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Full text of "Light from the Ancient East : The New Testament illustrated by recently discovered texts of the Graeco-Roman World"

CORNELL 

UNIVERSITY 

LIBRARY 




GIFT OF 

Mr. Daniel 
J. Theron 



CORNELL UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 




3 1924 060 305 095 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924060305095 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



LIGHT FROM THE 
ANCIENT EAST; 

The New Testament Illustrated by Recently 

Discovered Texts of the Graeco- 

Roman World 



BY 

I DO 

ADOLF DEISSMANN 

D.THEOL. (MARBURG), D.D. (ABERDEEN, ST. ANDREWS, MANCHESTER); PROFESSOR 

OF NEW TESTAMENT EXEGESIS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BERLIN; 

CORRESPONDING MEMBER OP THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL 

INSTITUTE OF THE GERMAN REICH 



-2^0 TRANSLATED BY 

LIONEL R. M. STRACHAN, M;A. 

GERMAN LECTURER IN THE UNIVERSITY OF BIRMINGHAM; 

FORMERLY SCHOLAR OF ST. JOHN's 

COLLEGE, OXFORD 



'NEW AND COMPLETELY REVISED EDITION WITH 

EIGHTY-FIVE ILLUSTRATIONS FROM THE LATEST 

GERMAN EDITION 



^^IS UBBAHY 

'^^^ 3 J99f 



HARPER & BROTHERS 

NEW YORK and LONDON 

; / 



Tjv TO (^ws TO a\rj6iv6v, h ^ton^ei 
■jrdvra avdpmirov, ipxoj^^vov fit's rov 
Koa/iov. ' 



ALMAE MATRI 
ABERDONENSI ^ 
SACRUM 



PREFACE TO THE FOURTH ^ EDITION 

The cruel fate that overtook mankind in 1914 made deep 
inroads even on the studies to which this book is devoted. It 
carried off on the battlefield, or by starvation, privation and 
sorrow of heart, many of the scholars, middle-aged as well as 
young, who are named in the following pages, some of them 
tried and trusted friends of my own ; and of the survivors it 
also demanded its tribute. Me it kept (to say nought of other 
things) for full seven years almost completely cut off from my 
old field of study. From 1914 to 1921, in such hours as were 
not claimed by the University, I devoted myself almost 
exclusively to fostering the solidarity which should prevail 
amongst all Protestants and throughout oecumenical Christen- 
dom, and which was most seriously endangered by the struggle 
of the nations. This I attempted by means of my " Evan- 
gelischer Wochenbrief " (circulated from Advent 1914 to the 
beginning of 1917 also in English, under the title " Protestant 
Weekly Letter ") , by an extensive daily correspondence with indi- 
viduals in connexion therewith, by organising, and by a consider- 
able amount of attendance at conferences at home and abroad. 
Meanwhile the book had long been out of print. Made 
widely known in three ^ German and two^ English editions, 
there was still a considerable demand for it during and after 
the war. As early as May 1915 my publisher, Dr. Paul Siebeck, 
who had always shown S5mipathetic interest in the book, and 
who has since passed away with his life's work abundantly 
prospered, drew up with me a contract for the new edition. 
But it was not until I had brought the " Evangelischer Wochen- 
brief " to a close, at the end of 1921, that I was able to pursue 
with energy the task of revision, hand in hand with the present 

1 [So called, because the second edition was curiously styled " second and 
third."— Tr.] 

* [Really two, 1908 and 1909. — Tr.] 

' [First edition, 1910; reprinted 1911. — Tr.] 

ix 



X PREFACE TO THE FOURTH EDITION 

heads of my old firm of publishers, who carry on the paternal 
tradition with all loyalty. 

I now present the fourth German edition as the firstfruit of 
my restored leisure. I am fully entitled to call it " completely 
revised " : there is scarcely a page to be found that has not 
been altered (in some cases very considerably), and of new 
matter, the product of the extraordinarily rich harvest in the 
scientific study of antiquity since 1909, there is also no lack. 
I refer, by way of illustration, to the enrichment of the collection 
of ancient letters by certain items which, I think, may be 
described as gems. 

As regards the form of the book I have altered nothing, 
although it would not have been difficult to hit the taste of 
those who think more highly of a learned work the more 
unreadable it is. I had attempted (successfully, it seems) to 
shape the material, by nature difficult and intractable, in such 
fashion that, while research is promoted, even the novice, 
educated men and women, practical people with intellectual 
interests, may be able to follow the main course of the investi- 
gation with some appreciation. This attempt was the outcome 
of my own strongly developed general sense of form, and further 
of the conviction that the literature of learning, if it is going- to 
be literature and not a labyrinth of parentheses, a chaos of 
snippets, and a pasting together of paper slips, must aim at 
artistic forms of its own. Though assigned myself to the 
literary class, I have certainly a great weakness for the non- 
literary and no small delight in the merely literary man's 
unconscious irony of himself. But that does not prevent me 
from wishing to be seriously literary in literary things. 

The demand for attention to form must be addressed with 
double emphasis to our literature of research in these present 
times, betokening, as they do, a catastrophe to German science 
and learning.^ A Germeui book on any learned subject cannot 

1 Cf. Adolf von Harnack's open letter to Viscount Haldane on the crisis 
in German science and learning, in the " Berliner Tageblatt," No. 586, of 
24 Dec, 1922. [There followed, in Feb. 1923,' an appeal for British assistance 
to German Universities, signed by Troeltsch, Deissmann, Von Dobschutz, and 
Rudolf Eucken. The Society of Friends was the first body to undertake 
University relief work in Germany after the Armistice, and the work was 
continued by the World Student Christian Federation and the Universities 
Committee of the Imperial War Relief Fund. — Tr.] 



PREFACE to THE FOURTH EDITION xi 

be printed to-day without outside assistance, unless it is written 
in a style intelligible to readers at home £ind abroad far beyond 
the circle of the specialists. That, however, is impossible in 
the case of very many, often the soundest, particular investi- 
gations in certain branches of learning. But researches dealing 
with the body and soul of the New Testament, the Book of 
Humanity, can set themselves this aim. It must be possible 
So to shape them that they may find, among the hundreds of 
millions accessible to the indirect or direct influence of the New 
Testament, some thousands able to follow the path of the 
investigator in its main lines with pleasurable understanding. 
Author and publisher have again attached special importance 
to the facsimiles of ancient texts. It has been possible' to 
increase their number considerably, and for that readers will 
join me in gratitude to the kindly helpers : Mr. H. I. Bell (of 
the British Museum), Mr. C. C. Edgar (of the Cairo Museum), 
Mr. EUis H. Minns (of Cambridge, England), Sir William M. 
Ramsay (Edinburgh), the Societe des Etudes Juives (Paris), 
fW. Weissbrodt (Braunsberg), Theodor Wiegand (Berlin). 
These names, and the frequent references in the text to valuable 
information received from cousins of the craft at home and 
abroad, may show moreover that as regards the study of the 
New Testament the barbed-wire entanglements of the evil 
years (cf. Eph. ii. 14) have been broken down. In preparing 
the new edition I have everywhere met with the old obliging- 
ness and confidence. Very special gratitude is due to my 
Berlin friends, Paul M. Meyer and Ulrich Wilcken. . . . 

Adolf Deissmann. 

Berlin- Wilmersdorf 
Prinaregentenstr. 6 
26 Dec, 1922. 



PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

I WAS in the midst of preparations for a second Anatolian 
journey when I heard from Dr. Paul Siebeck, about Christmas, 
1908, that the first eition was nearly exhausted. I was able, 
however, before my departure, to revise the book, making 
improvements and additions to fit it for its new public 
appearance. Many readers will welcome the considerable 
increase in the number of illustrations. I am indebted to 
many friends and colleagues who have corrected me and added 
to my knowledge by letter or in reviews. Numerous instances 
of this indebtedness will be found in the notes. . . . 

My second journey, begun on 24 February and safely ended 
on 6 May, 1909, was undertaken with financial assistance from 
the Prussian Ministry of Education. I travelled with my 
friends Carl Schmidt, Wilhelm Weber, and one younger com- 
panion. Our route led us via Constantinople to Asia Minor 
(Eski Shehr, Angora, Konieh and environs, Afium-Kara-Hissar, 
[Ala-shehr Philadelphia, Sardis,] Smyrna, Ephesus, Laodicea, 
HierapoHs, Mersina, PompeiopoUs, Tarsus), Syria (Alexandretta, 
Antioch on the Orontes, Bejnrout, Baalbec, Damascus), GaUlee 
(Tiberias, Tell Hum Capernaum and environs, Nazareth), 
Haifa with Carmel, Samaria, Judaea (Jerusalem, Bethlehem, 
Jericho, Dead Sea, Jordan, Jaffa), and Lower Egypt (Port Said, 
Cairo and environs,^ Alexandria). This long itinerary will gain 
in distinctness if I say, speaking in terms of the New Testament, 
that I was privileged to see the homes of St. Paul and the 
Saviour Himself, and the principal roads traversed by them, 
so far as these scenes of New Testament story were not yet 
known to me from my first jovurney. 

Looking back on the second journey, which took me also for 
a brief space into the homeland of the papyri and ostraca of 
which use is made in this book, I consider it an advantage that 
I did not see Palestine until after I had seen Asia Minor and 



xiv PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION 

Syria. The great uniformity of the culture of the Mediter- 
ranean lands was thus brought home to me more clearly, and 
I think also that I was thus better prepared to reahse the 
peculiar characteristics of Palestine. I consider it equally 
important that Jerusalem should be entered from the north, by 
the high-road from Galilee. That is the historical road to the 
Holy City, the pilgrims' way. Thus Jesus as a boy of twelve, 
thus St. Paul as a young man, and thus the Crusaders advanced 
to conquer the city, and this ought still to be the only approach 
to Jerusalem. 

Only thus was it that Jerusalem became to me in many 
respects the climax of the whole expedition. The mass of 
pathetic facts and problems connected with a unique past, the 
motley commotion in the social and religious present, where, 
however, vigorous types of ancient piety have kept alive 
to this day — ^in all this the multitude of single observations 
accumulated on the journey united to form one great general 
impression of the essential character and value of the religious 
East, which is a unity amidst all the confusion of tongues and 
all the play of colours in the costumes. 

Of course it has not been possible for me yet to work up 
these observations. For that I must have time. But when I 
think of all that I have learnt (I trust) for the better under- 
standing of the gospels, the letters of St. Paul, the Acts of the 
Apostles, and the Revelation of St. John, I cannot but express 
my gratitude to the Ministry of Education for enabling me to 
undertake this journey. I wish that right many of my fellow- 
students might be given the same opportunity of beholding 
with their own eyes the scenes of gospel and Primitive Christian 
history. The New Testament is the most important monument 
of the East that we possess ; those who study it have therefore 
a claim upon the East. 

Adolf Deissmann. 

Berlin- Wilmersdorf, 
9 June, 1909, 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 

" Light from the East "^t is a curious title for the book, but 
before you censure it just look for, a moment at the Eastern 
sunshine. On the castled height of Pergamum observe the 
wondrous Ught bathing the marble of Hellenistic temples at 
noonday. At Hagios Elias in Thera look with hushed rapture 
upon the golden shimmer of the same light over the endless 
expanse of the Mediterranean, and then in the vino santo of 
the hospitable monks divine the glow of that same sun. Mark 
what tones this light has at command even within stone walls, 
when at Ephesus a patch of deep blue sky gleams through the 
roof of a ruinous mosque upon an ancient column now mated to 
a fig-tree. Nay, let but a single beam of the Eastern sun peep 
through a chink of the door into the darkness of a poor Panagia 
chapel : a dawning begins, a sparkling and quickening ; the 
one beam seems to wax twofold, tenfold ; day breaks, you take 
in the pious meaning of the wall frescoes and the inscribed 
words, and the miserable poverty that built the shrine is 
forgotten. 

Make that sunbeam your own and take it with you to the 
scene of your labours on the other side of the Alps. If you 
have ancient texts to decipher, the sunbeam will bring stone 
and potsherd to speech. If you have sculptures of the Medi- 
terranean world to scrutinise, the sunbeam will put hfe into 
them for you — ^men, horses, giants, and all. And if you have 
been found worthy to study the sacred Scriptures, the sunbeam 
will reanimate the apostles and evangeUsts, will bring out with 
greater distinctness the august figure of the Redeemer from the 
East, Him whom the Church is bound to reverence and to obey. 

And then, if you speak of the East, you cannot help yourself : 
made happy by its marvels, thankful for its gifts, you must 
speak of the Ught of the East. 



xvi PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 

After fifteen years spent in studsdng the Greek Bible and 
other secular documents of the Hellenistic East, it was a matter 
of extreme moment to me to be privileged in the spring months 
of 1906 to take part in an expedition, assisted by a grant from 
the Baden Ministry of Education, for study purposes to Vienna, 
Buda Pesth, Bucharest, Constantinople, Asia Minor, Greece 
with the principal islands, and Southern Italy. The tour was 
organised and conducted in masterly fashion by Friedrich von 
Duhn. In the great museums and at the centres where inter- 
national excavations are in progress we had not only him to 
instruct us, but the foremost authorities in archaeology and 
epigraphy — Austrians, Hungarians, Roumanians, Turks, our 
own German countrymen, Greeks, Englishmen, Frenchmen, and 
Itahans — ^rendered us the greatest assistance in our studies. 
We were indebted most particularly to Wilhelm Dorpfeld and 
my old schoolfellow Theodor Wiegand. For me personally the 
whole expedition was hallowed with peculiar, unforgettable 
solemnity owing to a deeply affecting family bereavement, the 
sudden news of which reached me at Smyrna. Thus it dwells in 
my memory now as a great event to which I owe both widening 
and deepening of experience. 

On my arrival home I began to write a book, combining my 
impressions of the tour with observations I had already made 
in the course of my studies. The foundation was provided by 
a course of lectures ^ which I gave at the Hochstift, Frankfort 
on the Main, in 1905, and which appeared afterwards in EngUsh, 
first in serial ^ and then in book form.' I was also able to make 
use of smaller articles of mine, most of which appeared in 
Die ChristUche Welt, some being reprinted with my permission 
in the eighth volume of Ernst Lohmann's journal, Sonnen- 
Aufgang : Mitteihmgen aus dem Orient (1906). 

The linguistic details in Chapter II. of the present book are to 
some extent supplemented in my Cambridge lectures,* one of 
which is devoted to Septuagint philology. Of the new and 
great tasks which the new texts set before the Septuagint 

^ An abstract of the course, entitled " Das Neue Testament und die Schrift- 
denkmaler der romischen Kaiserzeit," was printed in the Jahrbuch des Freien 
Deutschen Hochstifts zu Frankfurtam Main, 1905, pp. 79-95. 

* The Expository Times, October 1906 to April 1907. 
' New Light on the New Testament, Edinburgh, 1907. 

* The Philology of the Greek Bible, London, 1908. 



PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION xvii 

scholar I have spoken but occasionally in the present book; 
but nearly all the observations that I have brought together on 
the New Testament could be carried further back and apphed 
in like manner to the Greek Old Testament. 

At the desire of my pubUsher, Dr. Paul Siebeck, who displayed 
great and intelligent interest in the whole field of my researches, 
I have written the main text of the book (as distinct from the 
footnotes) in a manner to be understood in all essentials by the 
general reader without specialist knowledge. For the same 
reason the Greek and Latin texts have been furnished with 
translations — a good means, by the way, of enabHng the author 
to check his impressions. Dr. Siebeck complied most willingly 
with my suggestion that a large number of the more important 
texts should be shown in facsimile. In obtaining the necessary 
photographs, rubbings, etc., I was assisted by several scholars 
and publishers at home and abroad, and with especial liberaUty 
by the Directors of the Royal Museums (Berlin), the Reichs- 
post Museum (Berlin), the Epigraphical Commission of the 
Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences, Lord Amherst of Hackney, 
the Heidelberg University Library, the Egypt Exploration Fund 
(London), the British Museum, and the Imperial Austrian 
Archaeological Institute. For all this aid I return respectful 
thanks. 

From the beginning I was accompanied in my work by the 
practical S5niipathy of my friend Ulrich Wilcken, who was also 
one of those who helped by reading the proofs. The extent of 
my indebtedness to this pioneer worker in classical antiquities 
cannot be gauged from the mere quotations in the book 
itself. . . . 

Little did I dream in October last (1907), when the book 
began to be printed, that its completion would mark my fare- 
well to the University of Heidelberg. Even after my summons 
to another sphere of work I should have preferred to be able 
to publish it in my capacity as a Heidelberg Professor, for it 
is a Heidelberg book. But that summons caused the printing 
to be delayed some weeks. If I am thus unable to write 
Heidelberg after my name on the title-page, I must at least in 
this place acknowledge what help and stimulus, what true 
fellowship and friendship Heidelberg has brought me. I 



xviii PREFACE TO THE FIRST EDITION 

regard it as a most kindly dispensation of Providence that for 
more than ten years I have been privileged to live, work, and 
learn in this ancient University — and for just those ten years in 
which, while one's own aims become gradually clearer, one is 
still independent and receptive enough to be moulded by the 
most various kinds of men and institutions. 

Adolf Deissmann. 

Castagnola, Lake of Lugano 
ig March, 1908. 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 

The translation of my friend Deissmann's LicM vom Osten which I 
originally made from the " second and third " edition of the German 
work (Tiibingen, 1909) has at length been adapted in conformity 
with the " fourth, completely revised " and enlarged edition of 1923. 
The circumstances under which the revision was undertaken are 
described in the author's Preface. I should like to add that between 
22 Nov.,1914, and 23 April, 1918, a certain portion of the time given 
to " fostering Christian solidarity " was spent in tedious journeys 
half-way round Berlin to visit his English translator in internment 
either at Plotzensee Prison or at Ruhleben. Every two months or so 
a long, weary journey was undertaken just for the sake of cheering 
an enemy alien by half-an-hour's.talk under the eye of soldiers in a 
guard-room; 21 visits were paid in all, permission having to be 
obtained for each, not without dif&culty, from the military 
authorities. Rare indeed was the privilege. And the visitor never 
came empty-handed, but brought 'with him mental pabtilum and 
always some creature comforts, even when the pinch was being felt 
in the homes of Germany, iv i^vXax^ ^/xtjv, koX rjkBirt wpo's ji^e. 

As in the case of the first edition of this book, the author has read 
the proofs and replied to a number of questions submitted to him. 
Additions for which the translator bears the responsibility are marked 
(Tr.). Thanks to Professor W. M. Calder and the publishers, the 
number of illustrations has been increased by two (Figs. 2 and 53), 
not included in the German edition, making a total of 85 illustrations 
as compared with the 68 given in 1910. The facsimiles have their 
value not only for the learned, who (by taking pains) can spell out a 
good deal of the old writing, but also for the unlearned. Everybody 
can gain from them, as the author says (p. 150), some idea of the 
inimitable individuaUty of each papyrus letter. " lliat autograph 
Letter, it was once all luminous as a burning beacon, every word of 
it a live coal, in its time ; it was once a piece of the general fire and 
light of Human Life, that Letter! Neither is it yet entirely extinct : 
well read, there is still in it light enough to exhibit its own self; nay, 
to diffuse a faint authentic twilight some distance round it. Heaped 
embers which in the daylight looked black, may still look red in the 



XX 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 



utter darkness. These Letters . . . will convince any man that 
the Past did exist ! By degrees the combined small twilights may 
produce a kind of general feeble twilight, rendering the Past 
credible, the Ghosts of the Past in some gUmpses of them visible ! " ^ 

In the translations of the Greek texts I was naturally guided by 
the German, but I did not feel called upon to follow it literally. 
Even the translations of papyrus letters by Grenfell and Hunt, 
which are of course made directly from the Greek, and which in 
some cases have already attained popular celebrity, did not seem to 
be the right thing for me to use, though I have carefully considered 
them. There is a modem ring about them ^ which separates them 
off from the diction of the English Bible, and so would have weakened 
the comparison which it is a main object of this book to jnake 
between the sacred and profane memorials of Hellenistic Greek. I 
therefore have tried to render the Greek literally in language as far 
as possible resembling that of the Authorised Version and the 
Revised Version. If the word before me occurs in the Greek Bible 
my principle is to adopt by preference one of the renderings of 
King James's translators. It is hoped that in this way the kinship 
of these texts with the style and language of the Bible may be made 
more conspicuous, and that even a reader who neglects the Greek 
may be struck by the frequent Biblical echoes. The result may 
leave something to be desired as regards clearness, but is it right in 
translating an ancient letter to give it a perspicuity which the 
original does not possess ? And that ancient letters are not always 
perspicuous any person acquainted only with English may see for 
himself if he will trouble to look at even a modernised edition of the 
fifteenth-century Paston Letters. 

This subject is, I think, sufficiently important to be illustrated 
by a comparison. Take these two renderings of a " Saying " in the 
second Logia fragment from Oxyrhynchus : — 



Jesus saith : X^t him that seeketh 
. . . not cease . . . until he findeth, 
and when he findeth he shall be 
amazed, and having been amazed 
he shall reign, and having reigned 
he shall rest. 



Jesus saith : Let not him who 
seeks . . . cease until he finds, 
and when he finds he shall be 
astonished; astonished he shall 
reach the kingdom, and having 
reached the kingdom he shall rest. 



The first is as printed at p. 426 below, the second is by Grenfell and 
Hunt. The forms seeketh, findeth, him that are preferred to seeks, 
finds, him who as being more archaic and Biblical. The Greek word 
Gafji^ita is translated amaze in Mark i. 27, x. 32, astonish in Mark 
X. 24, Acts ix. 6 ; the R.V. uses amaze in each place, except in Acts 

' Carlyle, Oliver Cromwell's Letters and Speeches, Introduction, Ch. V. 
* Cf. the author's protest about a similar matter, p. 11, n. 3 below. 



TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE xxi 

ix.-6, where the word disappears from the text. So also Pa<riXtvio is 
translated reign in Matt. ii. 22-, Rom. v. 14, 17, 21, vi. 12, i Cor. iv. 8 
(A.V. and R.V.). Note that and has dropped out before the second 
astonished. It is unnecessary to give further details, but I suppose 
there is not one of the translated texts but contains at least one 
instcince of specially chosen wording on these principles. 

In the German edition the diacritical marks employed in the 
Greek texts receive as a rule no explanation. I think, however, 
there may be many readers able to appreciate such things who are 
nevertheless not quite certain of their precise signification. The 
following list is based on Grenfell and Hunt's introductory note to 
the Amherst Papyri : — 

Square brackets [ ] indicate a lacuna, e.g. pp. 134, 139 f., 151 ff., 

162, 1641, 173 f., 179. 
Rovmd brackets ( ) indicate the extension of an abbreviation, the 

resolution of a ligature or symbol, e.g. pp. 166, 171, 173. 
Angular brackets < > indicate that the letters enclosed in them 

were omitted (i.e. not written) in the original, e.g. pp. 151, 

168, 174. (In the translation on p. 259 they indicate a word 

and on p. 295 a letter which, though actually written in the 

Greek, should be omitted.) 
Double square brackets [[ ]] indicate that the letters enclosed in 

them were deleted in the original. See p. 153 and p. 165, n. 4. 
Ciu-ly brackets { } indicate that the letters enclosed in them are 

superfluous. See p. 194. 
Dots within brackets indicate the approximate nimiber of letters 

missing, e.g. pp. 121, 140, 152, 162, 179. 
Dots outside brackets indicate mutilated or otherwise illegible 

letters, e.g. pp. 121, 179. 
Dots under letters indicate a probable but not certain reading, 

e.g. pp. 121, 152 f., 162, 164 f., 174, 184, 187, 204. 
Dashes under letters indicate an almost certain reading, e.g. pp. 

174, 179, 184, 187. 
A dash above a letter indicates a contraction, e.g. p. 216, lines 14 

{afiapTL^=afuifyri7iv), 24, 28, p. 405 f. Sometimes it means 

that the letter is used as a numeral, e.g. pp. 176, 200, 202. 
The mysterious « on p. 187, line 23, is perhaps a numeral (= 5). 
An oblique stroke / indicates (p. 103, n. 4; p. 388) the point where 

a new line begins in the original. 

The comparatively few abbreviations used in the book will, it is 
hoped, explain themselves. " P.S.I.," which occurs at p. 155, n. 2, 
and p. 156, n. 2, might be puzzling, but is explained at p. 152, n. 2. 



xxii TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE 

A small numeral above the line after the name of a book (thus : 
Sylloge ^) indicates the edition. A special monstrosity of this kind 
occurs at p. 333, n. i, where Kommentar, 8/9*'' denotes the eighth 
edition of vol. 8, and the seventh edition of vol. 9, which are bound 
up together. At p. 226, n. 4, and p. 270 the symbol || means 
" paraUel with." 

The Indices may still be regarded as of the author's own design, 
but with the improvements retained which I introduced into the 
first English edition. When references are given not by the page 
only, but also by the number of the footnote, this number is often 
to be taken as a finger-post to a certain part of the text as well as to 
the remark at the foot of the page. 

L. R. M. S. 

Birmingham, 24 Feb. 1927. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

PAGE 

The Problem — Discovery and Nature of the New 
Texts 1-61 

I. The Problem 



The Texts . 
{a) Inscriptions 

(b) Papyri 

(c) Ostraca 



I 
II 
II 
24 
50 



CHAPTER II 

The Language of the New Testament illustrated from 

the New Texts 62-145 

1. The Historical and the Dogmatic Method of New 

Testament Philology. Principal Problems . . 62 

2. The New Testament a Record of late Colloquial 

Greek 69 

3. Examples ........ 72 

A. Phonology and Accidence .... 72 

B. Onomatology 73 

C. Vocabulary. ...... 74 

(a) Words 74 

(6) Mecinings of Words .... 107 

(c) Standing Phrases and Fixed Formulae . 116 

D. Sjmtax 119 

E. Style 131 

4. The Essential Character of the New Testament . 143 



xxiv CONTENTS 

CHAPTER III 

FACE 

The New Testament as Literature, illustrated by the 

New Texts ....... 146-251 

1. The Problem of the Literary Development of 

Christianity ....... 146 

2. The Essential Distinction between " Literary " and 

"Non-Literary" 148 

3. A Series of Twenty-six Ancient Letters (from 

Originals), representative of Non-Literary Writing 149 

4. The Essential Distinction between the Letter and 

the Epistle 227 

5. Ancient Letters and Epistles .... 230 

6. Primitive Christian Letters 233 

7. Primitive Christian Epistles . .... 242 

8. The Literary Development of Primitive Christianity 245 

9. The Essential Character of the New Testament . 250 



CHAPTER IV 

Social and Religious History in the New Testament, 

illustrated from the New Texts . . . 252-392 

1. Clues in the New Testament referring to the Subject. 

Remarks on Method 252 

2. The Cultural Background of Primitive Christianity 267 

3. The Religious World contemporary with Primitive 

Christianity ....... 284 

4. The Competing Cults ...... 288 

5. Types of Individual Souls among the Ancient Non- 

Literary Classes ...... 290 

6. Stimuli derived from Contemporary Popular 

Religion ........ 300 

7. Stimuli derived from Contemporary Popular 

Morality 308 

8. Stimuli derived from Contemporary Popular Law . 318 

9. Christ and the Caesars : Parallelism in the Technical 

Language of their Cults ..... 338 

10. The Theological and the Religious Element in 

Primitive Christianity . . . . . . 378 

11. The Forces enabling Primitive Christianity to gain 

Converts ....... 384 

12. The Essential Character of the New Testament . 391 



CONTENTS XXV 

CHAPTER V 

FACE 

Retrospect — Future Work of Research . . 393-409 



1. Retrospect .... 

2. Christianity Popular in its Personalities 

of Expression .... 

3. Future Work for the Philologist . 

4. Future Work for the Theologian . 

5. The New Testament Lexicon 



and 



Forms 



393 

395 

397 
400 
40t 



APPENDIX I 
Jewish Prayers for Vengeance found at Rheneia . . 413 

APPENDIX II 

On the Text of the Second Logia Fragment from 

oxyrhynchus 425 

APPENDIX III 
The Supposed Fragment of a Gospel at Cairo . . 430 

APPENDIX IV 
Lucius — Luke 435 

APPENDIX V 
The Synagogue Inscription of Theodotus at Jerusalem . 439 

APPENDIX VI 

The Diptych of M. Valerius Quadratus, a Veteran of 

the Jerusalem Campaign 442 

APPENDIX VII 
The Epitaph of Regina, a Roman Jewess . . . 447 



XXVI 



CONTENTS 



APPENDIX VIII 

A Jewish Inscription in the Theatre at Miletus . 

APPENDIX IX 

The so-called " Planetary Inscription " in the Theatre 
AT Miletus a late Christian Protective Charm 



PAGE 



433 



APPENDIX X 

Unrecognised Biblical Quotations in Syrian and Meso- 

potamian Inscriptions 461 



APPENDIX XI 
Kautsky's " Origin of Christianity " 



465 



INDICES 










I. Places 469 


II. Ancient Persons 










476 


III. Words and Phrases 










485 


IV. Subjects 










492 


V. Modern Persons 










510 


VI. Passages Cited 










522 


(A) Greek Bible . 










522 


Septuagint 










522 


Aquila and Ssmimachus 










523 


New Testament 










523 


(B) Latin Bible 










528 


(C) Inscriptions 










528 


(D) Papyri and Parchments 










531 


(E) Ostraca . 










533 


(F) Wooden Tablets 










533 


(G) Glass Goblets . 










533 


(H) Coins 










• 533 


(I) Ancient Authors (other tha 


nBib 


lical) 






• 533 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAGE 

1 . A Quirinius Inscription from Antioch in Pisidia : Base of a 

Statue of C. Caristanius, Praefect of the Governor P. 
Sulpicius Quirinius ; possibly dating from the first Syrian 
governorship of Quirinius ( 1 1-8 B.C. ?) . . . . 5 

2. Roman Milestone, 6 B.C., at Yonuslar, passed by Paul and 

Barnabas on the road to Iconium. From a photograph 
by C. W. M. Cox, of Balliol College, Oxford (summer of 
1924) 6 

3. Door Inscription from Synagogue at Corinth, Imperial 

Period. Now in Corinth Museum . . . Page 16 

4. Contract of Sale relating to a Parcel of Vineyard. Parch- 

ment from Kopanis in the Kingdom of Parthia, 88 b.c. 
Now in the British Museum .... Facing Page 32 

5. Hereditary Lease of a Vineyard. Parchment from Kopanis 

in the Kingdom of Parthia, 22-21 b.c. Now in the British 
Museum . . . , . . . . . -33 

6. Ostracon from Upper Egypt, inscribed with Luke xxii. 70 f., 

7th cent. A.D. Now in the Institut franjais d'Arch6ologie 
orientale, Cairo ........ 58 

7. Site of the Excavations in Delos. From a photograph by 

Miss M. C. de Grafienried 61 

8. Tombstone from Bingerbriick, early Imperial Period. Now 

at Kreuznach ........ 74 

9. Limestone Block from the Temple of Herod at Jerusalem, 

inscribed with a warning notice. Early Imperial Period. 
Now in the Imperial New Museum at Constantinople 80 

10. Wooden Mummy-label' from Egypt, Imperial Period . . 100 

II." StelewithDecreebf Honour from Syme, 2nd cent. B.C. Now 

in the chapel of St. Michael Tharrinos, Syme . . . 103 

12. Ostracon, Thebes, 4 August, 63 a.d. Receipt for Isis 

Collection. Now in the Berlm Museum . . .105 

13. Limestone Slab, Magnesia on the Maeander, 138 or 132 b.c. 

Judicial Award by the Magnesians, lines 52-80. Now in 

the Berlin Museum . . . . . . .106 

14. Ostracon, Thebes, 32-33 a.d. R-eceipt for Alien Tax. Now 

in the Author's collection . . . . . .111 

15. Ostracon, Thebes, 2nd cent. a.d. Transfer Order. Now in 

the Author's collection. . . . . . .121 



xxviii ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING PAGE 



i6. Inscription on a Glass Goblet, probably from Syria, ist cent. 

A.D. Now in the possession of Theodor Wiegand . . 129 

17. Isis Inscription from los. Writing of the (2nd or) 3rd cent. 

A.D. Contents pre-Christian. Now in the Church of St. 
John the Divine, los .'...... 139 

18, 19. The Oldest Greek Letter yet discovered. Address (Fig. 18) 

and Text (Fig. 19) : Mnesiergus of Athens to his House- 
mates. Leaden tablet, 4th cent. B.C. Now in the Berlin 
Museum. ......... 151 

20. Letter from Zoilus, a servant of Sarapis, to ApoUonius, an 

Egyptian minister of finance, Alexandria, 258—257 B.C. 
Papyrus from Philadelphia (Fayum). Now in the Cairo 
Museum ......... 153 

21. Letter from Zoilus to ApoUonius : Writing on the Verso . 154 

22 . Letters from Tubias, Sheikh of the Ammonites, to ApoUonius, 

Egyptian minister of finance, and to King Ptolemy II., 
Philadelphus, Trans jordania, 257-256 b.c. Papyrus from 
Philadelphia (Fayum). Now in the Cairo Museum . . 162 

23. Letters from Tubias to ApoUonius and to King Ptolemy II. : 

Writing on the Verso . . . . . .163 

24. Letter from Demophon, a wealthy Egyptian, to Ptolemaeus, 
, a police official, circa 245 B.C. Papyrus from Hibeh. 

Now in the Museum of Victoria University, Toronto, 
Canada . . . . . . . . . , 164 

25. Letter from Asclepiades, an Egyptian landowner, to Portis. 

Ptolemaic Period. OstraCon from Thebes. Now in the 
possession of Ulrich Wilcken . . . . .166 

26. Letter from Hilarion, an Egyptian labourer, to Alls, his wife. 

Papyrus, written at Alexandria, 17 June, i b.c. Now in 

the possession of Victoria University, Toronto, Canada . 168 

27. 28. Letter from Mystarion, an Egj^tian olive-planter, to 

Stotoetis, a chief priest. Address (Fig. 27) and Text (Fig. 
28), 12 September, 50 a.d. Papyrus from the Fayum. 
Now in the Reichspost Museum at Berlin . . .170 

29. Letter from Harmiysis, a small Egyptian farmer, to Papiscus, 

an official, and others, 24 July, 66 a.d., lines 1-31. 
Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the Cambridge 
University Library . . . . . . • 1 73 

30. Letter from Nearchus, an Egyptian, to Heliodorus, ist or 

2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus from Egypt. Now in the British 
Museum ......... 174 

31. Letter froin Irene, an Egyptian, to a Family in Mourning, 

2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the 
Library of Yale University . . . ... .176 

32. Letter from Apion, an Egyptian soldier in the Roman Navy, 

to his father Epimachus, Misenum, 2nd cent. a.d. 
Papyrus from the Fayflm. Now in the Berlin Museum . 179 



ILLUSTRATIONS xxix 

FACING FACE 

33. Letter from (Apion, now) Antonius Maximus, an Egyptian 

soldier in the Roman Navy, to his sister Sabina, 2nd cent. 
A.D. Papyrus from the Fayfim. Now in the Berlin 
Museum ......... 184 

34. Letter from a 'Prodigal Son, Antonis Longus, to his mother 

Nilus, 2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus from the Fayum. Now in 

the Berlin Museum . . . .187 

35. Letters from Sempronius, an Egyptian, to his mother 

Saturnila and his brother Maximus, second half of the 
2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus from Alexandria ( ?). Now in 
the British Museum . . . .193 

36. Letter from Aurelius Archelaus, beneficiarius, to Juhus 

Domitius, military tribune, lines 1-24, 2nd cent. a.d. 
Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the Bodleian 
Library, Oxford ........ 197 

37. Letter from Harpocras, an Egyptian, to Phthomonthes, 29 

December, 192 a.d. Ostracon from Thebes. - Now in the 
Author's collection ....... 200 

38. Letter from Theon, an Egyptian boy, to his father Theon, 

2nd or 3rd cent. a.d. Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now 

in the Bodleian Library, Oxford ..... 201 

39. Letter from Pacysis, an Egyptian, to his son, about the 3rd 

. cent. A.D. Ostracon from Thebes. Now in the Author's 
collection ......... 204 

40. Perhaps the Oldest Christian Letter extant in the Autograph 

Original. Letter from an Egyptian Christian to his 
fellow-Christians in the Arsinoite nome. Papyrus, 
written at Rome between 264 (265) and 282 (281) a.d. 
Formerly in the possession of the late Lord Amherst of 
Hackney ......... 208 

41. Letter from Psenosiris, a Christian presbjrter, to Apollo, a 

Christian presbyter at Cysis (Great Oasis). Papyrus, 
beginning of the 4th cent. a.d. (Diocletian persecution). 
Now in the British Museum . . . . . -214 

42. Letter (with Address) from Justinus, an Egyptian Christian, 

to Papnuthius, a Christian. Papyrus, middle of the 4th 
cent. A.D. Now in the University Library, Heidelberg . 216 

43. Letter from Caor, Papas of Hermupolis, to Flavins 

Abinnaeus, an officer at Dionysias in the Fayum. 
Papyrus, circa 346 a.d. Now in the British Museum . 217 

44. Letter from Samuel, Jacob, and Aaron, candidates for the 

diaconate, to Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis ( ?). Coptic 
ostracon, circa 600 a.d. (verso). Now in the possession 
of the Egypt Exploration Fund . . . . .222 

45. Letter probably from Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis (?) to 

the clergy of his diocese. Coptic ostracon, circa 600 a.d. 
(verso) . Now in the possession of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund ... ..... 226 

46. The first lines of the Epistle to the Romans in a rustic hand. 

Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, beginning of the 4th cent. a.d. 
Now in the Semitic Museum of Harvard University. . 240 



XXX ILLUSTRATIONS 



FACING PAGE 



47. Marble Inscription from Cos, containing the title Euergetes, 

circa 53 a.d. Now in Sarrara Yussuf's garden wall, in the 
town "of Cos . 253 

48. Folio 33 recto of the Great Magical Papyrus, written in 

Egypt circa 300 a.d. Now in the Bibliothfeque Nationale 

at Paris . . . . . . . . . 256 

49. Folio 33 verso of the Great Magical Papyrus, written in 
. Eg5rpt circa 300 a.d. Now in the Bibliothfeque Nationale 

at Paris . . . . . . . . ■ 257 

50. Report of Judicial Proceedings before the Praefect of Egypt, 

G. Septimius Vegetus, 85 a.d. Papyrus. Now at Florence 269 

51. Edict of the Praefect of EgyJ)t, G. Vibius Maximus, 104 a.d. 

Papyrus (pa,rt of a letter copy-book). Now in the British 
Museum ......... 271 

52. " Angel " Inscription from the Island of Thera. Gravestone, 

Imperial Period. Now in the Thera Museum . . 280 

53. The Zeus-Hermes dedication from Sedasa {Ak-Kilisse), near 

Lystra, soon after 250 a.d. Now in a house-wall at Baliik- 
Jiaou (Balyklagho), near Lystra . . . .281 

54. Epigram on the Tomb of Chrysogonus of Cos. Marble Altar, 

Imperial Period. Now built into the wall of a house in Cos 295 

55. Charm for " Binding." Leaden tablet from Attica, first half 

of the 4th cent. B.C. . . . . . . 305 

56. Charm for " Binding." Ostracoh from Ashmunen, late 

Imperial Period. Formerly in the possession of the late 

F. Hilton Price, London ...... 306 

57. Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an Inscription in 

honour of the Gymnasiarch ApoUodorus of Pergamum. 
Roman Period. Original still at Pergamum . . .312 

58. Marble Tombstone of OtaciUa PoUa of Pergamum, about the 

time of Hadrian. Now in the garden of Pasha-Oglu 
Hussein, in the Selinus valley, near Pergamum . . 315 

59. Retaining-wall of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, inscribed 

with numerous ancient records of manumissions . .321 

60. Lytron (" ransom ") Inscription from Kores (Keures), near 

Koula, in Asia Minor. Imperial Period. Now in the 
Lyceum Hosianum at Braunsberg ..... 328 

61. Note of Hand for 100 Silver Drachmae, ist cent. a.d. 

Pap3rnjs from-the Fayflm. Now in the Berhn Museum . 331 

62. Original Limestone Plate (charagma) inscribed with the seal 

of Augustus. Egypt, 5-6 A.D. Now in the Berlin Museum 341 

63. Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an Inscription in 

honour of a Priestess of Athene. Imperial Period. Now 

in the Berlin Museum . . . . . -346 

64. Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an Inscription in 

honour of Augustus. , Age of Augustus. Now in the 
Berhn Museum ........ 347 



ILLUSTRATIONS xxxi 



FACING PACE 



65. Marble Slab from Magnesia on the Maeander with a Votive 

Inscription for Nero, 50-54 a.d. Original at Pergamum; 
Plaster Cast in the Berlin Museum .... 348 

66. Wall of the Propylon of the Temple at El-Khargeh (Great 

Oasis) inscribed with an Edict of the Praefect Ti. Julius 
Alexander, 6 July, 68 a.d., lines 1-46 .... 358 

67. Ostracon, Thebes. Dated Sebaste Day, 23 September, 

33 A.D. Receipt for Embankment and Bath Tax. Now 

in the Author's collection ... . . . 360 

68. 69. Inscription of the Hymnodi of the god Augustus and the 

goddess Roma on a marble altar at Pergamum, temp. 
Hadrian, right side (B, Fig. 68) and left side (D, Fig. 69). 
Now in the courtyard of the Konak at Pergamum . . 361 

70. Block of Blue Limestone from a Pillar of the North Hall of 

the Market at Priene, with the Calendar Inscription, lines 
1-31, ciyca 9 B.C. Now in the Berlin Museum . . 366 

71 . Block of White Marble from a Pillar of the North Hall of the 

Market at Priene, with the Calendar Inscription, lines 
32-60, circa 9 B.C. Now in the Berlin Museum . . 367 

72. Marble Stele from Cos, Tombstone of Hermes, an Iniperial 

Freedman, after 161 a.d. Now in the house of Said AU 

in the town of Cos ....... 377 

73. Onomasticon sacrum. Papyrus from Egypt, 3rd or 4th cent. 

A.D. Now in the University Library, Heidelberg . . 405 

74. Title-page of the first New Testament Lexicon, by Georg 

Pasor, Herborn, 1619. From a copy in the University 
Library, Heidelberg ....... 406 

75. 76. Marble Stele from Rheneia, inscribed with a prayer for 

vengeance on the murderers of Heraclea, a Jewess of 
Delos, circa 100 B.C., front view (A, Fig. 75) and back view 
(B, Fig. 76). Now in the Museum at Bucharest . .414 

77. Marble Stele from Rheneia, inscribed with a prayer for 

vengeance on the murderers of Marthina, a Jewess of 
Delos, circa 100 B.C. NOw in the National Museum, 
Athens 415 

78. Votive Inscription of Gamus and his family to the god Men 

at Antioch in Pisidia. Imperial Period .... 436 

79. A second Voiive Inscription of Gamus and his family to the 

god Men at Antioch in Pisidia. Imperial Period . . 437 

80. SjTiagogue Inscription of Theodotus at Jerusalem, before 

70 A.D. ......... 440 

81 . Diptych of M. Valerius Quadratus, a veteran of the Jerusalem 

campaign, Alexandria, 2 July, 94 a.d. Outer Side. 
Wooden Tablet from Philadelphia in the Fayiim. Now 
in the Museum at Alexandria . .444 



xxxu ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PACE 

82. Diptych of M. Valerius Quadratus, a veteran of the Jerusalem 

campaign, Alexandria, 2 July, 94 a.d., Inner Side. 
Wooden Tablet from Philadelphia in the Fajrfim. Now 
in the Museum at Alexandria . . . , .445 

83. Epitaph of Regina, a Roman Jewess, in the Catacomb on the 

Monteverde at Rome, beginning of the 2nd cent. a.d. Now 

in the Museo Cristiano Lateranense, Rome . . . 448 

84. Inscription for the Jewish Seats in the Theatre at Miletus. 

Imperial Period . . . . . . . .451 

85. Christian Archangel Inscription in. the Theatre at Miletus. 

Early Byzantine Period . . . , . 454 



CHAPTER I 

THE PROBLEM— DISCOVERY AND NATURE OF 
THE NEW TEXTS 

I. It was beneath an Eastern sky that the gospel was 
first preached and Jesus Christ was first adored by worshippers 
as " the Lord." Jesus and Paul were sons of the East. 
The " Amen " of our daily prayers, the " Hosanna " and 
" Hallelujah " of our anthems, even names such as " Christ " 
and " Evangelist " remind us constantly of the Eastern 
beginnings of our religious communion. Like other words 
distinctive of our faith, they are of Semitic and Greek origin. 
They take us back not only to the soil of Galilee and Judaea 
but to the international highways of the Greek or rather 
Graecised Orient : Jesus preaches in His Aramaic mother 
tongue, Paul speaks the cosmopolitan Greek of the Rpman 
Empire. 

So too the book which preserves an echo of the message 
of Jesus and His apostles : the New Testament is a gift 
from the East. We are accustomed to read it under our 
Northern sky, and though it is by origin an Eastern book, 
it is so essentially a book of humanity that we comprehend 
its spirit even in the countries of the West and North. But 
details here and there, and the historical setting, would be 
better understood by a son of the East, especially a con- 
temporary of the evangelists and apostles, than by us. 
Even to-day the traveller who follows the footsteps of the 
apostle Paul from Corinth past the ruins of Ephesus to 
Antioch and Jerusalem, finds much revealed to him in the 
sunshine of the Levant which he would not necessarily have 
seen at Heidelberg or Cambridge. 

In our acts of worship we have, thank God, nothing to do 
with the historical setting of the sacred text. The great 
outlines of the shining golden letters are clearly visible even 



2 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

in the semi-darkness of the shrine, and here our business is 
with things holy, not historical. 

But theology, as an historical science, has a vital interest 
in the discovery of the historical setting, the historical 
background. 

The ancient world, in the widest sense of that term, forms 
the historical background to Primitive Christianity. It is the 
one, great, civilised world fringing the Mediterranean, a world 
which at the period of the new religious departure displayed a 
more than outward compactness inasmuch as the Hellenisa- 
tion and Romanisation ^ of the East and the Orientalisation 
of the West had worked together for unity. 

Any attempt to reconstruct this mighty background to 
the transformation scene in the world's religion will base 
itself principally on the literatures of that age, — and on the 
earlier " classical " literatures in so far as they were forces 
vital enough to have influenced men's minds in the Imperial 
period. There are two groups of records in literary form 
deserving of special attention : firstly, the remains of Jewish 
tradition ^ contained in the Mishna, the Talmuds, and kindred 
texts ; secondly, the Graeco-Roman authors of the Imperial age. 

Of neither of these groups, however, shall I speak here, 
although I am not unaware of the great importance of 
this body of literary evidence. It were indeed a task well 
worthy of a scholar to devote his life to producing a new 
edition of Johann Jakob Wettstein's New Testament.* 
That splendid book is a century and a half old, and its 
copious collection of parallels from Jewish and Graeco- 

• A problem that received little attention before it was treated by Ludwig 
Hahn, Rom und Romanismus im griechisch-romischen Osten, Leipzig, 1907. 

" I expressly refrain from saying literature, for it is a significant fact that 
Jewish tradition was at first non-literary, and only became literary after- 
wards. The writings of Ludwig Blau are especially instructive on this point, 
which finds its most important analogy in Primitive Christianity. 

' Novum Testamentum Craecum cum lectionibus variantibus et commentario 
pleniore Opera Jo. Jac. Wetstenii, Amstelaedami, 1751-2, 2 vols, folio. Dedi- 
cated to Frederick, Prince of Wales, son of George II. Contains prolegomena, 
apparatus criticus, and commentary. E.g. Matt. ix. 12, " they that be 
whole need not a physician," is illustrated by quotations from Ovid, Diogenes 
Laertius, Pausanias, Stobaeus, Dio Chrysostom, Arteinidorus, Plato, Quin- 
tilian, Seneca, and Plutarch. There are appendices on the use of variants 
and on interpretation (especially of the Apocaljrpse) ; a list of authors quoted ; 
a Greek index verborum; and, to crown the feast, the Syriac text of the 
Epistles of Clement is given. (Tr.) 



THE PROBLEM 3 

Roman writers could be supplemented from our present 
stores of scientific antiquarian lore : it was one of the 
dreams of my student days at Marburg, and Georg Heinrici 
has begun to carry the plan into execution.^ But on the 
whole the ancient Jewish texts at the present time are being 
explored by so many theologians, both Jewish and Christian, 
— ^the Christian with fewer prejudices than formerly, and 
the Jewish more methodically, — and on the whole the 
Graeco-Roman literature of the Imperial period has attracted 
so memy industrious workers, that we are already familiar 
with a wide extent of the literary background of Primitive 
Christianity. Indeed, the literary memorials are valued 
so highly that in some quarters it is consciously or uncon- 
sciously believed that the literature of the Imperial period 
will enable us to restore the historical background of 
Primitive Christianity in' its entirety. 

Those who think so forget that the literature, even if we 
now possessed the whole of it, is after all only a fragment of 
the ancient world, though an important fragment. They 
forget that a reconstruction of the ancient world is bound to 
be imperfect if founded solely on the literary texts, and that 
comparisons between Primitive Christianity and this world, 
which has been pieced together fragmentarily out of frag- 
ments, might easily prove erroneous.^ Even so brilliant and 
learned a scholar as Eduard Norden,* in criticising Primitive 
Christianity in its linguistic and literary aspects, insisted 

1 The Institute for the Historical Study of Religion (Religionsgeschichtliches 
Forschungsinstitut), founded at Leipzig University with Heinrici as Director, 
had appointed a committee for this work, consisting of A. Deissmann, E. von 
Dobschfitz, H. Lietzmann, H. Windisch, and G. Heinrici (Chairman), and a 
certain amount of preliminary work was accomplished. The war and the 
economic catastrophes of the post-war period seriously hindered the under- 
taking; it was resumed, however, in 1921. In November 1921 it was dis- 
covered that the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (London) was 
also planning a "revised Wettstein:" Difficulties, however, beset its path; 
the material already collected in England has therefore, by a happy arrange- 
ment, been made accessible to the German revisers. The management is 
now in the hands of E. von Dobschiitz. See an article by him in the Zeitschr. 
f. Neutestamentliche Wisseuschaft 21 (1922) p. 146 fi. 

• See some excellent remarks by Baldensperger in the Theologische Lite- 
raturzeitung 38 (1913) col. 392. 

» Die antike Kunstprosa vom VI. Jahrhundert v. Chr. bis in die Zeit der 
Renaissance, Leipzig, 1898. See my review of this book in Theol. Rundschau 
5 (1902)' p. 66 ff. 



4 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

upon contrasts between St. Patil and the ancient world which 
in reality are mere contrasts between artless non-literary 
prose and the artistic prose of literature. Such contrasts 
are quite unconnected with the opposition in which Primitive 
Christianity stood to the ancient world. The whole of 
the learned discussion about the " Greek " or " non-Greek " 
character of certain New Testament passages in regard 
to language or content still suffers considerably from the 
vagueness of the concept " Greek " which the adherents of 
either side have in view. If you make the Greek world end, 
roughly speaking, with Alexander — ^if you think that in the 
classical literature you possess the documents of Greek 
culture as a finished product, your standard will be altogether 
different from that of the man who says the Greek " World " 
really begins with Alexander, and who sees in the Greek world- 
language not an artificial contamination, but a living struc- 
ture, organically connected with the spoken language of the 
classical period, greatly and artificially conventionalised 
though that was in the classical literature. The struggle of 
this second school against the first may be termed modern 
anti-Atticism, and the modern Atticists, like those of the 
Imperial period, often conduct their defence with appreci- 
ations which, creditable as they sometimes are to the taste and 
good will of their originators, are a dogmatisation of history. 
As an attempt to fill in some gaps in the historical back- 
ground of Primitive Christianity, and as an antidote to 
extreme views concerning the value of the literary memorials, 
the following pages are offered to the reader. I propose 
to show the importance of the non-literary written memorials 
of the Roman Empire in the period which led up to and 
witnessed the rise and early development of Christianity, 
the period, let us say, from Alexander to Diocletian or Con- 
stantine. I refer to the innumerable texts on stone, metal, 
wax, papyrus, parchment, wood, or earthenware, now 
made accessible to us by archaeological discovery and 
research. They were the gift chiefly of the nineteenth 
century, which we might almost describe as the century of 
epigraphical archaeology ^ ; but their importance for the 

' General readers as well as specialists will appreciate the review of the 
century's work (restricted, however, to the archaeology of art) in Adolf 




Fig. I. — A Quirinius Inscription from Antiocli in 
Pisidia ; Base of a Statue of C. Caristanius, Praefect 
of the Governor P. Siilpicius Quirinius ; possibly 
dating from the first Syrian governorsliip of Quirinius 
(11-8 B.C. ?). By permission of Sir Wilham M. 
Ramsay. 



THE PROBLEM 5 

historical understanding of Primitive Christianity is -still far 
from being generally recognised, and it will be much longer 
before they are fully exhausted. 

How different it has been with the cuneiform inscriptions 
of the East and iheir application to Old Testament study ! 
Men who knew much about the Bible, but nothing of cunei- 
form, entered into competition with cuneiform specialists, to 
whom the Bible had not revealed its mysteries, and an 
immense literature informed the world of the gradual rise 
of the edifice behind the scaffolding amid the dust and din 
of the Babylonian building-plot. It was spoken of in the 
wardrooms of our men-of-war and in the crowded debating 
halls of the trade unions. 

It cannot be said that New Testament scholarship has 
hitherto profited on the same scale by the new discoveries. 
The relics of antiquity found in Mediterranean lands are 
able to throw light on the New Testament, but their value 
is not so obvious as that of the cuneiform inscriptions for 
the Old Testament, and can certainly not be made clear to 
every layman in a few minutes. No tablets have yet been 
found to enable us to date exactly the years of office of 
the Procurators Felix and Festus,^ which would solve an 



Michaelis, Die archdologischen Entdeokungen des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts, 
Leipzig, 1906; 2nd ed. 1908, under the titlfe Ein Jahrhundert kunstarchdolo- 
gischer Entdeckungen [English translation, A Century of Archaeological Dis- 
coveries, London, 1908. Tr.]. Brief and full of matter is Theodor Wiegand's 
Untergang und Wiedergewinnung der Denkmdler, offprint from H. BuUe's 
Handbuch der Archdologie, Munchen, 1913. 

' As late as 1910, in the last edition of this book, I here added " or of the 
Proconsul Gallio." A stone inscribed with the name of Gallio had, however, 
been found at Delphi before that, and is of considerable assistance to us, 
though it does not furnish an absolutely certain chronology for Gallio. Details 
in the appendix to my Paulus, Tiibingen, 1911, p. 159 ff. ; St. Paul, London, 
1912, p. 235 ff. The literature dealing with the stone has since then greatly 
increased, cf. Paulus,^ 1925. p- 203 ff . ; Paul,^ 1926, p. 261 ff . A squeeze of the 
inscription is in the New Testament Seminar of the University of Berlin. New 
fragments of the stone in D. Plooij, De Chronologie van het Leven van Paulus, 
Leiden, 1918. — On another inscription, also very important, which establishes 
the identity of Lysanias, the tetrarch of Abilene, mentioned in Luke iii. i, 
cf. F. Bleckmann, Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palastina-Vereins 36 (1913), 
p. 220. Part of it was already known, and had been quoted in the earlier 
editions of this work (cf. Index I, Places, s.v. " Abila "). Cf. also (Figure i) 
one of the two extremely valuable Quirinius inscriptions from Antioch in 
Pisidia (Sir William M. Ramsay, The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trust- 



6 ■ LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

important problem of early Christian history, and Christian 
inscriptions and papyri of the very earliest period are at 
present altogether wa.nting.^ And yet the discoveries made 
by our diggers of archaeological treasure in Greece, Asia 
Minor, S3T:ia, Palestine, and Egypt are of very great import- 
ance indeed for the light they throw on the earliest stages 
of Christianity. 

worthiness of the New Testament, London, 1915, p. 285, plate I). There, in 
line 6, Quirinius is named as duumvir of Antioch : 

P. Sulpici Quirini duumy{iri). 

The other Quirinius inscription ibid., p. 290 ff. On both cf. also F. Bleck- 
mann. Die erste syrische Statthalterschaft des P. Sulpicius Quirinius, Klio 17 
(Leipzig, 1920) p. 104 ff., and H. Dessau, Zu den neuen Inschriften des 
Sulpicius Quirinius, Klio 17 (1920) p. 252 ff. These inscriptions put the 
time of the first Syrian governorship of Quirinius considerably further back; 
hitherto it used to be placed in the years 3-2 b.c, now it is perhaps to be 
dated 11-8 b.c. Important for Luke ii. 1 f. and the chronology of the birth 
of Jesus. [See W. M. Calder, " The Date of the Nativity," 'Discovery i 
(April, 1920), pp. 100-103, concluding 8 B.C. to be the most probable. The 
same writer points out. Classical Review 38 (Feb.-March, 1924), p. 30, that 
the question of the bearing of the Quirinius inscriptions on Luke's chronology 
is still sub judice. If Dessau's dating is correct these inscriptions cease to 
have any bearing on the date of Quirinius' first governorship of Syria. The 
' argument would have to fall back on the Egyptian census papers and on 
the dated Augustan milestones of the Pisidian military roads. One of the 
milestones (Figure 2),. which St. Paul certainly saw with his own eyes, still 
stands (at Yonuslar) where he passed it on his way to Iconium from Antioch. 
Professor Calder, who kindly supplied the photograph of this tough milestone, 
wrote in The Morning Post, 17 Ajjril, 1925 (previous articles 30 Jan., 14 April) 
that the stone now stands upside down, with the name of the first Roman 
Emperor lapped in earth. " The Hodja told us why. The villagers had 
decided, a dozen years ago, to use it as a pillar to support the roof of the 
mosque. Before it had been carried twenty yards (the Hodja pointed to the 
exact spot) it broke two ox-carts. They let it lie, and then several villagers 
died. So they took it for a ' sign ' (keramet) , carried the stone back, and set 
it up where it had always stood. Upside down, it was true, but Allah knew 
that they had done their best." Tr.] 

1 Why they are wanting is a question that has often engaged my thoughts. 
First of all it may be said that a large part of the ground on which the history 
of the apostolic age took place has not yet been explored. Secondly, however, 
— and this assumption follows from my whole conception of Primitive Chris- 
tianity — the early Christian epitaphs, for example, would be scanty in com- 
parison with the total number of contemporary texts, and would be inscribed 
on poor and easily perishable material. It would seem that graffiti on ossuaries 
might have been preserved more easily in Palestine than elsewhere, if we 
may draw conclusions from the Jewish ossuaries of Palestine, which deserve 
a special investigation without delay. Early Christian papyri are not likely 
to be found there owing to the unfavourable nature of the climate ; but see 
below, pp. 32-36. 




fc s s ° 



THE PROBLEM 7 

It is not merely that the systematic study of the new 
texts increases the amount of authentic first-hand evidence 
relating to the Imperial period. The point is that the 
literary memorials are supplemented by an entirely new 
group, with quite a new bearing on history. 

In the literary memorials that have come down to us, 
what we have is practically the evidence of the upper, culti- 
vated classes about themselves. The lower classes are 
seldom allowed to speak, and where they do come to the 
front — ^in the comedies, for instance — they stand before 
us for the most part in the light thrown upon them from 
above. The old Jewish tradition, coming down to us by 
a literary channel, has, it is true, preserved along with its 
superabundance of learned dogma much that belongs to 
the people — ^the Rabbinic texts are a mine of information 
to the folklorist — ^yet it may be said of the accessible fragment 
of the Graeco-Roman literature of the Imperial a.ge, that 
it is on the whole, since the vulgar literature of those days 
is as good as lost to us, the reflection of the dominant classes, 
possessed of power and culture; and these upper classes 
have been almost always taken as identical with the whole 
ancient world of the Imperial age. Compared with Primi- 
tive Christianity, advancing like the under-current of a 
lava stream with irresistible force from its source in the 
East, this upper stratum appears cold, exhausted, lifeless. 
Senility, the feature common to upper classes everywhere, 
was held to be the characteristic of the whole age which 
witnessed the new departure in religion, and thus we have 
the origin of the gloomy picture that people are still fond 
of drawing as soon as they attempt to sketch for us the 
background of Christianity in its early days. 

This fatal generalisation involves of course a great mistake. 
The upper classes have been simply confused with the whole 
body of society, or, to employ another expression, Primitive 
Christianity has been compared with an incommensurable 
quantity. By its social structure Primitive Christianity 
points unequivocally to the lower and middle classes. ^ Its 

* This sentence, of which the whole of this book is an illustration, forms 
the subject of an address by me at the nineteenth Evangelical and Social 
Congress, held at Dessau, on " Primitive Christianity and the Lower Classes," 
printed together with the lively discussion that foUowed in the Proceedings 



8 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

connexions with the upper classes are very scanty at the 
outset. Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter, Paul of Tarsus 
a tentmaker, and the tentmaker's words ^ about the origin 
of his churches in the lower classes of the great towns form 
one of the most important testimonies, historically speaking, 
that Primitive Christianity gives of itself. Primitive Chris- 
tianity is another instance of the truth taught us with each 
return of springtime, that the sap rises upward from below. 

of the Congress, Gottingen, 1908 ; and in a second (separate) edition, Got- 
tingen, 1908. An English translation appeared in The Expositor, February, 
March, and April 1909. — I am well aware that it is 'difficult in many cases 
to prove the division into classes, the boundaries between "upper classes " 
and " lower classes " being often shifting. The speakers in the discussion 
at Dessau had much to say of importance on this head, and several reviewers 
of this book have discussed the point. I would refer particularly to Paul 
Wendland's review in the Deutsche Literaturzeitung 29 (1908) col. 3146 f. 
The discussion between Max Maurenbrecher and Adolf Harnack in Die Hilfe 
16 (1910) Nos. 25, 26, 27 is very instructive. To make a catchword of the 
" proletarian " character of Primitive Christianity seems to me, however, to 
add to the difficulty of an understanding. For Hamack's position cf. also 
his book. Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums in den ersten drei 
Jahrhunderten* Leipzig, 1915, e.g., II. p. 30 ff. [English translation by James 
Moffatt, London, 1908, 11." p. 33 fi.]; my hints in my " Evangelischer 
Wochenbrief " III., No. 63/68, early April 1921 (the "clever Bait" quoted 
there [p. 186; the Baits are persons of German descent born in the Baltic 
provinces of Russia, now the republics of Esthonia and Latvia. Tr.] is 
Reinhold Seeberg, Velhagen and Klasing's Monatshefte 30 [1915-16] p. 
227) ; and a significant postcard from Harnack, 4 May 1921, in " Ev. 
Wochenbrief " III., 69/78, early June 1921, p. 210 f. Further : Karl Dieterich, 
Die Grenzboten, 9 Dec, 1909. The criticism I received from G. A. van den 
Bergh van Eysinga, Kautsky's opvatting van het oudste Christendom aan de 
bronnen getoetst, Baarn, 191 1, must not be overlooked. Friedrich Naumann, 
Briefe Uber Religion. Mit Nachwort " Nach 13 Jahren," Berlin, 1916, p. 103 f., 
had understood me well. Important from the point of view of method : 
Richard Reitzenstein, Historia Monachorum und Historia Lausiaca, Gottingen, 
igi6, p. 2156. — The problem of class division has deeply engaged my 
attention and I think it is to the good of the cause if I now, in order to avoid 
the appearance of a mechanical separation, speak more of " upper classes " 
and " lower cleisses " in the plural, and expressly emphasise the fact that 
the characteristics of various social classes can be blended in an individual. — 
There is much that is stimulating with regard to method in the brief lecture 
by Friedrich v. der Leyen, Die deutsche Volkskunde und der deutsche Unierricht, 
Berlin, 1916. 

1 1 Cor. i. 26-31. With this compare the humble inscription from the 
synagogue at Corinth (Figure 3, p. 16 below), perhaps the very synagogue in 
which St. Paul first preached at Corinth. Excellent remarks by Georg 
Heinrici, Paulus als Seelsorger, Gross-Lichterfelde-Berlin, 1910, p. 10 f. For 
the later period Hugo Koch (postcard, Munich, 19 Nov., 1912). refers to 
Victor Schulze, Geschichte des Untergangs des griechisch-romischen Heideniums, 
Jena, 1892, II. p. 339. 



THE PROBLEM 9 

Primitive Christianity stood in natural opposition to the 
high culture of the ancient world, not so much because it 
was Christianity, but because it was a movement of the 
lower classes. The only comparison possible, therefore, is 
that between the Christians and the corresponding spiritual 
province among the pagans, i.e. the masses of the ancient 
world. 

