Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

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Philip Arellond
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Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Philip Arellond » January 26th, 2015, 11:29 pm

Greetings,

I have been researching the Patristic interpretation of Matt 11:12 12 ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἡμερῶν Ἰωάνου τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ ἕως ἄρτι ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν βιάζεται, καὶ βιασταὶ ἁρπάζουσιν αὐτήν. As you know in modern scholarship there is a diversity of opinion. I have found that Origen, Clement of Alexandria (in three separate places of Stromata, and Chrysostom all tended to view this as a call for forceful action to obtain the kingdom. I have read that Irenaeus in Against Heresies also uses this passage. I have been unable to locate the passage in an English version of that work. (it is difficult to find Greek versions of the the patristics online.) I have also read that Basil the Great also used this section with a similar interpretation, but all my online searches fail to find where. Do any of you know which Basil's work references this verse? Any other of the Greek fathers as well?

This has brought up a question to me about the modern approach to Greek. It seems on the works I have found that Greeks, highly trained in their own Greek literature, living in ( a later version) of the Greco-Roman culture had an innate feeling for the use of βιάζεται and felt it was metaphorical for a quality of the kingdom. However modern scholarship has dismissed this, after a welter of word studies and grammatical analysis.

This brings up another question: A number of commentators on the Greek text say that the construction must be passive. I tend to think it is, in deference to the Greek fathers, however is there a grammatical imperitive that it must?

Thanks for any thoughts you can share

Ken M. Penner
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Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Ken M. Penner » January 27th, 2015, 8:44 am

Philip Arellond wrote:I have read that Irenaeus in Against Heresies also uses this passage. I have been unable to locate the passage in an English version of that work. (it is difficult to find Greek versions of the the patristics online.) I have also read that Basil the Great also used this section with a similar interpretation, but all my online searches fail to find where. Do any of you know which Basil's work references this verse? Any other of the Greek fathers as well?
I don't think Irenaeus refers to Matthew 11:12.
Basil does, in In principium Proverbiorum 13 (PG 31:413).
ὃν καὶ βιαστὴν τὸ Εὐαγγέλιον λέγει, δυνάμενον διαρπάσαι τὴν βασιλείαν τῶν οὐρανῶν·
Ken M. Penner
St. Francis Xavier University

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 27th, 2015, 10:08 am

You can find Cramer's catenae in XML format here:

https://github.com/OpenGreekAndLatin/catenae-dev
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 27th, 2015, 2:10 pm

You can find references to this passage in English here, with hyperlinks to the texts of the early fathers (also in English):

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/e ... hew11.html

Here is the discussion in Cramer's Catenae, pages attached.
Ἀπὸ δὲ τῶν ἡμερῶν Ἰωάννου τοῦ βαπτιστοῦ ἕως ἄρτι, ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν βιάζεται.
βασίλειαν δὲ οὐρανῶν καλεῖ, τὰ πνευματικὰ, ἢ εἰς Χριστὸν πίστις διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος, ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ βασιλεία ἐστὶν, ἥτις ἤρξατο ἀπὸ τοῦ κηρύγματος Ἰωάννου τοῦ ὑποδεικνύντος τὸν Χριστόν· αὕτη ἐστίν. οἱ δὲ βιαζόμενοι εἰσὶν οἱ τῇ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ ἀποταττόμενοι, καὶ τῷ παλαιῷ ἔθει.

Σευήρου. Τὸ δὲ “ἔχων ὦτα,” ἀντὶ τοῦ ὁ ἔχων διάνοιαν λογικὴν νοείτω τὰ τῆς διανοίας ὠσὶν ἀκούων.

