The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by GakuseiDon »

Chris Hansen wrote: Mon Jun 13, 2022 5:03 am Not really going to weigh in much here, but as a note, I use she/her pronouns (I know it is confusing with my legal name not changed yet).
Oops! Apologies, I'll make sure to use the right ones in future.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by GakuseiDon »

MrMacSon wrote: Sat Jun 11, 2022 7:17 pm
GakuseiDon wrote: Sat Jun 11, 2022 6:34 pm
(3) On Tertullian:
MrMacSon wrote: Sat Jun 11, 2022 4:29 pm
You have to contend with Tertullian

Tertullian considered Romans 1:3, Galatians 4:4 and more on seed/s in De Carne Christi / On the Flesh of Christ


20 ... Paul too imposes silence on these teachers of grammar: God, he says, sent his Son, made of a woman [Gal 4:4]. Does he say 'by a woman' or 'in a woman'? His language is indeed the more accurate in that he says 'made' in preference to 'born'. For it would have been simpler to pronounce that he was born: yet by saying 'made' he has both set his seal on 'The Word was made flesh' [John 1:14], and has asserted the verity of the flesh made of the Virgin. ...

https://www.tertullian.org/articles/eva ... _04eng.htm

Easy. How about: Tertullian was right?
  • So why are you posting so much obscure crap?
Here is what I see Tertullian saying: Paul (according to my reading of Tertullian) could have used "gimonai" or the more specific "gennao" to show that Jesus was born from the Virgin Mary, but decided to use "gimonai" in order to make a theological point. For all I know, Tertullian was correct.

Either way, Tertullian shows that he reads Paul as meaning "born".

What do you think Tertullian is saying?
Last edited by GakuseiDon on Tue Jun 14, 2022 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
davidmartin
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by davidmartin »

or Paul is reluctant to elaborate and uses the most anodyne term possible... with no details because he doesn't want to go there or talk about anything except the cross when it comes to the life of Jesus, yet he had to have been born with a brief nod to genealogy
the moment there is conviction that Jesus was the pre-existent Christ from his birth, these details assume great importance that his gospel lacks
it makes me wonder if he taught the pre-existent Christ didn't become Jesus until Jesus was on the cross or that only the resurrected Jesus was the Christ, then it doesn't matter who gave birth to him or if it was miraculous
But if that was what he taught it didn't become orthodoxy, even though his writings feature heavily in it?
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GakuseiDon
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by GakuseiDon »

davidmartin wrote: Tue Jun 14, 2022 5:26 pm or Paul is reluctant to elaborate and uses the most anodyne term possible...
It may be the opposite of anodyne. McMacSon earlier in this thread kindly provided Philo's use of "gimonai" with reference to the birth of Moses, and they are translated with single quotes: 'base-born' and 'yet born':

* "A certain 'base-born' man, the child of an unequal marriage"
* "the holiest of men ever 'yet born'"

So, "gimonai" means "born", but its use may suggest something beyond ordinary birth. E.g. used of great figures appearing in the world.

Personally I think it is a literary choice by Paul. Gal 4:4 is:

But when the fulness of the time was come [erchomai], God sent forth his Son, made [gimonai] of a woman, made [gimonai] under the law,

Erchomai is translated as "to appear, make one's appearance, come before the public" and "to come into being, arise, come forth, show itself, find place or influence". Now, I know nothing about ancient Greek, but as "erchomai" has a very similar meaning to "gimonai", I wonder if it might have had a resonance for ancient people for the pair to be used together in this way.
davidmartin
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by davidmartin »

that's a great find, i agree it looks like the use of this word could possibly imply the birth of a great figure but i too lack knowledge of Greek!
in the case of Paul though i would hesitate to assume he means that, in Galatians Jesus is described as born under the law like the other slaves to it. It's not very flattering. This would have been a perfect opportunity for Paul to praise the greatness of his earthly life and birth but i'm not sure he ever really does anywhere - if he had then it would be more convincing he uses gimonai as a way to do this
I connect Paul with an aversion to the earthly life of Jesus and his use of gimonai seems to fits that pattern, there's never a hint in Paul Jesus has a miraculous birth or he would have used parthenos surely
Look at it this way, the duality between faith and law, why shouldn't Paul see a similar duality between Christ and the earthly Jesus? It's Paul that gives me the idea that he does, that's what it looks like. The latter passes away, it's job done - the former is the heavenly saviour. But by logical deduction, if there is a historical Jesus then Paul has to be re-stating key elements from a previous understanding, one that was based far more on the earthly figure since they followed him, knew what he did and said. Paul is coming in later and reframing things as part of a 'phase #2' of the movement
Chris Hansen
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by Chris Hansen »

