James White’s A&Ω’s Wishful Thinking about Real Exegesis Pt. 2

This is a continuation of James White’s and A & Ω’s Wishful Thinking about Real Exegesis.

  1. The Scandal of the Mysterious “Albrëcht-Kappes” Translation

            Presumably because of Dr. White’s and TF’s lack of comfortability with Greek, about 300/1400 potential original words of their 3, 623 worded article tries to cast conspiratorial suspicion on authors for not following word by word a standard Bible edition, as if were done in a secretive and inexplicable manner:

A&K’s translation of Judges 11:39 (p. 85) has: “And she did not know man”.  At p. 5, A&K indicate that, “Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version and New Revised Standard Version of the Bible,” but with the additional caveat that: “Some quotations have been modified according to the Greek.” (Id.) There is no other note at p. 84.  The NKJV has: “She knew no man.”  The NRSV has: “She had never slept with a man.”  In fact, “And she did not know man” does not appear to be in any of the major English translations (see this list). Where did it come from?  It’s anybody’s guess.  While I have my suspicions, I will simply set that to the side.

Oddly enough, A&K provide another translation of the same phrase at page 83, “She knew not man.”  That wording happens to line up with the ASV’s translation of that particular phrase

Similarly, A&K’s translation of Luke 1:34 has: “I do not know man” without any other note. This happens to align only with the Revised Geneva Translation among a list of major English translation (see the list here).  Where did they actually get it from? Once again, we do not know. The NKJV has, “I do not know a man,” and the NRSV has, “I am a virgin.”  Perhaps they were trying to follow the NKJV here, and just omitted the article.

Behold, the resolution of the conspiracy in the opening pages of book mentioned, where it states:

Copyright © October, 2020 by William Albrecht & Rev. Dr. Christiaan Kappes

Publication date: October, 2020

Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version and New Revised Standard Version of the Bible

Some quotations have been modified according to the Greek

TF could, to my mind, be perplexed only by his disability with reading Greek (not per se a vice, unless one purports nonetheless to be commenting on Greek in the OT and NT, as if understanding it). TF’s repeated amazement, after implying deception by Albrëcht-Kappes (A&K), seems to cast suspicion on Mary and the Evangelists, which was transparent about this issue. So, Dr. White’s and TF’s disastrous 100 worded paragraph about ethereally existent critical editions of Judges and the entire LXX (able to be purchased at fantasyland book shop) were dedicated to thinking that A&K have a problem because there allegedly exist other fantasyland “critical” editions of the entire LXX including the book of Judges (see my Part I for the full critique). Now, these additional 400/1400 words in their first rebuttal, after approximately two years, is centered on the fact that a co-author comfortable with Greek (and therefore not slavishly in need of following one or another translation) reserves the right to alter texts transparently. Where is the scandal? There can be none, but I do not believe TF can personally critique anyone’s Greek translation into English, as evidenced by openly needing an electronic translating machine to tell him what Eusebius’s Greek reads (despite having a fulltime apologist and self-describe NT/Greek scholar Dr. White present ostensibly to provide him with a translation at A & Ω) in an attempt to (falsely) claim there exists an ancient source for Mary not being a perpetual virgin by the words of Eusebius.[1] For its part, Mary among the Evangelists is a purely non-academic popular venture exactly as nearly everything published by A & Ω. It is meant to bring scholarly insights to pious readers and its content is partly produced by a published scholar with peer-reviewed Greek translations of ancient texts sold by academic presses.

  • When Faux Scholars Pretend to Understand Biblical Languages, Bad Things Happen

Let’s see what happens when a fulltime apologist (likely making a six-figure salary for what is about to come) and his loyal (albeit sincere) acolyte pretend to read Greek and pretend to analyze the Greek Septuagint as if they knew Hebrew-to-Greek translation techniques to evaluate them:

So, the alleged quotation starts with five Greek words in Judges matched against four Greek words in Luke.  Obviously, “καὶ” (and) is not quoted by Mary/Luke and her “ἐπεὶ” (because) does not come from Judges.  So, now the two phrases are:

J: αὐτὴ οὐκ ἔγνω ἄνδρα [My clarification: autê ouk egnô andra/She did not know man]

M/L: ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω [My clarification: andra ouk gignôskô/man I know not]

