So Here's One for You! How would you Research This?

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Posted: Thu, Sep 22 2016 4:26 PM

So I'm studying the Gospel of John...which, BTW...is my new favorite book (I say that of every book I'm studying).Smile

Okay, so I came upon John 1:41 where Jesus names Simon Cephas, which John lets us know means Peter (Petros) in the Greek.

Okay, so I looked up Cephas and to my surprise, it is NOT a Hebrew name, but a Syriac name.  This peeked my interest.  I discovered that the Syriac language was a form of the Aramaic language, which was a part of the NW Semitic Languages.

This has, for some reason, peeked my interest.  Why didn't Jesus choose a full-fledged Hebrew name for Peter?

So, what steps would you take to find out more about this?  I'm not too sure where to go from here.

BTW...Simon (his birth name, means hearing  It's interesting that Jesus would change his name from hearing to rock.

Want to know something else really cool from observing the text of chapter one?

In the same chapter, when John described Jesus, he called him Lamb of God, Man, and Son of Man.

When Andrew met Jesus, he first called him Rabbi.  He spent one day with Jesus and the next day he called Him Messiah.

Philip met Jesus and he called him The One whom Moses and the Prophets wrote about, Jesus of Nazareth

Nathaniel met Jesus and calls Him Rabbi, Son of God, the King of Israel.

Peter...when he met Jesus...well nothing is recorded that he called Christ anything, but Jesus called him something...He changed his name to Cephas.

Something to think about, huh?

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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Paul Strickert | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 22 2016 4:30 PM

Cynthia, I had a seminary professor who was convinced Cephas was someone different than Simon Peter.  While you're doing your research, maybe you could tackle that one.  ;)

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 22 2016 4:59 PM

Paul:  Never heard that one before.  Interesting... (a little out there...but interesting nevertheless! :) )

Edited to add:  I just found an old commentary that agrees with your professor.

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 6312
DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 22 2016 6:11 PM

Based on his name (a form of Aramaic) I believe Peter was/is the rock of Matthew 16:18.  See Carson's volume on Matthew Expositor's Bible Commentary and the awesome volume by Wilkins on the NIVAC.  For John I love Carson (PNTC) and Andreas K. (BECNT).

DAL

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 22 2016 6:43 PM

There's mystery surrounding Cephas/Peter!

First, there's no greek Peter, prior to Peter. Second, only one aramaic Kepa (Cephas) prior to Cephas (Elephantine). Per ICC Matt/Davies.

And third, the Peter/Cephas/rock is a major player in whether Jesus spoke greek, and the language origin of the synoptics.

But not easy to track down.


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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 22 2016 7:46 PM

Hello DAL and Denise:

Thanks for your input.  I think what I am looking for is how in logos would I go about finding out answers?  Just searching under Peter as a person isn't cutting it.

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 10111
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 22 2016 8:19 PM

Well, I was going to suggest search phrases, but I tried them out. I wasn't particularly satisfied:

Peter NEAR aramaic  or

cephas NEAR greek

I didn't try but I suspect: peter NEAR nickname

Most are short footnotes. The problem, is solid evidence is limited until you get to the church fathers (Augustine, etc), which you're not likely interested in.

My apologies!


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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 22 2016 8:23 PM

Denise:

Not sure why you are thinking I wouldn't be interested in research containing the church fathers?  I'll give that a looky-see. Big Smile

Thanks!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Sep 22 2016 8:24 PM
Peter Look up Peter at Dictionary.com
masc. proper name, 12c., from Old English Petrus (genitive Pet(e)res, dative Pet(e)re), from Latin Petrus, from Greek Petros, literally "stone, rock," translation of Syriac kefa "stone" (Latinized as Cephas), nickname Jesus gave to apostle Simon Bar-Jona (Matt. xvi:17), historically known as St. Peter, and consequently a popular name among Christians (Italian Pietro, Spanish and Portuguese Pedro, Old French Pierres, French Pierre, etc.).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 2:04 AM

Cynthia in Florida:

I think what I am looking for is how in logos would I go about finding out answers? 