Τοῦ Χρυσοστόμου. Διὰ τοῦ εἰπεῖν “ἀπὸ τῶν ἡμερῶν,” ὠθεῖ καὶ ἐπάγει λοιπὸν αὐτοὺς, καὶ ἐντεῦθεν εἰς τὴν πίστιν ἑαυτοῦ· οὐδὲ γὰρ ἔστησαν οἱ προφῆται φησὶν, εἰ μὴ ἦλθον ἐγὼ, ὅτι γὰρ ἐγώ εἰμι, δῆλον ἐξ ὧν μέχοις Ἰωάννου τοὺς προφήτας γενέσθαι· ἔτι δὲ καὶ ἐκ τῶν καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν ἁρπαζόντων τὴν πίστιν
τὴν εἰς ἐμέ. τὸ δὲ “ αὐτός ἐστιν Ἠλίας ὁ μέλλων ἔρχεσθαι δηλοῖ, ἐπειδήπερ ἀμφότεροι τούτου ἕνεκεν, λέγω δὴ τῆς τοῦ Χριστοῦ παρουσίας, κήρυκες ἐγένοντο, διὰ τοῦτο παρίσωσεν αὐτούς· καὶ γὰρ ὥσπερ ὁ Ἰωάννης πρόδρομος γέγονε τῆς πρώτης αὐτοῦ παρουσίας, οὕτως ὁ Ἠλίας τῆς δευτέρας ἔσται. οὐκ εἶπε δὲ ἁπλῶς, ὅτι οὗτος ἐστιν Ἠλίας, ἀλλ’ “εἰ θέλετε δέξασθαι·” τουτέστιν εἰ μετὰ εὐγνώμονος διανοίας προσέχετε τοῖς γινομενοις.

Eἰπῶν “ τινι δὲ ὁμοιώσω τὴν γενεὰν Ταύτην,” καὶ τὰ ἑξῆς, ἐδήλωσε διὰ τούτων ὅτι ἐναντίαν ἑκάτερος αὐτός τε καὶ Ἰωάννης ἦλθον ὁδόν· οἷον, εἰ τὴν νηστείαν καλὸν εἶναι νομίζωσιν Ἰουδαῖοι, ἔδει πείθεσθαι Ἰωάννῃ, καὶ ἀποδέχεσθαι αὐτὸν, καὶ πιστεύειν τοῖς ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ λεγομένοις· εἰ δὲ φορτικὸν ἡ νηστεία καὶ ἐπαχθὲς, οὐκοῦν ἔδει πείθεσθαι τῷ Κυρίῳ, καὶ πιστεύειν αὐτῷ τὴν ἐναντίαν ἐλθόντι, ὡς ἐκεῖνοι ἔλεγον αὐτὸν, φάγον καὶ οἰνοπότην. ὅμως οὖν καὶ ὁ δεσπότης ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς, τὸν σκληρὸν καὶ φιλόπονον βίον μετήρχετο, νηστεύων (??) ἡμέρας, οὐκ ἔχων ποῦ κεφαλὴν κλίνειν. πρὸς τούτοις δὲ ὁ μὲν Ἰωάννης οὐδὲν πλέον ἐπεδείξατο, πλὴν τοῦ βίου καὶ τῆς πολιτείας· σημεῖον δὲ οὐδὲ ἓν ἐποίησεν· ὁ δὲ δεσπότης ἡμῶν Χριστὸς, καὶ τὴν ἀπὸ τῶν σημείων καὶ τῶν θαυμάτων μαρτυρίαν εἶχε.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 27th, 2015, 2:36 pm

TWNT v1 p610 n4 cites Iren. IV,37.7

Against Heresies (Book IV, Chapter 37, sect. 7)
7. On this account, too, did the Lord assert that the kingdom of heaven was the portion of the violent; and He says, The violent take it by force; Matthew 11:12 that is, those who by strength and earnest striving are on the watch to snatch it away on the moment. On this account also Paul the Apostle says to the Corinthians, Do you not know, that they who run in a racecourse, do all indeed run, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain. Every one also who engages in the contest is temperate in all things: now these men [do it] that they may obtain a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. But I so run, not as uncertainty; I fight, not as one beating the air; but I make my body livid, and bring it into subjection, lest by any means, when preaching to others, I may myself be rendered a castaway. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 This able wrestler, therefore, exhorts us to the struggle for immortality, that we may be crowned, and may deem the crown precious, namely, that which is acquired by our struggle, but which does not encircle us of its own accord (sed non ultro coalitam).

