Deut XV:15 etc]. The figure of Shiloh (whose names is a numerological equivalent of Moses (i.e. 345) figures in here too as does the Marcionite interest in Paul (or Marcion depending on who you believe) as 'the Apostle' and 'the Paraclete' (cf Acts of Archelaus especially) another messianic title.
Let's focus on Shilo for a second which is key (and in the process we will also get a sense of why a couple of ego maniac celebrities gave their child this name):
(a) The Vulgate translates שילה as "qui mittendus est" meaning "the one to be sent". This does not prove that this was thought to be the literal meaning of the word, but it definitely does mean it was considered an appropriate designation of the one to come.
(b) Where in the Torah is the use of the concept of the sending of this person? See Deuteronomy XXXIII: 2. Regardless of what the translations and commentaries might do to obscure the meaning, it plainly says God will manifest FROM Mt. Sinai, not at or on Mt. Sinai. This does not mean God appeared to the nations of the world from Mt. Sinai at the giving of the first Torah. In that case, the word למו meaning "to them" or in elevated poetic language ambiguously either "to them" or "to him" has no referent, that is, no noun, whether explicit or implicit, to refer to. If the verse has such a meaning, it can only be as a secondary implication. Note also the massive support for the readingלנו "to us", Septuagint, Peshitta, Targum, Vulgate. At an absolute minimum, even if this is explained away as explanatory translation, which would be hard, it still means this was very widely considered to be the intended meaning. Verse 2 shows there must be an agent of God, who is addressed in the second person. The verse is not addressed to God, since it says "All his holy ones are in your hands", meaning all God's holy ones are in your hands. Look at the words following. They speak of submission to a person, not to God. The emphasis at the start of John's Gospel on the man sent from God, John the Baptist, not being the Light, but only the Herald of the Light, indicates that the words "sent from God" would be taken to designate the Greater Moses or Shilo unless the contrary were explicitly stated. Also, Lîbi לוי the Dosithean Protomartyr (suspiciously resembling Stephen and said elsewhere in Abu'l Fath (hereafter referred to as A.F.) to have come from the same place as Stephen) says absolutely explicitly THE SECOND PROPHET SENT BY GOD FROM MT. SINAI النبي الثاني الذي قدمه الله من طور سيناء (A.F. 176: 2). This wording is derived from Deuteronomy XXXIII: 2 and the first half of v. 7 of the same chapter.
(c) Which tribe is this person from? In the Blessing of Judah (v. 7) it says "Hear, O Lord, the voice of Judah. Thou wilt bring him to his people". That means the one to come will be brought by God to his people. Genesis XLIX: 10 settles the question definitively. Even those that said the one to come was to be from Levi argued that Judah had at first held the right, but had lost it by the great heresy of the invention of Jerusalem. See Boid's translation of the Asâtîr, ch. XI. When the Samaritan woman accepted that the one to come was to be from Judah (implicit in John IV) this only meant she agreed that Judah had not forfeited its place. It does not mean there had ever been any disagreement over the meaning and implications of Genesis XLIX: 10, or over the meaning of Deuteronomy XXXIII: 7.
This still leaves a difficulty in regard to Dositheos, the Samaritan figure who was thought by many to have fulfilled the original messianic expectations of 'the Apostle' in the tradition. The long scurrilous long story about him (A.F. p. 151 onwards) says right at the start that he was a Jew but without naming the tribe, and in the context there is no hint of him being from Levi. The implications of his dealings with the pious but gullible Priest Yêdo יחדו (diminutive of ידעיה) are that he was not a Priest. On the other hand the short summary of the Dosithean practices and the origin of the movement on p. 82 onwards of A.F. says explicitly he was a Priest. Boid's explanation is that one school of Dositheans maintained that Judah had forfeited its right. It is worth noting that nothing done or said by Dositheos depended on him being a Priest, which means that Priest or not, his actual job was what had originally been intended to be the job of Judah. Notice, however, that Jesus has it both ways, since his mother seems to have been from a Priestly family. His cousin John the Baptist was a Priest.
Now we plainly see the origin of the standard title of Muhammad, the Emissary or Apostle of God, the one sent by God, رسول الله
Interestingly the idea of the 'Seal of the Prophets' goes back to Marqe and his use of the term Apostle on his rendering (Memar Marqe V:3) placed on the lips of the Israelites as Moses prepared to die:
By your life, Apostle of God, remain with us a little while longer!
By your life, O Seal of the prophets, stay with us a little longer! T
The point here is that we have in my mind the beginning of an EXTRA-JEWISH origin for the BOTH terms associated with the NT canon - i.e. 'gospel' and 'apostolos.' The concept was seminal in Near Eastern forms of Christianity (the Orthodox tradition being by contrast entirely European). We can see the influence in Marcionitism which has one gospel, one apostle, one evangelist etc. (as opposed to many). The same is found in Manichaeanism and ultimately Islam.