Of the four words in the first line, you can see that there is one matching word in the second line: “ἄνδρα” (man). The word is in a different position within the phrase, and the rest of the words are different words.  The first phrase even has an extra word compared to the latter.  When only one word of an alleged quotation lines up, what you do not have is a verbatim quotation.  So, the claim was a false claim, no matter how many times it was repeated. Suppose that A&K corrected their claim to assert that this was an allusion, instead of a quotation.  The problem with claiming that it is an allusion is that you have to have something other than the similarity of words.  The situations of Jephthah’s daughter and Mary are remarkably different.  Jephthah’s daughter was a young lady living in his house. Mary was betrothed to a husband.  Mary was receiving an angelic promise that she would have a child, Jephthah’s daughter was guaranteed that she would not. What about the similarity between the phrases?  The similarity is that both have a negative particle (οὐκ in Judges and οὐ in Mark), a form of the verb ginosko (to know), and the word for man.  That’s a very slender reed upon which to hang the weight of an alleged allusion.Notice the grandiose claim about this being “the only other such phrase in the entire history of the Greek language” (A&K, p. 85)

COMPARATIVE EXAMPLE 1

  • “καὶ αὐτὴ οὐκ ἔγνω …” [My clarification: autê ouk egnô/She did not know] (LXX Hosea 2:10 – corresponds to Hosea 2:8)
  • “καὶ αὐτὴ οὐκ ἔγνω ἄνδρα” [My clarification: autê ouk egnô andra/She did not know man] (LXX Judges 11:39)

Notice how those two places have the same four words, in the same order.  The only difference is the object of knowledge.In fact, I was able to locate dozens of verses that have the phrase “οὐκ ἔγνω” in the Septuagint, but only that one other verse with the exact phrase “καὶ αὐτὴ οὐκ ἔγνω.” [My clarification: autê ouk egnô andra/She did not know man]  Does that mean that Hosea 2:8 is quoting Judges 11:39?  Does that mean that there is an allusion?  Absolutely not. To assert that this is a quotation or an allusion would just be wishful exegesis.

[My Commentary on their Commentary]

Unfortunately, in addition to using nonsensical jargon, as if it were Septuagint-talk (see my Part I), now Dr. White and TF employ poor exploitation of English saddled with commenting on two languages that neither of these self-proclaimed experts ostensibly understand. At the outset of the article, the emphasis is on our claim that a “quotation” or “quote” in Luke 1:34 can be traced to Judges 1:39 (LXX). The term “verbatim” works Dr. White and TF up, just short of a frenzy, as if hyperbole or an outright lie is being foisted upon the readers of Mary and the Evangelists. So, let’s get our terms straight. I’ll take dictionary.com as the standard use of terms (I do not deny that the Oxford [complete] English Dictionary may provide more meanings). Let’s be clear: (1.) “Verbatim: … word for word”[2]; “Quote: […] to repeat words from.”[3] It is not hyperbole to claim that if only two words match two other earlier spoke/written words, then there is a quote.[4] That is what we have claimed. Provided that we can find two or more words that Mary is said to have spoken (Luke 1:34) and we can find these two or more words from a source earlier than and other than Mary, then she may be plausibly suspected of quoting them. However, more arguments might be needed to solidify or prove such a conclusion of “quoting” depending on factors that might weaken the assertion that Luke’s Mary quoted Judges 11:39.

So, what is the premier example brought out by Dr. White and TF? Answer: LXX Hosea 2:10/8! Let’s see a regular translation of LXX Hosea 2:8 “And she knew not that I gave her her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied silver to her: but she made silver and gold images for Baal.”[5] Let’s compare my translation/s from Luke 1:34: “She knew not man/She did not know man” (it is apparently troubling to both Dr. White and TF that I can render “knew not” as “did not know”!).[6] The inane argument is that Hosea has: And + she + knew + not, in common with Luke 1:34, which makes it 4/4, whereas a comparison between Mary’s “I know not man” (Luke 1:34) versus “She knew not man” (Judges 11:39) is not the exact words relative to Hosea’s 4/4, with the exact word order, and even the same inclinations/conjugations as in Hosea. Wow, this looks so damning, so powerful! What am I do? After all, Dr. White and TF have seriously ferreted out and exposed phonies a plenty in their ministry. Sadly, we must admit that even clergy of my own denomination have truly embarrassed themselves historically by challenging Dr. White (at times pridefully), only to find out that he is not a stupid man and their pride and feelings of superiority unfortunately buried them in public. So, given Dr. White’s and TF’s experience with phonies, potentially even phonies in my denomination, they are not unjustified in testing everything. My contention isn’t that they are wrong to critique me, rather that they don’t know how or have the capacity to critique me! The absurdity of their example arises from the fact that Dr. White and TF do not realize that word-for-word parallels, the same syntax between selected words in two phrases, and inclinations/conjugations are useless for this example because it is an idiom! What is an idiom? (since we cannot assume Dr. White and TF know what this means in biblical Hebrew-to-Greek):

