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Acts 15:20

cwconrad wrote: I had read somewhere -- and can't recall where now -- that there are four kinds of impurities from which the rabbis insisted that Gentiles should abstain if they were to associate with Jews.
For example Craig Keener: the legendary The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament. Also Hard Sayings of the Bible explains similarly, but doesn't mention rabbinical opinions. The idea is that those things mentioned are not about morality but necessary compromises so that in mixed congregations both Jews and Gentiles could co-exist and celebrate the Lord's Supper together. If you can wait for couple of months, this is the way to go: Keener, Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 3. If it's not there (with every imaginable detail), it's nowhere. (Despite the name it's not a full exegetical commentary but about the social and historical background. Yes, 3 vols over 1000 pages each!) Statistics: Posted by Eeli Kaikkonen — July 14th, 2014, 3:16 am
 
Stephen Hughes wrote:
David Lim wrote:For whatever it is worth, I found http://www.mjstudies.com/storage/Mark%207.19b.pdf, which states "four pollutions" on page 10, however it makes some very strange claims, such as that "πορνεια" has to do with ritual impurity, ...
The URL that you mean to refer to is http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/eq/2002-4_291.pdf . The detail that you are referring to is on the 10th page of the article, which is numbered as page 300 in the work.
Thanks! I apparently copied the wrong URL haha!
Stephen Hughes wrote: David I admire your astuteness :ugeek: in noticing that "ritual impurity" includes πορνεία in the reasoning of that article. I don't, however, find it "strange" that πορνεία would be used of ritual defilement / impurity in a very early Christian reference. [...] In other words, I don't find this to be a "very strange claim ..."
I do know what you describe, but I don't agree that it is relevant here, because the reason for staying away from "πορνεια" is primarily moral in nature and has nothing to do with ritual purity. For example Matt 5:32 says that "πορνεια" is the only valid reason for divorce. Sins of any kind will cause uncleanness, not just "πορνεια", so I don't see much reason to say that the reference to "πορνεια" in Acts is a matter of ritual impurity as described in the article. In any case I think that it is possible for Acts 15:20 to refer to four pollutions that stem from moral principles rather than considerations of ritual purity. I don't want to elaborate on that too much, since this is not the place for interpretation, but in short idolatry is insulting to the true God, strangling animals is a cruel way of killing them, blood is supposed to contain the life and is supposed to be poured out and not consumed, and of course "πορνεια" is one type of immorality. As for why those four and not others are mentioned, it could be because they are very common among non-Jews, but this is all just my speculation, so it would be better if someone knows some reference that shows that the Jews considered precisely these four things to be necessary for non-Jews based on ritual purity. Statistics: Posted by David Lim — July 12th, 2014, 11:30 pm
 
Barry Hofstetter wrote: Well, I note that F.F. Bruce and Culy & Parsons (Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text), simply assume that 4 discrete items are being discussed, with no hint to the contrary (i.e., that the genitives following the καί's are dependent genitives with τῶν ἀλισγημάτων) as did every translation and commentary that I checked. Now, my question here is this: if you want to make the remaining 3 genitives objective complements discrete from τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων, how would you write it? How would it look different from what Luke wrote?
I would explicate either way as:
Acts 15:20 Byz, explicating there are 4 defilements wrote: ἀλλὰ ἐπιστεῖλαι αὐτοῖς τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν [τεσσάρων] ἀλισγημάτων ὄντων [καὶ] τῶν εἰδώλων καὶ τῆς πορνείας καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ καὶ τοῦ αἵματος.
 