I also think it is probably by literary choice. I would note that in the texts I found elsewhere, ginomai as used for birth in Josephus and Greco-Roman sources is not being applied to stellar or non-ordinary people. My guess is that the words for birth were probably somewhat interchangeable, but that ginomai was just less common, perhaps as a more formal or complicated manner of saying it, similar to when we say "she had a child", or "she brought forth a child." The "made" (ginomai) is just an idiomatic way of saying "born" as we do elsewhere. Thus, if we read it in context of people, the maening is just obvious: it means they were born physically, same as we would mean "she had a child" means they were born.

Hence in Josephus, there is actually a passage I pointed out where ginomai and gennao are used interchangeably:
Ἕβερος δὲ τετάρτῳ καὶ τριακοστῷ πρὸς τοῖς ἑκατὸν γεννᾷ Φάλεγον γεννηθεὶς αὐτὸς ὑπὸ Σέλου τριακοστὸν ἔτος ἔχοντος καὶ ἑκατοστόν, ὃν Ἀρφάξαδος ἐτέκνωσε κατὰ πέμπτον καὶ τριακοστὸν ἔτος πρὸς τοῖς ἑκατόν: Σημᾷ δὲ υἱὸς Ἀρφαξάδης ἦν μετὰ ἔτη δώδεκα τῆς ἐπομβρίας γενόμενος.
Here we find that Arphaxad was born (γενόμενος) twelve (δώδεκα) years after the flood (ἐπομβρίας) to Shem. Now in the same passage, we also find that γεννηθεὶς is used for birth in the same passage. To say that this person Arphaxad "was made" makes no sense. It means he was the child of Shem, he was born twelve years after the flood is what we are to understand, because we know this account is talking of the generations after the flood, and it means birth, as noted by the previous usage γεννηθεὶς.

Thus, γεννηθεὶς and γενόμενος are interchangeable terms in this passage, both indicating birth, and neither having a particularly special quality that I can detect. Given this, I see no reason to suppose that Paul had some special "made of" meaning or anything. He is just using a synonym for gennao, albeit a less common one.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by GakuseiDon »

Chris Hansen wrote: Wed Jun 15, 2022 5:38 am I also think it is probably by literary choice. I would note that in the texts I found elsewhere, ginomai as used for birth in Josephus and Greco-Roman sources is not being applied to stellar or non-ordinary people. My guess is that the words for birth were probably somewhat interchangeable, but that ginomai was just less common, perhaps as a more formal or complicated manner of saying it, similar to when we say "she had a child", or "she brought forth a child." The "made" (ginomai) is just an idiomatic way of saying "born" as we do elsewhere. Thus, if we read it in context of people, the maening is just obvious: it means they were born physically, same as we would mean "she had a child" means they were born.

Hence in Josephus, there is actually a passage I pointed out where ginomai and gennao are used interchangeably:
Ἕβερος δὲ τετάρτῳ καὶ τριακοστῷ πρὸς τοῖς ἑκατὸν γεννᾷ Φάλεγον γεννηθεὶς αὐτὸς ὑπὸ Σέλου τριακοστὸν ἔτος ἔχοντος καὶ ἑκατοστόν, ὃν Ἀρφάξαδος ἐτέκνωσε κατὰ πέμπτον καὶ τριακοστὸν ἔτος πρὸς τοῖς ἑκατόν: Σημᾷ δὲ υἱὸς Ἀρφαξάδης ἦν μετὰ ἔτη δώδεκα τῆς ἐπομβρίας γενόμενος.
Here we find that Arphaxad was born (γενόμενος) twelve (δώδεκα) years after the flood (ἐπομβρίας) to Shem. Now in the same passage, we also find that γεννηθεὶς is used for birth in the same passage. To say that this person Arphaxad "was made" makes no sense. It means he was the child of Shem, he was born twelve years after the flood is what we are to understand, because we know this account is talking of the generations after the flood, and it means birth, as noted by the previous usage γεννηθεὶς.