Here are three methods that can be helpful in cases like this:

  1. Run an Exegetical Guide on John 1:42, and use the Lemma in Passage section to find commentaries in your library that discuss the lemma Κηφᾶς in John 1:42.
  2. Run a Bible Word Study on Κηφᾶς, and look in your Lexicons and Theological Dictionaries. Particularly helpful for more in depth studies are resources like the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (which includes an article on Κηφᾶς). Also look at the Lemma in Passage section in the Bible Word Study, to get discussions from all your commentaries, even when not discussing John 1:42.
  3. On the Basic Search tab, search all resources using WITHIN {Milestone}. Then, organize your results By Count to easily see which commentaries are most relevant. For what you want, try something like:

(syriac, aramaic, Kepha, Qepha, Cephas, Κηφᾶς) WITHIN {Milestone <John 1:42>}

Here are the books in my library with more than 5 hits:

Posts 809
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 2:25 AM

Hello Fr Devon Roza!

This is twice now in one week that you have shown me something really cool !  That was EXACTLY what I was looking for.  Some day I hope to know HOW TO KNOW how to do that!  Again, thanks for the time you took.  I really appreciate your help!

Have a blessed weekend!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 2:29 AM

Cynthia in Florida:

Not sure why you are thinking I wouldn't be interested in research containing the church fathers?  I'll give that a looky-see. Big Smile

Another good method for quickly finding results in the Church Fathers is this:

  1. Open up a Passage Guide to John 1:42.
  2. Open up the Ancient Literature section, and click on the first result. In this case, it's a letter from St. Jerome.
  3. Then, to quickly find the actual references to John 1:42 in the letter:
  • Open up a Search Panel, and on the Basic search tab, search in All Resources for <John 1:42>. With that, the results will be highlighted in all the resources you open up from the Ancient Literature tab.
  • Then, to quickly navigate to each result, on the upper right of each resource you open, switch to "Search Result", as in the photo below. Once you've done that, you can use the up and down arrows right next to the Search Result option to quickly navigate to the hits. This is especially useful for long articles, or when there are lots of hits.
  • Then just repeat for each hit in the Ancient Literature section.

Cynthia in Florida:

This is twice now in one week that you have shown me something really cool !  That was EXACTLY what I was looking for.  Some day I hope to know HOW TO KNOW how to do that! 

Glad to help! In short time you'll get there!

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JT (alabama24) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 3:55 AM

Denise:
there's no greek Peter, prior to Peter.

Probably similar to that there was no English "Rock" until Dwayne Johnson. Wink

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 4:13 AM

Cynthia in Florida:
So, what steps would you take to find out more about this?

I agree with Devin that Theological/Exegetical Dictionaries would be a good place to start. That's TDNT, EDNT and NIDNTT. Also Spicq (TLOT/TLNT), if there's an entry.

In this case, I don't think the lexicons are saying that Cephas is a Syriac name, but an Aramaic one. Searching for cephas WITHIN 2 WORDS syriac in my library gives results in only 19 resources, the vast majority of which are nineteenth-century or earlier. That makes me suspicious that the Syriac angle is not a consensus, and that modern scholarship takes a different view. Changing my search to cephas WITHIN 2 WORDS aramaic gives me results in 260 resources, which confirms the suspicion.

So now you know it's an Aramaic name, you need to know the significance of that, which means finding out more about the Aramaic and Hebrew languages in the first century. If you study that you'll find that in Jesus' time most scholars would suggest that the everyday language of Palestine was Aramaic, and Hebrew was more of a religious language. So would Jesus have taught in Hebrew (the religious language), or Aramaic (the everyday language), or even Greek (the international language of commerce)? Big questions!

In Logos I would suggest opening the Factbook to Aramaic Language and Hebrew Language. Remember you're interested in the first-century AD, so make sure you're looking for that, as Aramaic/Hebrew in the OT period has a very different significance.

The Dictionary of New Testament Background is particularly helpful, not least because it has a short section on the relationship between Aramaic and Syriac, which help you sort out the initial problem.

Searching for language Jesus speak should also help you with the broader questions of languages in Palestine, and will give you various resources to consider, including an entry in the LBD, which seems pretty sensible to me.