Until recently these masses were almost entirely lost to 
the historian. Now, however, thanks to the discovery of 
their own authentic records, they have suddenly risen again 
from the rubbish mounds of the ancient cities, little market 
towns, and villages. They plead so insistently to be heard 
that there is nothing for it but to yield them calm and dis- 
passionate audience. The chief and most general value of 
the non-literary written memorials of the Roman Empire, 
I think, is this : They help us to correct the picture of the 
ancient world which we have formed by viewing it, hitherto, 
exclusively from above. They place us in the midst of the 
classes in which we have to think of the apostle Paul and 
the early Christians gathering recruits. This statement, 
however, must not be pressed. Of course among the 
inscriptions and papyri of that time there are very many 
(a majority in fact of the inscriptions) that do not come 
from the lower classes but owe their origin to Caesars, 
generals, statesmen, municipalities, and rich people.^ But 
side . by side with these texts, particularly in the papyri 
and ostraca, lies evidence of the middle and lower classes, 
in countless depositions made by themselves, and in most 
cases recognisable at once as such by their contents or the 
peculiarity of their language. These are records of the 
people's speech, records of the insignificant affairs of insig- 
nificant persons. Peasants and artisans, soldiers and slaves 
and mothers belonging to the common people speak to us of 
their cares and labours. The unknown and the forgotten, 
for whom there was no room in the pages of the annals, 

' Even these, however, especially the municipal documents of the Imperial 
period, are, at least linguistically, representative not of the higher but of an 
average culture. — There is a fine appreciation of the discoveries of literary 
papyri as a reflex of the culture of hellenised Egypt by Wilhelm Schubart, 
" Papyrusfunde und griechische Literatur," Internationale Monatsschrift 
fiir Wissenschaft, Kunst und Technik 8 (1914) Nos. 10 and 11. 



10 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

troop into the lofty halls of our museums, and in the libraries, 
volume on volume, are ranged the precious editions of the 
new texts. 

In several ways these texts yield a respectable harvest 
to the student of the New Testament.^ I am not thinking 
now of the additions to our store of New Testament and 
other early Christian MSS. by the discovery of early Christian 
papyrus and parchment fragments, and ostraca, although 
in this direct way the value of the new documents is con- 
siderable. I mean rather the indirect value which the 
non-Christian, non-literary texts possess for the student 
of Primitive Christianity. This is of three kinds : 

(i) They teach us to put a right estimate philologically 
upon the New Testament and, with it. Primitive Christianity. 

(2) They point to the right literary appreciation of the 
New Testament. 

(3) They give us important information on points in 
the history of religion and culture, helping us to understand 
both the contact and the contrast between Primitive 
Christianity and the ancient world. ^ 

For the purposes of this work I have tacitly excluded 
one group of memorials. I shall in the main deal only with 
Greek and Latin texts and neglect those in other languages. 
I could not claim to speak as a specialist with regard to 

1 The importance of the texts for Rabbinic studies furnishes a good parallel; 
cf. Ludwig Blau, Papyri und Talmud in gegenseitiger Beleuchtung, Leipzig, 

1913- 

' There are now a number of recent works addressing themselves to these 
three tasks, either dealing with the methodological problem, or offering new 
material, or combining together old and new ; Erik Aurelius, Till belysning 
af kullurforhallandena pa urkristendomes tid, Bibelforskaren, 1908, p. 387 ff. ; 
Hans Windisch, " Das Neue Testament im Lichte der neugefundenen Inschrif- 
ten, Papyri und Ostraka," Neue Jahrbiicher fiir das klassische Altertum, etc., 
I. Abt., 25 (1910) pp. 201-222; Ernesto Buonaiuti, Saggi di Filologia e Storia 
del Nuovo Testamenio, Roma, 1910 (on the fortunes of this book cf. the 
Chronik der Christlichen Welt, 191 1, S. 416; W. Frommberger, "Die 
unliterarischen Funde aus hellenistischer Zeit in ihrer Bedeutung fiir die 
altchristliche Forschung," in Studien des Wissenschaftlichen Theologischen 
Vereins (for Dean D. Decke), Breslau, 1913, p. 53 ft.- s. Angus, The Environ- 
ment of Early Christianity, London, 1914; Sir W. M. Ramsay, The Bearing 
of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of the New Testament, London, 
1915 ; Camden M. Cobern, The New Archeological Discoveries and their Bearing 
upon the New' Testament and upon the Life and Times of the Primitive Church 
New York aid London, 191 7; cf. also Friedrich Pfister, Zeitschrift fiir fran- 
rosische Sprache und Literatur, 43 (1914) p. 2- 



THE PROBLEM ii 

all of them, and moreover the sheer bulk of the Greek and 
Latin texts makes it necessary to fix bounds somewhere. 
I desire, however, to call special attention to at least one 
group, of the utmost importance particularly in the history 
of religion. The Semitic inscriptions, found in such numbers 
in the province of Syria and the border-lands to the East 
and North, enable us to reconstruct at least fragments of 
hitherto almost unknown heathen cults that were practised 
in the original home of Christianity.^ 

2. It will be our business to discuss the "new texts in the 
light of linguistic, literary, and religious history ; but before 
we address ourselves to this triple task it is necessary that the 
texts themselves should be briefly described.^ 

We divide them according to the material on which they 
are written into three main groups. This method of division 
is mechanical, but is recommended by the simple fact that 
the texts are generally published in separate editions according 
to the material they are written on. We shall speak in 
turn of : 

(a) Inscriptions on stone, metal, etc., 

(b) Texts on papyrus (and parchment), 

(c) Texts on potsherds. 

(a) The bulk of the Inscriptions ^ are on stone, but to 

these must be added inscriptions cast and engraved in 

' bronze or scratched on tablets of lead or gold, a few wax 

tablets, the scribblings (graffiti) found on walls, and the 

' A most promising beginning in turning the inscriptions and sculpture to 
account in the history of religion has been made by Rene Dussaud, Notes de 
Mythologie Syrienne, Paris, 1903 and 1905. Cf. Count Wolf Baudissin, Theol. 
Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) col. 294 fif. — How far this research has advanced since 
then is shown by Franz Cumont, Les religions orieritales dans le paganisme 
romain, Paris, 1906, . '1909; The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, 
Chicago, 1 91 1, ch. 5; .Count W. W. Baudissin, Adonis und Esmun, Leipzig, 
191 1 ; and Ditlef Nielsen, Der Dreieinige Gott, vol. I, Copenhagen and Berlin, 
1922. 

' Of course no attempt is made here at exhaustiveness of statement. 

' To the layman needing a first introduction to Greek epigraphy, Walther 
Janell, Ausgewdhlte Inschrifien griechisch und deutsch, Berlin, 1906, may be 
recommended. It is only to be regretted that the translations often modernise 
the originals far more than is necessary. As an introduction to independent 
research: Wilhelm Larfeld, Griechische Epigraphih', Munich, 1914 (Hand- 
buch der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft I. 5). 



12 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

texts on coins and medals. These inscriptions, of which 
there are hundreds of thousands, are discovered on the site 
of the ancient civiUsed settlements of the Graeco-Roman 
world in its fullest extent, from the Rhine to the upper 
course of the Nile, and from the Euphrates to Britain. 
Inscriptions had been noted and studied in antiquity itself, 
in the Middle Ages, and in the days of the Renaissance,^ 
and in the eighteenth century there was one scholar, Johann 
Walch,* who pressed Greek inscriptions into the service of 
New Testament exegesis. But the nineteenth century is 
the first that really deserves to be called the age of 
-epigraphy. 

Two names stand forth before all others as personifying 
epigraphical studies : August Bockh will always be associ- 
ated with the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, and Theodor 
Mommsen with the Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum. The 
great collection of Greek inscriptions has long ceased to 
be up to date, and is gradually being replaced by newer 
publications,^ but it was this first great attempt to collect 
all the material that alone enabled Greek epigraphy to develop 
so brilliantly as it has done. Great societies as well as 

* For the early history of Greek epigraphy see S. Chabert, Revue Arch6o- 
logique, quatr. serie, t. 5 (1905) p. 274 fi. Further cf. Larfeld, Criech. 
Epigraphik '. 

' Joh. Ernst Imm. Walch, Observationes in Matthaeum ex graecis inscrip- 
tionibus, Jena, 1779. This book is undoubtedly one of the best examples 
of the many valuable " Observations " which that age produced, and from 
which almost the whole of the philological matter in our New Testament 
commentaries and lexicons is derived. Paul Jiirges (postcard, Wiesbaden, 
2 Oct., 1914) refers me to Fried. Miinter, Observationum ex marmoribus graecis 
sacrarum specimen, Hafniae 1814. The author, who died in 1830 (Lutheran) 
Bishop of Seeland, also uses inscriptions to explain the N.T. (cf . Larfeld ', 
p. 27). He is one of the series of " epigraphic bishops," the most epigraphic 
of whom, according to Hiller von Gaertringen, was E. L. Hicks [the late 
Bishop of Lincoln, 1 843-1 920]. Their patron saint is St. Paul of the 
Areopagus. 

' The first new Corpus was the Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum. The 
volumes have been numbered on a uniform plan so as to fit in with later 
Corpora of Greek inscriptions in Europe still in course of publication (U. von 
Wilamowitz-Moellendorff in the Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie 
der Wissenschaften, 25 June 1903). The comprehensive title of the new 
Corpora is Inscripliones Graecae editae consilio et auctoritate Academiae 
Regiae Borussicae (abbreviated I. G.) . An admirable guide to these publica- 
tions is Baron F. Hiller Von Gaertringen, Stand der griechischen Inschriften- 
corpora, Beitrage zur Alten Geschichte [Klio] 4 (1904) p. 252 ff. 



THE PROBLEM 13 

independent archaeologists have added to the total number 
of inscriptions known by carrying on systematic excavations, 
typical examples being the work of the Germans at Olympia 
and of the French at Delphi. New Testament scholars 
will follow with interested eyes the discoveries made in 
recent years by the English and Austrians on the site of 
ancient Ephesus.^ by British investigators in Asia Minor 
in general,^ by the Germans at Pergamum,' Magnesia on 
the Maeander,* Priene,^ Miletus,* and other places in Asia 

^ J. T. Wood, Discoveries at Ephesus, London, 1877; The Collection of 
Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, edited by Sir C. T. Newton : 
Part III. Priene, lasos and Ephesos, by E. L. Hicks, Oxford, 1890 (cf. n. 2 
below). The provisional reports of the Austrians inithe Beiblatt der Jahres- 
hefte des Osterreichischen Archaeologischen Institutes in Wien, 1898 fi., are 
being brought together and supplemented in the monumental Forschungen 
in Ephesos veroffentlicht vom dsierreichischen Archaeologischen Institute, the 
first volume of which appeared at Vienna, 1906, witt prominent contributions 
from Otto Benndorf, and under his auspices. Vol. II came out in 1912, 
Vol. Ill in 1923. 

* I will only mention here, since it appeals particularly to theological 
students, the great work done by Sir William M. Ramsay and his pupils; 
cf. for instance Studies in the History and Art of the Eastern Provinces of the 
Roman Empire, Aberdeen, 1906, published in celebration of the Quater- 
centenary of the University of Aberdeen, and valuable cis a contribution to 
early Church History. The name of Ramsay will always remain specially 
connected with the exploration of the ancient Christian cities of Asia Minor; 
from them he has gathered and published an extraordinarily rich collection 
of inscriptions. — ^A valuable gift of the war years is The Collection of Ancient 
Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, Part IV., Section II., Oxford, 1916, 
edited by F. H. Marshall (cf. HiUer von Gaertringen, Berliner Philologische 
Wochenschrift 1916 col. 1385 flf.), concluding this great publication (already 
mentioned, n. i above). A survey of the contents of the whole work will be 
found in Larfeld ', p. 64. 

» Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, Altertumer von Pergamon herausgegeben im 
Auftrage des Koniglich Preussischen Ministers der geistlichen, Unterrichts- 
und Medicinal-Angelegenheiten, Vol. VIII. : Die Jnschriften von Pergamon 
unter Mitwirkung von Ernst Fabricius und Carl Schuchhardt herausgegeben 
vop Max Frankel, i. Bis zum Ende der Konigszeit, Berlin, 1890; 2. Romische 
Zeit. — Inschriften auf Thon, Berlin, 1895. — Recent finds are generally pub- 
lished in the Mitteilungen des Kaiserlich Deutscheii Archaeologischen Instituts, 
Athenische Abteilung (Athenische Mitteilungen). Besides the great German 
work on Pergamum there has appeared : Pergame, Restauration et Description 
des Monuments de I'Acropole. Restauration par Emmanuel Pontremoli. 
Texte par Maxime Collignon, Paris, 1900. 

* Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, Die Inschriften von Magnesia am Maeander 
herausgegeben von Otto Kern, Berlin, 1890. 

' Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, Priene. Ergebnisse der Ausgrahungen und 
XJntersuchungen in den Jahren 1 895-1 898 von Theodor Wiegand und Hans 
Scbrader unter Mitwirkung von G. Kummer, W. Wilberg, H. Winnefeld, 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



14 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST /* 

Minor, 1 in Thera,^ Cos,^ and other islands, and in Syria and 
Arabia,* by the French in Macedonia, » at Didyma,« Delphi 

* I would mention specially : Karl Buresch, Aus Lydien, epigraphisch- 
geographische Reisefriichte herausg. von Otto Ribbeck, Leipzig, i8g8; Alier- 
tiimer von HierapoHs herausgegeben von Carl Humann, Conrad Cichorius, 
Walther Judeich, Franz Winter, Berlin, 1898 (Jahrbuch des Kais. Deutschen 
ArchHologischen Instituts IV. Erganzungsheft) ; the inscriptions, pp. 67-180, 
axe dealt with by Walther Judeich. Other epigraphical material in plenty 
will be found in the serial publications in the Athenische Mitteilungen and 
the various special journals. 

' Cf . the great work on Thera by Baron F. Hiller von Gaertringen, Berlin, 
1899 fF., and the same scholar's edition of the inscriptions from Thera in I.G. 
(cf. above, p. 12, n. 3) Vol. XII. fasc. III., Berlin, 1898. 

* Rudolf Herzog, Koische Forschungen und Funde, Leipzig, 1899. The 
foundation was laid by W. R. Paton and E. L. Hicks, The Inscriptions of 
Cos, Oxford, 1891. 

* Karl Humann and Otto Puchstein, Eeisen in Kleinasien und Nordsyrien 
. . . (text with atlas), Berlin, 1890; Rudolf Ernst Briinnow and Alfred von 
Domaszewski, Die Provincia Arabia .... 3 vols., Strassburg, 1904, 1905, 
1909. To these was added during the Great War the work of German 
scholars for the protection of ancient monuments that were exposed to 
special risks in the fighting areas; cf. the reports by Paul Clemen, Hans 
DragendorfE (Macedonia), Georg Karo (Western Asia Minor), TheodorWiegand 
(Syria, Palestine, and Western Arabia), and Friedrich Sarre (Mesopotamia, 
Eastern Anatolia, Persia, and Afghanistan), Zeitschrift fur bildende Kunst, 
New Series 54 (1918-19) pp. 257-304 (repeated in Vol. II. of the great work, 
KunstschuU im Kriege, Leipzig, 1919). The work of the Turco-German 
Detachment for the Protection of Ancient Monuments under the direction 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



Continuation of notes to p. 13 : — 

R. Zahn, Berlin, 1904. — Inschriften von Priene unter Mitwirkung von C. 
Fredrich, H. von Prott, H. Schrader, Th. Wiegand und H. Winnefeld heraus- 
gegeben von F. Frhr. Hiller von Gaertringen, Berlin, 1906. Cf. A. Wilhelm, 
Wiener Studien 29 (1908) pp. 1-25. 

' Of the great work on Miletus four instalments have so far appeared 
(Milet. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen und Untersuchungen seit dem Jahre 1899 : 
Heft I, Karte der Milesischen Halbinsel, 1 : 50,000, mit erl3.uterndem Text 
von Paul Wilski, Berlin, 1906; Heft 2, Das Rathaus von Milet von Hubert 
Knackfuss mit Beitragen von Carl Fredrich, Theodor Wiegand, Hermann 
Winnefeld, Berlin, 1908; Heft 3, Das Delphinion in Milet von Georg Kawerau 
und Albert Rehm unter Mitwirkung von Friedrich Freiherr Hiller von Gaer- 
tringen, Mark Lidzbarski, Theodor Wiegand, Erich Ziebarth, Berlin, 1914; 
Heft 4, Der Poseidonaltar bet Kap Monodendri von Armin von Gerkan, Berlin, 
1915. Cf. also the provisional reports by R. Kekule von Stradonitz (I.) 
and Theodor Wiegand (II.-V.) in the Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preussischen 
Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 1900, 1901, 1904, 1905, 1906, and by 
Theodor Wiegand in the Archaologischer Anzeiger, 1901, 1902, 1904, and 
1906. Reports Nos. VI. and VII. (on Miletus and Didyma) by Wiegand 
appeared in the appendix to the Abhandlungen der Kgl. Preussischen Akademie 
der Wissenschaften vom Jahre 1908, 1911. 



THE PROBLEM 15 

and in Delos,^ by the Russians on the north coast of the 
Black Sea,2 by the Belgians also on the Pontus Euxinus,' 
by the Americans in Asia Minor * (of late particularly at 
Sardis^), in Syria® and at Corinth.' There are moreover 

1 Cf . chiefly the provisional publications in the Bulletin de Correspondance 
Hellfenique. In igio began the great French publication relating to Delos : 
Exploration archiologique de Dilos faite par I'ficole fran^aise d'Ath^nes . . . 
sous la direction de Th. HomoUe et M. Holleaux, fasc. i, 2, Paris, 1910; 
fasc. 3, 191 1. The inscriptions of Delos (with those of Myconos and Rheneia) 
were to have been published by the Paris Academy as Vol. XI. of the Berlin 
Inscriptiones Graecae (and those of Delphi as Vol. VIII.). Two important 
inscriptions from the island-cemetery of the Delians, which throw light on 
the history of the Septuagint and the Jewish Diaspora, are discussed in my 
essay on " Die Rachegebete von Rheneia," Philologus 61 (1902) pp. 253-265, 
reprinted las an appendix (No. I.) to the present work. 

* The chief publication is the great collection, Inscriptiones Antiquae Orae 
Septentrionalis Fonti Euxini Graecae et Latinae, ed. Basilius Latyschev, St. 
Petersburg, 1885-1901. 

' Recueil des Inscriptions Grecgues et Latines du Pont et de I'Arminie 
publiees par J. G. C. Anderson, Franz Cumont, Henri Gregoire, Fasc. i, 
Bruxelles, 1910. 

' Cf. especially Vols. 2 and 3 of the Papers of the American School of 
Classical Studies at Athens, Boston, 1888, with reports of two epigraphical 
expeditions in Asia Minor by J, R. Sitlington Sterrett. 

' Under the direction of Howard Crosby Butler since 1910, cf. Cobern, 
p. 565 fi. ; reports in the American Journal of Archaeology, 2nd Series, from 
vol. 14 onwards (1910 fE.), containing many inscriptions. 

« There are two great archaeological series : Publications of an American 
Archaeological Expedition in Syria in 1899-1900 (including Vol. III. : Greek 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



Continuation of notes to p. 14 : — 

of Theodor Wiegand has already led to a great series of " Wissenschaftliche 
Veroffentlichungeri " : Heft i, Sinai von Th. Wiegand, Berlin, 1920 (cf. my 
Evangelischer Wochenbrief III., No, 47/55. late January 1921, pp. 144-147) ; 
Heft 2, Die griechischen Inschriften der Palaestina Tertia westlich der 'Araba 
von A. Alt, 1921; Heft 3, Petra von W. Bachmann, C. Watzinger, Th. 
Wiegand, K. Wulzinger; 1921; Heft 4, Damaskus. Die antike Stadt von 
Carl Watzinger und Karl Wulzinger, 1921 ; Heft 6, Die ' Denkmaler 1*. In- 
schriften an der Mundung des Nahr el-Kelb von F. H. Weissbach, 1922. 
Heft 5 wiU deal with Mohammedan Damascus. These are supplemented by 
the splendid illustrated work, Alte Denkmaler aus Syrien, Paldstina und 
Westarabien, 100 plates with text, edited by Th. Wiegand, Berlin, 1918. 

' L. Heuzey and H. Daumet, Mission archiologique de Macidoine, Paris, 
1864-1877. 

« E. Pontremoli and B. Haussoullier, Didymes, Fouilles de 1895 et 1896, 
Paris, 1904. For the inscriptions see the provisional publications in the 
Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique. Felix Sarteaux, Villes mortes d'Asie 
Mineure, 1916, I know only from Cobern, p. 563. The first account of the 
new German excavations was given by Theodor Wiegand in his Vlth and 
Vllth provisional Reports, see above, p. 13, n. 6. 



i6 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



plenty of native Greek archaeologists whose" excellent work ^ 
vies with that of their foreign visitors. 

1 Of many new discoveries let me mention only the inscriptions from 
Epidaurus, which we owe to the excavations of Panagiotis Kawadias (cf. 
Larfeld ', p. 82 f.). They are extraordinarily rich in material for the history 
of language and religion, and I have not yet dr9.wn upon their treasures. 



Continuation of notes to page 15: — 

and Latin Inscriptions by William Kelly Prentice, New York, 1908), and 
Publications of the Princeton University .Archaeological Expedition to Sjrria 
in 1904— 1905 and 1909 (including Division III. : Greek and Latin inscriptions 
in Syria by Enno Littmann and William Kelly Prentice (later also David 
Magie and Duane Reed Stuart), Leyden, 1 907-1 914 (cf. also Hiller von 
Gaertringen, Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift 1916 col. 840 3.). The great 
majority of these inscriptions are Christian. 

' Cf . tha inscriptions published by B. Powell in the American Journal of 
Archaeology, 2nd Series, Vol. 7 (1903) No. i ; also Erich Wilisch, Zehn 
Jahre amerikanischer Ausgrabung in Korinth, Neue Jahrbiicher fiir das 



\rur 




y 



Fig. 3. — Door Inscription from Synagogue at Corinth, Imperial Period. 
Now in Corinth Museum. 

klassische Altertum, etc. 11 (190S) Bd. 21, Heft 6. Among the inscriptions 
there is one (No. 40), no doubt the remains of an inscription over a door, 
which is pf interest in connexion with Acts xviii. 4 : [mva\ywy^ 'EPplaluv], 
" Synagogue of the Hebrews." I reproduce it here from a rubbing taken 
by me at the Corinth Museum, 12 May 1906 (Figure 3). The inscription is 
18 J inches long; the letters are from zi to 3 J inches high. The writing 
reminds one somewhat of the Jewish inscription in the theatre at Miletus, 
published in Appendix VIII. of the present work. Baron Hiller von Gaer- 
^ingen very kindly gave me his opinion (in letters dated Berlin, 14 January 
and 26 February, 1907) that the mason copied exactly the written characters 
that were set before him; as extreme limits within which the inscription 
must have been made the dates 100 b.c. and 200 a.d. might, with some 
reservation, be assumed. — It is therefore a possibility seriously to be reckoned 
with that we have here the inscription to the door of the Corinthian synagogue 
mentioned in Acts xviii. 4, in which St. Paul first preached I The miserable 
appearance of the inscription, which is without ornament of any kind, is 
typical of the social position of the people whom St. Paul had before him 
in that synagogue, many of whom certainly were included among the 
Corinthian Christians that he afterwards described in i Cor. i. 26-3i.^The 
Corinthian inscription bears also on the interpretation of the expression 
owayoyy^ AiPf^tuv which is found in an inscription at Rome (Schiirer, Geschichte 
des jiidischen Volkes 111.' p. 46 [Eng. trs. by Sophia Taylor and Peter Christie, 
Edinburgh, 1885, Div. II. Vol. II.= p. 248]; Schiele, The American Journal of 

[For continuation of note see next page. 



THE PROBLEM 17 

We await with most lively expectations the Greek volumes 
of the new Corpus of the inscriptions of Asia Minor, TituH 
Asiae Minoris, now preparing at Vienna after important 
preliminary expeditions by the Austrian archaeologists ^ 
in search of new material. A large portion of the back- 
ground of the Pauline cult of Christ, its propaganda, and 
its church life will here be made accessible to us. Biblical 
philologists are provided with a mine of information in 
Wilhelm Dittenberger's splendid Orientis Graecilnscriptiones 
Selectae,^ a comprehensive work distinguished by the accuracy 
of its texts and the soundness of its commentary. Works 
like this and the same author's Sylloge Inscriptionum Graec- 
arum,^ and the collections of E. L. Hicks,* E. S. Roberts 

' Reisen im siidwestlichen Kleinasien, Vol. I. Reisen in Lykien und Karien 
. . . von Otto Benndorf und Georg Niemann, Wien, 1884; Vol. II. Reisen 
in Lykien, Milyas und Kibyratis . . . von Eugen Petersen und Felix von 
Luschan, Wien, 1889; Opramoas. Inschriften vom Heroon zu Rhodiapolis . . . 
neu bearbeitet von Rudolf Heberdey, Wien, 1897; Stddte Pamphyliens und 
Pisidiens ijnter Mitwirkung von G. Niemann und E. Petersein herausgegeben 
von Karl Grafen Lanckoronski, Vol. I. Pamphylien, Wien, 1890; Vol. II. 
Pisidien, Wien, 1892; Rudolf Heberdey and Adolf Wilhelm, Reisen in 
Kilikien ausgefiihrt 1891 und 1892, Denkschriften der Kaiserl. Akademie der 
Wissenschaften in Wien, Philos.-hist. Klasse 44. Bd. (1896) 6. Abhandlung; 
Rudolf Heberdey and Ernst Kalinka, Bericht iiber zwei Reisen im siidwest- 
lichen Kleinasien (1894 und 1895), ibid. 45. Bd. {1897) i. Abhandlung; Josef 
Keil and Anton von Premerstein, Bericht iiber eine Reise in Lydien und der 
siidlichen Aiolis, ausgefiihrt 1906, ibid. 53. Bd. (1908) 2. Abhandlung; Bericht 
iiber eine zweite Reise in Lydien, ausgefiihrt 1908, ibid. 54. Bd. (1909) 2. 
Abhandlung; Bericht iiber eine driite Reise in Lydien und den angremenden 
Cebieten Joniens, ausgefiihrt 1911, ibid. 57. Bd. (1914) I. Abhandlung. 

? 2 vols., Leipzig, 1903 and 1905. 

' 3 vols., 2nd ed., Leipzig, 1898-1901. During the war there began to 
appear — a precious gift for those hard times to bring— rthe completely revised 
and greatly enlarged 3rd ed., the work of Baron Friedrich Hiller von Gaer- 
tringen in conjunction with Johannes Kirchuer, Johannes Pomtow, Erich 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



Continuatiun 01 note to page 15 : — 

Theology, 1905, p. 290 ff.) . I do not think that 'EPpaToi means Hebrew-speaking 
Jews. They are more likely to be Aramaic-speaking Jews of Palestine, uniting 
with their fellow-countrymen abroad. Cf . now my remarks in f Nikolaus Miiller, 
Die Inschriften der jiidischen Katakombe am Monteverde zu Rom, edited by 
N. A. Bees (BEH2), Leipzig, 1919, p. 24 (also pp. 58, 72, 98, 106 f., 112 
173). — Further reports of the American excavations at Corinth are given in 
the American Journal of Archaeology, 2nd Series, Vol. 8 (1904) p. 433 fE., 
9 -(1905) p. 44 fi., 10 (190^) p. 17 fi., and later volumes. Cf. also Cobern, 
p. 493 fi„ who refers further to the Journal of Hellenic Studies 1897-1914, 
and A. S. Cooley in Records of the Past, 1902, pp. 33-88. 



i8 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

(and E. A. Gardner), ^ Charles Michel,^ R. Cagnat,^ and 
others, are admirably adapted for use by theologians as 
introductions to the special studies of the masters of Greek 
epigraphy.* When the Greek inscriptions of the Jews of 
the Diaspora are made more accessible, particularly useful , 
results may be expected : Nikolaus Miiller's posthumous 
work ^ is a valuable beginning. 

I have already mentioned the studies by Walch and 
Miinter, who, so far as I know, were the first to employ 
Greek inscriptions in the elucidation of the New Testament, 
Since then * their followers in this path have been chiefly 
British ^ scholars, e.g. Bishop Lightfoot and Edwin Hatch 
in many of their writings ; E. L. Hicks,^ who has been already 

* An Introduction to Greek Epigraphy, Cambridge, 1887 and 1905. 

' Recueil d' Inscriptions Grecques, Bruxelles, 1900; Supplement, Fasc. i, 
1912. 
^ Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes, Paris, 1901 S. 

* Indispensable is Wilhelm Larfeld's Handbuch der griechischen Epigraphik, 
planned on a great scale : Vol. I., Einleitungs- und Hilfsdisziplinen. Die 
nichtattischen Inschriften, Leipzig, 1907; Vol. II., Die attischen Inschriften, 
Leipzig, 1902; Vol. III. (subject index to the inscriptions) in preparation. ' 
His outline in the Handbuch der klassischen AUertumswissenschaft has been 
already mentioned, p. 11, n. 3 above. 

' Die Inschriften der jtidischen Katakombe am Monteverde lu Rom entdecht 
und erkldrt von Nikolaus Muller. Completed and edited after the author's 
death by Nikos A. Bees (BEH2), Leipzig, 1919. I was myself privileged to 
take an active share in editing this work of my friend, whose early decease 
we deplore. 

• A complete bibliography is not aimed at, and would now be impossible 
under the circumstances of the time. I refer, however, to my fourth report 
on the linguistic study of the Greek Bible, Theologische Rundschau 15 (19,12) 
PP' 339-364. The international literature of the subject has increased greatly 
in the last ten years. 

' Richard Adelbert Lipsius, the son who edited Karl Heinrich Adelbert 
Lipsius' Grammatische Untersuchungen iiber die biblische Grdcitdt, Leipzig, 
1863, tells us (Preface, p. viii) that his father contemplated a large Grammar 
of the Greek Bible, in which he would have availed himself of the discoveries 
of modem epigraphy. He has in fact done so to some extent in the " Unter- 
suchungen," 

• " On some Political Terms employed in the New Testament," The Classical 
Review, Vol. I. (1887) pp. 4 ff., 42 ff. I first heard of these excellent articles 
through Sir W. M. Ramsay in 1898. 



Continuation of notes to page 17 : — 

Ziebarth, Hermann Diels, and Otto Weinreich (though not one of the six 
names is on the title-page) : Vol. i, 1915; 2, 1917; 3, 1920; 4 (indices), 
first half, 1920. 

* A Manual of Greek Historical Inscriptions, Oxford, 1882. New and 
revised edition by E. L. Hicks and G. F. Hill, Oxford, 1901. 



THE PROBLEM 19 

mentioned as one of the editors of the inscriptions of Cos 
and of the British Museum inscriptions; and most par- 
ticularly Sir William Ramsay — who has himself done great 
things for the epigraphy of Asia Minor — in a long series 
of well-known works. A French Jesuit father, Louis 
Jalabert, has also displayed great mastery in his valuable 
article on Epigraphy ^ and in other works. In Germany 
E. Schiirer had, in his classical work. The History of the 
Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, and elsewhere, 
made the happiest and most profitable use of the inscrip- 
tions,^ and their importance has not escaped the learning 
of Theodor Zahn, Georg Heinrici,^ Adolf Harnack, and others. 
Paul Wilhelm Schmiedel, in his excellent adaptation of 
Winer's Grammar,* has drawn most freely on the inscrip- 
tions in dealing with the accidence. They have been turned 
to account for the philology of the Septuagint by Heinrich 
Anz,^ but most particularly by the authors of the first 
Grammars of the Septuagint, Robert Helbing * and Henry 
St. John Thackeray ' ; also by Jean Psichari * and Richard 
Meister.' Heinrich Reinhold ^^ and Friedrich Rostalski.^i 

' Dictionnaire apologitique de la Foi catholique, I. col. 1404-1457, Paris, 
1910. 

* Important use is also made of the inscriptions (and papyri) in a kindred 
work by a Frenchman : Jean Juster, Les Juifs dans V Empire Romain, 2 
vols., Paris, 1914. 

' In his studies on the organisation of the Corinthian churches the inscrip? 
tions were made use of. 

* Gottingen, 1894 ff.; cf. Theol. Rundschau, i (1897-1898) p. 465 ff. 

' Subsidia ad cognoscendum Graecorum sermonem vulgarem e- Pentateuch! 
versione Alexandrina repetita, Dissertationes Philologicae Halenses Vol. 12, 
Halis Sax., 1894, pp. 259-387; cf. Theol. Rundschau, i (1897-1898) p. 468 fif. 

' Grammatik der Septuaginta, Laut- und Wortlehre, Gottingen, 1907. Cf. 
the important corrections by Jacob Wackernagel, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 33 (1908) 
col. 635 fi. 

' A Grammar of the Old Testament in Greek according to the Septuagint, 
Vol. I., Cambridge, 1909. 

' Essai sur le Grec de la Sepfante. Extraite de la Revue des £tudes juives, 
Avril 1908, Paris, 1908. 

' Prolegomena zu einer Grammatik der Septuaginta, Wiener Studien 29, 
(1907) 228-259 ; Beiirdge zur Lautlehre der LXX, offprint from the " Tatig- 
keitsbericht des Vereines klassischer Philologen an der Univ. Wien, 1909," 
Wien, 1909. 

'" De graecitate Patrum Apostolicorum librorumque apocryphorum Novi 
Testament! quaestiones grammaticae. Diss. Phil. Hal. Vol. 14, Pars, i, Halis 
Sax., 1898, pp. 1-115; cf. Wochenschrift fiir klassische Philologie, 1902, 
col. 89 ff. 

[For note 11 see next page. 



20 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

following Anz, compared the inscriptions with the Greek 
of "the Apostolic Fathers and the New Testament Apocrypha. 
In my " Bible Studies " ^ an attempt was made to show what 
they will yield for the purposes of early Christian lexicography, 
and the like has been done by H. A. A. Kennedy .* In 
" New Bible Studies " » I examined particularly the inscrip- 
tions of Pergamum and part of the inscriptions from the 
islands of the Aegean, while at my suggestion Gottfried 
Thieme * worked at the inscriptions of Magnesia on the 
Maeander and Jean Rouffiac ^ at those of Priene. Epigraphy 
5delds a rich hanwest in Theodor Nageli's study of the 
language of St. Paul,® in the Grammar of New Testament 
Greek by Friedrich Blass,' and still richer in those by James 
Hope Moulton * and Ludwig Radermacher,^ and in the 

1 Bibelstudien : Beitrage, zumeist aus den Papyri und Inschriften, zur 
Geschichte der Sprache, des Schrifttums und der Religion des hellenistischen 
Judentums und des Urchristentums, Marburg, 1S95. English translation 
(together with the " Neue Bibelstudien ") by A. Grieve, under the title 
" Bible Studies," Edinburgh, 1 901 ; 2nd ed. 1903; 3rd ed. 1923. 

» Sources of New Testament Greek, Edinburgh, 1895 ; cf. Gott. gel. Anzeigen, 
1896, p. 761 ff. 

' Neue Bibelstudien : sprachgeschichtliche Beitrage, zumeist aus den Papyri 
und Inschriften, zur Erklarung des N. T., Marburg, 1897. 

* Die Inschriften von Magnesia am Mdander und das Neue Testament : 
eine sprachgeschichtliche Studie [Dissert. Heidelberg, 1905], Gottingen, 1906; 
cf. Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) col. 231. 

^ Recherches sur les caractires du grec dans le Nouveau Testament d'aprh 
les inscriptions de Priine, Paris, 1911. 

* Der Wortschatz des Apostels Paulus : Beitrag zur sprachgeschichtlichen 
Erforschung des N. T., Gottingen, 1905; cf. Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) col. 
228 ff. 

' Grammatik des NeutestamentUehen Griechisch, Gottingen, 1896, 2nd ed. 
1902; cf. Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1898, p. 120 ff., and Berl. Philol. 
Wochenschrift 24 (1904) col. 212 ff. [Blass's Grammar was translated into 
English by H. St. J. Thackeray, London, 1898, 2nd ed. 1905. Tr.] Com- 
pletely revised by Albert Debrunner for the 4th and 5th editions (1913, 
1921), a veritable treasury of New Testament philology. 

' Grammar of New Testament Greek, Edinburgh, 1906, 2nd ed. the same 
year, 3rd ed. 1908; cf. Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) col. 238 f., 32 {1907) col. 

- [For continuation of notes see next page. 



Continuation of notes to page 19. 

*^ Sprachliches lu den apokryphen Apostelgeschichten, two " programs,'' 
essays accompanying the a,nnual report of the Grammar School (" Gjrmna- 
sium ") of Mj^lowitz, Upper Silesia, 1910 and 1911; Die Sprache der grie- 
ehischen Paulusakien mit Beriicksichtigung ihrer lateinischen Obersetzunoen, 
Myslowitz, 1913. 



THE PROBLEM 21 

large Grammar by A. T. Robertson. 1 New Testament 
lexicographers in the past made but occasional use of the 
inscriptions, and Hermann Cremer, when he did so, was at 
times absolutely misleading in consequence of his peculiar 
dogmatic attitude on the subject. The additions which 
were made, chiefly by Adolf Schlatter, to Cremer's last 
edition of his BiUico-Theological Lexicon of New Testament 
Greek ^ afford illustrations, in some important points, of 
the knowledge which the lexicographer in particular may 
gain from the inscriptions. In recent years, after a faUing 
off in the case of Erwin Preuschen's, Manual Lexicon, 
an improvement has set in,' and Moulton and Milligan's 
Vocabulary of the Greek Testament,*^ with its vast collection 
of material " from the papyri and other non-hterary 
sources," is also a promising new beginning by reason 
of its comprehensive use of the inscriptions. Honour- 
able mention has long been due to Hans Lietzmann and 
Johannes Weiss for attention bestowed on the inscriptions, 
by Lietzmann in his Commentaries on Romans and First 
Corinthians ^ (excellent on the philological side), and by 
Weiss in his substantial articles in Herzog and Hauck's 

* A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, 
New York, 1914. A book of 1400 large octavo pages. A small predecessor 
of this Grammar has appeared in several languages. 

* Biblisch-theologisches Worterbuch der Neutestamentlichen Grdcitdt, 9th ed., 
Gotha, 1902, p. 1119 f. The loth ed. [Gotha, 191 1], in its way a very 
meritorious revision by Julius Kogel, is an improvement also in this respect. 
[Latest ed. of the Engl, trans, of Cremer is the 4th, Edinburgh, 1908. Tr.] 

" See on this subject Chapter V. of the present work. 

* At present six parts have appeared, London, 1914, 1915, 1919, 1920, 
1924, 1927. 

' Handb. zum N. T. (III.), Tiibingen, 1906 f. The collaborators on Lietz- 
mann's " Handbook " (and those employed on Zahn's " Commentary ") have 
also for their part shown a gratifying interest in the non-literary texts. 



Continuation of note to page 20 : — 

38 f. German translation of the 3rd ed., Einleitung in die Sprache des Neuen 
Testaments, Heidelberg, 191 1. Since Moulton's tragic death Wilbert Francis 
Howard has continued the English edition of the Grammar, publishing two 
parts of Vol. II. in 1919 and 1920. — ^Moulton's inaugural lecture in the 
University of Manchester, " The Science of Language and the Study of the 
New Testament," Manchester, 1906, also deserves notice. [Reprinted in his 
posthumous book. The Christian Religion in the Study and the Street, London, 
1919, PP- 117-144- Tr.] 
• Neutestamentliche Crammatik, Tubingen, 1911; '1925. 



22 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Realencyclofadie} Copious use of new material, has also 
been made by George Milligan in his Commentary on the 
Epistles to the Thessalonians,* by William H. P. Hatch.a 
and by William Duncan Ferguson.* 

We are further indebted for most valuable enlightenment 
to the philologists pure and simple who have extracted 
grammatical and lexical material from the inscriptions, or 
have compiled from the new texts complete gramn^ars of 
the universal Greek current from the death of Alexander 
onwards into the Imperial age. Such are the special inves- 
tigations of K. Meisterhans/ Eduard Schweizer,' Wilhelm 
Schulze,' Ernst Nachmanson,* Jacob Wackernagel,® and in 
a special degree the great works of G. N. Hatzidakis,^" Karl 
Dieterich.ii and Albert Thumb,^^ which are full of references 

* Realencyclopddie fiir protestantische Theologie und Kirche, 3rd ed. ; see 
especially the excellent article on " Kleinasien." ' London, 1908. 

* Some Illustrations of New Testament Usage from Greek Inscriptipns of 
Asia Minor, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 27, Part 2, 1908, pp. 134-46. 
The discovery of dyaTrq, " love," in a pagan inscription of the Imperial period 
from Tefeny in Pisiflia (Papers of the American School of Classical Studies 
at Athens, 2, 57) would be important if the word dy(i[7nj]w were here rightly 
restored; we should then have a proof of the profane origin of the word, 
which I have long suspected (Neiie Bibelstudien, p. 27 ; Bible Studies, p. 199). 
But it now seems to me more probable that we ought to read aya[6o]v, cf. 
F. Heinevetter's dissertation, Wiirfel- und Buchstahenorakel in Griechenland 
und Kleinasien, Breslau, 1912, p. 10, and the parallels on p. 25. On aydmi 
see also p. 73, n. 3 below. 

* The Legal Terms common to the Macedonian Inscriptions and the N.T., 
Chicago, 1913. — For the rest it may be said, I think, of all the N.T. commentaries 
and multifarious separate investigations of the liast fifteen years (1908-23) 
that they have drawn more and more exhaustively upon the non-literary sources 

' Grammatih der attischen Inschriften, 3rd ed. revised by Eduard Schwyzer, 
Berlin, 1900. 

' Crammatik der pergamenischen Inschriften, Berlin, 1898; and (published 
under the name of Schwyzer, which he assumed) Die Vulgarsprache der 
attischen Fluchtafeln, Neue Jahrbiicher fiir das klass. Altertum, 5 (1900) 
p. 244 S. 

' Graeca Latina, Gottingen (Einladung zur akadem. Preisverkiindigung), 
1901. 

' Laute und Formen der magnetischen Inschriften, Uppsala, 1903. And many 
other works by Nachmanson, mostly appearing in " Eranos " (Uppsala) or 
as separate publications. 

" Hellenistica, Gottingen (Einladung zur akadem. Preisverkiindigung), 1907. 
'" Einleitung in die neugriechische Grammatik (Bibliothek indogerm. Gram- 
matiken, V.), Leipzig, 1892. 

" Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der griechischen Sprache von der hellenis- 
tischen Zeit bis zum 10. Jahrhundert n. Chr. (Byzantinisches Archiv, Heft i), 
Leipzig, 1898. 

" Die griechische Sprache im Zeitalter des Hellenismus, Strassburg, igoi ; cf. 
Theol. Lit.-Ztg, 26 (1901) col. 684 ff. 



THE PROBLEM 23 

to usages in the language of the Greek Old and New 
Testaments.^ 

Of the Christian inscriptions * and their direct value to 
the scientific study of early Christianity I have not to speak ; 
but I wish at least to say that in one direction they promise 
a greater harvest than many people might expect, viz. with 
respect to the history of the text of Scripture and its use. 
Already with the materials at present known to us quite a 
large work could be written on the text of Scripture and its 
use as illustrated by Biblical quotations in ancient Christian 
(and Jewish) inscriptions.^ It is to be hoped that the Corpus 
of Greek Christian inscriptions now planned in France will 
not only put an end to the shameful neglect * with which 

* To the philologists add A. Meillet, Aperfu d'une histoire de la langue grecque, 
Earis, 1913, p. ix. 

' The most distinguished workers on this subject in recent years are Sir 
William M. Ramsay, Franz Cumont, Gustave Lefebvre, Louis Jalabert, etc. 

' Single points have been treated by E. Bohl, Theol. Stud, und Kfitiken, 
1881, pp. 692-713, and E. Nestle, ibid., 1881, p. 692, and 1883, p. 153 f. ; by 
myself, Ein epigraphisches Denkmal des alexandrinischen A. T. (Die Bleitafel 
von Hadrumetum), Bibelstudien, p. 21 flf. [Bible Studies, p. 269], Die Rachegebete 
von Rheneia (p. 15, n. i, above), and Verkannte Bibelzitate in syrischen und 
mesopotamischen Inschriften, Philologus, 1905, p. 475 ff., reprinted in the 
Appendix (No. X) to this book; by Baron F. Hiller von Gaertringen, tjber 
eine jungst auf Rhodos gefundene Bleirolle, enthaltend den 80. Psalm, 
Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preuss. Ak. der Wissensch. zu Berlin, 1898, p. 
582 ff., of. U. Wilcken, Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung, i, p. 430 f. ; and by 
P. Perdrizet, Bull, de Corr. hellen. 20 (1896)," p. 394 ff., who comments on a 
marble slab from Cyprus inscribed with the 15th Psalm, and refers to other 
texts of Scripture preserved in inscriptions from Northern Syria, the Hauran, 
and Southern Russia. Cf. also Ludwig Blau, Das altjiidische Zauberwesen 
(Jahresbericht der Landes-Rabbinerschule in Budapest, 1897-8), Budapest, 
1898, p. 95; and particularly Richard Wiinsch, Antike Fluchtafeln (Lietz- 
mann's Kleine Texte fiir theologische Vorlesungen und Ubungen, 20), Bonn, 
1907 (of which a 2nd ed. has appeared) ; and Alfred Rahlfs, Septuaginta- 
Studien 11., Gottingen, 1907, p. 14 ff. For the Latin inscriptions cf. Joachim 
Gensichen, De Scripturae Sacrae vestigiis in inscriptionibus latinis christianis, 
a doctoral dissertation, Greifswald, 1910. [The work will be facilitated by 
E. Diehl's collection of Inscnptiones Latinae Chrisiianae Veteres, Berlin, 
1923.— Tr.] 

* Sometimes they are not even recognised. E.g. the inscription from 
Tehfah (Taphis) in Nubia, Corpus Inscriptio»um Graecarum, No. 8888, fac- 
similed at the end of the volume and considered unintelligible] by the editor, 
is a fairly large fragment of the Septuagint, from Exodus xv. and Deuteronomy 
xxxii. It is all the more creditable of Adolph Wilhelm, therefore, to have 
detected in a pagan inscription of the 2nd century a.d. from Euboea echoes 
of the Septuagint Deuteronomy xxviii. 22, 28 (E^rjiupis Apx<uofioyiKi], 1892, 
col. 173 ff.; Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No 891; 'No. 1240). This inscription is 
one of the oldest of the records which have been influenced by the Greek 
Bible. The assumption that it was composed by a prosel}rte is neither 



24 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

epigraphists have treated these memorials, but will also help 
towards the completion of this task. 

There is one circumstance which sometimes makes the 
inscriptions less productive than might have been expected, 
especially those that are more or less of the official kind. ' The 
style has often been polished up, and then they are formal, 
artificial, cold as the marble that bears them, and stiff as the 
characters incised upon the unyielding stone.^ As a whole 
the inscriptions are not so fresh and natural as the papyri, 
and this second group, of which we are now to speak, is 
therefore, linguistically ^ at any rate, the most important. 

(J) The Papyri. One of the most important writing 
materials used by the ancients was the papyrus sheet.' It 

necessary nor probable ; it is more natural to assume that the composer simply 
adopted a syncretic formula of cursing which had been influenced by the 
Septuagint. 

^ Cf. Neue Bibelstudien, p. yf. ; Bible Studies, p. 179; Thieme, Die In- 
schriften von Magnesia am Mdander und das Neue Testament, p. 4 f. 

' Lexically, however, the yield of the inscriptions is undoubtedly very 
important. 

' In the following pages I have made use of my article on " Papyri " in the 
Encyclopaedia Biblica, III. col. 3556 S., and the article on " Papyrus und 
PapjTi " (founded on the other) in Herzog and Hauck's Realencyclopddie fur 
Theologie und Kirche, 'XIV. p. 667 fi. Cf. also an article intended for 
theological readers by F. G. Kenyon on " Papyri " in Hastings' Dictionary of 
the Bible, Suppl. Vol. p. 352 ff., and G. J. Pontier, De papyri en het N.T., 
Gereformeerd Theologisch Tijdschrift 1913 Sept., pp. 182-197. As introduc- 
tions to papjnrology the following are to be recommended : Ubich Wilcken, 
Die griechischen Papyrusurkunden, Berlin, 1897; Der heutige Stand der 
Papjrrusforschung, Neue Jahrbucher fiir das klass. Altertum, etc., 1901, p. 
677 ff. ; Ludwig Mitteis, Aus den griechischen Papyrusurkunden, Leipzig, 
1900; Karl Schmidt (Elberfeld), Aus der griechischen Papyrusforschung, Das 
humanist. Gymnasium, 17 (1906) p. 33 f. Specially important for legal 
scholars : O. Gradenwitz, Einfiihrung in die Papyruskunde, I., Leipzig, 1900. 
and Paul M. Meyer, Juristische Papyri. Erkldrung von Urkunden zur Einfiih- 
rung in die juristische Papyruskunde, Berlin, 1920. — Splendid guides to the 
subject are Wilhelm Schubart's Einfiihrung in die Papyruskunde, Berlin, 1918, 
and Papyri Graecae Berolinenses, Bonnae, igri (well selected phototypes). 
A popular introduction was provided by George Milligan, Here and There 
among the Papyri, London, 1922.— Bibliographies have been published by 
C. Haberlin, Paul Viereck [thrge great reports in the Jahresbericht uber die 
Fortschritte der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, Vols. 98 (1898), 102 (1899), 
131 (1906)], Carl Wessely, Seymour de Ricci, Pierre Jouguet, etc. Further 
details will be found in Nicolas Hohlwein's La Papyrologie Crecque : BibUo- 
graphie raisonnte (Ouvrages publics avant le i« Janvier, 'igos), Louvain, 
1905, a careful book enumerating even at that date 819 items. Cf. also as 
brief guides Hohlwein's essays, Les Papjnrus Grecs d':figypte (extrait du 
Bibliographe moderne, 1906), Besan9on, 1907, and Les Papyrus Grecs et 



THE PROBLEM 25 

takes its name from the pap5TUs plant [Cyperus papyrus L., 
Papyrus antiquorum Willd.). At the present day the plant 
is found growing in the Sudan ^ and Central Africa, ^ in 
Palestine,^ in Sicily (especially near S5nracuse), and also in 
Italy on the shores of Lake Trasimeno.* It is probably 

l'£gjfpte. Province Romaine (extrait de la Revue G6n6rale, Octobre 1908), 
Bruxelles, 190S; also George Milligan, Some Recent Papyrological Pub- 
lications, The Journal of Theological Studies, April igo8, p. 465 fi. ; and J. H. 
Moulton, From Egyptian Rubbish-Heaps, The London Quarterly Review, 
April 1908, p. 212 ff. Under the same title one of Moulton's latest works 
appeared in the form of a small book, London, 1916. — Small collections for 
first study : Hans Lietzmann, Griechische Papyri (Kleine Texte, 14), Bonn, 
1905, 2nd. ed. 1910'; George Milligan, Selections from the Greek Papyri, Cam- 
bridge, 1910; Robert VleiVfAng, AuswaM aus griechischen Papyri, Sammlung 
Goschen, Berlin and I^eipzig, 1912; Arthur Laudien, Griechische Papyri aus 
Oxyrhynchos fiir den Schulgebraubh ausgewShlt, Berlin, 1912. — Other popular 
accounts need not be cited. — The central organ for the new science of papyr- 
ology is the Archiv fur Papjrrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete, founded 
and edited by Ulrich Wilcken, I«ipzig, 1900 S. Cf. also the Studien zur 
Palaeographie und Papyruskunde, founded by Carl Wessely, Leipzig, 1901 ff. ; 
The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology (London) ; Revue figyptologique 
(Paris) ; Aegyptus (Milan) . A very attractive book written for a very 
general public is that by Adolf Erman and Fritz Krebs, Aus den Papyrus der 
Koniglichen Museen (one of the illustrated handbooks issued by the authorities 
of the Berlin Museums), Berlin, 1899. Corresponding to Dittenberger's 
Syiloge Inscriptionum we have in the great work of L. Mitteis and U. Wilcken, 
Grundziige und Chrestomathie der Papyruskunde, 2 vols, in 4 half-vols., Leipzig, 
1912, a book of papjrri which collects together the results of earlier investiga- 
tions and at the same time stimulates the new work of research. For all 
further literature of the subject, not here mentioned, I refer to this book and 
the periodicals. 

* B. de Montfaucon, Dissertation sur la plante appellee Papyrus, M^moires 
de I'Acad. royale des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres, Vol. VI., Paris, 1729, 
p. 592 ff. ; Franz Woenig, Die Pflamen im alien Agypten, ihre Heimat, 
Geschichte, Kultur, Leipzig, 1886, p. 74 ff.; L. Borchardt, Die aegyptische 
Pflanzensdule, Berlin, 1897, P- 25- 

* Albert Schweitzer, Zwischen Wasserund Urwald, Bern, 1921, p. 25 describes 
the fields of papjnms in the Ogowe district in the virgin forest of Western 
Equatorial Africa; H[enri] A[net] in Le Chr^ien Beige 67 {1921) p. 253 
describes them between Kitega and Kigali in Central Africa. 

' In Lake Huleh — " the waters of Merom " — and the Lake of Tiberias, also 
near Nahr el-Fdlik and Antipatris, cf. K. Baedeker, Paldstina und Syrien'', 
Leipzig, 1910, pp. xlix, 238, 242, 222; Palastina-JahrbuchMgie, p. ri8. 

* J. Hoskyns-Abrahall, The Papyrus in Europe, The Academy, March 19, 
1887, No. 776 (E. Nestle, EinfUkrung in das Griechische N.T.,' Gottingen, 
1899, p. 40; '1909, p. 48; [English translation. Textual Criticism of the Greek 
Testament (Theological Translation Library, Vol. XIII.), by Edie and Menzies, 
London, 1901, p. 42, n. 3. Tr.]). — I am told (18 October, 1922) by Pastor 
Bruno Tromm (formerly of Valparaiso and Santiago de Chile) that the papyrus 
plant grows well throughout Central Chile. My informant has himself made 
sheets of papyrus according to the ancient rules from stems of the plant grown 
in the botanical gardens of the Quinta Normal at Santiago de Chile. 



26 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

cultivated in most botanical gardens, e.g. at Berlin,^ Bonn 
(Poppelsdorf).2 Breslau,^ Heidelberg.* It is doubtless 
obtainable from all the leading nurserymen, and it was at 
one time a very popular indoor plant in Germany : " palm " 
our mothers used to call it. As to its culture the firm of 
J. C. Schmidt, Erfurt, wrote to me » as follows : " Cyperus 
papyrus has proved its suitability as a rapid-growing decora- 
tive plant for large sheets of water, aquariums, etc. In 
the open air it thrives here only in summer, and only in a 
warm, sheltered position. It is propagated from seed or 
from leaf-shoots ; the latter are cut down to about half their 
length and put in water." A. Wiedemann * gives the follow- 
ing description of the plant : " A marsh plant, growing in 
shallow water ; root creeping, nearly as thick as a man's arm, 
with numerous root-fibres running downwards; several 
smooth, straight, triangular stalks, lo to i8 feet high, con- 
taining a moist pith (whence the Hebrew name, from gdmd', 
' to drink,' ' to sip up,' and the phrase bibula papyrus in 
Lucan IV. 136), and surmounted by an involucre with 
brush-like plumes." 

The use of papyrus as a writing material goes back to 
extreme antiquity. The oldest written papyrus known to 
be in existence is, according to Kenyon,' an account-sheet 
belonging to the reign of the Egyptian king Assa, which is 
conjecturally dated circa 2600 b.c.^ From these remote times 
until well on in the Mohammedan occupation of Egypt 
papyrus remains the standard writing material of that 
marvellous country, so that the history of its use in antiquity 
can be proved to extend over a period of about 3,500 years. 
Brittle and perishable as it appears on a superficial view, it 
is in reality as indestructible as the Pyramids and the obelisks. 
The splendid resistant qualities of the papyrus on which they 

' As I was infoi]j|ed by the Director, by letter, 2p October, 1902. 

* Ditto, 17 October, igoz. 
3 Ditto, 21 October, 1902. 

* Personal information from the Director. ' 18 October, 1902. 
' Guthe, Kurzes Bibelworterbuch, p. 501. 

' The Palaeography of Greek Papyri, Oxford, 1899, p. 14. 

* I now follow the chronology of Eduard Meyer. [Assa was a king of the 
5th dynasty, and used often to be dated circa 3360 b.c, or even earlier. 
Dr. H. R. Hall, Ancient History of the Near East,* London, 191 9, pp. 26, 134,15 
inclined to put Assa about 2800 B.C. Tr.] 



THE PROBLEM 27 

wrote have helped not a little to make the ancient Egyptians 
live again in the present age. 

The preparation of this material has been often wrongly 
described. It is not correct to say, as even Gregory ^ once 
did, that it was made from the " bast " of the plant. The 
process of manufacture was described for us by Pliny the 
Elder,* and to make his account still more intelligible existing 
papyri have been examined by specialists. Kenyon * 
accordingly puts the matter thus :— The pith of the stem was 
cut into thin strips, which were laid side by side perpendicu- 
larly, in length and number sufficient to form a sheet. Upon 
these another layer of strips was laid horizontally. The two 
layers were then gummed together «with some adhesive 
material, of which Nile water was one of the ingredients. 
The resulting sheet was pressed, sun-dried, and made smooth 
by polishing, after which it was ready for use. 

The manufacture of papyrus sheets goes on in much the 
same way even at the present day. In the autumn of 1902 
my friend Adalbert Merx * met a lady in Sicily who had 
learnt the art from her father and apparently still practised 
it occasionally, It was probably the same lady that was 
referred to in the following account of " Modern Syracusan 
Papyri " in a German newspaper ^ : — 

" No visitor to Sicily who goes to Syracuse ever fails to take 
a walk along the shore, in the shade of a trim-kept avenue of 

' Textkritik des Neuen Testaments, I., Leipzig, 1900, p. 7. Gregory informed 
me (postcard,, Leipzig-Stotteritz, ,29 June, 1908) that he had been perfectly 
acquainted with the method of making papyrus for more than thirty years, 
^nd that the world " bast " was a mere slip of the pen. [The process is 
accurately described in C. R. Gregory's Canon and Text of the New Testament 
(International Theological Library), Edinburgh, 1907, p. 301.- Tr.] 

' Nat. Hist. 13, 11-13. Cf. Theodor Birt, Das antike Buchvoesen, Berlin, 
1882, p. 223 ff. ; Karl Dziatzko, Untersuchungen iiber ausgewdhlte Kapitel des 
antiken Buchwesens, Leipzig, 1900, p. 49 ff. Pliny's statements have been 
given popular currency in Georg Ebers's romance Kaiser Hadrian. Cf. also 
an article by Ebers, on " The Writing Material of Antiquity," in the Cosmo- 
politan Magazine, New York, November, 1893 (Nestle,^ p. 40; ['p. 48; 
Eng. trans, p. 42, n. 3]). Theodor Reil's Leipzig dissertation, Beitrdge zur 
Kenntnis des Gewerbes im hellenistischen Agypten, Borna-Leipzig, 1913, p. 
127 fi. deserves special attention. 

* Palaeography, p. 15. 

* [The distinguished Orientalist (1838-1909) of Heidelberg. Tk.] 
'Frankfurter Zeitung, 12 April, 1906, No. loi, 2nd morning edition. The 

article is signed " W. F." 



28 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

pretty trees, to the Fountain of Arethusa. Here, transformed 
into a bubbling spring, the daughter of Nereus and Doris con- 
tinues her deathless existence," and one likes to make her 
acquaintance in her watery element. But there is another 
attraction for the traveller besides the nymph, viz. the papyrus 
plants growing by the spring. The papyrus flourishes not only 
here, but also in great abundance in the valley of the Anapo 
near Syracuse.^ At the end of the i8th [?] century the plant 
which has done such service to learning was introduced at 
Syracuse from Alexandria and even employed industrially. In 
the course of centuries, however, it seems that the plantations 
in the Anapo valley ran waste, until at last a learned society at 
Naples requested the Italian Government to take proper steps 
for the preservation of the plant. The Government thereupon 
instituted an inquiry and commissioned the Syracuse Chamber 
of Commerce to report on the subject. From a translation of 
this report in the Papier zeitung it appears that a citizen of Syra- 
cuse, Francesco Saverio Landolina, began in the i8th century 
to manufacture papyrus exactly according to the directions 
given by the Roman scientist Pliny in the 13th Book of his 
Natural History. After Landolina's death the brothers Politi 
continued the manufacture, and were followed by their sons, 
and to-day there are only two persons in Syracuse, viz. Madame 
de Haro and Professor G. Naro, descendants of the Politi family, 
who know and practise the art of making papyrus. They receive 
annually, with the consent of the Ministry for Education, 400 
bundles of the plant, which they work up themselves, without 
assistance. They use for their work a wooden mallet made 
according to Pliny's directions. The product is by no means so 
fine, close-grained, and white as the ancient papyri. The 200 
sheets produced every year measure 9^ X 7^ inches each. Two 
bundles of the plant are required to make one of these sheets. 
The papyrus sheets are sold exclusively to tourists. Those with 
pictures of Syracusan architecture printed on them are the most 
popular. A German resident at Syracuse sticks these pictures on 
postcards and sells them to strangers. A sheet of papyrus costs 
. from x\ to 2 lire, and those with pictures are dearer." 

In November 1913 Hugo Ibscher, the conservator of the 
collection of papyri in the Berlin Museums, who has achieved 
a wide reputation by his reconstructions of tattered papyri, 

' On his return from a visit to Sicily (12 Oct., 1913) Paul Schubring informed 
me that the papyrus was still growing in these two places, and brought me a 
sheet of papyrus manufactured at Syracuse. 



THE PROBLEM 29 

succeeded in making sheets of papyrus of extremely good 
quality from a plant growing in the botanical garden at 
Dahlem, Berlin. 

It is interesting to note that a project has been put forward 
more than once in recent years to revive the manufacture 
and make it a Government monopoly with a view to using 
papyrus as a material for banknotes that should defy 
imitation. 1 

The size of the single sheet of papyrus was not constant in 
ancient times, and there ought never to have been any 
doubt of this fact. Kenyon ^ has collected some measure- 
ments. For most non-literary documents (letters, accounts, 
receipts, etc.) a single sheet was sufficient ; for longer texts, 
especially literary ones, the necessary sheets were stuck 
together and made into a roll.' Rolls have been found 
measiuring as much as 20 and even 45 yards. 

The regular format for ancient works of literature was the 
papyrus roll. There is a large fragment of a pap5n:us roll 
among the Leipzig fragments of the Psalter.* It was usual to 
write on that side of the sheet on which the fibres ran hori- 
zontally [recto) ; the other side {verso) was used only excep- 
tionally.^ When a sheet of papyrus bears writing on both 
sides, in different hands, it may generally be assumed that 
the writing on the recto is the earlier of the two. Only in 
exceptional cases was there writing on both sides of the 
sheets of a papjnrus roll. There seems to be aii instance in 
Ezekiel ii. 9, 10 : "a roll of a book . . . written within and 
without." Nestle * refers to Revelation v. i, where some 

1 According to the Deutsche Tageszeitung (Berlin), 17 Nov., 1911, No. 586, 
Georg Schmiedl (of Vienna) in the " Dokumente des Fortschritts " reported 
on revived plantations of papyrus for industrial purposes in the delta of the 
Nile. [English newspapers in 1921 reported that Belgians in the Congo region 
and Norwegians in Zululand were trying to make paper from the papyrus which 
grows there by the modern method of pulping. Tr.] 

' Palaeography, p. i6 f. 

* Rolls were sometimes manufactured by the makers of papyrus, twenty 
sheets being generally istuck together for the purpose. See L. Borchardt, 
Zeitschr. f. die agyptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 27 {1889), p. 120, and 
U. Wilcken, Hermes, 28 (1893), p. 166 f. 

* Edited by G. Heinrici, BeitrSge zur Geschichte und Erkldrung des N. T., 
IV., Leipzig, 1903. 

' U. Wilcken, Recto Oder Verso, Hermes (22) 1887, p. 487 ff. 
' Einfiihrung,^ p. 41. [The English translation, 1901, p. 43, ii. 2, says the 
passage " can no longer be cited in support of this practice, seeing we must 



30 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

authorities read " a book written within and on the 
back." 

In the later centuries of antiquity we find also the papyrus 
book or codex, which finally triumphs over the roll. It is not 
true that the transition from roll to book was the result of 
the introduction of parchment. To give only a few instances, 
the British Museum possesses a fragment of a papyrus codex 
of the Iliad, probably of the 3rd century A.D-.^ Among the 
Oxyrhynchus Papyri there is a leaf from a codex of the gospels, 
containing Matthew i. 1-9, 12, 14-20, of, the 3rd century, 
besides other fragments of Biblical codices. The University 
Library at Heidelberg possesses twenty-seven leaves from an 
old codex of the Septuagint. And the sayings of Jesus 
found at Oxyrhynchus are also on a leaf from a codex. 

When we consider the important part played by papyrus 
in the life of the ancient world, it is by no means surprising to 
find it mentioned in Scripture. The papyrus plant is spoken 
of in Job viii. 11 and Isaiah xxxv. 7; in the former passage 
the translators of the Septuagint use the word papyrus, and 
again in Job xl. 16 (21) and Isaiah xix. 6. The " ark of 
bulrushes " in which Moses was laid (Exodus ii. 3) was a small 
papyrus boat,^ like the " vessels of bulrushes " in Isaiah 
xviii. 2.^ The writer of the Second Epistle of St. John 
mentions papyrus as a writing material, for the chartes 
referred to in verse 12 was doubtless a sheet of papyrus. So 
too the " books " that Timothy was requested to bring with 
him to St. Paul (2 Tim. iv. 13) were no doubt made of papyrus, 
for they are expressly distinguished from " the parchments." 

We may now turn to the recent discoveries of papyri and 
see what their value has been to scholarship in general. 