Thus, γεννηθεὶς and γενόμενος are interchangeable terms in this passage, both indicating birth, and neither having a particularly special quality that I can detect. Given this, I see no reason to suppose that Paul had some special "made of" meaning or anything. He is just using a synonym for gennao, albeit a less common one.
Looking at the examples, I wonder if its use is less about WHO was being born (which I suggested earlier), but rather WHEN they were born. In English we can find "our new baby has arrived!" announcements, and buy "baby arrival gifts" on-line. People will say "after the baby arrived, life was never the same."

So, to go back to the OP examples, and inserting my own translation of "arrived" (I have absolutely no knowledge of ancient Greek so this is just a thought experiment!):

Rom 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, having been separated to the good news of God 2 which He announced before through His prophets in holy writings 3 concerning His Son, arrived of the seed of David according to the flesh

And Gal 4:4:

4 But when the fullness of the time arrived [erchomai], God sent forth his Son, arrived [gimonai] of a woman, arrived [gimonai] under the law,

Thus also the examples of "gimonai" in Josephus and Philo for Arphaxad and Moses respectively. It's a literary device that points towards some event, much like we use "baby arrival" in various ways.

(Just to repeat: I have no knowledge of ancient Greek, and I'm not suggesting "arrival" as a translation. The above is a thought experiment utilizing an English expression as an example of what might be happening in an ancient language I know nothing about.)
Chris Hansen
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by Chris Hansen »

Hmmm, that is actually a really interesting suggestion. One thing I've been toying with is that it had to do with discussion in terms of generation, but actually your suggestion makes a bit more sense than that. I'll have to mull that one over.

Regardless, the meaning is clear, it is idiomatic for physical human birth.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by GakuseiDon »

I was looking at the use of "seed" and "come/erchomai" in the NT. There are lots of examples of both, but I found the following ones interesting:

John 7:42 Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh [erchomai] of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?

Mat 11:3 And said unto him, Art thou he that should come [erchomai], or do we look for another?

1 Cor 4:5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come [erchomai]...

Gal 3:16 Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made...
19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come [erchomai] to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.


Compare with:

Gal 4:4 But when the fullness of the time was come [erchomai], God sent forth his Son, made [ginomai] of a woman, made [ginomai] under the law,

Rom 1:3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made [ginomai] of the seed of David according to the flesh;


It highlights how the words were used in the NT, i.e. the consistency of the expressions within the Gospels and the epistles.
Last edited by GakuseiDon on Fri Jun 17, 2022 6:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
ABuddhist
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Re: The Seed in Romans 1:3 and Elsewhere

Post by ABuddhist »

Chris Hansen wrote: Fri Jun 17, 2022 7:17 am Hmmm, that is actually a really interesting suggestion. One thing I've been toying with is that it had to do with discussion in terms of generation, but actually your suggestion makes a bit more sense than that. I'll have to mull that one over.

Regardless, the meaning is clear, it is idiomatic for physical human birth.
I hope that this is not an inappropriate interjection, but what are your thoughts about the idea that Romans 1:3 was interpolated later, perhaps in order to refute docetism?

A. D. Howell Smith, on page 135 of Jesus Not A Myth (1942), wrote, "The phrase “born of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Rom. i, 3) may well be an interpolation, as it is part of a long, clumsy sentence, which is suspiciously overloaded with phrases that seem to be dragged in for polemic purposes. . . . ."

Alfred Loisy (1935) makes a passing reference to Romans 1:3-4 being a likely interpolation in Remarques sur la littérature épistolaire du Nouveau Testament, p. 9. These lines are anomalous padding within a standard introduction.

J. C. O’Neill in Paul’s Letter to the Romans (1975) published a detailed argument for why we should consider all of verses 1b to 5a as an interpolation.
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