Idiom: An expression whose meaning is not predictable from the usual meanings of its constituent elements, as kick the bucket or hang one’s head, or from the general grammatical rules of a language, as the table round for the round table, and that is not a constituent of a larger expression of like characteristics.[7]

Let’s look at Strong’s definition #3 of the Hebrew “to know”:

know a personcarnally, of sexual intercourse, followed by accusative: man subject  Genesis 4:1,17,25; Genesis 24:16Genesis 38:26 (all J), 1 Samuel 1:19Judges 19:251 Kings 1:4; woman subject Genesis 19:8 (J), Numbers 31:17,18,35 (all P), Judges 11:39; יֹדַעַת מִשְׁכַּב זָכָר Judges 21:11; לֹא יָ˜דְעָה אִישׁ לְמִשְׁכַּב זָכָר Judges 21:12; man subject and object (of sodomy) Genesis 19:5 (J), Judges 19:22.[8]

Shockingly, Dr. White and TF do not seem to know that for this idiom in Hebrew (it is a Hebraism in the LXX, it is not Greek-speak), a female subject, or male subject, are needed for the expression. Secondly, they do not seem to know that a female or male object are needed for the idiom! So, for Dr. White and TF, it is a premier argument – being as they are scholars – to argue thus:

  • “She did not know man” (LXX Judges 11:39) = singular female subject + know + singular male object = Hebrew sexual idiom in Greek
  • “I do not know man” (Luke 1:34) = singular female subject + know + singular male object = Hebrew sexual idiom in Greek
  • “She did not know that I gave her corn” = singular female subject + know + dependent clause = Hebrew sexual idiom (for Dr. White and TF) in Greek

We are dealing with masterminds, clearly. The Hebrew idiom cannot exist without three attested terms: (i.) male/female subject (ii.) verb “to know” (yada), and (iii.) male/female object. Let me illustrate analogously Dr. White’s and TF’s simpleton logic by plainer English idioms:

  • The young boy and girl got it on inappropriately = sexual idiom
  • The young man inappropriately spoke to the pretty young girl at the party and said: “Let’s get it on” = sexual idiom
  • Where did you get this inappropriate book? [Answer:] We got it on Ebay = literal non-idiom with exact same words

For Dr. White and TF, if we put nos. 1-3, just above, next to each other and say: “Somebody’s (either 2 or 3) is using a quote from #1, who is it?” For Dr. White and TF, the word order and exact words in #3 mean that only #3 is a candidate. They do not understand that, if we are forced to choose here, there can only be #2 quoting #1 because, without further qualifications, only #1 and #2 use a sexual idiom. Oppositely, for Dr. White and TF, when reading the Bible, we can apparently infer that “Not knowing that I give corn” also means to have sex with someone or perhaps to have sex with plants. Bravo apologists and scholars! Touché critical readers of the Septuagint! Clearly, this challenge is not what they thought it would be when arguing contra the Reformers and contra the Apostolic Churches, both of whom interpret the Bible to defend Mary’s perpetual virginity. Dr. White and TF end this portion of their argument thus:

Notice how those two places have the same four words, in the same order.  The only difference is the object of knowledge.

In fact, I was able to locate dozens of verses that have the phrase “οὐκ ἔγνω” in the Septuagint, but only that one other verse with the exact phrase “καὶ αὐτὴ οὐκ ἔγνω.”  Does that mean that Hosea 2:8 is quoting Judges 11:39?  Does that mean that there is an allusion?  Absolutely not.

