John 7:35 - the 'diaspora of the Greeks'

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Stephen Nelson
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Joined: April 28th, 2019, 1:51 pm

Re: John 7:35 - the 'diaspora of the Greeks'

Post by Stephen Nelson »

nathaniel j. erickson wrote: July 23rd, 2020, 1:36 pm
When you continue on with his quotation in the homily, it does not inherently inspire confidence that he has access to some great secret now lost to history:
What is, "the dispersion of the Gentiles"? The Jews gave this name to other nations, because they were everywhere scattered and mingled fearlessly with one another. And this reproach they themselves afterwards endured, for they too were a "dispersion." For of old all their nation was collected into one place, and you could not anywhere find a Jew, except in Palestine only; wherefore they called the Gentiles a "dispersion," reproaching them, and boasting concerning themselves.
Now, thanks to you citing Google Books' edition of 'Patrologiae cursus completus, series graeca', I can match that translation up with the Greek vorlage below:
Τί ἐστιν, Εἰς διασπορὰν τῶν Ἑλλήνων; Οὕτω τὰ ἔθνη ἐκάλουν οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι, διὰ τὸ πανταχοῦ διεσπάρθαι, καὶ ἀδεῶς ἀλλήλοις ἐπιμίγνυσθαι. Τοῦτο δὲ καὶ αὐτοὶ λοιπὸν τὸ ὄνεδιος ὑπέμειναν· διασπορὰ γὰρ ἦσαν καὶ αὐτοί. Τὸ γὰρ πααλαιὸν ἅπαν τὸ ἔθνος εἰς ἕν συνείλεκτο, καὶ οὐκ ἦν ἀλλαχοῦ Ἰουδαῖον εὑρεῖν, ἀλλ' ἢ ἐν Παλαιστίνῃ μένῃ. Πρὸς δὲ τοῦτο διασπορὰν τοὺς Ἕλληνας ἐκάλουν, ὀνειδίζοντες καὶ μεγαλαυχοῦντες ἐφ' ἑαυτοῖς.
Stephen Nelson
Posts: 78
Joined: April 28th, 2019, 1:51 pm

Re: John 7:35 - the 'diaspora of the Greeks'

Post by Stephen Nelson »

nathaniel j. erickson wrote: July 23rd, 2020, 1:36 pm
I would be curious if there is any other evidence of such an understanding of "dispersion" among the Jews? [...] There is a lot of usage of διασπορά in the LXX with reference to the Jewish dispersion, including in Judith and 2 Mac. While these uses, as you point out, are often accompanied by a genitive phrase specifying the nation, such as "τοῦ Ισραηλ", they would seem to add weight against Chrysostom's claim that the Jews did not refer to themselves with διασπορά. Rather, they seem to have been in the habit of calling Jews not living in Palestine "the diaspora." [...]
Now does this possible connect back to the 2 other NT references to 'diaspora' from the epistles? When the authors address Christian cities as 'foreigners of the diaspora' and 'the twelve tribes in the diaspora', are these merely geographical implications? Or is there an ethnic component, since they were mixed Jewish/Gentile congregations (addressing the Jews primarily)? Or does it illustrate some kind of replacement theology - i.e. 'the Church' = 'the new Israel' (the 10 lost tribes united with 2 tribes of Judah)?

1 Peter 1:1

Πέτρος ἀπόστολος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐκλεκτοῖς *παρεπιδήμοις διασπορᾶς Πόντου, Γαλατίας, Καππαδοκίας, Ἀσίας, καὶ Βιθυνίας,

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the elect *sojourners of the diaspora, of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

cf. Hebrews 11:13 -

Κατὰ πίστιν ἀπέθανον οὗτοι πάντες, μὴ λαβόντες τὰς ἐπαγγελίας, ἀλλὰ πόρρωθεν αὐτὰς ἰδόντες καὶ ἀσπασάμενοι, καὶ ὁμολογήσαντες ὅτι ξένοι καὶ *παρεπίδημοί εἰσιν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.

All these died in faith, without receiving the promises, but having seen them and having welcomed them from a distance, and having confessed that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

*παρεπίδημοί - often interpreted above as "foreigners seeking a heavenly homeland”

James 1:1

Ἰάκωβος θεοῦ καὶ κυρίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ δοῦλος ταῖς δώδεκα φυλαῖς ταῖς ἐν τῇ διασπορᾷ χαίρειν.
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the diaspora: Greetings.

I'm not normally in the practice of running from the Gospels to Peter, side-tracking to Hebrews and ending in James, hoping to find some unifying thesis. But I have to grasp at straws when there are only 3 occurrences of the word "diaspora". And it seems like the authors of 1 Peter and James probably have the same thing in mind - whatever that may be.

This brings me back to my question that I'm suspect most people are skipping over:
Stephen Nelson wrote: July 22nd, 2020, 12:06 pm

Adam Clarke's Commentary on John-Romans, 1800s
Others suppose that the Gentile themselves are meant-others, that the ten tribes which had been long lost are here intended.
Clarke doesn't say who exactly (in the early 19th century) subscribed to the latter interpretation. The implication is that the 'diaspora of the Greeks' was actually 'the Northern Israelite diaspora' ('the lost sheep of the House of Israel'), scattered among 'the nations/Gentiles' and prophesied to be re-gathered as part of the restoration of all Israel - cf. James 1:1 & Peter 1:1.
I would very much like to know what people Clarke was referring to...

There are certain groups of people today (not naming names) who strictly adhere to this interpretation of John 7:35 - 'diaspora of Greeks' = 'the Greeks' = 'the 10 lost tribes of the house of Israel'.

And these exegetes read the exact same meaning into the other 2 references to 'diaspora' - in 1 Peter and James, as the latter directly addresses 'the twelve tribes in the diaspora'. Presumably, this can't possible imply a literal sense - that refugees of the Assyrian dispersion of Northern Israel were 'sojourners of the Diaspora'. But perhaps there is a valid reading of this as the new Israel's 'spiritual diaspora' - ἡ διασπορὰ τῶν ψυχῶν (Origin) vs διασπορὰ ψυχικῆς (Philo) - in the minds of Peter and James (so-called).

Aside from looking into a crystal ball to figure out whom Clarke was referring to exactly. Perhaps, someone could suggest further reading on this somewhat obscure topic?

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