None of this helps you specifically with the question "Why didn't Jesus choose a full-fledged Hebrew name for Peter?", but it should give you the knowledge to be able to answer that. FWIW, my answer would simply by that Jesus generally speak in Aramaic when he was speaking to his disciples, so he naturally used an Aramaic name.

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Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 5:18 AM

THANK YOU MARK!

I just spent a solid hour and a half or so on Devin's first of three recommendations (Lots to read and I am a slow reader).  I'll continue running through these suggestions, and am so very thankful for all your help!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

Posts 10111
Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 5:41 AM

The question of Aramaic vs syriac is a curious one. Since there's almost no pre-NT Cephas (name), and very little 1st century aramaic (most scholars deduce Galilee), the first Cephus was very likely syriac from the syriac NT. 

Very much like Alabama's comment.


Posts 570
Schumitinu | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 9:06 AM

Cynthia in Florida:

Hello Fr Devin Roza!

This is twice now in one week that you have shown me something really cool !  That was EXACTLY what I was looking for.  Some day I hope to know HOW TO KNOW how to do that!  Again, thanks for the time you took.  I really appreciate your help!

Have a blessed weekend!

Fr Devin Roza, are tips like these two that Cynthia refers to included in your Advanced Search Training?

Posts 809
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 9:07 AM

Mark Barnes:

Cynthia in Florida:
So, what steps would you take to find out more about this?

None of this helps you specifically with the question "Why didn't Jesus choose a full-fledged Hebrew name for Peter?", but it should give you the knowledge to be able to answer that. FWIW, my answer would simply by that Jesus generally speak in Aramaic when he was speaking to his disciples, so he naturally used an Aramaic name.

So, after spending a fair amount of time reading, I have come to the conclusion that I agree with you.  Although Hebrew was certainly being used, Aramaic did appear to be the language (along with Greek) that was mostly used and so that's why Jesus gave him an Aramaic name.  You're correct that it doesn't specifically answer my question, as He still could have chosen a Hebrew name, (which seems to make more sense to me since they were Jews, Hebrew is their native language (although it wasn't in wide use outside of their faith at that time,) and was, in many ways, given as a epithet, as it explained his personality and his later position in the Church. ( I realize in the Catholic faith it is more than that)). However, I'm not God and since I believe His Word is perfect, it really doesn't matter that it doesn't make sense to me.

Nevertheless, I've decided that I've spent enough time on this to satisfy 70% of my curiosity. (Drives me crazy Confused a bit but I am trying to learn that not all things have be beaten to death simply because of a peeked interestBig Smile

Also, thanks to you guys, I've learned some new ways to tackle topics in Logos, and so I've added this post to my favorites!  THANKS!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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Fr Devin Roza | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 10:10 AM

Schumitinu:

Fr Devin Roza, are tips like these two that Cynthia refers to included in your Advanced Search Training?

Yes, it's precisely these types of more advanced techniques and tips that we're focusing on in both the Advanced Search Training (which is finished - cf. here for final table of contents until webpage is updated) and in the Advanced Academic Training videos (which is half-finished, and should be finished in October). In fact, almost all of the tips I mentioned in these two threads are taught at some point in these videos (with the obvious exception of Microsoft Word Search and Replace tips), along with many, many more!

Posts 809
Cynthia in Florida | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Sep 23 2016 10:25 AM

Fr Devin Roza:

Schumitinu:

Fr Devin Roza, are tips like these two that Cynthia refers to included in your Advanced Search Training?

Yes, it's precisely these types of more advanced techniques and tips that we're focusing on in both the Advanced Search Training (which is finished - cf. here for final table of contents until webpage is updated) and in the Advanced Academic Training videos (which is half-finished, and should be finished in October). In fact, almost all of the tips I mentioned in these two threads are taught at some point in these videos (with the obvious exception of Microsoft Word Search and Replace tips), along with many, many more!

THANK YOU for mentioned this.  I had no clue about the videos!  Can't wait!

Edited to add:  I particularly like the way you explain things AND that I understand the PURPOSE behind the steps, which is a plus for me.  I have to know WHY or WHEN I would perform a function,,,not just HOW to perform the function!

Cynthia

Romans 8:28-38

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