“The only difference is the object of knowledge.” Incorrect! The difference is that Judges 11:39 and Luke 1:34 are Hebrew sexual idioms (see above for definition) first found in Greek in the LXX, and Hosea 2:8/10 represents not an idiom but what an idiot does with the Bible who understands not idioms. In the last paragraph, just above, for the first time, Dr. White and TF make some sense: “Does that mean that Hosea 2:8 is quoting Judges […] Absolutely not.” I couldn’t agree more, after running around the Greek Old Testament comparing non-idioms with a proper idiom, it doesn’t prove anything. Congratulations! Just to solidify by way of repetition the lesson here, let’s take a look at some idioms-turned-quotes that Dr. White and TF would propose analogously in the English language:

  • That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger (original idiom)
  • That which doesn’t kill somebody makes someone stronger (oblique quote of idiom)
  • You dummy! Protein isn’t that which kills you, it makes you stronger (literal statement, not an idiom)

For Albrecht and Co., the “quote” here -presuming #1 above to be prior to nos. 2-3, is from sentence #2. It is a quote, the words are the same or verbatim (adjusted for the author’s literary purposes), and the idiom in English is preserved. But what about #3? Sentence three is not a quote of either #1 or #2, but it does happen to have the same words even closer to #1 by chance but with a much different meaning that is literal not an idiomatic expression. Let’s do an experiment: I cannot put every subject for nos. 1-2 and get the same meaning for #3. For example:

  • That defeat in battle didn’t kill you, it made you stronger! (The metaphor -even if wishful thinking- is meaningful)
  • The trauma didn’t kill her, it made her stronger! (ditto)
  • You dummy! Military defeats/traumas aren’t that which kill you, they make you stronger (No, military defeats are often fatal!)

Let’s also illustrate incomplete idioms (meaning nothing), which Dr. White and TF search for all over the LXX since they think incomplete idioms (viz., non-idioms) share more words with a full idiom and therefore can be preferred as the source of a complete idiom. Let’s use an easy example:

  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush (original saying)
  • An old birdie in the ole hand is worth two of ‘em in the bush (this is an oblique quote)
  • A bird in the hand of the man was from the two in the bush (not an idiom)

When Dr. White and TF do biblical “scholarship,” they argue that #3 is clearly the candidate to be textually dependent on sentence #1. For them, it is insane that sentence #2 would be the real quote here under the proviso that #1 was written first and either no. 2 or no. 3 above is a quote dependent on no. 1. This is how they do their biblical research. That about sums up the skills at work here.

  • Being a Bad Example: More So-Called Exegesis

In [My Commentary on their Commentary] above, I showed that Hosea 2:8/10 is not a sexual idiom and therefore means nothing in comparison to Luke 1:34. The same anile wit came up with the examples in LXX Genesis 4:9 and Genesis 27:2:

Comparative Example 2

  • Genesis 4:9 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Καιν ποῦ ἐστιν Αβελ ὁ ἀδελφός σου ὁ δὲ εἶπεν οὐ γινώσκω μὴ φύλαξ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ μού εἰμι ἐγώ
  • Genesis 27:2 καὶ εἶπεν ἰδοὺ γεγήρακα καὶ οὐ γινώσκω τὴν ἡμέραν τῆς τελευτῆς μου
  • Luke 1:34 εἶπεν δὲ Μαριὰμ πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον· πῶς ἔσται τοῦτο, ἐπεὶ ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω;

Notice how those three places have the same pair of words, in the same order.  In the first one Cain says he doesn’t know where Abel is.  In the second, Isaac says he doesn’t know when he’s going to die.  Is Luke quoting from these verses?  Are these allusions just because the identical phrase is used?  Absolutely not.To assert that these are quotations or allusions would just be wishful exegesis.