The first recorded purchase of pap5n-i by European visitors 
to Egypt was in 1778. In that year a nameless dealer in 
antiquities bought from some peasants a papyrus roll of 

take Kal 0Tno$ev with KaTea^payia/ievov." In the third German edition, however, 
1909, p. 48, n. I, Nestle still cited the passage, merely remarking that the 
other way of construing it is perhaps more correct. It remains also in the edition 
revised by E. von Dobschutz, Gottingen, ,1923, p. 33. Nestle died in 1913. 
Tr.] But the original reading was prpbably different; cf. p. 35, n. 5 below. 

' Kenyon, Palaeography, p. 25. 

' Here Aquila translates iramipeiiv. 

' See an ancient Egyptian picture in Guthe's Kwzes BibelwSrterbuch, p. 502 ; 
and cf. S. Witkowski, Eos 14 (1908), p. 13. 



THE PROBLEM 31 

documents from the year 191-192 a.d., and looked on while 
they set fire to fifty or so others simply to enjoy the aromatic 
snioke that was produced.^ Since that date an enormous 
quantity of inscribed pap}^:! in all possible languages, of ages 
varying from a thousand to nearly five thousand years, have 
been recovered from the magic soil of the ancient seats of 
civilisation in the Nile Valley. From about 1820 to 1840 
the museums of Europe acquired quite a respectable number 
of papyri from Memphis and Letopolis in Middle Egypt, and 
from This, Panopolis, Thebes, Hermonthis, Elephantine, and 
Syene in Upper Egypt. Not many scholars took any notice 
of them at first, and only a very few read and profited by 
them. 

The next decisive event, apart from isolated finds, was the 
discovery of papyri in the province of El-Fayum (Middle 
Egj^t) in 1877; To the north of the capital, Medinet el- 
Fayum, lay a number of mounds of rubbish and debris, 
marking the site of the ancient " City of Crocodiles," after- 
wards called " The City of the Arsinoites," and these now 
5delded up hundreds and thousands of precious sheets and 
scraps. Since then there has been a rapid succession of big 
finds, which have not ceased even yet : we are still in a period 
of important discoveries. In the external history of the 
discoveries the most noteworthy feature is that so many of 
the papyri have been dug up with the spade from Egyptian 
rubbish-heaps. 2 Antiquaries had set the example by ex- 
cavating in search of the foundations of ancient temples 
or fragments of prehistoric pottery, and now the excavators 
seek papyri. The excavations carried out by Drs. Bernard 
P. GrenfelP and Arthur S. Hunt rank with the most celebrated 
archaeological excavations of modern times both in the 
delicacy of their operations and in the value of their results. 

1 WUcken, Die griechischen Papyrusurkut^den, p. lo; which see also for 
what follows. — ^The first papyri known to have reached Europe were presented 
to the library at Bale by the theologian Johann Jakob Grynaeus at the end of 
the 16th cent.— one Greek and two Latin fragments, which long remained 
neglected as " Turkish " texts. They were published by Ernst Rabel in the 
Abhandlungen der Kgl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Gottingen, Phil.- 
hist. Klasse, new series, i6 No. 3 (1917). 

* Including several that were written outside Egypt, cf. Archiv f. Papyrus- 
forschung, 2, 138. 

' [Dr. Grenfell (bom at Birmingham, 16 Dec, 1869) died 17 May, 1926. Tr.J 



32 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

The fact that so many of the papyri are found among the 
dust-heaps of ancient cities is a valuable indication of their 
general significance. The multitude of papyri from the 
Fayum, from Oxyrhynchus-Behnesa, etc., do not, as was at 
first supposed, represent the remains of certain great archives. 
They have survived as part of the contents of ancient refuse- 
heaps and rubbish-shoots. There the men of old cast out 
their bundles of discarded documents, from offices public and 
private, their worn-out books and parts of books ; and there 
these things reposed, tranquilly abiding their undreamt-of fate. 
New hopes have been aroused by two discoveries made 
within the last twenty years. The first was an unusually re- 
markable find ^ of pre-Christian Greek documents on parch- 
ment ^ in Persian Kurdistan, the ancient kingdom of the 
Arsacidae. About the year 1909 a native peasant found in a 
cave on Kuh-i-S414n, one of the Avroman Mountains, an 
hermetically sealed jar containing shrivelled grains of millet 
and a number of documents. They went frorri hand to 
hand among the Kurds, and some were lost. Only three 
were preserved, and these were obtained after long efforts 
and at some personal risk by a Persian physician. Dr. Mirza 
Sa'id Khdn, who brought them to England.^ In July 1914 
they were sold by auction in London and found their way 
into the British Museum : two Greek parchments, one of 
which has also five lines of Aramaic writing on the back, and 
one parchment document in Aramaic writing.* For the 

' Cf. my communication to the Archdologische Gesellschaft at Berlin on 
6 Jan., 1914 (Archaologischer Anzeiger, 1914, i) and my " Evangelischer 
Wochenbrief " (" Protestant Weekly Letter ") No. 63, t2 Feb. 1916. 

' Strictly speaking, we ought to consider this find by itself, and not with 
the papyri; but, since very ancient parchment fragments have been but rarely 
met with hitherto, it seems hardly worth while to make them a special group 
at present. It is probable, by the way, that the Avroman documents are the 
oldest parchments hitherto known. The next oldest are of the 2nd cent. 
A.D. (Minns, p. 24). Possibly, however, the material is not parchment, but 
leather ; MSS. on leather are in existence of considerably earlier date. 

' Concerning the history of the discovery and the topography of the place 
where the documents were found I have been favoured with detailed corre- 
spondence by Dr. Mirza Sa'id Khdn and Ernst.Herzfeld, who was in Kurdistan 
for some time during the war. 

• Mr. Minns informed me by letter (Cambridge, 15 March 1923) that " A. 
Cowley made out the third Avroman document as the first monument of 
Pahlavi full of Aramaic words (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, April 
1919. p. 147)." 







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THE PROBLEM 33 

publication of them in a model edition ^ we are greatly 
indebted to Ellis H. Minns. 

The first of the two Greek documents (Figure 4) is a con- 
tract of sale relating to a parcel of vineyard drawn up in the 
year 88 B.C. in the Parthian village of Kopanis (Under- 
satrapy of Baiseira, post-station Baithabarta) . It is witnessed 
by three persons ^ and written in duplicate on one sheet. ^ 

The other Greek document (Figure 5), drawn up in the 
same Parthian village in 22-21 B.C., is a contract relating to 
the letting of a vineyard on hereditary lease. It is also 
witnessed by three persons * and written in duplicate/ and 
it is moreover a fine illustration of the parable of the vine- 
yard let out to husbandmen,* which Jesus spoke some fifty 
years later. When it came into the editor's hands the upper 
part of the document was still rolled up, and still bore some 
seals.'' 

' Parchments of the Parthian Period from Avroman in Kurdistan, Journal 
of Hellenic Studies 35 (1915). PP- 22-65 (with 3 plates). I received a copy of 
this important article in August 1915 by the unchanging kindness of the author, 
who had in 1913 sent me the text and supplied me with particulars. Of. also 
Mitteis, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung 36 p. 425 ff., and Paul M. Meyer, 
Juristische Papyri No. 36. Minns kindly informed me (23 March, 1922) that 
new and improved facsimiles have appeared in the publications of the New 
Palaeographical Society II. III. 51 and 52. 

• Of. the " three that bear record " in i John v. 7. 

" On this custom of drawing up a document in two copies, one " inner " 
{" closed ") and one " outer " (" open "), of which there are many instances 
in Semitic and Greek antiquity, cf. Mitteis, Grundziige und Chrestomathie 
II. I, p. 77 ff., and Minns, p. 47. Our facsimiles (Figures 4 and 5) give the 
" inner " text, which is on the upper portion of the sheet and was originally 
rolled and sealed up. Figure 5 it is true also shows in the last two lines 
the beginning of the " outer " text. It is, however, noteworthy that the 
wording of the " outer " duplicate copy does not completely agree with that 
of the " inner " original. The most striking difference is that the purchase- 
money, for which a receipt is given in the first document, is stated as 30 
drachmae in the original, while in the copy thirty has been subsequently 
altered into forty. One would be tempted to think of the unjust steward : 
" take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty " (Luke xvi. 6), were it 
not that external appearances make the suspicion of forgery improbable here 
(cf. Minns, p. 49). 

' Cf. n. 2 above. ' Cf. n. 3 above. 

" Mark xii. 1-9, Matt. xxi. 33-41, Luke xx. 9-16. The word used here for 
" let out " is t/cSiSovai, or, as in the Parthian parchment II. A 5, StSdvai 
(Mark xii. g, Luke xx. 16). In the parable a share " of the fruits of the 
vineyard" (dn-iJ ruiv Kapiruiv toO dfiTrfXiuvos) is to be given as rent; the 
Parthian document fixes a money payment, but also payments in kind, 
including two cotylae [about a pint] of wine. 

' See the diagram.in Minns, p. 22. 



34 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

In form and contents these Parthian texts are rich in 
parallels to the legal documents that come to us from Egypt. 
They symbolise the triumphant march of Western civilisation, 
and prove that the Hellenisation of the Parthian kingdom 
must have been greater than had hitherto been assumed. 
The contracting parties and the witnesses are all (to judge 
from the names) non-Greeks (no doubt Parthians) belonging 
to a small village ; the names of places and persons are of the 
highest interest to students of Iranian etymology, but the 
documents are of great value to the historian in general, 
being dated by the reigns of Arsacidae and their consorts, 
with the Seleucid era as basis. 

I should like here to insert one observation ^ : this find in 
Kurdistan, together with analogous documents among the papyri, 
throws a surprising light on Jeremiah xxxii. 8-15. 

At the bidding of Jahveh the prophet Jeremiah buys of 
Hanameel, his uncle's son, the field that is in Anathoth : " 10. And 
I subscribed the deed, and sealed it, and called witnesses, and 
weighed him the money (seventeen shekels of silver) in the 
balances. 11. So I took the deed of the purchase, both that which 
was sealed, the terms and conditions, and that which was open : 

12. and I delivered the deed of the purchase unto Baruch . . . 

13. and I charged Baruch . . . saying, 14. Thus saith the Lord 
of hosts, the God of Israel : Take these deeds,* this deed of the 
purchase, both that which is sealed, and this deed which is open, 
and put them in an earthen vessel, that they may continue many 
days. 15. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel : 
Houses and fields and vineyards shall yet again be bought in this 
land." 

What remarkable parallels to all the important details here 
are found in the Parthian parchments, down to the preservation of 
the document in an earthen jar ! ^ I think, too, that it is now 

' I made it independently, and did not see until afterwards that the 
editor's sister had already drawn attention to the passage, and that ancient 
documents in duplicate had already been quoted in connexion with Jeremiah 
by Leopold Fischer, Zeitschrift fiir die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 30 
(1910) p. 136 ff., and by L. Blau in Judaica, a festival volume for Hermann 
Cohen's seventieth birthday, Berlin, 1912, p. 207 ff. 

' On this plural see the remarks following. 

= There are other records showing that in antiquity documents and books 
were preserved in earthen vessels ; I will only refer to the discovery of a Greek 
translation of the Old Testament iv mBo) (" in a wine-jar ") by Origen at 
Jericho (Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. VI. xvi. 3 ; other testimonies, from Epiphanius 



THE PROBLEM 35 

possible to solve a much discussed textual problem relating to 
the passage in Jeremiah. The Massoretic text, after speaking of 
one deed in verse 10, seems to assume two different deeds in verses 
II and 14. Wilhelm Rothstein^ has conjectured that the two 
deeds are due to a misunderstanding of s'pkanm (verse 14), which 
is to be understood in a singular sense as in i Kings xxi. 8 and 
Isaiah xxxvii. 14. He cites (but with disapproval) Hitzig and 
Stade, who considered that two portions of one and the same deed 
of sale were intended. It seems to me beyond doubt that the 
original text contemplated one deed only, but that it was in two 
portions, the upper text being rolled and sealed up, while the lower 
text gave the " open " copy, readable at any time, as in the 
Parthian parchments and many other documents.^ The Septuagint 
has preserved the correct text : " 11. And I took the deed of the 
purchase, both that which was sealed . . . and that which was 

read* ... 14 Take this deed of the purchase and the 

deed that was read and put it * in an earthen vessel that it may 
continue many days." 

I have no wish to enter into a detailed discussion, but I should 
at least like to call attention to another greatly discussed passage, 
Rev. v. I : "a book written within and without, close sealed 
with seven seals." * Even by those who handed down the text 
it was felt to be a crux and was therefore frequently altered, but 
it can be explained without dif&culty when we remember the 
inside and outside writing of the ancient deed, and how it was 
sealed. 

" That it may continue many days," says the prophet. 
The vineyardmen of that Parthian village in the kingdom 

etc., in Swete, An Introduction to the Old Testament in Greek, Cambridge, 1900, 
p. 54). When I was staying at Konieh in March, 1909, I was told by my 
Jewish dragoman, Calmus, that a Turkish peasant in the neighbourhood of 
Eregli had, while ploughing, found an earthen pot, and in the pot a parchment 
book. The khoja to whom he brought it bade him " throw it into the water." 
The peasant did so ; but in summer, when the lake was drying up and the 
waters receded, somebody else found the manuscript again. This time the 
holy man ordered it " into the fire," and so the old book was destroyed. The 
story of the find-is not altogether incredible. Cf. also p. 36, n. i below. 
' In the textual notes to Kautzsch's edition of the Bible ('1896), p. 45. 

* Cf. p. 33, n. 3 above. 

' KoX TO aveyvuiaiUvov according to KA; the participle " read " must here 
approximate to "readable." Minns, p. 47, considers that aveifiYitevov, 
"open(ed)," was perhaps the original reading. 

* ouTo, singular, referring to one and the same sheet. 

' This text, jSijSAiov yeypaiijiivoii eooiBev koI e{a>Bcv Kano^fiayioiitvov a^paytmv iwra, 
I agree with Bousset (Meyer's Commentary, XVI,' Gottingen, 1906, p. 254), 
is the only one worth consideration. 



36 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

of the Arsacidae have attained the like purpose with their 
documents : in a climate essentially different from that of 
Egypt, which is so extraordinarily favourable for the preser- 
vation of ancient texts, those parchment sheets have lasted 
more than two thousand years. Is it altogether unjusti- 
fiable to expect that, outside the confines of Egypt, the 
East will yet reward us with discoveries ^ similar to those 
made by Origen, the Kurds of Avroman (and possibly the 
peasant of Eregli) ? 

Under other climatic conditions, more resembling those of 
Egypt, such a hope has yet better foundation, as is proved by 
a happy discovery made outside Egypt during the Great 
War. A tomb in the ruined monastery church of Hafir 
el-'Audsha (south-west of Birseba, the ancient Beersheba, 
in southern Palestine) was found to contain portions of two 
papyrus documents * ,of the 6th century a.d. It appears, 
therefore, not impossible that still more pap5Ti may come to 
light in Palestine. . In the very dry climate of Salihiyeh, on 
the Euphrates, ancient texts on parchment have lasted down 
to the present day.' 

The papyri are almost invariably non-literary in character. 
For instance, they include legal documents of all possible 
kinds : leases, bills and receipts, marriage-contracts, bills 
of divorce, wills, decrees issued by authority, denunciations, 
suings for the punishment of wrong-doers, minutes of judicial 
proceedings, tax-papers in great numbers. Then there 
are letters and notes, schoolboys' exercise-books, magical 
texts, horoscopes, diaries, etc. As regards their contents 
these non-literary documents are as many-sided as life itself. 
Those in Greek, several thousand in number, cover a period of 

• It is possible, for example, that sacred writings which had received 
solemn burial will be rediscovered. Among the Jews at the present day 
rolls of the Law (Torah) that have become worn-out are kept at first in the 
Genizah ("treasury"), and are afterwards solemnly interred in earthen 
vessels (cf . the ceremony at Jerusalem observed by L. Schneller, Der Bote aus 
Zion, lo (1894) p. 27 fi.), or in closed earthenware pipes (as at Prague, 
January 1921), cf.- R. Katz, Vossische Zeitung, No. 22, 14 Jan. 1921. This 
custom is certainly very old ; according to Katz the interment at Prague in 
1921 was the first for 532 years, i.e. since 1389. It is not impossible that the 
texts found by Origen were buried Scriptures. 

* Cf. W. Schubart in Wiegand's Sinai, p. no fif., and my " Evangelischer 
Wochenbrief " III. No. 47/55, end of January 1921, p. 147. 

' Cf. Franz Cumont in the periodical called " Syria " 4 (1923) p. 45. 



THE PROBLEM 37 

roughly a thousand years. The oldest go back to the early 
Ptolemaic period, i.e. the 3rd or even the 4th century b.c.^ ; 
the most recent bring us well into the Byzantine period. 
All the chequered history of Hellenised and Romanised Egypt 
in that thousand years passes before our eyes on those tattered 
sheets. 

The Greek documents are supplemented by large numbers 
of others in Aramaic," Demotic, Coptic,' Arabic,* Latin, 

' A Greek literary papyrus of the 4th century b.c, viz. " The Persians," by 
the poet Timotheus, was edited by U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Leipzig, 
1903. According to F. Blass (Gotting. gel. Anzeigen, 1903, p. 655), Grenfell is 
disposed to date the MS. between 330 and 280 b.c. Rubensohn found at 
Elephantine bundles of papyri, among which was one dated with the regnal 
year of Alexander'Aegus, the son of Alexander the Great, 31 1-310 b.c. That 
would make it the oldest Greek papyrus document yet discovered. — It is 
now No. I in the special publication Elephantine-Papyri bearbeitet von O. 
Rubensohn, Berlin, 1907. 

* Extremely important are the Aramaic Papyri discovered at Assuan, 
edited by A. H. Sayce with the assistance of A. E. Cowley and with appen- 
dices by W. Spiegelberg and Seymour de Ricci, London, 1906. They consist 
of ten large original documents (really from Elephantine), written in Aramaic 
by Jews of Upper Egypt in the time of the Persian kings Xerxes, Artaxerxes, 
and Darius, 471 or 470 to 411 b.c. Their eminent importance has been set 
forth in its linguistic, religious, and legal aspects by Th. Noldeke, Zeitschr. f^ 
Assyriologie, 20, p. 130 ff.; Mark Lidzbarski, Deutsche , Lit.-Ztg. 27 (1906) 
col. 3205 ff. ; E. Schiirer, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 32 (1907) col. iff.; U. Wilcken, 
Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, 4, p. 228 ff. ; Friedrich Schulthess, Gottingische 
gelehrte Anzeigen, 1907, p. 181 ff. ; and many others. There is a handy 
edition by W. Staerk in Lietzmann's Kleine Texte, Nos. 22, 23, Bonn, 1907, 
'1912. To these have now been added highly important new Aramaic docu- 
ments from Elephantine, cf. Eduard Sachau, Drei aramaische Papyrus- 
urkunden aus Elephantine, aus den Abhandlungen der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie 
der Wissenschaften 1907, Berlin, 1907 ; and W. Staerk, Aramaeische Urkunden 
zur Geschichte des Judentums im vi. und v. Jahrhundert vor Chr. sprachlich 
und sachlich erklart, in Lietzmann's Kleine Texte, No. 32, Bonn, 1908. Cf. 
now the large edition by Ed. Sachau, Aramaische Papyrus und Ostraka aus 
einer jiidischen Militdrkolonie zu Elephantine, Leipzig, 1911 ; Eduard Meyer, 
Zu den aram. Papjrri von Elephantine, Berliner Sitzungsberichte 1911, 
p. 1026 ff., and the same author's popular work, Der Papyrusfund von Elephan- 
tine, Leipzig 1912. Schiirer, shortly before his death, was able to give a 
detailed appreciation of the discoveries in his Gesch. des jiid. Volkes III.* p. 
24 ff. A considerable literature is there noted. [Cowley's Aramaic Papyri 
of the Fifth Century B.C., comprising all the legible pre-Christian Aramaic 
papyri known, was published at Oxford in 1923. Tr.] 

' I merely refer to the large collections of Coptic letters and documents, 
preserved at London, Vienna, Berlin, Strassburg, Heidelberg, etc. One of 
the most important of the literary papyri is the Heidelberg MS. of the Acta 
Pauli, discovered, pieced together with infinite pains and ingenuity, and then 
edited by Carl Schmidt (of Berlin), Veroffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



38 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Hebrew.i Persian [and even Gothic].^ Of the most ancient 
hieroglyphic papyri we here say nothing, but there should 
be no possibility of disagreement as to the value of those 
we ha^?S mentioned for the scientific study of antiquity in 
the widest sense.^ They mean nothing less than the recon- 
stitution of a large portion of the life lived by the ancients. 
They tell their story of the past with a freshness, warmth, 
and sincerity such as we can boast of in no ancient writer 
and in but very few of the ancient inscriptions. The record 
handed down by the ancient authors is always, even in the 

' The best known is the Nash Papyrus, a. copy of the Decalogue and a part 
of the Sh'ma [i.e. Deut. vi. 4 ff.] with a peculiar form of text, of the first or 
second century a.d. Cf. Norbert Peters, Die dlteste Abschrift der zehn Gebote, 
der Papyrus Nash, untersucM, Freiburg i. B., 1905; and in connexion with 
this, C. Steuernagel, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906) col. 489 f. 

' [Among the papyri from Antinoe acquired by the Giessen University 
Library in 1908 was a small fragment of. parchment (No. 651/20), part of a 
double leaf from a codex (palimpsest), containing the mutilated remains of 
Luke xxiii. 2-6, xxiv. 5-9 in Latin and Luke xxiii. 11-14, xxiv. 13-17 in the 
4th cent. Gothic version of Wulfila (Uliilas). This proof of the existence 
of a Latin-Gothic parallel book of the gospels was a remarkable confirmation 
of Burkitt's theory of the Latin text of Codex Brixianus (Journal of Theological 
Studies I (1900) pp. 129-134). The Latin handwriting of the Giessen 
fragment is assigned to the early part of the 5th cent. ; the Gothic, if of that 
date, is the earliest MS. extant in any Germanic language. It is not to be 
supposed that the MS. was written in Egypt; but readers of Kingsley's 
" Hypatia " will remember that Gothic soldiers visited Egypt, and this one 
find raises a faint hope that the rubbish-heaps may yield us yet more specimens 
of Gothic, — ^the philological value of which is that it is the oldest extant repre- 
sentative of the Germanic group of languages, to which our own English 
belongs. See P. Glaue and K. Helm, Das gotisch-lateinische Bibelfragment 
der Universitatsbibliothek zu Giessen, Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamentliche 
Wissenschaft 11 (1910) pp. 1-38, also separately in pamphlet form, Giessen, 
1910; P. Glaue, Aus einer verlorenen Handschrift der Goten, Deutsche 
Rundschau 143 (1910) pp. 240-253; F. C. Burkitt, Journal of Theological 
Studies II (1910) p. 611 ff. ; W. Streitberg, Die gotische Bibel, 2. Teil, Heidel- 
berg, loio, pp. ix-xiv. Tr.] 

' Cf. H. Idris Bell's finely appreciative lecture on " The Historical Value 
of Greek Papyri," The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 6 (1920), p. 235 fi. 



Continuation of notes to p. 37 : — 

Papyrus-Sammlung II., Leipzig, 1904 (a volume of text and a volume of 
plates), with a supplementary volume, " Zusatze," Leipzig, 1905. A smaller 
edition appeared at Leipzig, 1905 ; a new fragment in the Berliner Sitzungs- 
berichte 1909, p. 216 ff. 

* The Arabic papyri, especially those of the first century of Islam, have been 
simply epoch-making as regards Islamic studies. Cf. C. H. Becker, Papyri 
Schott-Reinhardt I. (Veroffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung 
HI.), Heidelberg, 1906, p. 1 ff., and Becker's other publications. 



THE PROBLEM 39 

best of cases, indirect, and has always been somehow or other 
touched up or toned down. The inscriptions are often cold 
and lifeless.^ The pap3Tus sheet is far more living. We see 
the handwriting, the irregular characters, we see men. We 
gaze into the inmost recesses of individual lives. 

Despite their unassuming simplicity the papyri have in- 
fused new blood into the veins of learning. Legal history 
in the first place, but afterwards the general history of cul- 
ture, and notably the history of language, have benefited 
thereby. And here, paradoxical as it will seem to many, let 
me say that the non-literary papyri are of greater value to 
the historical inquirer than are the literary. We rejoice 
by all means when ancient books, or fragments of them, 
are recovered from the soil of Egypt, especially when they 
are lost literary treasures. But scientifically speaking the 
real treasmre hidden in the field of Egypt is not so much of 
ancient art and literature as there lies buried, but all the 
ancient life, actual and tangible, that is waiting to be given 
to the world once more. It is regrettable, therefore, to see 
the merest scrap of an ancient book treated as if it were 
something sacred — ^immediately published with notes and 
facsimile, ev6n if it be a fragment of some forgotten scribbler 
who deserved his fate — while on the other hand the non- 
literary items are often not even printed in full. Yet it 
may well happen that a solitary lease of no intrinsic interest 
contains the long-looked-for link completing the chain of 
development from some early Hellenistic form down to its 
representative in some dialect of modern Greek. Some- 
thing which an editor, with his eye bent on a special subject 
of interest to himself, perhaps suppressed as " unimportant," 
may mean a priceless discovery to another. 

It cannot be my task here to recite the long list of papyrus 
publications, great and small; I refer to the bibliographies 
mentioned above.* Every year, however, increases the 
number of new editions. The name by which a pap3rrus is 
known may refer either to the place where it is now preserved 

' Cf. p. 24 above. 

' For the black years 1914 ff. I recommend Wilcken's copious reports in the 
Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, and especially H. I. Bell's careful " Biblio- 
graphy : Graeco-Roman Egypt A. Papyri 1914-15; 1915-19; 1919-20" 
in the Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, 3 (1916), 6 (1920), 7 (1921). 



40 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

(e.g. Berlin Documents; Cairo, London, Florence, Paris, 
Bale, Geneva, Strassburg, Leipzig, Giessen, Hamburg, 
Munich, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Chicago, etc. Papyri), the 
person to whom it belongs ^ [e.g. the Archduke Rainer's 
Papyri, the Amherst Papyri, Reinach Papyri, etc.)^, or to 
the place where it was found {e.g. Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 
Tebtunis Papyri, Hibeh Papyri, etc.). From the «cientific 
point of view it would certainly be best to name the papyri 
after the place where found, and this will always be practicable 
where a great number of papyri have been found in the same 
place and kept in one collection. At any rate, when quoting ' 
a particular papyrus one should never omit to state where and 
when it was written. The special excellence of these texts 
is due in no small degree to the fact that so many of them are 
dated to the very year and day of the month, and that it is 
nearly always certain where they came from. At some 
time in the indefinite future a Corpus (or perhaps several 
Corpora) Papyrorum may be called for. It would be im- 
possible at present to undertake such a collection, for the 
discoveries show no signs of coming to a standstill. ' 

The prevailing tendency being to -overestimate the im- 
portance of whatever is literary, it is no wonder that theo- 
logians have congratulated themselves most of all on the 
recovery of parts of the Bible and early Christian books. 
We have, truly enough, every reason to be thankful that 
sources, and textual authorities are still forthcoming from 
such venerably early periods of ■ our faith. I have given 



' [Or belonged : the papyri collected by Lord Amherst of Hackney passed, 
after his death (16 Jan. 1909), into the possession of Mr. J. Pierpont Morgan, 
of New York, a few months or weeks before he died in 1913. The Archduke 
Rainer died in 1913. Tr.] 

» [The Flinders Petrie Papyri were edited by J. P. Mahaffy and J. G. Smyly, 
,in three parts: Royal Irish Academy, Cunningham Memoirs, Nos. 8, 9, 11, 
Dublin, 1891-1905. Tr.] 

• Ulrich Wilcken (Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, i, pp. 25 £f., 122 f., 544 f.; 
2, pp. 117, 385; 3, pp. 113, 300) introduced' a uniform S3fstem of abbrevia- 
tions for indicating the various editions. There is a complete list of these 
abbreviations in Edwin Mayser, Grammatik der griechischen Papyri aus der 
Ptolemderzeit, Leipzig, 1906, p. vii. ff. ; and later in Mitteis and Wilcken, 
Grundziige und Chrestomathie I. i, p. xxv. ff. There all publications down 
to 1912 are included. Later publications will be found in the Archiv fiir 
Papyrusforschung, and in Paul M. Meyer, JuriStische Papyri, Berlin, 1920, 
p. vii. ff. 



THE PROBLEM 41 

elsewhere ^ a list of the most important Greek fragments 
recovered down to 1903, including altogether about fifty 
fragments, large and small. The more recent publications 
enable us to add largely to the list. I will mention a few 
particulars.^ Since 1903 Grenfell and Hunt* have pub- 
lished a second fragment of " Logia," and a fragment of a 
new gospel,* which was followed by yet another fragment 
of a gospel, of considerable size.* Another fragment which 

' In the article mentioned which I contributed to the Realencyclopddie,' 
XIV. p. 671 f. My VeroffentUchungen aus der Heidelberger Papyrus-Samm- 
lung I., which were there quoted while still in the press, appeared in 1905 
(not 1904 as was expected). Cf. also the article on " Papyri " by Kenyon. 

• Cf. also Adolf Harnack, Die Chronologie der altchristlichen Literatur bis 
Eusebius II., Leipzig, 1904, p. 179 ff., and the serial reports by Carl Schmidt 
(of Berlin) in the Archiv fur Papyrusforschung. A creditable collection of 
the oldest literary and non-literary Christian texts on papyri was contributed 
to the Patrologia Orientalis, IV. z, by Charles Wessely, " Les plus anciens 
monuments du Christianisme Merits sur papyrus textes grecs 6dit6s, traduits 
et comments," Paris [1907]. Cf. also A. Bludau, Biblische Zeitschrift, 4 
(1906), p. 25 ff. ; Hermann Miiller, ibid. 6 (1908), p. 25 ff. ; and Caspar Ren6 
Gregory, Die griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, I^ipzig, 1908, 

PP- 45-7- 

• The Oxjrhynchus Papyri, Part IV. No. 654 ; cf. my article " Zur Text- 
Rekonstruktion der neuesten Jesusworte aus Oxyrhynchos," Supplement 
No. 162 to the Allgemeine Zeitung (Munich), 18 July, 1904, translated as an 
Appendix (No. II) to the present book; E. Preuschen, Antilegomena,* Gieszen, 
1905, pp. 23 ff., 119 ff. ; E. Klostermann, Apocryphalll., Bonn, 1904, p. 17 ff. ; 
J. H. A. Michelsen in Teyler's Theologisch Tijdschrift, 1905, p. 160 f. — I 
may be allowed one remark concerning the first " Logia " fragment of 1897. 
The last clause (" colon ") of Logion No. 4, dx^oov to ^vXov Koyui €Kei afil, 
" cleave the wood and I am there," which has been so much discussed [and 
has inspired poets : cf. Sir William Watson's poem " The Unknown God," 
and H. van Dyke's hjrmn, beginning " They who tread the path of labour." 
Tr.], has a remarkable parallel (not yet pointed out, I Ijelieve) in the Gospel 
of Thomas, ch. x. The boy Jesus heals a wood-cutter whose axe had fallen 
and severely injured his foot, and dismisses him with the words, avaora vSv 
axiCf TO fuAa xai livijiioveve jMv, " Arise now : cleave the pieces of wood and 
remember Me." [Cf . M. R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament, Oxford, 
1924, pp. 27, 52. Tr.] This parallel suggests that the Logion is a word of 
consolation for those engaged in dangerous work. William A. Curtis gives a 
different explanation in The Expositor, June 1913, p. 481 ff. 

• The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part IV. No. 655. Also published separately 
by Grenfell and Hunt with the second " Logia " fragment : New Sayings 
of Jesus and Fragment of a Lost Gospel, London, 1904. See also Preuschen, 
Aniilegomena,' p. 26 ; Klostermann, Apocrypha III. p. 20 ; [M. R. James, 
The Apocryphal New Testament, Oxford, 1924. P- 28. Tr.] Michelsen, op. 
cit. p. 161 ff., successfully restores a portion of this hitherto unidentified 
fragment. 

« Cf. the announcement in The Times, May 14, 1906. Grenfell and Hunt 
very kindly showed me the original at Oxford (Oct. 1906). It is a parch- 



42 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the two distingmshed explorers also consider to be a portion 
of a gospel,! ig perhaps rather to be looked on as part of a 
commentary or a sermon.^ The Second Part of the Amherst 
Papyri contains a large fragment of " The Shepherd of 
Hermas " and several Septuagiht fragments, one of which 
has only been identified since the book appeared. ^ The 
Fourth Part of the Oxyrhynchus Papyiri gave us, besides 
the texts mentioned above, a good-sized fragment of the 
Septuagint Genesis,* and a still larger piece of the Epistlfr 
to the Hebrews, 5 which was found written on the back of 
an Epitome of Livy. The Sixth Part also presented us 
with new fragments,* and the abundance increased with 



ment fragment from Oxyrhjmchus, published in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 
Part V. No. 840 ; and separately. Fragment of an Uncanonical Gospel from 
Oxyrhynchus, London, igo8. The fragment has already called forth a copious 
literature. Cf. Henry Barclay Swete, Zwei neue Evangelienfragmente, Bonn, 
■1908 (Lietzmann's Kleine Texte, No. 31) ; E. Preuschen, Zeitschrift fur die 
neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 1908, p. i £f. ; L. Blau, ibid., p. 204 ff. ; A. 
Marmorstein, ibid., 1914, p. 336 ff. ; [M. R. James, Apocryphal New Testament, 
p. 29 f . Tr.] Swete also prints the so-called Freer Legion, which has likewise 
given rise to a whole literature. [A 4th or 5th century codex of the Gospels, 
on vellum, was found in a tomb at Akhmim, the ancient Panopolis, in Upper 
Egypt, in 1907, and acquired byCharles Lang Freer of Detroit, who afterwards 
presented it to the University of Washington. The Logion forms part of the 
reputed conclusion of St. Mark (between verses 14 and 15 of ch. xvi.) ; it is 
extant in no other Greek MS., but the preliminary words of the apostles wete 
known from a quotation by Jerome in Latin. An English version will be 
found in Dr. James Moflatt's " The New Testament : a new translation " at 
the right position in St. Mark ; also in M. R. James, Apopryphal New Testa- 
ment, p. 34. Tr.] Besides the works of H. A. Sanders, A. Harnack, and 
C. R. Gregory, mentioned by Swete, cf. among others Hugo Koch, Biblische 
Zeitschrift 6 (1908) p. 266 ff. ; [H. A. Sanders, The Washington Manuscript 
of the Four Gospels, University of Michigan Studies, 1912]. 

' Catalogue gdniral des antiquitis Sgyptiennes du Musie du Caire, Vol. X. 
(Nos. 10,001-10,869 Greek Papjrri), Oxford, 1903, No. 10,735; Preuschen. 
Antilegomena,' p. 114 f. 

' Cf. my article, "Das angebliche Evangelien-Fragment von Kairo," 
Archiv fiir Religionswissenschaft, 7, p. 387, translated as an Appendix (No. 
Ill) to this book. 

' Namely the fragment after No. 191, p. 201. It contains LXX Isaiah 
Iviii. 11-14. See the Supplement to the AUgemeine Zeitung (Munich), 
No. 251, 31 October, 1901. 

• No. 656; now cited as U* by the editors of the great Cambridge Septua- 
gint (Alan England Brooke and Norman McLean). 

' No. 657. 

« Fragments of the LXX Psalter (No. 845), LXX Amos (No. 846), St. 
John's Gospel (No. 847), Revelation (No. 848), the Acts of Peter (No. 849), 
the Acts of John (No. 850) ; and a fragment not yet identified (No. 851). 



THE PROBLEM 43 

each new volume of this wonderfully rich collection. 1 Other 

Biblical fragments on papyrus, some of them very old, of 

which I have received information by letter, remain un- 

published,2 e.g. a large 4th-century MS. of Genesis obtained 

by Carl Schmidt (of Berlin). Adolf Harnack has announced » 

the discovery of a fragment of Ignatius by the same Carl 

Schmidt. For considerable fragments of Irenaeus preserved 

at Jena we are indebted to Hans Lietzmann,* who has also 

published a Jena fragment of the Psalter. ^ Carl Schmidt 

(of Berlin) has edited two important early Christian prayers * 

belonging to the Berlin Museum. Several ancient Christian 

fragments in the Strassburg collection of papyri have been 

published by O. Plasberg.' Anton Swoboda thinks he has 

discovered in one of the papyri of the " Fayum Towns " 

volume fragments of a Gnostic (Naassenic) psalm about 

Christ's descent into hell.^ P. Glaue and A. Rahlfs ^ have 

published fragments of a Greek translation of the Samaritan 

' Part XV. (1922) reached me by the kindness of the Egypt Exploration 
Society and the editors. The gem of this portion of the collection is No. 1786, 
the oldest known fragment of an early Christian hymn, temp. Diocletian, with 
musical notation ! [Part XVI appeared in 1924. Tr.] 
' See the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 33 (1908), col. 360. 
' Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 31 (1906), col. 596 f. 

* Nachrichten der Kgl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Gottingen, 
Phil.-hist. Klasse, 1912, p. 292 S. 

^ Neutesiameniliche Studien Georg Heinrici dargebrachi, Leipzig, 1914, 
p. 60 ff. 

» Ibid.,, p. 66 B. 

' Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, 2, p. 2i7ff. : a piece with proverbs, not 
yet identified, and probably quite new; a fragment of 2-Samuel xv. and xvi., 
Septuagint; a pa,rchment fragment of the 5th century a.d. with remains 
of a Greek translation of Genesis xxv. 19-22 and xxvi. 3, 4. This last piece, 
quoted as A, in the great Cambridge Septuagint, is very important. It 
presents a text remarkably at variance with the LXX but approximating 
to the Hebrew — not, however, a Samaritan text, it would seem, cf. Rahlfs, 
Nachrichten der Kgl. Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Gottingen, 1911, 
p. 266 — and its variants are remarkable for the occurrence four times over 
of airopa, a reading not hitherto recorded, instead of airepua (xxvi. 3, 4). We 
may conclude with great probability that this is a direct protest against 
St. Paul's celebrated insistence on the singular anepiia (Gal. iii. 16), and that 
the papyrus is therefore the survival of a post-Christian, hitherto unknown 
Jewish revision of the LXX or new translation. Graecus Venetus, a late 
and probably Jewish writer (ed. O. Gebhardt, Lipsiae, 1875), has mropos in 
most of the Messianic passages of Genesis ; in xxvi. 3, 4 he has ompos three 
times and ompiia once. 

' Cf. Wiener Studien 27 (1905), Part 2. 

' Nachr. der Gesellsch. der Wissenschaften zu Gottingen, 191 1, pp. 167 fi. 
and 263 ff. 



44 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Pentateuch (on parchment). I cannot, in the present state 
of our hbraries, attempt to enumerate the abundant dis- 
coveries of the last few years ; a precise bibliography of all 
those relating to the Greek Bible and early Church history 
remains, however, a pressing need.^ 

Of great importance too are the Coptic fragments of 
Biblical, Gnostic, and other early Christian writings, among 
which I have already mentioned the Heidelberg " Acta 
Pauli." 2 They are very numerous,^ and have lately been 
reinforced by two extensive fragments of translations of the 
first Epistle of Clement, now at Berlin * and Strassburg,^ 
and by a beautifully preserved MS. of the Proverbs of Solo- 
mon.* The conversations of Jesus with the disciples after 
the Resurrection, contained in a Coptic pap5Tus, for which 
we are mainly indebted to Carl Schmidt ' of Berlin, are his- 
torically the most valuable of these discoveries. Graeco- 
Sahidic fragments of the Psalms, of considerable extent, 
have been published by Carl Wessely '^ from the collection 
of papyri belonging to the Archduke Rainer. An entirely 
new field has been opened up by the discovery, also due to 

' There are excellent lists in Schubart, Einfuhrung in die Papyruskunde, 
p. 473 f., 475, 481. Cf. also ibid., pp. 174-183. For the Sayings of Jesus 
(Logia) I refer at least to the great edition by H. G. Evelyn White, The 
Sayings of Jesus, Cambridge, 1920 ; cf . A. von Hamack, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 46 
(1921), col. 4 f. 

2 Page 37, n,. 3 above. 

' I had no intention of enumerating all the earlier publications. Budge's 
publication, the omission of which was noticed by J. Leipoldt (Xheologisches 
Literaturblatt 29 [1908] col. 561) was not unknown to me. 

* Karl [= Carl] Schmidt, Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie der 
Wissenschaften (Berlin), 1907, p. 154 ff., and his edition, Der erste Clemens- 
brief in altkoptischer Vberseizung (Texte und Untersuchungen, Dritte Reihe, 
Zweiter Band, Heft i), I^ipzig, 1908. 

' Sitzungsberichte, 1907, p. 158 f. 

* Now at Berlin, ibid., p. 155. 

' Gesprdche Jesu mil seinen Jungern nach der Aufersiehung. Ein katholisch- 
apostolisches Sendschreiben des 2. Jahrh., Leipzig, 1919. 

* Sitzungsberichte der Kais. Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien, 
Philosophisch-Historische Klasse, Vol. 155, first article, Wien, 1907. [A 
papyrus codex, written before 350 a.d., and containing Jonah, and large 
portions of Deuteronomy and Acts,, was published by the British Museum, 
Coptic Biblical Texts in the Dialect of Upper Egypt, 1912. It is a remarkably 
early specimen of a Biblical MS. of such size. In 1923, Guy Brunton dis- 
covered an early Coptic papyrus codex (c. 400 a.d.) of St. John's Gospel, enclosed 
in a jar (cf. p. 34, n. 3 above), in an old Christian cemetery at Qau-el-Kebir, 
about 30 miles, south of Assiut. It was edited by Sir Herbert Thompson for 
the British School of Archaeology in Egypt, 1924. Tr.] 



THE PROBLEM 45 

Carl Schmidt (Berlin), of the first fragments of Christian 
literature in the language of ancient Nubia. ^ 

The non-literary papyri also contain much that is of 
direct value in the study of Biblical and Christian antiquities. 
In the first place we have the Aramaic and Greek documents 
which from the 5th century B.C. until long after the estab- 
lishment of the Empire make mention of Jewish inhabitants 
in all parts of Egypt. These furnish statistics of that cos- 
mopolitan Judaism ^ which was such a help to the Christian 
mission. Next come the papyri which enable us to fix 
the chronology of the Egyptian Praefect Munatius Felix, 
and thereby the chronology of an important treatise by 
Justin Martyr, or which make it possible to determine the 
site of hitherto uncertain Egyptian places mentioned in 
early Christian texts. The discoveries have presented us 
with precious original documents of the time of the Christian 

^ Heinrich Schafer und Karl [= Carl] Schmidt, Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. 
Preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften (Berlin), 1906, p. 774 ff., and 1907, 
p. 602 f. They are parchment fragments from Upper Egypt, but were no 
doubt found together with papyri. It is nearly always so with Egyptian 
parchment fragments. New writings in Nubian apart from these have 
since come to light; of. F. LI. Griffith's large and comprehensive treatise, 
" The Nubian Texts of the Christian Period," Abhandlungen der Kgl. Preuss- 
ischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, philos.-histor. Klasse, 1913, No. 8, 
Berlin, 1913. I gave a specimen of these texts in German in a sketch entitled 
" Die Kraft des Kreuzes, Altchristliche Enkomien," in Die Hilf6, i April, 
1915; in English, " The Power of the Cross," The Expository Times, Vol. 32, 
No. 7, April 1921, p. 299 ff. 

^ The Jewish papyri mentioned in my first list (No. 14) in the Realencyclo- 
pddie* have been the subject of several investigations since I wrote about 
them in the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 23 (1898), col. 602 ff. I would refer especially 
to E. von Dobschiitz, Jews and Antisemites in Ancient Alexandria, The 
American Journal of Theology, 1904, p. 7283.; F. Stahelin, Der Antisemi- 
tismus des Altertums, Basel, 1905; Aug. Bludau, Juden und Judenverfol- 
gungen im alien Alexandria, Miinster i. W., 1906; and most particularly to 
U. Wilcken, Zum alexandrinischen Antisemitismus (Vol. XXVII. of the 
Abhandlungen der phil.-hist. Klasse der Kgl. Sachs. Gesellschaft der 
Wissenschaften, No. XXIII.), Leipzig, 1909 (also Chrestomathie I. i, p. 44 f.). 
New texts of this kind are the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Nos. 1089 and 1242, on 
which see the fruitful essays by Wilh. Weber, Hermes 50 (1915), pp. 47-92, 
and A. von Premerstein, Hermes 57 (1922), pp. 266-316; also A. von Premer- 
stein, " Zu den sogenannten alexandrinischen Martyrakten," Philologus, 
Supplementband 16, Heft 2, Leipzig, 1923. [H. I. Bell, Jews and Christians 
in Egypt. The Jewish Troubles in Alexandria and the Athanasian Controversy 
illustrated by texts from Greek Papyri in the British Museum, 1924. All but 
one of the papyri are 4th century. Among the correspondence of Pap(h)nutius 
(of. p. 47, n. 3 below) there is a possible autograph of St. Athanasius. Tr.J 



46 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

persecutions. We have numerous libelli (nearly 40, I should 
now estimate) issued to Christian lihellatici (or, as U. Wilcken 
suggested to me in a letter of i March, 1902, in some cases 
ho doubt to falsely suspected pagans ^) at the time of the 
Decian persecution,^ and then there is the letter of the 
Christian presbyter Psenosiris in the Great Oasis to 
the presbyter Apollo on behalf of a banished Christian 
woman.3 Highly rejnarkable is a Christian original 

' Cf. also Archiv fvir Papyrusforschung, 3, p. 311. [Libelli were official 
certificates of the satisfactory performance of pagan sacrifices by the certificate- 
holders. Tr.] 

' In 1909 I was only able to mention 5 : No. i piiblished by Fr. Krebs, 
Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preuss. Ak. d. Wiss. (Berlin), 1893, pp. 1007- 
1014; No. 2 published by K. Wessely, Anzeiger der Kaiserl. Ak. d. W. zu 
Wien, Phil.-hist. Klasse, XXXI. 1894, pp. 3-9; for No. 3 cf. Seymour de 
Ricci, Bulletin Papyrologique, Revue des ]£tudes Grecques, 1901, p. 203, 
and U. Wilcken, Archiv fiir Papj^rusforschung, i, p. 174; No. 4 published 
by Grenfell and Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papjrri, No. 658; No. 5 published 
by Wessely in the Patrologia Orientalis, IV. 2, pp. 113-115. Cf. also G. 
Milligan, The Expository Times, Vol. 20, No. 4 (Jan. 1909). A. Bludau's 
article in Der Katholik, 88, 9, I know only from the Deutsche Lit.-Ztg. 29 
(1908), col. 2453. Since 1909 a number of new libelli have been discovered 
and published. Paul M. Meyer, " Die Libelli aus der Decianischen Christen- 
verfplgung " (Appendix to the Abhandlungen der Berliner Ak. d. W., 1910), 
Berlin, 1910, published 19 new libelli belonging to the Municipal Library 
at Hamburg and reprinted those that were already known, making 24 in all. 
In his work, Griechische Texte aus Agypien (I. Papyri des Neutest. Seminars 
der Univ. Berlin, 11. Ostraka der Sammlung Deissmann), Berlin, 1916, p. 75 ff., 
he added three more, which I had obtained for the New Testament Seminar 
at Berlin. Some more libelli from the same find were acquired by the John 
Rylands Library at Manchester through my agency; some of them have 
been published in the Catalogue of the Greek Papyri in the John Rylands 
Library, Vol. II. (1915). Cf. also The Oxyrhynchus Papyri XII. No. 1464, 
and Gerhard Plaumann in Amtliche Berichte aus den Kgl. Kunstsammlungen, 
34 (1913), p. 117 f. — A remarkable analogy to these Libelli is furnished by 
the certificates of confession and profession given to Lutherans in the 17th 
century, cf. Theol. Rundschau, 11 (1908), p. 430. ["Tokens" were given 
before the Reformation to persons after confession, empowering them to be 
admitted to Communion, a practice continued in Scotland in the " Com- 
munion Tokens " issued to church-members qualified to receive the Sacrament. 
See the New English Dictionary, s.v. Token sb. 10, aiid Token-money. Tr.] 
' Papyrus 713 in the British Museum, edited with commentary in my 
little book, Ein Original-Dokument aus der Diocletianischen Christenver- 
folgung, Tiibingen und Leipzig, 1902; translated into English under the 
title The Epistle of Psenosiris, London, 1902 (Cheap Edition, 1907). Cf. 
also P. Franchi de' Cavalieri, Una lettera del tempo della persecuzione Dio- 
clezian^a, Nuovo BuUettino di Archeologia Cristiana, 8 (1902), pp. 15-25. 
The late Albrecht Dieterich proposed, in the Getting, gel. Anz. 1903, pp. 550- 
555, an interpretation of an important passage of the letter differing greatly 
from my own, and to this I replied in a monthly periodical. Die Studierstube, I 
(1903). PP- 532-540- The whole jproblem received detailed treatment once 



THE PROBLEM 47 

letter ^ sent from Rome to the Fayum at some time during the 
last thirty years of the 3rd century, which -is probably the 
oldest original Christian letter at present known. There follows 
a long series of Christian letters, from the 4th century 
onwards, which have now been published some time, but 
deserve, I think, more notice than they have yet received. 
They are manifestos from those circles of Christendom 
concerning which there are scarcely any other sources of 
information available.^ The extensive correspondence of 
Abinnaeus should be specially mentioned in this connexion. ^ 
Even the legal documents of the Byzantine period, e.g. 
the church inventories, which are not yet all published, 
contain many details of interest. Certain points, such as 
the palaeographical history of the so-called monogram of 
Christ, ^, receive fresh illumination from the papyri.* In 
an article entitled " Pagan and Christian in Egypt," ^ Ulrich 
Wilcken published a number of new things, two of which 
deserve special mention : an amulet with an interesting 



more from August Merk, S.J., in the Zeitschr. fiir kathol. Theologie, 29 (1905), 
pp. 724-737, due attention being given to the copious literature that had 
appeared in the interval. Cf. Otto Bardenhewer, Geschickte der altkirch- 
lichen Literatur, II., Freiburg i. B., 1903, p. 218 f., and Adolf Harnack, Die 
Chronologie der altchristl. Lit. II. p. 180, both of whom treat of the letter as 
part of Christian " literature," which strictly speaking is not correct ; Pierre 
Jonguet, Revue des fitudes Anciennes, 7 (1905). P- 254 f.; U. Wilcken, 
Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, 2 p. 166, 3 p. 125, 4 p. 204 f.; F. Buecheler, 
Rhein. Museum, New Series 61 (1906), p. 627; C. Wessely in the Patrologia 
Orientalis, IV. 2, pp. 125-135; Paul Viereck, Jahresbericht iiber die Fort- 
schritte der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, 131 (1906), p. 124 ff. ; Wilcken, 
Chrestomatkie (Vol. I. 2 of the whole work). No. 127 (p. 154 f., cf. p. vi.). 
Text and facsimile of the letter will be found in Chapter III. below (p. 213 ff.). 

' The Amherst Papyri, I. No. 3a, p. 28 ff. (facsimile II. plate 25) ; cf . 
Adolf Harnack, Sitzungsberlchte der Kgl. Preuss. Ak. der Wissensch. zu 
Berlin, 1900, p. 987 ff. In Chapter III. (p. 205 ff.) I give a facsimile of the 
letter with an attempt to restore and interpret it. 

' Cf. now the fine collection of 44 early Christian letters by Giuseppe 
Ghedini, Letters Cristiane dai pnpiri greet del III e IV secolo, Milano, 1923. 

' Further particulars as to Abinnaeus in my edition of the ancient Christian 
letter of Justinus to Papnuthius (cf. p. 45, n. 2 above), Veroffentlickungen 
aus der Heidelberger Fapyrus-Sammlung I. pp. 94-104, and in Chapter III. 
(p. 216 ff.) below. 

• The theological importance of some of the papyrus publications is pointed 
out in the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 1896, col. 609 ff. ; 1898, col. 628 ff. ; 1901, col. 
egff. ; 1903, col. 592 ff.; 1906, col. 547!; Supplement to the AUg. Zeitung 
(Munich) 1900, No. 250, and 1901, No. 251. 

» Archiv fur Papjrusforschung, i, p. 396 ff. 



48 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

text of the Lord's Prayer, ^ and a petition of Appion, bishop 
of Syene, to the Emperors Theodosius II. and Valentinian 
III.* This article, by the way, is a model example of the 
sort of commentary that is called for by such texts. The 
last publication to be mentioned here is that by Lietzmahn ^ 
of a curious text which still presents many unsolved 
riddles. • 

It will be admitted that our knowledge of Christian an- 
tiquity has been very considerably enriched by these literary 
and non-literary Christian papyri from Egypt. Our subject, 
however, is chiefly concerned with the non-Christian texts 
and the great indirect value that they possess for Bible 
students. The following chapters will pursue that subject 
in detail. In these introductory observations, however, we 
may remark that, at a time when Greek papyri were still 
among the rare curiosities of a few museums, Heinrich 
Wilhelm Josias Thiersch realised their value for Septuagint 
philology.* Even before him Friedrich Wilhelm Sturz * 
had made use of the Charta Borgiana * (a papyrus, prac- 
tically the first,' brought to Europe in 1778) in studying the 
Alexandrian Old Testament, and had cited it, for instance, 
to explain the word dirdrtop, " without father," in Hebrews 
vii. 3.* 

Of late years the papyri have been used by almost all 
the Biblical scholars whom I named above when speaking 
of the inscriptions. Apart from the grammatical studies 
incorporated later in his " Grammar," James Hope Moulton 
made valuable lexical contributions,® which were afterwards 

* Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, i, p. 431 fi. Another text of the Lord's 
Prayer on papyrus : Papyri landanas I. (ed. E. Schaefer, Lipsiae, 1912), 
No. 6. 

» Ibid., p. 398 fi. and 4, p. 172. Wilcken's placing of this petition in the 
reign of Theodosius II. and Valentinian III. is confirmed by the praescript 
of the letter addressed by these Emperors to John of Antioch, Migne, Patro- 
logia Graeca, 65, col. 880; there too Theodosius is placed first. 

' Papyrus Jenensis, No. i, Zeitschrift fiir wissenschaftliche Theologie, 
50 (New Series 15), 1907, p. 149 ff. 

* De Peniaieuchi versione Alexandrina libri ires, Erlangae, 1841. 
' De Dialecto Macedonica et Alexandrina liber, Lipsiae, 1808. 

« Charta Papyracea Graece scripta Musei Borgiani Velitris . . . edita a 
Nicolao Schow, Romae, 1788. 

' See p. 31, n. i above. ' Op. cit., p. 146 f. 

» Notes from the Papyri, The Expositor, April 1901, February 1903, 
December 1903. 



THE PROBLEM 49 

continued in collaboration with George Milligan.^ The 
papyri have been successfully appealed to in linguistic 
problems by J. de Zwaan in his article ^ on Mark xiv. 41, 
and in his Dutch edition of Burton's Syntax of New Testa- 
ment Moods and Tenses,^ and Wilhelm Heitmiiller * did the 
same before him. By means of the papyri J. Rendel Harris * 
has advanced the exegesis of the New Testament Epistles, 
and H. Hauschildt « the history of the title " presbyteros." 
Hermann Miiller ' and Alfred Wikenhauser « have also made 
a beginning with such studies. Hans Lietzmann made 
industrious use of the papyri in his Commentaries, already 
mentioned, and made the Greek papyri available for theo- 
logical class-work by publishing his little book of texts.** 
Willoughby C. Allen did not neglect the papyri in his Com- 
mentary on St. Matthew, 1" and George Milligan has shown 
their value with respect to the earliest history of the New 
Testament in general. ^^ 

As a matter of course, the Greek philologists above men- 
tioned in connexion with the inscriptions often compare 

y Lexical Notes from the Papyri, The Expositor, January 1908 flf. The 
great lexical work of the two collaborators has been mentioned above, p. 21, 
n. 4. 

^ The Text and Exegesis of Mark xiv. 41, and the Papyri, The Expositor, 
December 1905. 

' Syntaxis der Wijzen en Tijden in het Grieksche Nieuwe Testament, Haarlem, 
1906. The inscriptions are also used here and in Heitmiiller. 

* " Im Namen Jesu " : eine sprach- und religionsgeschichtliche Unter- 
suchung zum N. T., speziell zur altchristlichen Taufe, Gottingen, 1903; cf. 
Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 29 (1904), col. 199 ff. 

' A Study in Letter Writing, The Expositor, September 1898; Epaphro- 
ditus. Scribe and Courier, ibid., December 1898; The Problem of the Address 
in the Second Epistle of John, ibid., March 1901. 

' Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 4 (1903), p. 235 ff. ; 
cf. Max L. Strack, ibid., p. 213 ff., and before that my Bibelstudien, p. 153 f., 
and Neue Bibelstudien, p. 60 ff. [= Bible Studies, pp. 154, 233]. 

' Zum Pastor. Hermae, Theologische Quartalschrift, 1908, p. 89 ff. 

' TIoraiioijiofyiiToi Apk. 12, 15 u.a., Biblische Zeitschrift, 6 (1908), p. 171 ; 
7 (1909), p. 48; iviomos — hiwmov — KwrevuiTnov, ibid., 8 (1909), p. 263 ff.; 
Zum Worterbuch der griechischen Bibel, ibid., 13 (1915), p. 221. 

' Griechische Papyri, No. 14 of the Kleine Texte fiir theologische Vorles- 
ungen und Ubungen, Bonn, 1905, ^1910. i" Edinburgh, 1907. 

'' The New Testament Documents, their Origin and Early History, London, 
1913. [Henry G. Meecham, Light from Ancient Letters : private correspond- 
ence in the non-literary papyri of "Oxyrhynchus of the first four centuries, 
and its bearing on N.T. language and thought, London, 1923, is an attempt 
to present in summary fashion the results of comparative study under the 
headings of vocabulary, grammar, form, and subject ma,tter. Tr.] 



50 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the Septuagint and the New Testament with the evidence 
of the papyri whenever they happen to discuss the inter- 
national Greek of the Imperial and earlier age. The most 
important achievements with regard specially to papyrology 
are those of Edwin Mayser ^ and Wilhelm Cronert.* Mayser's 
work has now found a Biblical counterpart in R. Helbing's 
Septuagint Grammar. 

(c) The OsTRACA, constituting the third main group * of 
texts, are closely allied to the papyri. We approach with 
them a branch of learning that is still quite young, a branch 
which to begin with relied on two men only for its main 
support. One of them, Ulrich Wilcken, laid the founda- 
tions with his brilliant work on Greek Ostraca from Egypt 
' and Nubia * ; the other, W. E. Crum, by the publication of 
his great collection of Christian ostraca,^ has added fresh 
material. Addressed primarily to Coptologists, Crum's book 

* Grammaiik der griechischen Papyri aus der Ptolemfterzeit mit Einschluss 
der gleichzeitigen Ostraka und der in Agypten verfassten Inschriften; Laut- 
und Wortlehre, Leipzig, 1906 (cf. Stanislaus Witkowski, Deutsche Literatur- 
Zeitung, 30 [1909] col. 347 ff.). The Syntax is to follow later. Small 
preliminary studies of Mayser's had come earlier. Other papers by Wit- 
kowski, Volker, Kuhring, etc., will be found noted in Hohlwein's Bibliography 
and in my summaries in the Theol. Rundschau, I {1897-8), p. 463 £f., 5 (1902), 
p. 58 ff., 9 (1906), p. 2io-ff., and 15 (1912), p. 339 ff. 

2 Memoria Graeca Herculanensis cum titulorum Aegjrpti papjrrorum 
codicum denique testimoniis comparatam proposuit Guilelmus Cronert, 
Lipsiae, 1903. 

' What is said of the inscriptions on stone, the papjrri, and the ostraca, 
applies also mfutatis mutandis to the remaining smaller groups (wooden tablets, 
wax tablets, etc.). 

* Griechische Ostraka aus Agypten und Nubien : ein Beitrag zur antiken 
Wirtschaftsgeschichte, in two Books, Leipzig, 1899. Remarks additional to 
the same by Paul Viereck, Archiv fur Papjnrusforschung, i, p. 450 ff. The 
scanty previous literature is noted by Wilcken, I. p. 56 f. 

' Coptic Ostraca from the Collection^ of the Egypt Exploration Fund, the 
Cairo Museum, and others. Special extra publication of the Egypt Explora- 
tion Fund, London, 1902. For the important theological aspects of the book 
see especially the review by Erwin Preuschen, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 
1906, p. 641 ff. A further publication to be considered is H. R. Hall, Coptic 
and Greek Texts of the Christian Period from Ostraca, Stelae, etc., in ihp British 
Museum, London, 1905. Further information in the Archiv fiir Papyrusfor- 
schung, 4, p. 247 ff. Hieratic, demotic, Greek, and Coptic ostraca from 
Egypt were published by Alan H. Gardiner, Herbert Thompson, and J. G. 
Milne, Theban Ostraca, Parts I.-IV., Oxford, 1913; cf. G. Moller, Deutsche 
Literaturzeitung, 1914, No. 12, col. 731 1, who specially praises Thompson's 
treatment of the demotic ostraca, and ranks it beside Wilcken's pioneer work 
on the Greek ostraca. 



THE PROBLEM 51 

is nevertheless of importance to Greek scholars and theo- 
logians. More recently Paul M. Meyer ^ has among others 
done masterly work in this field. 

The question "What are ostraca? " is easily answered. 
They are pieces of broken pottery, on which something has 
been written. " Why were they so neglected in the past ? " 
is a more difficult question.^ I am reminded of a sentence 
in one of Pastor von Bodelschwingh's annual reports of a 
scrap-collecting organisation for the support of the Bethel 
charities near Bielefeld.* " Nothing is absolutely worth- 
less," he says, " except bits of broken earthenware and the 
fag-ends of cigars," and the opinion seems to have been 
shared by the peasants of Egypt, at least so far as bits of 
pottery were concerned. They rummaged among ancient 
ruins, and whenever they came across such pitiable objects 
as bits of earthenware vessels, they threw them away at 
once. Many a European with a scholar's training must 
have been quite convinced that ancient potsherds were 
valueless, even when there was writing visible on them * ; 
otherwise one cannot understand why they were to all 
intents and purposes ignored by research for so long a time, 
comparatively. After all, what can there be more pitiful 
than an earthen potsherd? The prophet in his emphatic 
irony could think of no image more apt to describe man's 
nothingness than that of a potsherd among potsherds.^ 

' Griechische Texte aus Agypien. I. Pap3a'i des Neutestamentlichen 
Seminars der Universitat Berlin. II. Ostraka der Sammlung Deissmann, 
Berlin, 1916. The benefactor of the Berlin New Testament Seminar who 
helped to make this publication possible, and whom we were then not allowed 
to name, was, as I am bound gratefully to acknowledge now after his decease, 
our venerable colleague Professor Johann Imelmann, of Berlin. 

' In what follows I am making use of my notice of Wilcken's Ostraka in 
the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 26 (1901), col. 65 S. Many details will be found there 
which are not mentioned here. 

' Neunter Jahresbericht der Brockensammlung der Anstalt Bethel bei 
Bielefeld. [Friedrich von Bodelschwingh, 1831-1910, was a kind of German 
Dr. Bamardo. He was a member of the Prussian Diet, and received honorary 
degrees from Halle and Munster in 1884 and 1908 in recognition of his great 
social work. Tr.] 

' As late as 18 19 an architect named Gau found " an innumerable 
quantity " of inscribed ostraca at Dakkeh in Nubia. He made drawings 
of several, kept two, and threw the rest away as needless ballast I Cf. 
Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, I. p. 20. 

' Isaiah xlv. 9 : ",Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker ! a potsherd 
among the potsherds of the earth 1 " (R.V.) 



52 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

In the time of the ancients potsherds were not thrown 
away as useless for ever. From the rubbish-heaps they 
not unfrequently made their Way once more to the humble 
homes of the proletariat, there to be used as writing material. 
Few of us, however, realised this fact until Wilcken pub- 
lished his book on the subject. Of course in our schooldays 
we had heard of the judgment of Clisthenes, but in such a 
way that most of us, if asked, would have said that ostracism 
was the Athenian statesman's own invention, and that he 
caused small tablets of earthenware to be made specially 
for the people to record their votes. As a matter of fact, 
many of the ostraca employed for voting have been dis- 
covered at Athens,^ and some at least of them are obviously 
pieces of broken vessels. 

Wilcken goes on to show most convincingly that the 
habit of writing on ostraca must have been in force at Athens 
in the sixth century B.C. at latest. The potsherd was in fact 
highly popular as writing material throughout the ancient 
Mediterranean world. We now possess an abundance of 
very ancient ostraca inscribed with writing in ink. The 
unity of the civilisation prevailing in East and West in 
ancient times is shown also in this. I will mention but a 
few examples. The American excavations conducted by 
George A. Reisner at Samaria have brought to light some 
75 ostraca with short texts in ancient Hebrew * of the 9th 
century B.C. A large ostracon from Assur with a long 
political letter in ancient Aramaic of the 7th century B.C. 
has been published by Mark Lidzbarski.^ Among the 
Jewish texts in Aramaic of the 5th century b.c. found at 
Elephantine * there are also some ostraca. As regards 

» Wilcken, Ostraka, I. pp. 4 f. and 820. More recently A. Brueckner has 
reported the discovery of 44 new ostraca of the 5th century b.c. during his 
excavations outside the Porta Sacra at Athens. They are now in the Dipylon 
Museum. The writing seems in most cases to be scratched on the ostraca. 
Of. Sitzungsberichte der Archaolog. Gesellschaft zu Berlin No. 36 (1911), 
p. 10 (also Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 1911, No. i.i, col. 686). 

