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Cicero and Cassius on a Point of Philosophical Translation
A Lexical and Semantic Survey
The ancient theoretical debate on language and its purposes has long concerned scholarship, but only in recent years a growing attention has been directed to ancient concepts and instances of nonsense in both communication and artistic-literary expression, as the recent monograph by Stephen Kidd attests. This paper engages in an analysis of the phrase οὐδὲν λέγειν/nihil dicere, used to express the nonsense of a statement. An overview of the occurrences of οὐδὲν λέγειν is followed by a survey of what can be considered the ‘reception’ or calque of the Greek idiom in Latin, namely nihil dicere. The concentration of the occurrences, both in Greek and Latin, in the same two genres, i.e. comedy and philosophical dialogue, suggests that the phrase was borrowed from the colloquial vocabulary of the spoken language. The authority of Aristophanes and Plato seems to have eased the assimilation of the locution by authors such as Plautus, Terence and Cicero. The rarity of the phrase outside these authors and their genres supports the thought that, in literature, οὐδὲν λέγειν/nihil dicere were typical of the lexical repertoires of dramatic ἀγών and dialectics.
The Structure of a Human and the Meaning of Scripture
Gregory E. Sterling
This essay considers Philo of Alexandria’s metaphor in which he used the dual nature of embodied existence (body and soul) to argue that both literal and allegorical readings are legitimate. It examines the metaphor in the framework of Conceptual Metaphor Theory (CTM) developed by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson that argues that experience is the key to meaning. A metaphor occurs when we apply a pattern that we have observed in one setting (gestalt) to another. In this case, Philo has drawn on a Platonic/Stoic understanding of being human and applied it to contested hermeneutics within the Alexandrian Jewish community in an effort to maintain a sense of unity among two groups. The metaphorical experience is the recognition that Scripture is polyvalent in the same way that being human is.
Henk Jan de Jonge
Erasmus’ Novum Testamentum of 1519 is an improved and enlarged edition of his Novum Instrumentum of 1516. The chief component remained his new version of the NT in more cultivated Latin than that of the Vulgate. But the 1519 edition also includes several Greek paratexts not yet printed in 1516. This article discusses the Greek witnesses which were used for the new edition and points out Greek and Latin readings in which it differs from 1516. The importance of the 1519 Novum Testamentum is that it constitutes the consolidation of Erasmus’ humanistic programme for promoting the study of the NT as an essentially philological discipline. The work is Erasmus’ self-confident vindication of this programme against advocates of the Vulgate and scholastic theology.
Paul C.J. Riley
At least since the time of Westcott and Hort, the concept of explicitness has been used in the practice of New Testament textual criticism. However, until now, the concept has not been defined or tested. This article examines how explicitness has been understood and used by textual critics, and then outlines how linguistics can support the application of this concept in understanding textual transmission. It then tests the validity of the concept of explicitness for textual criticism in comparison to the results of applying traditional internal and external criteria. It also demonstrates the explanatory power of explicitness by evaluating select textual variants in the Gospel of John. It concludes that the use of explicitness for the evaluation of variants is linguistically coherent and text-critically valid and can assist in the identification of the most primitive reading.
Egyptian land tenure in the Fāṭimid period (969-1171) is often assumed to have been based on state ownership of agricultural land and tax-farming, as was in general the case in the Mamlūk period which followed it, and as many Islamic legal theorists rather schematically thought. This article aims to show that this was not the case; Arabic paper and parchment documents show that private landowning was normal in Egypt into the late eleventh century and later. Egypt emerges as more similar to other Mediterranean regions than is sometimes thought. The article discusses the evidence for this, and the evidence for what changed after 1100 or so, and, more tentatively, why it changed.
On Allowing Texts Not to Say Everything
Frequently, δεῖ is associated with salvation history and the exercise of divine will and identified as “theological δεῖ” or “divine δεῖ”. In the history of scholarship, there is an increasing emphasis on interpreting δεῖ along these lines, thereby marginalizing other shades of meaning that this verb may have. The question is whether this course of interpretative action is justified. This will be tested in this article. In order to do so, first a brief overview of the possible shades of meaning of δεῖ will be provided; second, the occurrences of δεῖ in the Gospel of Mark are systematically reviewed; third and finally, concluding reflections will be offered, including a word of caution when it comes to deifying δεῖ. In this manner, the current study seeks to contribute to the undoing of the theosis of this particular part of early Christian vocabulary.