Acts 15:20, making it clear that all four things shuld be avoided wrote: ἀλλὰ ἐπιστεῖλαι αὐτοῖς τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι οὐ μόνον τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων ἀλλὰ καὶ τῆς πορνείας καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ καὶ τοῦ αἵματος.
I would lose the ἀπὸ in the second for syntactic reasons - rather than repeat it four times (three times if the third and fourth were considered a hendiadys).
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Barry Hofstetter wrote:I don't think it changes much, though, since the issue remains substantially the same.
Could you give me a reference to a grammar to explain your reliance on the repitition of the articles?
David Lim wrote: Like Stephen Hughes, I'm not quite convinced that the presence or absence of the articles make any difference, especially given Acts 15:29 that he mentioned, and "των αλισγηματων".
My mood is even on this point. I was not making a challenge for proof. I was making a genuine request for information that could lead to a learning opportunity. Intelligent people that Barry knows of may have something worthwhile to say on this. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — July 11th, 2014, 8:21 am
Well, I note that F.F. Bruce and Culy & Parsons (Acts: A Handbook on the Greek Text), simply assume that 4 discrete items are being discussed, with no hint to the contrary (i.e., that the genitives following the καί's are dependent genitives with τῶν ἀλισγημάτων) as did every translation and commentary that I checked. Now, my question here is this: if you want to make the remaining 3 genitives objective complements discrete from τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων, how would you write it? How would it look different from what Luke wrote? Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — July 11th, 2014, 7:35 am
 
Barry Hofstetter wrote: I have always taken τῶν εἰδώλων as dependent on τῶν ἀλισγημάτων, and, because of the repetition of καί and the definite articles, the rest of the genitives as the objects of the preposition. I spot checked the ESV and the NAS and they take it similarly.
Like Stephen Hughes, I'm not quite convinced that the presence or absence of the articles make any difference, especially given Acts 15:29 that he mentioned, and "των αλισγηματων". For whatever it is worth, I found http://www.mjstudies.com/storage/Mark%207.19b.pdf, which states "four pollutions" on page 10, however it makes some very strange claims, such as that "πορνεια" has to do with ritual impurity, and that both pericopes for Mark 7:19 and Rom 14:20 employ the use of the Greek term "κοινος" ('common,clean') ["κοινος" is supposed to refer to "unclean", not "clean"!].
Stephen Hughes wrote: On the weight of evidence from English translations, I would guess that adding the ἀπὸ has the effect of making it clear that each of the four things relate to the ἀπέχεσθαι, whereas without that ἀπὸ it could be ambiguous.
And I also don't see why the preposition removes the ambiguity, since the four phrases could still be tied to "αλισγηματων". Unfortunately a rudimentary search of the LXX+NT only turns up 4 lonely examples with multiple genitive phrases, each with the article, modifying a genitive phrase: [1 Chr 24:6] και εγραψεν αυτους σαμαιας υιος ναθαναηλ ο γραμματευς εκ του λευι κατεναντι του βασιλεως και των αρχοντων και σαδωκ ο ιερευς και αχιμελεχ υιος αβιαθαρ και αρχοντες των πατριων των ιερεων και των λευιτων οικου πατριας εις εις τω ελεαζαρ και εις εις τω ιθαμαρ [1 Chr 24:31] και ελαβον και αυτοι κληρους καθως οι αδελφοι αυτων υιοι ααρων εναντιον του βασιλεως και σαδωκ και αχιμελεχ και αρχοντων πατριων των ιερεων και των λευιτων πατριαρχαι αρααβ καθως οι αδελφοι αυτου οι νεωτεροι [1 Chr 28:13] και των καταλυματων των εφημεριων των ιερεων και των λευιτων εις πασαν εργασιαν λειτουργιας οικου κυριου και των αποθηκων των λειτουργησιμων σκευων της λατρειας οικου κυριου [Ezra 8:29] αγρυπνειτε και τηρειτε εως στητε ενωπιον αρχοντων των ιερεων και των λευιτων και των αρχοντων των πατριων εν ιερουσαλημ εις σκηνας οικου κυριου It doesn't really help that all of them involve the same two groups, "the priests and the Levites", which are so closely related. However, the last example shows that the preposition "ενωπιον" does not cause the inner phrases to split into "αρχοντων των ιερεων" and "των λευιτων". I'm sure that someone with better software and tagged texts can produce more stuff for us to chew on. :) Statistics: Posted by David Lim — July 11th, 2014, 2:43 am
 
