Monthly Archives: June 2011

Disease in Ancient Rome

By Joseph Manning

The other day I was having a conversation and Europe’s Black Death came up.  I don’t know much about the Black Death or Medieval history generally, but the opinion I heard went something like this:  “Ancient Rome was able to effect order, health, and quarantine to a degree that wasn’t possible after its fall.  It was the collapse of the Empire that in part allowed epidemics like the Black Plague to wreak havoc in the disorganized Europe that followed.”

This view of Roman disease-control is too idealized.

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John’s 2nd Letter – Sentence 1/10

By Joseph Manning

John’s second letter is the shortest book in the entire bible.  There are only ten full sentences. Here’s the first:

[1] Ο ΠΡΕΣΒΥΤΕΡΟΣ ἐκλεκτῇ κυρίᾳ καὶ τοῖς τέκνοις αὐτῆς, οὓς ἐγὼ ἀγαπῶ ἐν ἀληθείᾳ, καὶ οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος ἀλλὰ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἐγνωκότες τὴν ἀλήθειαν, [2] διὰ τὴν ἀλήθειαν τὴν μένουσαν ἐν ἡμῖν, καὶ μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν ἔσται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα: [3] ἔσται μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν χάρις ἔλεος εἰρήνη παρὰ θεοῦ πατρός, καὶ παρὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ πατρός, ἐν ἀληθείᾳ καὶ ἀγάπῃ.

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Matthew chapter 1: David to the Babylonian Exile

By Joseph Manning

Let’s continue with the book of Matthew.  When we left off we were in the middle of Jesus’ genealogy ending at David.  Here are the next 6 verses:

Δαυεὶδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σολομῶνα ἐκ τῆς τοῦ Οὐρίου, [7] Σολομὼν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ῥοβοάμ, Ῥοβοὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀβιά, Ἀβιὰ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀσάφ, Ἀσὰφ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσαφάτ, [8] Ἰωσαφὰτ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωράμ, Ἰωρὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ὀζείαν, [9] Ὀζείας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωαθάμ, Ἰωαθὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἄχας, Ἄχας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἑζεκίαν, [10] Ἑζεκίας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Μανασσῆ, Μανασσῆς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀμώς, Ἀμὼς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωσείαν, [11] Ἰωσείας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰεχονίαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῆς μετοικεσίας Βαβυλῶνος. [12] Μετὰ δὲ τὴν μετοικεσίαν Βαβυλῶνος Ἰεχονίας ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σαλαθιήλ

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Tiberius Gracchus and the Book of Matthew

By Joseph Manning

One reader was asking about me doing a piece on Tiberius Gracchus and the land reform debates.  I was taking a look at Plutarch’s Life of Tiberius Gracchus and wikipediaing when I saw an interesting line that segues nicely with our current trip through the Book of Matthew.  I’ll come back to the Gracchi brothers sometime once we’re done with Matthew, but until then take a look at this line attributed to Tiberius Gracchus by Plutarch and my translation.
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Roman Civil Law Third-Party Stipulations

By Joseph Manning

Today I’ve got something of a one-liner from Ulpian the Roman jurist for you:

Alteri stipulari nemo potest, praeterquam si servus domino, filius patri stipuletur: inventae sunt enim huiusmodi obligationes ad hoc, ut unusquisque sibi adquirat quod sua interest: ceterum ut alii detur, nihil interest mea.

Let’s break this down phrase by phrase.

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Egyptian Hieroglyphics Part 2

By Joseph Manning

Egyptian has a set of suffix-pronouns which identify person, number, and gender of verbs; these also act as possessives when used with nouns.

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Why read the New Testament?

By Joseph Manning

Why Matthew?

The Book of Matthew was probably written in or around Antioch and served as the Gospel for that church community.  Notably, Christians began simply as a parallel sub-sect of Judaism alongside the Sadducees, Pharisees, and Essenes.  What’s really fascinating is that the Sadducees and Pharisees had pretty much as many theological differences between them as either did with Christians.  Acts 23:6.  Shortly later, however, Christians began to be viewed as an entirely different religion altogether.  This shift probably first really started taking place in Antioch. “[I]n Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts. 11:26.

From the point of view of reading the New Testament as a piece of literature Matthew is the first book.  The first line consciously references the beginning of the Hebrew Bible with the use of the word geneseos.  Matthew also throws in bits of Aramaic so from a linguistic point of view you get Greek and Aramaic in one go.

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Matthew chapter 1: Abraham to David

By Joseph Manning

Below is Matthew chapter 1 verses 2 – 6 describing Jesus’ genealogy from Abraham to David.

2  Ἀβραὰμ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰσαάκ, Ἰσαὰκ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰακώβ, Ἰακὼβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰούδαν καὶ τοὺς ἀδελφοὺς αὐτοῦ, 3 Ἰούδας δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Φαρὲς καὶ τὸν Ζαρὰ ἐκ τῆς Θάμαρ, Φαρὲς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἑσρώμ, Ἑσρὼμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀράμ, 4  Ἀρὰμ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἀμιναδάβ, Ἀμιναδὰβ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ναασσών, Ναασσὼν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Σαλμών, 5  Σαλμὼν δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Βοὲς ἐκ τῆς Ῥαχάβ, Βοὲς δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰωβὴδ ἐκ τῆς Ῥούθ, 6  Ἰωβὴδ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Ἰεσσαί, Ἰεσσαὶ δὲ ἐγέννησεν τὸν Δαυεὶδ τὸν βασιλέα.

Now let’s translate this starting with the first part.

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Egyptian Hieroglyphics

By Joseph Manning

Ancient Egyptian branches off a language family known as Afro-Asiatic. Egyptian has no close relatives within this family because it forms its own branch, but its Afro-Asiatic membership explains some basic grammatical functions it shares with other languages like Modern Arabic and Hebrew.  Egyptian changed a lot from when the first hieroglyphics were created (around 3100 BCE) until the language’s death.  It is divided into two forms each form is further divided into three stages.  The first form spanned 3000 to 1300 BCE divided into Old, Middle and Late Middle Egyptian.  The second form lasted until1500 CE, divided chronologically into Late Egyptian, Demotic, and finally Coptic. This post is about reading hieroglyphics from the language’s first form.

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