The real translations of these non-idiomatic verses in Genesis 4:9/27:2 read thus:

  • And the Lord God said to Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? and he said, I know not, am I my brother’s keeper? (Genesis 4:9)[9] 
  • And he said, Behold, I am grown old, and know not the day of my death. (Genesis 27:2)[10]
  • Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man? (Luke 1:34)[11]

Let’s have some fun. If the proper sexual idiom is found in LXX Genesis 4:9 and 27:2 (justifying comparison to Luke 1:34 by Dr. White and TF), then they should be able to be changed just like Luke 1:34:

  • And the Lord God said to Cain, “Where is Abel thy brother?” And he said, “I have not sexual relations, am I my brother’s keeper” (that idiom worked out well!)
  • And he said, “Behold I am grown old, and I do not have sexual relations with the day of my death” (that idiom worked even better!)
  • And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no sexual relations with a man” (Behold, a passage of Scripture that makes sense because it is an idiom!).

That wraps it up for section 3.0

  • Reasonable Inquiry: Gaggles of Virgins: A Problem of the One and the Many

So far, we have seen that Dr. White and TF believe that Mary among the Evangelists is flawed because: (1.) Albrëcht and co. (=A & co.) don’t resolve problems using a fairyland critical edition of Judges/LXX (2.) A & co., do not take into account fairyland pre-AD 70 translations of the Bible other than the LXX (3.) A & co., do not consider that Luke (who, Dr. White explicitly claims, thought the LXX to be Scripture) may have wanted to translate exactly as the LXX but by using the Hebrew and not the LXX (an unverifiable claim), and (4.) because A & co. don’t see that Hosea 2:8/Genesis 2:9, & 27:2 are actually equal or better candidates for Mary’s words in Luke 1:34, as if applying A & co.’s logic, since they can find many words that match between Luke 1:34 & Hosea 2:8/Genesis 2:9, & 27:2.

However, despite the ridiculousness so far, there is actually some merit to their last objection. Although it does not absolve them from foisting nonsense in the name of being scholarly, a casual or even middling reading of LXX Genesis 19:8 and Judges 21:2 is entirely worthy of investigation. If Dr. White and TF had produced a tiny article, omitting all the foregoing embarrassing material, the objections below taken by themselves merit a serious and scholarly answer! So, although I have been well aware of these verses per the TLG (largest Greek database in the world) since 2021, how did I come to the conclusion that the verses proposed rationally by Dr. White and TF, below, are not worthwhile competitors with LXX Judges 11:39 for Mary (according to Luke) to quote in Luke 1:34? I will treat this investigation with a meritorious seriousness since Dr. White and TF did well to bring up this objection. I commend them for underlining something that does indeed beg an explanation. If I were objected to with this kind of seriousness throughout, I would gladly thank Dr. White and TF for their critiques, where they write:

Comparative Example 3

  • Genesis 19:8 εἰσὶν δέ μοι δύο θυγατέρες αἳ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ἄνδρα ἐξάξω αὐτὰς πρὸς ὑμᾶς καὶ χρήσασθε αὐταῗς καθὰ ἂν ἀρέσκῃ ὑμῗν μόνον εἰς τοὺς ἄνδρας τούτους μὴ ποιήσητε μηδὲν ἄδικον οὗ εἵνεκεν εἰσῆλθον ὑπὸ τὴν σκέπην τῶν δοκῶν μου
  • Judges 21:12 καὶ εὗρον ἀπὸ τῶν κατοικούντων Ιαβις Γαλααδ τετρακοσίας νεάνιδας παρθένους αἳ οὐκ ἔγνωσαν ἄνδρα εἰς κοίτην ἄρσενος καὶ ἦγον αὐτὰς εἰς τὴν παρεμβολὴν εἰς Σηλω ἥ ἐστιν ἐν γῇ Χανααν
  • Judges 11:39 καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν τέλει τῶν δύο μηνῶν καὶ ἐπέστρεψε πρὸς τὸν πατέρα αὐτῆς, καὶ ἐποίησεν ἐν αὐτῇ εὐχὴν αὐτοῦ, ἣν ηὔξατο· καὶ αὕτη οὐκ ἔγνω ἄνδρα. καὶ ἐγένετο εἰς πρόσταγμα ἐν ᾿Ισραήλ·
  • Luke 1:34 εἶπεν δὲ Μαριὰμ πρὸς τὸν ἄγγελον· πῶς ἔσται τοῦτο, ἐπεὶ ἄνδρα οὐ γινώσκω;