Barry Hofstetter wrote: I don't think it changes much, though, since the issue remains substantially the same.
Could you give me a reference to a grammar to explain your reliance on the repitition of the articles? Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — July 10th, 2014, 2:47 pm
I didn't even notice that απο was missing from the SBL text (which is what I'm usually reading these days) as well. I don't think it changes much, though, since the issue remains substantially the same. Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — July 10th, 2014, 12:47 pm
I think that ἀπέχεσθαι (+gen.) is okay by itself and there would be meaning if the ἀπὸ weren't there. The present choice between the two ways of taking it would be there too. The ἀπὸ is not present in the NA-UBS text. My suspicion is that the ἀπὸ has been added to clarify which of the two alternative structures should be taken. The actual letter written does not contain the qulification of ἀλισγημάτων and the ἀπὸ has not been written there.
Acts 15:29 wrote: ἀπέχεσθαι εἰδωλοθύτων καὶ αἵματος καὶ πνικτοῦ καὶ πορνείας· ἐξ ὧν διατηροῦντες ἑαυτούς, εὖ πράξετε. Ἔρρωσθε.
That lends weight to the claim that Carl has related from the unspecified source.
Barry Hofstetter wrote: I spot checked the ESV and the NAS and they take it similarly.
Acts 15:20 ESV wrote: but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood.
Acts 15:20 NAS wrote: but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood.
Noting that ἀλισγημάτων "pollutions". Though it is very possible that each of the following 4 things could be pollutions severally, it could also be in the plural because εἰδωλοθύτων is plural. On the weight of evidence from English translations, I would guess that adding the ἀπὸ has the effect of making it clear that each of the four things relate to the ἀπέχεσθαι, whereas without that ἀπὸ it could be ambiguous. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — July 10th, 2014, 8:14 am
I have always taken τῶν εἰδώλων as dependent on τῶν ἀλισγημάτων, and, because of the repetition of καί and the definite articles, the rest of the genitives as the objects of the preposition. I spot checked the ESV and the NAS and they take it similarly. Statistics: Posted by Barry Hofstetter — July 10th, 2014, 6:32 am
 
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Acts 15:20 wrote:ἀλλὰ ἐπιστεῖλαι αὐτοῖς τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων καὶ τῆς πορνείας καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ καὶ τοῦ αἵματος.
Are the genitives in red following the preposition ἀπὸ or the noun ἀλισγημάτων? "But command them to stay away from the pollution of idols, (from) sexual misconduct, (from) strangled animals and from food with blood in it." [Or a hendiadys of the last two] OR But command them to keep away from the polution of idols, of sexual misconduct, of strangled animals and of food with blood in it." [Or a hendiadys of the last two]. In other words, can only Idols be an ἀλίσγημα, or can all four be?
I had read somewhere -- and can't recall where now -- that there are four kinds of impurities from which the rabbis insisted that Gentiles should abstain if they were to associate with Jews. If that's the case, then τῶν εἰδώλων καὶ τῆς πορνείας καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ καὶ τοῦ αἵματος all are dependent on τῶν ἀλισγημάτων Statistics: Posted by cwconrad — July 9th, 2014, 6:37 am
 
Acts 15:20 wrote: ἀλλὰ ἐπιστεῖλαι αὐτοῖς τοῦ ἀπέχεσθαι ἀπὸ τῶν ἀλισγημάτων τῶν εἰδώλων καὶ τῆς πορνείας καὶ τοῦ πνικτοῦ καὶ τοῦ αἵματος.
Are the genitives in red following the preposition ἀπὸ or the noun ἀλισγημάτων? "But command them to stay away from the pollution of idols, (from) sexual misconduct, (from) strangled animals and from food with blood in it." [Or a hendiadys of the last two] OR But command them to keep away from the polution of idols, of sexual misconduct, of strangled animals and of food with blood in it." [Or a hendiadys of the last two]. In other words, can only Idols be an ἀλίσγημα, or can all four be? Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — July 9th, 2014, 5:40 am