Just a thought (or many)
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "yennifmit" <tfinney@...>
> To: <email@example.com>
> Sent: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 10:49 PM
> Subject: [textualcriticism] What does Apostolos mean?
> > Dear All,
> > I was recently looking at some of the standard reference books on New
> > Testament textual criticism and noticed varying opinions on what the term
> > "Apostolos" means. Some (e.g. Aland and Aland) say that it means Acts and
> > the Catholic Epistles (i.e., the a in e a p r). Others seem to think that
> > it refers to Paul's letters. Yet others say that Apostolos means
> > everything but the Gospels. What do you all think it means?
> > Best,
> > Tim Finney
> The Greek word APOSTOLOS means "sending away" or "sending forth" to refer to
> a messenger or a delegate sent with a message. It was used to describe any
> early Christian who carried the gospel as well as the disciples (talmida) of
> Jesus. Thereafter, in the early church, "apostolic authority" referred to
> anything that supposedly originated with an apostle. If an epistle (letter)
> or gospel was not considered to have apostolic origins, it became
> apocryphal. In the early churches there were differences of opinion on what
> writings had apostololic authority so the canon was "floating." In some of
> the earliest codices, works such as the Epistle of Barnabas and the Shepherd
> of Hermas were considered apostolic, hence canonical.
> Jack Kilmon
- Hi All,
Thanks for the contributions so far. I am particularly seeking what this generation of textual critics means when it calls a part of the New Testament the "Apostolos". Does it mean,
1. Paul's letters
2. Acts and the Catholic Epistles
3. everything but the Gospels?
Souter says 1, Aland and Aland say 2, others say 3. What do you all think it means? Shouldn't we sort this out in order not to confuse students?
A Confused Student
--- In firstname.lastname@example.org, "yennifmit" <tfinney@...> wrote:
> Dear All,
> I was recently looking at some of the standard reference books on New Testament textual criticism and noticed varying opinions on what the term "Apostolos" means. Some (e.g. Aland and Aland) say that it means Acts and the Catholic Epistles (i.e., the a in e a p r). Others seem to think that it refers to Paul's letters. Yet others say that Apostolos means everything but the Gospels. What do you all think it means?
> Tim Finney
- Tim Finney writes:Thanks for the contributions so far. I am particularly seeking what this generation of textual critics means when it calls a part of the New Testament the "Apostolos". Does it mean,
1. Paul's letters
2. Acts and the Catholic letters
3. everything but the Gospels?
Souter says 1, Aland and Aland say 2, others say 3. What do you all think it means? Shouldn't we sort this out in order not to confuse students?I write:This is why the a p c r notation is used, to specify this, because the terminology is loose. Typically an Apostolos includes *at least* Paul's Letters. Usually the term Praxapostolos is used for those which include Acts, Paul's Letters, and the Catholic Epistles. So far as I know, it's exceedingly rare for the Apocalypse to be included in these (I don't know that it ever is included, but I wouldn't rule it out without looking). This is because the Apocalypse is not read from at all in the Greek lectionary, so it wasn't included in these collections: it's never a liturgical book. So, Apostolos should be the term used to refer strictly to a collection of Paul's letters themselves, and Praxapostolos for those that include Acts, and Paul's and the Catholic Letters (and perhaps the Apocalypse, if this ever occurs).Regards,Kevin P. EdgecombBerkeley, California
- Tim,I suspect that this confusion has to do with the distinction between the way the different sections (e a c p r) travel in *continuous-text* GNT MSS in the history of transmission, on the one hand, and how, at some point, the different scripture passages were collected into *service books*, i.e., lectionaries, on the other hand. The names of the three kinds of lectionaries are: Prophetologion, Evangelarium, and Apostolos (or Praxapostolos), and the latter contains readings from Acts and the Epistles. Since you mentioned the Alands, cf. the list of abbreviations in Kurzgefasste Liste, edited by K. Aland et al. where Apl="Apostolos, d. h. der Text der Leseabschnitte der Apostelgeschichte und der Briefe nach der Perikopenanordnung der byzantinischen Kirche" (p. <x<viii).Whereas the continuous-text Gospel is called Evangelion (or Tetraevangelion), you have noted that there is variation as to the label of other parts or combinations of continuous-text MSS. I would probably go for 1+2 as inferred from the primary meaning of Apostolos, primarily signifying the text of church lessons and not the type of manuscript, but I look forward to hearing others.Tommy Wasserman15 jun 2009 kl. 06.21 skrev yennifmit: