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See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 4:40 pm
by sestir
If I may troll a little...

ἴδετε (π)ηλἰκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα τῆ ἐμῆ χειρί
see how ____ you letters write my own hand

Case 1: (unlikely)
Suppose it is letters as in messages on pieces of papyrus. Explanation A: Paul wrote several long and emotional letters to the Galatians, of which only the last was preserved. Problem: Then, why does it seem like he used a scribe for most letters while here it says he writes them with his own hand? Maybe Paul was more comfortable writing semitic languages in square script. So he did that at the beginning but changed to Greek when more Greek-speakers joined the ecclesia?

Case 2:
Suppose it is letters as in A/alpha/aleph/alap. Then it would say nothing about how many letters he sent to the Galatians and we would have three explanations. Explanation A: He was visually impaired and needed to write the whole epistle with large characters. Explanation B: He still used a scribe but had to sign it with large letters so he could see them. Explanation C: He expressed confidence in his understanding of the law- and circumcision issues by writing very long tails on the lamed-letters.

I picked some of the cases from here:
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-arch ... 22918.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I have a faint memory of reading that uncial greek manuscripts had two guiding lines and that the scribe tried to make all characters the same height by fitting them between the lines, but all I can find now is this from Wikipedia:
The uncial letters were a consistent height between the baseline and the cap height, while the minuscule letters had ascenders and descenders that moved past the baseline and cap height. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_manuscript" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
That should make it hard to express emotions by letter-size. Are there any more explanations? Is 2C likely? If it is, it would totally explain the different vocabulary in Galatians, when compared to Paul's other letters, most of which should have been written in Greek.

Re: See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 5:14 pm
by Swalchy
If I may troll a little...
Hardly trolling when it's an genuine question :)
ἴδετε (π)ηλἰκοις ὑμῖν γράμμασιν ἔγραψα τῆ ἐμῆ χειρί
see how ____ you letters write my own hand

Case 1: (unlikely)
Suppose it is letters as in messages on pieces of papyrus. Explanation A: Paul wrote several long and emotional letters to the Galatians, of which only the last was preserved. Problem: Then, why does it seem like he used a scribe for most letters while here it says he writes them with his own hand? Maybe Paul was more comfortable writing semitic languages in square script. So he did that at the beginning but changed to Greek when more Greek-speakers joined the ecclesia?

Case 2:
Suppose it is letters as in A/alpha/aleph/alap. Then it would say nothing about how many letters he sent to the Galatians and we would have three explanations. Explanation A: He was visually impaired and needed to write the whole epistle with large characters. Explanation B: He still used a scribe but had to sign it with large letters so he could see them. Explanation C: He expressed confidence in his understanding of the law- and circumcision issues by writing very long tails on the lamed-letters.

I picked some of the cases from here:
http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/test-arch ... 22918.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Unfortunately, there are more than a few things wrong with Ben's reply to Rick there on B-Greek. Just to pick out a few sentences:

The standard explanation is that Paul was using an amanuensis, and took the pen into his own hand just to do the final salutation in his own handwriting.
As there's no mention of an amanuensis (I do believe that the only letter to even mention that someone was writing it is Romans (16:22)), this "standard explanation" has no basis in fact

His problems with his eyesight (since his experience on the Damascus Road) meant that he had to write with large letters in order to be able to re-read what he had just written.
In absolutely no place does Paul ever state that he has problems with his eyesight. Acts is also pretty clear that Paul's eyes were healed (Acts 9:18). Due to the fact that people accept Galatians as a genuine Pauline letter, they have to make stuff up in order to make sense of statements such as the one Ben now points to:

The Galatians knew of this problem; "for I bear you witness, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and would have given them to me" (Galatians 4:15).
It appears to only be the "Galatians" who knew of this problem - no one else seems to have known (not even Paul himself! :))

There was also a problem with forged letters supposedly written by Paul
Ben then ironically goes on to point to 2 Thessalonians, a letter which most scholars accept as forged. There are only two "scholarly accepted" letters that include a final "written greeting"; those being Galatians and 1 Corinthians (1 Cor 16:21), and neither of them are a like. In the "scholarly accepted" letters, Paul doesn't appear to have any knowledge of forged letters in his name.

So Paul took to autographing the final salutation in his own hand
Two out of five does not a pattern make! :)

Ben gives the "standard explanations" that scholars have to try and argue for, mainly due to the letter to the Galatians, which contradicts pretty much everything Acts and even other "scholarly accepted" letters state concerning the person of Paul.

As far as I'm concerned, Paul didn't write a single word of Galatians. The entire sentence of Gal 6:11 makes absolutely no sense, but I get the impression that the author isn't talking of "letters" as in "epistles" - The Greek επιστολη is usually employed when referring to "letters" as in composed messages. The Greek γραμμα is used more to refer to individual letters of the alphabet (Case 2 above).
I have a faint memory of reading that Uncial Greek manuscripts had two guiding lines and that the scribe tried to make all characters the same height by fitting them between the lines, but all I can find now is this from Wikipedia
It depends on what they were writing on. If they were writing on Papyrus, in order to make pages from papyrus reeds, you literally had to make "lines" of them, one side with the lines going left to right, and one side going top to bottom. You'd then glue to the two sides together. The "recto" side of a Papyrus page would then have horizontal lines that you could write the letters in between. The "verso" side of a Papyrus page would have vertical lines, which would help with the spaces between the letters, but not the height. Horizontal lines were then usually made by lightly taking a knife and "scoring" the lines across in order to help with writing the letters - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus#M ... re_and_use" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

For things like Parchment, I'm pretty sure they just scored the lines across using a knife to help with letter height.
That should make it hard to express emotions by letter-size. Are there any more explanations? Is 2C likely? If it is, it would totally explain the different vocabulary in Galatians, when compared to Paul's other letters, most of which should have been written in Greek.
Well, yes, there are other explanations: mainly that Paul didn't write Galatians :P

There really is absolutely no evidence that Paul was visually impaired and so needed to write anything in large letters.

The one and only other explanation that could be given if we take Galatians to a letter of Paul is that by using "large letters", he is indicating his superiority and/or frustration with the Galatians, and is so being big and bold so that they take notice.

Re: See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 6:49 pm
by sestir
Wow, that was a really quick reply!
Ben then ironically goes on to point to 2 Thessalonians, a letter which most scholars accept as forged.
Do you think it was forged?
It is fine to stay undecided because one should not set an opinion in stone or in a rush.

In 2 Cor 12:7, he (or a forger?) writes:
and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary, that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted overmuch (YLT)
This is, in my opinion, an indication that Paul suffered from something.

It seems πηλίκοις / ἥλικοις has uncertain meaning. In the Gothic, it was translated to "hwileikaim" which is suspiciously similar to old Nordic "hvilikin" which became "vilken", today meaning "which" or "such".

See, such characters my own hands write to you!

Re: See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Thu May 01, 2014 8:17 pm
by Swalchy
Wow, that was a really quick reply!
I obviously have nothing better to do :P
Do you think it was forged?
It is fine to stay undecided because one should not set an opinion in stone or in a rush.
Personally I don't think that 2 Thess is a forged letter. But then, my opinions are very much in contrast to the current scholarly consensus, which only accepts the following:

Undoubtedly Pauline letters: Galatians, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians;
Most probably Pauline (but still some doubters): Philippians, Philemon, 1 Thessalonians;
Quite possibly Pauline (quite a few doubters): Colossians;
Probably not Pauline, but from someone from his "school" (lots of doubters as to their authenticity): Ephessians, 2 Thessalonians;
Definitely not Pauline (although still have a few supports of authenticity): 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus
In 2 Cor 12:7, he (or a forger?) writes:
and that by the exceeding greatness of the revelations I might not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of the Adversary, that he might buffet me, that I might not be exalted overmuch (YLT)
This is, in my opinion, an indication that Paul suffered from something.
If we take 2 Cor as a definite Pauline letter, is there any indication here that the "thorn in the flesh" that Paul suffered from, was necessarily disease like (or in some others ridiculous opinion, actual demon possession on Paul's part)?

If we look at the uses of "thorn in the flesh/sides", those which the readers of this letter would know about, I don't think we can conclude that Paul is talking of a disease of sorts:

Numbers 33:55
But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you, then those of them whom you let remain shall be as barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, and they shall trouble you in the land where you dwell.

Joshua 23:13
know for certain that Yahweh your God will no longer drive out these nations before you, but they shall be a snare and a trap for you, a whip on your sides and thorns in your eyes, until you perish from off this good ground that Yahweh your God has given you.

Judges 2:3
So now I say, I will not drive them out before you, but they shall become thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare to you.”

Ezekiel 28:24
And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am Yahweh God.

From these we can see that "thorns" in peoples sides/lives are indicative of other people, not other things such as diseases or demon possession. We know from Acts that Paul's main bode of contention was other people, so for him to use "thorns in the flesh" to me indicate a person, not anything else.

The main issue comes from the fact that there are other letters of Paul to look at, which can usually hinder judgement.

If Galatians didn't exist, for instance, and only 2 Corinthians existed, would anyone really think that when Paul says "thorn in the flesh", that he was indicating that he suffered from a disease or illness? I say that we wouldn't. The reason people believe that Paul is referring to a disease or eye-illness here is all due to the sentence in Gal 4:11. However, nowhere else does Paul even hint that he suffered from a disease or illness.

In fact, in the corinthian letter, Paul gives a good list of what he "suffered" from:

2 Cor 11:23-28
I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Yahuwdeans the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.

Oddly enough? No mention of an illness :)
It seems πηλίκοις / ἥλικοις has uncertain meaning. In the Gothic, it was translated to "hwileikaim" which is suspiciously similar to old Nordic "hvilikin" which became "vilken", today meaning "which" or "such".

See, such characters my own hands write to you!
That bodes in well with the meaning of "great" or "important" as the meaning of πηλίκοις / ἥλικοις, "Look at how important the letters are that I write to you in my own hand!"

Re: See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Fri May 02, 2014 4:16 pm
by sestir
Nice analysis of 'thorn in the flesh'!