I provide this comparative example because someone may try to say that I’m not being fair because Judges and Luke have a word that can be translated “not,” together with a word for “man,” and a word that is a form of the verb, “to know.”  Is Judges 11:39 unique as a previous case of that?  No, it is not.  Genesis 19:8 and Judges 21:12 also have the same.  Genesis 19:8 is about Lot’s daughters who were of zero interest to the men of Sodom, and Judges 21:12 is about the four hundred young women who became the brides of the surviving Benjamites. Does the similarity mean that Mary and/or Luke was alluding back to Sodom or to Jabeshgilead?  Does that make it a verbatim quotation or anything like that? Of course not. To assert that these are quotations or allusions would just be wishful exegesis, which is exactly what the argument from Luke 1 to Judges 11 was, as I hope we have satisfactorily proven.

Let’s take a look at the English, since many of our readers unfortunately can’t see how strong these objections might prove to be unless they have the Greek explained to them. So, the following will be helpful:

  1. But I have two daughters, who have not known a man (ouk egnôsan andra)(LXX Genesis 19:8)
    1. And it came to pass at the end of the two months that she returned to her father; and he performed upon her his vow which he vowed; and she knew no man (ouk egnôsan andra) (LXX Judges 11:39)
    1. And they found among the inhabitants of Jabis Galaad four hundred young virgins, who had not know man (ouk egnôsan andra)by lying with him (LXX Judges 21:12)[12]
    1. Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man (andra ou gignôskô)? (Luke 1:34) […] [I gratuitously add:] And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her house. (Luke 1:56)[13]

We saw that “A women not to know a man” is a Hebrew idiom. It is not understandable to a purely native Greek in Antiquity but is used by Hebrews who speak and read Greek. The first claim made by us that moves toward the criterion of exclusivity lies in the use of the TLG (most powerful search engine) for the lemmata (roots) “not + know + man.” As predicted, the idiom only first appears in the third century BC Jewish literature. The examples above exhaust its use in Greek from approximately 500 BC until AD 70. So, what is already exclusive about this phrase? It is exclusively found in the Hebrew Bible in the LXX (nowhere else) until it is cited by a Greek-speaking (with no incontrovertible evidence of knowing Hebrew) St. Luke. This requires an explanation. St. Luke had ample access and uncontestably cited from the LXX for the vast majority of his biblical quotes. Hence, it is not controversial or objectionable by any Biblicist to state that St. Luke borrowed this idiom from the Greek Bible. Dr. White and TF correctly note, however, that we must discern from three possible passages, from which passage does St. Luke draw? Even without looking at the greater context of Luke chapter 1, we can still come to the almost certain conclusion that the verbatim citation (of the verb: gignôskô, and of the noun: anêr, and the negative particle ou) require us to look to Judges 11:39.

Grammatical Analysis #1 for Criterion of Exclusivity

Genesis 19:18Plural noun: virginsPlural verb: knowSingular object: man
Judges 11:39Singular noun: virginSingular verb: knowSingular object: man
Judges 21:12Plural noun: virginsPlural verb: knowSingular object: man
Luke 1:34Singular noun: virginSingular verb: knowSingular object: man

Source Analysis #2 for Criterion of Exclusivity

Verse:Situation
Genesis 19:18Lot offers Sodomite virgins to sexually abuse in place of raping men
Judges 11:39A Father sacrifices his daughter to die a virgin due to his vow
Judges 21:12Virgins are kidnapped in booty to be forcibly wed to Israelites
Luke 1:34A virgin responds that she cannot have a child having no sexual relations

Redaction Analysis #3 for Criterion of Exclusivity

Bible verse:Redaction: virginRedaction 2: knowRedaction: man
Genesis 19:18Make plural “virgins” singular and use “I”plural & past tense into singular presentNone
Judges 11:39Make “she” into “I”Singular past tense into singular presentNone
Judges 21:12Make plural “virgins” singular and use “I”plural & past tense into singular presentNone
Luke 1:34“I” is impliedSingular presentNone

Comments: She/I/myself are all able to be expressed by the word: “autê” in the koine dialect common to Luke and Judges 11:39, where “she/I/myself” is more allusive to “I” knew/know not man. This is due to the fact “She knew no man” only need to change the verb from: “knew” (3rd persons singular) to “know” (1st person singular). Note, “autê gnousa” is attested in the first century, for example.