^ Of. the provisional accounts by David G. Lyon, Harvard Theological 
Review, Jan. 1911; R. Kittel, Theol. Lit.-Blatt 1911, No. 3; G. Holscher, 
Mitteilungen und Nachrichten des Deutschen Protestanten-Vereins 191 1, 
No. 2, p. 22 ff. The texts are of unique importance, in spite of their apparently 
scanty contents. 

' Ausgrabungen der Deutschen Orient-Gesellschaft in Assur, E. : Inschriften. 
V. : Altaramaische Urkunden, Leipzig, 1921, pp. 5-15. 

* Cf. p. 37, n. 2 above. 



THE PROBLEM 53 

later Jewish times Ludwig Blau ^ has given abundant examples 
of interest showing that it was an everyday occurrence to 
use an ostracon as writing material, especially for legal 
documents. 

The potsherd was also in use in the Hellenistic period. 
This is proved firstly by the evidence of various authors, 
and secondly by thousands of ostraca inscribed with Greek 
which have been preserved all through the centuries in the 
burning, rainless soil of Egypt. Like the papyri, which the 
same agency has preserved to us in such numbers, the ostraca 
are a mirror of the changes of nationality and civilisation 
that occurred in the Nile Valley. All sorts of alphabets 
are represented on the ostraca discovered in Egypt" — the 
hieratic and demotic scripts of the old Egyptian, besides 
Greek, Latin, Aramaic, Coptic, and Arabic. 

Of all the various kinds there can be little doubt that 
the Greek are at present the most numerous. They range 
from the time of the first Ptolemies down to the beginning 
of the Arab occupation, i.e. over a period of roughly a 
thousand years. The texts with which they are inscribed 
are of the most miscellaneous kind — ^receipts, letters, con- 
tracts, bills, directions as to payments, decrees, and even 
extracts from classical authors. On the whole we may say 
that the texts met with on ostraca are similar in kind to 
those of the papyri — which we have already seen to be so 
astonishingly abundant — ^the only difference being that the 
ostraca on account of their size generally have shorter texts 
than the pap5^i. The great majority of the ostraca we 
possess are certainly tax-receipts. 

In the second book of his Greek Ostraca Wilcken published 
1,624 specimens of these modest records of the past. No 



• Papyri und Talmud, p. 13 f., and in the 35th Jahresbericht der Landes- 
Rabbinerschule in Budapest (1911-12), Budapest, 1912, p. 65 f. 

2 It is not impossible for chance discoveries of ostraca to be made even 
in Northern Europe. In the Museum at Wiesbaden there is a fragment of 
a jar (No. 15,527). found in the ground belonging to No. 29, Langgasse, 
Wiesbaden, inscribed in ink with writing of the early Imperial period; it 
exhibits probably (unlike most ostraca) the remains of an inscription de- 
scribing the contents of the jar. It is remarkable that the writing has lasted 
almost two thousand years in a layer of peaty soil. Wilhelm Unverzagt 
refers me (2 May, 1922) to a publication by Ritterling, Annalen des Vereins 
fijr Nfl°'"'iiisr.he _Altertu mskunde iinH r^p cfhiohJ-gforschung 29 (1898). 



54 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

less than 1,355 of these had never been published before : 
they were hunted out with infinite pains by Wilcken in the 
museums of Berlin, London, Paris, Rome, Turin, Leyden, 
etc., and in private collections.^ The task of decipherment 
was one of extreme difficulty; the writing on the ostraca 
is cursive, often running into grotesque eccentricities, with 
a whole host of abbreviations and special signs. But the 
masterly skill which Wilcken had shown as one of the de- 
cipherers of the Berlin papyri was again most brilliantly 
displayed." The result is that these humble texts are now 
ready to the scholar's hand, not indeed in a form that pre- 
sents no problems and enigmas, but at least so edited as 
to be studied without effort. 

We are further indebted to Wilcken for a good deal of 
the historical discussion of all this new material. His 
Book I. constitutes a, commentary on the grand scale, not 
in the sense that each single one of the ostraca receives 
separate interpretation (brief notes are given to many of 
them in Book II.), but in the form of a systematised dis- 
cussion of the whole enormous miscellany. First comes a 
detailed introduction on the ostraca as writing material, 
including the provenance and various fortunes of the ostraca. 
The formulae employed in receipts are next examined, and the 
author then plunges into the minutiae of the Egyptian system 
of taxes and duties in the Ptolemaic and Roman periods. 
Next come economic observations, and researches on topo- 
graphy, metrology, chronology, and palaeography. Papyri, 
inscriptions, and ancient authors are constantly quoted 
in illustration and comparison. The book was dedicated 

' The number of ostraca in European museums and libraries has since 
increased by thousands — U. Wilcken, Archiv fur Pap}rrusforschung, 4, 
p. 146. Entirely new collections, such as the one at Heidelberg, have been 
formed. [The Strassburg collection is being edited by Paul Viereck and 
Wilhelm Spiegelberg, Griechische und griechisch-demotische Ostraka der Univer- 
sitdts- und Landesbibliothek zu Strassburg im Elsass, Bd. I., Texte, Berlin, 
1924. A second volume, containing a commentary on the 812 ostraca here 
published, is in preparation. Tr.] 

' Among the happiest recollections of my life as a scholar is the time at 
Heidelberg when, having obtained a quantity of ostraca by the kind offices 
of a friend, I was so fortunate as to have Wilcken with me as (ivos in the 
house for a few days while I was unpacking the box from Egypt. Most of 
the specimens he was able to read, ^ate, and classify straight away as they 
came out of the chaff, after a brief inspection. 



THE PROBLEM 55 

to Theodor Mommsen, and no offering more worthy of the 
great master's acceptance could have been produced. It is 
in every respect a monument of learning. 

To theologians the ostraca are of no small value. They 
add many new touches to our knowledge of the life of ancient 
times. They throw light on large tracts of the civilisation 
upon which the Greek Old Testament, many of the books 
of the Apocrypha, the works of Philo and of the Egyptian 
Christians were based. They show us the men of the age 
of fulfilment ^ in their workaday clothes, and they afford 
reliable evidence concerning the language spoken in the 
Hellenised Mediterranean world at the time when the apostolic 
mission became to " the Greeks " a Greek. In these facts 
lies the great indirect value of the ostraca (as of the non- 
literary papyri) to the student of Greek Judaism and of 
the first centuries of Christianity. Detailed proof of this 
assertion will be offered in the following chapters. 

Even more decidedly than the papyri, the ostraca are 
documents belonging to the lower orders of the people. 
The potsherd was in fact the cheapest writing material 
there was, obtainable by every one gratis froin the nearest 
rubbish-heap. For this reason it was so admirably adapted 
for recording the vote of the Demos in cases of ostracism. 
The ostracon was beneath the dignity of the well-to-do. 
As a proof of the poverty of Cleanthes the Stoic it is related 
that he could not afford papyrus and therefore wrote on 
ostraca or on leather. ^ In the same way we find the writers 
of Coptic potsherd letters even in Christian times apologising 
now and theo to their correspondents for having made use 
of an ostracon in temporary lack of papyrus.^ We, how- 
ever, have cause to rejoice at the breach of etiquette. The 
ostraca take us right to the heart of the class to which the 
primitive Christians were most nearly related, and in which 
the new faith struck root in the .great world. 

Direct information relating to the very oldest Christianity 

' [" When the fulness of the time was come,"' Gal. iv. 4. Tr.] 

' Diog. Laert. vii. 173-4. A similar story is told of Apollonius Dyscolus, 

Wilcken, I. p. 6. [Apollonius " the Peevish," grammarian of Alexandria, 

c. 140 A.D. Tr.] 

' Cf. Crum, Coptic Ostraca, p. 49. For example No. 129, p. 55 : " Excuse 

me that I cannot find papyrus as I am iri'lhe country." 



56 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

has not yet been yielded to us by the ostraca. The Coptic 
potsherds, however, with their abundance of letters, frag- 
ments of letters, and similar texts, are of quite unique value 
for the light they throw on the religious and social history 
of Christian Egypt ; and they have been reinforced by Greek 
ostraca of the Christian period. ^ On the other hand, the 
space available for writing being usually so small, we can 
hardly expect to recover on ostraca, any large remains of 
early Christian literary texts. 

The ostraca will restore to us no lost fathers of the Church 
and no lost heretical writers. They have yielded hitherto 
only short quotations from classical authors, and those 
probably schoolroom exercises. The writers of ostraca were 
as a rule quite innocent of literary interests. After the scanty 
fragments discussed by Egger ^ there seemed but little hope 
of recovering even Biblical quotations,^ until R. Reitzenstein 
published from a Strassburg ostracon of about the 6th century 
a hymn to the Virgin * which showed decided marks of the 

' Cf. Frankfurter Zeitung, 12 July, 1907, 2nd morning edition : " It is 
reported from Alexandria that tlie excavations in the ancient Christian town 
that grew up round the tomb of St. Menas have brought to light amongst 
other things a series of valuable ostraca. . . . Dr. H. I. Bell of the Manu- 
script Department of the British Museum examined with Dr. Kenyon a 
number of well-preserved specimens. . . . Among these documents are 
instructions for the payment of vine-dressers, wine-pressers (men who trod 
the grapes with their feet), laundrymen, and other workmen, for services 
rendered for the national sanctuary. Payment is made in money, in kind, 
or in foffd, and disabled workmen are also provided for. Comparisons with 
papyrus documents lead to the conclusion that the specimens hitherto de- 
ciphered belong to the 5th century. The same date is indicated by, the 
stratum in which they were found. More than 200 ostraca have been re- 
covered so far." They were published by E. Drerup, Romische Quartalschrift 
22 (1908), p.,24ofi. Crum, Egypt Exploration Fund's Report 1908-9, 
p. 64, would assign them to the 7th, or at the earliest to the 6th century a.d. 

2 Observations sur quelques fragments de poterie antique, Mfemoires de 
I'Academie des Inscriptions, t. XXI. i, Paris, 1857, p. 377 ff. 

' The " fragment of earthenware " from Megara with the text of the 
Lord's Prayer, published by R. Knopf, Athenische Mitteilungen, 1900, 
p.-3i3ff., and Zeitschrift fiir die neutest. Wissenschaft, 2 (1901), p. 228 ff., 
is not a fragment of a broken vessel, not a true ostracon, but a tablet no 
doubt made specially to receive the inscription. The writing was scratched 
on the soft clay and then made permanent by burning. I inspected the 
tablet on 28 April, 1906, at Athens, and a plaster cast of it is in my possession. 

■■ Zwei religionsgeschichtliche Fragen nach ungedruckten griechischen Texten 
der Strassburger Bibliothek, Strassburg, 1901. Cf. the remarks by Anrich in 
the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 27 (1902), col. 304 f., and by U. Wilcken in the Archiv 
fiir Papyrusforschung, 2, p. 140, 



THE PROBLEM 57 

influence of Luke i. Since then Crum, in his Coptic Ostraca, 
has given us ostraca with Greek quotations from the Bible, 
while Pierre Jouguet and Gustave Lefebvre have published 
a late ostracon from Thebes with a rude drawing of " Saint 
Peter the Evangelist " and a few lines of Greek that have 
not yet been identified.^ Besides this Lefebvre has made 
known to us quite a series of gospel quotations in his Frag- 
ments Grecs des Evangiles sur Ostraka.^ This publication 
alone enables us to fill an empty page in the history of the 
New Testament. It gives us the text of 20 Greek ostraca, 
large and small, inscribed with portions of our gospels. 
They were purchased many years ago in Upper Egypt by 
Bouriant, and are now a treasured possession of the French 
Institute of Oriental Archaeology. The exact place and 
circumstances of their discovery could not be ascertained, 
but their authenticity is beyond question. Their age can 
be conjectured from the style of the handwriting, and it 
appears that they were written probably in the 7th century, 
in the time of the Arab conquest. 

They afford interesting materials for palaeography and the 
history of the text ^ of the gospels which it is to be hoped 
will not be neglected by scholars. They contain in the 
handwriting of three different persons the text of Matt, xxvii. 

1 Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique, 28 (1904), p. 205 f., 29 (1905), 
p. 104. In any case the " evangelist Peter " is remarkable — no doubt a 
reminiscence of the Gospel of Peter. 

2 Bulletin de I'Institut franfais d'archeologie orientale, t. IV., Le Caire, 
1904; the separate reprint which lies before me consists of 15 pages quarto, 
with 3 plates of facsimiles. I here make use of an article on " Evangelien- 
fragmente auf agyptischen Tonscherben " which I contributed to Die Christ- 
liche Welt, 20 (1906), col. 19 ff. Cf. further A. Bludau, Griechische Evange- 
lienfragmente auf Ostraka, Biblische Zeitschrift, 1906, p. 386 ff. Caspar 
Rene Gregory, Die griechischen Handschriften des Neuen Testaments, p. 43, 
denotes these ostraca by the number 0153 in his list, and the above-mentioned 
Lord's Prayer from Megara by the number 0152 (p. 42 f.). 

' Every ancient Bible-fragment that was certainly written in Egypt helps 
us to answer the question, " What text of the Bible was current in Egypt ? " 
Lefebvre examined the character of the text provisionally, and Bludau has 
added further details. The chief result is to establish the relationship of this 
text with the BSL etc. group, i.e. with the group of authorities claimed by W. 
Bousset for the text of Hesychius. This is a new proof of the correctness of 
Bousset's hypothesis, on which cf . my Veroffentlichungen aus der Heidelberger 
Papyrus-Sammlung I. p. 84, and Bousset's report on H. von Soden's recon- 
struction of the text of Hesychius, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. (1907) col. 71 ff. It would 
be a valuable piece of research to examine all the N.T. fragments found in 
Egypt with respect to this question. Thp matf-rial jg not scanty. 



58 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

31-32; Mark v. 40-41, ix. 17, 18, 22, xv. 21; Luke xii. 13- 
15,1 15-16. xxii. 40-45, 45-49, 49-53. 53-54. 55-59- 59-6o, 
61, 61-64, 65-69, 70-71 ; John i. 1-9, 14-17, xviii. 19-25, xix. 

15-17- 

Thanks to the editor's kindness I am able to give here a 
(reduced) facsimile of ostracon no. 16, containing Luke xxii. 
70-71 (Figure 6). 



The text runs thus : 

tiwav St TravTCs 
av OVV €1 o vs TOV 6v 
o Bt TTpoi avrovf 
t(^i7 v/itii * \tyere 

0T( CytD €1/11 01 8c 

eiTrav Ti en )(piiav 
:o e^o/xtv fxapTvpiav 
- avToi yap riKOvaa/K ' 

airo TOU (TTO/tOTOS 



And they all said. Art Thou 
then the Son of God? And 
He said unto them. Ye say that 
I am. And they said, What 
further need have we witness 
(sic) ? for we ourselves have 
heard from . . . mouth. 



Of the two characters running upwards in the left-hand 
margin (read ro by Lefebvre) the i is certainly a numeral 
(= 10) denoting that this ostracon is the tenth in a con- 
secutive series. The preceding ostraca with Luke xxii. 40- 
69 do in fact bear the numbers 1-9. The 6 however, which 
occurs with different pointing on most of the older 
members of this group, has not yet been explained. I 
used to think it was the number of a chapter according to 
an old ecclesiastical division. In the copy of the gospel 
from which the ostraca were made Luke xxii. 40 ff. would 
then belong to the 70th chapter of Luke, whereas in the usual 
ancient division into chapters * it belongs to chapter 78. 

It will be seen at once that among the 20 specimens the 

* On the back of this ostracon (no. 5) there is the name Luke and two lines 
which the editor could not account for. I print them in minuscules : — 

oi[ . . ]i»o^e[ 
This is certainly a fragment of Mark ix. 3 : — 

aTtA^oi'T[a XcvKa Atov] 

ot[o y]vo0e[iij etc.] 
» [The dots above u and ij (line 8) are characteristic of the writing of the 
time. Tr.] 

' [= riKOvadjiCv. Tr.] 

* Hermann Freiherr von Soden, Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer 
dltesten erreichbaren Texfgesfalt I., Berlin, 1902, p. 411, 



>>>. 







4M^ TPi fwif l« 




Fig. 6. — Ostracon from Upper Egypt, inscribed with Lul;e xxii. 70 f., 
yth cent. A.D. Now in the Institut fran9ais d'.'Vrcheologie orientale, Cairo. 
By permission of M. Gustave Lefebvre. 



THE PROBLEM 59 

gospel of St. Luke is the most amply represented. Two 
ostraca contain the consecutive text of Luke xii. 13-16, and 
ten ostraca actually contain the complete text of Luke xxii. 
40-71, i.e. a large portion of the account of the Passion. 
The fact that these ten ostraca belong together is marked 
externally by the numerals i-io which, as mentioned above, 
the writer affixed to them. The fragments from St. John 
probably also belong to one and the same series. This 
observation is important in two ways. On the one hand it 
points to the fact that probably all these gospel ostraca 
represent a single find. This is confirmed by the occurrence 
of Mark ix. 3 on the back of one of the fragments of St. Luke, 
as already pointed out. That passage occurs in the account 
of the Transfiguration, which immediately precedes the 
section from which ostracon no. 3 (Mark ix. 17, 18, 22) is 
taken. On the other hand we now have an indication of the 
nature of the whole collection, for light is thrown on the 
question, " For what purpose were they inscribed with texts 
from the gospels ? " 

If the ostracon inscribed with Mark ix. 17 ff. were the only 
one that had come down to us it would be easy to suppose 
that the text was to be used as a curative amulet, in this 
case as an amulet against demoniacal possession. The 
Heidelberg University Library, for instance, possesses several 
Biblical amulets of this kind on parchment and papyrus. 
The editor of the ostraca tells us in fact that Perdrizet sug- 
gested the amulet hypothesis ^ to him. But the series of 
ten consecutive ostraca and the other series of which we 
may conjecture demand another explanation than this. 
It is inconceivable that anybody should have carried ten 
ostraca about with him as an amulet, for the simple reason 
that they would have been far too heavy. I have myself 
tried the experiment, though with no thought of amulets 
in my mind, for I have often carried ten or a dozen ostraca 

' There is an article on gospel amulets by E. Nestle in the Zeitschr.. fiir die 
neutest. Wissenschaft, 6 (igo6) p. 96. Cf. further Gerhard Kropatscheck, De 
amuletorum apud antiques usu. Diss. Gryphiae, 1907, p. 28 ff., and the list in 
S. Eitrem and A. Fridrichsen, Ein christliches Amulelt auf Papyrus, Kristiania, 
1921, p. 16. [In Hastings and Selbie's Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics 
III. 392-472 (191 1) the subject of " Charms and Amulets " is discussed by 
various writers under headings which include Christian, Egyptian, Hebrew, 
etc. Tr.] 



6o LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT £AST 

from my collection in my pockets to show to the audience 
at a lecture. It was in many respects a pleasing burden, 
but not in the least comfortable. 

Lefebvre's own theory was that the ostraca were written 
to form a cheap gospel lectionary, a book (if we may use 
the expression) for private or public reading consisting of 
extracts (Pericdjiae) from the gospels or perhaps even a 
continuous text. This theory we must accept unless, as now 
seems to me more probable, the ostraca were copied out by 
poor candidates for deacon's orders at the command of their 
bishop.^ Whoever has realised the character of ostraca in 
general will not be slow to perceive the real import of this 
new find. Ostraca were as a rule the writing material used 
by the poor ^ ; a potsherd was to be had for nothing, even 
in the most straitened household, when some person or 
persons unknown had been unkind enough to break the oil- 
cruse or the kneading-pan. The person who wrote gospel 
texts on ostraca was a poor person : a would-be deacon, 
or perhaps a monk, a schoolboy, or a simple woman — some 
soul forgotten among the myriads that perish. 

So we might add this superscription to Lefebvre's fascinat- 
ing work : " The gospels in the hands of the common people, 
the gospel among the poor of Egypt at the time when the 
deluge of Islam was approaching." In the very selfsame 
division of society which made them what they are, the 
most democratic texts of all antiquity, we encounter once 
again the gospels. Six centuries have passed, during which 
they have been copied on papyrus, on parchment, yea even 
on purple vellum with letters of gold, and thinkers and 
potentates, rich men and renowned have read them. After 
their long journeying through the world the gospels are at 
home once more : on worthless castaway potsherds a poor 
man writes the imperishable words that are the heritage 
of the poor. 

Our brief general description of the newly discovered texts 
is ended. New Testament in hand, let us now betake our- 
selves to the sites of excavations in the South and East 

' Cf. the notes to the letter (No. 25) of the three candidates in Chapter III. 
below (p. 222 f.). 

' Cf. the references at p, 55 above. 



^^ 



|r?p— 7: 





Fig. 7. — Site of the Excavations in Deles. From a photograph by 
Miss M. C. de Graffenried. 



THE PROBLEM 6i 

and endeavour to decipher the stone inscriptions from the 
period which witnessed the great rehgious change.^ Or 
if we must remain at home, let us at least open the Sacred 
Book and compare it with the folio volumes of inscriptions, 
papyri, and ostraca. The New Testament is an exile here in 
the West, and we do well to restore it to its home in Anatolia. 
It is right to set it once more in the company of the un- 
learned, after it has made so long a stay amid the surround- 
ings of modern culture. We have had hundreds of University 
chairs for the exact, scientific interpretation of the little 
Book — let us now listen while the homeland of the New 
Testament yields up its own authentic witness to the inquiring 
scholar. 

^ An illustration offered itself unsought in a pretty little snapshot taken 
by Miss M. C. de Graffcnricd, of Washington (Fig. 7). M. HoUeaux, the 
director of the French excavations, is seen explaining to us one of the two 
Heliodorus inscriptions at Delos, 19 May, 1906. [M. HoUeaux is pointing 
with his stick. The stooping figure to his right is Professor Deissmann. The 
tall figure seen against the fluted column is Professor von Duhn, of Heidel- 
berg. The other two are F. Pfister (next to Professor Deissmann) and R. 
Pagenstecher. See their names in Index V. Tr.] This is the Heliodorus 
of the Second Book of Maccabees and Raphael's Stanza d'Eliodoro (cf. Bibel- 
studien, p. 171 ff. ; Bible Studies, p. 303). 



CHAPTER II 

THE LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT ILLUS- 
TRATED FROM THE NEW TEXTS 

I. As we study the New Testament on the lines indicated 
at the close of the preceding chapter, the first great impres- 
sion we receive is that the language to which we are accus- 
tomed in the New Testament is on the whole just the kind 
of Greek that simple, unlearned folk of the Roman Imperial 
period were in the habit of using. The non-literary written 
memorials of that age at length have opened our eyes to the 
true linguistic position of the New Testament. That is the 
first and most easily demonstrated of the services rendered 
us by the new texts. ^ 

A generation ago, when it began to be asserted with some 
confidence that the isolation of " New Testament " Greek 
as a separate eiitity was impossible from the scientific point 
of view, since it was practically identical with the popular 
international Greek of the period, theologians * and philo- 
logists received the statement with more or less active 
dissent. One eminent Greek scholar * of the philological 
school said it was the language of a naturalist rather than a 

• Earlier works of mine dealing with the subject of the following pages 
are : Bibelstudien ; Neue Bibelstudien ; an address on " Die sprachliche 
Erforschung der griechischen Bibel," Giessen, 1898; the article on " Hellenis- 
tisches Griechisch " in Herzog and Hauck, Realencylopddie,' VII. 6275.; 
four reviews of literature in the Theologische Rundschau, i (1897-98) p. 463 &., 
5 (1902) p. 58 ff.', 9 (1906) p. 210 ff,, 15 (1912) p. 339 fif. ; and my Cambridge 
lectures on " The Philology of the Greek Bible," published in The Expositor 
October 1907 to January 1908, and afterwards in book form, London, 1908. I 
endeavoured to sketch the historical results in a lecture delivered at Graz and 
published under the title. Die Urgeschichte des Christentums im Lichte der 
Sprachforschung, Tiibingen, 1910. 

' The question was gone into most in detail by Julius Boehmer, Das bibUsche 
" Im Namen," Giessen, 1898, and Zwei wichtige Kapitel aus der biblischen 
Hermeneutik, Beitrage zur Forderung christlicher Theologie, 5 (1901], Heft 6, 
Giitersloh, 1902, p. 50 fi. ; and cf. his remarks in Die Studierstube, I (1903) 
p. 340 ff., 2 (1904) p. 324 ff-. 6 (1908) p. 587 f. 

' [F. Blass, reviewing Deissmann's Bibelstudien in the Theologische Litera- 
turzeitung, 20 (1895) col. 487. Tr.] 

62 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 63 

theologian, and those familiar with the pokmical literature 
of that date will know what the reproach of naturalism then 
meant in Germany. ^ Since then, however, the specialists 
have changed their minds on this not unimportant point. 
New Testament philology has been revolutionised ; and pro- 
bably all the workers concerned in it both on the Continent 
and in English-speaking countries are by this time agreed 
that .the starting-point for the philological investigation of the 
New Testament must be the language of the non-literary 
papyri, ostraca, and inscriptions. The theory scored a 
complete victory in Albert Thumb's valuable book on the 
Greek Language in the Hellenistic age 2; Stanislaus Wit- 
kowski acknowledged his adherence in the critical reviews 
which he gave (1904 and '1912) of recent literature dealing 
with the Koivi].^ In a number of different articles,* but 
more especially in his recent Grammar of the New Testa- 
ment, James Hope Moulton worked out the most important 
of the details that result from the application of the 
theory; while Theodor Nageli,' working by the same method, 
exhibited very effectively the vocabulary of St. Paul. 
Rudolf Knopf* has more than once taken up the same 
position. Not to mention others, the following philologists 
of repute have signified their acceptance of the theory and 
its results : firstly Jakob Wackernagel, in his article on the 
Greek language contributed to Die Kultur d^r Gegenwart ' ; 

1 [Conservative theologians accused their liberal colleagues of proceeding 
on " naturalistic " lines in disregard or in defiance of Divine Revelation. Tr.] 

' Cf. p. 22 above; also the Theol. Rundschau, 5 (1902) p. 85 fi., and Archiv 
fur Papyrusforschung, 2, pp. 410 fi., 455 ff. 

» Bericht iiber die Literatur zur Koine aus den Jahren 1898-1902 (Jahres- 
bericht uber die Fortschritte der classischen Altertumswlssenschaft, Vol. 120 
(1904 I.) pp. 153-256, especially p. 200 ff. The same 1903-1906, ibid., 
Vol. 159 {1912 III.) pp. 1-279. The two reports are a veritable storehouse 
of modern research on the Koinj. 

' Cf . pp. 20 f ., 48 f . above, and Moulton's " New Testament Greek in the Light 
of Modern Discovery " in Essays on Some Biblical Questions of the Day, edited 
by H. B. Swete, London, 1909, pp. 461-505. Of the many other works in 
English I will only mention those of S. Angus, Harvard Theological Review, 
2 (Oct. 1909) pp. 446-464, and Princeton Theological Review, 8 (1910) pp. 44- 
92. 

' Cf. p. 20, n. 6 above. 

' Die Religion in Geschichte itnd Gegenwart I. col. 1128-1131, axiAEinfUhrung 
in das N.T., Giessen, 1919, pp. 1-19. 

' Die Kultur der Gegenwart (edited by Paul Hinneberg), Part I. section viii., 
Berlin and Leipzig, 1905, p. 303 f. ; '1907, p. 308 f. ; '1912, p. 388 f. 



64 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

secondly, Ludwig Radermacher,^ in his New Testament 
Grammar; thirdly D. C. Hesseling," who at the same time 
gave us the comforting assurance that no dogma of the Church 
is threatened by the new method. There are also instances 
of Catholic theologians both of the Western * and of the 
Eastern * Church who have signified their approval. 

What are the points concerned in judging of the language 
of the New Testament ? 

We may start from what is probably the average educated 
person's knowledge of the subject. He would say that 
" the original language " of the New Testament was Greek. 
This statement, however, is really very vague. 

It is true, certainly, that it is a Greek New Testament 
which presents itself to the scholar for study, but within the 
New Testament there are portions of which " the original 
language " was not Greek, but Semitic. Jesus of Nazareth, 
the Man whose personality was the decisive impulse, did not 
speak Greek when He went about His public work. He 
spoke the local idiom of His native Galilee, the language 
which, in the night of betrayal, betrayed His disciple Peter 
to be a Galilean. This language was Aramaic, a dialect 
akin to Hebrew but not identical with it; and, to be quite 
exact, it was Galilean Aramaic that our Lord spoke. In that 
dialect the gospel was first preached. The ordinary reader 
of the Bible even now hears the last echo of the original 
when he comes upon such words as mammon, talitha cumi, 
abba, or such names as Barabbas, Martha, etc., which are 
all of them Aramaic. Moreover, the oldest record of the 
words that Jesus spake, the record of His apostle Matthew, 
was no doubt written in Aramaic for the Palestinian Christ- 
ians who spoke that language. That most primitive version 
of our Lord's words has perished, unfortunately, so far as the 

' Cf . p. 20, n. 9 above. 

* De betekenis van het Nieuwgrieks voor de geschiedenis der Griekse taal en^ 
der Griekse leiierkunde, Leiden, 1907, p. 17. 

' E.g. Josef Sickenberger, Zum gegenwSjtigen Stand der Erforschung des 
Neuen Testamentes, in the Literary Supplement to the Kolnische Volkszeitung, 
29 Nov. 1906, p. 370. 

• Cf. S. J. Sobolewsky, Orthodoxe Theologische Encyklopddie herausg. von 
N. N. Glubokowsky, Vol. 9, St. Petersburg, 1908, col. 603-754, a summary 
especially valuable for its references to the literature of the subject. It has 
been translated into Modern Greek by G. Papamichael, H Koivrj BAAijwioj 
rXwaoa, Alexandria, 1909. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 65 

Aramaic original is concerned. What would we give if we 
could recover but one papyrus book with a few leaves con- 
taining genuine Aramaic sayings of Jesus ! For those few 
leaves we would, I think, part smilingly with the theological 
output of a whole century. 

But it is of little use to speak further of this "if." It 
is more sensible to inquire why the words of Jesus are no 
longer extant in their original Aramaic. The answer is that 
Christianity, in becoming a world religion, gradually forgot 
its oldest records — records that had originated far away 
from the world and were unintelligible to the world — and so 
they were lost. The Christian missionaries with an Aramaic 
book of gospels in their hands would have been powerless 
to make propaganda in what was in fact a Greek or rather 
Hellenised world. An Aramaic gospel-book would have 
condemned Christianity to remain a Palestinian sect. Ere 
it could become a world religion it had to learn the language 
of the world, and that is why the gospels put on the habit 
of the world; for that reason St. Paul and others spoke 
and wrote the international language, and the New Testa- 
ment took final foi:m as a Greek book. The handful of 
earlier Aramaic copies vanished before the multitude of 
Greek manuscripts of the gospels, which from the second 
century onwards became more and more widely diffused. 
Their fate was the same as that of our spelling-books and 
copy-books. How many of the men who go down from the 
university with boxes full of Latin and Greek books and lecture 
notes will find still in existence at home the thumbed and 
ragged pages from which they first learnt the ABC? 

In the Roman Imperial period the language of the great 
world was Greek, which numbered more speakers then than 
the Latin with its millions. The great military expeditions 
of Alexander the Great had combined with the more peaceful 
victories of commerce, art, literature, and science to produce, 
just at the great turning-point in religious history, a more 
or less complete Hellenisation of those portions of the 
Mediterranean area which had been from time immemorial the 
home of civilisation. In the south of Europe, in Asia Minor,i 
» Karl HoU, Das Fortleben der Volkssprachen in nachchristlicher Zeit, 
Hermes, 43 (1908) p. 240, must however not be forgotten for its important 
evidence as to Asia Minor. 



66 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Egypt, and other parts of northern Africa, the culture and 
even the language was Greek, right down to the lower orders, 
of urban society especially. Even among the residents of 
Rome there were plenty who spoke Greek. We know, 
for instance, that the Roman Jews of the period, a numerous 
body, spoke Greek almost exclusively. 

In this Hellenised world, however, men no longer spoke 
local dialects of Greek. The world had become unified, and 
men spoke no more the ancient Doric, or ^olic, Ionic, or 
Attic, but a single Greek international language, one common 
tongue. The precise origin of this international Greek, 
whicli it is usual to refer to as the Koivij {" common " 
language), has not been made out,^ nor need it detain us 
here. The fact remains that in the period which gave birth 
to Christianity there was an international Greek language. 

It was not indeed a uniform entity. Two main divisions 
are recognisable, though the- boundary between them is 
anything but fixed. Like every living language this inter- 
national Greek possessed one form marked by greater free- 
dom, and another marked by greater restraint. The one we 
call colloquial, the other literary. 

The colloquial language in its turn went off into various 
shades of distinction, according to the refinement of the 
speaker. It was natural, moreover, for the literary language 
to display varieties of coloration. One influence was at 
that time powerfully affecting it, namely, a romantic 
enthusiasm for the great classics of the former age in Attic 
Greek. People imitated their manner of writing in the 
conviction that here once for all the standard of good Greek 
had been set. The followers of this romantic movement are 
called " Atticists " after the model they chose for imitation. 
Their convention was all but binding on the cultured and 
literary of that epoch, and has always remained one of 
the great powers in the intellectual world, influencing our 
humanistic studies even at the present day.^ We still 

' Good statements of the questions at present in dispute are given by 
D. C. Hesseling, De Koine en de oude dialekten van Griekenland, Amsterdam, 
1906; Mayser, GrammatHi der griech. Papyri aus der PtolemderzMt, p. iff.; 
and Karl Krumbacher, Byzantinische Zeitsclirift, 17 (1908) p. 577 ff. 

' Not always for tlie good : it is partly responsible for the widespread lack 
of appreciation among our scholarly classes of things pertaining to the common 
people. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 67 

possess works in plenty that were written by the ancient 
Atticists, and we are well informed as to their theories.^ 
We do, moreover, possess memorials of the colloquial 
language of culture in that period, since there were several 
authors who paid little or no attention to the rules of the 
Atticists. 

Memorials of the popular colloquial language, on the 
other hand, memorials of the spoken Greek of the people, 
were scarcely known to the general run of scholars at a period 
distant only some score or so of years from the present 
day. The lower orders, in all their wide extent, who in the 
time of the Roman Empire made up the bulk of the popula- 
tion in the great cities of the Mediterranean coast and the 
interior, — the non-literary people, whose vulgarisms and 
expressive terms were scorned and tabooed by the Atticists 
as weeds in the garden of language, — the classes of people 
whom St. Paul at the end of i Cor. i. describes with all the 
warmth of a blood relation — seemed, with their language, 
to be buried for ever in oblivion. 

And what judgment was usually fornied of the language 
of the New Testament, under these circumstances ? 

We may state the case thus : In many details due 
emphasis was given to its relation with the contemporary 
international Greek, but on the whole it was isolated by the 
science of language, and raised to the rank of a separate 
linguistic entity under the title of " New Testament " Greek. 

Two circumstances more particularly helped to make this 
isolative, dogmatic method prevail. From the point of 
view of religion and theology the isolation of the New Testa- 
ment was encouraged by the doctrine of mechanical in- 
spiration, combining with a very lively conception of the 
canon of the New Testament as a hard-and-fast boundary. 
From the point of view of language and philology every 
one with a classical training felt the strong contrast between 
the language of Scripture and the Attic Greek he had learnt 
at school. Enslaved by the immemorial prejudice of the 
Atticists, that the Greek world ended with Alexander the 

• Of fundamental importance is the excellent work of Wilhelm Schmid (of 
Tubingen), Der Atticismus in seinen Hauptvertretern von Dionysius von Hali- 
harnass bis auf den zweiten Philostratus, 4 vols, and iridex-vol., Stuttgart, 
1 887-1 897. 



68 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Great (whereas it really began with him), many who read the 
Greek New Testament never dreamt of taking up other 
Greek texts of the Imperial (and post-Alexandrian) period. 
The result was that for such readers there was a great gap 
between their New Testament and the earlier stage of Greek 
with which they were familiar, viz. the classical Attic of the 
5th and 4th centuries b.c.^ Not only the theologians were 
at fault : philologists were in the same condemnation. So 
recently as 1894 the great Greek scholar Friedrich Blass,^ 
of Halle, despite his marvellous knowledge of the whole 
range of Greek literature, asserted that' New Testament 
Greek must be recognised " as something peculiar, obeying 
its own laws." 

We owe it to the newly discovered or at least newly 
appreciated records that this isolative method of treatment 
has been given up.^ Of the literary language, conventionalised 
according to artificial rules, there were productions enough 
extant already. Then came the inscribed stones, papyri, 
and potsherds — themselves not absolutely free from the 
tyranny of school and office usage * — and gave us a wealth 
of documents representative of the colloquial language, 
especially in its popular form, just as it had grown and was 
still growing and running riot in a state of nature.^ The 
papyri and ostraca particularly furnished ample material 

* Much in the same way as people used to be fond of ignoring the period 
between the conclusion of the Hebrew Old Testament and the rise of Christi- 
anity with reference to the history of religion. 

^ Theologische Literaturzeitung, 19 (1894) col. 338. Blass afterwards 
changed his opinion on the subject. 

' W. L. Lorimer, " Deissmannism before Deissmann," The Expository 
Times, Vol. 32, No. 7, April 1921, p. 330, deserves thanks for pointing out that 
the right view had occasionally been upheld at an earlier date. He refers to 
Sir James Donaldson (1831-1915) and cites his article " Greek Language 
(Biblical) " in the third edition of Kitto's Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature 
(ed. W. L. Alexander, 1862-66) Vol. II. (1864), pp. i69''^i72». It should not 
be forgotten, however, that until the papyri etc. were systematically turned to 
account, the wrong view was generally prevalent in Germany, even among 
classical scholars. I have myself long ago called attention to certain correct 
expressions of opinion in the earlier period (cf. p. 71 below). 

* On this point cf. especially Edwin Mayser, Grammatik der griechischen 
Papyri aus der Ptolemderzeit, p. 3 f . 

» It was long since noticed that the Mishna and other old Jewish texts 
contain considerable traces of popular Greek, but the subject does not come 
within the scope of this book. Gf . Paul Fiebig, Das Griechisch der Mischna, 
Zeitschrift fiir die Neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 9 (1908), pp. 297-314. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 69 

for comparative purposes, first as regards phonology and 
accidence, and then as regards the meanings conveyed by 
words. The inscriptions, however, also produced a sur- 
prising harvest, principally of the lexical variety. 

2. The work to be accomplished by the linguistic his- 
torian on the New Testament includes great problems yet 
unsolved, but one thing is clear already. The New Testa- 
ment has been proved to be, as a whole, a monument of late 
colloquial Greek, and in the great majority of its component 
parts the monument of a more or less popular colloquial 
language. 

The most popular in tone are the synoptic gospels,^ 
especially when they are reporting the sayings of Jesus. 
Even St. Luke, with his occasional striving after greater 
correctness of expression, has not deprived them of their 
simple beauty. The Epistle of St. James again clearly 
re-echoes the popular language of the gospels. 

The Johannine writings, including the Revelation, are 
also linguistically deep-rooted in the most popular colloquial 
language.^ The Logos, occurring in the very first line of 

^ It is admirably remarked by J. Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten 
Evangelien, Berlin, 1905, p. 9 : " In the gospels spoken Greek, and such Greek 
as was spoken by the people, makes its entry into literature. Some theologians 
have made vain endeavours to reduce it to the rules of the school grammar. 
Professed Greek scholars have in the past generally looked upon it from a 
narrow point of view only to despise it, but have lately.under the influence of 
comparative and historical philology, begun to criticise it with an open mind." 
In his own linguistic comments on the gospels, where it becomes necessary to 
decide which phenomena are non-Greek, Wellhausen has, however, relied far 
too much on the Attic standard of Greek. In many passages his book is a 
testimony to the enormous influence which the orthodox doctrine of the 
Atticists was still able to exert on an enlightened mind. Wellhausen says him- 
self (p. 35), " Greek being such an elastic and many-sided language, it may 
well be that here and there a Semiticism may also prove to be a Greek vul- 
garism " — and his words certainly apply in the great majority of the cases 
he has put down as Semitic. " There is not the slightest use," he says im- 
mediately afterwards, " in thrusting one's head into the Greek thicket " — 
but are we on that account to bury our heads in the sands of Semiticisms ? 
The question is. What was customary within the sphere of the living Greek 
language of the people in the Imperial period ? And if I am to answer this 
question I must purge myself of the leaven of the Atticists and study that 
living language. That Aramaisms exist, I have never denied ; only as to the 
number of the " non-Greek " phenomena in the gospels I am of another 
opinion than Wellhausen, because to me " non-Greek " is not identical 
with " non-Attic." 
» Cf. the remarks on the Johannine style below, p. 131 ff . 



70 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the gospel, has blinded most critics to the essential character 
of a book which, for all its share in the world's history, is a 
book of the people. 

St. Paul too can command the terse pithiness of the homely 
gospel speech, especially in his ethical exhortations as pastor. 
These take shape naturally in clear-cut maxims such as the 
people themselves use and treasure up. But even where 
St. Paul is arguing to himself and thinking deeply, so that 
he has recourse more to the language of contemplation and 
speculation, even where he borrows wings of the priestly 
fervour of the liturgist and the enthusiasm of the Psalmist, 
his Greek never becomes literary. It is never disciplined, 
say, by the canon of the Atticists, never tuned to the Asian 
rhythm- ^ : it remains non-literary.^ Thickly studded with 
rugged, forceful words taken from the popular idiom, it is 
perhaps the most brilliant example of the artless though 
not inartistic colloquial prose of a travelled city-resident of 
the Roman Empire, its wonderful flexibility making it just 
the very Greek for use in a mission to all the world. 

We are thus left with the total impression that the great 
mass of the texts which make up the New Testament, form- 
ing at the same time the most important part of the sacred 
volume in point of contents, are popular in character. The 
traces of literary language found in some few of the other 
texts cannot do away with this impression. On the con- 
trary, the contrast in which the Epistle to the Hebrews, for 
instance, stands linguistically to the earlier texts of Primitive 
Christianity, is peculiarly instructive to us. It points to 
the fact that the Epistle to the Hebrews, with its more 
definitely artistic, more literary language ' (corresponding to 

' Friedrich Blass, Die Rhythmen der asianischen und romischen Kunstprosa, 
Leipzig. 1905, regards the Epistles of St. Paul as largely consisting of rhythmi- 
cally elaborated artistic prose — a singular instance of the great scholar 
having gone astray; cf. Theol. Lit.-Ztg., 31 {1906) col. 231 fi. 

' I entirely agree with Nageli (cf. especially p. 13 of his work) in his opinion 
of the apostle's language. 

' Nobody could appreciate this contrast more correctly or express it more 
happily than Origen (quoted in Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. VI. xxv. 11) has done : 
oTi d xa-paxriip T^s Ae^ecus t^i npos 'E^paiovs imyeypamUvris emaroXijs ovK tx" to eV 
\6ym i8i,toTiKiv toO ottootoAou d(ioAoy^ao>>Tos iavrov iStwrriv elvai t0 k6ytj> rovreaTi 
rg (l>pda€i, oAAo ianv ij emaroXii awBdaei rfjs XeSeius 'EXK-ipiiKimipa, iras 6 imard- 
li€vos Kpivav ^pdaeaiv Sia^opds d/ioAoyi/ffoi av-^" that the linguistic character of 
the epistle entitled ' to the Hebrews ' has none of that rudeness of speech which 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 71 

its more theological subject-matter), constituted an epoch 
in the history of the new religion. Christianity is beginning 
to lay hands on the instruments of culture ; the literary and 
theological period has begun. There will be more to say 
on this head in the next chapter. 

The modern conception of New Testament Greek if not 
altogether a new thing : our advances in knowledge rarely 
are. Under the late Roman Empire, when the old learning 
and culture came into hostile collision with Christianity, 
pagan controversiaUsts spoke mockingly of the language of 
the New Testament as a boatman's idiom. The Christian 
apologists accepted the taunt and made the despised simplicity 
of that language their well- warranted boast. ^ The hopeless 
attempt to prove the Bible as a whole and the New Testa- 
ment in particular to be artistically perfect in its external 
form was first made by Latin apologists.^ The same theory 
reappeared many centuries later in the conflict between 
the so-called Purists and Hebraists,' and was passionately 
maintained and disputed by these two rival schools of Biblical 
interpretation. To many it appeared as something perfectly 
obvious that Holy Scripture must be clothed in language 
at least as classical as that of Demosthenes or Plato, and 

the apostle himself confessed when he said [2 Cor. xi. 6] he was rude of speech, 
i.e. in expression, that on the contrary the epistle is more Greek in its stylistic 
structure, will be admitted by everyone who is able to judge of differences of 
style." 

• For details see Eduard Norden, Die antike Kunstprosa, II. p. 512 ff. 
^ Eduard Norden, II. p. 526 ff. 

' See especially the account in Winer and Schmiedel, § 2, p. 4 ff. — The 
latest phase of New Testament philology has sometimes been described as a 
revival of the strife between the Hebraists and the Purists. That is, however, 
not quite accurate. The primary dispute no longer concerns the fact of Hebrew 
(or rather, Semitic) ihtrusions in the Greek of the New Testament : no one 
denies the existence of Semiticisms ; opinions are only divided with reference 
•to the relative proportion of these Semiticisms. On the other hand, there is 
now no assertion of the " purity " of New Testament Greek in the sense of the 
old disputants. The new tendency in the work now being done is to emphasise 
the popular and non-literary element in the language of the apostles and to 
protest against the dogmatic isolation of New Testament philology. — ^As early 
as 1863 we find Bishop Lightfoot remarking with the keen vision of a seer in 
one of his lectures : "... if we could only recover letters that ordinary 
people wrote to each other without any thought of being literary, we should 
have the greatest possible help for the understanding of the language of the 
N.T. generally." (Note by the Rev. J. Pulliblank in J. H. Moulton's Grammar,'' 
p. 242.) Such letters (and other texts) have since then been made accessible 
jn great abundance by the papyri and ostraca, 



72 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

assertions to the contrary were felt to be an outrage upon the. 
Holy Ghost. We for our part are on the side of those who 
see beauty in the wild rose-bush as well as in a Gloire de 
Dijon. What is natural is also beautiful, and does not 
cease to be beautiful until artificiahty and pretence step in.i 
Thus in our opinion the new method of philological treatment 
brings oiit the peculiar beauty of the New Testament, by 
establishing the popular simplicity of the language in which 
it is written. The relation in which the language of the 
people stands to the artificial language of literature reminds 
us of the Master's own words, when He said, " Consider the 
lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do 
they spin : and yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in 
all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." 

3. How truly valuable the newly recorded documents are 
in the study of the language of the New Testament can only 
be realised by examples. In the following pages, therefore, 
some characteristic examples have been selected from the 
vast mass of available material. With regard, however, to 
the first point to be illustrated,' viz. the phonology and acci- 
dence, there is no need to go into details here ; a few remarks 
of a general nature will suffice.* 

A. The characteristic features of the living Greek language 
that was in international use are most clearly seen in the 
phonology and accidence. The assumption of a special New 
Testament or Biblical Greek is hopelessly refuted by the 
observations made in this field. All the hundreds of morpho- 
logical details in the Biblical texts which strike a reader 
accustomed to Plato and Xenophon will be found also in the 
contemporary " profane " records of international Greek, 
especially in those texts which have come down to us in their 

1 Analogies from other civilisations ofier themselves in abundance. Tolstoy 
used to read his stories before publication to his peasants and then get them 
to re-tell the stories, so that he might avail himself of their alterations. " What 
a mighty flood of fresh images, thoughts, and words would find its way into 
our petty, dried up, jargonised literature, ' cultivated ' as it is to the degree 
of impossibility, if other writers would do the same and would love and respect 
the common people as Tolstoy does " (Conversations with Tolstoy, Gesprdche 
mil Tolstoj, published by J. Teneromo, Berlin, 191 1, p. 78). 

' In what follows I have made occasional use of my article on " Hellenis- 
tisches Griechisch " in Herzog and Hauck, Reahncyclopddie,' VII. p. 627 flf. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 73 

original form without passing through the refining fires of 
an Atticist purgatory. They occur in the inscriptions, but 
most of all in the ostraca and papyri. P. W. Schmiedel's 
new edition of the Accidence of Winer's Grammar of the 
New Testament Idiom appeared before the most important 
of the recently discovere<i paypri had been published, so that 
no use could be made of this most instructive material, and 
yet that book contains so many trustworthy observations as 
to make it impossible any longer to ignore the morphological 
identity of the supposed " New Testament Idiom " with the 
Hellenistic colloquial language. The other recent New 
Testament Grammars emphasised the fact still more, and, 
from another point of view, so did Karl Dieterich's Researches 
on the History of the Greek Language from the Hellenistic 
Period to the loth Cent. A.D.^ Here we see the value-of things 
that are often loftily despised as philological trifles : the 
overwhelming amount of small facts ascertained with absolute 
certainty has brought New Testament philology into such 
close connexion with the general study of late Greek as will 
never again be broken. The Septuagint Grammars of Helbing 
and Thackeray, -and the works of Psichari and R. Meister,^ 
have established the same organic connexion between Septua- 
gint philology and the wider subject. 

B. We quote one example from the special department of 
word-formation which may be called onomatology. The 
word Panther a, used as a man's name, is of great interest to 
New Testament scholars, though it is not found in the Bible. 
It appears in late traditions concerning the family of Jesus 
of Nazareth, and plays a great part particularly in the Jewish 
legends of the birth of Christ. A good many years ago Hackel's 
unsuccessful foray in the domain of New Testament research ^ 
made the name familiar to a large public. Many scholars 
have bestowed their attention to it, and in almost every case 
they have concluded it to be a nickname specially invented 
for the purposes of Jewish polemics.* The problem as to the 
origin of this name can now be solved with certainty, thanks 
particularly to Latin inscriptions. The name Panthera is 

• Cf. also Nette Bibelstudien, pp. 9-21 ; Bible Studies, pp. 181-193. 
' Cf. p. 19 above. 

' In The Riddle of the Universe (1899). 

* And derived either from wopvos (iornicator) or mpeivos (virgin). 



74 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

known in Attic inscriptions, but it occurs frequently in funeral 
and other inscriptions of the Imperial period as a cognomen 
of both men and women. ^ Most interesting of all, perhaps, is 
the tombstone of Tiberius Julius Abdes ^ Pantera, of Sidon 
in Phoenicia, a Roman archer at the very beginning of the 
Imperial Period. It was found near Bingerbriick, and is 
now in the museum at Kreuznach (Fig. 8). Taken in con- 
junction with the other inscriptions, this epitaph ' from the 
German frontier of the Roman Empire * shows with absolute 
certainty that Panthera was not an invention of Jewish 
scoffers, but a widespread name among the ancients. 

C. Viewed in the light of the new documents the vocabulary 
of the New Testament also displays features characteristic 
of the Hellenistic colloquial language. 

(a) With regard to the words themselves the proof of our 
thesis cannot in all cases be made out with the same com- 
pleteness as in the phonology and accidence; but there is 
no need for absolute completeness here. It is obvious that 
the vocabulary of the international language, recruited from 
all the countries that had acknowledged the supremacy of 
Greek, can never be completely known to us in all its fulness. 
As a matter of fact words are constantly turning up in the 

1 Detailed proofs will be found in my article " Der Name Panthera " in 
Orientalische Studien (presentation volume to Theodor Ndldeke), Gieszen, 
1906, p. 871 ff. Cf. also the name IUvdrip Panther in a Fayum papyrus, loi- 
102 A.D., which contains a number of Jewish names (Berliner Griechische 
Urkunden, No. 715, I,). 

' Count Wolf Baudissin explained this Ebed name to me (by postcard, 
dated Berlin, 29 January, 1907) as DX T3J? servant of Isis. This^ is not 
the only example of Isis occurring among the Phoenicians. My attention was 
called by the same authority to the soldier's inscription at Ashmunen (Lidz- 
barski, Ephemeris fiir semitisehe Epigraphik 2. p. 338), KottCoiv 'ApSdovs, 
" Cottio the son of Abdes" {'ApSijs). Further discussion of the name by 
Jno. MacCarthy in Notes and Queries, 11 S. vii. 381; viii. 109, 291, 340 
(17 May, 9 Aug., 11, 25 Oct., 1913), to which my attention was called by 
L. R. M. Strachan. 



' The coniplete inscription runs : — 

Tib. lul. Abdes. Pantera. 

Sidonia. ann. LXII. 
stipen. XXXX. miles, exs, 

coh. I. sagiitariorum. 
h. s. e. 



Tiberius Julius Abdes Pantera, 

of Sidon, aged 62, 
a soldier of 40 years' service, 
of the 1st cohort of archers, 
lies here. 

• The cohort of archers in which the Sidonian served had come to the 
Rhine in the year 9 a.d. 




Fig. 8. — Tombstone from Bingerbriick, early Imperial Period. 
Now at Kreuznach. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 75 

newly discovered texts which one may seek in vain in the 
dictionaries. It is equally natural that many words can 
only be found a few times, sometimes only once, in the whole 
body of the texts known to us. Nobody with common 
sense will suppose that these were all coined by the writers 
on the spur of the moment : they are little discoveries for the 
lexicographer, it is true, but not inventions by the authors.^ 
Such little discoveries can be made,. to a certain extent, in 
the Greek Bible. The advocates of the theory of " Biblical " 
Greek have often made capital out of them. Cremer was 
especially fond of distinguishing these erratics as " Biblical " 
or " New Testament " words which were specially due to the 
power of Christianity to mould language. Even Grirtim, in 
his edition of Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti, was always 
careful to mark the rarities as " vox solum biblica," " vox 
mere biblica," " vox profanis ignota," thus creating every- 
where the impression that " Biblical Greek " could after all 
be discovered somehow by means of the lexicon.* 

In quite a number of cases, however, there are intrinsic 
reasons for saying at once : It is a mere accident of statistics 
that this word has been found hitherto only in the Bible. 
In other cases it is possible to prove directly from some 
neglected or newly discovered author, from inscriptions, 
ostraca, or pap3n-i, that the word does after all belong to 
" profane," i.e. general Hellenistic, Greek. Such is the case, 
for instance, with the following supposed " Biblical " or 
" New Testament " words and combinations : ayilvr],^ aKard- 

• In Greek phrase I should say that they are Sna^ eiprmtva, not diraf eiprnieva. 

' The English edition of Grimm's Wilke by J. H. Thayer, the best New 
Testament dictionary hitherto produced (corrected edition. New York. 1896), 
is more cautious here in the text; cf. Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1898, 
p. 922. 

' The example found by W. H. P. Hatch, p. 22, n. 3 above, is doubtful. 
See however Neue Bibelstudien, p. 26 f., Bible Studies, p. 198 f. (Philo) ; to 
which add Epistle of Aristeas, 229. Wilhelm Cronert told me (postcards, 
Gottingen, 26, 30 July, and 6 August, 1908) that lie conjectured with great 
probability aydmi in a MS. of Philodemus (90-40 b.c.) among the Herculanean 
rolls at Naples. Details were reserved by him for later. Since then, in his 
new edition of Passow's Lexicon {Passows Worterbuch der griechischen Sprache, 
voUig neu bearbeitet von W. Cronert, first instalment, Gottingen, 191 2, col. 25) , 
he has given the reference : Philodem. napp. 135 hi d[y]a7njs ([vapjyoSs with 
the note " (certain ?) " appended. Extraordinarily important instances of the 
extra-Biblical use of dyoTnj were furnished next by the great prayer to Isis 
in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri XI No. 1380 (written early in the 2nd century a.d., 



76 . LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

•yvaxTTO^, avTiXTjfJLTTTCop, ^atov, Seiyfian^o), iXatcov, evavTi, evdyinov, 
evdpe(TTO<i, evt\aTO<;, teparevco, Kadapt^w, KvpiaKot, XeiT0vpyi,K6<;, 
Xoyeia, veo^i/ro?, ot^etKrj, vepiBe^iov, dno irepvffi, TroTafioxf>6prjTO<!, 
vpoaevxVt TrvppdKrj';, aiTO/jieTpiov, (ftpevaTrdTrj^.^ 

It will perhaps be objected, What are they among so 
many? What is this secularisation of 21 "Biblical" or 
" New Testament " words in comparison with the large 
number of cases in which no secular parallel has yet been 
found to characteristic peculiarities of the Greek Bible or 
New Testament ? To this it must be replied that the number 
of specifically New Testament words at any rate has been 
enormously overestimated by all the statisticians. 

The chief of those who have taken up this statistical 
problem in recent years is H. A. A. Kennedy ; but he himself, 
as he tells me,^ is no longer prepared to insist on his figures. 
Out of 4,829 New Testament words (excluding proper names 
and words derived therefrom) he formerly reckoned 580 ' or 
in round numbers 550 * to be " Biblical," i.e. " found either 

but the text should be older) : according^ to 1. 28 Isis was called dyair[j)] 
" Love " in the town of Thonis on the north coast of Egypt, and according 
to 1. 109 a[ya]7n) Beuv " Love of the gods " in Italy. This is very remarkable 
and instructive, even when taken in connexion with 1. 63, according to which 
Isis was called aXrjBia (oK-qBaa ' Truth ') at Menuthis, a village in northern 
Egypt. The Johannine parallels with ayanrj and oMiBeia at once suggest 
themselves (i John iv. 9, 16; John xiv. 9). The Isis texts seem altogether 
to be specially valuable for the light they shed on the Johannine. — That the 
examples of ayam) in the Isis papyrus-may be regarded as trustworthy, although 
the papyrus is injured in both places, is proved, I think, by the parallel as to 
fact in 1. 94 : 'at Dora (Tantura, near Caesarea, in Palestine) Isis was called 
•^lAi'a. The two damaged oyam; passages also afford each other mutual 
support. [In the new Liddell and Scott, 1925, s.v. aydm) : " doubtful in Berlin 
Papyrus 9859 (2nd cent. B.C.); Philodemus, -nepl vappiqaias, ed. A. Olivieri, 
Leipzig, 1914, p. 52; of the love of husband and wife. Scholia in Ptolemaei 
Tetrabiblon, Basel, 1559, p. 52." Tr.] 

' For ivavn and ^pexawaTi/j cf. Blass, Grammatik des NeutesiamentHchen 
Griechisch,' pp. 129, 71. [English translation,^ pp. 128 n. i, 68 n. 2. Tr.] (In 
his first edition Blass had also quoted- ^iKoTTpwrrdui from an inscription, and 
I unfortunately relied on this in my article in the Realencyclopddie,' but it 
afterwards proved to be an error.) Quotations will be found for jSaioK and 
Seiy/ioTiJa) in Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary, for Trora/io^opijToy in 
Wikenhauser (see p. 49 above), and for the remaining words in my Bibelstudien 
and Neue Bibelstudien (= Bible Studies). 

' Letter, Toronto, 13 October, 1908. 

' Sources of New Testament Greek : or the Influence of the Septuagint on 
the Vocabulary of the New Testament, Edinburgh, 1895, p. 62. 

* Page 93- 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 'jy 

in the New Testament alone, or, besides, only in the Septua- 
gint." These figures were no doubt obtained from the lists 
in Thayer's Lexicon. At the end of that volume we find, 
among other statistical information, a list of " Biblical, i.e. 
New Testament " words, 767 in number. From these, 
however, Thayer himself excepted 76 words as " late " {i.e. 
known to be used elsewhere) and 89 as doubtful, leaving 602. 
But if we subtract from 767 the total number of words (some 
218) in the list which Thayer himself notes as occurring in 
Polybius, Plutarch, and elsewhere, there remain only 549. 
That is approximately Kennedy's number, and is certainly 
a considerable amount. 

But we must examine more closely. Among the 550 
remaining words we find first a number of proper names, then 
a quantity of Semitic and Latin transcriptions or borrowed 
words, then a series of numerals.^ Finally, however, if we 
consult the excellent articles in the Lexicon itself, we shall 
find in the case of many of the words still remaining that there 
are quotations given from Josephus, Plutarch, Marcus Aurelius, 
etc. Thus, for example, out of 150 words enumerated by 
Kennedy ^ as occurring " only " in the Septuagint and, the 
New Testament, 67 are quoted by Thayer himself from pagan 
authors. The only explanation that I can see for the inaccur- 
acy in these old statistics is that most of the authors quoted 
for the 67 words are later in date than the New Testament. 
But are we to regard words as specifically " New Testament " 
words because they happen to make their first appearance 
there? Did Plutarch, for instance, borrow words from the 
Bible? That is altogether improbable. The Bible and 
Plutarch borrow from a common source, viz. the vocabulary 
of late Greek.^ 

Other and much lower statistics can be obtained from 
Grimm's edition of Wilke's Clavis Novi Testamenti : he notes 
253 words as " Biblical." * ^But even this census may be 
considered out of date. 

' E.g. ScKoSvo, SeKaTCaaapes, SeKairevre, Sexae'l, SeKaoKTu). 

' Page 88 ff. 

" Cf. Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1896, p. 766. I there mentioned the 
following words occurring in Plutarch : an-oKoAu^u, yvioaTTjs, 6Xoii\r)pla, ■npooKOfi/ia, 
aay^VTi, tjiiBvpiafios, /itaBtos, Toireivo'^pcuv, evra^idjo), i^virvtCoi, /iOKpoffu/xe'cu. 

* According to Wikenhauser, Bibl. Zeitschrift 8 (1910) p. 271. 



78 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

That there are such things as specifically " Biblical " and 
specifically " New Testament " (or rather, " early Christian ") 
words, I have never denied. No lengthy statistical investiga- 
tions as to usage are necessary in order to recognise these 
special words : a glance is sufficient. But when a word is 
not recognisable at sight as a Jewish or Christian new forma- 
tion, we must consider it as an ordinary Greek word until the 
contrary is proved.^ The number of really new-coined words 
is in the oldest (New Testament) period very small, I esti- 
mate that in the whole New Testament vocabulary of nearly 
5,000 words not many more than 50 — fewer than that, more 
likely^will prove to be " Christian " or " Biblical " Greek 
words.2 The great enriching of the Greek lexicon by Christ- 
ianity did not take place till the later, ecclesiastical period, 
with its enormous development and differentiation of dogmatic, 
liturgical, and legal concepts. In the religiously creative 
period which came first of all the power of Christianity to 
form new words was not nearly so large as its effect in trans- 
forming the meaning of the old words. 

As we have said, a close examination of the ancient literary 
texts ^ alone leads to the secularisation of many words in 

' imovoios is a case in point, in my opinion, notwithstanding the well- 
known remark of Origen. As a rule little reliance is to be placed on observa- 
tions of the Fathers with regard to the statistics of language. Jerome, for 
example, in commenting on Gal. i. 12, was quite wrong in saying that dwoicaAu^u 
was a Biblical word, never employed by any of the world's wise men. Cf. 
R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament, 7th ed., London, 1871, p. 333 
{§ xciv). eiTMvatos has all the appearance of a word that originated in the 
trade and traffic of the everyday life of the people (cf-. my hints in Neutesta- 
mentliche Studien Georg Heinrici dargebrachl, Leipzig, 1914, p. Ii8f.). [The 
opinion here expressed has been confirmed by A. Debrunner's discovery 
(Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 1925, col. 119) of eiriovoios in an ancient housekeeping-book, 
Flinders Fetrie, Hawara, Biahmu, and Arsinoe, London, 1889, p. 34 (No. 35) 
1. 20 = Preisigke, Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Agypten, Strassburg, 
J915, No. 5224.3 

' I therefore estimate the total of " Biblical " words in the New Testament 
as (at the utmost) i per cent, of the whole vocabulary. According to Grimm 
it should be estimated at gj per cent., according to Kennedy (p. 93) at 12 per 
cent. 

' The medical, astrological and legal writers especially have not yet been 
thoroughly examined, and will prove very productive. Quite astonishing 
lexical parallels to the Bible are found, for instance, in a writer of whom I 
make repeated use later on in these pages, the astrologer Vettius Valens of 
Antioch, who wrote in the 2nd century a.d. Cf. Guilelmus KroU, Mantissa 
Observationum Vettianarum {Excerptum ex Catalogo codicum astrologorum 
graecorum, t. V. p. ii.), Bruxelles, 1906, p. 152 flf. ; and G. Warning, De Veltii 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 79 

Thayer's " Biblical " list, when it is agreed to drop the petty 
quibble that pagan authors of, say, the second century A.D. 
do not come into account. It is a weak point in Creme'r's 
Lexicon especially that " late " pagan parallels to New Testa- 
ment words are apt to be treated with a certain, contempt 
whereas in reality the " late " parallels to the New Testament, 
which is itself " late," are much more instructive than those 
from Homer or Plato. 

The number of " Biblical " words shrinks, however, still 
further if we pursue the search among our non-literary texts. 
From the immemorial homes of Greek culture in Hellas and 
the islands, from the country towns of Asia Minor and the 
villages of Egypt no less than from the great centres of com- 
merce on the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, year after 
year brings us new illustrations. Non-Christian texts are 
found containing words that were formerly — although " the 
kingdom of God is not in word " — thought to pertain exclu- 
sively to Primitive Christianity or the Old and New Greek 
Testaments. 