Paul must have been really famous since there were so many people forging letters from him. I think it is a bit naive to think he managed to find so many people who were willing to forge his letters. I suspect he might have written some of them himself. :D

Re: See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Fri May 02, 2014 4:26 pm
by Swalchy
I most certainly agree, sestir.

Whilst I don't contend that there were forged letters in Paul's name (a most famous one is the forged letter known as "3 Corinthians"), for them to be so many according to scholars is, quite frankly, ludicrous.

Especially as they don't apply the same critique they do to certain letters (Pastorals, Ephesians, 2 Thessalonians) to others (Galatians, Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians). Many of the arguments used to determine that the Pastorals and Ephesians are forgeries can be applied to the "universally accepted" lot - I go through quite a few of them in TGGD, where I note the reasons as to why I conclude that Galatians is a forged Pauline letter - Link

Re: See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Sat May 03, 2014 4:54 pm
by sestir
That is an impressive write-up.
I think it is sound to question the books of the traditional canon from time to time and I can find this kind of reports interesting to read. It looks like it is an entry in a great debate, but I wonder where that debate came from and where it continues.

When I read it a year ago I thought I would not comment on it, both because I am no expert on the transmission of ancient texts, and because it appeared to me "The Great Galatians Debate" was written under influence of strong emotions, maybe in a haste. However since you keep linking to it, maybe some feedback would not be amiss.

The second paragraph begins:
When one reads a translation of Sha’uwl/Paul’s alleged letter to the ‘Galatians’, there is but only one conclusion that can be grasped from its words: Galatians is a treatise against following the Torah of Yahuweh; a homily that seeks to separate the Torah from the Messiah Yahushua (incorrectly referred to as Jesus Christ); a theological document attempting to show that the Torah is worthless and is in fact something that enslaves us. The letter to the ‘Galatians’ is therefore the foundation of the religion of Christianity, for with Galatians, Christians have their “Scriptural Authority” for completely disregarding Yahuweh and his instructions as outlined in the Torah, and so this is a severe problem, for this goes against Yahuweh.
This would better reflect the spirit of the letter if rewritten:
When one reads a translation of Sha'uwl's/Paul's alleged letter to the 'Galatians', one theme stand out as the main conclusion: Galatians tries to walk a fine balance between showing zeal for, and appreciation of the Torah of Yahuweh, and on the other hand, convincingly lay out the reasons to why we all need to leave this law behind as we take our next step in our walk of faith. (Gal 3:23-25) The letter to the 'Galatians' can be seen as the start of Christianity, for with Galatians, Christians have their "Scriptual Authority" for a share in the promise that Yahuweh gave to Abraham, all summed up and explained in a few chapters.
I had better wait arguing that the letter to the Galatians was really written by Paul until people have convinced themselves that it is in harmony with the other scriptures of the bible.

But as we mentioned a possible semitic origin in this thread, what if the αραβιαν mentioned in 1:17 is a half-transcription of לערב and means 'steppe' instead of 'Arabia'? Or what if it misunderstood הלכתי בערב 'I went in the evening', or something like that, because the real Arabs are mentioned in 4:25?

Re: See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Sat May 03, 2014 8:16 pm
by Swalchy
I had better wait arguing that the letter to the Galatians was really written by Paul until people have convinced themselves that it is in harmony with the other scriptures of the bible.
I'll leave the topic of whether Gal is Pauline or not for a different thread (or possibly through email if you want to send us your thoughts via that medium :)), and for the sake of argument for this thread we'll assume that Gal is Pauline.
But as we mentioned a possible semitic origin in this thread, what if the αραβιαν mentioned in 1:17 is a half-transcription of לערב and means 'steppe' instead of 'Arabia'? Or what if it misunderstood הלכתי בערב 'I went in the evening', or something like that, because the real Arabs are mentioned in 4:25?
I would argue that no Pauline epistle has a "semitic origin"; whilst they may contain semitisims, this doesn't mean that the Greek is a translation of such semitisms, just that is how the author wrote/spoke the language in question.

One can tell from my posts that I'm a native English speaker and writer. Someone who's studied English literature and writing in general would also be able to determine which country I came from, and what part of that country I lived in due to how I write; probably based on sentence structure, and also the words employed in the sentence, especially if there's any local colloquialisms used.

The thought process in Gal 1:17 actually goes back through to v15 (and technically, all the way back to v1 from the "not from men nor through man"), and it is quite clear that the Author of Gal. is making it known that what he's told and is telling the Galatians isn't based on human teaching or tradition, but straight from the mouth of God himself (v15-16).

I don't think the sentence from "nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus" to "nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away in the evening, and returned again to Damascus" would make much sense in the meaning of the paragraph, where the Author of Gal. is trying to distance himself from any human contact with his divine revelations - a trip to a desert would be a good thing to note :)

Re: See how long/large/tall letters .. Gal 6:11

Posted: Sun May 04, 2014 2:30 pm
by sestir
Thanks for your insight on these verses in Galatians! It is good to get feedback from more experienced people before teaching or writing on a subject.