HELLENISTIC SYNAGOGAL PRAYERS (100 - 380 AD) Question on "Positive Law"

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halibot
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HELLENISTIC SYNAGOGAL PRAYERS (100 - 380 AD) Question on "Positive Law"

Post by halibot » Sat May 18, 2019 9:39 pm

According to some scholars like James Charlesworth, some sections of the Apostolic Constitutions make up what he refers to as the "Hellenistic Synagogal Prayers". They theorize that the prayers were used in synagogues around the first century AD, and then adapted for Church usage. They estimate that Christians created them in the period about 100 AD - 380 AD and around the Syrian region of the Middle East.

Question: What does the "positive law" refer to in Hellenistic Synagogal Prayer Number 12, below? Can you find the Greek text of the Apostolic Constitutions?
The passage in question is from Prayer #12 and is part of Apostolic Constitutions, Book VIII, Part XII: The Constitution of James the Brother of John, the Son of Zebedee. The Greek and Latin texts are on pages 506-507 of F. Funk's edition, starting with Sentence 30. "agios de kai o monogenis... (etc.)" (Here: https://archive.org/details/didascaliae ... /page/n575)

James Donaldson translates the passage as:
For You are truly holy, and most holy, the highest and most highly exalted for ever. Holy also is Your only begotten Son our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, who in all things ministered to His God and Father, both in Your various creation and Your suitable providence, and has not overlooked lost mankind. But after the law of nature, after the exhortations in the positive law, after the prophetical reproofs and the government of the angels, when men had perverted both the positive law and that of nature, and had cast out of their mind the memory of the flood, the burning of Sodom, the plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughters of the inhabitant of Palestine, and being just ready to perish universally after an unparalleled manner, He was pleased by Your good will to become man...
Philip Schaff's edition has:
For Thou art truly holy, and most holy, the highest and most highly exalted for ever. Holy also is Thy only begotten Son our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, who in all things ministered to His God and Father, both in Thy various creation and Thy suitable providence, and has not overlooked lost mankind. But after the law of nature, after the exhortations in the positive law, after the prophetical reproofs and the government of the angels, when men had perverted both the positive law and that of nature, and had cast out of their mind the memory of the flood, the burning of Sodom, the plagues of the Egyptians, and the slaughters of the inhabitant of Palestine, and being just ready to perish universally after an unparalleled manner, He was pleased by Thy good will to become man, who was man’s Creator...
Richard Cresswell's translation goes:
And Holy is also thine Only-Begotten Son, our Lord and God Jesus Christ, who in all things, both in manifold creation, and in commensurate providence, ministering unto thee his God and Father, did not overlook the lost race of men, but, after the natural law, after the legal ordinance, after the prophetic warnings, after the tutelage of angels, when men had corrupted both the positive and natural law, and had cast out of their recollection the deluge and the conflagration [of Sodom]...
My crude reading of the Russian translation (http://yakov.works/acts/04/2/constit_apost.htm) is that it says:
but after the natural law, after the legal exhortation, after the prophetic denunciations and petitions of angels, when they corrupted with what was placed* and the natural law and from memory they rejected the flood, the Sodomite burning...

MY OWN FOOTNOTE: *It does not say "the positive law"
This makes me question whether the Greek text actually used the term "positive law".

Wikiquote defines positive law this way: "Positive law (Latin: lex posita) is the term generally used to describe man-made laws which bestow specific privileges upon, or remove them from, an individual or group." (SOURCE: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Positive_law) Thomas Aquinas in the medieval period discussed the "positive law", but I am not aware of early Christian writers using this term.

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Re: HELLENISTIC SYNAGOGAL PRAYERS (100 - 380 AD) Question on "Positive Law"

Post by jeidsath » Sat May 18, 2019 10:19 pm

In the first link you give, the Greek is νομικὴ παραίνεσις. From the words, I would think that meant "legal exhortation." (And that's what you got independently for the Russian now that I scroll down.) But I don't know anything about the general use or context. Lampe quotes this section in his entry for παραίνεσις.

And in the Latin, it is rendered as "legalis admonitio"
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

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