The Heartbreak of Greek Orthodox​ Christianity

There is a quote attributed to Albert Camus that I shared on Instagram recently. It reads, “There is no happiness if the things we believe in are different than the things we do.” It caught my attention because recently I shared a Daily Wire article by Matt Walsh on my Facebook and Twitter, Dear Christians, There Is One Thing Worse Than Being An Atheist. When I came across the article it reminded me of St. Ignatius’ words in 4:1 of his Epistle to the Magnesians, “Πρέπον οὖν ἐστὶν μὴ μόνον καλεῖσθαι Χριστιανούς, ἀλλὰ καὶ εἶναι,” which I translate as “It is fitting, therefore, to be not only called ‘Christians,’ but rather to be.”

As I come to the end of my second year at seminary, those above are what are on my mind: Greeks do not care about Greek Orthodox Christianity. They will marry outside the Church, stay out late at cultural events and miss Liturgy the next day. I wonder about these things as I study to be a priest. God didn’t call me to be a cultural curator, he called me to shepherd His flock.

So why is this on my mind? Well, I found out today that 12 teenagers have pulled out of my parish’s Oratorical Festival. With a week to go. And Sunday School attendance is so low that it has been requested to shut down Sunday School for the older kids. This is spitting in the face to the volunteers, the donators, and the Church. religous education isn’t important? The sad irony is that Oratory and Rhetoric are genuinely deeply embedded in authentic Greek culture—Christian and pagan. So just what culture it is now that Greeks have chosen over the culture and Faith of our ancestors I do not know, but it sure seems to be a type of secular Græco-American “functional atheism,” to borrow that last part from my Spiritual Father.

It truly breaks my heart and makes me question where I am called to serve. I believe in the living Faith of Christ, not a museum display cultural daycare centre. I just don’t understand lukewarmness—especially when it is that state which Christ says will cause Him to spit us out (Apocalypse 3:16), and especially in a Faith where our ancestors in the relatively recent past died for their Faith and fought for their freedom.

To end this and thus say goodnight, I say to those who would object, who would say with their words this that and the other thing; I say your actions betray your mouth. Further, the crestfallen state of the lukewarmness of Greek Orthodox Christians is intensely absurd in light of the words of Scripture, “οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ· πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ (Galatians 3:28).” But to know this one would actually have to read Scripture. We are dealing with people who have time to write nonsense for social media and essays for private Catholic schools but don’t know our Symbol of Faith in Greek nor English and have no time for the Church. We all pick our masters, and as Christ says, “Οὐδεὶς δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν· ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει, ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει. οὐ δύνασθε Θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ” (Matthew 6:24).

Book Announcement – Septuaginta: A Reader’s Edition

A few weeks ago I accidentally came across this on christianbook.com then shared in on the Nerdy Language Majors FB group, asking Ross if it was what I thought it was… for days my phone was getting updates on the thread I started! Looks like I’m not the only one excited about this. Well, here is the article William Ross said he was working on about the project. Great way to start the day.

Septuaginta &c.

I have been keeping a secret. Now it’s out.

For the last several years, I have been working alongside Gregory R. Lanier (RTS Orlando) to produce a “reader’s edition” of the entire Septuagint. And finally, it’s (almost) finished.

It’s been listed on ChristianBook and will be available in November.

You are probably familiar with the idea of a reader’s edition, which over the past ten years or so has grown in popularity. Although there are others on the market, I think the reader’s edition of the Hebrew Bible and of the New Testament by Hendrickson Publishers are the best out there in terms of quality and readability. That is a big reason that we went with Hendrickson ourselves (although there are others) and I dare say they are doing a great job.

The basic idea behind a reader’s edition is to provide an edition of the ancient text – in…

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Coming Soon(ish): Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint

Abrak K-J with some great news.

Words on the Word

From publisher Mohr Siebeck:

Edited by Eberhard Bons and Jan Joosten (Université de Strasbourg)

This large-scale collective and interdisciplinary project aims to produce a new research tool: a multi-volume dictionary providing an article of between two and ten pages (around 600 articles in all) for each important word or word group of the Septuagint. Filling an important gap in the fields of ancient philology and religious studies, the dictionary will be based on original research of the highest scientific level.

This project has benefitted from funding from the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (French Research National Agency), the Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme – Alsace (Strasbourg), the Melanchthon-Stiftung (Tübingen), and the Armin Schmitt Stiftung (Regensburg).

The first volume is projected to be published in 2018.

You can check out a lengthy PDF sample here, with a “Wordlist of the First Volume,” as well as some sample articles.

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Greek New Testaments: Spoiled for Choice!

Byzantine Text.