In proof that the list given above ^ can already be largely 
increased I will here give a number of examples, beginning 
with 10 words which would assert their secularity at first 
glance, even if no quotations were forthcoming from extra- 
Biblical sources. 

(i) The word dWoyevq';, "of another race, a stranger, 
foreigner," found frequently in the Septuagint and once in 
the New Testament (Luke xvii. 18), is said by Cremer ^ and 
the other lexicographers to be " confined to Biblical and 
patristic Greek." The Roman authorities,' however, in 

Valentis sermone, Diss. Miinster i. W., 1909. On KroU's edition of Vettius 
Valens (Veitii Valentis Anthologiarum libri, Berlin, 1908) cf. J. L. Heiberg, 
Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 29 (1908) col. 1764 ff. As to the medical writers, a 
distinguished authority, Johannes Ilberg (letter, Leipzig, 31 Aug., 1909), 
expressly confirms my statement. [For the new edition of Liddell and Scott's 
Lexicon, publication of which began in 1925, all the extant remains of Greek 
medical literature have been read — but not, of course, from this special 
point of view. Tr.] 

' Page 75 f. ' 'Page 247. 

' Theodor Mommsen, Romische Gesckichte, V.,* Berlin, 1894, p. 513, was of 
opinion that the " tablets " were not put up by the Jewish kings but by the 
Roman government. So too Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Insmptiones 
Seleaae. II. p. 295. 



8o LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

placing inscriptions on the maf ble barriers of the inner courts 
of the Temple at Jerusalem, thought differently of the word, 
or they would not have employed it in a notice intended to 
be read by Gentiles, who were thereby threatened with death 
as the penalty for entering. One of these inscriptions was 
discovered by Clermont-Ganneau in 1871. The stone on 
which it is cut — a substantial block,^ on which the eyes of 
Jesus and St. Paul ^ may often have rested — ^is now in the 
Imperial New Museum at Constantinople (Figure 9). The 
inscription ^ is as follows : — 



peveadai * ivroi Tov ire- 

pl TO 'l€pOV TpV(f>a.KTOV KoX 

irepiP6\vni. os 8' av Xtj- 
tt>6rj, iavrZi aXrioi Itr- 
Tai-hia TO i^aKoXov- 



Let no foreigner enter within 
the screen and enclosure sur- 
rounding the sanctuary. Who- 
soever is taken so doing will 
be the cause that death over- 
taketh him. 



It is remarkable that Josephus, in mentioning this ordinance, 
does not use our word, but two others.* He does, however, 
employ the word {Bell. Jud. 2, 417) in another connexion^ 

1 One reads generally of a " tablet " ; but It is a limestone block, 2 2 J- inches 
high, 33i inches long, and i4i inches thick. The letters are more than 
ij inch high. I inspected the stone on 10 and 11 April, 19O6 (it was then 
in Chinili Kiosk), and it seemed to me that I could detect signs of the letters 
having been formerly painted. " If the tablet really bears the marks of blows 
from an axe, they must have been done by the soldiers of Titus " — this con- 
jecture of Mommsen's, p. 513, seems to me very improbable. 

* It will be remembered that in consequence of an alleged breach of this 
regulation by St. Paul, who had taken Trophimus into the inner precincts, a 
tumult arose, and the apostle was then arrested, Acts xxi. 28 f . 

' It has often been printed, most recently by Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci 
Inscriptiones Selectae, II. No. 598; references to previous literature will be 
found there and in Schiirer, II.»p. 272 f. [Jewish People in the Time of Jesus 
Christ, translated by Sophia Taylor and Peter Christie, Div. II., Vol. I", 
Edinburgh, 1885, p. 265 fif.] Cf. also Moulton and Milligan,~ The Expositor, 
February 1908, p. 179. There is a squeeze of it in the New Testament 
Seminar, Berlin. 

* The imperatival infinitive is common in edicts and notices (as in German). 
Cf . Bibelstudien, p. 260 ; Bible Studies, p. 344 ; and E. L. Hicks, The Collection 
of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, Part III. p. 176. 

* i^oKoXovdeoi is one of the words counted as " Biblical " by Thayer in his 
list, although in his text he gives quotations for it from Polybius, Plutarch, 
etc. 

' dAAo^uAoj and dAAoeffi'^j. The passages are collected by Dittenberger, 
op. cit. p. 295 (Bell. Jud. 5, 193; 6, 124^ Antt. 15, 417). Further quotations 
in Schiirer, II.' p. 272 [Eng. trans., Div. II., Vol. I', p. 265.] 




Fig 9 —Limestone Block from the Temple of Herod at Jerusalem, inscribed with a warning 
notice. Early Imperial Period. Now in the Imperial New Museum at Constantinople. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 8i 

If we suppose the warning notice owed its phrasing to the 
Jewish authorities, that would prove nothing against the view 
I have taken of this word. There is nothing whatever 
specifically Jewish about it either in sense or form.^ 

(2) One can scarcely repress a smile on discovering in 
Thayer's !' Biblical" list the word 6vik6<;, " of or belonging 
to an ass," which seems anything but " Biblical " or 
" Christian," though it is true that oxen and asses are animals 
mentioned in the Bible, and the word was only known in 
Matt, xviii. 6 and Mark ix. 42 in the expression for " a mill- 
stone turned by an ass." We lind the word, however, exactly 
in the time of Christ in a Fayum contract for the loan of an 
ass, dated 8 February, 33 a.d.,^ and again exactly in the time 
when the gospels were being written, in another Egyptian 
document relating to the sale of an ass, dated 5 February, 
70 A.D.^ Moreover, in the scale of taxes at Palmyra, recorded 
on stone in 136-137 a.d.,* there is twice mention of a tax on 
an ass's burden of goods. The gospel word is thus given both 
a southern and an eastern setting, and is doubtless to be 
regarded as belonging to the colloquial language of every-day 
life. It survives in the Middle Greek to {6)vlk6v, which is 
still in dialectal use, for instance in the island of Carpathus.* 

(3) l3poxv. " a wetting, rain," is described by Thayer 
in his article as a late* word, but nevertheless isolated 
in his " Biblical " list. A lease among the Oxyrhynchus 
Papyri (No. 2805), of the year 88-89 a.d., uses it to mean 
irrigation by the overflowing of the Nile.'' This one quotation 

1 It is the opposite of aiSiyev^s, which is a similar formation and good 
Greek. 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 91221 to dw/ca kt^vij, " the asses," 
referring to an ass and her foal. 

' Les Papyrus de Geneve transcrits et publics par Jules Nicole, Geneve, 1896 
and 1900, No. 2331. airo roJi' iirapxovTtuv ■^/itv oviKuiv kttjvwv ovov Ira fiuoxpovv, 
" of the asses belonging to us, one mouse-coloured ass." 

♦ Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae No. 6293015 yd^ou 

OViKOV. 

' Hesseling, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 8 (1899) p. 149. 

• [It is not even late. It is found in writers as early as Theophrastus 
(4th cent. B.C.) and Democritus (5th cent. B.C.). See the new edition of 
Liddell and Scott's Greek Lexicon, Part 2, Oxford, 1926. Tr.] 

' The document mentions /Spoxal riaaapes, " four waterings " of a piece of 
land. Cf. H. van Herwerden, Lexicon Graecum SuppletoHum et Dialecticum, 
Lugduni Batavorum, 1902, p. 163. Further details in Moulton and Milligan, 
Vocabulary, p. 118. 



82 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

is enough to shjow that the word formed part of the living 
language. It is therefore quite justifiable to refer to its 
existence in Modern Greek. ^ The present-day language has 
not taken the word from the Bible, but the Bible and Modern 
Greek have both drawn from one common source — the 
ancient colloquial language. 

(4) k6kkivo<!, " scarlet;" an adjective frequently occurring 
in the Greek Old and New Testaments, is included in Thayer's 
list of " Biblical " words, though a good deal of ingenuity 
would be needed to say why the Biblical language required 
this special expression. Thayer himself, however, gives 
quotations for the word from Plutarch and Epictetus ^ ; he must 
have placed it in his exclusive list because he considered these 
two authors to be late, and almost post-Biblical. The occur- 
rence of the word, therefore, in the papyri ^ and in an older 
contemporary of the Septuagint that the pap5T:i have restored 
to us, Herondas (vi. 19),* is not without importance. 

(5) In astonishment at finding in Thayer's list of " Biblical " 
words ivSiSvcTKQ), " I put on," which, though it occurs in the 
Septuagint and the New Testament, is a perfectly colourless 
expression, in no way deserving this sacred isolation,^ we turn 
to Thayer's article on the word and find at least one quotation 
from Josephus. As Josephus, however, was a Jew, and may 
therefore seem to border on the " Biblical," * we welcome an 
undoubted quotation from a profane source,^ and yet con- 
temporary with the Septuagint, viz. an inscription from 
Delphi, circa 156-151 B.C.* 

(6) ifiari^o), "I clothe," seems no less worldly than the 

'■ Kennedy, Sources, p. 153; Thumb, Die griechische Sprache, p. 226. 

^ To these must be added Martial, a contemporary of the New Testament, 
who uses coccina (Epigr. ii. 39, etc.) for " scarlet garments." 

' Examples in P. M. Meyer, Griechische Papyrusurkunden der Hamburger 
Stadtbibliothek, I. (191 1) p. 40. 

* Herondae Mimiambi iterum edidit Otto Crusius, Leipzig, 1894, P- 47< "'' 
KoKKivov Pav^wva. Further details in Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, 
P- 352. 

^ Cf. ifian^o), no. 6 below. 

« Philologically this statement could only be accepted with great reserva- 
tions. 

' Van Herwerden, Lexicon, pp. 270 and 271. 

* Sammlung der griechischen Dialekt-Inschriften, herausgegeben von H. 
CoUitz, II., Gottingen, 1899, No. 1899,3 = Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 857,, 
ivSuSiaKo/ievos {sic ; a stonemason's error), " clothed." The statement of 
Johannes Baunack, in CoUitz, that eVSiSw/to) in the New Testament means 
" make to put on " is not correct. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 83 

last word, which indeed it resembles in meaning ; but because 
it was only known to occur in Mark v. 15 and Luke viii. 35 
it appears in Thayer's " Biblical " list. The Primitive 
Christians, however, had no call to invent new terms con- 
nected with dress, ^ and so this word is of course secular in 
origin. It is found in one of the pre-Christian Serapeum 
documents, 163 b.c.^ ; again later,* a welcome parallel to the 
New " Testament," it occurs among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri * 
in the testament of ^ man who could not write his own name, 
Dionysius the son of Harpocration, 117 a.d., clearly in 
formular phraseology,^ which comes again in similar form in 
an instrument of adoption from Hermupolis, 31 December, 
381 A.D.« 

(7) otTTdvofiai,, "I am seen, I let myself be seen," Acts i. 3, 
is in Thayer's list of " Biblical " words, although E. A. 
Sophocles ' had quoted it from the so-called Hermes Trisme- 
gistus.* More important are the examples now known from 
two much older Ptolemaic pap5nri ' (Paris No. 4933, circa 
160 B.c.i" ; and Tebtunis No. 245, 117 b.c.)," which prove that 
the word was at any rate current in Egypt and explain the 
Septuagint usage (i Kings viii. 8 ; Tobit xii. 19) in the most 
direct manner. 

' I Peter iii. 3, 4. 

* Greek Papyri in the British Museum, ed. F. G. Kenyon.No. 241J, Vol. I. 
p. 32, liiaritl avr^v, " will clothe her." I am indebted to Mayser's Grammar 
of the Papjrri, pp. 93, 465, for this passage. 

' Cf. van Herwerden, Appendix, p. 107. 

* No. 4899 and 17. 

5 The children of a female slave are twice mentioned as having been " fed 
and clothed " by the testator's wife, iieyoviov Tpe^o/icVajv xal luanioiielvtuv] iir' 
airljs (line 17). 

• Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, 3, p. 17418 (a Leipzig papyrus, published 
by L. Mitteis), dpe^m Kai IfiaTL^w evyevais Kal yvirjaLtos tos vtov yvqatov koX fftvaiKov, 
" I will feed and clothe him nobly and properly as a proper and natural son." 
The passage is noted by van Herwerden in the Melanges Nicole, GenSve, 1905, 
p. 250. Further details in Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 304. 

' Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods, New York and Leipzig, 
1888. 

" Poemander 31, 15. 

• Pointed out by Mayser, p. 404; cf. also J. H. Moulton, The Expositor, 
February 1903, p. 117. 

" Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la Bibliothique impiriale. Vol. 18, 
Part 2, Paris, 1865, p. 320. The papyrus, which is of a very vulgar type, has 
djiTocToi (sic). 

*' The date 114 in Mayser is an error. The text is mutilated, but lafiafim 
iinavoiiAvun) is clear. 



84 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

(8) iWoyio), " I put down to someone's account, I reckon, 
impute," Philemon i8, Romans v. 13, is one of those words 
that have as worldly a look as possible. Thayer, however, in 
his " Biblical " list separates it off from all other Greek, 
although in his article on the word he quotes pagan inscrip- 
tions ^ containing it. A new ^ and earlier reference is supplied 
by a military diploma (imperial letter) on papyrus, written at 
Alexandria ( ?) in the time of Hadrian.,^ 

(9) In defiance of the note " Inscr." appended to the word, 
■nepiaa-eia, " abundance, superfluity, surplus," also figures 
in Thayer's " Biblical " list. But the Thesaurus Graecae 
Linguae had already cited a supposed contemporary of the 
New Testament, " Moschion the physician " * and an inscrip- 
tion of the Imperial period from Sparta,^ which is also referred 
to by Grimm and Thayer. If we are now obliged to delete 
here " Moschion the physician " ® there comes as a new 
addition an inscription of 329 a.d. from Rakhle in Syria.'' 

(10) " Never in profane writers," say Grimm * and others 
of avaaTaToto, "'X incite to tumult, stir up to sedition, 
unsettle," another^ Septuagint and New Testament word 

* Inscription from Daulis, irS a.d.. Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, 
No. 17323,,; and the edict of Diocletian, Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 
III. p. 836. 

" Cf. van Herwerden, Lexicon, p. 260. 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. i403if.. It is now so dated by 
Wilcken, Hermes, 37 (1902) p. 84 ff. The Emperor writes oix evcKa roS Boxetv 
H€ auTois ivXayetv, which Theodor Mommsen (in Bruns, Pontes iuris Romani,^ 
pp. 381, 382) translated " non ut iis imputare videar " (as I was informed by 
Wilcken, in a letter dated Leipzig, 5 May, 1907). The Emperor wishes to 
avoid the appearance of imposing an obligation, or debiting the soldiers with 
the beneficium granted them. Cf. also Wikenhauser, Biblische Zeitschrift 8 
(1910) p. 272, and Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 204. 

* De pass. mul. p. 47,, referring to excess of nourishment. (But see note 6.) 

* Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 1378, concerning a certain president 
of the games, who " handed over to the city the whole surplus of the money 
belonging to the presidents of the games," r^v nepiaaaav airoiovs itdaav rfj mXa, 
Ttxiv ayoivoBeriKiov xpTJ^d-Twv. 

' I owe to Johannes Ilberg (letter, Leipzig, 31 Aug., 1909) the information 
that this text is not ancient, but a late medieval translation of a Middle Latin 
book for midwives by one " Muscio." The ancient original that he followed, 
a physician named Soranus (c. 100 a.d.), has wXcCovos Tpo<j>fjs ■napa.Beais 
(p. 283, I Rose). 

' Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique, 21 (1897) p. 65, ck mpiaaHv {sic), 
" from superfluous (money)." The inscription, which was no new discovery in 
1897, is not Christian. 

« Clavis,* p. 28. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 85 

which at first sight certainly has nothing Bibhcal or Christian 
about it, but seems altogether profane. Cremer,^ however, 
gives from the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae at least one quota- 
tion from Harpocration, a profane writer of the fourth ^ 
century a.d. But, as Nageli' pointed out, we find at any 
rate the word e^avaaraToa in a fragment of an anthology 
written about 100 b.c. (Tebtunis Papyri No. 2). Still more 
valuable is a passage in an Egyptian letter of 4 August, 41 a.d. 
(Berliner Griechische Papyrusurkunden, No. 1079205.*), where 
the word probably means the same as in the bad boy's letter 
among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (No. iiQio), of the second 
or third century a.d.^ The Paris Magical Papyrus 1. 2243 f. 
also contains the word, in a good sense.* We are therefore 
undoubtedly entitled to reckon it as part of the general 
secular vocabulary.^ 

I now add to these examples 22 words (nos. 11-32) which 
in some, way or other approach more closely to the domain 
of religion and ethics, so that it was at least not impossible 
from the first that they hiight be peculiar to the Bible. 

(11) a^i\dpjvpo<;, "not covetous" (iTim. iii. 3; Hebrews 
xiii. 5), has been stated to be a " New Testament word only," 
and one might suppose it to be really Christian when one 
remembers how the Gospel is always antagonistic to mammon. 
But Nageli * has already quoted (besides certain authors 
that had been overlooked) an inscription from Athens, 
36-35 B.C.,* another from Istropolis, first century B.C.," 

' "Page 515. 

2 Eduard Norden (letter, Gross-Lichterfelde W., 3 September, 1908) dates 
Harpocration earlier. 
' Page 48. 

* fifi tva dvaararwaris ijftSs. 

' oLvaaTaToT fif , " he drives me out of my senses," Nageli, p. 47 : or " he upsets 
me," Blass, Hermes, 34 (1899) p. 314. Cf. Chapter III. below, letter No. rg 
(p. 202). For both papyri cf. also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, 
'March 1908, p. 268 f. 

' Edited by C. Wessely, Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Classe 
der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vol. 36, Wien, 1888, p. loi : 
Xatpe, Upa avyrj, ix okotovs eiAij/ifte'iT;, dvaaraToOoa ■navra, " hail ! sacred 
radiance, thou that art taken out of darkness and causest all things to rise 
up." Cf. Nageli, p. 47. 

' Further examples in Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 38. 

« Page 31. 

• Michel, Recueil, No. 973,5 = Dittenberger, Sylhge.' No. 732, "1104,5. 
«» Dittenberger, Sylloge.' No. 325, '708,,, 



86 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

and a papyrus (Oxyrhynchus No. 33 verso, IIn) of the second 
century a.d., in which either a<lii\dpyvpo<: or a(f)tXapyvpa)s 
occurs. 1 To these may now be added Soranus ^ the physician 
(circa 100 A.D.) and a considerably earUer quotation for the 
adjective from an inscription at Priene (No. 1375), probably 
of the second century B.C. 

(12) ir\'r}po(j>opeo}, " I carry full, make full, fulfil," is 
according to Cremer ' found " only in Biblical and patristic 
Greek; elsewhere not till very late." The earliest example 
hitherto discovered is in the Septuagint, Ecclesiastes viii. 11. 
The papyri,* however, show that this word, which occurs 
frequently in the New Testament, was at any rate used in 
Egypt at the same period and immediately afterwards. The 
earliest passages are : a letter from the Fayum, now at 
Berlin, first century a.d.^ ; an Amherst papyrus, of 124 a.d.' ; 
a Berlin papyrus, of 139 A.D.'; an Oxyrhynchus pap}Tus, 
of the end of the second century A.D.* If these Egyptian 
quotations are not sufficient, the astrologer Vettius Valens 
of Antioch, a contemporary of the last two, can help to 
increase the statistics.* Considering the undoubted rarity 

1 It is there said of the Emperor Antoninus Pius : roiiev npSnov ^[v] ^i\6ao<j>os, 
TO hiVT€pov d^iXafyyvpos, t[oJ rpirov tfuXdyoBos, '* he "was first a friend of 
wisdom, secondly not a friend of money, thirdly a friend of the good." As in 
I Tim. iii. 3, the word occurs in a sort of list of virtues. 

' In his description of the ideal midwife (p. 174, 22 Rose). I owe the 
reference to Johannes Ilberg (letter, Leipzig, 31 Aug., 1909). 

' 'Page 882. 

* Cf. Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 28 (1903), col. 593; J. H. Moulton, The Expositor, 
February 1903, p. 118 f., December 1903, p. 436; Nageli, p. 60; Lietzmann on 
Romans iv. 21 (the Wessely papyrus there cited is identical with the London 
papyrus afterwards referred to) . Lietzmann states the semasiological problem 
well. [Liddell and Scott refer to Ctesias {fl. c. 398 b.c), Pers. 39 ap. Photium ; 
but in the opinion of Lightfoot (on Col. iv. 12) " the passage from Ctesias in 
Photius (Bibl. 72) ttoAAois Aoyois KaX opKois irXfipo^prqamires Meyipvlflfli is not 
quoted with verbal exactness." Tr.] 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden No. 665 IIj, iirX'ripo(l>6ptiaa airov. The 
meaning is not certain; either " I have convinced him," or " paid him." 

' The Amherst Papyri No. 66 11,,, Iva Si itat vvv TrArjpo^opijcro), " but in order 
to-settle the matter thoroughly." Moulton gives a similar explanation of the 
passage; the editors, Grenfell and Hunt, " but now also to give you full 
satisfaction." 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden No. 747 Ijj, at[T]ovii[(]vo[s] ir[X]ri[p]oi^pelt]v, 
" asking them to settle the matter (?)." 

* Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 5091,,, TuyCxoJfco Se TrcirAijpo^opij^cVo; rots oijieiXo- 
fiivois iioi, " I am completely satisfied with regard to what was owing to me." 

" I. p. 43„ of Kroll's edition. Before the book appeared the editor very 



LANGUAGE 'OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 87 

of the word a later quotation in a " profane " context is 
also worthy of note : in an inscription of the eighth century 
A.D. from Nicaea in Bithynia ^ the verb is used of the com- 
pletion of a tower. 

(13) cTwavTiXafM^dvofiai,, " I take interest in (a thing) 
along with (others), take my share in, assist jointly," was 
first known to occur in the Septuagint. It occurs twice 
also in the New Testament, Luke x. 40 and Romans viii. 26, 
in the latter passage referring to the mediation of the Holy 
Spirit. Though it is used by the pre-Christian writer 
Diodorus of Sicily, and by Josephus,^ it is included by 
Thayer in his " Biblical " list, with the note " Inscr." 
appended, but without any quotation from inscriptions. 
We can trace the word, however, throughout the whole 
extent of the Hellenistic world of the Mediterranean. An 
inscription of the year 270 B.C. on the retaining-wall of the 
temple of Apollo at Delphi * construes it with the genitive, 
an inscription of Pergamum between 263 and 241 B.C.* 
with fit'?, a papyrus letter from Hibeh in Egypt circa 238 B.C. 
with irepi.^ Then comes the Septuagint, with various 
constructions ^ ; the Sicilian follows, with the genitive, ' 
while St. Luke and St. Paul use the word with the dative. 
These statistics are absolutely comprehensive geographically. 
Thus the word which, in the absence of proper evidence, was 
consigned to isolation, but which is in fact known to have 
been used at Delphi, in Asia, in Egypt, and by a Sicilian 

kindly sent me the passage in Greek and German (letter dated Miinster, 
(5 April, 1907) : tva 8ta ttjs Karoxrjs ravnjs to r^ff gvvox^s (r)(fj^a TrXTjpotftoprjBjj, " in 
order that the avvoxfj (predicted by the whole constellation) may fulfil itself 
(come to fulfilment) in this way." 

' Athenische Mitteilungen, 24 (1899) p. 406, e7rAi;pa)[^opi)]acv (sic), as read 
and interpreted by A. Koerte. 

' 'Antt. IV. viii. 4 ; the word is, however, struck out in this passage by Niese. 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 250, '412,, avvavjiK-qilieaBiu tSm rfji voXei oviJ,<j>ep6v- 
Tuiv, " to help in things profitable unto the city." Van Herwerden's citation of 
this inscription. Lexicon, p. 780, is misleading. 

* Frankel, No. iSj^f., tous els ravra avvavTiXafi^avofUvovs, *' those helping in 
this." 

' The Hibeh Papjrri No. 821, r, xaAuJs o5ir^Tr]oi^o'eis avvav[n]X[a]iiPav6pi,fvos 
wpodvfuas rrepl riov els ravra avyxvpovTiov, " thou wilt therefore do well to take 
part zealously in the things relating thereto." 

• Sometimes with the genitive, sometimes with the dative ; cf . Hatch and 
Redpath's Concordance. 

' .Diod. xiv. 8. 



88 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

writer, might now serve as a school example of the unity and 
uniformity of the international Greek vocabulary. 

(14) St. Paul in Philippians ii. 30 testifies of Epaphroditus 
that he had for the sake of the work of Christ come nigh 
unto death, having daringly exposed himself.^ The verb 
irapa^oXevofiai, " I expose myself," here used in the aorist 
participle, has not been found in other writers, and was even 
in ancient times such a rare word that some copyists have 
altered it.* Nevertheless, though placed by Thayer in his 
list, it is not a " Biblical " peculiarity. An inscription at 
Olbia on the Black. Sea, probably, of the 2nd cent, a.d.,' 
in honour of a certain Carzoazus the son of Attalus, employs 
exactly the same participle in a similar context, and helps 
to elucidate the passage in Philippians, while itself receiving 
illumination from the New Testament. 

(15) In I Tim. ii. 12 the woman is forbidderi to " have 
dominion over" the man. The word avdevTem appears 
here for the first time in Greek literature, nor does it occur 
again except in ecclesiastical writers. Of course, therefore, 

^ Literally : " having offered himself with his soul." [The R.V. has 
" hazarding his life." Moffatt translates " by risking his life." Tr.] 

* Instead of irapa^oXevadfievos they write Trapa^ovXevadfievos. [= the A.V. 
" not regarding his life." Tr.] 

' Inscriptiones Antiquae Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Euxini Graecae et 
Latinae ed. Basilius Latyschev, I., Petropoli, 1885, No. zi^a-ti, oAAa koI ififXP^) 
irepdraiv yrjs efiaprup^flij. tovs virep ifiiXlas KivSvvovs /ic'xP' ZepaoTCov ov/iiiaxiit 
wopajSoAeuoa/icvoyl Latyschev considers this a very obscure text (p. 54). I find 
not the least difficulty, if /icxP' (f^s?) ircpd-rcav is right : " but also to the ends 
of the world it was witnessed of him that in the interests of friendship he had 
exposed himself to dangers as an advocate in (legal) strife (by taking his clients' 
causes even) up to emperors." TrapajSoAeuoa/ieros governs the accusative rois 
Ko/Zvvovs (cf. Trapa^aXXeaBai Tov KivZwov, Thuc. iii. 14, quoted in Pape's 
Lexicon) and the dative avp.p.axlq- (cf. tj tfivxfi in the passage from St. Paul, 
and ^x^ KOA a\tii\iiari. TrapaPaWofievost inscription from the coast of the Black 
Sea, circa 48 a.d., Dittenberger, Sylloge,^ No. 342, '762,, ; literary passages for 
irapapdMoiuu inThayer, siv. j7-apo;8oA«u'o/iai, and J. H. Moulton, Grammai', I. p. 64). 
Hence, " by his advocacy he exposed himself to dangers." The whole passage 
has a very " New Testament " ring. The ancient phrase mpara rfly y^s '^ also 
familiar to us from the Greek Bible. For the actual hyperbole itself cf. for 
instance the amiable exaggeration in Romans i. 8 and the emphatic expres- 
sions in Romans xv. 19. The use of iLaprvpiotuu is quite as in the New 
Testament (iVe«e Bibelstudien, p. 93; Bible Studies, p. 265). — In the Theo- 
logische Rundschau, 9 J1906) p. 223, I quoted the inscription from van 
Herwerden, Lexicon, p, 622, unfortunately with his error in the reference : 
II. (instead of I.). For the ending -etjw cf. Modern Greek ;3oAevai, which 
Hatzidakis, 'ABujvd 20, p. 102 f. (cf. Kretschmer, Glotta 2, p. 339), traces 
back to evJ3oAeij(u. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 89 

it has been described as " only Biblical and patristic." ^ 
Now, as Nageli ^ points out, the word is twice used ^ in a 
non-literary text, viz. a Christian papyrus letter of the 6th 
or 7th cent, a.d., No. 103 aniong the Berlin documents. 
A superficial observer will say this is a new proof that the 
verb is Christian. As a matter of fact its occurrence in the 
letter is much rather an indication of its popular character. 
And all doubt is removed by Moeris,* one of the late lexi- 
cographers among the ancients, who gives avroSiKeiv as 
the Attic and avdevreiv as the corresponding Hellenistic 
word (in the Koiv^). In the same way Thomas Magister ^ 
warns against the use of av6evre1v as vulgar, and recom- 
mends avTohiKelv instead.® It is therefore probably a 
mere statistical accident that aWevTem has not been met with 
earlier than in the New Testament; any day may bring 
lis an ancient " profane " quotation.^ 

(16) Siarayr], "disposition, ordinance" (Ezra iv. 11; 
Rom. xiii. 2; Acts vii. 53) is said to be " purely " Biblical 
and patri^ic : the " Greeks " use instead BiaTa^if.^ Never- 
theless E. A. Sophocles * noted the word in Ruphus of 
Ephesus,^" a physician who flourished about 100 a.d. (so 
that he may well have been a contemporary of the -physician 

' Grimm, Thayer, etc., s.v. ' Page 49. 

■ The precise meaning is not completely clear, but the general idea of 
■" being master " seems to me to be decisive in this passage also. 

* Page 58 of J. Pierson's edition, quoted by Nageli, p. 50. 

' Page 18, 8 pf Ritschl's edition, quoted by Nageli, p. 49 f. This is not the 
medieval lexicographer's own wisdom, but borrowed from his predecessors. 

• Cf. Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, October 1908, p. 374; Jean 
Psichari, Efendi, Extrait des Melanges de philologie et de linguistique offerts & 
M. Louis Havet, Paris, 1908, p. 412 ff. ; L. Gernet, AvBevnis, Revue des 6tudes 
grecques, Janv.-F6vr. 1909; Ernst Fraenkel, Zeitschrift fiir vergleichende 
Sprachforschung 43, p. 214; and especially P. Kretschmer, Glotta 3, p. 289 flf. ; 
also Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 91. 

' [This expectation is now fulfilled. The new Liddell and Scott, Part 2 
1926, cites avSevreco irpos Tiva from the Berliner Griechische Urkunden, 
No. 1208,, (first cent. B.C.). In i Tim. ii. 12 the construction isd. twos. Tr.] 

' Grimm and Thayer, s.w. Thayer certainly gives the note " Inscr." on 
p. 694. 

' Greek Lexicon of the Roman and Byzantine Periods. 
" In the Collectanea Medicinalia of the phj^ician Oribasius, edited by 
Bussemaker and Daremberg, I. p. 5446!> iiovov 8« x!"l ^fi ^^^Iv^ Storoyj to owna 
avoKoiU^av els t^v tSCav Tofiv, "it is only necessary by a subsequent ordered 
way of living to bring back the body into proper order." The French editors 
translate rigime, i.e. " diet." The word has here already undergone a change 
of meaiUng. 



90 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

St. Luke). That this pagan physician should have picked 
up the word from the Christians is, I think, more improbable 
than that St. Paul and the Christian physician St. Luke 
knew it from its use among their medical contemporaries^ — 
if it was not known to them naturally apart from that. 
And in all probability it was so known to them. The word 
is not merely a technical term in medicine : the astrologer 
Vettius Valens of Antioch, of the 2nd cent. A.D., also uses it.^ 
The inscriptions and papyri add their light. Nageli ^ 
quotes inscriptions from Sardis * (Roman period), and 
Pergamum * (date uncertain), and documents from the 
Oxyrhynchus Papyri dated respectively 335(?) a.d.^ and 
362 A.D.* To these we may add (beginning with the latest) 
a letter of 343-344( ?) a.d.' from the Fayum, an inscription 
from Irbid in the Hauran (238-239 a.d.),* an inscription 
from Hierapolis ' (2nd? cent. A.D.), and an inscription 
from Oenoanda in the south-west of Asia Minor (Imperial 
period).^" Of still greater importance, if rightly restored, is 
an inscription from Antiphellus ^^ in Lycia (2nd ? cent, a.d.), 

^ Catalogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, V. 2 p. 5I1B. Kara rr/v nS 
xeXevovTos SiaTayr/jv, " according to the disposition of the person commanding." 
T. am indebted for the reference to W. KroU (letter, Miinster, 5 April, 1907). 

2 Page 38. 

' Corpus InscripHonum Graecarum, No. 3465, a votive inscription, ix Tijs 
Siaray^ff. 

* No. 358, a votive inscription, [«] Siarayijs. 

" No. 92, order for payment of wine, eV 8iaTay(^s). 

• No. 93, order for pajonent of corn, ck Sioray^j. From these four passages 
we may conclude that « SiaTayrjs, " by order," was a regular formula. 

' FayAm Towns and their Papyri, No. 133, tva t^w Ziarayriv Tijs rpvyijs 
jroi^oijTat (I take this as equivalent to iroiiJaijTe), " that ye may make disposi- 
tion concerning the harvest." 

' American Journal of Archaeology, lo (1906) p. 290, Siarayij 0A. Ovqpov 
(or [S€]otrqpov) CK hT]fi.omov, " by order of Flavins Verus (or Severus) from 
public money." 

° Altertiimer von Hierapolis [see above, p. 14, n. 1], p. 100, No. 78, d rir 
napa t^» hiaTayTjv t^v eiiiiv noi-qai, " if anyone doeth contrary to my ordinance." 
Walther Judeich {ibid. p. no) points out that in this and related inscriptions- 
from Asia Minor Si.aTa.aaea8<u, Siorafty, Siaray/ia, and Staray-j display the 
specialised meaning of " determine by testamentary disposition," etc., just like 
SiariBeodai, etc. This use was also known to St. Paul : his cmSiaTaaotodai 
(Gal. iii. 15) also refers to a testament. 

'" lieisen im siidwestlichen Kleinasien [see above, p. 17, n. i], II. p. 180, 
No. 231, Kara r-riv S!ei.yriXdoeos (sic) Siaray^i', " by order of Seigelasis." 

" Corpus InscripHonum Graecarum, No. 4300,, with the reading on p. 1128 : 
\iit\fv9vvos eoToi Tois Sid tuiv dflaiv Si.a[Tay]tJiiv wpiofiivois, " He will be liable 
to the (penalties) appointed by the divine ordinances." 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 91 

in which G. Hirschfeld (rightly, I think) explains rwv deiav 
Sio[Ta7]wi/ as " imperial ordinances." ^ This would be a 
most exact parallel to the celebrated passage in the 
Epistle to the Romans, which also refers to the Roman 
authorities. 

As we review the statistics ^ we repeat the observation 
already hinted above : we see unity and uniformity prevailing 
in the use of words wherever the international language was 
written. A supposed Biblical word can be traced in the 
Imperial period from one stage to another through the 
countries bordering on the Mediterranean : from Pergamum, 
Sardis, Ephesus, Hierapolis, by way of Oenoanda, Lycia, 
and Cilicia (St. Paul), to Antioch, the Hauran, and the little 
country towns of Egypt. Arid in Egypt we found what is 
at present the oldest example of all, the Septuagint 
Ezra iv. ir. 

(17) TTjOWTOTOKo?, " firstbom," occurs frequently in the 
Septuagint and in important religious utterances of the 
New Testament. Thayer quotes it twice from the Anthology, 
but nevertheless leaves it in his list of " Biblical " words. 
It is of some importance therefore to find in Trachonitis, 
on the undated tomb of a pagan " high priest " and " friend 
of the gods," a metrical inscription, mutilated indeed, but 
plainly showing this word.^ It is noteworthy that we have 
here, as in the Anthology, a poetical text. Another metrical 
epitaph from Rome,* Christian, and not much later than 

' Further details in Judeich, who does not accept this explanation, but 
thinks rather of some private document left by the owner of the tomb. But in 
that case how is deiwv to be explained ? Setos, " divine," has in countless 
passages the meaning of " imperial," just like the Latin divinus. See 
Chapter IV. below, p. 347. CiT biaTaaaoiim, Acts xviii. 2, with reference to 
the edict of Claudius. 

* Ludwig Mitteis (letter, Leipzig, 21 May, 1908) refers me further to the 
Leipzig Papyrus No. 97 III5, X^, XIIIi, XVIIj, (in his edition). More 
details in Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 155. 

' Epigrammata Graeca ex lapidibus collecta ed. Georgius Kaibel, Berolini, 
1878, No. 460, Ipevs yap elfu npajToroKotv ck TeXed[cov^ [^TeXerlatv] ?), " for I am 
a priest by the rites of the firstborn." Kaibel thinks that in the family of the 
deceased the firstborn always exercised the office of priest. Cf. van Herwerden, 
Lexicon, p. 710. [Cf. Pindar, 01. x. (xi.) 63, iv irpuiToyovai teActo vapdoTav . . . 
Motpai. Tr.] 

* Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 9727 = Epigrammata ed. Kaibel, 
No. 730. For the word cf. also Wikenhauser, Biblische Zeitschrift 8 (1910), 
p. 273. 



92 LIGHT FROM,. THE ANCIENT EAST 

the second ( ?) or third century, uses the word with reference 
to a firstborn " sun-child " [i.e. child born on a Sunday) 
who died at the age of two years. 

(i8) a-vyKXrjpovo/j.o's, " fellow-heir," is " unknown in pro- 
fane Greek " according to Cramer.^ He has just quoted 
Philo the Jew, who uses the word once, so we must suppose 
Cremer to be as broad-minded as the early Church in 
approximating Philo to Christianity. But even in quite 
pagan surroundings we encounter this word, the origin of 
which in the legal terminology of the day is patent on the 
face of it. In an Ephesian inscription of the Imperial 
period ^ one C. Umphuleius Bassus mentions " Eutychis 
as fellow-heir." If this woman was his wife, as is probable, 
this example is a specially fine illustration of i Peter iii. 7, 
where the wife is honoured as being (spiritually) a fellow-heir 
with her husband. Similarly an inscription ' on a sarco- 
phagus from Thessalonica (Imperial period) speaks of 
" fellow-heirs." 

(19) The word SiKaioKpta-ia "is found only in ecclesiastical 
and Biblical Greek, and that rarely," says Cremer. This 
time it is interesting to notice that Cremer * has tolerantly 
admitted to Biblical (or ecclesiastical?) precincts the Testa- 
ments of the Twelve Patriarchs, in which the word twice 
occurs.^ Now on the fourth of the month Phamenoth, in 
the year 303 a.d., a certain Aurelius Demetrius Nilus, a 
former arch-priest of Arsinoe and undoubtedly a heathen, 
caused a petition to be written (for he could not write him- 
self.*!) to the Praefect of Egypt, Clodius Culcianus, who is 
known to us from the time of the Diocletian persecution. 

1 »Page 584. ♦ 

^ The Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, III. 
No. 633 (p. 249), Evrvxtio^ .... o[vy]K\ripov6[iu>v ain]oS. 

" Athenische Mitteilungen 2i (1896) p. 98 : ovvK><^p(ov6ii)oiv. 

' "Page 339. 6 Test. Levi 3 and 15. 

° Cf. line II of the petition-, Siaro aypijiiiwrov fie elvai, " because I cannot 
write." [Cf. also p. 166, n. .7, and p. 222 below. But allowance must some- 
times be made for the mock-modesty of the " unlearned." Does not Jordanes, " 
the 6th cent, historian of the Goths, say of himself " Ego item, quamvis 
agrammatus, lordanis ante conversionem meara notariusfui " (Getica 50)? 
In Old English charters the signatures are not autographs of the witnesses. 
This fact, however, and even the celebrated " ignorantia literarum " of 
King Wihtred of Kent ift the 8th cent. (J. Earle, Land Charters, p. 333) is 
no proof of their general inability to write. Tr.] 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 93 

The petitioner appealed confidently, " being of good hope 
to obtain righteous judgment from thy Magnificence." ^ 
In this passage the word SiKaioKpiaia stands really for 
that which is the outcome of just judgment, viz. " a just 
sentence." In Romans ii. 5 the radical meaning, " just 
judgment," ^ suffices, and Cremer's discrimination between 
" judgment which does justice " and " judgment in accord- 
ance with justice " is doubtless too fine. 

(20) The word KaT^ywp, " accuser" (which also occurs as 
a borrowed word in the Talmud), is probably still regarded 
by most commentators on Rev. xii. 10 as a Biblical speciality 
traceable to a Hebrew ' or Aramaic * adaptation of the 
Greek Karijyopoi;. The question why KdTrj<yopo<! is always 
used elsewhere in the New Testament is either not raised 
at all or tacitly answered by reference to the supposed 
strongly Hebrew character of the Revelation. We find 
the word, however, in a very vulgar magical formula in a 
British Museum papyrus (No. 124) of the fourth or fifth 
century a.d., where it refers not to the devU, as in the 
Biblical passage, but to human enemies.^ The pap5a'us 
itself is late ; the formula, however, to judge by the analogy 
of other magical prescriptions, is older; and, in spite of the 
strongly syncretic character of the papyrus, there is nothing 
which points to a Jewish or Christian origin for this formula.* 

1 The OxyTh3mchus Papyri No. 71 I4, €veXms av t^s ano aoO juyiBovs 
SutoLOKpiatas Tvxetv. The passage is referred to by Nageli, p. 48, and by 
Lietzmann on Romans ii. 5. The scribe who drew up this petition knew the 
word from ofi&cial usage, not from the Bible. Further details in Moulton 
and MUligan, Vocabulary, p. 161. 

^ Cf . 2 Thess. i. 5, t-^s Sixaias Kpiaeois ; John vii. 24, rflv Sixalav Kpiow Kpivare. 

' W. Bousset on the passage in Meyer's Commentary, XVI," Gottingen, 
1906, p. 342. 

* P. W. Schmiedel, in his new edition of Winer's Grammar, Gottingen, 1894, 
§8-, 13 (p. 85 f.). 

' Greek Papyri in the British Museum, ed. F. G. Kenyon (Vol. I.), London, 
1893, p. 122, Bv^Karoxov Trpos Tiavras iroiotv nout yap irpos €;^5poi)s Kal Kar-qyopas 
Koi Atjotui' (xai) ifio^ovs Kal (jiavToaiiois ovelptav, " a charm to bind the senses, 
effective against everybody : for it works against enemies and accusers and 
fears of robbers and dream-spectres." Bv/wKaroxov, which often occurs as a 
title to magical prescriptions, I take- (in the sense which Karixui often has, 
cf. Chapter IV below, p. 306, n. 4) to mean that the enemy's senses will be 
paralysed. [Eduard Norden, letter, Gross-Lichterfelde W., 3 September, 1908, 
makes the excellent suggestion to delete the third Koi. The translation thus 
becomes " fears of robbers " instead of " robbers and terrors."] 

' The formula next following has been influenced by Judaeo-Christian 
conceptions of angels. 



94 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

The only thing that can be ascertained with certainty is 
the vulgar character of the formula, and the word /carjjyaj/j 
is also — as in the vulgar Greek Revelation of St. John — a 
vulgarism. "^ 

The philologists who have discussed the word recently ^ 
are doubtless on the right track : uaTrj-fcop is a vulgar " back 
formation " from the genitive plural KaTijyopojv, on the 
analogy of prjropav. Nearly all of them * quote, among 
numerous vulgar formations of the same kind, the word 
Bid/etov (= Bia.Kovo<i), and refer to the Charta Borgiana 
(191-192 A.D.) for the earliest example of .its use. The 
phenomenon in general is very old,* and in this special 
case a much earlier example can be quoted : a papyrus letter 
from the Fayum, dated 4 December, 75 a.d., and now at 
Berlin, has the dative rwt Skikcovi.^ It is therefore impos- 
sible to call SitiKcav " late," as Blass even did * ; or at least 
it is impossible in a New Testament Grammar, for this 
example is no doubt older than the Revelation. 

(2 1) With regard to KaraKpca-i^," condemnation, ' ' Cremer ' 
expresses himself somewhat more cautiously : "a word 
that appears to be found only in Biblical and ecclesiastical 
Greek." The appearance, however, was deceptive. Chris- 
tianity had no more need of a special word for " condemna- 
tion " 8 than it has call to be jealous in claiming the sole 
possession of words for "a curse," " to curse," and "cursed."® 

* Blau, Papyri und Talmud, p. 17, suggests convincingly that the borrowed 
word sanegor "defender, advocate," in the Talmud is derived from a vulgar 
form avvriytojp. 

* Wilhelra Schmid, Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1895, p. 42 ; Wochen- 
schrift fiir klassische Philologie, 16 (1899) col. 541 f., 18 (1901) col. 602; 
A. Thumb, Die gnechische Sprache im Zeitalter des Hellehismus, p. 126; 
P. Wendland, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, n (1902) p. 189; L. Radermacher, 
Rheinisches Museum fiir Philologie, New Series 57 (1902) p. 148; Neutesta- 
mentliche Grammatik, p. 15. 

' Even Schmiedel, in spite of his other statement. 

* Wilhelm Schmid, Wochenschrift fur klassische Philologie, 18 (1901) 
col. 602. 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 597,. The iota adscript in the article 
and elsewhere in the letter shows that the writer wished to be elegant; he 
no doubt considered the word hmKmv to be good Greek. F. Rostalski (letter, 
Myslowitz, 13 Dec, 1911) refers me to Acta Johannis II. i, p. 209,4, where 
there is MS. authority for SuiKove;. 

• Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch,^ p. 30 ; [Eng. trans.,' p. 29, 
n. 2]. 

' 'Page 610. ' John iii. 17. » Cf. the following nos. 22, 23. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 95 

The " Biblical " word ^ KaraKpiaii! is found more than once 
in the astrologer Vettius Valens of Antioch (second century 

A.D.).2 

(22) avaOefiari^o), " I curse," literally "I devote (to the 
lower world) " ^ — there was surely no reason for the Bible 
religion to be particularly proud of having invented such a 
word, and yet according to Cremer * and other lexicographers 
it is found " only in Biblical and ecclesiastical Greek." 
Among the ancient lead tablets published and discussed 
by Richard Wiinsch in the preface to his collection of Attic 
cursing-tablets * we find, however, one of the first or second 
century a.d., a heathen curse from Megara, now in the 
State Museum at Berlin, which throws a new light on the 
words dvaOefia and dvadefiaTL^ct. At the end of the whole 
formula there is a separate line of large letters * making 
up the word ANE0EMA, which is obviously a form of con- 
clusion—" curse ! " We find further in line 5 f. dvaffefia- 
Ti^[ofi]ev avTov<;, in line 8 f. tovtovs dva6e/ia[TC]^ofjL€V, and 
on the back, line 8 f., dvadefjiaTl[^]ofi€P tovto[v^] : " we 
curse them," three times over. We must therefore say that 
dvdOefia, meaning " curse," belonged also to the pagan 
vocabulary, and that dvaBefxarlt^ai will have to be removed 
from the list of merely " Bibhcal " or " ecclesiastical " 
words. We may still reckon with the remote possibility 

* Thayer, in his list. 

" I am indebted for the references to the kindness of W. KroU (letter dated 
Miinster, 5 April, 1907) : Caialogus Codicum Astrologorum Graecorum, V. 2, 
P- 7334" here Valens speaks irepl BeGfiwv koI avvox^v koX aTroKpv^tuv TrpayfidTwv 
Koi KaroKpCaews Kal aripilas, " about bonds and distresses and secret diiticulties 
and condemnation and dishonour " ; and in KroU's edition, I. 1 1735, he speaks 
of t^BoviKoX (KroU : ^w/coi ?) KaTOJcpiacis, " condemnations for envy (murder ?)." 

' For what follows cf. Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 2 
(1901) p. 342; also Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 33. 

* 'Page 1003. 

* Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, Appendix (= Inscriptiones Graecae, III. 
2) p. xiii f., and now accessible also in Wiinsch's Antike Fluchtafeln, p. 4 ff. 
[or in A. AudoUent, Defixionum Tabellae quotquot innotuerunt, Paris, 1904, 
41 B. Tr.] 

" Cf. the facsimile, loc. cit. p. xiii. avtdeiia. = avaSeiia. The weakening of 
the accented a to e is probably not without analogies. Nageli, p. 49, following 
a hintTjf Wackernagel's, looks upon it as an example of vulgar Greek misplaced 
extension of the augment to a derivative; so also Wiinsch, Antike Finch-' 
tafeln, p. 5, and Nachmanson, Beitrdge zur Kenntnis der altgriecMschen 
Volkssprache, Upsala, 1910, p. 572. Rostalski (letter, 13 Dec, 1911) on 
the other hand notes iKoBepuiev in Acta Andreae et Matthiae, II. i, p. 77,. 



96 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

that the verb was first coined by Greek Jews : technical 
expressions in magic are of all places the most likely in 
which to assume that the international language had been 
influenced by Judaism. 

(23) The classical Greek for " cursed " is apuTo^, eirdparois, 
or KardpaTo^. In the Septuagint we find KardpaTov rarely, 
but a fourth word, iiriieaTdpaTo^, occurs frequently. As it 
was met with elsewhere " only " in the New Testament, 
it has been reckoned among the words that are "only" 
Biblical and ecclesiastical,^ — as though Christianity had 
any need to plume itself on the possession of this special 
word. But why the secular words were not suf&cient, 
and how far a " Biblical " distinction was secured by the 
erri prefixed, these questions have never been raised. From 
the point of view of historical grammar the correct thing 
would have been to assume iiriKaTapdofiai and eTriKaTdpaTot 
to be instances of those double compounds or " decom- 
posites " ^ which become more and more common in later 
Greek, and to regard eVi, therefore, as a late Greek, not a 
Biblical, feature. We are therefore not surprised to find 
the adjective used in a pagan inscription from Euboea ' 
of the second century a.d.* The inscription must be pagan, 
for the .Erinyes, Charis, and Hygeia are named in it as 
goddesses. If it should be thought, on account of the 
Septuagint formulae occurring in this inscription,* that 
Septuagint influence might account for eTrt/eara/oaTo?,* we 
can refer to a pagan inscription from Halicarnassus, of the 
second or third centuty a.d., now in the British Museum.' 

1 Grimm and Thayer, s.v. 

^ Cf. Wilhelm Schmid, Dey Atticismus, IV. p. 708 ff. ; Mayser, Grammatik 
der griechischen Papyri, p. 497 ff. ; Arnold Steubing, Der paulinische Begriff 
" Ckristusleiden," a Heidelberg Dissertation, Darmstadt, 1905, p. 9. 

' E<lnjiicpts ApxatoXoyiKj], 189Z, col. 173 ff. ; Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 891. 
Cf. above, p.. 23, n. 4. 

* 'E-jTiKaTaipaTos ootls firf ^€i8olto Kara TovSe rov ^wpov rovBe rov epyov, " cursed 
whoever doth not spare this place with this work " (viz. a monument on a 
tomb). 

' Cf. above, p. 23, n. 4. 

' Nageli, who quotes this inscription (p. 60), is so cautious as to make this 
suggestion. It must be noted, however, that the extremely numerous 
emKorapaTos passages in the Septuagint never employ the formula of the 
inscription, emKardpaTos Saris. If the word were taken over from the 
Septuagint we should expect in this case the construction also to be borrowed. 

' Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 2664 = The Collection of Ancient 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 97 

{24) vsKpow, "I make dead, mortify," is one of the 
" Biblical " words that Thayer even in his list secularises 
by reference to Plutarch, the Anthology, and inscriptions. 
In his article on the word he adds to these Epictetus and 
Marcus Aurelius, but he nowhere actually cites an inscrip- 
tion. He may have been thinking of the metrical epitaph 
of one M. Aurelius Eutychus (Athens, Roman period),^ 
which employs the phrase " body deceased " or " dead 
body " and thus furnishes an excellent parallel to Rom. iv. 19. 

(25) ava^^aa, " I live again, revive," which occurs several 
times in the New Testament, is regarded by Grimm, Thayer,^ 
and Cremer as specifically a New Testament and ecclesiastical 
word. Cremer ' even explains why Christianity had to invent 
the word : " the dva^t&vai of profane Greek does not suit 
the soteriological sense of the Biblical fmj?." 

Without raising the question why, if that were so, it was 
not necessary to find a substitute for the secular substantive 
ifcB?/, we are able in the first place to quote from Nicander,* 
a poet of the second century B.C., at least the verb dva^axo, 
which the lexicons describe as a poetical form of ava^dw. 
We find the Biblical word, however, in Sotion,^ a narrator 
of marvels who possibly belongs to the first century a.d.,* 
and again in Artemidorus,'' an interpreter of dreams in the 

Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, IV. i, No. 918, ci tis Se (the same 
collocation as in i Cor. viii. 2, Cod. 37; frequent also in the inscriptions 
of Hierapolis, cf. Altertiimer von Hierapolis, p. 201) «mx"P^« AifloK ipai ij 
Avtrai ouTo, iJTui emKarapaTOS rals irpoytyjoa/i/ttvoij apats, " but if anyone shall 
attempt to take away a stone or to destroy the monument, let him be cursed 
with the imprecations written above." 

' Inscriptiones Graecae, III. 2, No. 1355, "AvBpame . . . ii-^ p.ov TrapdXBris cr<J/ia 
TO vev[e]Kp[ai]ii€vov, " man ! pass not (unheeding) by my body dead I " Cf. 
van Herwerden, Lexicon, p. 555. 

' In his list of " Biblical " words Thayer adds to dvajaco the note " Inscr." — 
another of these remarkable contradictions in so exact a writer. 

' "Page 464. 

* Fragment in Athenaeus, IV. 11, 133 D, Bepiiots S' iKfiavBetaoi ava^iiovo' 
iSdreooo', " Till that the warm rains fall, and moistened therewith they revive 
. them." 

' ilapoSo^oypo^oi Scriptores Rerum Mirabilium Graeci ed. Antonius Wester- 
mann, Brunsvigae, 1839, p. 183, Trapa KiXiKCq. (j)aaiv vSaros elvaC ri avanjfia, ev (p 
rd ireTTviyfieva rwv opveuiv Kal rihv aXoyixsv ^<i>ct)V efi^pax^vTa dva^^v, " they say 
that in the neighbourhood of Cilicia there is a body of water, in which 
strangled birds and irrational creatures, if plunged therein, come to life." 

' Westermann, Praefatio (p. L). 

' iv. 82, according to the reading of the Codex Laurentianus, preferred by 
the editor, J. G. Reiff, Leipzig, 1805. Here again the subject is the return to 



98 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

second century a.d. A Cretan inscription ^ of unascertained 
date, which moreover requires restoration, was referred to 
by Nageli.2 In the fifth century we still find the word 
ava^doj used in a physical sense, as in the above-quoted 
passages, by the Christian writer Nilus * ; and the late 
lexicographers of antiquity, quoted by Nageli, now supple- 
mented by the newly discovered fragment of Photius,* give 
it as a synonym for ava^iaxTKOfiat and ava^ioa. 

Our conclusion, therefore, must be this : aval^aa), " I live 
again," is an international Greek word, and its radical 
(physical) meaning, which can be traced through many 
centuries, has been hallowed and given 'an ethical content 
by Christianity. Cremer's theory would reverse all this, 
and we should have to deplore the profanation of a " Chris- 
tian " word. 

(26) evirpoamTTem, " I look well, make a fair show " (Gal. vi, 
12 ; and as a variant in the hexaplaric text * of Psalm cxl. 
[cxli.] 6), is described by Cremer ^ as "not discoverable in 
profane Greek." We find it, however, in the letter of the 
Egyptian Polemon to his " brother " Menches (114 B.C.),' 
clearly used no longer in the physical sense,* but (as by 

life of one supposed to be dead. R. Hercher inserts the reading dvajSiovv 
in the text of his edition, Leipzig, 1864. 

* Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 2566 = Sammlung der griechischen 
Dialekt-Inschriften, edited by H. CoUitz and F. Bechtel, III. 2, Gottingen 
1905, No. 4959, edited by F. Blass. A woman, 'ApxoviKa, fulfils a vow to 
Artemis which she had made " on coming to life again," ava^Siaa. The text is 
not quite clear.' Hiller von Gaertringen pointed out to me (letter, Berlin, 
MeyoAooojSjSaToi' [i.e., the Saturday before Easter, 30 March], 1907) that Blass 
has forgotten to print tixav at the end. 

* Page 47. 

' In Photius, Bibliotheca, p. 5133, (quoted from the Thesaurus Graecae 
Linguae), 01 yap kokkoi fura Ttjv eV o^^eoi; vdKpaioiv xai (fiBopav avaCtHHii, " for the 
seeds come to life again after death and destruction by decay." 

* Der Anfang des Lexikons des Photios, edited by R. Reitzenstein, Leipzig 
and Berlin, 1907, p. 107 : dvaPiaiaKfoBai- avaij^i'. 

' Origenis Hexaplorum quae supersunt cone. F. Field, t. II., Oxonii, 1875, 
p. 297, notes an oAAo; who has finpoocamaB'qaav and the variant tvnpoadmjadv. 
The Thesaurus Graecae Linguae (with false reference to " Proverb.") describes 
ivirpooumioBrioav, with doubtful correctness, as a contamination. 

" 'Page 765. 

' The Tebtunis Papyri No. I9iir, onus tvTrpoaom&iitv, " so that we may 
make a, fair appearance." J. H. Moulton, The Expositor, February 1903, 
p. 114, called attention to this passage. 

■ The physical meaning is of course the original one. We may imagine it 
so used by physicians. W. Pape's Handworterbuch (2nd ed., 4th reprint, 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 99 

St. Paul) with reference to winning the good opinion of one's 
neighbours. 

(27) When St. Paul preached as a missionary in Athens 
he was suspected by Stoic and Epicurean opponents of being 
" a setter forth of strange gods : because he preached Jesus 
and Anastasis " (Acts xvii. 18). The word KarayyeXev'} 
" proclaimer, herald, setter forth," here placed in the mouth 
of the pagan philosophers, is according to Cremer ^ and others 
only found in this passage " and in- ecclesiastical Greek." 
Even if no quotations were forthcoming from profane sources, 
this isolation of the word would for intrinsic reasons be highly 
questionable; for although the sentence containing it is in 
the Bible, it is not a " Biblical " but a pagan utterance, 
emanating from the pagan opposition, and of its authenticity 
Cremer can have had no doubt. A less hasty examination 
would have led to the recognition of the word as pagan on 
internal grounds. As a matter of fact it is found on a marble 
stele recording a decree of the Mytilenaeans in honour of the 
Emperor Augustus (between 27 and 11 B.C.)." 

(28) In the First Epistle of St. Peter v. 3 f . we read » : 
"... making yourselves ensamples to the ilock. And when 
the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive the crown of 
glory that fadeth not away." 

The " chief Shepherd " of course is Jesus ; the correspond- 
ing Greek word, apxnrolfirjv.is according to Cremer* imknown 
except in this passage. One is tempted to regard it as a 
Christian invention ; some people, I daresay, detect a sort 
of official ring in the word. It is possible, however, to show 
that the apostle, far from inventing the word, was merely 
borrowing. A slip of wood (Figure 10) that once hung round 

Braunschweig, 1866, p. 982) s.v. refers to " Galen," i.e. the ph3^ician Galen of 
the 2nd century a.d., but this is only by a cheerful misunderstanding of some 
preceding dictionary, probably Passow's, which rightly refers to " ep. Gal. 6, 
12." " Gal." it is true does also stand for " Galen " in Passow. Thus the 
Epistle to the Galatians has been turned into an epistle of Galen's ! There 
is some right instinct after all in the mistake, for the word was probably a 
medical expression to begin with. 

• 'Page 32. 

• Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. ^$6i^=Inscrip- 
tiones Craecae, XII. 2, No. sSj,,, KarayycXeis tUv irpunw a{x)9riab[ji(iiiuv 
ayamcm], " heralds of the first games that shall be held." 

• On this subject cf. Die Christliche Welt, 18 (1904) col. 77 f. 

• »Page 906. 



100 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the neck of an Egyptian mummy, of the Roman period, has 
been found with the following Greek inscription, ^ designed to 
establish the identity of the deceased : — 



Tfpos d/);(tirot- 
<T(V €t£i' ' . . . 



Plenis the younger, chief 
shepherd's. Lived . . . years. 



The genitive here, " chief shepherd's," is probably a mere 
slip in writing,* but the occurrence of such a slip is of some 
interest. Had the deceased been a person of distinction 
the inscription would have been more carefully executed. 
This label was hurriedly written for a man of the people, for 
an Egyptian peasant who had served as overseer of, let us 
say, two or three shepherds, or perhaps even half a dozen.^ 
If a reading of Carl Wessely's ® may be trusted, we have the 
same title again on another mummy-label ; '' but I believe 
from the facsimile that the word is not really there. A 
Leipzig papyrus, however, of the year 338 a.d. also contains 
the word,* and the two undoubted examples are sufficient : 
they show " chief shepherd " to have been a title in genuine 
use among the people. Moreover, the Thesaurus Graecae 
Linguae had already quoted the word from the Testaments 
of the Twelve Patriarchs,' and Symmachus (c. 200 a.d.) uses 

1 Cf. E. Le Blant, Revue ArcMologique, 28 (1874) p. 249; the facsimile 
(see our Fig. 10) is in Plate 23, fig. 14. I do not know where the tablet now is. 

2 On the name cf. a hint in the Deutsche Literaturzeitung 1916, No. 31, 
col. 1399. 

' N. Bees in his edition of Nikolaus Miiller's Inschriften vom Monteverde, 
p. 124, rightly explains this peculiar construction, of which there are other 
examples, as arising from contamination. In the present text he proposes 
to read erai v, " 50 years " ; «t<3 would be equivalent to iruiv (with loss of 
final v). Not impossible, but in my opinion improbable. 

* Prof. Konnecke (letter, Braunschweig, 29 Aug., 1913) conjectures that the 
original draft may have read dpxnroi/ir/v or ipiuiaev. 

' Wilcken (note on proof-sheets of the first edition of this book) thinks he 
may have been the master of a guild of shepherds ; for something similar see 
Wilcken, Ostraka, I. p. 332. 

' Mittheilungen aus der Sammlung der Papyrus Erzherzog Rainer, V., 
Wien, 1892, p. 17. Wessely reads dpx"roifi(iji'). 

' Also in Le Blant, p. 248; facsimile, Plate 21, fig. 9. 

' Ludwig Mitteis (letter, Leipzig, 21 May, 1908) referred me to the passage, 
No. 97 XI (in his edition). 

' Testamentum Judae, c. 8. The occurrence of the word has no bearing 
on the question of the Christian origin of this work. — At the present day the 




Fig. io. — Wooden Mummy-label from Egypt, Imperial Period. 
By permission of M. Ernest Leroiix, of Paris. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT loi 

it in his version of 2 Kings iii. 4. The Christians called their 
Saviour " the chief Shepherd," but this was not crowning 
Him with jewelled diadem of gold : it was more like plaiting 
a wreath of simple green leaves to adorn His brow. 

(29} irpoa-Kvi/TjTi]':, "a worshipper," is according to Cremer^ 
" unknown in pre-Christian Greek, and very rare afterwards, 
e.g. in inscriptions." Which inscriptions are meant is not 
stated. The plural " inscriptions " is no doubt traceable to 
Passow or Pape s.v., where " Inscr." certainly means " In- 
scriptiones," though the plural must not be pressed. As a 
matter of fact the only inscription of which these lexico- 
graphers could have had knowledge must have been one of the 
third century a.d. from Baetocaece, near Apamea in Syria, 
reprinted from Chandler in the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum 
(No. 4474bi), so that Cremer's statement would seem to be 
about right. 

In the addenda,^ however, he informs us that " the word 
was not entirely unknown in pre-Christian Greek," and quotes 
an inscription (Waddington 3, 2720a) from the same place 
in Syria containing a decree ^ drawn up in the interests of 
" the worshippers that come up " * and communicated to 
the Emperor Augustus. 

This inscription, however, is identical with the one referred 
to above; it has been repeatedly discussed of late.* Though 
carved in the third century this example of the use of 
irpoa-KvuTjTrji: is really pre-Christian; the inscription in fact 
includes older documents : a letter of a King Antiochus, and 
the old decree that was sent to Augustus. 

Other, examples are at present unknown to me. I know 
no foundation for van Hferwerden's statement,* that the word 
is frequent in inscriptions and papyri. 

Chfelingas, the hereditary leaders of the pastoral Vlachs, are called ipximiliiriv 
by the Greeks (K. Baedeker, Greece,' Leipzig, 1905, p. xlix.). How old this 
title is, I cannot say. — ^The remark of the lexicographer Hesychius, that among 
the Cretans dpxiAAor was the name for the apxivoi/iTiv, shows that the word was 
in use at any rate in the time of Hesychius. 

' "Page 616. ' Page 11 20. 

' Cremer says " petition." 

' Tots avioiati (sjc ; Cremer has anovai) n-poaicuiTjToir. 

' E.g. Dittenberger, Orieniis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 262; Hans 
Lucas, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 14 (1903) p. 21 ff. 

* lexicon, p. 702. 



102 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

(30) Trpoa-KapTepria-i^., "perseverance, constancy," which 
the lexicons hitherto have quoted only from Eph. vi. 18, is 
strangely enough described by Cremer ^ not as Biblical but 
as a " late " Greek word. This is because he here follows 
Pape, who marks the word as " late " though he certainly can 
have known no example of its use outside the Bible. Thayer 
includes the word in his " Biblical " list. It can now be 
quoted from two Jewish manumissions recorded in inscrip- 
tions at Panticapaeum on the Black Sea, one * belonging to 
the year 81 a.d., and the other ^ nearly as old, These inscrip- 
tions, I admit, will not do more than disprove the supposed 
" Biblical " peculiarity of the word. There is perhaps still 
the possibility that irpoaKapTeprjai^ was a Jewish coinage of 
the Diaspora, although I can see no obvious intrinsic reason 
for its being so. 

