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Matt 11:12-13 - βιάζεται & ἐπροφήτευσαν

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Matt 11:12-13 - βιάζεται & ἐπροφήτευσαν

Postby jaihare » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:54 pm

Matt 11:12-13 (NA27)
12 ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἡμερῶν Ἰωάννου τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ ἕως ἄρτι ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν βιάζεται καὶ βιασταὶ ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν.
13 πάντες γὰρ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ νόμος ἕως Ἰωάννου ἐπροφήτευσαν·

Anybody have any idea what exactly Jesus was referring to when he was quoted as saying this? What does βιάζεται refer to? Who were the βιασταί who ἥρπαζον the kingdom of heaven?
Furthermore, why did the prophets and the law (that is, the two prophetic portions of the Jewish Bible) prophesy until John? Does this imply that after John their prophecy ceased according to Jesus?

Looking for elucidation.

Thanks!
Jason Hare
jaihare@gmail.com

τοὺς θεοὺς εὔχομαί σοι διδόναι ὑγίειαν καὶ σωτηρίαν καὶ ἀγαθὰ πολλά.
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Re: Matt 11:12-13 - βιάζεται & ἐπροφήτευσαν

Postby GTM » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:04 am

jaihare


Anybody have any idea what exactly Jesus was referring to when he was quoted as saying this?


I believe that a certain amount of speculation might be required when attempting to translate this. It appears as if there are four possibilities.

I will mull them over and share the little that I am able to provide.

What does βιάζεται refer to? Who were the βιασταί who ἥρπαζον the kingdom of heaven?


Once again I believe that your second question is dependent upon the previous idea. Since there are several possibilities regarding the first.

By the way this is an excellent question.

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Re: Matt 11:12-13 - βιάζεται & ἐπροφήτευσαν

Postby modus.irrealis » Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:34 pm

jaihare wrote:Anybody have any idea what exactly Jesus was referring to when he was quoted as saying this? What does βιάζεται refer to? Who were the βιασταί who ἥρπαζον the kingdom of heaven?

I'll add that my (Orthodox) sources give it a "positive" sense, and this seems to be the ancient interpretation from what I can tell, but only a few of the English translations I looked at seem to have this interpretation. So βιάζεται would mean that the kingdom of heaven is coming on with force, and the βιασταί = those who are strong (in faith) and they are seizing the kingdom. There's also the comparison to Luke 16:16

Ὁ νόμος καὶ οἱ προφῆται μέχρι Ἰωάννου· ἀπὸ τότε ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ εὐαγγελίζεται καὶ πᾶς εἰς αὐτὴν βιάζεται.

which is taken to have the same overall meaning.

Furthermore, why did the prophets and the law (that is, the two prophetic portions of the Jewish Bible) prophesy until John? Does this imply that after John their prophecy ceased according to Jesus?

The way I read it is that they prophesied until John in the sense that they were prophesying about the events up to John and now those prophecies have been fulfilled and the next stage has begun, so to speak.
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Re: Matt 11:12-13 - βιάζεται & ἐπροφήτευσαν

Postby GTM » Sat Sep 04, 2010 3:37 pm

modus.irrealis

It appears as if there are variant translations of Luke 16:16 as well.

The international Standard Version offers this understanding

[/i]"The Law and the Prophets remain until John. Since then, the good news about the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone entering it is under attack.


Going back to the text in Matthew we see a couple possibilities.

The verb βιαζεται and the Noun βιαστα as a form could be understood two ways. The text can be understood as a middle or as a passive form.If it is Middle then we would most likely understand it as entering forcefully which seems to be you position. On the other hand we also see the passive which would suggest that they would suffer violence as they entered in.



International Standard Version (©2008)
[i]"From the days of John the Baptist until the present, the kingdom of heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people have been attacking it,


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Re: Matt 11:12-13 - βιάζεται & ἐπροφήτευσαν

Postby modus.irrealis » Sun Sep 05, 2010 1:11 pm

GTM wrote:modus.irrealis

It appears as if there are variant translations of Luke 16:16 as well.

The international Standard Version offers this understanding

[/i]"The Law and the Prophets remain until John. Since then, the good news about the kingdom of God has been proclaimed, and everyone entering it is under attack.
[i]

To be honest, I don't see how this translation can be justified, specifically where this "entering" is coming from.

Going back to the text in Matthew we see a couple possibilities.

The verb βιαζεται and the Noun βιαστα as a form could be understood two ways. The text can be understood as a middle or as a passive form.If it is Middle then we would most likely understand it as entering forcefully which seems to be you position. On the other hand we also see the passive which would suggest that they would suffer violence as they entered in.

I'm not sure what you mean. In the Matthew verse, ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν is the subject of βιάζεται so as far as I can see either it is coming on forcefully or suffering violence, not the people entering it (at least not explicitly in the text). There is another possibility that I forgot to mention, though -- some commentators seem to take βιάζεται here as passive but as meaning "grabbed with force", so then the two parts of the sentence would be roughly parallel: the kingdom of heaven is seized by force and the forceful gain possession of it.

I'd also point to verse 15 ὁ ἔχων ὧτα ἀκουέτω which usually seems to indicate that something is being said in a particularly strange or forceful way. That's another reason I read it not as referring to some kind of actual violence against the kingdom of heaven (which doesn't seem to fit the context anyway) but about being strong in faith, especially with the contrast to the people who wear soft clothes a few verses earlier and the severity of John's faith, but him still being less than the least in the kingdom of heaven.
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