But why doesn’t St. Luke quote Judges 11:39 verb in the past, but changes it into the present tense? Answer: “They did not know man” (Genesis 19:18/Judges 21:12) and “She did not know man” (Judges 11:39) use the aorist: “egnôn”? Mary could have said: “I did not know man (andra ouk egnôn/egnôsa)” (= hypothetical Luke 1:34). Answer: The Angel Gabriel predicted that sometime in the future she would conceive, not that she had already conceived or was having relations currently (this is disputed by nobody). Mary’s response, by Luke, makes the most sense to the prediction of a foggy future by saying “How will (estai)this (prediction) be? For I am not presently (though in the situation of one to be married) not having sexual relations so that a future child will result.” Grammatically, Judges 11:39 original verb tense cannot work (changing “she knew not man” to “I knew not man” as a completed past action. The kappa aorist, then is excluded for the futurity issue as well (egnôka). Instead, St. Luke chooses to render the idiom in the present tense. I do not wish to get into speculation as to why the present versus the future might be used. The point is that there is a very, very good reason why “egnôn” or “egnôsa” (unattested until the next century) cannot be used. St. Luke must change the verb to a tense related to the story. This is hardly controversial. But what about word order? The first class that I ever had with Reggie Foster (greatest Latinist perhaps in modern history, whose rule here was applied to Greek too) was one in which we learned universal rules like: “Word order doesn’t matter in Latin/Greek!” When a person is a veteran working with ancient texts, discretion, taste, and intuition do play a part. Experience is another essential teacher. Strictly speaking, a quote is word for word in Latin and Greek when the exact or near exact phrase is found (conveying the same sense), even though it is compact in the original  sentence but distributed throughout another sentence, both of which contain the same quote. Let me give an example:

To err is human but to forgive is divine (original) = For humans, it is said, to err but, so too, it is divine to be forgiving

This is a quote and it is verbatim when found in Latin and Greek. Exclusivity is solidly established by excluding all the other possible sources and narrowing down the one source for the quote. I do not think it controversial to say that the left sentence (above) has been quoted in the right-side sentence even in English. In English, to change the sentence as follows: “To have erred is human but to have forgiven is divine” is not enough to save a student from plagiarism. The meaning and the quotation are sufficiently literal and the meaning is exactly conveyed in its essence. One is still guilty of plagiarism, when there is no attribution in these cases, as attribution is today due to the author.

Contextual Analysis #4 for Criterion of Exclusivity

LXX Judges 11[14]Luke 1[15]
And the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthae […] And Jephthae vowed a vow to the LordThe Holy Spirit will come upon you [Comment: This is a supplementary allusion after looking at all other allusions to solidify Luke’s source]
Do to me accordingly as the word went out of thy mouthLet it be to me according to your word. [Comment: This is a clear allusion]
let me alone for two months, and I will go up and down on the mountains, and I will bewail my virginity, I and my companions. And he said, Go: and he sent her away for two months; and she went, and her companions, and she bewailed her virginity on the mountains. And it came to pass at the end of the two months that she returned to her fatherNow Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah [..] And Mary remained with her about three months and returned to her house.   [Comment: Both go to hills and both return on or around the third month]
he performed upon her his vow which he vowed; and she knew no manThen Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” [Comment: The parallel makes the intended inference by Luke about Mary looks fairly obvious]
he daughters of Israel went from year to year to bewail the daughter of Jephthae [Comment: She is bewailed because she dies childless, the consequence of perpetual virginity; Elizabeth praises Mary who is a virgin and not childless]And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 

Conclusions

            This last objection by Dr. White and TF was respectable, if they were unaware of their overly simplified approach to the text. I would expect a B.A. Classics student, maybe a person getting her M.A. to struggle to find latent and oblique and even the various kinds of verbatim quotes that are used among ancients. There may be a small concession due to TF in the debate on 9 February, in spite of the nugatory nature of the majority of White-TF study overall. When Albrëcht is quoted as saying that Mary gives a “direct quote” from Judges 11:39, in one cited instance, not mentioned in Mary among the Evangelists nor in other shows nor other debates, this may not be the best way to represent the nature of the citation. It is a quote, it is verbatim from Judges, and it is oblique, in my view since some grammatical changes had to be made in order to adjust the LXX Judges 11:39 citation to St. Luke’s history moving to the first person singular speaking of a future (not past) action. However, I have historically put in print errors and usually misspeak once every time I do a show. But, in fairness, I would want to avoid the term “direct citation” only until I know better the English range of direct quoting, but I think that the hundreds of other mentions in which we have consistently referenced the Luke 1:34 and Judges 11:39 citation are entirely accurate and I stand by my name as a coauthor of Mary among the Evangelists and I hope the Dr. Sebastian Brock will find, if ever asked, that this present answer to A & Ω is for him satisfactory to continue his enthusiastic endorsement of our ecumenical and pro-Marian work to bring the message of the Gospel to Christians about the biblical Mary mother of Jesus the Lord.


