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Difficulty with Acts 7:53

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Difficulty with Acts 7:53

Postby jeidsath » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:39 am

Roberto and I were a little stumped by this tonight.

οἵτινες ἐλάβετε τὸν νόμον εἰς διαταγὰς ἀγγέλων, καὶ οὐκ ἐφυλάξατε.

I haven't looked up any translations (except the Latin), but I read it as: "You who have taken the law for commandments of angels/messengers, and not kept it."

That doesn't make much sense to me, I'm afraid. Is he really arguing that the Jews ignored the law because it came from angels, not God? The Vulgate gives:

qui accepistis legem in dispositione angelorum, et non custodistis.

But, not knowing Latin, in dispositione angelorum doesn't shed any light on this for me.
Last edited by jeidsath on Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: not men -> not God
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Re: Difficulty with Acts 7:53

Postby bedwere » Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:10 am

Should it help:

Catenae Graecorum patrum in Novum Testamentum Vol 3. p. 127.

Toῦ Χρυστοστόμου. Τινὲς φασὶ τὸν ὑπὸ ἀγγέλων διαταχθέντα ἢ ἐγχειρισθέντα αὐτῷ, δι' Ἀγγέλου τοῦ ὀφθέντος αὐτῷ ἐν τῷ βάτῳ· μὴ γὰρ ἄνθρωπος ἦν· οὐδὲν θαυμαστόν, φησι, τὸν ἐκεῖνα 50 ποιήσαντα, καὶ ταῦτα ποιῆσαι· τοὺς καταγγείλαντας ἀνείλατε, πολλῷ μᾶλλον αὐτόν· καὶ Θεῷ, καὶ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ, καὶ τοῖς προφήταις, καὶ τῷ Πνεύματι, καὶ πᾶσι δείκνυσιν ἀπειθοῦντας· καθὼς καὶ ἑτέρωθι φησὶν ἡ γραφή· "Κύριε, τοὺς προφήτας σου ἀπέκτειναν, καὶ τὰ θυσιαστήριά σου κατέστρεψαν·" τοῦτο παρρησία ἀνδρὸς τὸν σταυρὸν ἔχοντος.
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Re: Difficulty with Acts 7:53

Postby jeidsath » Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:04 am

ἣ should be ἢ.

From Chrysostomos. Some say the law having been commanded or having been entrusted to him is by angels, through the Angel that was seen by him in the bush. For he was not a man. It's not amazing, says Stephen, that the one having done those things also did these. You destroyed the ones having proclaimed it, and much more him, having disbelieved God and his angels, and his prophets, and the spirit, and every demonstration. Just as scripture says in another place, "Lord, they have killed your prophets and overturned your altars." This is the freedom of speech of the man having the cross.

The capitalization and lack of article makes me wonder if they are talking Ἀγγέλου as a proper name. Through "Angelos that was seen by him in the bush."
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Re: Difficulty with Acts 7:53

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:47 am

Cf. Gal 3:19:

Τί οὖν ὁ νόμος; τῶν παραβάσεων χάριν προσετέθη, ἄχρις οὗ ἔλθῃ τὸ σπέρμα ᾧ ἐπήγγελται, διαταγεὶς διʼ ἀγγέλων ἐν χειρὶ μεσίτου.

With regard to Chrysostom, he is picking up on the Malak Adonai, the Angel of the Lord tradition.

From the NET Bible:

163 tn Traditionally, “as ordained by angels,” but εἰς (eis) with the accusative here should be understood as instrumental (a substitute for ἐν [en]); so BDAG 291 s.v. εἰς 9, BDF §206. Thus the phrase literally means “received the law by the decrees [orders] of angels” with the genitive understood as a subjective genitive, that is, the angels gave the decrees.
sn Decrees given by angels. According to Jewish traditions in the first century, the law of Moses was mediated through angels. See also the note on “angel” in 7:35.


Biblical Studies Press. (2006). The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Ac 7:53). Biblical Studies Press.
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Re: Difficulty with Acts 7:53

Postby jeidsath » Thu Nov 02, 2017 2:00 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:With regard to Chrysostom, he is picking up on the Malak Adonai, the Angel of the Lord tradition.


I was sure that I flubbed the first sentence of the Chrysostomos quote as I wrote. After sleeping, I think that in both places αὐτῷ refers to this angel:

Some say the law is having been commanded by angels or having been entrusted to one, through the angel who was himself seen in the bush.

I think that the LSJ section A.IV.3 seems to present the closest parallels in that entry: ἐς κοινὸν φράζειν, λέγειν. And I think that the NET footnote quoted would go along with that. "You received the law as commandments of angels." My question, I suppose, would be whether Stephen is speaking oppositionally about their believe about angels or approvingly.

Some too large percentage of the time, "According to Jewish traditions in the first century," is code for "Jewish traditions that we postulate from NT texts to explain those NT texts, like the one we are now explaining." I don't know that it's wrong, but I would need to see the sources they are using.
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Re: Difficulty with Acts 7:53

Postby Barry Hofstetter » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:09 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Some too large percentage of the time, "According to Jewish traditions in the first century," is code for "Jewish traditions that we postulate from NT texts to explain those NT texts, like the one we are now explaining." I don't know that it's wrong, but I would need to see the sources they are using.


:shock: :?

Here is one from Josephus:

ἡμῶν δὲ τὰ κάλλιστα τῶν δογμάτων καὶ τὰ ὁσιώτατα τῶν ἐν τοῖς νόμοις δι᾽ ἀγγέλων παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ μαθόντων -- J.A. 15.5.3 (127)

http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... 99.01.0145

Jub. 1:26 And He said to the angel of the presence: Write for Moses from the beginning of creation till My sanctuary has been built among them for all eternity. (Sorry, couldn't find an original language text online)

http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/jubilees/1.htm

I am sure there are other sources, but these texts do show it was a living tradition outside of the NT as early as the 2nd Century BCE (the purported dating for Jubilees).
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Re: Difficulty with Acts 7:53

Postby jeidsath » Thu Nov 02, 2017 5:48 pm

Thank you, that is helpful. After "gave the decrees" I read "mediate" as something more than was intended.
If your quotes indicate the NET footnote writer's definition of mediate (physical transmission, like God's amanuensis), I would say that the NET footnote writer probably intended "delivered the decrees," instead of "gave the decrees," as there seems to be no ambiguity about angelic conscious input for these decrees.
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