(31) The Greek word used for the veil or curtain that 
separated the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in the 
Temple at Jerusalem isKaTaireraafjLa, literally "that which is 
spread out downwards, that which hangs down." That this 
word should be found in Thayer's " Biblical " list is not in 
itself surprising, for the idea before us is a technical one, 
connected with the apparatus of worship. The occurrence of 
the word in the Epistle of Aristeas, in Philo and Josephus, 
would not affect the case, for these writers knew the word 
from the Septuagint. Nevertheless it cannot be that we 
have here to do with a Biblical or Judaeo-Christian * speciality, 
created by the Septuagint. An inscription from Samos, 
346-5 B.C.,* cataloguing the furniture of the temple of Hera, 

1 'Page 570. * 

^ Inscriptiones Antiquae Orae Septentrionalis Fonti Euxini Graecae et 
Latinae ed. Basilius Latyschev, II., Petropoli, 1890, No. S2j,_i5, x'^'P'^s 'S Tf^li" 
■npo\a\evxt]V Bomias tc koI irpoCTKo[pTcp]^(7e<uj, " besides reverence and constancy 
towards the place of prayer " (Boivela, which generally means " flattery," is 
here used in the good sense of " reverence "). Schiirer, Geschichte des judischen 
Volkes, III.' p. S3, points to the analogy betvireen this inscription and the 
striking usage in the New Testament of combining the verb npooKaprepda) 
regularly with irpoaevxn (meaning " prayer " : it could hardly be " place of 
prayer "). With regard to this verb cf. P. M. Meyer on Pap. Hamb. I. (1911) 
No. 4, p. 16 f. 

» » Op. cit. No. 53, with the same formula as in No. 52, which we may there- 
fore take to have been a standing expression. 

' That is the opinion of Kennedy, Sources, p. 113. 

> In Otto Hoffmann, Die Griechischen Dialekte, III., Gottingen, 1898, p. 72 
(from Ath. Mitt. 7, p. 367 ff.; cf. van Herwerden, Lexicon, pp. 433, 717) ; 
KOTOirtTotr/io r^s rpwnit,'r\%, " table-cover." 




Fig. h. — Stele with Decree of Honour from Synie, 2nd cent. B.C. Now in 
tlie cliapel of St. Micliael Tharrinos, Syme. By permission of tlie Austrian 
Arcliaeological Institute. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 103 

furnishes an example which is a century eariier, and par- 
ticularly valuable because it shows the word employed in a 
religious context and incidentally corrects the description 
" Alexandrian " ^ with which the lexicons had mechanically 
labelled it. 

(32) firiavvaycoyrj, found only in 2 Mace. ii. 7, 2 Thess. ii. I, 
and Heb. x. 25, where it denotes various senses of the word 
" assembly," is according to Cremer ^ " unknown in profane 
Greek." As (rwayoayjl itself was originally a profane word, 
one is incUned to ask why i-niawayayr) should be different, 
especially as the profane <Tvva,ywyr) became among the Jews 
(and occasionally among the Christians) the technical expres- 
sion for the (assembled) congregation and the house in which 
they met. As a matter of fact a mere statistical accident 
was the cause of error here, and a second accident has very 
happily corrected the first. In the island of Syme, oil the 
coast of Caria, there has been discovered, built into the altar 
of the chapel of St. Michael Tharrinos, the upper portion of a 
stele inscribed with a decree in honour of a deserving citizen.' 
The writing is considered to be not later than 100 B.C., so 
that the inscription is probably older than the Second Book 
of Maccabees. By the kind permission of the Austrian 
Archaeological Institute I am able to reproduce here (Figure 11) 
a facsimile of the whole stele (including the lower portion, 
jvhich was discovered earlier). 

On the upper fragment of this stele we find our word in 
the general meaning of "collection"*; the difference 
between it and the common avvayayrj is scarcely greater than 
between, say, the English " collecting " and " collecting 
together " ^ : the longer Greek word was probably more to 
the taste of the later period. 

1 Even Thayer says, s.v. Karairiraaijut, that it is an Alexandrian Greek word, 
for which " other " Greeks used irapaireToaiia. But in the identical inventory 
mentioned above, containing the KaTaTriraaii.a t^s TpaiTet,r)s, we find irapcme- 
raafuna noted immediately afterwards. The two words therefore do not 
coincide. ^ 'Page 79. 

' Jahreshefte des Osterreichischen Archaologischen Institutes in Wien, 7 
(1904) p. 81 ff. (with facsimile, p. 84) = Inscriptiones Graecae, XII. 3 Suppl. 
No.*i270. 

* Lines 11 and 12 : toj St imavvayoilyas rov Sio^opou yivofuvas TroXvxpovlov, 
" the collection, however, of the (sum to defray) expenses proving a matter of 
long time " (the translation was sent me by the editor, Hiller von Gaertringen, 
in a letter, Berlin, 18 July, 1905). 

' [In German Sammlung and Ansammlung. Tr.] 



104 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

The stone which has estabHshed the secular character of 
this Bible word— the heathen stone of Syme built into the 
altar of the Christian chapel of St. Michael — may be taken as 
symbolical. It will remind us that in the vocabulary of our 
sacred Book there is embedded material derived from the 
language of the surrounding world. 

Even without the stone we could have learnt the. special 
lesson, for the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae had already 
registered the word in the geographer Ptolemy and in the 
title of the third book of Artemidorus, the interpreter of 
dreams, both of the 2nd century a.d., and later in Proclus. 
Such " post-Christian " " late " passages, however, generally 
fail to impress the followers of Cremer's method, and there- 
fore the pre-Christian, and (if importance be attached to the 
book) pre-Maccabean inscription is very welcome. 

In the above examples it has often happened that the 
secularisation of a " Biblical " word has been effected by 
more than one solitary quotation, e.g. from a papyrus ; again 
and again we have seen such words occurring outside the 
Bible in secular uses both in Egypt and also in Asia Minor.'^ 
This uniformity (or we might say, these real Koivrj character- 
istics) in the vocabulary of the Koivrj — an observation of 
some importance to our total estimate of international 
Greek — may now in conclusion receive further illustration 
from certain new discoveries relating to the curious word 
Xoyela (Xoyia),' "a (charitable) collection," which I have 
already dealt with elsewhere.* 

This word, occurring " only " in i Cor. xvi. i, 2, has been 
given a false etymology * and has sometimes even been 
regarded as an invention of St. Paul's.^ The etymology, 

' Another typical example is aiTofUrpiov, used in Luke xii. 42 for " a portion 
of corn." In Bibelstudien, p. 156 {Bible Studies, p. 158], I was only able to 
quote it from Egypt (cf. also Mayser, Grammatik der griechischen Papyri, 
p. 431). We now find it in an Opramoas inscription of 149 a.d. at Rhodiapolis 
in Lycia, with the spelling aeiTOfUrpi-ov (Heberdey, Opramoas, p. 50, xix Aj) ; 
its exact meaning here is not clear to me. 

• This second spelling has also been found now in the new texts, e.g. in the 
Thebes ostracon given on p. 105 below. 

• Bibelstudien, p. 139 ff. ; Neue Bibelstudien, p. 46 f. [Bible Studies, pp. 142, 
219]. Cf. also Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, p. 377. 

• From Xdyui. 

' Cf. Bibelstudien, p. 139 [Bible Studies, p. 142]. 




Fig. 12. — Ostracon, Thebes, 4 August, 63 a.d. Receipt for Isis Collection. 
Now in the Berlin Museum. By perrnission of the Directors of the State 
Museums. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 105 



however, is now definitely ascertained : it comes from 
\076ua), " I collect," a verb which, like the derivate, was found 
for the first time comparatively recently in papyri, ostraca, 
and inscriptions ^ from Egypt and elsewhere. We find it 
used chiefly of religious^ collections for a god, a temple, etc., 
just as St. Paul uses it of his collection of money ^ for the 
" saints " at Jerusalem. Out of the large number of new 
examples from Egypt * I select an ostracon which comes 
very near in date to the First Epistle to the Corinthians. It 
was written on 4 August, 63 a.d., discovered at Thebes in 
Egypt, ' and is now in the Berlin Museum.* For the photo- 
graph (Figure 12) I am indebted to the kind offices of Wilhelm 
Schubart. 
The little document ' runs as follows : — 



^eva/jLovvK UeKvcrioi 

naTtrJcrios i^.* (iTrt^o) ira- 

X 
pa trou S ^' S 0/80 ^^ Trjv Xoyiav 
ItriSos Trept tS>v &i]iJiO(ria>v 
L ^ ivdrov Nepwi/os Tov Kvpiov 
Mfcrop^ ia. 



Psenamunis, the son of Pecysis, 
phennesis,^' to the homologos ^* 
Pibuchis, the son of Pateesis, 
greeting. I have received from 
thee 4 drachmae i obol, being 
the collection of Isis on behalf 
of the public works. In the 
year nine of Nero the lord.^^ 
Mesore nth. 



» Cf. A. Wilhelm, Athenische Mitteilungen, 23 (1898) p. 416 f.; Wilcken, 
Griechische Ostraha, I. p. 255, etc. 

' As shown especially by the ostraca, Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, I. 
P- 253 ff. 

' A most grotesque theory was put forward as late as 1897 by Linke in the 
Festschrift fiir Professor D. Fricke (cf. Theol. Literaturblatt, 19 [1898] col. 
121). He suggests that the " great Ipgia" in the field of St. Paul's missionary 
labours was not a collection of money but a determination of the forms of 
doctrine and liturgical formulations that had arisen within the churches 
through special gifts of the Spirit. St. Paul, he thinks, wishes to obtain the 
results of the thought and prayer, revelations and spiritual hymns of each 
single church in the course of an ecclesiastical year. The parallel to the 
modern German system of church returns is so close that one wonders almost 
at the omission of statistics of mixed marriages ! 

' Cf. especially Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, I. p.. 253 ff. ; J. H. Moulton, 
The Expositor, February 1903, p. 116, December 1903, p. 434; Mayser, 
Grammatik der griechischen Papyri, p. 417. 

» Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, II. No. 413. • No. 4317. 

' For explanation of the contents cf. the commentary in Wilcken, Griechische 
Ostraka, II. p. 253 ff., and Archiv, 4, p. 267. 

' i.e. 6iio(\6yii>). ' i.e. x(<"'pM>'). "" i.e. Spaxiids. 

'' i.e. d;8oA(o'v). '^ i.e. erovs. 

[For notes 13 to 15 see next page. 



lo6 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Beyond the numerous instances of the use of the word 
in Egypt, the only witness for the word in Asia Minor was 
St. Paul. Inscriptions now forthcoming from Asia Minor 
are therefore a very welcome addition to the statistics. A 
marble tablet of about the first century A.D., found at Sm5Tna,^ 
enumerates among the votive gifts presented by a benefactor 
of the god and the city " a gilded and . . . key for the collec- 
tion and procession of the gods." In this instance, not far 
removed in date from the First Epistle to the Corinthians, 
the word is used in a sacred connexion, but the oldest example 
from Asia Minor hitherto known no doubt refers to secular 
matters.* A limestone slab, found at Magnesia on the 
Maeander, and now at Berlin, is inscribed with the award of 
the people of Magnesia in a dispute between Hierapytna and 
Itanus in the year 138 or 132 b.c.^ By the kind permission 
of the Museum authorities at Berlin I am enabled to give 
here a reduced reproduction of Kern's facsimile* (Figure 13). 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 383,,, 'No. 9963,, kAciv nexpvoaiiiiyriv Kal 
ili-it€^uujiiivrpi (the meaning of this word is doubtful) ■npos t^v Aoyijav {sic) koI 
irofiirliv Twv Bewv. The reference seems to be to a procession on the occasion of 
which money contributions were expected from the spectators. 

' The sentence is mutilated. G. Thieme, Die Inschriflen von Magnesia am 
Mdander und das Neue Testament, p. 17, who noted the inscription and fully 
appreciated its importance as a proof of the unity of the Kowq, thinks it refers 
to the collecting together of supplies of corn for warlike purposes. — Cf. more- 
over the inscriptions of Priene 19531 {''■ ^°° ^-^O ^■nd S^i, (c. 200 b.c), where 
the editors conjecture the word. 

' Die Inschriften von Magnesia am Mdander, edited by Otto Kern, No. 
10572 = Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 929100, ' No. 685100, Xoyelats re amKoXs, 
" collections of corn." 

» Plate VI. No. 105. 



Continuation of notes to p. 105 :^— 

" Hellenised Egyptian title, " priest of Isis." 

" Homologos is a technical term for a country labourer working under a 
contract. [Cf. the labourers in the vineyard. Matt. xx. and i Cor. ix. 7.] The 
same man contributed in the same year and on the same day to another 
collection called Aoyeia toO BioS, " collection of the god," Wilcken, Griechische 
Ostraka, II. No. 414; the sum was 4 drachmae 2 obols. Other receipts for 
contributions by the same man in other years are extant (ostraca Nos. 402, 
412, 415, 416, 417, 418, 420). As a rule they are for 4 drachmae and a few 
obols. They are interesting evidence of the extent of the financial claims 
made upon persons of no great means for religious purposes in the period 
which saw the rise of Christianity. Cf. on the subject Walter Otto, Priester 
und Tempelim hellenistischen Agypten I. (Leipzig, 1905), p. 359 ff- 

" On this expression cf. Chapter IV. below, p. 349 ff. 




Fig. 13, — Limestone Slab, Magnesia on the Maeander, 138 or 132 B.C. Judicial 
Award by the Magnesians, lines 52-80. Now in the Berlin Museum. By permission of the 
Directors of the State Museums. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 107 

Taken together with the poor Egyptian potsherd given as a 
receipt to the country labourer Pibuchis, this official inscrip- 
tion from Magnesia (a duplicate of which has been found in 
Crete i) shows, like the inscription from Smyrna, that the 
remarkable word used by St. Paul in corresponding with the 
Corinthian Christians was common to all grades of the inter- 
national language. 

A considerable number ^ of " Biblical " words having thus 
been brought into proper historical alignment, it is scarcely 
necessary to enter into proofs that many words in the New 
Testament hitherto described as " rare " are authenticated 
by the new texts.* The harvest here 'is of course equally 
great in proportion, and obtained with less trouble than in 
the first group. 

(b) As regards the meanings of words our knowledge has 
also been largely increased. I have already remarked (p. 78 
above) that the influence of Primitive Christianity was far 
more powerful to transform words, i.e. to create new mean- 
ings, than to create new words. But here again there has 
often been great exaggeration in the statement of the facts. 
Cremer especially had a tendency to increase as much as 
possible the number of specifically " Biblical " or " New 
Testament " meanings of words common to all Greek ; and 
in exegetical literature, when dogmatic positions of the schools 
are to be defended, a favourite device is to assume " Biblical " 
or " New Testament " meanings. The texts that are now 
forthcoming from the world contemporary with the New 
Testament serve, however, to generalise not a few of these 
specialities, e.g. the use of dSeXtpot (" brother ") for the mem- 
bers of a community, avaaTpe<f>ofiai {" I live ") and avaffrpoipij 
("manner of life"; "conversation," A.V.) in an ethical 
sense,* uvt'iXtjij.'^k; (" help "), XeiTovpyio) {" I act in the public 
service ") and Xeirovpyia {" public service ") in a sacral sense, 

'■ But unfortunately mutilated, with loss of the Xoyeia passage. 
' Cf. also mpoSos, p. 295, n. 3 below. 

• Numerous references in my Bibelstudien and Neue Bibehtudien {== Bible 
Studies) and in the works of J. H. Moulton and Thieme. 

♦ Cf. Chapter IV. below, p. 311 f. 



io8 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

iiri,0v/j,rjTi]^ (" desiring ") in a bad sense, Xovai {" I wash ") 
in a sacral sense, irdpoiKO'; (" sojourner "), etc., etc.^ 

But there are other ways in which not unfrequently the 
familiar words of the New Testament acquire a new light. 
A new choice of meanings presents itself, changing, it may be, 
the inner meaning of the sacred text more or less decidedly, 
disclosing the manifold interpretations of the gospel that were 
possible to the men of old, illuminating in both directions, 
backward and forward, the history of the meaning of words. 

Let us look at a few examples. 

(i) When Jesus sent forth His apostles for the first time 
He said to them ^ (Matt. x. 8 £f.) :— 

" Freely ye received, freely give. Get you no gold, nor 
silver, nor brass in your purses {margin : girdles) : no wallet 
for your journey . . ." (R.V.). 

Or, as it is reported by St. Mark (vi. 8) : — 

" He charged them that they should take nothing for their 
journey, save a staff only; no bread, no wallet, no money. 
[margin : brass) in their purse [margin : girdle) " (R.V.). 

And thus in St. Luke (ix. 3 ; cf. x. 4 and xxii. 35 f .) : — 

" Take nothing for your journey, neither staff, nor wallet, 
nor bread,"nor money. . . ." (R.V.). 

One of the characteristic utterances of Jesus has here 
been handed down, not without variations, but still in such 
form that the original can be discerned beneath them : the 
apostles were told to take with them for their journey only 
the barest necessaries,^ among which was to be reckoned 
neither money nor bread. According to St. Matthew they 
were further forbidden even to earn money on their way-, as 
they might have done by working miracles of healing, etc. 
The meaning of the " wallet " (A.V. " scrip ") has seldom 
been questioned, because it seems so obvious : most com- 
mentators probably think of it as a travelling-bag,* or, more 

' References in BibeUtudien and Neue Bibelstudien {= Bible Studies). 

' Cf. Die Christliche Welt, 17 (1903) col. 242 f. ; and Alphons Steinmann, 
Die Welt des Paulus im Zeicken des Verkehrs, Braunsberg, 1915, p. 64 flf. His 
remarks on the equipment of the apostles in general are particularly worthy 
of attention. 

' The one point on which the authorities leave us in doubt is whether the 
stafi was one of them. 

' In that case construing " wallet " with " for your journey." 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 109 

precisely defined, as a bread-bag. The word in the original 
Greek, injpa, is capable of either meaning, accordinjg to 
circumstances. In the context " travelling-bag " would do 
very well; " bread-bag " not so well, being superfluous ^fter 
the mention of " bread," and tautology seems out of blace 
in these brief, pointed commands given by Jesus. But there 
is a special meaning, suggested by one of the monumients, 
which suits the context at least as well as the more general 
sense of " bag " or " travelling-bag." The monument in 
question was erected in the Roman Imperial period at Kefr- 
Hauar in Syria by a person who calls himself, in the Greek 
inscription, a " slave " of the Syrian goddess. " Sent by the 
lady," as he says himself, this heathen apostle tells of the 
journeys on which he went begging for the " lady " and 
boasts triumphantly that " each journey brought in seventy 
bags." ^ The word here employed is wripa. Of course it has 
nothing to do with well-filled provision-bags for the journey : 
it clearly means the beggar's collecting-bag.^ The same 
special meaning makes excellent sense in our text,' particu- 
larly in St. Matthew's version : there is to be n^ earning, 
and also no begging of money. With this possible explanation 
of the word injpa the divine simplicity of Jesus /stands out 
afresh against the background suggested by /he heathen 
inscription. While Christianity was still youn^ the beggar- 
priest was making his rounds in the land of Syr/a on behalf of 
the national goddess. The caravan convej^ing the pious 
robber's booty to the shrine lengthens as he passes from village 

' Published by Ch. Fossey, Bulletin de Correspondancfe Hell^nique, 21 (1897) 
p. 60, a(ir)o^op7;a6 cKadTi) oyoiyij ifqpas q'. — Eberhard Nestle (postcard, Maul- 
brpnn, 13 March, 1903) called my attention to the' punning observation in 
the Didascalia= Const. Apost. 3, 6, about the itinerant widows, who were so 
ready to receive that they were not so much x^pai as mjpai (which we may 
perhaps imitate in English by saying that though spouse-less they were by no 
means pouch-less). , The late Hermann Diels, f June 1922, wrote to me from 
Berlin W., 22 July, 1908 : " Does not the beggar's bag form part of the 
equipment of the mendicant friar of antiquity, i.e. the Cynic ? Crates the 
Cynic wrote a poem called /Jijpa (fragm. in. lay Poetaepkilosophi.ix. 4, p. 218)." 

2 [Wallet, then, is just the right word in English. Cf. Shakespeare, Troilus 
and Cressida, III. iii. 145, " Time hath, my lord, a wallet at his back, Wherein 
he puts alms for oblivion." A writer in Notes and Queries, 7th Ser., iv. 78, 
points out that the triangular piece of stuff, like a bag, which hangs from 
behind the left shoulder of a junior barrister's gown was originally a wallet 
to receive fees. — There is an illustration of the ancient wallet in Anthony 
Rich's Diet, of Roman and Greek Antiquities, s.v. " Pera." Tr.] 



no LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

to village, and assuredly the lady will not forget her slave. 
In the same age and country One who had not where to lay 
His head sent forth His apostles, saying : — 

" Freely ye received, freely give. Get you no gold, nor 
silver, nor brass in your purses : no wallet for your 
journey." 

(2) Among the sayings of our Lord we find thrice repeated 
the phrase "They have their reward," e.g. in Matt. vi. 2 
of the hypocrites who sound a trumpet before them when they 
do their alms. The Greek word translated " have " (A.V.), 
or preferably (with the Revisers) " have received," is airexfo, 
" I have or receive in full," " I have got." Reward is spoken 
of in the passage immediately preceding, but there the simple 
verb exfo is used. I long ago suggested ^ that the word 
d-Trexto is explainable by the papyri and ostraca. In countless 
instances we find the word in these texts * in a meaning that 
suits admirably our Lord's saying about rewards, viz. " I 
have received " ; it is, that is to say, a technical expression 
regularly employed in drawing up a receipt. Compare, for 
instance, two ostraca from Thebes figured in this book, one 
(p. 166 below) a receipt for rent in the Ptolemaic period, the 
other (p. 105 above) a receipt for the Isis collection, 4 August, 
63 A.D. Still nearer in date to the gospel passage is an 
ostracon of very vulgar type in my collection,^ a receipt for 
alien tax paid at Thebes, 32-33 A.D., of which I here give a 
full-sized reproduction (Figure 14). 



' Neuf Bibelsiudien, p. 56; Bible Studies, p. 229. Cf. also Moulton and 
Milligan, The Expositor, July 1908, p. 91. 

' The importance of this seeming trifle, both intrinsically and from the 
point of view of historical grammar, has already received due recognition 
from Heinrich Erman, who discussed the subject in an article on " Die ' Habe '- 
Quittung bei den Griechen," Archiv fiir Papjnrusforschung, i, p. 77 ff. His 
objections to the translation " I have received " are waived by A. Thumb, 
Prinzipienfragen der Koine-Forschung, Neue Jahrbiicher fur das klassische 
Altertum, 1906, p. 255 : " airexovm is, by reason of the nature of the action 
expressed, identical with lAajSov or eaxov, i.e. it is an aorist-present." Cf. also 
J. H. Moulton, Grammar,* p. 247, and Moulton and Milligan, Vocabulary, 
p. 57 f. Further references in Mayser, Crammatik der griech. Papyri, p. 487; 
Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, I. p. 86 ; and Paul M. Meyer, Griech. Texte aus 
Agypten, p. 115. 

' No. 31. We possess another, somewhat later, ostracon by the same writer 
Pamaris, No. 32 in my collection (Paul M. Meyer, p. 148 f .) ; the same vulgar- 
isms and mistakes are noticeable there as in No. 31. 




Fig. M.^Ostracon, Thebes, 32^33 a.d. Receipt for Alien Tax, Now in the Author's coUectic 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT iii 

I now give the text according to the edition of my ostraca 
by Paul M. Meyer ^ : — 



Pamaris the son of Hermodorus 
to Abos. I have receiving {sic) 
from thee alien tax "• (for the 
months) Thoyth and Phaophi 
2 drachmae. In the year 19 of 
Tiberius Caesar Augustus. 
I have noted. 



Kajuapis Ep/xoSiopov 
A/}ca$. oTrt^tov"" irapa trov 
ToXes'*''* emfei/au ®uiv0 
Ktti *oa<^i S * /3. L * i^ 
Ti;3cp(ov Kaio-opos 
Se/Sao-Tos^". 

2(«o-)Tj(/tt€i(o/iai). 

This technical atrex<o, however, was in use not only in 
Egypt but elsewhere in the Hellenistic world, as shown by 
inscriptions at Delphi recording manumissions at the begin- 
ning * and end of the second century B.C., and again in the 
first century a.d.' An inscription from Orchomenus of the 
third or fourth century B.C.* shows the expression in use even 
then in the Aeolic dialect; it is close in date to the oldest 
pap5a'us reference I know of, viz. Hibeh Papyri No. 975 
(279-278 or 282-281 B.C.). 

I think we may say, therefore, that this technical meaning 
of anixo), which must have been known to every Greek- 
speaking person, down to the meanest labourer, applies well 
to the stern text about the hypocrites : " they have received 
their reward in full," i.e. it is as though they had already given a 
receipt, and they have absolutely no further claim to reward. 
This added touch of quiet irony makes the text more life-like 
and pointed. From the same technical use J. de Zwaan * 

• Griechische Texts aus A'gypten, Berlin, 1916, Part 2 : Ostraca in the 
Deissmann Collection, No. 31, p. 148. ' 

' = T«'Ao9, " toll, custom," as in Matt. xvii. 25, Rom. xiii. 7. 

' i.e. Spaxuds. * i.e. etouj. 

' On this alien tax cf. Wilcken, Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, i, p. 153 
(where other quotations for the word etrCievos, "stranger," are given besides 
Clement of Alexandria, I. 977 A, which is the only example in E. A. Sophocles' 
Lexicon) and Paul M. Meyer's commentary, p. 147 f. At present this ostracon 
seems to be the earliest evidence of the tax. 

• Dittenberger, Sylloge* No. 845,, rax n/iav airixa, " the price he hath 
received." Cf. p. 323 below. 

' Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique, 22 (1898), e.g. p. 58, koX tov mp.mi 
airexo) nSaav, "and I have received' the whole price"; first century a.d., 
e.g. pp. 116, 120. 

' The Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, 
Part II. No. 15834, dwex' ■navra, " he hath received all things." 

• The Text and Exegesis of Mark xiv. 41, and the Papyri, The Expositor, 
December 1905, p. 459 ff. He takes the betrayer, who is mentioned imme- 
diately in the next verse, to be the siihior* 



112 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

has attempted to explain the enigmatical a-n-ixei in Mark 
xiv. 41, and it is not improbable that St. Paul is alluding to 
it in a gently humorous way in Phil. iv. 18.^ 

(3) The first scattered congregations of Greek-speaking 
Christians up and down the Roman Empire spoke of them- 
selves as a " (convened) assembly " ; at first each single 
congregation was so called, and afterwards the whole body 
of Christians everywhere was spoken of collectively as " the 
(convened) assembly." That is the most literal translation 
of the Greek word eKKXrjaia.'^ This self -bestowed name rested 
on the certain conviction that God had separated from the 
world His " saints " in Christ, and had " called " or " con- 
vened " them to an assembly, which was " God's assembly," 
" God's muster," because God was the convener.^ 

It is one of the characteristic but little-considered facts in 
the history of the early Christian missions that the Latin- 
speaking people of the West, to whom Christianity came, 
did not translate the Greek word eKKXrjaia (as they did many 
other technical terms) but simply borrowed it. Why was 
this ? There was no lack of words for " assembly " in Latin, 
and as a matter of fact contio or comitia was often translated 
by eKKKrjaia* There must have been some special reason for 
borrowing the Greek word, and it lay doubtless in the subtle 
feeling that Latin possessed no word exactly equivalent to 
the Greek eKKkrfaia. There is evidence of this feeling even in 
non-Christian usage. Pliny the Younger employs the Latin- 
ised word ecclesia in one of his letters to Trajan.* Some years 
ago a bilingual inscription of the year 103-4 A.D.* came to 

' As a matter of fact, d.irex'" is frequently combined with iravra in receipts ; 
cf. the Orchomenus inscription quoted in the last note but one. 

2 For what follows cf. Die Christliche Welt, i8 (1904) col. 200 f. 

» I pointed out in Die Christliche Welt, 13 (1899) col. 701, that an excellent 
analogy to the Primitive Christian use of eV/cAijaia is afforded by the members 
of so-called " Pietistic " congregations in the valley of the Dill (a tributary of 
the Lahn, a little below Giessen) in their use of the word " Versammlung " for 
" congregation." [Cf. the English " meeting " and " meeting-house " as used 
by Quakers, Methodists, and other Nonconformists. Tr.] 

' David Magie, De Romanorum iuris publici sacr'ique vocabuHs sollemnibus 
in Graecum sermonem conversis, Lipsiae, 1905, p. 17 etc. (see the index). 

* Epist. X. Ill, " bule et ecclesia consentiente." povX^ has also been 
adopted. With regard to the antecedents of " Biblical " Latinity cf. also 
Appendix VII, p. 447 S. 

" Jahreshefte des Csterreichischen Archaologischen Institutes, 2 (1899), 
Supplement p. 43 f . ; now with facsimile in Forschungen in Ephesos, Vol. 2 , 
p. 147 ft. Cf. p. 13, n. I. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 113 

light at Ephesus, which furnishes a still more interesting 
example. It was found in the theatre, the building so 
familiar to readers of Acts xix., one of the best preserved 
ruins in the ancient city. A distinguished Roman official, 
C. Vibius Salutaris, had presented a silver image of Diana 
(we are reminded at once of the silver shrines of Diana made 
by Demetrius, Acts xix. 24) and other statues " that they 
might be set up in every e«/e\ijo-ia in the theatre upon the 
pedestals." ^ The parallel Latin text has, ita ut [om]n[i ejccle- 
sia supra bases fonerentur. The Greek word was therefore 
simply transcribed. Here we have a truly classical example 
(classical in its age and in its origin) of the instinctive feeling 
of Latin speakers of the West which afterwards showed itself 
among the Western Christians : e'/eKXi/o-ia cannot be translated, 
it must be taken over. 

The word which thus penetrated into the West is one of 
the indelible marks of the origin of Christianity. Just as the 
words amen, abba, etc. are the Semitic birthmarks, so 
the word ecclesia (and many others besides) points for all time 
to the fact that the beginnings of Christianity must be sought 
also in the Greek East. 

(4) For the word aiMapTa>\6<i, " sinning, sinful," Cremer ^ 
quotes but one passage from Aristotle and one from Plutarch : 
" besides these passages only, it seems, in Biblical and ecclesi- 
astical Greek." In the Appendix,' however, comes this 
very necessary correction : " The word is found not only in 
the two passages quoted but also in inscriptions, and so often 
that it must be described as quite a usual word, at least in 
Syria, to designate a sinner in the religious sense." There is 
only one more correction to make : here, and in the epi- 
graphical references which Cremer proceeds to give, we must 
read not "Syria " but " Lycia." * 

The subject had already been treated in detail by G. 
Hirschfeld,^ and more recently L. Deubner® published a 

• 'va nSrjvriu Kar tKKXriaCav (for this formula cf. Acts xiv. 23). ev t<S {sic) 
teaTpcD (sic) im rSv pdaewv. This is also a confirmation of Acts xix. 32, 41, 
according to which the iKKhjaltu at Ephesus took place in the theatre. 

^ "Page 151. ' "Page 1119. 

• Cremer probably misread the handwriting of Schlatter, to whom he no 
doubt was indebted for this important correction. 

' Konigsberger Studien, i (1887) p. 83 flf. 

• Athenische Mitteilungen, 27 {1902) p. 262 ; cf . also G. Mendel, Bulletin de 



114 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

collection of passages from inscriptions, which is almost 
identical with Cremer's. The inscriptions are of a class very 
common in the south-west of Asia Minor — epitaphs con- 
taining a threat against anyone who shall desecrate the 
tomb, d/iapTwXo^ eaTm deoh {KaTa)xSovioK, " let him be as a 
sinner before the (sub)terranean gods." In the same district, 
however, we find the words eirdpaTo<;, " cursed," ^ and 
evoxo<;, " guilty," employed in exactly the same way : 
[ejfoxo? e'o-T&j irdai. 6eoi<!, " let him be guilty before all the 
gods." ^ This parallelism between d/iapraXoii and evoxov seems 
to me to afford a solution of a grammatical puzzle which has 
always caused me difficulties, viz. the use'of the genitive after 
evoxo'i,^ especially in the important passage i Cor. xi. 27, to 
which I have long sought a parallel in inscriptions and papyri, 
but in vain, despite the frequent occurrence of the word. 
We find, however, the parallel dfiapTcoXo^ with the genitive 
of the authority offended in an inscription from Telmessus 
in Lycia, 240 B.C.,* and in a similar pre-Christian inscription 
from Myra in Lycia. ^ We also find the synonyms aSiKot, 
" unjust," and dae^^t, " impious," in inscriptions from the 
Delphinium at Miletus both before and after the Christian 
era.* Thus we have sufficient parallels to account for the 



^ Reisen im siidwestlichen Kleinasien [cf. p. 17, n. i, above], II. p. 159, 
No. 187. 

* Ibid. p. 166, No. 193. 

' U. Wilckea has also been struck by the New Testament genitive in 
Matt. xxvi. 66, Archiv fur Papyrusforscbung, i, p. 170, although this genitive 
of the punishment is surely not without parallel. Nachmanson, Eranos 
II (1912) p. 232, sees no difficulty in the genitive. The peculiar thing to me 
is, however, not the genitive as such, of which there are frequent instances 
in the form of genitive of the crime or genitive of the punishment, but that 
we should have a genitive of the authority offended. J. Wellhausen, Ein- 
leitung in die drei ersten Evangelien, p. 34, says that ivoxov clvai rfj Kploei, 
Matt. V. 21 f., is not Greek — ^why, I do not know. 

' Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 553U. (= Michel, 
Recueil, No. 5473if.)> ofiaprojAol cariDoav I6ew]v ■navTiav, " let them be as 
sinners before all the gods." 

° Reisen im siidwestlichen Kleinasien, II. p. 36, No. 58, aiiaproiXis farm Seiov 
■navTosv, " let him be as a sinner before all the gods." 

' Milet, Ergebnisse, Heft 3, Inschriften, No. ngm. (182 B.C. ?) aSUovs re etvai 
airovs tu>v Beuiv ovs oimjdiiokooiv ; No. 15O123 (180 B.C. ?) aStKoi re eartoaav Ttav Bt&v 
ovs u)fu>aav; No. I342sff. (ist cent, a.d.) tov hi tlnj^iodfieiiov apxovra d<re/3^ koX aSueov 
vnapxeiv rciv 'npoyeypaiinevuv Beuv. The sense is exactly parallel to that of the 
aforementioned Lycian texts. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 115 

peculiar use of the synonymous evoxo<i by St. Paul the 
Cilician ^ in the First Epistle to the Corinthians. 

(5) The Hebrew name for the Feast of Tabernacles is hag 
hassukkoth, " feast of booths." To have been quite literal, 
the Greek translators of the Old Testament must have 
rendered this eoprii {t&v) (tktjvwv, as is actually found in the 
Septuagint, Lev. xxiii. 34, Deut. xvi. 13, 2 Chron. viii. 13, 
Ezra iii. 4, 2 Macc.x. 6. In the majority of passages, how- 
ever, in which the feast is mentioned (Deut. xvi. 16, xxxi. 10, 
Zech. xiv. 16, 18, 19, i Esdras v. 51, i Mace. x. 21, 2 Mace. i. 
9, 18) we find the more cumbrous expression eoprri (t^?) 
(rKr)vowr]yia<!, "feast of booth-making," which has found its 
way into the Greek used by Jews of the Diaspora,* the New 
Testament (John vii. 2), and Josephus, and was therefore 
no doubt the most usual.' The reason for the choice of this 
cumbrous expression is not discoverable in the Hebrew. It 
lies rather in the fact that the verb a-Krjvoinryeiadai, already bore . 
a technical religious sense in the world which spoke the 
language of the Septuagint. There is a Wng inscription * 
from the island of Cos, probably of the 2nd century B.C., 
which records the arrangements for sacrifices and enumerates 
the acts of religion to which the wopsliippers were obliged. 
They had to offer sacrifice and they/had to " erect a booth " 
{ffKavoTrayeCcrdtap),^ on the occasiofi of a great panegyry or 
solemn assembly, " which was probably held only once a 
year." ' It is well known that Plutarch regarded the Jewish 

* Possibly it was a provincialism^Of S.W. Asia Minor. For earlier treatment 
of the supposed " Cilicisms " in the New Testament, see Winer and Schmiedel, 
§ 3, 2 e (p. 23) . But I prefer to assume that the usage, obviously a religious 
one, occurring in certain formulae, was fairly widely spread, and that St. Paul 
knew it as such. 

* Cf. the long Jewish inscription from Berenice in Cyrenaica (13 B.C.), in 
Schurer, Geschichte desjiidischen Volkes, III.* p. 79. [Eng. trs., Div. II., vol. 2, 
p. 246.] 

' Winer and Schmiedel. § 3, 2 e (p. 23), reckon aietpioirtiyia among the words 
that were certainly coined by the Greek Jews. But it is found in Aristotle! 
' Athenische Mitteilungen, 16 {1891) p. 406 ff. 
' This formula is many times repeated. 

* According to the editor, Johannes Toepffer, p. 415, who refers to the 
Jewish Feast of Tabernacles and gives a number of pagan examples of the 
custom of erecting booths for religious festivals. Theodor Wiegand writes 
(postcard, Miletus, 22 May, 1908) : " We have found in the market-place of 
Friene, .near the altar in the middle of the square, stones marked with letters 
and perforated to receive wooden supports. They are evidently relics of 



ii6 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Feast of Tabernacles as a festival of Dionysus ^ ; the Sep- 
tuagint translators, with other motives, did much the same 
thing : by choosing a secular name for their feast they brought 
it more into touch with the religious usages of the world 
around them. This is one more factor in the great adaptive 
process for which the Septuagint Bible stands in general in 
the history of religion.^ 

(c) Standing phrases and fixed formulae have often found 
their way from the contemporary language into the New 
Testament.' 

(i) The phrase St'Swyat ipyaaiav, " I give diligence, take 
pains " (Luke xii. 58), explained in all the grammars as a 
Latinism,* and not known elsewhere except in Hermogenes ^ 
(2nd century A.D.), is nevertheless found in an inscription 
recording a decree of the Senate concerning the affairs of 
Stratonicia in Caria (81 B.C.).* It is possible, of course, to 
maintain that the phrase is here imitated from the Latin 
original,'' but a letter of vulgar type' among the Oxyrhynchus 
Papyri, dated 2 B.C., has it in the imperative * jiist as in St. 
Luke, and shows it (also as St. Luke does) in living use among 
the people, who no longer felt that it was a " Latinism." I 
am informed by Wilcken that the phrase occurs again in a 
letter, circa 118 A.D., among the Bremen Papyri (No. 18). 

(2) In the same context in St. Luke (xii. 57) we have the 

the custom of erecting tents at festivals." L. Martens (letter, Duisburg, 
18 May, 1910) refers to Tliucydides i. 133, where a suppliant erects a tent in 
the sacred precinct.- 

^ Sympos. iv. 6, 2. 

2 Of. the appendix (I) . at the end of this book on the Jewish prayers for 
vengeance found at Rheneia, and my little work Die Hellenisierung des semiti- 
schen Monotheismus, Leipzig, 1903, reprinted from the Neue Jahi-biicher 
fur das klassische Altertum, 1903. 

" Numerous examples have already been given in my Bible Studies and in 
Moulton and Thieme. 

' = operant do. 

' De invent, iii. 5, 7. 

" Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 44iio«> jipovril^iaaiv 
hihwoiv T« epyaatav, " may they take heed and give diligence." Ditten- 
berger (p. 23) criticises this phrase severely. 

' So Paulus Viereck, Sermo Graecus quo senatus populusque Romanus 
magistratusque populi Romani usque ad Tiberii Caesaris aetatem in scriptis 
publicis usi sunt, Gottingae, 1888, p. 83. 

8 The Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 742M., B6s ipyaoiav, " give diligence." 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 117 

expression Kplvto to hLicaiov, literally "I judge the right," 
which used to be regarded as unique, and which Bernhard 
Weiss ^ explains to mean deciding about that which God 
demands from us. It is made clearer, however, by a prayer 
for vengeance addressed to Demeter which was found inscribed 
on a tablet of lead at Amorgus.^ There the goddess is implored 
to give right judgment. So Jesus advises those who would go 
to law with one another not to wait for the judge to speak but 
to become reconciled beforehand and thus put an end to the 
dispute by pronouncing " just judgment " themselves. 

(3) Another gospel phrase, awaipto Xoyov, " I compare 
accounts, make a reckoning " (Matt, xviii. 23 f., xxv. 19), 
is said by Grimm and Thayer not to occur in " Greek " writers. 
Moulton,^ however, has pointed out that it occurs in two 
letters of the 2nd century A.D., one from Oxyrhynchus * and 
the other in the Berlin collection,^ while an ostracon from 
Dakkeh in Nubia, dated 6 March, 214 a.d., contains the 
corresponding substantival phrase.* 

(4) Speaking of the devoted couple Aquila and Priscilla, 
in Rom. xvi. 4, St. Paul uses the words : " who for my life 
laid down their own necks."' Many commentators have 
taken this phrase literally, as if Aquila and his wife had laid 
their heads on the block to save the apostle after he had been 
condemned to death by the executioner's axe. The majority, 
however, explain it figuratively : "to lay down one's own 
neck " is the same as " to risk one's own life." This inter- 
pretation is undoubtedly confirmed by a passage in one of 
our new texts. At the destruction of the cities of Herculan- 
eum and Pompeii in the year 79 a.d. the citizens' libraries 

'■ Kritisch Exegetischer Konimentar von H. A. W. Meyer, I. 2', Gottingen, 
1885, p. 482. 

' Bulletin de Correspondance HeI16nique, 25 (1901) p. 416, firaxouaov, Bea, 
Km, Kptvat TO hiKOMv, " hear, goddess, and give right judgment." The editor, 
Th. Homolle, translates " prononce la juste sentence." 

" The Expositor, April 1901, p. 274 f. 

* The Oxyrhynchus Papyri 113^71, 'va awapoiiuu airwi Xayov, " that I may 
make a reckoning with him." 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 775i8f., o-xfl^ (^"=) «>' ytvo/ie {sic) tVi 
{sic) Kol awdpaiuv Xoyov, " until I come there and we make a reckoning." 

* Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, No. 1135, axpi Xoyov mtvapaems, " till the 
reckoning of the account." 

' otnves imp rijs >l'V}(fjs jiou rov iavrani rpaxt^ov vmBrjKav. For what follows 
cf. Die Christliche Welt, 17 (1903) col. 611 f. 



ii8 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

were of course buried along with the rest of their household 
furniture. Remains of these domestic libraries have been 
discovered in the course of excavations, and means have also 
been found to make the badly charred rolls in part at least 
legible again. One of the rolls from Herculaneum (No. 
1044), for the decipherment of which we are indebted to the 
ingenuity and learning of Wilhelm Cronert, contains a bio- 
graphy of the Epicurean Philonides, who flourished about 
175-150 B.C. The biographer's name is unknown; but he 
must have written after 150 B.C. and of course before the year 
in which Herculaneum was destroyed, that is to say either in, 
or at any rate not long before, the age of St. Paul. In this 
biography there occurs the following passage, mutilated at 
the beginning, but for our purpose sufficiently clear ^ : 
" [For( ?)] the most beloved of his relatives or friends he would 
readily stake his neck." 

Here we have the same phrase as in the Epistle to the 
Romans, only with another verb," and it is reasonable to 
suppose that in the Greek world " to lay down, or to stake 
one's neck for somebody " was as current a phrase * as, say, 
" to go through fire and water for somebody " is with us. 
Originating, no doubt, in the phraseology of the law,* the 
phrase was probably in the time of the Epistle to the Romans 
no longer understood literally. The merit of the apostle's 
devoted friends is in no way diminished by this observation : 
it must certainly have been an unusually great sacrifice of the 
personal kind that Aquila and Priscilla had dared for St. 
Paul. We may adopt the words of the pagan roll that was 
buried under the lava of Vesuvius some twenty years after 
the Epistle to the Romans was written, and say it was some- 
thing that one would dare only " for the most beloved of 
one's relatives or friends." 

' Sitzungsberichte der Preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 
1900, p. 951, [vnep ?] Tov iidXioT dyoircu/ieVow tu>v avayKolaiv ij tu>v tjiiXiov TrapojSoAoi 
av iroifiios top TpaxijAov. The thought is somewhat parallel to Romans v. 7. 
This, and the other passage about Aquila and Priscilla, — ^what perspectives 
they open up for critics who are fond of tracing " influences." 

' St. Paul uses vvoTiSriiu, the text from Herculaneum napa^aXXm tw 
rpa-XTlXov. 

^ Cf. above, p. 88, Trapa^oXevofiai. 

• The original idea is either that someone suffers himself to be put to death 
in the place of another, or that he pledges his neck and goes bail for the ottier. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 119 

(5) St. Paul's fondness for legal expressions has been often 
observed in other cases/ and will meet with further confir- 
mation in these pages.^ In Phil. iv. 3 we have another 
curious echo of the language of the documents : " whose 
names (are) in the book of life " ' sounds like the formula 
" whose names are shown in the little book," * which occurs 
in a document of the year 190 a.d.^ The coincidence might 
be accidental, and I would not quote it here were it not that 
the phrasfe &v ra 6i>6/Mara, " whose names," is certainly 
demonstrable as a characteristic documentary formula, often 
occurring in the Berlin papyri, e.g. No. iSiu (57 a.d.) and 
No. 7261. (191 A.D.). In No. 344i (second or third century 
A.D.) it is even found, as in Mark xiv. 32 for 'instance, without 
a verb, and it is certainly not a Hebraism there. * 

D. The Syntax of the New Testament has hitherto been 
least of all regarded in the light of the new texts. For 
instance, one of the greatest weaknesses of Blass's Grammar 
is that in the syntactical portions the New Testament is far 
too much isolated, and phenomena that might be easily ^ 
illustrated from the pagan inscriptions, papyri, and ostraca, 
are frequently explained as Hebraisms.^ One typical example 
is the phrase just mentioned, " whose names," used without 
any verb. And yet, at the present day, there is so much new 
solid knowledge to be gained ! 

(i) To take one example : in the period of the new religious 

1 Cf. Bibelstudien, p. 103 [Bible Studies, p. 107], and two excellent articles 
by Otto Eger : " Rechtsworter und Rechtsbilder in den paulinischen Brief en," 
Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 18 (1917) pp. 84-108, and 
Rechtsgeschichtliches zum N.T., a rectorial address, Basel, 1919. 

• Cf. for instance Chapter IV., section 8, below (pp. 318-338) : influences of 
the contemporary legal life of the people. 

' .&v TO ovofiara ev pi^Xifi ioaijs. 

• Some document is thus referred to. 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 432 Ilsf., c5v ra dra/iara t(3 /3i;8AiStV 
SeS^Aoiroi. 

• Blass, Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch,* p. 77 [English 
translation,' p. 74], says that koI to Svofia aur^s is " still more Hebraic " than oS 
TO ovo/10, thus making this latter also a Hebraism. — ^Ludwig Mitteis (letter, 
Leipzig, 21 May, 1908) refers further to the Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 48531 
and Berliner Griechische Urkunden No. 88821. 

' Though not so easily as the lexical points, because the indices, when there 
are any, often take no account of syntax. There is nothing for it but to read 

the texts. 
8 TT oT» i-nn TiAl-.niTinor'g TBTfk inTi rnnstTtiitfis a great advance. 



120 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

movement the colloquial language of the Mediterranean area 
exhibits specially interesting changes and additions with 
regard to prepositional usages.^ How are we to understand 
the passages, so important from the point of view of religious 
history, in which St. Paul and others employ the prepositions 
virep and avTi, unless we pay attention to the contemporary 
" profane " uses ? 

The phrase /SXiveiv a-rro, "to beware of," is explained by 
Blass ^ as Hebrew, by Wellhausen ^ as Semitic ; and yet it is 
used in a papyrus letter of strongly vulgar type, 4 August, 41 
A.D., by a writer who was not a Jew, but a merchant of 
Alexandria * : " and thou, do thon beware thee of the Jews." ^ 

The combination of elvai, and similar verbs with eh, which 
is after a Hebrew model according to Blass ' and like Lamed 
according to Wellhausen,'^ occurs in inscriptions and papyri. ^ 
I have found especially valuable ^ examples among the 
inscriptions of Priene, of about the second century B.C.,!" and 

• Cf. A. Thumb, Die griechische Sprache im Zeitalier des Hellenismus, p. 128, 
and my hints in the Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift, 24 (1904) coIt 21-2 f. 
Praiseworthy beginnings have been made towards the study of the prepositions 
in the papyri : Gualtherus Kuhring, De praepositionum-Graecarum in chartis 
Aegyptiis usu guaestiones selectae (a doctoral dissertation), Bonn, 1906; and 
Conradus Rossberg, De praepos. Graec. in chartis Aegypt. Ptolemaeorum aetatis 
usu (doctoral dissertation), Jena, 1909. 

^ Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Grieckisch,' p. 127 [Eng. trs.,' p. 126]. 
' Einleitung in die drei ersten Evangelien, p. 32. 

* Cf. Wilcken, Zum alexandrinischen Antisemitismus [cf. p. 45, n. 2 above] 
p. 790. Blau's remarks should not be overlooked, Papyri und Talmud, 
p. 8 f. 

* Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 1079, Kai ai pXeve aarov {sic) am twv 
lovSaCuiv. Here we have also the supposed " non-Greek " phrase, jSAewtiv 
avTov. See also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, October 1908, p. 380 f. 

• Grammatik, p. 88 [Eng. trs.,' p. 85]. See also Jean Psichari, Essai sur le 
Grec de la Septante, p. 201 f. 

' Einleitung, p. 32. But 7 is not the exact equivalent of els. If ? were to 
be imitated we should expect some other preposition, e.g. em. 

' J. H. Moulton, Grammar, p. yii.; Radermacher, Neutestamentliche 
Grammatik, p. 16 f. 

' Because old, and occurring not in vulgar texts but actually in official 
documents. 

1° No. 5O3,, [rjauTtt he elvai els (l>vXa.Kriv rrjs TToXecas, " but that this was for 
the safeguard of the city." The city of Erythrae has resolved to have a judge 
from Priene. That the phrase was a regular formula at Erythrae is shown 
by an inscription from Erythrae published byGeorgios I. ZolotSLS, Xmkoiv km 
EpvdpoAKOiv eiTtypa^wv avvayar/r], Athens, I908, p. 231 f., T[au]Ta [S* et]vai els 
<^[u]Aa[/t]ijv TTjs w[dA]ea«. The Priene inscription No. 5gsu. {circa 200 b.c.) is to 
the same effect : elvai Se to 0^<^(a/ia toUto em atorrjpiai rijs irgXeojs, " but that this 
decree is for the salvation of the city." 







Fig. 15. — Ostracon, Thebes, 2nd cent. a.d. Transfer Order for Wheat. 
Now in the Author's collection. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 121 



among those from the Delphinitlm at Miletus/ of the ist 
cent. A.D. 

What light has been shed on the formula eh to Svofia 
" in the name," by the inscriptions, papyri, and not least by 
the ostraca ! To the previous examples * of this, a legal 
formula ' current in the Hellenistic world, I can now add from 
my own collection an ostracon (No. 56) from Thebes, of the 
second century a.d., which is important also in other respects 
(Figure 15). It is an order to an official of a State granary 
to transfer wheat to another person's account. As deciphered 
by Wilcken and edited by Paul M. Meyer * it rea:ds : — 



KpttO-TTOS ^ Na . . CI . [ . ] ' 

SiaoreiAov tli ovo ' 

els NoTOV ° 

0«€(rT» 2£¥oB8a( ?) " Slot HoAXio 
Mapi'a •'^ vtioT ^^ Tas toS 
irvpov dpTajS ^' Svo 17- • 

llicrv TplTOV TtTpaKlKOCTT ^^ 



Crispus 5 to Na . . [a] . . ( ?) 
Transfer to the name ^° (for the 
south-west quarter) of Vestidia 
Secunda ( ?), represented by i' 
Pollia Maria the younger, the 
two and a half and a third and a 
twenty-fourth artabae ^' of 
wheat 



(Here the ostracon breaks off.) 

' No. I3433ir., toCto 8« cTvai els cvaepei.a[v] t&v t« ie&v kqi tSiv Sc^aoTuiv koX 
hianovTiv Tfjs mXews, " but that this was for the devout worship of the gods 
and of the Augusti and for the abiding of the city." 

' Bibelstudien, p. 143 ff. ; Neue Bibelstudien, p. 25 ; Bible Studies, pp. 146, 
197; Theologische Literaturzeitung, 25 (igoo) col. 73 f. ; and most particularly 
Wilhelm Heitmiiller, " Im Namen Jesu," Gottingen, 1903, p. 100 ff.; and 
Friedrich Preisigke, Girowesen im griechischen Agypten, Strassburg i. E., 1910, 
p. 149 ff. 

" It is possible, perhaps, that the formula found its way into Greek legal 
phraseology at a very early period through Semitic influence. Of. the OB'S of 
the Aramaic papyri of Assuan and the observations by Mark Lidzbarski, 
Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 27 (1906) col. 3213. But this is no reason for 
regarding it as a Semiticism felt as such in the Imperial period; it had been 
amalgamated long before. Of. also Heitmiiller, p. 104,. Jean Psichari, 
Essai sur le Grec de la Septante, p. 202 f., must not be neglected. 

' Griechische Texte aus Agypten, p. 175 if. 

' Occurs as the name of a Jew in i Cor. i. 14, Acts xviii. 8. 

' OiNf . . a . [.], Wilcken. N( . . . i . (Meyer). 

' i.e. els Svoii(a). The formula is so common that it is abbreviated. 

' i.e. elsNorov A{ip6s); on the quarters of the city of Thebes see Wilcken, 
Griechische Ostraha, I. p. 713. 

• i.e. OueffT(t8(a?). The use of the cases (nominative for genitive) is 
vulgar, as in the Revelation of St. John. 

" The reading is doubtful, Wilcken. It would = 2:tKov{v)ta. 

•1 It is significant that the Hellenised form of the name, Mapla, occurs also 
here. It seems to have been the more popular, while Mapmni) or Mapidii/iii 

rT7 tinuation of notes see next page. 



122 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

As the ostracon contains the name " Maria " it constitutes 
a new document in the history of the Jewish ^ Diaspora in 
Egypt, and more particularly in Thebes.^ To claim it on that 
account as a proof of the genuine " Judaeo-Greek " character 
of our formula would be trivial, in view of the numerous and 
early pagan examples that are already known. 

(2) According to Mark vi. 7 Jesus sent forth His disciples 
Suo Stio," by two and two." A distributive numeral relation 
is here expressed in the Greek by repeating the cardinal 
number. Wellhausen ^ says this is not truly Greek, but * it is 
found in Aeschylus * and Sophocles.* These examples 
would be sufficient to account for the same use in the Sep- 
tuagint and in the New Testament; it agrees with the 

' It is not very probable that this Maria was a Christian. 

» Cf. previous examples in Schurer, Geschichte des jildischen Volkes, III.i 
p. 19 ff. [the Jew Danoulos mentioned on p. 23 must be struck out, for the 
papjrrus passage in question is now read differently by Wilcken ; cf . Epistulae 
Privatae Graecae ed. S. Witkowski, p. 84,' p. 109] ; and Wilcken, Griechische 
Ostraka, I. pp. 281 fi., 533 f. [the persons here mehtioned with the name of 
Simon need not all, be Jews; cf. Bibelstudien, p. 184; Bible Studies, p. 315, 

n. 2]. 535- 

' Das Evangelium Marci iibersetzt und erUdrt, Berlin, 1903, p. 52. 

* Cf. Theologische Literaturzeitung, 23 (1898) col. 630 f. 

' Pers. gSi.fwpia iivpia, " by myriads." 

" From the lost drama called Eris the Antiatticist [an anonymous lexico- 
grapher of late date, edited by Bekker; see W. Schmid, Der Atticismus, I. p. 
208, etc. Tr.] quoted fiCiw idav in the sense of Kara fiiav; this was first 
pointed but by Thumb, Die griechische Sprache, p. 128. Blass, Grammatik 
des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch,* p. 146 [Engl, ed.' pp. 145, 330], rightly 
inferred from this that the Atticists opposed this form of expression, which 
they therefore must have found present in the vernacular, " and it was not 
merely Jewish Greek." 



Continuation of notes to page 121 ; — 

(Josephus ; not Mariamne !) was the more affected and coquettish. These 
forms well illustrate the various ways of secularising a Hebrew name : by the 
omission or addition of a letter a Greek ending is obtained. 

" i.e. v«oiT(fpo), abbreviated like our " jun." or " jr." 

" i.e. dpTaj3(os). The " artaba " was a measure of corn. 

" As to this form (Meyer's reading) cf. something similar in Mayser, Grant' 
matik der griechischen Papyri, p. 318. 

1' i.e. " to the account of." 

i» This use of the preposition Sia, occurring also in the papyri (cf . L. Wenger, 
Die Stellvertretung im Rechte der Papyri, Leipzig, 1906, p. 9 ff.), is of important 
bearing on the interpretation of the formula " through Christ " and the 
conception of the Paraclete; cf. Adolph Schettler, Die paulinische Formel 
" Durch Christus," Tiibingen, 1907, p. 28 ad fin. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 123 

Semitic use.i it is true, but it is good popular Greek for all 
that. It has been shown by Karl Dieterich 2 to exist in 
Middle Greek, and has remained in Modern Greek down to 
the present day.' We can trace this use, therefore, through 
a period of two thousand five hundred years. A welcome 
new link in the long chain of witnesses from Aeschylus to the 
Bible and from the Bible till to-day was added by a letter of 
the 3rd century a.d., among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri (No. 
121), in which a certain Isidorus writes to one Aurelius to 
" bind the branches by three and three in bundles." * Still 
more recently there has come in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri 
(No. 886i9f.) a magical formula of the 3rd cent. A.D., which 
exhibits a curious mixture of this and <a prepositional con- 
struction.* 

(3) In the next place we may select from the abundance 
of new syntactical observations an example which has lately 
met with fairly general recognition, viz. the peculiar " nomina- 
tive " irXripr]^ in the prologue to St. John (i. 14),* which 
touches on a celebrated problem of this gospel. If I am not 



' We have here one of the numerous coincidences between the popular 
phraseology of different languages. Cf. the popular distributive zwei und zwei 
in German ; in English " two and two." A curious case of an analogous 
idiom (which, had it come down to us in a Greek literary work, would certainly 
have been reckoned as a Semiticism) is the duplication of " between," 
{swiscken) which may often be observed in the German of writers and spsech- 
makers, e.g. " between the Lutherans and between the Calvinists " instead 
of " between the Lutherans and the Calvinists." [One would expect this 
anomalous use of zwischen, which might be due to the desire for emphasis, to 
be extremely rare. But is " between the Lutherans " much more absurd 
than " between each stroke " in the idiomatic English phrase, " he paused 
between each stroke ? " (An example occurs in the English of this book : 
" between every word," p. 230.) In any case the suggested analogy with two 
and two seems remote. Tr.] 

' Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der griechischen Sprache, p, 188. 

' Cf. Jean Psichari, Essai sur le Grec de la Septante, p. 183 f . 

* tlva (sic) h-^OT) rpi'a xpi'a. Cf. Sijaare Zeafias Sea/ids, " bind 1 them in 
bundles," which Blass,' p. 146 [Engl, ed.' p. 145], considers to have been the 
original reading in Matt. xiii. 30. 

' ipe I = atpe] Kara Su'o Suo, " take them up by two and two." — In the Oxy- 
rhjmchus Papyri No. 94O5 (letter, 5th cent, a.d.) /ituv /ilav is used, so the editors 
(Grenfell and Hunt) think, in the sense of una = " together " (Part VI. 1908, 

P- 310). _ . 

' <is itovcyyevoOs napa narpos nXijpris [Codex D rrX-jprfl xapiros Kal aXiiBelas. 
This irAijpijs occurs also in other passages of the New Testament and the 
Septuagint. 



124 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

mistaken,^ this " nominative " has been regarded by a pious 
Silesian commentator of our own day as a peculiarly fine 
dogmatic distinction of the inspired sacred text. In matters 
linguistic, however, the commentator's piety is not enough. 
I agree, mutatis mutandis, with Hans Thoma,^ who once told 
the Protestant clergy of Baden that it would be more desirable 
o have a sinner painting good pictures than to have a saint 
painting bad ones.' The present case, therefore, must be 
decided by cold philological considerations, and philology 
tells us, on the evidence of papyri,* ostraca, and wooden 
tablets, that ttXjjp??? as used by the people had often shrunk 
and become indeclinable. The oldest example hitherto 
known ^ is in the dreams of* the twin-sisters and Ptolemaeus,* 
i6o B.C., contemporary, therefore, with the Septuagint usage. 
Another pre-Johannine example is afforded by an Egyptian 
woo'den tablet, probably of the reign of Augustus.' Next 
come a number of quotations from papyri, and, as might have 
been expected, the statistics have been further enriched by 
the ostraca,^ also by popular literature such as the Acts of 
Thomas.' Moulton i" is quite right in saying that a Greek 

' I could not lay my hand on the passage in 1908, but since the edition of 
1909 it has been found for me by Wilh. Michaelis. In the Evangelische 
Kirchenzeitung, No. 47, of 19 Nov., 1893, p. 770, W. KoelUng wrote : " The 
Holy Ghost suffered the apostle to write the nominative instead of the genitive, 
because the Lord Jesus is always our Nominative! He is the Name, Nomen, 
that is above all names. We are only His Genitive." 

' [The painter, 6. 1839, d. 1924. He was the holder of two honorary 
degrees of the University of Heidelberg, Dr. phil. and D. theol., the latter 
conferred in October, 1909. Tr.] 

' Bericht fiber die Tatigkeit des WissenschaftUchen Predigervereins der 
evangelischen Geistlichkeit Badens im Jahre 1906, Karlsruhe, 1907, p. 10. 

* Cf. 'Bla.ss, Grammatik des NeutestamentUcken Griechisch,^ p. 84 and even 
'p. 81 [Engl. ed. p. 81]. Hermann Diels (letter, Berlin W., 22 July, 1908) 
refers further to A. Brinkmann, Eheinisches Museum, 54, p. 94, and Berl. 
Philol. Wochenschrift, 1900, col. 252. 

' Cf. J. H. Moulton, Grammar,'^ p. 50, and Mayser, Grammatik der griechi- 
scken Papyri, p. 63. All other needful references will be found there. 

• Somnia Geraellarum et Ptolemaei, Leyden Papyrus, C Hi, (Papyri 
GraeciMusei . . . Z.wg'iiMMi-Batejij, ed. C. Leemans, 1. 1. [1843] p. 118). 

' Revue Archfiologique, 29 (1875) p. 233 f. ISoiko owt<3 {sic) to raCAa wAijpijs 
KoX Tas Sairdvas, " I have given him his full fare and money to spend." 

' Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, No. 1071, Thebes, 16 February, 185 a.d. ; 
probably also No. 1222, Thebes, Roman period. 

' Acta Apostolorum Apocrypha ed. Bonnet, II. 2, p. 21211 and also iiS,,. 
(Reference sent by F. Rostalski, in a letter dated Myslowitz, 13 Dec, 1911). 
1° Grammar, "^ p. 50. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 125 

with a literary training would not have used the shrunken 
form. But he goes too far in assuming that it was first 
introduced into the Gospel of St. John by a copyist. The 
copyists worked as a rule quite mechanically, like our com- 
positors; when they made linguistic changes in the text of 
the New Testament they did so under the orders of trained 
theologians — men who generally must have been under the 
influence of Atticism and opposed to the vernacular. ^ Where 
the textual authorities show variations, then, in the gospels 
and in St. Paul popular forms have always a fair claim to 
preference. There is no reason for regarding 7r\»;'/)7j9 in St. 
John as not original. The vulgar form occurring in the 
lapidary style of the prologue — a field anemone amid the 
marble blocks — is in fact a clear token of the popular character 
which even this gospel bears. The scholar whose instinct 
may have been misled by the word Logos in the first line is 
brought back to the right road by this undoubtedly vulgar 
form. 

4. At the end of these syntactic examples I place a line 
from the gospel,^ which, owing to the history of its inter- 
pretation, is of singular interest in sacred philology. One of 
the sayings of Jesus, containing no dogma and therefore for 
some people insignificant,' but radiant with warm light to 
the sympathetic observer of the story of the Passion, has been 
fated, in spite of its having been quite correctly rendered 
intuitively in the earliest Bible translations, to be mis- 
interpreted, nay mishandled, under the influence of the 
lifeless normalising of the Atticists. On the night of the 
betrayal, after Judas had greeted and kissed the Master, 
Jesus said to him, according to Matthew xxvi. 50, halpe, 
e'l^' ndpet ; " Friend, wherefore art thou come ? " To anyone 

1 The whole problem, as it affects the gospels, has been investigated by 
Wilhelm Michaelis in a dissertation for' the Berlin degree of Licentiate in 
Theology, " Der Attizismus und das Neue Testament," Zeitschrift fur die 
neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 1923, p. 91 ff. 

, ' [This section, which is one of the additions to the fourth edition, appeared 
in shortened form in The Expository Times 33 (August 1922) pp. 491-3, 
" Friend, wherefore art thou come ? " translated by Rev. Clarence Craig. Tr.] 