[1] See http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2022/02/eusebius-on-psalm-697-9.html. TF is incapable of checking “the machine”’s translation by recourse to his or Dr. White’s abilities in Greek from the outset, even apparently after a recent page update where only an anonymous “scholarly review” of his equivalent to google translate is said to be happening. Given the emphasis on Mary and the Evangelists as “not scholarly,” what passes as scholarly for TF is to publish for public consumption the equivalent to a google translate, without any review (since A & Ω seems to have nobody), and only after an unverified “machine” translation is already published, to have it checked, post, by an anonymous “scholarly review” (take his word for it[!]) that the translation is not wrong…These guys are obviously not in a position to speak the word “scholarly” meaningfully, let alone, judge a text as scholarly or not.

[2] See https://www.dictionary.com/browse/verbatim.

[3] See https://www.dictionary.com/browse/quote.

[4] See https://turretinfan.blogspot.com/2022/02/wishful-exegesis-jephthahs-daughter-and.html?m=1: “Mr. William Albrecht (and his co-author Christiaan Kappes, collectively A&K) in their book, “Mary Among the Evangelists: The Definitive Guide for Solving Biblical Questions about Mary,” claimed (emphasis is added by me): ‘The situation is stunning, for Luke’s annunciation has Gabriel, as the Lord’s representative, play the part of Jephthah and Mary quotes verbatim Jephthah’s ever-virgin daughter by responding to the plan of perpetual virginity entailed by the votive sacrifice as inspired by the Holy Spirit.’ (<Mary and the Evangelists>p. 84) […] ‘Mary quotes verbatim her predecessor, the daughter of Jephthah, to protest her vow of perpetual virginity to the Angel Gabriel that should impede her conception of any child.’ (<Mary and the Evangelists> p. 87). From the debate (emphasis obviously mine): ‘Luke is directly quoting this verse.’ (Circa 18:25 of the Youtube video).”

[5] See the Brenton LXX: https://biblehub.com/sep/hosea/2.htm.

[6] See http://turretinfan.blogspot.com/: “A&K’s translation of Judges 11:39 (p. 85) has: “And she did not know man”.  At p. 5, A&K indicate that, “Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations are from the New King James Version and New Revised Standard Version of the Bible,” but with the additional caveat that: “Some quotations have been modified according to the Greek.” (Id.) There is no other note at p. 84.  The NKJV has: “She knew no man.”  The NRSV has: “She had never slept with a man.”  In fact, “And she did not know man” does not appear to be in any of the major English translations (see this list). Where did it come from?  It’s anybody’s guess.  While I have my suspicions, I will simply set that to the side. Oddly enough, A&K provide another translation of the same phrase at page 83, “She knew not man.”  That wording happens to line up with the ASV’s translation of that particular phrase.”

[7] See https://www.dictionary.com/browse/idiom.

[8] See https://biblehub.com/hebrew/3045.htm.

[9] See the Brenton LXX: https://biblehub.com/sep/genesis/4.htm.

[10] See the Brenton LXX: https://biblehub.com/sep/genesis/27.htm.

[11] See NKJV: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+1%3A34&version=NKJV.

[12] See https://biblehub.com/sep/judges/21.htm.

[13] See NKJV: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke+1%3A34&version=NKJV.

[14] See the Brenton LXX: https://biblehub.com/sep/judges/11.htm.

[15] See the NKJV: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=luke%201&version=NKJV;SBLGNT.

One thought on “James White’s A&Ω’s Wishful Thinking about Real Exegesis Pt. 2

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