Best Weekly Footnote of the Year for the Day

As a student, I read a lot of footnotes. In the course of attempting to mark out various research trajectories, I am pondering the possibility of becoming a footnote connoisseur. I love footnotes, and I particularly love footnotes in my literature. So I was pleased to find that Jorge Luis Borges employs footnotes four times in his marvelously enjoyable short story “La biblioteca de Babel” (The Library of Babel). The following is from the edition of his Ficciones published by Bristol Classical Press in 1999 (p. 52). The English translation is by Anthony Kerrigan in the edition of Ficciones published in Grove Press in Everyman’s Library 166 (p. 64).

First Borges:

Lo repito: basta que un libro sea posible para que exista. Sólo está excluido lo imposible. Por ejemplo: ningún libro es también una escalera, aunque sin duda hay libros que discuten y niegan y demuestran esa posibilidad y otros cuya estructura corresponde a la de una escalera.

Then Kerrigan’s translation:

I repeat: it is enough that a book be possible for it to exist. Only the impossible is excluded. For example: no book is also a stairway, though doubtless there are books that discuss and deny and demonstrate this possibility and others whose structure corresponds to that of a stairway.

1 Corinthians 4.6–13

Having just written that he has not found anything of which he counts himself guilty but that he is not thereby innocent, Paul deepens the quest to apply his analysis of the cross to his own ministry as an example for the Corinthians in 1 Cor 4.6–13. He writes that he has applied what he has written to himself and to Apollo on account of the Corinthians. However, Paul does not simply state that this is a finished project or that he and Apollo have thus “arrived” as apostles. This would run counter to what he had just written in the previous verses. The precise meaning of μετεσχημάτισα (ESV: I have applied) has proved to be difficult to pin down precisely in the history of interpretation. Paul seems to say that he has applied what he has written but that he has not done this in a final way. This recognition may substantiate Thiselton’s translation, “I have allusively applied.”

The significance of “not beyond what has been written” is another difficult phrase to pin down. Perhaps this should be understood in light of all the talk of Corinthian knowledge or against an Old Testament background. However, in positive terms the phrase may also be understood as a reference to the cross in light of what follows in 4.8–13. Whatever precisely τὸ μὴ ὑπὲρ ἃ γέγραπται refers to, what Paul has said throughout 1.10–4.5 and will continue to say through at least 4.21 should lead readers to recognize that what does not puff us up with pride is the cross. The Corinthians have received everything that they have as a gift (4.7).

In light of this, Paul writes somewhat extensively about his place as an apostle. Where the Corinthians are already wealthy kings and queens (sarcasm?), Paul thinks that God has appointed his apostles to the lowest rungs of society. Where the Corinthians are wise and strong,the apostles are dishonored and weak fools. Paul has thus been hungry, thirsty, naked, and generally treated as the scum of the world. Of course, this is not the only time that Paul mentions his difficulties. In a later letter to the Corinthians, Paul speaks in more detail about his beatings and prison terms (2 Cor 11.24ff). In an even later letter to the church at Corinth, the Roman church knows of Paul’s difficulties as well (1 Clem. 5.5–7).

One of the unifying problems which each of these letters addresses is that of division. Suffering and humiliation assists in unity by discouraging the assertion of oneself over the other. This is not to say that suffering brings unity, just that it can help. Yet Paul is not arguing that the Corinthians should look to be imprisoned and beaten. Rather, they are to follow Jesus’ example on the cross. This brings us to the fittingness of Thiselton’s subtitle for this section: The Cross as Critique of Triumphalism and of Present Eschatological Glorying. Jesus inaugurated God’s eschatological rule on the cross, but the very way in which he inaugurated this challenges the church to remain patient in its work of being the body of Christ.

Around the Web

Over at Christianity Today, I was happy to read Lyle Dorsett’s testimony which he has entitled “A Sobering Mercy.” Dr. Dorsett is a professor at Beeson Divinity School from whom I had the privilege to learn in the classroom. More importantly, he was my pastor for the 3 1/2 years that I lived in Birmingham and attended Christ the King Anglican Church. He is well-published as a historian and biographer, but more importantly, I have learned an immense amount from this man about ministry, pastoring, preaching, and loving everyone you see.

He told a longer version of the story in Beeson’s chapel, and the video is available here. If you have the time, it is well-worth the listen.

Feast of St. Matthew

From the 1662 BCP (Transferred from September 21):

O Almighty God, who by thy blessed Son didst call Matthew from the receipt of custom to be an Apostle and Evangelist: Grant us grace to forsake all covetous desires and inordinate love of riches, and to follow the same thy Son Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

15 Pentecost

From the 1662 BCP (14 Trinity):

Almighty and everlasting God, give unto us the increase of faith, hope, and charity; and, that we may obtain that which thou dost promise, make us to love that which thou dost command; through jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Muratorian Fragment in Recent Scholarship

In the course of catching up on some journal reading, I ran across the very helpful article on the Muratorian Fragment by Eckhard Schnabel in the June issue of JETS [Eckhard J. Schnabel, "The Muratorian Fragment: The State of Research," JETS 57 (2014): 231–264]. As the title suggests, Schnabel helpfully summarizes the current scholarly state of play with respect to the fragment’s date as well as its historical and theological significance. Before that, though, Schnabel has a concise discussion of the fragment’s discovery, history, and physical nature as well as a transcription of the Latin text (from Lietzmann 1902) and translation (from Metzger 1987).

For those without access to JETS, another opportunity to read the Latin text can be found here, where Oliver Achilles has provided pictures and a German translation that keeps with the Latin line numbers.

Feast of the Holy Cross

From the 1979 BCP (transferred from September 14):

Almighty God, whose Son our Savior Jesus Christ was lifted high upon the cross that he might draw the whole world unto himself: Mercifully grant that we, who glory in the mystery of our redemption, may have grace to take up our cross and follow him; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting, Amen.

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