source http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0103437.htm
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Ken M. Penner
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Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Ken M. Penner » January 27th, 2015, 3:28 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:TWNT v1 p610 n4 cites Iren. IV,37.7
Ha! That'll teach me to depend on Biblia Patristica rather than the work I contributed to myself: the "Ancient Literature" part of the Passage Guide in Logos:
Matt 11.12 references.png
From Logos 6 Passage Guide
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Ken M. Penner
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 27th, 2015, 4:03 pm

Ken M. Penner wrote:
Stirling Bartholomew wrote:TWNT v1 p610 n4 cites Iren. IV,37.7
Ha! That'll teach me to depend on Biblia Patristica rather than the work I contributed to myself: the "Ancient Literature" part of the Passage Guide in Logos:
Ken,

For some reason (general fuzziness on Patristics) I assumed erroneously that a text cited in TWNT would be a greek text. So I tried to back translate the english and find the passage in TLG. It didn't fly. The text wasn't there. The greek text of Irenaeus is fragmentary. The text cited is found in a Latin translation.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

Philip Arellond
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Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Philip Arellond » January 28th, 2015, 1:41 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:βασίλειαν δὲ οὐρανῶν καλεῖ, τὰ πνευματικὰ, ἢ εἰς Χριστὸν πίστις διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος, ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ βασιλεία ἐστὶν, ἥτις ἤρξατο ἀπὸ τοῦ κηρύγματος Ἰωάννου τοῦ ὑποδεικνύντος τὸν Χριστόν· αὕτη ἐστίν. οἱ δὲ βιαζόμενοι εἰσὶν οἱ τῇ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ ἀποταττόμενοι, καὶ τῷ παλαιῷ ἔθει.

Thanks very much Jonathan, Ken and Stirling. Is the above nameless quote from Cramer's Catenae Basil?
I don't think so, but I don't know. I haven't used Cramer all that much, I gave you the page images. You can find the introductory material and see if it helps. Look at Bruce Robertson's OCR site and search for "Cramer".
Jonathan Robie wrote:Thanks Jonathan for the xml links to Cramer'sGreek Catenae. I've downloaded them, but am not very up on xml. Is there a way to make a word processor display it without the command lines?
I'll send you a converted file. Is HTML good for you? What word processor do you use?

Jonathan Robie
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Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 28th, 2015, 3:40 pm

Philip Arellond wrote:it is difficult to find Greek versions of the the patristics online.
Go to Bruce Robertson's OCR site and search for "Migne".
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Philip Arellond
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Joined: July 13th, 2013, 3:54 pm

Re: Patristic Interpretations of Matt 11:12

Post by Philip Arellond » January 29th, 2015, 1:46 am

Philip Arellond wrote:
Jonathan Robie wrote:βασίλειαν δὲ οὐρανῶν καλεῖ, τὰ πνευματικὰ, ἢ εἰς Χριστὸν πίστις διὰ τοῦ βαπτίσματος, ἡ τοῦ Θεοῦ βασιλεία ἐστὶν, ἥτις ἤρξατο ἀπὸ τοῦ κηρύγματος Ἰωάννου τοῦ ὑποδεικνύντος τὸν Χριστόν· αὕτη ἐστίν. οἱ δὲ βιαζόμενοι εἰσὶν οἱ τῇ εἰδωλολατρείᾳ ἀποταττόμενοι, καὶ τῷ παλαιῷ ἔθει.


I'll send you a converted file. Is HTML good for you? What word processor do you use?
That would be wonderfully kind! I use Nisus Writer and when otherwise needed Libre Office. I just checked the macro's for Nisus Writer but there was nothing about xml.

Many blessings!

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