ἐν μὲν γὰρ ταῖς ἐπιστολαῖς αὐτοῦ οὐδὲ μνήμην τῆς οἰκείας προσηγορίας ποιεῖται, ἢ πρεσβύτερον ἑαυτὸν ὀνομάζει, οὐδαμοῦ δὲ ἀπόστολον οὐδ' εὐαγγελιστήν (Eusebius, Demonstratio evangelica 3.5.88) -> For in his epistles he doesn't even make mention of his own name — or simply calls himself "the elder," but nowhere "apostle" or "evangelist."

jlphillips

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Can anyone shed some light on this issue from Eusebius' Church History 3.5.88. In case the Greek below doesn't come through in my post, you can find the verse here: http://www.archive.org/stream/operaeusebius03euseuoft#page/182/mode/2up

ἐν μεν γαρ ταις επιστολαις αὐτου οὐδε μνημην της οἰκειας προσηγοριας ποιειται, ἠ πρεσβυτερον ἑαυτον ὀνομαζει, οὐδομου δε ἀποστολον, οὐδε ε͗υαγγελιστην·

My main question has to do with the clause beginning with the conjunction ἠ. Does this translate as "For, on the one hand, in his epistles neither does he make his name familiar, or else/except he calls himself presbyter, but nowhere apostle, nor evangelist"?

Or should it be "…neither does he make his name familiar, or call himself presbyter, and nowhere apostle, nor evangelist"?

The significance of this concerns the authorship of John's epistles in the Bible. The first translation supports Johannine authorship of 2 and 3 John. The second translation denies it.

Are both translations possible, making the conclusion about authorship dubious? Or is one correct and the other incorrect? If so, which is the correct translation? Thanks for your help!
« Last Edit: 29 Aug, 2013, 06:02:04 by billberg23 »


billberg23

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We've put the correct text (as required:  click on Rules at top of page) and the correct source in the title, and switched your post from English->Ancient Greek to Ancient Greek->English, where it belongs.

If Eusebius had intended your second meaning, he would have written οὔτε μνήμην τῆς οἰκείας προσηγορίας ποιεῖται οὔτε πρεσβύτερον ἑαυτὸν ὀνομάζει.  Your first interpretation is obviously the right one.  Furthermore, John does in fact call himself "the elder," in the first verse of both the second and third epistles.

Eusebius is a late and shaky source to use in any case.  He doesn't seem to realize that nobody called anyone an evangelist until the second century.  The fact that Eusebius thinks John wrote 2 and 3 John doesn't necessarily mean that John actually wrote 2 and 3 John!
« Last Edit: 29 Aug, 2013, 06:25:02 by billberg23 »



jlphillips

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Thanks for the help. Yeah, Eusebius is definitely not the best source for what happened two centuries earlier. Irenaeus (ca. 180) attributes 1 and 2 John to the apostle John. That's much better evidence. I was just confused by the Eusebius quote, because it seemed that he attributed the epistels to John there but elsewhere calls that into question, contradicting himself.


 

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