' [It is omitted, for instance, in Charles Foster Kent's Shorter Bible : The 
New Testament, London [1918], p. 49, though that work aims " to single 
out . . . those parts of the Bible which are of vital interest and practical 
value to the present age " (p. v.). Tr.] 



126 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

reading them with the eye of an old-time Hellenist these 
simple words cause as little difficulty as that other similar 
line from the gospel in the fragmentary ^ parable of a wedding 
(Matthew xxii. 12), " Friend, how camest thou in hither? " * 
Linguistically there is no difficulty. 

Both eVi with the accusative and the verb irdpeifu are 
completely free from ambiguity. For the combination of 
the two we find exact parallels in profane literature : Plato, 
Gorgias 447 eV airo ye tovto "Trdpeff/iev, " that is why 
we are here," and, still more apt, because interrogative, 
Aristophanes, Lysistrata IIOI iirl rt irdpea-re Bevpo ; " why 
are ye here present? " Such " why here? " questions must 
have been put in this form times without number in actual 
daily life. 

The words addressed to Judas are also a " why here ? " 
question. The use of the relative o? as an interrogative is 
by no means rare in late Greek, although grammarians of note 
thought it incredible before the -late texts had been system- 
atically worked through. It has its analogies in other 
languages and its counterpart in the frequent use of the 
interrogative ti? as a relative.^ I have collected together in 
a footnote * some examples of the interrogative o? that had 
been noticed by other grammarians (Jannaris, Radermacher, 
A. T. Robertson, Blass and Debrunner). It is worth remark- 

* The beginning of the parable is lost; only the conclusion is presferved, 
beginning with Matt. xxii. 1 1 . What precedes is another parable of a wedding, 
concluding with verse lo. 

" iralpe, n&s elarjXBes dlSe; 

' Moulton, Einleitung in die Sprache des N.T., Heidelberg, 1911, p. 149 
(A Grammar of New Testament Greek, i. (Prolegomena),' p. 93), gives good 
examples from the LXX, papyri, and inscriptions. Cf. also Blass-Debrunner,' 
§ 298, 4. I add LXX Lev. xxi. 17 (cf. Karl Huber, Untersuchungen ilberden 
Sprachcharahter des griechischen Leviticus, Giessen, 1916, p. 69). The same 
thing is found also in vulgar Latin (F. Pfister, Rheinisches Museum, 67 (191 2) 
p. 203 f.). 

• Pseudo( ?) -Justin, Cohortatio ad Gentiles V. 78 (Migne, Patrologia Graeca 6, 
col. 253 A) 8i' fiv alriav . . . Trpoaex^is 'Opi'qpo) ; Eusebius, Praeparatio 
Evangelica vi. 7 (Gaisford p. 257 d) &v hk evexa touto itpoxTrpie/Ka rai 
Xoyip; Apophthegmaia Patrum, Migne, Patrologia Graeca 65, col. 105 C 
'Apaivie, 81' o e^rjXBes ; Usener, Der heilige Tychon, Leipzig, 1907, p. 50 
refers also to the interrogative formulae avB' otou (in Cjrril of Alexandria, and 
perhaps already in Julian the Apostate), otou x^P'*" (™ Sophronius), oi xipiv 
(in the biography of St. Tycho by Johannes Eleemon), and lUxpis oS itori 
in the "Spiritual Meadow" of Johannes Moschi; exact references will be 
found in Usener, loc. eit. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 127 

ing that our gospel passage is at present the earliest instance 
found in literature. 

The earliest translators of the New Testament understood 

the interrogative sense of the sentence perfectly. We must 

not think of these men as scholars who spoke one single 

language and had learnt others at school, in order to translate 

line for line with all the apparatus of learning. Much rather 

were they, like the translators of the sayings of Jesus, polyglot 

Christians who from childhood had spoken two or three 

languages. How often do we find this same type even to-day 

in the modern East ! Of course they spoke the living 

languages with their corruptions, and Greek regardless of 

Atticist affectations. In translating they were guided 

simply by unsophisticated linguistic instinct, and we can 

be sure that they but seldom went astray. Hence the 

earliest translations, the Old Latin (Vetus Itala) and the Old 

S37riac, which are generally cited only as authorities for the 

text, are not only important sources for the history of exegesis, 

but also a mine of information for the modern expositor. 

Now the Vetus Itala and the Syriac (Sinaitic) version both 

understood the words addressed to Judas as a " why here? " 

question; and many other translations, ancient and modern, 

have followed them on this right path.^ 

Misinterpretations of the passage began early. They are 
all based upon failure to recognise the interrogative meaning 
of the o. As early as 812 a.d. the Codex Armachanus, which 
is a representative of the Hibernian text,^ reads " amice, fac 
ad quod venisti," thus restoring4he relative sense by violence : 
" friend, do that for which thou art come." Eight hundred 
years later, when the official Papal editions of the Vulgate, 
the Sixtine and the Clementine, print " ad quid venisti ? " 

^ I select a few : the Latin Vulgate ; Luther ; Johannes Piscator, the 
Calvinist, in his work on the Bible (German, Herborn, 1604 ; Latin, Herborn, 
1613); the English Authorised Version of 1611, " friend, wherefore art thou 
come?" [and its predecessors, Tjmdale, 1526; Wycliffe, 1389; and the 
loth cent. Old English version, Tr.] ; the Dutch " Statenbijbel " [Bible 
translated and published by authority of the States-General, 1637. Th.] ; 
the translation into popular Greek by Maximos Kalliupolita (Geneva, 1638), 
<S 0iA«, Siarl ■!jX$es eSai; as also the edition published by Queen Olga 
(Athens, 1900), ^I'Ae, Siart ^\6es ; the French translations by David Martin 
and by J. F. Ostervald; the Italian (Roma, 1892) ; the versions in German 
by Weirsacker and by Schlogl. 
■' Nouum Testamentum Latine ed. White (igii), p. vii. 



128 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

instead of Jerome's " ad quod ^ venisti? " the interrogative 
sense is fortunately not done away with, but the text is, at 
least in form, made more elegant. That Euthymius (12th 
cent.), a Byzafttine expositor, trained and working under 
strong Atticist influence, should expressly reject the interro- 
gative meaning of o,^ is not to be wondered at : that is dictated 
by the same feeling as the " fac ad quod venisti " of the Irish 
codex.3 But for that reason Euthymius should not be cited 
as an authority in those cases in which Atticist linguistic 
instinct conflicts with the living spoken language. 

The influence of these Atticist misinterpretations has been 
very strong down to the present day. The majority of modern 
commentators, being at the mercy of the older and to some 
extent obsolete grammars, and generally powerless to criticise 
them, are suspicious of the interrogative 8. It is therefore 
not surprising that the English Revised Version of 1881, for 
instance, altered the correct translation of the Authorised 
Version of 1611, "friend, wherefore art thou come? " into 
" friend, do that for which thou art come " — exactly the 
text of the Book of Armagh.* 

Two other recent attempts are yet more open to objection, 
in spite of the high reputation of their authors. Julius 
Wellhausen,^ with the approval of E. Klostermann,* explains 
the sentence as abbreviated : " [dost thou kiss me for the 
purpose] for which, as we see, thou art come ? " He thinks 
there was no need to say " dost thou kiss me," because the 
kissing was just being enacted at the moment. Klostermann 

' This ad quod is a Latin milgarisni, exactly corresponding to the Greek 
«^' o, doubtless no mere imitation of the Greek original by the translator. 
Cf. the usage of Gregory of Tours (F. Pfister, Rheinisches Museum, 67 (1912) 
p. 203). 

' Cf. E. Klostermann (in Lietzmann's Handbuch) on Matt. xxvi. 50; 
he follows the authority of Euthymius. 

" It has been remarked fairly frequently that Old Irish Biblical scholarship 
was strongly influenced by the Greek; cf. for instance my article, " Hisperica 
Famina in einem Evangelienkodex," Deutsche Literaturzeitung 34 (1913) col. 

325 ff- 

• [So " The Twentieth Century New Testament, published by the Sunday 
School Union, London (preface dated Sept. 1904) says, " Friend, do what 
you have come for " ; R. F. Weymouth, The New Testament in Modern 
Speech (1903), " Friend, carry out your intention " ; James MofEatt, The New 
Testament: a New Translation, " My man, do your errand." Tr.] 

• Das Evangelium Matthaei erkldrt, Berlin, 1904, p. 140. 

• Loc.cit.,^.337i. 



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LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 129 

translates still more strangely : " [dost thou abuse the kiss] 
for the purpose for which thou art here? " ^ I have the 
feeling here that the reference to " enacting " disposes of this 
interpretation. The evangelist is not trying to describe a 
mimic performance in a passion play, in which the action 
of one player and the words of another are nicely calculated 
to coincide and match one another, but a fragment of tragic 
reality. Imagine those words of Jesus as they were spoken 
in the reality of the night of betrayal, and no one with feelings 
unperverted can understand them thus. 

Friedrich Blass ^ on the other hand, in whom the Atticist 
dislike of an interrogative o is more easily intelligible, has no 
compunction in taking strong measures with the clearly 
e.stablished text. He thinks eracpe must be a corruption 
of alpe or halpe alpe, " take," or " friend, take [that] for 
which thou art come." Thus is sacrificed to Atticism one of 
the most authentic,*- most wondrous of the Redeemer's 
sayings, an unintentioned self-revelation of the Betrayed 
that shines forth into the darkness of the betrayer's infamy. 
Though he has sunk so low, still He calls him " companion, 
comrade, friend." How could the. gospel of the Passion ever 
surrender its claim to this human, this more than human 
utterance, except under dire necessity ? - 

There is no necessity. Anyone who, distrustful of the 
historical method in Biblical" philology, demands a special 
' illustrative quotation for each single passage, can be satisfied 
in this instance. A Greek motto found on Syrian glasses of 
the gospel period teaches us that this very question e'(/)' o Trdpei ; 
was current coin in the language of the people. In the 
collection of my friend Theodor Wiegand there is a glass 
goblet,* obtained by him in the Crimea. Inscribed on it 
externally, and running completely round it like a band or 
ring, we find the inscription which is reproduced ^ in Figure 16. 

> These interpretations are akin to the older one by Curt Stage, Das Neue 
Testament ubersetzt in die Sprache der Gegenwart, Leipzig (published by Reclam), 
[1896], p. 67 : " (Do not dissemble with your kiss, but do) what you are here 
for." * Grammatih des Neulesiamentlichen Grieohisch (1896), p. 172. 

• No doubt Matthew has the primary tradition here ; the parallel passage 
in Luke xxii. 48 is worded more in the style appropriate to th6 cult. 

• [Now in the possession of Dr. Rendel Harris, Birmingham. Tr.] 

s Our facsimile gives the inscription in the size of the original, but of course 
without indication of the ring-like arrangement. It is not improbable that 
the goblet came from Syria. 



130 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

To Wiegand I am indebted for a drawing of the inscription, 
while to him and to Georg MoUer (whose premature death we 
deplore) I owe my knowledge of the existence of other speci- 
mens. Wiegand assigns the writing to the first century A.D. 
He has of course exaniined it minutely and describes it thus : 
The inscription is in two halves, one on each half of the 
goblet, \yhich is pressed out of two half-moulds, and the 
spacing is such that one cannot see where the motto begins. 

I have no doubt that it iDegins with the question e'</)' o irapei ; 
and that €v<ppalvov is the answer. The inscription on the 
goblet and the text in the gospel afford each other mutual 
support.^ If, with ample security in popular Greek usage, 
we are compelled by intrinsic reasons to regard the sentence 
in the story of the Passion as a question, then from the 
Syrian goblet comes also a question, the merry question 
" why here ? " addressed to the guest, followed by the equally 
merry answer.^ 

The Berlin Museum possesses other similar glasses : one 
is No. 11,866 in the catalogue, the other is No. 212 in the 
Von Gans collection. Both display the orthographic variant 
«'</)' m instead of i<j)' 6'.' Goblet No. 11,866 has before and 
after ev<l>paivov a vertical line caused by moulding, so that, 
as in Wiegand's specimen, which is without a line, the begin- 
ning and end of the motto are not at once recognisable. The 
Von Gans goblet No. 212 on* the other hand has a vertical 

* In itself fi^paxvov i(j)' 5 ndpei would also be possible. But what would 
be the sense of saying " rejoice for that thou art here " ? It would be an 
extremely feeble motto. The proposal to translate thus was toade to me by 
someone who was influenced by having naturally taken o first of all as a relative. 
An alternative suggestion from the same quarter was, " rejoice so long as 
thou art here," i.e. " while thou art alive." This version is also very little 
convincing, and it is grammatically harsh. 

' Cf. Psalm ciii. (civ.) 15, olvos eu^/JaiWt xapSiav avBpumov, " wine 
maketh glad the heart of man," and the frequent inscription on black- 
figured drinking vessels from Attica, xaipc Koi ma. (On the form mVi and 
^ the interpretation of the whole line cf. Otto Lagercrantz, Eranos, vol. 14, p. 
171 ff.) [In the N.T. Luke xii. 19; xv. 23, 24, 29, 32, etc. Tr.] 

' For the same variant (e'^' 41 instead of e<j>' o) furnished by a minority of the 
MSS. in Matt. xxvi. 50 the Syrian glasses afford, therefore, an instructive 
parallel. - The variant can hardly be based on any objective consideration, 
but probably points to the fact that at an early date o and to were no longer 
distinguished in pronunciation. The writers and copyists of the New Testa- 
ment therefore had the same chance of varying the spelling as the unknown 
persons who provided the motto for the Syrian glassmakers. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 131 

moulding-line only after eixfypaivov, which might therefore 
mark the end and the beginning of the motto. Since other 
vessels of similar kind with mottoes are also extant elsewhere,^ 
it is allowable to assume that this type with motto was 
widespread and generally known. I do not wish to hint that 
the translator of the Aramaic of Jesus with his i<j> 8 ndpei was 
influenced by the motto ; but I assume that he, no less than 
the motto itself,, drew this usage of the interrogative 6 from 
the language of the people. 



E. We pass now to consider briefly, in conclusion, the style 
of the New Testament in the light of the profane texts.* 
Let us take as our example the Johannine writings. It has 
become an inviolable tradition with commentators to repre- 
sent the Johannine style as particularly Semitic, chiefly on 
account of its preference for paratactic constructions, 
especially " and . . . and," which occurs so frequently. 
So recent a writer as E. von Dobschiitz,* who distinguishes 
an original and an adaptation in the First Epistle of St. John, 
has these observations on the style of the original, conveyed, 
it may be remarked, in a highly paratactic style of his own : — 

' Cf. (as I am informed by Th. Wiegand, 28 July, 1921)0. Sangiorgi, 
Collezione di veiri antichi, Milano-Roma, 1914, p. 33 (Plate 19) : a Syrian 
glass, found in the province of Cremona, is inscribed with our motto (e^' ^ 
mpei; ti^paivov). The editor has reversed the two halves of the motto. 
If we once begin to give heed to this t)rpe of vessel, we shall probably be able 
to discover yet more examples. — So I conjectured when preparing my MS. 
for the fourth edition, and before the printing was complete I heard from 
Wiegand of a glass goblet in the collection of Mr. Thomas E. H. Curtis, of 
Plaiafield (New Jersey). The editor, Gisela M. A. Richter, " Art in America," 
vol. 2 (1914), p. 85, gives the text thxis : Evtl>paivov e'^' [sic] UTIapis, and 
translates: ' " Rejoice in that in which Paris rejoiced"; that is, in the 
beauty of women.' There must be either a misreading here or an error in the 
making of the vessel. The facsimile of the goblet (Plate 17, No. 14) unfortu- 
nately shows only the eutfipaivov side. [W. M. Calder, Classical Review, 38 
(1924) p. 30, points out that mpis is for mptis ; the use of the Epic and 
Ionic form tU for it can be paralleled from Hellenistic inscriptions. Tr.] 
* Cf. the general observations above, p. 69 fE. 

' " Johanneische Studien," Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche Wissen- 
schaft und die Kunde des Urchristentums, 8 (1907) P- 7- Wilhelm Heitmiiller 
in the Gegenwartsbibel (Die'Schriften des N. T. . . ., herausg. von Johannes 
Weiss), II., Gottingen, 1907, 3, p. 175, pronounced a similar judgment, and 
even ventured from the structure of the sentences and their connexion to draw 
conclusions as to the birth-certificate of the writer : " They betray beyond 
doubt the Jewish origin of the evangelist." 



132 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

" Thesis stands beside thesis, sentence opposes sentence ; 
there are none of the delicate connecting particles, appropriate 
to every gradation in the thought, which are so abundant in 
classical Greek. These are no doubt greatly diminished in the 
colloquial language of the Hellenistic period. But a style such 
as we have here is really not Greek. It is Semitic thinking that 
is here displayed. Only in the Septuagint is there anything 
like it to be found." 

Even apart from our new texts, we could appeal to the facts 
of Indo-Germanic philology in refutation of this branding of 
parataxis as " not Greek." Parataxis appears to be not 
Greek only from the orthodox poinl of view of the Atticists, 
who laid it down that the periodic structure with hypotaxis 
was good, beautiful, and Greek far excellence. As a matter 
of fact, parataxis is the original form of every primitive speech, 
including the Greek ; it survived continuously in the language 
of the people, and even found its way into literature when the 
ordinary conversation of the people was imitated. The facts 
are admirably stated by Karl Brugmann ^ : — 

" It is beyond doubt that the language of Homer exhibits on 
the whole far more of the original paratactic structure than the 
language of Herodotus and the Attic prose writers, such as 
Thucydides, Plato, Demosthenes. . . . This is not because the 
language of Homer is older and closer to the primitive Indo- 
Germanic type of language, but rather because the epic is less 
detached than the later literature from the natural soil of lan- 

' Griechische GrammaHk' (Handbuch der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, 
II. i"), Miinchen, 1900, p. 555 f. (*[Thuinb], p. 640). Eduard Norden in his 
great work, Agnosias Theos, Leipzig and Berlin, 1913, p. 367 ff., controverting 
my view of the xai-sentences which are piled up as it were in series in Luke, 
defends them as Semitic. I think we have here a special case of what I have 
already touched on at p. 4 above — radical difference of opinion as to the 
concept " Greek." Of course it is certain that artistic Attic prose prefers 
hypotaxis to parataxis. But the texts on stone and papyrus, written by 
people who were not Semites, prove that parataxis was as natural to the 
popular language of unconventionalised Greek as to the Semites. If we 
possessed more texts from Greece of the classical period oTairect popular origin, 
we should probably find parataxis in living use even there. But Brugmann's 
indirect examples are sufficient. The fact was clearly recognised already in 
Alexander Buttmann's Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen Sprachgebrauchs, 
Berlin, 1859, p. 248. Cf. further Radermacher, Wiener Studien 31.(1909), 
p. 8f. ; Lagercrantz, Eranos 14 p. 171 ff.; F. Pfister, Die parataktische 
Darstellungsform in der volkstiimlichen Erzahlung, Wochenschrift fiir 
klassische Philologie 28 (igii) col. 809 ff.; Witkowski, Glotta 6 p. 22 f.; 
Otto Weinreich, Neue Urkunden zur SarapisrReligion, Tiibingen, 1919, p. 14. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 133 

guage. Wherever in the Indo-Germanic sphere a genuine popular 
dialect is found to exist side by side with a more highly developed 
literary language^ we see that the popular dialect makes far 
more use of the paratactic form of expression than the literary 
language. If a work of later date, say, for example, of the 3rd 
century B.C., were preserved, presenting to us as true a specimen 
of popular sentence-construction as the Homeric poems, the 
language of Homer would probably in this respect appear scarcely 
more archaic. There is in fact no very great difference to be 
detected between Homeric Greek and the Modern Greek dialects 
in this particular. When, in the age of hterary practice and 
scholastic training, we find authors using paratactic construc- 
tions where they might have employed hypotactic forms, such 
being in general use in the cultivated language, we may generally 
assume that there has been an upward borrowing from the forms 
of the language of every-day life." 

Brugmann illustrates this last remark by examples from 
the Greek Comedy and from Demosthenes; in both cases 
there is conscious imitation of the popular ^ style..^ 

If we have once recognised the popular character of the 
J-ohannine style — not the result, this, of conscious imitation, 
but in large mefisure a wild, natural growth — then we have 
solved the riddle which our Atticist commentators with their 
censorial attitude are always discovering. St. John is 
popular in style both when he is narrating something, or 
making reflections of his own, and when he reproduces the 
sayings of Christ. It is easy to find instances to prove this — 
both of- the popular narrative style, with its short paratactic 
sentences and its " and . . . and," and of the stately style, 
impressive by the very simplicity of its popular appeal, in 

• This is obvious, of course, in the case of Comedy. (Cf. D. B. Durham, 
The Vocabulary of Menander considered in its relation to the Koine, Diss., 
Princeton, 1913, p. 35 ff., and the Latin parallels in F. Pfister, Rheinisches 
Museum, New Series 67 [1912] p. 197.) We have here the reason why the 
-vocabulary of Comedy finds such frequent echoes in the New Testament. 
It is not because the apostles were regular attendants at the theatre or 
readers of Comedy, but Comedy and New Testament both draw from the 
popular colloquial language as from a common spring. 

' The examples in Wilhelm Schmid, Der Aiticismus, I. p. 422, II. p. 299, 
III. p. 326, are also very well worth noting. Cf. also Eduard Schwyzer, 
Neugriechische Syntax und altgriechische, Neue Jahrbiicher fur das klassische 
Altertum, etc., 1908, i Abteilung, 21 Band. p. 500; and Jean Psichari, Essai 
sur le Grec de la Septante, p. 186. 



134 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

which Divinity manifests itself in the first person to strangers 
and devotees. 

One of the most vivid examples of popular narrative style 
is the report by an Egyptian named Ptolemaeus to Damo- 
xenus, in the year i6o B.C. concerning his dreams ^ (Paris 
Papyri, No. 51). I should have liked to reprint this extra- 
ordinarily interesting text here, but it is advisable to await 
the appearance of Wilcken's edition of the papyri of the 
Ptolemaic period.* 

Another good example is the letter of consolation written 
by Irene, an Egyptian woman of the second century a.d., 
and found at Oxyrhynchus. This letter will be discussed 
in a later chapter.' 

Here is the story told by two " pig-merchants," about 
171 A.D., in their letter of complaint to the Strategus, found 
at Euhemeria (Kasr el-Banat) in the Fayura * : — 



. . . ixOii ■^Tts rjv l6 tov [o]vtos 
/ir/vos ®oi6 tt.vtp\oiiiviav ^/ituv ^ aTro 
KW/iijs 0ea8e\(^€ias 0€/ii(rTov iJi,cpiSoi 
VTTO TOV opBpnv iTTrj\6av r/fieiv 
KaKovpyoC Tii'cs di/a [;u]e'o"oi' IIo\v- 
StvKias Koi T^5 ©eaScXc^etas kol 
fSrjcrav ^/aSs crvv koI * tcu /layocoXo- 
^vXaKi Kai TrXi/yais ij/nas ttXhttois 
^Kttrav ({[at] rpavp-aTiaiov iironqa-av 
TOV [IIa(rici)]va koi iUTavripa\y ij/iJcSi' 
■)(oipihi.\ov\ u. KOA. i/Sdcrlra^av tov to5 
Ila(7itov]')S KiTu)va . . . Kai . . . 



. . . Yesterday, which was 
the 19th of the present month 
Thoth, as we were returning 
about daybreak from the village 
of Theadelphia in the division 
of Themistes, certain malcr 
factors came upon us between 
Polydeucia and Theadelphia, 
and bound us, with the guard 
of the tower also, and assaulted 
us with very many stripes, and 
wounded Pasion, and' robbed 
us of I pig, and carried off 
Pasion's coat . . . and.. . .' 



•" Notices et Extraits, 18, 2, p. 323 f. 

' Wilcken has given us the text provisionally, by way of ipfa^wv, in the 
Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung 6, p. 204 ff. 

' Cf. p. 176, below. 

* FayAm Towns and their Papyri, No. 108. 

' This " incorrect " genitive absolute with a following dative occurs in' 
exactly the same way in John iv. 51, and many other New Testament passages. 
For parallels in vulgar Latin see F. Pfister, Rheinisches Museum 67 (1912) 
p. 206 f. 

" For this pleonastic am Kat cf. /terd Kai in Phil. iv. 3, and see Neue Bibel- 
studien, p. 93, Bible Studies, pp. 64, 265 f. 

' Cf. the parallel descriptive details of the robber scene in the parable of 
the Good Samaritan, Luke x. 30 : nlention of the road on which the outrage 
took place (" from Jerusalem to Jericho "), the stripes (" beat him," R.V.), 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 135 



How firmly this " and . . . and " style was rooted in the 
language of the people is shown by a much later bill of com- 
plaint of a Christian Egyptian woman who had been ill- 
treated by her husband (Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 903, 4th 
century a.d.). 

The parallelism of the style comes out most clearly if we 
compare texts of similar content. For instance we might 
take these sentences from the story of the man born blind 
(John ix. 7, II) :— 



7. Kal eiTTtv airio •<! VTraye viij/ai 
CIS Tr/v Kokv/J.pr'j6pav tov 'ZiX.wd.jj. (o 
ipy-T^vtviTai dir£(rTaX/j.£i'Os) . aTr^X^ec 
ovv Kal IvLij/aTO kol rjXOtv ySXeVwv. 
II. airiKpiOr] eKtivos • o av6piOTro% 6 
Xeyo/xtvos It^ctovs TnjXov eirotTjcrev 
Kol kne)(pi(r(v fiov Tois 6<ji0aXp,ovi 
Kal ciirev p,oi on vvaye ti's tov 
2iA<oa/i Kai vti/'at. aweXduiV ovv kcli 
vti/'a/ifi'os OLvePXeij/a. 



7. And said unto him, Go, 
wash in the pool of Siloam 
(which is by interpretation, 
Sent). He went away there- 
fore, and washed, and came 
seeing, ii. He answered. The 
man that is called Jesus made 
clay, and anointed mine eyes, 
and said unto me. Go to 
Siloam, and wash : so I went 
away and washed, and I re- 
ceived sight. (R.V.) 



Compare with these sentences one of four records of cures in- 
scribed on a marble tablet some time after 138 a.d., probably 
at the temple of Asclepius on the island in the Tiber at 
Rome 1 : — 



OiaXcpiio 'Airpia <rTpaTi(i)Trj TV(j>Xw 
i)y}rip.d.Tiarev ^ 6 6e6i kXdiiv * Kal 
XajSctv axpLO. ($ a.XiKTpvu)Vo^; XtvKov 
[iiTO, nlXiTO^ Kal Ko\A.vpto[v] * avv- 
rpujiai KoX iirl rpeis ^/xepas iiri- 
■Xpiiaai^ lirl Tovs o^OaXfjiou';. kol 
avc^Xafitv * Kal kXrjXvOiv ' Kal r/ixa- 
picTTrjfrtv * Brj/jLOtTia ' T(3 deZ.^" 



To Valerius Aper, a blind 
soldier, the god revealed ^ that 
he should go ^ and take blood 
of a white cock, together with 
honey, and rub them into an 
eyesalve * and anoint ^ his eyes 
three days. And he received 
his sight,* and came ' and gave 
thanks * publicly " to the god.^" 



the theft of clothing. It is clear that the parable was successful in hitting the 
popular tone. The papyri and inscriptions furnish good contempgrary illus- 
trations of the same kind to other of our Lord's parables, e.g. the importunate 
widow (Luke xviii. i S.) Tauetis of the village of Socnopaei Nesus (Berliner 
Griechische Urkunden, No. 522, Fayum, 2nd century a.d.), or the prodigal 
son Antonis Longus with his confession of sins to his mother Nilus (Berliner 
Griechische Urkunden, No. 846, Fayum, 2nd century a.d.; see below, pp. 

187 ff.) and " Parable " in Index IV. 

[For notes i to 10 see next page. 



136 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

This text is, if possible, even more paratactic (" Semitic," 
people would say, if it were a quotation from the New Testa- 
ment) than the corresponding passage in St. John. 

Most striking of all, however, is the similarity between the 
utterances of the Johannine Christ in the first person, spoken 
with the solemnity proper to a cult, and certain ancient 
examples of the same style as we find it in widespread use 
for the purposes of non-Christian and pre-Christian religion. 
An inscription in honour of Isis at Nysa in " Arabia," pre- 
served by Diodorus of Sicily, and an Isis inscription in the 
island of los, may convey to us an impression of this " cult " 
style ; we hear its echo still in texts of post- Johannine date. 
In the case of the second inscription there is another ^ of those 
delightful accidents to be recorded which serve to recompense 
all who are wearied by the toil of compiling the statistics of 
language. This inscription, highly important also in respect 
of its contents, is now in the church of St. John the Divine, 
los, written on a portion of fluted column which now serves to 
support the altar ; St. John the Divine has rescued this 
venerable document of a prose akin to his own. The first 
editor of the inscription, R. Weil,* considered it, strangely 

' Cf. p. 103 f. above for the similar preservation of the imovvayuy^ 
inscription. 

' Athenische JVIitteilungen, 2 (1877) p. 81. 



Notes to p. 135 : — 

* Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarwn, No. 598015^. = Dittenberger, Sylloge,' 
No. 8o7i5(r. ('No. ii73i»ff.)- Apart from the mere words the parallelism is of" 
course remarkable. Similarities both formal and actual occur also in the three 
other records and in numerous tablets of the same kind from Epidaurus. For 
a perfectly simple narrative style, consisting almost entirely of participial 
constructions and sentences connected by koC, cf . the long inscription recording 
the "Acts of Heracles," Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 5984. The 
word 7rpd(eis is here used as in the title of St. Luke's and other "Acts of 
the Apostles." 

' So used frequently in the Greek Bible in the sense of divine warning 
or revelation [e.g. LXX Jer. xxxii. (xxv.) 30, xxxvii. (xxx.) 2, xliii. (xxxvi.) 2, 4 ; 
Matt. ii. 12, 22 ; Luke ii. 26 ; Acts x. 22 ; Heb. viii. 5, xi. 7, xii. 25]. 

' Corres|)onding to the direct imperative " Go " in St. John. 

' Cf . the clay made of earth and spittle in St. John. 

» The word is employed exactly as by St. John, who also construes it with im 
(ix. 6). 'As in St. John. 

' As in John ix. 7. * As often in the New Testament. 

' As in the Acts [xvi. 37, xviii. 28, xx. 20]. 

" Cf. the grateful Samaritan, Luke xvii. 15 f. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 137 

enough, to be an imperial edict or letter of the period of 
the Christian persecutions. Its true character was after- 
wards pointed out to him by Evstratiadis.^ It has re- 
peatedly engaged the attention of scholars, and has been 
published by Baron F. Hiller von Gaertringen,* who assigns 
the writing to the (second or) third century a.d. By his 
kind agency I am enabled to reproduce here (Figure 17), with 
the permission of the Epigraphical Commission of the Prussian 
Academy of Sciences, a carefully prepared facsimile of this 
uncommonly interesting text by Alfred Schiff. In spite of 
the late writing the text itself, as shown by the parallel text 
from Nysa in our pre-Christian authority Diodorus, is old. in 
the main, and probably much older than the Gospel of St. 
John. 

In order not to break the historical continuity I give first of 
all the text from Nysa, then that from los,* thirdly a Johan- 

' Athenische Mitteilungen, 2 (1877) p. 189 f. 
. ' Inscri-ptiones Graecae, XII. V. i No. 14, cf. p. 217; most recently in 
Dittenberger, Sylloge' No. 1267. For an unimportant new fragment see 
Bulletin de Correspondance Hellfenique, 28 (1904) p. 330. I afterwards dis- 
covered that Adolf Erman, Die dgyptische Religion, Berlin, 1905, p. 245, also 
translates the inscription (in part), and takes the same view of it as I do. It 
shows, he says, " what the more simple souls thought of Isis." 

' Among pre-Johannine texts we might also mention the " Praise of 
Wisdom," in Ecclesiasticus xxiv., where the first personal pronoun is used at 
least four times in the solemn manner. This style can undoubtedly be traced 
still further back : cf. the solemn " I am " of Jahveh in the Old Testament, 
and the " I " used by the kings in ancient Oriental inscriptions, an echo of 
which is found in the late inscription of Silco, a 6th cent. Christian King of 
Nubia (Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 201).. The 
parataxis in this inscription, which is sufficiently barbaric in other respects, is 
exactly paralleled in the Isis inscriptions of Nysa and los. The best parallels 
to the use of the first personal pronoun are to be found in Egyptian sacred 
texts. Cf. for instance the texts in Albrecht Dieterich's Eine Miihrasliturgie 
erldutert, Leipzig, 1903, p. 194 f., and the same scholar's references to the Ley- 
den magical papyrus V. in the Jahrbiicher fur classische Philologie herausg. 
von Alfred Fleckeisen, 16. Supplementband, Leipzig, 1888, p. 773. E.g., in 
the same pap3n:us, VII23, we have ^yu> elfu "Oatpis 6 KoXovfievos vScap, eyta elfu *Iais 
^ KoAov/iei^ Spoaos, " I am Osiris, who am called ' Water ' ; I am Isis, who am 
called ' Dew.' " Formal and actual parallels are also found in the London 
magical pap3mis No. 46^361 3.nd i2ijBsf. (Kenyon, I. pp. 72, 100) and particularly 
in Apuleius, Metamorphoses, 11. 5. Further details in Pfister, Wochenschrift 
f. klass. Philol. 191 1, col. 809 f. To one of his references. Acta Thomae 
(Bonnet) II. 2 p. 148 f., Rostalski (letter, 25 Dec, 1912) adds another, Acta 
Thomae II. 2 p. 271. [M.R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament, Oxford, 
1924, pp. 379 f.,434; and cf. pp. 411-415. Tr.] A curious late after-eflfect 
of the " I "-style is found in the sacred writings of the Yezidls, cf. the Qasidas 



138 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



nine text of similar form, and lastly an example of the sacral 
use of the first person singular that is no doubt later than St. 
John. 



Diodorus of Sicily (f 27 B.C.) says in his History ^ that he 
was acquainted with writers who had described the tombs 
of Isis and Osiris at Nysa in " Arabia." ^ The tombstone of 
each deity bore an inscription in " sacred characters," the 
greater part of which had been already destroyed by time. 
The still legible portion of the Isis inscription he gives as 
follows : — 



Eyi) lo-t's €i/«.i fj ySacriXicro-a 
Trda-fji X'^P°-^ V '"'aLSevOilcra vtto 
EpfjLov, Ka'i oua cyi) ivo/JLoOiTrjaa, 
ouSeis avTO. Svvarai Xvcrai. 'Eyal 

clfJiL fj ToB VeOJTttTOV KpOI'OV 6iOV 

OvydTTjp vpecr^vTaTrj. 'Eyio iljji.i 
yvvrj Koi aBeXtftr] OcrtpiSos /SaciAcws. 
Ey<u €iyu.i 17 irpcoTTj Kapnov dvdputTroLi 
eipovaa. 'Eyco Eijui /aijrijp "Qpov Tov 
jSacriXews. Eyw ti/jLi ij iv TuJ aarpui 
TO) iv Tui Kvvi IrniWovcTa. Eyiiot 

BoUySaCTTOS T] TToXlS UKoSo/LnJ^lJ. 

Xaipc, X°^P^ Atyu7rT€ f] Opttj/aa-d p.i. 



I am Isis, the queen of every 
land, taught by Hermes, and 
whatsoever things I have or- 
dained, no one is able to loose . 
them. I am the eldest daugh- 
ter of Cronos, the youngest 
god. I am wife and sister of 
King Osiris. I am the first 
that devised fruit for men. 
I am mother of Horus the 
King. I am she that riseth 
in the dog-star. For me was 
the city of Bubastis built. 
Rejoice, rejoice,* Egypt, that 
nourished me. 



Diodorus also gives a fragment of the Osiris inscription. 
Like the other it consists of brief statements by Osiris about 
himself, but the word " I " is not so conspicuous as in the Isis 
text. 

(" elegies," long poems) of the Sheikh 'Adi (12th cent, a.d.) in R. Frank, 
Scheich 'Adi, dey grosse Heilige Her Jeridis, Diss., Erlangen, 1911, p. ill fi. — 
On the whole question the abundant material offered by E. Norden, Agnostos 
Tkeos, pp. 186 fi., 207 fi., 220 ff. must now be considered. The great lines are 
there clearly drawn by the historian of religion. 

' I. 27. I quote from the edition by F. Vogel, Leipzig, 1888. 

^ This statement must be regarded with suspicion. The text came pro-, 
bably, as Wilcken conjectures, from Bubastis. Nysa is a fabulous place. 
[Thanks to Diodorus " Nysa's isle " has left traces in Milton, Paradise Lost, 
iv. 275-279, and Wordsworth, the poem called " The Brownie's Cell," beginning 
" To barren heath." Tr.] 

3 Or " Hail, hail ! " 



lO 



30 



rHEitiEErw ^' 



35 



H CA E r W r Y N A ^, tfu^'^o^Mf V E 6 otEN £TA^ 

rWlTOTEKNWNro HEnr+WOCTOlrtlCO^ 

Mnt^PTWrA FrWToi CACTOProlurONCii-' . 
Kolbt^MMPlAHBITEeNK^ EWM^^^^ 

rwnrEFrE 

na^irwWKArYlTANAmNHiM'ANkAIA EWoAI 
kWoNEfCXYPoTEpoMXFYDOYKAIA?rYPloYEro/ 
K^Hf. WToAAHeECk A AONENoMoeETHC-^ 

y?^*eArErwn YN n^A^'AnrAMfkATEYPA 

Smfrr ^ kToYT BAAHH fCAIBAPRAPnirAlEDO 



pSiXtT^'^^L YN n>A4'AnrAH[fcArEYPA 




eA 



Fig. 17. — Isis Inscription from los. Writing of tlie (2nd or) 3rd cent. a.d. 
Contents pre-Christian. Now in the church of St. John the Divine, los. 
By permission of the Epigrapliical Commission of the Prussian Academy of 
Sciences. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 139 



II 

That the Nysa inscription was no fiction, but a permanent 
constituent in liturgical texts of the Isis cult, is proved by the 
later record from los (Fig. 17) , which is longer, but in no other 
respect discordant. I print it here without preserving the 
original division into lines, only marking (for convenience in 
referring to the facsimile) the point where every fifth line 
begins. 



['O Seiva aviO-qntv Ei](ri[8t 
2cpa7r]i[8]i 'AvovPiSi Ka[p7roKpa]T);. 
Eiins iyu> ^ ei/ii ij T[vpai'i']os tuo-tjs 
XO/aas Kol (*) €iraiS[«i,']67;v virb 'EpfioTi 
Kai ypdnfiaTa ivpov /icra 'Ep/xov 
Tci ST/juocria, iva /irj rots auTow Traira 
ypd,<f}rjTai. Eyu vd/xovs avOpunroK 
iOc/xTjv KOI h'Ofio-{^'*)6fTr]cra, a ovSeh 
Svvarai fitTaOuvai. 'Eyio tl/ii Kpd- 
vov OvyaT-qp Trpfa-^VTaTyj. 'Eyu e'lfii 
yvvTj Kal d.S(X.<l>rj 'Ocrctpeos /Jacri- 
Xeos. Eyci ei/xi deov Kui'os atrrpia 
iirj.Tik(^\yoMa'a. (^') 'Eyal (.lp.L rj 
irapa. ywai^X 6io% KaXovp-ivr).- 'E[/n]oi 
Bovj3a<TTK n-dXis oiKoSop.r)6ri. 'Eyoi 
f\atpi(j-a yy)V air ovpavuv. 'Eyto 
""■'■[p]*"' oSovi cSeifa. 'Eyoi rjXiov 
KOI aeXrjvrii iropeiav uvvera^a. 'Eyo) 
5a\ao--(2'')<7ta epya evpa. 'Eyto to 



N. N. dedicated this to Isis, 
Serapis, Anubis, and Carpo- 
crates. I am Isis, the mis- 
tress of every land,^ and was 
taught by Hermes, and devised 
with Hermes the demotic' 
letters, that all things might 
not be written with the same 
(letters). I gave and ordained 
laws * unto men, which no one 
is able to change. I am eldest 
daughter of Cronos. I am 
wife and sister of King Osiris. 
I am she that riseth in the star 
of the Dog god. I am she that 
is called goddess by women. 
For me was the city of Bubastis 
built.' I divided the earth 
from the heaven.* I showed 
the paths of the stars.' I 
ordered the course of the sun 
and moon.* I devised busi- 
ness in the sea.* I made 



' I was at one time not quite sure whether these two words were rightly 
taken together. The anaphoric eyci in the following lines leads us to expect 
that the first sentence should also begin with iyii. But the (metrical) Isis 
inscription from Andros, Inscriptiones Graecae, XII. V. i. No. 739, of the age 
of Augustus, also has Vorir eyd) . . . several times. 

• Cf. Ecclus. xxiv. 6. 

' As distinguished from the hieroglyphics. 

• Cf . the idea of divine legislation in the Old Testament. 
' Cf. LXX Psalm cxxi. [cxxii.] 3, 4; Ecclus. xxiv. 11. 

' Cf. LXX Gen. i. 7-10. 

' Cf. LXX Gen. i. 16 f. ; Job. ix. 7 ff. ; xxxviii. 31 f. 

• Cf. LXX Gen. i. 16 f. ; Job ix. 7 ff. ; xxxviii. 31 f. 

• Cf . Wisdom xiv. 3 ff. 



140 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



hUatov laxvpov cTroiijo-a. 'Eyii 
yvvoLKa Kal ai'Spa crvvr/yaya. Eyi) 
yvvai^i, SiKd/jLi/jVov J3pe<ji0'; ivera^a, 
'Eyib virb TtKVwv yovcis <j>i\ocrTopyfi- 
adai Ivo/iodeTrjcra. 'Eyii TOis acrrop- 
yois yoveicrt 8ia-(^^)K£i/ioois tcl/jlui- 
piav iTTiO-qKci. 'Eyo) p-iTO. tov 
d&e\(j>ov 'Odcipfos ras avOpwiroijia- 
yias eTTavo'a. 'Eyu) jav7)<r£is avOpw- 
irois dvcStifa. 'Eyoi> ayaAjnaTa diuiv 
T€i/j.S.v tStSafa. 'Eyo) Tt/jLtvr] Oiuiv 
flSpv(Tai/jirjv. ' 'Eyo) Tupdvv(o[i'] dp^ots 
KariKvcra. 'Eya> (rT£joye-(*'')tr^at 
yuvai/cas iw' di'Spiv rp/avKatra. 'Eyi) 
TO StKotov elcrxypoTepov )(pv(Tiov koi 
apyvpiov iTroirjcra. 'Eyo) to dXjj^cs 
KuXov ivop.o6iTrjfTa vop,il^i(r\dai. 
'Eyo) (rvvypa<j>as ya|«tKa[s] eupa. 
'Eyo) [8]ia\eKTODs "EA.Xijo't Kai 
pap^dpoK SLeTa^o.-(^^)prjv. 'Eyoj to 
KoXoi' Kai TO aicr)(p6v SiaycivuxTKtuSai 
[uTrjo rrji i^ucrcus (iroirjcra. 'Eyu 
op/cou <^o/3oi' ^^ [eTTc/JaXo]!/ €7r[i '. . . 
Jv d8(K0)$ ey (or ec) . . . 



strong the right. ^ I brought 
together woman and man.* 
I appointed unto women the 
new-born babe in the tenth 
month.* I ordained that 
parents should be loved by 
children.* I laid punishment 
upon those disposed without 
natural affection towards their 
parents.^ I made . with my 
brother Osiris an end of the 
eating of men.^ I showed 
mysteries unto men. I taught 
to honour images of the gods. 
I consecrated the precincts of 
the gods. I broke down the 
governments of tyrants.' I 
compelled women to be loved 
by men.* I made the right 
to be stronger than gold and 
silver.* I ordained that the 
true should be thought good. 
I devised marriage contracts.^" 
I assigned to Greeks and bar- 
barians their languages.^^ I 
made the beautiful and the ill- 
favoured to be distinguished by 
nature. I laid (?) fear (?) 
of an oath upon . . . un- 
justly . . . 



It may seem surprising that in this case of .a religious text 
of really Egyptian origin the parallels I have given (in the 
footnotes) are taken from the Septuagint and not from other 
Egyptian texts. ^^ But there is good reason for this : in 

1 Cf. LXX Psalm xxxvi.^[xxxvii.] 17, 39. ' Cf. LXX Gen. i. 28, ii. 22. 

» Cf. Wisdom vii. i, 2. " Cf. LXX Exod. xx. 12; Deut. v. 16, etc. 

' Cf. Exod. xxi. 15, 16, etc. » Cf. Wisdom xii. 3-5. 

' Cf. LXX Psalm cxxxiv. [cxxxv.] 10, 11; cxxxv. [cxxxv.] 17-20. 
« Cf. LXX Gen. ii. 24; Mai. ii. 15, i6. 
• Cf. LXX Psalm xxxvi. [xxxvii.] 16; cxviii. [cxix.] liy. 
" Cf. LXX Mai. ii. 14 ; (Tobit vii. 14.) 

" Cf. LXX Gen. xi. 7, 9. 12 ^(j^ov is more likely than ^opoi-. 

" It would have been easy to find them there. Cf. for instance O. Gruppe, 

Griechische Mythologie und Religionsgeschichte II., Miinchen, 1906, p. 1563 fl. 



LANGUAGE' OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 141 

anticipation of the problem which will engage our attention in 
Chapter IV. I was anxious to show how close the resemblance 
can be between the Hellenised Old Testament and Hellenised 
Egyptian religion. The actual relationship of ideas being 
so close, how easy must it have been for Hellenistic Judaism 
and Christianity to adopt the remarkable and simple style 
of expression in the first person singular.^ 



Ill 



John X. 7-14 : — 

'Eyii «(/ii rj 6vpa tuiv ■trpojBa.TOiV. 
TravTcs o<roi ■^X.dov wpo Ifiov KXeirrai 
eiertv Koi Xijcrrat, dW ovk ^Kovcrav 
avTwv TO. wpd/8aTtt. 'Eyii elfii rj 
dvpa. ; 8t Ijxov i.d.v tis €i<TfX6rj, 
croidi^a-iTaL, koi. tlcreXevaeTai, kcu 
f^eXtvcreTai Koi vofijiv tvprjcrti. O 
KX«rTi;s ouK ep)^eTai ei p.r] iva KXeij/ri 
KoX dvcrri Koi diroXe'crj;. 'Eyi) r/Xdov 
iva ^larjv i^oicnv Koi irepicra'ov c^oktlv. 
'Eyut e.lft,i 6 ■KOip.TjV 6 KaXos ■ 6 
'TTOip.rjV KaXh'S rr/v tj/v)(yiv airov 
TlBrjo'LV virip rCtv Trpo^aTuiv. O 
fJitxrOiiiTOi Kal ovK idv iroi/i7;v, ov 
OVK icTTiv TO. TTpo/Sara iSia, Biuipu 
TOV XvKOV ipXOp-CVOV KOL a<f>ir](TW 
TO. Trpo^ara koX cfievyei (koI 6 Xvkos 
apTra^ei avra Koi iTKOpTri^ei) ' ' OTt 
fitcrSioTos icTTtv Kol oi p,lXlL aUTO) 

TTipX TWV irpoPd/TUiV. Eycu (.lft.1 6 

■7rOLIJ,7jV O KaXo^. ' 



I am the door of the sheep. 
All that came before Me are 
thieves and robbers : but the 
sheep did not hear them. I am 
the door : by Me if any man 
enter in, he shall be saved, and 
shall go in and go out, and shall 
find pasture. The thief cometh 
not, but that he may steal, 
and kill, and destroy : I came 
that they may have life, and 
may have abundance. I am 
the good shepherd : the good 
shepherd layeth down His life 
for the sheep. He that is a 
hireling, and not a shepherd, 
whose own the sheep are not, 
beholdeth the wolf coming, 
and leaveth the sheep, and 
fleeth (and the wolf snatcheth 
and scattereth them), because 
he is a hireling, and careth not 
for the sheep. I am the good 
shepherd. (R.V., adapted.) 



■ — A wonderful example of the worshippers' congregational prayer with Thou 
in answer to the liturgical epiphany of the divinity with / is the prayer to 
Isis in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri XI. No. 1380 (written early in the 2nd cent. 
A.D.) . It is a very mine of discovery for researchers studying the great epoch of 
religious change. 

^ At Ephesus, to which the Johannine texts point, there was a cult of 
Isis. — In the inscription in Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, 
III. No. 722, the reading Elaaov does not seem to me to be certain, but there 
are other sure epigraphical proofs elsewhere. Cf. Adolf us Rusch, De Serapide 
et Iside in Graecia cultis, Diss., Berolini, 1906, p. 72 f. 



142 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



IV 

In spite of distortion caused by the would-be wizardry the 
features of the old style are recognisable in the following 
passage from the London magical papyrus No. 46,„ff.,^ which 
was written in the 4th century a.d. Similar examples would 
not be difficult to find in other magical texts.* 



'Eyci tlfu 6 aKCt^aXos Baifimv, iv 
Tots Troa\v i)(tav rr/v opaiTLV, i(T)(vpoi, 
TO irvp TO aOdvaTov. 'Eyui ei/it rj 
dXij^Eia o fXiUTwv oZiKTiixaTa ytiviaOai 
iv tZ Kocrfim. 'Eyia fljii o aaTpoLTTTwv 
[magic words inserted here] 
KoX ftpovrZv. 'Ey(ii ei/xi ov IcrTiv 
o iSpus o/xj8pos iTnireiTTTuiv stti rrjv 
■y^v "va oxtvy. Eyai ci/ti ov to 
o-rd/xa Kakrai Si oXov. 'Eycu ti/ii 
6 yet-voiv Kal a-Troycvvuiv. Eyiu fifj,i 
17 Xapts Tov alwvoi. 



1 am the headless ' daemon, 
having eyes in my feet, the 
strong one, the deathless fire. 
I am the truth, who hateth 
that evil deeds are in the 
world. I am he that lighteneth 
[here follow certain magic words] 
and thundereth. I am he 
whose sweat is a shower falling 
upon the earth to make it 
fruitful. I am he whose mouth 
burneth altogether. I am he 
that begetteth and begetteth 
again.* I am the grace of the 
aeon. 



The entire simplicity of the style of this solemn monotone 
is seen all the more clearly if we compare it with metrical 
paraphrases. This we can do in the case both of the Isis 
inscription and of the Johahnine texts. There is an in- 
scription of the age of Augustus in the island of Andros,^ 
consisting of a hymn to Isis in hexameters, and based evi- 
dently on the old formulae known to us from the inscriptions 
of Nysa and los. For comparison with the Gospel of St. 

• Greek Papyri in the British Museum, ed. F. G. Kenyon, I. p. 69 f. 

' It was part of the proper procedure in ancient sorcery for the enchanter 
to identify himself with powerful and terrible deities in order to impress 
the demons who were to be overcome. Cf. Bibelstudiert, p. 271 ; Bible Studies, 
PP- 355, 360. 

' Cf. Franz Boll, Sphaera : Neue griechische Texte and Untersuchungen 
zur Geschichte der Sternbilder, Leipzig, 1903, pp. 221 f., 433, 438. 

• Hermann Diels (letter, Berlin W., 22 July, 1908) considers it possible that 
the verb here means destroy. [So also the new edition of Liddell and Scott, 
1,926. TU.] 

' Epigrammata Graeca, ed. G. Kaibel, No. 1028; most recently in the 
Inscriptiones Graecae, XII. V. i. No. 739. 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 143 

John we have the pompous hexameters of Nonnus. Con- 
trasted with their originals these verses sound something 
like the rhyming paraphrase of the Psalms by Dr. Am- 
brosius Lobwasser {anglice Praisewater), Professor of Law and 
Assessor to the Royal Court of Justice at Konigsberg, achieved 
in 1573- 

" Zu Gott wir unser Zuflucht haben, 
Wann uns schon Ungliick thut antraben " — 

so the good man begins the Psalm ^ out of which Luther 
had quarried the granite for his " Feste Burg." The 
" watered praises " of Lobwasser's Psalter are about equal in 
merit, perhaps even superior, to the hexameters into which 
Nonnus * and the author of the Andros hymn diluted the old 
lines couched in homely, vigorous " I "-style. 

4. From whatever side the New Testament may be regarded 
by the Greek scholar, the verdict of historical philology, based 
on the contemporary texts of the world surrounding the New 
Testament, will never waver. For the most part, the pages 
of our sacred Book are so many records of popular Greek, 
in its various grades ; taken as a whole the New Testament 
is a Book of the people. Therefore we say that Luther, in 
taking the New Testament from the doctors and presenting 
it to the people, was only giving back to the people their own. 
We enter, perhaps, an attic-room in one of our large cities, 
and if we find there some poor old body reading her Testa- 
ment beside the few fuchsias and geraniums on the window- 
sill, then we feel that the old Book is in a position to which 
its very nature entitles it. Think too of the Japanese New 
Testament found by a Red Cross sister in a wounded man's 
knapsack during the war between Russia and Japan : that 
was also a grateful resting-place for the old Book. We will 
go further, and say : this great Book of the people ought 

1 [Psalm xlvi. Lobwasser might be thus imitated : " To God for refuge 
each' one flieth When to o'erride us trouble trieth." ' Luther's celebrated 
" Ein' feste Burg ist unser Gott " is best represented in Carlyle's version, " A 
safe stronghold our God is still, A trusty shield and weapon," etc. Tr.] 

* Tycho Mommsen long ago, with fine appreciation of St. John, pronounced 
judgment against Nonnus {Beitrdge zu der Lehre von den griechischen Prd- 
positionen, 2. und 3. Heft, Frankfurt a. M., 1887, p. 254). 



144 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

really never to be published in sumptuous editions with costly 
engravings and expensive binding. The Egyptian potsherds 
with Gospel fragments,^ the Paternoster from Megara,^ the 
Biblia Pauperum ' and the Stuttgart Groschenbibel,* are in 
their externals more in keeping with the character of the 
New Testament than modern editions de luxe bought by rich 
German godfathers for Confirmation presents. The plainer 
the cover, the more modest the type, the coarser the paper, 
the nearer the pictures come to the style of Diirer or Rem- 
brandt, the more fitly will the great Book of the people be 
arrayed. 

The Book of the people has become, in the course of cen- 
turies the Book of all mankind. At the present day no book 
in the world is printed so often and- in so many languages as 
the New Testament.^ From the people to mankind at large : 
historical philology establishes the causal connexion under- 
lying this development. The New Testament was not a 
product of the colourless refinement of an upper class that had 
nothing left to hope for, whose classical period lay, irre- 
trievable, in the past. On the contrary, it was, humanly 
speaking, a product of the force that came unimpaired, and 
strengthened by the Divine Presence, from the lower class 
(Matt. xi. 25 f.; i Cor. i. 26-31). This reason alone enabled 
it to become the Book of all mankind. 

And so the simple texts on stone, papyrus, and earthenware 
have helped us, firstly, to a knowledge of the sacred Volume 

' Cf. above, pp. 57-60. 
^ Cf. above, p. 56, n. 3. 

* My friend Carl Neumann, the art-critic, in a latter dated Kiel, 17 May, 
1908, objects to this estimate of the Biblia Pauperum. [No doubt the author 
was thinking not so much of the actual artistic merit or cost of production of 
the block-books and their MS. predecessors, as of the contrast between them 
and elaborately written (and illuminated) complete Bibles of the same date or 
earlier. Tr.] 

* Cf. my article on the Groschenbibel in Die Hilfe, 1898, No. 16. [On the 
publication of the first German " penny Testament " by the Wiirttemberg 
Bible Institute, following the example of the British and Foreign Bible Society. 
Tr.] 

^ The British and Foreign Bible Society alone had, down to June 1925, 
printed the whole or portions of the New Testament in 576 languages. See 
specimens of all these translations in The Gospel in Many Tongues, published 
by the Society, London, 1925 — an impressive little book despite its small 
size. [The Rev. R. Kilgour, Superintendent of the translating and editorial 
department, kindly gave me the latest figures, as above, in Feb., 1926. Tr.] 



LANGUAGE OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 145 

on it's linguistic side, and then, by that means, to no small 
understanding of its most distinguishing characteristic. A 
new ray of light falls on its history among the nations. ^ 
The New Testament has become the Book of the Peoples 
because it began by being the Book of the People. 

' On this subject cf. my little work. Die Urgesckichte des Christentums im 
Lichte der Sprachforschung, Tubingen, igio. 



CHAPTER III 

THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE, 
ILLUSTRATED BY THE NEW TEXTS 

I. Our estimate of the New Testament will be much the 
same as we have just stated if we now approach it from the 
point of view of literary history. Here again it is the records 
of the world contemporary with the New Testament that have 
supplied us with the right standard of criticism. 

In saying this we may seem at first to be preparing diffi- 
culties for ourselves. We have insisted more than once that 
the records referred to are to a great extent non-literary, 
yet now we claim that they throw light on literary questions. 
This seems to be self-contradictory ; and I can well imagine 
that some readers will be astonished to hear me say that these 
poor scraps of papyrus, or potsherds inscribed with fragments 
of letters from unknown Egyptians, have taught me to under- 
stand the true nature of St. Paul's Epistles and, ultimately, 
the course by which Primitive Christianity developed on 
the literary side. But I ask the incredulous to give me a 
patient hearing.^ 

The mention of the literary side of Primitive Christianity 

brings us to a branch of inquiry the importance of which 

1 For what follows cf. the " Prolegomena td the Biblical I-etters and 
Epistles " in Bibelstudien, 1895, pp. 187-252 [Bible Studies, pp. 1-59], and the 
article " Epistolary Literature " in the Encyclopaedia Biblica, II., London, 
1901, col. 1323 ff. ; also the outline in Beitrdge zur Weiierentwicklung der 
ckristlichen Religion, Munchen, 1905, p. iigff. These sources have been 
made occasional use of here. — K. Dziatzko, article " Brief " in Pauly's Real- 
Encyclopddie der classischen Altertumswissenschaff, new edition by G. Wissowa, 
III., Stuttgart, 1899, col. 836 ff., takes the same view as regards the main 
questions. Cf. also R. C. Kukula, Briefe des jUngeren Plinius', Leipzig, 1909, 
and the literature there quoted. Criticisms of my theory in P. Wendland, 
Die urchristlichen Literaturformen^", Tubingen, 1912 (Handbuch zum N.T. I. 
3) ; Joh. Weiss, art. " Literaturgeschichte des N.T.," in the encyclopaedic 
work Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart; V. Hepp, De vorm der 
nieuw-testamentische brieven volgen Deissmann en zijn school, Gereformeerd 
Theologisch Tijdschrift, March and April 1916. 

146 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 147 

is still all too little recognised. Whole libraries, it is true, 
have been written concerning the growth of the New Testa- 
ment and the origin of its several parts, but the fact remains 
that it has not yet suflficiently been viewed, as the literary 
historian would view it, in relation to the history of ancient 
literature. Formerly none but a few scholars felt the need 
of studying Primitive Christianity with the strictness of the 
literary historian. Then came Franz Overbeck, whose im- 
portant study " On the Beginnings of Patristic Literature," ^ 
published in 1882, proved extremely stimulating. But 
even to-day there are many who fail to treat this whole 
problem as it should be treated, viz. by a strict application 
of principle. People approach the New Testament with 
the preconceived idea that the Primitive Christian texts 
which owe their preservation to their inclusion in that book 
were themselves without exception " books " and works of 
literature. 

But this preconceived idea must be given up. If we were 
to regard the New Testament merely as an assemblage of 
little works of literature and treat it accordingly in our studies, 
we should commit the same mistake as an art-critic who 
proposed to treat a collection of fossils and ancient sculpture 
as if it contained nothing but works of art. We must not 
assume that the New Testament is literature from cover to 

' Historische Zeitschfift, 48, New Series 12 (1882) p. 429 ff. Views have 
been expressed on the problem by Heinrici (Das Neue Testament und die 
urchristUche Vberlieferung; Theol. Abhandlungen C. Weizsaecker gewidmet, 
Freiburg i. B., 1892, pp. 321-352; Die Entstehung des Neuen Testaments, 
Leipzig, 1899; Der literarische Charakterder neutestamentlichen Schriften, 
Leipzig, 1908) and Gustav Kriiger {Die Entstehung des Neuen Testaments,* 
Freiburg i. B. u. Leipzig, 1896; Das Dogma vom Neuen Testament, Giessen, 
1896). After them Wendland in his work, Die urchristlichen Literaturformen ; 
cf. also M. Albertz, Ev. Kirchenblatt fiir Schlesien 24 (1921) p. 326 ff. Valu- 
able with respect to method in dealing with the problem of the Epistles : 
H. Jordan, Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, Leipzig, 1911, p. 123 flf. 
Indirectly instructive : G. Misch, Geschichte der Autobiographie I., Leipzig, 
1907. In recent discussions concerning genre-ieseaxch the questions raised 
by Overbeck and by my Bible Studies should not have been ignored. My 
study of a genre that appeared in 1895 certainly did not receive its " impulse " 
from Gunkel (as Windisch, Theologisch Tijdschrift 1919. P- 371. seems to 
assume). The actual impulse came to me rather curiously on a carriage 
drive, I think in 1893, when I suddenly caught the word " epistolography," 
without any context, let fall by a South German friend who was riding on the 
box. 



148 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

cover. Whether it began as literature in its single parts is a 
question to be inquired about. The inquiry resolves itself 
into these questions : Did Primitive Christianity begin by 
being literary ? When did it become so ? What were the 
stages it went through in the process ? 

2. These questions, I think, have more than a purely 
academic interest : they contribute to a thorough apprecia- 
tion of what Primitive Christianity really was. But in 
order to answer them we must come to an understanding 
about the meaning of our term " literature " and about the 
various forms in which literature may find expression. 

The service here rendered us by the inscriptions, papyri, 
and ostraca is incalculable. Being themselves non-literary 
texts they teach us — what was to be seen even without 
their aid — that a thing is not necessarily literature because 
it has been committed to writing and preserved in written 
form. Being also popular texts they accustom us, when 
we come to literafure, to distinguish the popular from the 
artistic. 

What then is literature ? Literature is something written 
for the public (or at least for a public) and cast in a definite 
artistic form. 

A man, however, who draws up a lease or an application 
to some public official, or who writes a receipt or a letter 
is not engaged in literature. Lease, application, receipt, 
letter, and a host of similar documents, are non-literary. 
They are the products not of art but of life ; their destiny 
is not for the public and posterity but for the passing moment 
in a workaday world. This it is that makes the host of 
non-literary texts, on stone, papyrus, or pottery, such 
delightful reading. In large measure they are records of life, 
not works of art : records testifying of work, joy, and sorrow, 
and never intended for us, though a bountiful fate, willing 
that we after-comers should enter into pure human contact 
with the past, has made them ours. 

There is one special class of these records of human life 
and work which the new discoveries have brought to light 
again in astonishing plenty and most delightful freshness. 
These are ancient non-literary letters, exchanged by private 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 149 

persons on terms of intimacy, and preserved not in late 
copies but in their originals, on lead, papyrus, parchment,^ 
or earthenware fragment. What would have been im- 
possible in the seventies and eighties of the last century 
is possible now, and a history of ancient letter-writing might 
be written. Conceived most comprehensively, it would 
cover a period of several thousand years ; restricted to 
ancient letter-writing in Greek and Latin it would yet run 
to more than one thousand.* 

To think of " literature " or to speak of " epistolary 
literature " in connexion with these hundreds of ancient 
original letters would be utterly perverse ^ (or only possible 
if we were to employ the word " literature " in a secondary 
and colourless sense with regard to non-literary writing). 
TJie epistolary literature of antiquity is something altogether 
different. That is represented by the literary letter, the 
artistic letter, the epistle,'^ of which we shall have to speak 
later on. On the contrary, we must banish all thought of 
literature, of conscious artistic prose,' when we turn the pages 
of the letters that have come down to us. They are texts 
from which we can learn what is non-literary and pre-literary. 
And that is precisely what we must learn if we are to under- 
stand the New Testament historically. 

3. Let us then from this abundance select a few specimens 
characteristic of the thousand years between Alexander the 
Great and Mohammed, beginning with the oldest Greek letter 
in existence and coming down to the letters of Egyptian 
Christians in the time before Islam. 

The little collection ^ will make admirably clear to us the 

• Letters of the ancient period on parchment are certainly very rare. I 
know only the letter of Soeris in the Papyri landanae II (Lipsiae, 1913) No. 12 . 

^ For long periods of the history of other peoples such documents are practi- 
cally non-existent. In that case every chance find is therefore valuable; 
cf. for instance Jiidische Privatbriefe aus dem Jahre 1619, herausg. von A. 
Landau und B. Wachstein, Wien, 1910. 

' R. Reitzenstein, Hellenistische Wundererzahlungen, Leipzig, 1906, p. 98 f., 
protests, with great justice, against the vagueness of the modern terms em- 
ployed to discriminate between literary genres. 

* I employ this word technically to distinguish the artistic letter from the 
real letter. See p. 229. 

' Cf. also the collection of letters in Bibehtudien, p. ^08 ff. (a dififerent 
selection in Bible Studies, p. 21 ff.) ; Paul Viereck, Aus der hinterlassenen 



150 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

essential nature of the letter and the forms it assumed in 
antiquity. The illustrations will give some idea of the 
inimitable individuality of each single original. We should 
give a false picture if we selected only the choicest specimens, 
so we have been careful to include some unimportant examples 
of average letters. 