Larry Hurtado's Blog

Those who want to read the New Testament writings in Greek are now spoiled for choice, with several recent editions published.  Most recently, there is the edition just published mentioned earlier this week here, a project based in Tyndale House (Cambridge), edited by Dirk Jongkind.  A few years back now, there appeared the edition prepared under the auspices of the Society of Biblical Literature (edited by Michael Holmes, my posting on that edition here).  And, of course, there is also the most recent (28th) edition of what has become the standard hand-edition, the Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament (my posting here, and the edition’s home page here).

As indicated briefly in my earlier postings, each edition has its own character, layout, editorial policies, and intended uses.  The SBL edition and the brand-new Tyndale House edition both offer free digital forms.  The Nestle-Aland 28th edition can be read…

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Assessing NT students on translations of NT texts is a waste of time

The Patrologist

Asking New Testament students to provide a translation of a known (chapter/verse) NT text in an exam or exegetical paper is a waste of time. It tests nothing and it discriminates nothing.

Every student ought to be getting 90-100% on this part of an assessment anyway, because either:

  • they are smart enough to check any translation they do with several English versions and realise their errors beforehand
  • they are smart and a little unscrupulous and are just going to vary an existing English version anyway.
  • if it’s an exam situation, and it’s a set text, then all we are testing is their preparation, not their ability to read Greek.

Why are we even asking them to do translations anyway? They are unlikely to create a translation that is genuinely better or meaningfully different from the hyper-abundance of English versions already in existence. And, assuming that this is a paper and…

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When Even The Devil Cries: Postmodernism, Biology, Genitals, & Transphobia

Some people that I discuss things with just are unaware of how deep the Postmodern attack on the Logos is. And also how the proselytes of Postmodernism use identity politics to entrench their ideology within our laws. Pushing to the point where one will soon be committing a hate crime for something as innocuous as not wanting to perform oral sex on a biological male who suffers from Gender Dysphoria—regardless of whether or not the biological male who suffers from Gender Dysphoria has altered their gender expression to conform with their delusion.

The fact that a heterosexual biological male is more than likely not going to romantically pursue another biological male who believes himself in fact to be a female who’s outward gender expression appears as male is obvious at least to me. I simply included gender expression to elucidate just how crazy this all is.

For those in doubt and the rest who are unaware, I present the following to be watched and/or read in the order here:

12 December 2016 – Understanding Postmodernism: The 3 Stages to Today´s Insanity (Stephen Hicks)

21 March 2016 – No, I Don’t Have To Tell You I’m Trans Before Dating You – Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.

12 June 2017 – Apparently You’re ‘Deeply Transphobic’ If You Don’t Want To Sleep With A Trans Person

26 October 2016 – “No such thing as biological sex”

19 January 2017 – Trans women are not “biologically male” | Riley J. Dennis

19 March 2017 – Are genital preferences transphobic? | Riley J. Dennis

15 July 2017 – Transgender Activist: Men Should Find Us Attractive – Men Are Bigots? – Tucker Carlson

21 August 2017 – Genital Preferences: Totally OK, Not Transphobic! – Our society has completely gone off the rails; to put it one way, the same people who are offended by President Trump’s “grab ’em by the pussy” comments would be even more offended if he didn’t say it about trans-men who think they are women who don’t have vaginas. Or as the best line as found in the comments of this “Genital Preferences” video, which sum up the identity politics being used to legislate and enforce anti-Logos ideology, puts it:

“When your [sic] considered transphobic for not sucking dick.”
-Balls of Valhalla

The Schaff paradox

“ecclesiastical Greek and Latin”

The Patrologist

I usually give Philip Schaff a hard time, but let’s be honest – the ANF and NPNF series of translations (the former edited by Alexander Roberts and James Donaldson, the latter by Philip Schaff, and later with Henry Wace) – were amazing feats of translation and publishing for their times. They were, for the English speaking world, the Migne of their age, and animated with a little bit of the spirit of Migne, I would say. Let me quote from Schaff’s preface to the NPNF series 1:

My purpose is to furnish ministers and intelligent laymen who have no access to the original texts, or are not sufficiently familiar with ecclesiastical Greek and Latin, with a complete apparatus for the study of ancient Christianity. Whatever may be the estimate we put upon the opinions of the Fathers, their historical value is beyond all dispute. They are to this day and…

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John Wesley on the Biblical Languages

Against Bart Ehrman and JWs, many Orthodox are ill-equipped.

LXX Studies

John WesleyWith this post, I want to begin a series “X Christian from Church History on the Biblical Languages.” I often share these sorts of quotes with my seminary students, and I thought they might be helpful to others as well. These posts are intended to be short, mainly consisting of a quote, which can be rather long at times, with brief commentary from me to provide some context.

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