The collection has moreover a secondary purpose, as will 
appear in the fourth chapter. It is to bring home to us certain 
types of the ancient soul. 



Letter from Mnesiergus, an Athenian, to his housemates, beginning 
of the 4th century B.C., leaden tablet from Chaidari, near 
Athens, now in the Berlin Museum, discovered by R. Wiinsch, 
deciphered by him and A. Wilhelm (Figures i8 and 19). 

This letter is the oldest Greek letter hitherto known, and 
of the greatest importance especially for the history of 
epistolary forms. We are indebted for this valuable specimen 
to the careful labours of Richard Wiinsch ^ ; it was defi- 
nitively deciphered and explained in masterly fashion by 
Adolf Wilhelm.* By permission of the Austrian Archaeo- 

Privatkorrespondenz der alten Agypter, Vossische Zeitung, 3 January, 1895 
first supplement ; Erman and Krebs, Aus den Papyrus der Koniglichen Museen, 
p. 2ogS. (also go fi., etc); R. Cagnat, Indiscretions arch£ologiques sur les 
^gyptiens de I'fipoque romaine, Comptes rendus de l'Acad6mie des Inscrip- 
tions et Belles-Lettres, 1901, p. 784 ff. ; Ldon Lafoscade, De epistulis {aliisque 
tituUs) imperatorum magistratuumque Romanorum quas ab aetate Augusti 
usque ad Constantinum Graece scriptas lapides papyrive servaverunt. Thesis, 
Paris, 1902; Friedrich Preisigke, Familienbriefe aus alter Zeit, Preussische 
Jahrbiicher, 108 (April to June 1902) p. 88 ff. ; E. Breccia, Spigolature papi- 
racee, Atene e Roma, 5 (1902) col. 575 ff. ; Epistulae privatae Craecae quae in 
papyris aetatis Lagidarum servantur, ed. Stanislaus Witkowski, Lipsiae, 1907. 
•191 1 ; Milligan, Selections; Helbing, Auswahl; Laudien, Griech. Papyri; 
Wilcken, Chrestomathie ; especially too the choice little work of Wilhelm 
Schubart, Ein Jahrtausend am Nil. Brief e aus dem Altertum, verdeutscht und 
erkldrt, Berlin, 1912 ; G. Ghedini, Lettere Cristiane dai papiri greci del III e IV 
secolo, Hilano, 1923 ; F. X. J. Exler, The Form of the Ancient Greek Letter : 
a Study in Greek Epistolography, Washington, D.C., Catholic University of 
America, 1923. 

• Inscriptiones Graecae, III. Pars III. Appendix inscriptionum Atticarum : 
defixionum tabellae in Attica regione repertae, 1897, p. ii. f. 

' Jahreshefte des Osterreichischen Archaologischen Institutes in Wien, 7' 
(1904) p. 94 ff. Cf. also W. Cronert, Rheinisches Museum 65 (1910) p. 157 f. ; 
Witkowski' p. 135 f.; Schubart, Ein Jahrtausend p. 31 f. ; and Dittenberger, 
Sylloge III* No. 1259 (Ziebartb), where, however, cVcVeAe should be read in 
1. 2. 




The Oldest Gireek Letter yet discovered, Address (Fig. i8) and Text (Fig. ig) ; 
Mnesiergus of Athens to his Housemates. Leaden tablet, 4th cent. e,c. Now in the 
Berlin Museum. By permission of the Austrian Archaeological Institute. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE- 151 

logical Institute I am enabled to reproduce here from its 
publications a facsimile of the same size as the original. The 
tablet was originally folded together and perhaps fastened 
with string and seal. On the outside of the tablet is the 
address (Figure 18), which was written after the lead had been 
folded :— 



$€pev^ IS Tov Kipa/j,- 

OV Toy XVTpLKOV ' 

dirohovai, ^ 8e Nauo'tat 
7/ @pa(TVK\^l ^ 6' viioi. 



To be taken to the potter's 
working-house ; ^ to be delivered 
to Nausias or to Thrasycles or 
to his son. 



On the inside, and with the lines running in the opposite 
direction, is the praescript ^ and the text of the letter proper 
(Figure 19). It seems that Mnesiergus was in the country 
and had probably been surprised by a sudden frost : — 



MvTjcrttpyos 
iire(rre\e Tot's oiKoi 
y^aipev Koi vyiaivev^ 
Kai airos ovrios £(^ao-[(c]€ [«X''']- 
5 CTTe-yacr/na €t* ti P6\i(TT€ 
d.TroneiJ,tj/ai rj (uas rj hi(j>6ipa^ 
0)5 circAtcrra^Ta^s Kal ^y] 

oriavpiDTas 
Kal Ka.Tvixa.Ta' TV)(pv * aTroSuicru). 



Mnesiergus sendeth to them 
that are at his house greeting 
and health and he saith it is 
so with him. (5) If '^ ye be 
willing, send me some covering, 
either sheepskins or goatskins,' 
as plain as ye have, and not 
broidered with fur, and shoe- 
soles : upon occasion I will 
return them. 



' On the infinitive absolute cf. p. So, n. 4 above. 

• So Cronert and Ziebarth, whp have more to say about the persons men- 
tioned. 

^ In the commentaries on the letters of St. Paul the praescript which serves 
as introduction to the body of the letter is generally spoken of as the address. 
That is not correct : the address, as shown by "this letter, the oldest that has 
come down to us, was written on the outside or on the cover of the folded 
letter, and in St. Paul's case was no doubt much shorter than the praescript. 
Not one of St. Paul's letters preserves it. — On the ancient form of praescript 
used in this letter (and on the praescripts generally) cf. Gustav Adolf Gerhard, 
Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des griechischen Briefes. Erstes Heft, Die 
Anfangsformel, Diss. Heidelberg, Tubingen, 1903, p. 32. 

* These two verbs occur in salutations in 2 Mace. i. 10, ix. 19. 

' The sentence with el is probably not, as Wilhelm supposes, the protasis to 
the concluding words, tii;^6v atrohuiau), but a request made into an independent 
sentence by aposiopesis, as vivid and colloquial as the well authenticated 
request in Luke xxii. 42, Ildrep, ei /SouAct TrapeveyKai ,tovto to -noTripiov an epov, 
" Father, if Thou wouldest remove this cup from Me ! " [Professor Deiss- 
mann, it will be observed, deletes the comma before remoue. It seems possible 

[For continui^tion of notes see next page. 



152 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

The contents of this letter, ^ the earliest that we possess, are 
not particularly striking, it is true ; but whoever thinks them 
trivial must also regard as trivial St. Paul's request for the 
cloak that he left at Troas with Carpus (2 Tim. iv. 13). 



Letter from Zoilus, a servant of Sarapis, to Apollonius, an Egyptian 
minister of finance, Alexandria, 258-257 B.C., papyrus from 
the correspondence of Zeno, found at Philadelphia (Fayum), 
now in the Cairo Museum, edited by G. Vitelli^ (Figures 
20 and 21). 

'A7roXX<uvto)i ^ xatpeiv Zcut'Xos 'Ag'7r6i'[8]to5 t[Sv J 

OS Kai SiacrvveiTTdOrj * o-oi mo tS>v toi) ySatrtXews <f>iX.ii)V.^ cjaoi a-vfiPejSrjKfv 
OtpairevovTi'^ toi' 6eov %dpaTriv irepX t^s o-^s iyiet'as koI «v['7]/iff|0{?S t^s 
irpos TOfi Paa-iXea liroXtfialov tov 5apo7ri/i fioi ;^7;^ia[Tif€i]i' yXt- 
[ov]aic[i]s 

' There is at Petrograd another letter on lead of the 4th cent. B.C., found at 
Olbia, of similar contents. The text is given by Cronert, Rheinisches Museum 
65 (1910) p. 158 ff., and Dittenberger, Sylloge III* No. 1260. 

* Pubblicazioni delta Societd Italiana per la ricerca dei Papiri greet e latini in 
Egitto : Papiri grecl e latini [= P.S.I.], Vol. IV, Firenre, 1917, No. 435. Cf. the 
important new reading by C. C. Edgar, Annates du Service des Antiquitfis 
de rfigypte, t. 18, No. 7, p. 173 ff., and the review by Wilcken, Archiv f. 
Papjrrusforschung 6, p. 394 f. I am indebted to Wilcken for kindly enlighten- 
ment concerning the text, and for a translation which has been of great service 
to me. 

' On the respectful prefixing of the name of the addressee, cf . Bibelstudien, 
p. 209 (not in Bible Studies). 

* For hiatjw€ora$tiv. 

' On this court title see Bibelstudien, p. 159.fi., Bible Studies, p. 167 ff. 

» Wilcken thinks it a case of " incubation " — that Zoilus had slept in the 
temple for the purpose of obtaining an oracular dream. For the expression 
cf. LXX Judith xi. 17, depairevovaa vuktos koi i)/icpas tov de6v rod ovpavov, 
" serving the God of heaven day and night." 



Continuation of notes to page 151 : — 

however, without assuming an aposiopesis, to take vapeveyKai or anomiuliai as 
an infinitive absolute = imperative (cf. ^tpev, dji-oSSrai in the address of this 
letter), and to regard it as the apodosis. I have therefore ventured to har- 
monise the translation of the letter with the A.V. and R.V. of Luke xxii. 
42. Tr.] 

' This brief colloquial use of nxov, for which there are other examples; 
occurs also in i Cor. xvi. 6, with the meaning " it may be." 

' {So Deissmann, according to Wilhelm's interpretation. It would also 
seem possible to translate : " either sheepskins or leathern garments, bo they 
never so shabby and with no more hair on them." Tr.] 






■ »^ *^ 











Fig. 20. — Letter from Zoilus, a servant of Sarapis, to ApoUoniu.s, an Egyptian minister 
of finance, Alexandria, 258-257 B.C. Papyrns from Philadelphia (Fayiun). Size of the 
original, 30 X 31-5 centimetres. Now in the Cairo Museum. Facsimile kindly obtained by 
C. C. Edgar. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 153 

5 fv Tois virvois, oTTcos iv SiOTrXewd) irjops <r£ Ka\ ffx\<^a.vi<TU) (toi tovt]p[i'] 

rq\y\ 
)(prjiJLaTL(rfi.6v,^ on Sei crvvTeXecrO^vaL aiT[uiL viro trov SopaTrteiov tc] ' 
Kai T€fiev(K iv t^i "EXXj/nic^i irpos tSi Xt/X£V[i] Ka[i] [[tpea] %tria-TaT€lv 

K[ai] 
cirijScu/xi^eiv vTrep v/tGy.^ e/iiol 8e 7r[a]p[aKaXe'(ravTos Tov Ceoi' 5<ipainv,]* 
oira)s aft /t£ TrapaXucriji tov evToB^a [£pyo]vi £W 4/?|?<!>9'[''']w[''] I^L^ 

V€\pi%^qXev 
10 iJ.fya\.T]v OMTTt Kol Kiv8vv(V(Tg.( [/tie]. Trpntrev^dfjitvoi 8[«] au[T<ui, 

£]a[/x fl£] 
vyidcrrji, StoTi vTrojxevta * T^v \ijiTo[upy]tav /cai 7roi.^[(r£i]c to i<^' aurov 
■7rpotTTa<T<T6fJi,ivov. iirel Si rd^^icTTa vyiatrdrfv, -Trapeyevero tis £k Kn'Soti, 
OS fVi)(il.pyj(T(v oIkoZop-uv %apaTni1ov iv t5i tottuii toutui koi irpoa- 
ayriy6\u \Wovi' vcrrepov Si airtlrrev avrSn 6 ^eos p-rj olKoSop.iiv KaKEivos 
15 airT^kkdyri. ip.ov Si 7rapayevop,ivov ell 'AXe^dvSpeiav Kal okvovvtos (toi 
irtpl TovTuiv €VTv)(eiv,^ dWa Trepi Trpayp.artiai ^s Kal (i>/toA.oy'^K£it p-oi, 
irdXiv vTTfTpoTrdqOrjv /ii5i"is TtVo-Epas ' Sio ovk y)Svvdp,r)v evdiut^ irapaye- 
vio'dai irpb'S <re. /caXSs ovv £\£i, AiroXXalnc, iiraKo\ov0^a'a( <rf tois 

VTTO TOV 

6eov Trpotrrdyfiacriv, ottms av citXaTos ^ o-oi virdp)(ii>v 6 SapaTrts ttoXXGi ere 

20 peit,to wapa Tuit jSao-iXci xai ti'So^oTepov /iETci t^s tou <Tutp.aTOi vyieiai 

(TV ovv 

7roi^O"7;i. p.^ /caTttTrXay^ts [[.]] to dvi^Xu)p,a a)s aTro yntyaXiys o-oi Saira'vj;s 

€(rop.evri^,^ dXX IcTai o'oi d?ro ircti'u Xi/o-iteXoui'tos '- o'ui'£7r«rTaTjJo"(o * yap 

/eyu) ttSo'i 
TouVots. 

EVTlJ^^ei. 

' Used of the responsum divinutn, as in Rom. xi. 4 and elsewhere frequently. 

' A convincing restoration of Wilcken's. I think that instead of oi!t[<ui 
we might read avrloBi., " here." 

' The sacrifices would be for Apollonius as founder, KTiCTTijs''(Wilcken). 

* This (or some other similar) restoration seems to me to be necessary, 
because the subject of the following sentences can only be Sarapis, and must 
therefore be named beforehand. ■napaxaXelv is the technical term, 2 Cor. 
xii. 8 ; of. the prayer of M. Julius Apellas, p. 308 below. 

' Wilcken rightly makes the accent perispomenon. 

' Cf. Bibelstudien, p. 118, Bible Studies, p. 121 f. 

' Cf. Bibelstudien, p. 119, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 86, Bible Studies, p. 122. The 
examples could be greatly increased. 

' For cW/tcvov (Wilcken). 

» Cf. I Esdras vii. 2. The governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia and others, 
carrying out the command of Darius to rebuild the temple at Jerusalem, " did 
very carefully oversee the holy works, assisting the elders of the Jews and 
rulers of the temple " {eneardTovv twv Upaiv epytav eiripeXeaTepov avvepyovvres Tots 
vpeo^vrepms Tun> '/ovSatW Kal ifpoardrau) . 



154 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Endorsed : 

Note of receipt (in another 
hand) : Address . 

Zo>i\ov irepl SapaTrtos. 'AwoXXmviioi,, 

Lkj;, AvSvalov 6, 
cv TUi 'BepeviKTji 

Op/JAM, 

To ApoUonius greeting [from] Zoilus the Aspendian, ... of 
the .... who also was presented unto thee by the king's friends, 
rt happened unto me, while I was serving the god Sarapis for thy 
health and success with king Ptolemy, that Sarapis warned me 
many a time (5) in sleep that I should sail over to thee and signify 
to thee this answer : That there must be made for him ^ by 
thee a temple of Sarapis and a grove in the Greek quarter by the 
haven, and a priest must oversee it and sacrifice at the altar for 
you. And when I had "besought the god Sarapis that he would 
set me free from the work here,^ he cast me into a great sickness, 
(10) insomuch that I stood also in jeopardy. But having prayed 
to him, if he would heal me, I said that I would endure my ministry 
and do that which was commanded by him. Now when I was 
very quickly healed, there came a certain man from Cnidus, who 
took in hand to build a temple of Sarapis in this place and had 
brought stones. But afterward the god forbade him to build 
and he (15) departed. But when I was come unto Alexandria, 
and delayed to make intercession with thee concerning these 
things, save of the affair which thou hadst also promised unto me, 
again I relapsed four months ; wherefore I could not straightway 
come unto thee. It is therefore well, ApoUonius, that thou 
follow the command by the god, that Sarapis may.be favourable 
unto thee and make thee much (20) greater with the king and more 
glorious, together with the health of thy body.. Be not stricken 
with terror of the expense, as being of great cost to thee; nay, 
it shall be to thee of great profit, for I will together oversee * all 
these things. 

Farewell. 

' Or " here." 

* That is, from the building of the temple, which was to be paid for by 
ApoUonius, but superintended, of course, by Zoilus. 

* Zoilus is not looking on the building of the temple as secular work, but as 
a sacred ministry, a priestly office ; for the expression of. line 7. 




Fig. 21. — Letter from Zoilus to ,\pollonius : Writing on tlie Verso. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 155 



Endorsed, : 

Address : 

To Apollonius. 



Note of receipt [in another 
hand) : From Zoilus, concerning 
Sarapis. In the year 28, on 
the 9th of Audnaeus, at the 
Port of Berenice.^ 

The text, which I regard as specially important with refer- 
ence to our problem of letters and epistles, and which for its 
own sake has been described by Wilcken as perhaps the crown 
of the whole fourth volume of the PuhUicazioni, is in all the 
main essentials intelligible. The style is somewhat forced, 
and an attempt has been made to imitate this in the trans- 
lation. 

We must put ourselves back in the year 258-257 B.C., the 
time, we may say, when the earliest pages of the Septuagint 
Bible were being written in Egypt. 

Zoilus, a citizen of Aspendus in Pamphylia, who is closely 
connected with the cult of Sarapis and has been vouchsafed 
special revelations by the god, is for the time being at 
Alexandria. Where his usual residence was we cannot at 
present ascertain ; * but no doubt it was a coast town some- 
where in the eastern Mediterranean, not purely ' Greek, 
and perhaps at that time under the dominion of King 
Ptolemy II., Philadelphus. 

In this town Zoilus had had an experience in the cult of 
his god which ultimately drove him to Egypt. As he served 
before Sarapis he had remembered in his prayers a distant 
patron, Apollonius, a financial minister of Ptolemy's, to whom 
he had stood in relations since his introduction to the power- 
ful official by members of Egyptian court society. It is 
probable that the cult of -Sarapis had established the link 
between them. The prayer for the rich man was answered 
by the god in singular fashion : he commanded his devotee 
to convey personally to Apollonius the injunction that in 

' It is not certain where this place was. Edgar (Annates 1 8, p. 174) thought 
it might be on the coast of the Red Sea ; but he has withdrawn the conjecture 
(Annales 19, p. 81). 

^ Michael Rostovtzeff, A Large Estate in Egypt in the Third Century B.C., 
Madison, 1922, p. 38 (cf. p. 192) believes that this Zoilus is identical with 
Zoilus, an agent of Apollonius in Syria, P.S.I. No. 330. Vitelli (p. 161) also 
reckons with this possibility. 



156 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the town where Zoilus lived (where probably until then there 
had only been an obscure cult of Sarapis, perhaps in a hired 
apartment ^) he must build a temple of Sarapis, with a grove 
and a priest of its own, near the harbour in the Greek quarter. 

A great business ! Though in itself wholly in accordance 
with his own most ardent wish, this commission from his god 
lies heavily on the soul of the devotee, and he begs to be 
excused. But Sarapis enlightens him as to the seriousness of 
his command by causing the recalcitrant to fall sick unto 
death. Then Zoilus in his prayers for recovery promises 
unconditional obedience. And the business becomes yet 
more pressing : a servant of- Sarapis from Cnidus had taken 
the opportunity, while the resident representative of the cult 
was ill, to procure on his own account stones for the building 
of a temple of Sarapis. But when he begins to build he is 
obliged to leave the town, for Sarapis has laid him under an 
injunction not to build, The god does not want just any sort 
of temple, he wants a temple from ApoUonius ! Apollonius 
can do more than the anonymous man of Cnidus. 

So Zoilus, having recovered, takes ship for Egypt. And 
yet, on his arrival in Alexandria, he cannot summon up the 
necessary enthusiasm to beg of the great man, who is bur- 
dened with other spiritual affairs as well,* an audience with 
reference to the matter of the temple. He only discusses 
with Apollonius another affair altogether, in which there were 
no difficulties to be feared. Then once more does the angry 
god cause the hesitant to feel the weight of his hand : the 
sickness returns again and confines Zoilus to his bed for four 
months. How gladly would he have hastened to Apoll6nius 
the moment the first signs of a relapse set in ; but the com- 
plaint had taken too hard a hold on him. Meanwhile the 

' So Wilcken, Archiv 6, p. 395, who refers attractively to a case in Delos, 
about 200 B.C. (Inscnptiones Craecae XI. 4, No. 1299), where Sarapis also 
appears in a dream and demands the erection of a temple to take the place of 
an apartment hired for the purpose of the cult. Cf. Otto Weinreich, Neu$ 
Urkunden zur Sarapis-Relzgion, Tubingen, 1919, pp. 19 ff. and 31 fi. It Is 
worth noting that in Delos too the god simply says Set : " there must be 
built " ! 

" Spiritual affairs that find their way to ministers of state are generally also 
affairs involving finance. Thus in the same year the priests of Aphrodite also . 
apply to Apollonius (P.S.I. IV. No. 328 ; cf . Wilcken, Archiv. 6, p. 386), again 
with the same do ut des sort of piety which I describe below, pp. 160 f. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 157 

minister has started on an official journey, and can only be 
reached by letter. 

Accordingly Zoilus .writes to ApoUonius from Alexandria 
and tells the whole story in all its gravity : the epiphanies of 
the god, his wrath, and the risk that an obscure man of 
Cnidus might have secured the stock of merit. Never- 
theless nothing has yet been lost ; there is certainly no time 
to spare, but the mighty lord can yet be satisfied, and Sarapis 
will most graciously reward his willing slave, for whom daily 
sacrifice will be made in the sanctuary of his founding : his 
influence at the royal court will increase, the name of Apol- 
lonius will acquire new fame for piety over land and sea, 
and — ^be it not forgotten — the god who punishes the stubborn 
so terribly with sickness will reward obedience with health 
and long life.^ What will the expense matter in comparison 
with this ? The capital will bear interest ! And personal 
trouble for ApoUonius in the building of the temple there will 
be none : he, Zoilus, will regard it as his sacred duty to act 
as assistant to ApoUonius in all the business part of the under- 
taking. 

The letter reached its destination; its receipt was duly 
noted, and it was docketed " Sarapis " ^ in the office of 
Zeno, one of ApoUonius's subordinates. 

The importance of this letter of Zoilus to the historian 
of the cult of Sarapis has been pointed out by Edgar, and 
more particularly by Wilcken. It affords, they say, a 
glimpse into the propaganda of the cult; it shows how 
closely it was bound up with the Egyptian court and its 
officials. 

That is perfectly true, but at the same time it points also 
to the importance of the text in helping us to understand 
the nature of the letters of St. Paul. Zoilus's letter is in 
Greek one of the first exact parallels to the letters of St. Paul, 
inasmuch as it is an accidentally preserved fragment of 
actual correspondence devoted to .the propaganda of an 
ancient cult. It is not propaganda literature, but a reflex of 

'■ The experienced propagandist thoroughly understands how to tr^t the 
rich man. 

' The formula is interesting ; one would have expected " temple of Sarapis " 
(which in the original is almost as short, Sarapaeum). 



158 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the propaganda, in fact itself an act of propaganda, a tiny 
' portion of an actual happening. 

Of course every missionary cult in ancient times produced 
quantities of such correspondence, but all that vast mass of 
written sheets that once had travelled between Egypt and 
all parts of the Mediterranean world, or, say, between Syria 
and Italy, vividly reflecting the visions, intentions and 
itineraries of the propagators, the successes and failures of 
their work, the finances of their propaganda — all is practically 
lost as regards most of the cults. Only the cult of Christ, 
by collecting and canonising the letters of St. Paul, succeeded 
in saving a portion of its most ancient missionary documents. 
And now in the letter of Zoilus there appears one of the lost 
sheets relating to the cult of Sarapis, helping us to do greater 
justice to the non-literary character of the apostolic letters. 

It should also be remarked that indirectly it yields much 
that is explanatory of St. Paul's subject matter. We 
observe things common to the two men, and striking contrasts 
between them. They both regard the work of their pro- 
paganda as their divine ministry.^ St. Paul like Zoilus ^ 
is under the direct, effective authority of his Lord and is 
guided in important moments of his life by instructions 
from above, by command ^ and (like the man from Cnidus *) 
by prohibition,'^ and, like the servant of Sarapis,® he knows 
the unescapable divine " must " ' attaching to instruction. 
They both venture to ask in prayer to be freed from divine 
burdens, but they learn that the higher Will is the stronger.* 
St. Paul, like Zoilus,' is led by a vision in a dream to under- 
take a voyage "; and, like him,ii St. Paul knows the binding 
force of a vow.^^ The slave of Christ, like the servant of 
Sarapis," is visited with frequent sickness," and St. Paul, 
like Zoilus,^* recognises that his suffering is by the will of 
God.^* They both practise intercession for distant adherents 

' Zoilus 1. II ; 2 Cor. ix. I2 ; Rom. xv. i6. ' Zoilus 1. 4. 

' Gal. ii. I, 2; Acts xxii. 18, etc. * Zoilus 1. 14. 

' Acts xvi. 6, 7. ' Zoilus 1. 6, 8ei. 

' Set Acts xix. 21 ; di/dy/o) i Cor. ix. 16. ' Zoilus 1. 8 ff. ; 2 Cor. xii. 8 ff. 

» Zoilus 11. 5, 15. " Acts xvi. 9 ff. " Zoilus 1. 10 f. 

" Acts xviii. 18; cf. xxi. 23 ff. " Zoilus 11. 9 f., 17. 

'* 2 Cor. xii. 7 ff. etc. " Zoilus 11. 9 f., 17. 

" 2 Cor. xii. 7 ff. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 159 

of the cult,^ and both are troubled by rivals in piety. ^ Then 
too, as regards form, the non-literary habit common to the 
two men is shown, for example, in the anacolutha, savouring 
of conversational language, which we find in -their letters. 

The contrasts, it is true, are more striking. The strength 
and character of the apostle's cult of Christ stand out clearly 
against the background afforded by this document of the cult 
of Sarapis. 

First of all, the enormous contrast of the sociological 
structure. The representative of the cult of Sarapis, having 
been " introduced " to the minister of finance, is in im- 
mediate touch with one of the richest and most powerful 
politicians of his time, and enjoys through him close indirect 
relations with the court of Ptolemy. The main unspoken 
argument of the whole letter is that the king is to be regarded 
as the chief patron of the cult of Sarapis, and that therefore 
the foundation of a temple of Sarapis will be the best means 
of rising in the king's favour.* Accordingly a man who is a 
leading devotee of Sarapis does not stoop to trifles : his god 
entrusts him with commissions that cost something — cost 
so much, in fact, that smooth words must be spoken even to 
the wealthy ApoUonius. But even if the minister failed 
to respond, money and materials for the temple would 
be otherwise obtainable. 

The tentmaker of Tarsus was not " introduced " to any- 
body. At the utmost he was brought before the government 
officials as an accused man ; friendly meetings, such as 
that with the governor of Cyprus,* were accidental. His 
" connexions " were exclusively with the unpropertied 
classes.^ And even his Alexandrian friend, also an Apol- 
lonius,^ was " mighty " only in the scriptures.'' Paul had 

1 Zoilus 1. 3 f. ; Phil. i. 3 etc. 

' In the words of Zoilus concerning the man from Cnidus the same con- 
sciousness of a " parochia " seems to find expression as for instance in the words 
of St. Paul, Rom. xv. 20, where he says that he made it his ambition not to 
" build upon another man's foundation," 'va jxri eV aXXorpiov ScfieXiov oiVoSo/x<S. 
The Cnidian had obviously wanted to build on Zoilus's dAAoTptov Bc/ieXiov. 

' Cf. Wilcken, Archiv 6, p. 395. 

* Acts xiii. 6 If . ^ i Cor. i. 26 ff. 

" In Acts xviii. 24, it will be remembered, Codex D calls ApoUos by his 
unshortened name,, ApoUonius. • 

' Acts xviii. 24. 



i6o LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

no connexions with the court; the salutations he once 
sends from them " that are of Caesar's household " ^ are not 
from princesses and ministers, but from simple Imperial 
slaves, petty clerks, employed perhaps at Ephesus in the 
departments of finance or of crown lands. Enterprises 
aiming at the court and court society, such as the inspired 
and unillusioned Zoilus cleverly prepared, are by their 
nature utterly foreign to the apostle. When Paul had financial" 
problems to solve there were no estimates for marble ashlars, 
columns and statues to be thought of, for the demon of 
building had not yet taken hold of the young cult. Building 
does play a large part in the imagination of the apostles, whose 
divine Master had Himself in His earthly presence been a 
workman of the building craft ^ ; and there is talk of temples. 
But with Paul it is always buildings " not made with hands," ' 
and not paid for in talents, that are thought of : the body 
as the temple of the Holy Ghost,* the congregation as the 
temple of the living God.^ And if Paul likens himself to a 
" masterbuilder,'' * an architect, the epoch of the great 
architectural popes is still a long way oE. We owe, however, 
to the apostle the deep and fruitful idea of inward, spiritual 
" edification." ' Like Zoilus, St. Paul hints at financial 
anxieties in his letters; but he sets them forth, hot to a 
millionaire, but to people who work with their hands, who 
in the bazaars of the artisans and in the quarters near the 
harbours of the cities were to put by their obols week by 
week for their poor associates in the cult at Jerusalem.^ 

But it is the deep difference in their ethos that is decisive 
when we come to estimate the two cults from the point of 
view of religious history. The cult of Sarapis, at least as 
represented by Zoilus of Aspendus, is, down to its practical 
activity, a hedonistic religion. Although sociologically it 
has made itself at home' in the highest altitudes of wealth, 
power, and culture, though it has at its command the great 
arts of architecture and sculpture as practised in the Hel- 
lenistic age, it remains as a religion something quite primitive, 

' Phil. iv. 22. ' Teieraiv, Mark vi. 3. 

" 2 Cor. V. I. • I Cor. vi. 19. 

' I Cor;iii. 9, 16 f. ; 2Cor. vi. 16; Eph. ii. 20 ff. ' i Cor. iii. 10. 

' I Cor. xiv. 3, 5, 12, 26, etc. ' i Cor. xvi. i f. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE i6i 

really a business transaction, do ut des, between man and a 
fetish : Build a temple, and your influence with the king 
increases ; if you do not build, you fall ill ! All the great 
religions, including vulgar Christianity, have of course 
in unnumbered instances of their empirical manifestation 
remained as closely bound up with hedonism as the religion 
of Zoilus : religion of works ! But three hundred years 
after the letter of Zoilus other letters relating to a new 
cult cross the same sea — letters whose religious centre of 
energy is grace. Preached to the insignificant, the revelation 
of grace afterwards, with a divine energy ever renewed, 
seizes hold of the great, an Augustine, a Luther. And it will 
remain the heart's pulse of reformations ; for always and every- 
where, even with a choice stock that has been brought to 
great perfection, the wild strain asserts itself again': the 
primitive religion of performance comes thrusting upward 
again and again with elemental force. St. Paul's great 
reformation, his fight for grace, his fight against justification 
by works, was directed in practice not only against vulgar 
Judaism, but also against the cults .of the Gentiles. A 
religion still, without a tabernacle, the apostle's cult of Christ 
is, by virtue of grace, inwardly superior to the glittering 
magnificence of the neighbouring cults. Those cults were 
seemingly divided from the coarseness of primitive religious 
instincts by a world of the most refined formal culture; 
but had. their tabernacles been opened, naught save the 
uncultivated primitive would frequently have been dis- 
coverable. It is a peculiarity of the earliest Christianity 
that to men of primitive instincts, nurtured in primitive 
and external religion, it imparts religion in its highest 
perfection and inwardness (and yet. with simplest forms of 
expression) . 



i62 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

3 and 4 
Two letters from Palestine : Tubias, Sheikh of the Ammonites, to 
Apollonius, Egyptian minister of finance, and to King Ptolemy 
II., Philadelphus, Trans jordania, 257-256 B.C., papyrus 
from the correspondence of Zeno found at Philadelphia 
(Fayum), now in the Cairo Museum, edited by C. C. Edgar'- 
(Figures 22 and 23). 

Tov)8ias ' Airok\o>vLa>i \aipeLV. KaOdirep /noi €ypaij/ai d.7rotrT£rXa[i] 

[ ] liUjvi, a,iri(TTa\,Ka Tov BavSiK[oS] 

Tov Trap fjiiMV 
Tr)i hiKa.T\r]i ayovra tov Seii/a] iTrirous Suo, Kuvas [e]^, ^ixiovo.[ypiov] 
ii ovou h>, vrn^yyiq. ['A]pa/3;.ica XevKO. 8vo, ■7rc))[A.ovs] i$ ■^fi,iovay[piov 8«o], 
5 TrmXov i^ ovaypiov Iva. ravra 8' eoriv jiOatra. aTricrToXKa. hi [trot] 
KOI Tip/ ciri[<r]roX'^i' Trjy ypa<j>ei(rav trap rip.S>v iirep tS>v fei'}'[(i)>'] 
TStf /SacriXfi, 6/xoicof Be /cat TaVTiypa^a air^s ottus eiS^is. 

tppwcro. Lk^, HavSiKou 1. 
[Copy .■] BatriXet liToXf/jialtoi y((upeiv Tov^ia^ ' antcrTaXKai aoi iwiro\yi 

10 Kvfas If, ■^fiiovaypiov ii ovov tv, viro^vyia [ApjajSiKa XruKO. [8uo,] 
iralXovs €$ ■^/i.iovaypiov Svo, ttHKov i^ ovay piov iva. 

€VTV\€l. 

Endorsed : 

Note of receipt (in another 
hand): Address. 

Tov/iiai tS)V drretTTaX/iei/u)!' 'AttoXXuvmiii. 

rSt j3a<riXfl kol Trji irpos tov 
jSao'tXea eirioroX^s to &.VTLypa<j)OV. 
V.k6, 'ApTe/iixriov iS, ei' 'AXefai'. 

Tubias to Apollonius greeting. As thou didst write unto me to 
send .... (for the) . . . month, I have sent ^ on the tenth of 
Xandicus N. N., one of our men,^ bringing two horses, six dogs, 
one wild-ass mule by an ass, two white Arabian asses,* two colts 

1 Annales du Service des Antiquit^s de I'figjrpte, vol. 18, No. 13, p. 231 ff. 
The letter to the king was enclosed in the letter to Apollonius, and not left 
open ; but Apollonius received a copy for his information. 

» In the Greek " I sent "(as usually in epistolary style). 

' [Or, following the English rendering of Mark iii. 21, " our friend." For 
" N.N." (the "such a man " of Matt. xxvi. 18) cf. pp. 177; 302, n. 5. The 
whole phrase is like saying in modern English, " our Mr. So-and-so." Tr.] 

' iiTo^vytov, " beast for the yoke, beast of burden," is here used in the 
same specialised sense as in the Greek Bible (Bibehtudien, p. 158 f. ; Bible 
Studies, p. 160 f.). Both in ancient (Judges v. 10) and in modern times white 
asses are accounted rare and specially valuable (Guthe, Kurzes Bibelworterbuch, 
p. 168; and Encyclopaedia Biblica, I., col. 344). 




6 



he 
C 



•d 



2 M 









THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 163 

by a wild-ass mule, (5) one colt by a wild-ass. They are tamed.i 
But I have sent ^ unto thee also the letter written by us for ^ 
the presents to the king, likewise also the copies thereof, that 
thou mayest know. 

Farewell. In the year 29, Xandicus loth. 

[Copy :] To King Ptolemy greeting [from] Tubias. I have sent * 
unto thee two horses, (10) six dogs, one wild-ass mule by an ass, 
two white Arabian asses,* two colts by a wild-ass mule, one colt 
by a wild- ass. 

Mayest thou fare well. 



Endorsed : 

Address : 

To Apollonius. 



Note of receipt {in another 
hand) : Tubias, of things sent 
to the king, and the copy 
of the letter to the king. In 
the year 29, Artemisius 26th, at 
Alexan. 

The mighty Apollonius is concerned not only with Sarapis 
but also with the little hobbies of his sovereign. Philadelphus 
was passionately fond of animals.^ And so the minister 
doubtless felt he was providing no ordinary treat for his august 
lord when he ordered of the Ammonite sheikh a present of 
valuable animals for him from abroad, and Tubias duly sent 
them, including some specimens of remarkable cross-breeding. 

This Tubias, chieftain of the Ammonites, is a personage 
known also from other papyri in the correspondence of 
Zeno,* and of considerable interest to us.' He is probably 

' No easy accomplishment in the case of the wild ass; the animal was 
accounted untamable (Guthe, p. 727). In Job xxxix. 7 it is said of him, 
" he scorneth the tumult of the city " (R.V. ; LXX KarayeXuiv TroAuoxAi'oy 
mXeuis). One wonders what Tubias's steppe-land animals may have thought 
of the cosmopolitan city of Alexandria. 

' In the .Greek " I sent " (as usually in epistolary style). 

' [On this preposition cf. p. 166, n. 6. Tr.] ' See note 4, p. 162. 

' Diodorus iii. 36 (quoted by Edgar, p. 231) . 

" Cf. the contract for the purchase of slaves. No. 3 in Edgar (p. 164 ff.), 
and the other letter from Tubias mentioned ibid., pp. 165, 232. 

' In I Mace. v. 13 (a hundred years after our Tubias) " the people of Tubias " 
[or " the land of Tubias " as the R.V. has it. Tr.] are mentioned, and in the 
parallel passage, 2 Mace. xii. 17, " the Jews that are called Tubieni." On the 
possible connexions cf. my note, " Tubias," in the B'yzantinisch-Neugrie- 
chische Jahrbiicher (edited by N. A. Bees), vol. 2, p. 275 f. ; and H. Gressmann, 
Die ammonitischen Tobiaden, Sitzungsberichte der Preussischen Akademie 



164 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



connected somehow as a dependent (or ally) with the Egyptian 
king, but is obviously, as the tone of his letters shows, a 
gentleman with a good conceit of himself. The instantaneous 
picture shown in the two letters is altogether extremely 
remarkable; together with the other Palestinian items in 
the correspondence of Zeno it furnishes valuable first-hand 
evidence for the history of the Holy Land in the third 
century b.c. 



Letter from Demophon, a wealthy Egyptian, to Ptolemaeus, a 
police official, circa 245 B.C., papyrus from miimmy wrap- 
pings found in the necropolis of El-Hibeh, now in. the posses- 
sion of the Museum of Victoria University, Toronto, Canada ; 
discovered and published by Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 24). 



' Ariixo<l)S>v IItoXe- 

fxaiiHL ^ )(a.ipciv. d7ro[cr]- 
T€i\ov fijjlv fK Trav- 
Tos rpoTTov Tov av- 
5 \.r]Tr]v IIetGw l;^ovT[a] 
Tovi re $puytovs av- 
X[o]i'S KOL Tous Xoiirous. K[ai] 
lav Ti Seiyt dfr/Xucrat 
80s. Trapa. hi T//x[<i)]i' KOfit- 
10 ft*. airoarTtiXov Sk rj\jji,]iv 

Kol Zt]v6Piov TOV /J.a\a- 
- Kov* i)(0VTa Tv/xTravov koI 
Kv/JL^aka ^ KoX KporaXa. XP*'' 
a yap lam rati yvvai^lv Trpoi 

15 TTjV 6v(TlaV. 1)(IT0) &i 

Kal ip.aTUTp,bv (os acr- 



Demophon to Ptolemaeus 
greeting.* Send us by all 
means the piper (3) Petoys 
with both the Phrygian pipes 
and the others. And if it is 
necessary to spend anything, 
pay it. Thou shalt receive it 
from us. (10) And send us also 
Zenobius the effeminate,* with 
tabret, and cymbals,* and 
rattles. For the women have 
need of him at (15) the sacrifice. 
And let him have also raiment 
as fair as may be. And fetch 



• The Hibeh Papyri, No. 54. — For the photograph here reproduced in 
slightly reduced facsimile (Figure 24), by kind permission of the Egypt 
Exploration Fund, I am indebted to the courtesy of Dr. Grenfell. Cf. also 
Helbing, p. 50 ff. ; Schubart, Ein Jahrtausend, p. 33 f. ; Wilcken, Chresto- 
mathie, p. 563 ; Witkowski, Epistulae^, No. 21. 

^ Ptolemaeus seems to have held some post in the police force of the nome 
of Oxjfrhynchus. 

' Wilcken's conjecture. 

* The word is no doubt used in its secondary (obscene) sense, as by St. Paul 
in I Cor. vi. 9. It is an allusion to the foul practices by which the musician 
eked out his earnings. Cf. the remarks in Chapter IV. on the lists of vices 
(p. 316, n. 6). 

St. Paul is thinking of cymbals such as these, employed for religious 
music, in i Cor. xiii. i. 




Fig. 24. — Letter from Demophon, a wealthy Egyptian, to 
Ptolemaeus, a police ofificial, circa 245 B.C. Papyrus from Hibeh. 
Formerly in the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund, by 
whose permission it is here reproduced. Now in the Museum of 
Victoria University, Toronto, Canada. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 165 



20 



TtioTarov. KO/iurai Se 
KoX Tov fpujiov^ irapa 'Aptcr- 
Tt'wvos Kai Trefjuj/ov ri/xiv. 
Kat TO (Tinfia " oe " ci (ruvti- 
\y\^a.% irapdSos [[a^To]] * 
2f/*<^^et oir<os auTo 8t- 
aKO[]i,i<Tr]i Tiiuv. aTTotr- 
TtiXov 8c ^^/iii/ (cai Tv- 

25 poiis otrovs av Svvrji koi 
K€pa/iov Ka\^L]vbv Kai Xd- 
^ava 7r[ai'T]p8a7ra Kai 
eav oxj/ov ri eyiyt[s-] 
'lpp\ut<70.^ 

30 f/*/8a\ou St ovri /cal <^v- 
Xaxirag oi trui'SiaKO/AioB- 
<rii' [[9]] TO 7rXoro[i'.] 



also the kid^ from Aristion 
and send it to us. (20) Yea, 
and if thou hast taken the 
slave,* deliver him to Semph- 
theus that he may bring him 
to us. And send us also 
cheeses (25) as many as thou 
canst, and new earthenware, 
and herbs of every kind, and 
delicacies if thou hast any. 

Farewell. 
(30) Put them on board and 
guards with them who will help 
in bringing the boat over. 



Endorsed : 



nToXcjuaioDi. 



To Ptolemaeus. 



The letter gives us a glimpse of the domestic life of an 
obviously well-to-do family. A festival is coming on : 
mother and daughter insist that at the sacrifice (and sacri- 
ficial dance?) flutes and the rattle of castanets shall not be 
wanting,, and of course the musicians must be nicely dressed. 
Then come anxieties about the festive meal, from the roast 
to the dessert, not forgetting the new crockery that must be 
bought for kitchen and table, and added to this the annoy- 
ance of the runaway slave — ^really, as master of the house, 
there is much for Demophon to think of; and it is no light 
matter, the transport of man and beast, pottery, cheese, and 
vegetables. But there, friend Ptolemaeus, who is over the 
guards, will lend a few of his men who can help the boatmen, 

' No doubt to furnish the roast meat at the fea.st, such as the brother of 
-the Prodigal Son considered himself entitled to (Luke xv. 29). 

^ awfia means " slave," as frequently in the Greek Old and New Testaments 
(Bibelstudien, p. 158; Bible Studies, p. 160). This example is of exactly the 
same date as the oldest portions of the^eptuagint, and comes from the land 
of the Septuagint. — The slave had run away from Demophon, as Onesimus did 
from Philemon (cf. St. Paul's letter to Philemon). 

' Se after koI and standing as the fourth word of the sentence, as in Matt. x. 
18, John vi. 51, I John i. 3 and even earlier. 

* The word enclosed in double brackets was erased by the writer' of the 
letter. 



i66 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



and money shall be no obstacle. Altogether the details of 
the proposed festival remind us of the slight but very lifelike 
touches with which Jesus pictures the feast at the return of 
the Prodigal Son.^ 



Letter from Asclepiades, an Egyptian landowner, to Portis, his 
tenant, B.C. — (Ptolemaic period), ostracon from Thebes, 
now in the possession of Ulrich Wilcken and published by 
him^ (Figure 25). 

This is a private receipt, written, like so many others,* 
in the form of a private letter. It is inserted here as a 
characteristic example of a letter writ|;en to order by an 
amanuensis. 



EiS/xi;- 



Asclepiades, the son of Char- 
magon, to Portis the son of 
Permamis greeting. I have 
received* from thee the fruit 
that f alleth to me ^ and in- 
crease (5) of the lot that I' have 
let to thee for the sowing of 
the year 25, and I lay nothing 
to thy charge. Written for * 
him hath Eumelus, the son of 
Herma . . . ., being desired 
so to do for that he (10) writeth 
somewhat slowly.' In the year 
25, Phamenoth 2. 

The facsimile there given (Plate Ilia) 
is reproduced here (Fig. 25) by the kind permission of the author and Messrs. 
Giesecke and Devrient, Leipzig. 

' Cf. examples above, pp. 105, in. 

* Cf. above p. no ff. 

' A regular formula, as in the parable of the Prodigal Son, Luke xv. 12; 
ci. Neue Bibelstudien, p. 5y; Bible Studies, p. 230. 

' This " for," meaning " as representative of," occurs in many texts of 
similar character, and is not without bearing on the question of imp in the New 
Testament. 

' This is no doubt a euphemism (cf. p. 92, n. -6 above), but it helps to 
explain a habit of St. Paul, the artisan missionary. St. Paul generally 
dictated his letters, no doubt because writing was not an easy thing to his 
workman's hand. Then in his large handwriting (Gal. vi. 11), over which 
he himself makes merry (BibetStudien, p. 264; Bible Studies, p. 348; 
Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, Oct. 1908, p. 383), he himself 



['A](7KXij7ria(8i;s) Xap/u.ayoi'Tos 
TTopTiTi Tlepfia/jLio^ \ai(pfiv). 
a.Tre)(io* Trapa <tov to ii 

ISdXkov^ 
jnoi iK(f>6pit>v Koi tviyivTj{iJia.) 
5 ov i/jiicrOoMTa. (TOL Kkripov 
eh Tov (Tiropov rov ke L 
KovOiv (TOi ei'KaXci. 
iypa>]/ev VTtip ® ai(Tou) 

(Xos) 'Ej9/x,a(. . . .) 
a^iiaOil'i Sia to jSpaSu- 
10 T€pa ' airov ■ypa(^€[v). 

1 Luke XV. 22 ff. 

2 Griechische Ostraka, II. No. 1027. 




Fig. 25. — Letter from Asclepiades, an Egyptian landowner, to Portis. 
Ptolemaic Period. Ostracon from Thebes. Now in the possession of Ulnch 
Wilcken. Reproduced by permission of the owner and his publishers. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 167 

7 
Letter from Hilarion, an Egyptian labourer, to Alts, his wife, 
Alexandria, 17 June, i B.C., papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, 
now in the possession of the Museum of Victoria University, 
Toronto, Canada ; discovered and published by Grenfell and 
Hunt 1 (Figure 26). 

The letter is of a very vulgar type, although the writer 
makes efforts at the beginning, e.g. not to forget the iota 
adscript. 2 

Hilarion to Alls his sister * 
many greetings. Also to Be- 
rus my lady ^ and Apollonarin. 
Know that we are still even 
now in Alexandrea [sic]. Be 



irXciCTTa \ai- 
piiv Ka\ BcpovTi TTJ Kvpia * fiov 

KOI 'AttoWw- 
vapiv. yivtaa-Kf is iTi Kal vvv 

iv AXe^ai/- 



adds a conclusion, which perhaps begins in Galatians at verse 2 of 
chapter V. According to aiicient procedure the autograph conclusion was 
the token of authenticity, cf. C. G. Bruns, Die Unterschriften in den 
romischen Rechtsurkunden, Philologische und Historische Abhandlungen 
der Koniglichen Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin aus dem Jahre 
1876, pp. 41-138, especially pp. 69f., 81, 83, 90, 121, 137. Wilcken called 
my attention to this important essay. Dziatzko, in the article quoted 
at p. 146 above, refers to the statement of C. Julius Victor {Rhet. lat. min. 
p. 448 Halm) : observabant veteres carissimis sua manu scribere vel plurimum 
subscribere, " to very intimate correspondents the ancients used to write or, 
very often, sign the letter with their own hand." The autograph signatures 
to papyrus letters are greatly in need of . investigation (cf. e.g. Schubart, 
Tabulae Nos. 34b and 35; Ferdinand Ziemann, De epistularum Graecarum 
formuHs sollemnibus quaestiones selectae, Halis Sax., igii, p. 362 S.; and 
L. Eisner, Papyri landanae, fasc. 2, p. 41). A study of them would lead to a 
better appreciation of that extremely important passage in 2 Thess. iii. 17, 
which some most strangely regard as a mark of spuriousness : " the salutation 
of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every letter : so I write.'' 
The token (the last line or two in autograph) has the same significance as the 
symbolum, which in other cases was sometimes given to the bearer to take 
with him 3S proof of his commission ; cf . the pre-Christian letter of Timoxenus 
to Moschion, preserved in the Passalacqua Papyrus (Bibelstudien, p. 212 f. 
[not given in Bible Studies] ; Witkowski, Epistulae pnvatae, No. 25, *No. 34). 
and Letronne, Notices et Extraits, 18, 2, p. 407 f. In one of the letters of Plato 
(No. 13, Epistolographi Graeci rec. Rudolphus Hercher, Parisiis, 1873, p. 528) 
(vpfioXov actually has the same meaning as oTHieZov in St. Paul : a sign of 
authenticity contained in the letter itself. — From his own statement, just 
quoted, it follows of course that St. Paul appended an autograph conclusion 
to all his letters, even where he does not expressly say so. The recipients 
observed it at once by the difference in the handwriting. Cf. the remarks on 
letter No. 8 below, p. 171 f. In the Second Epistle to the Corinthians the 
autograph conclusion begins at x. i. 

[For notes i to 5 see next page. 



i68 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



opia '(Tfiiv. 

o\o)5 €11- 



/xij ayuvias, «av 



5 tropevovTai '^ iyii iv 'A\cia.v8pia 
/xevfc). 
epcoTw ^ (TE Koi rrapaKaXo) ac 

eTTi/teX^- 
6^t;t)>i tG TraiSto) Kai eov tv^iis 

ov A,a^o>/xev ^ d7r<«rTE\G (re * 

arco. cav 
TToWa iroXA-Sv ' TfKrjis, iav rjv 
apai- 

10 vov S.^i<s, iav riv Q-qKia EKjSaXe.^ 
£ip»;Kas* Sc 'A<j)poSuTia.Ti ort //.ij /it 
tTTiAa^T/s. TTols Svva/xaL ae hn- 
XaOiiv ; ip<OTu>^ crt ovv "va firj ayo)- 
vidcrrji;. 

15 L k6 Kaicrapoi Ilavvi icy. 



not distressed if at the general 
(5) coining in ^ I remain at 
Alexandrea. I pray ^ thee and 
beseech thee, take care of the 
little child. And as soon as 
we receive wages ^ I will send 
thee * up. If thou . . .^ art 
delivered, if it was * a male 
(10) child, let it (live) ; if it was 
female, cast it out.' Thou 
saidst 8 unto Aphrodisias, 
" Forget me not." How can 
I forget thee? I pray» thee, 
therefore, that thou be not 
distressed. (15) In the year 29 
of the Caesar, Pauni 23. 



^ Probably the return of Hilarion's fellow-workmen from Alexandria to 
Oxyrhynchus is referred to. 

" cporraoi, " I pray (thee)," generally explained as a Semiticism in the 
Greek Bible, is common in popular texts : Bibelstudien, p. 45 ; Neiii Bibel- 
studien, p. 23; Bible Studies, pp. 290, 195. 

' A regular formula, as in the New Testament : Neue Bibelstudien, p. 94 ; 
Bible Studies, p. 266. 

* Hilarion has written the accusative instead of the dative. He means, " I 
will send (them) up to thee." 

' woAAaTToAAcoi' has not yet been explained with certainty. Witkowski thinks 
it implies a wish, quod bene vertat, something like " great, great luck ! " Other 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



Notes to page 167 : — 

1 The Ox3n-hynchus Papyri, IV. No: 744. — A photograph was very kindly 
obtained for me by Dr. Grenfell, and from this was made the slightly reduced 
facsimile (Fig. 26) which is here reproduced by permission of the Egj^it 
Exploration Fund. — The letter has also been published by Lietzmann, Crie- 
chische Papyri, p. 8 f ., *p. 7 ; Witkowski, Epistulae privatae, p. 97 f ., "p. 131 ff. ; 
Milligan, Selections, p. 32 f . ; Helbing, Auswahl, p. 77 ff. ; Laudien, p. i fif. ; 
Schubart, Ein Jahrtausend, p. 49. 

' Witkowski prints it wherever Grenfell and Hunt have inserted the iota 
subscript, which Hilarion did not use. I give the text without alteration, so 
as not to detract from its vulgar character. 

' The a is a slip of the writer. 

* Alis is Hilarion's wife. " Sister " might be a tender form of address, but 
is probably to be taken literally : marriages between brother and sister were 
not uncommon in Egypt. Cf. Egon Weiss, Endogamie und Exogamie im 
romischen Kaiserreich, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung fur Rechts- 
geschichte, Vol. 29, Romanistische Abteilung, p. 351 ff. 

' A courteous form of address in letters, as in 2 John i and 5. 



15 




Fig. 26. — Letter from Hilarion, an Egyptian labourer, to Alis, his wife. Papyrus, 
written at Alexandria, 17 June, i B.C. Formerly in the possession of the Egypt 
Exploration Fund, by whose permission it is reproduced. Now in the Museum of 
Victoria University, Toronto, Canada. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 169 

Endorsed : 
'IXapiijiv "AXm dn-oSos. | Hilarion to Alls. Deliver. 

The situation in this letter is clear as to the chief facts. 

Hilarion is working for wages in the metropolis, Alexandria, 

and intends to remain there although his fellow-workmen 

are already about to return home. Anxiety is felt for him 

at home at Oxyrhynchus by his wife Alis, who is living with 

(her mother ?) Berus and (her only child ?) ApoUonarin. She 

is expecting her confinement ; gloomy thoughts arise within 

her : Hilarion has forgotten me, he sends neither letter 

nor money, and where is bread to come from for the growing 

family ? She confides her trouble to her friend Aphrodisias, 

who is going to Alexandria, and through her Hilarion hears 

of his wife's sad case. He sends the letter (by his comrades 

who are returning home, or by Aphrodisias) : words merely, 

no money (the wages are said to be not yet paid), and in spite 

of tender lines for the child, in spite of the sentimental 

" How can I e'er forget thee? " ^ nothing but brutal advice 

in the main : if it is a girl that you are bringing into the 

world, expose it. Has custom blunted the fatherly instinct 

* [There is a German song by HoflEm^Lnn von Fallersleben (1841), beginning 
" Wie konnt' ich dein vergessen " and with the same words in the refrain. Tr.] 

Continuation of notes from page 168 : — 

conjectures in Grenfell and Hunt, and Lietzmann; cf. also U. von Wilamo- 
witz-Moellendorff, Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1904, p. 66z; A. Harnack, 
Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 29 (1904) col. 457. An attractive one by Fr. Pfister, Berl. 
Philol. Wochenschr. 33 (1913) col. 926 f. 

' [" But the birth is still future, and ijv is certainly, as often, an illiterate 
spelling of y," said the kindly reviewer (J. H. Moulton ?) in The Times 15 Dec. 
1910 (Literary Supplement. 16 Dec, p. 509). The translator thought so too, 
and had printed a note, " mistake for ' be ' " which was suppressed, however, 
because the author wrote, " I think it is better not to note the jjv as a ' mistake.' 
It is a popular anticipation of the fact." Tr.] 

' The opposite of LXX Kxod. i. 16 (cf. 22) : eav iikv apatv 37, airoKravan 
auTo" iav Se BrjXv, irepiiroietaBe avTo. On the exposure of infants in antiquity 
Lietzmann quotes Justinus, Apol. I. 27 ff., who condemns the custom severely. 
See also J. Geficken, Zwei griechische Apologeten, Leipzig und Berlin, 1907, 
p. 283 ; Ludwig Mitteis, Reichsrecht und Volksrecht in den ostlichen Provinzen 
des romischen Kaiserreichs, Leipzig, 1891, p. 361 ; and especially the article 
" Kinderaussetzung " by Egon Weiss in Pauly-Wissowa-Kroll, Real-Enzyklo- 
pddie. 

' No doubt Aphrodisias had been commissioned to convey this piteous 
injunction to the absent husband. 

' See note 2 on previous page. 



170 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



in him ? Has poverty made him unfeeling towards his own 
flesh and blood? Is he, as his name implies, a gay dog, a 
good-for-nothing, to whom it is all one so long as he can have 
his pleasure in the great city? Or are we doing him an 
injustice, because we do not understand that mysterious 
pollapoUon'i But there is no explaining away the fact that 
a child is expected and is perhaps to be exposed. I have 
met with a striking parallel in Apuleius ^ : a man setting out 
on a journey orders his wife, who is in expectation of be- 
coming a mother, to kill the child immediately if it should 
prove to be a girl. 

In any case, therefore, the letter displays a sad picture of 
civilisation in the age which saw the birth of the great Friend 
. of Children, a scene in which the fortunes of a prpletarian 
family are reflected in their naked horror, a background of 
distinct contrast to what Jesus said of the value of children. 
In the time of poor Alls frightened mothers innumerable of 
the lower class, who found it difficult to be motherly owing 
to the scarcity of daily bread, were waiting for that which 
to us — such is the extent of the moral conquests made by the 
Gospel — seems to be a thing of course. A century and a 
half later the Epistle to Diognetus (v. 6) boasts that the 
Christians do not expose their children. 



Letter from Mystarion, an Egyptian olive-planter, to Stotoetls, a 
chief priest, 12 Sept. 50 a.d., papyrus from the Fayum, 
now in the Reichspost Museum at Berlin, published by 
Fritz Krebs ^ (Figures 27 and 28). 

Mystarion to his own' 
Stotoetis many greetings. 

I have sent* unto you my 
Blastus for forked (?) ^ sticks 
for (5) my olive-gardens.' See 
then that thou stay him not. 
For thou knowest how I need 
him every hour. 



iZluii ^ TrXettr a ^aipav. 

eTre/xi/'a* vfiiiv BAaaroi' tov 

tfWV 

Xdpiv Six^kiov ^ ^v\<j)v eh Toiis 
5 eA,aiciivas* p-ov. opa ovv p.rj 
aiiTOV 
Kamo-pf);?. oTSas yap ttSs avTov 
efcacTTiys (Zpas XPVC'^''' 

1 Metamorphoses, ed. Eyssenhardt, x. 23. [Cf. Ovid, Met. ix. 675-9, 
instructions of Ligdus to his wife Telethusa, in the story of Iphis and 
lanthe. Tk.] 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



Fig, 27. 




Fig. 28 



Letter from Mystarion, an Egyptian olive-planter, to Stotoetis, a chief 
priest, Address (Fig. 27) and Text (Fig. 28), 12 September, 50 A.n. Papyrus 
from the Fayiim. Now in the Reichspost Museum at Berhn. Reproduced 
by permission of the Museum authorities. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 171 



{In another hand :) Ippwuo. 

L ux TijScpiov KXavSiov Ka(- 

10 r£p/x[a]wKo[ii] AiTOKpdTopo[s] 
li.r]{y\) 2e/Ja(o-TU)i) ti. 

Endorsed in the first hand : 



{In another hand :) Farewell. 

In the year 11 of Tiberius 
Claudius Caesar Augustus (10) 
Germanicus Imperator in the 
month Sebastos 15. 



Stotoijti k€(Tmvri ^ th rrjv vrj(rov 
r[?]. 



To Stotoetis, chief priest/ at 
the island (?). 



I give this little text, belonging to the time of the Pauline 
mission, as an example of the letters of commendation 
which St. Paul mentions more than once (2 Cor. iii. i ; i Cor. 
xvi. 3) and himself employed (Rom. xvi.). In the wider 
sense, at least, it is a letter of recommendation. The Latin 
letter printed below (No. 17) is an example in the narrowest 
sense of the word. 

The situation contained in the letter is extremely simple, 
but for that very reason the document has an important 
bearing on the disputed passage in 2 Thess. iii. 17.^ St. 
Paul, we are told, has not in fact furnished all his letters with 
a salutation in his own hand, therefore the words " which 

1 " Lesonis " is a newly discovered title of the Egjrptian priesthood, cf. 
Wilcken, Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, 2, p. 122; and particularly W. Spiegel- 
berg, Der Titel Xfawfis, Recueil de travaux rel. a la philol. figypt. et assyr. 
igoz, p. 187 ff. ' Cf. p. 166, n. .7 above. 



Continuation of notes from page 1 70 : — 

* Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Koeniglichen Museen zu Berlin, Griechische 
Vrkunden, No. 37 (with date and reading corrected, I. p. 353), cf. Bibelstudien, 
p. 213 [not given in Bible Studies], where the old reading is followed. For the 
photographs from which, with the permission of the Reichspost Museum, 
the facsimiles (Figs. 27, 28) were made, I am indebted to the kind offices of 
W. Schubart. The illustrations reduce the size of the originals by about one 
quarter. 

' iSior, " his own," is used quite in the colourless Biblical sense (without any 
emphcisis on " own "). Cf. Bibelstudien, p. izo f. ; Bible Studies, p. 123. 

' The epistolary use of the aorist. For this whole line cf ^ St. Paul's eirfiiipa 
ifilv TtfioBeov, " I have sent unto you Timotheus," i Cor. iv. 17, and similar 
passages." 

' Presumably equivalent to Six'jAan', and with decolorisation of the meeining, 
in a general sense " cleft, forked." Hermann Diels (letter, Berlin W., 22 July, 
1908) would rather take it as hiaxi-^<av, " two thousand." 

' The New Testament word [Acts i. 12, "Olivet." Tr.], so strangely re- 
jected by Blass [Grammar, Eng. trans. * 32, 64, 85. Tr.], cf. Neue Bibel- 
studien, p. 36 ff.; Bible Studies, p. 208. On the translation of «s by "for," 
cf. Bibelstudien, p. 113 ff.; Neue Bibelstudien, p. 23; Bible Studies, pp. 117, 
194; this use, found in both LXX and N.T., is not Semitic, but popular 
Hellenistic Greek. 



172 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

is the token in every letter " cannot be genuine. But the 
premise from which this argument starts is a sheer petitio 
principii. We must not say that St. Paul only finished off 
with his own hand those letters in which he expressly says 
that he did.^ Mystarion's letter, with its greeting and the 
rest of the conclusion in a different writing, namely 
in Mystarion's own hand, was written only a few years before 
St. Paul's second letter to the Christians of Thessalonica, and 
it proves that somebody at that date closed a letter in his own' 
hand without expressly saying so.^ It must not be forgotten 
that we can have no proper conception of what a letter was 
like unless we have seen the original; the copies in books 
and most certainly the printed editions have taken more from 
the letters of St. Paul than is generally suspected,^ while on 
the other hand they have facilitated the discussion of problems 
that could only have originated in the study as pure hallucina- 
tions in overtasked brains. The soldier Apion, whose 
acquaintance we shall make in letters 12 and 13, has the 
unsophisticated man's natural feeling for the significance of 
the original handwriting of a letter : the mere sight of his 
father's handwriting makes him tender and affectionate. In 
much the same way a contrast of handwriting awakes in 
St. Paul a mood half jesting and half earnest.* 

9 

Letter from Harmiysis, a small Egyptian farmer, to Papiscus, 

an official, and others, 24 July, 66 a.d., papyrus from 

Oxyrtiynchus, now in the Cambridge University Library, 

discovered and published by Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 29). 

This is a good example of a communication to the authorities 
couched in the form of a letter. The name of the addressee 
is politely placed at the beginning, as often in official 
correspondence.^ 

' 2 Thess. iii. 17; i Cor. xvi. 21 ; Gal. vi. ii ; Col. iv. 18. 

' There is another good instance, I think, in a letter of the 2nd cent, a.d., 
Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 815; cf. Gregor Zereteli, Archiv fur 
Papyrusforschung, i, p. 336 ff., and the facsimile there given. 

' In all probability, for instance, the date of writing and the address. 

" Cf. Gal. vi. II ff., and Bibelsludien, p. 264; Bible Studies, p. 348. 

* The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (II.) No. 246. A facsimile of lines 1-31 is given 
there in Plate VII. With the consent of the Egypt Exploration Fund I re- 
produce it here in slightly reduced form (Figure 29). For the text cf. also 
Laudien, p. 27 f. 

' Cf. pp. 152, 162 above, and Bibelsludien, p. 209, n. 2 [not in Bible Studies]. 




15 



25 



f "^ j-cAi-s&jtrfActcffcrroMH^cf* 
111 ^feTc|fP>:^P^/t5f*'^ 






3° 







Fig. 29. — Letter from Harmiysis, a small Egyptian farmer, to Papiscus, 
an official, and others, 24 July, 66 a.d,, lines 1-31. Papyrus from Oxyrhyn- 
chus. Now in the Cambridge University Library. By permission of the 
Egypt Exploration Fund. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 173 



IIaTri.o-K(i)i Kotr/ui;T€U(T[a(vn)] 
T^s iroXecos Koi 0Tpa(T>jy5i) 

'Oiy[pvyx(iTov)] 
Koi llTo\.tfjua.{iioL) Pa<nXi,Kui[i 

ypadiixarei)] 
Kai Tois ypd.<l>ov(TL Tov i'o[/iov] 
5 irapa 'Ap/iivcrtos toB IIf[To-] 
arlpioi TOV Ileroo-t/jtos /«•[';-] 
Tpos AtSv/iTjs T-^s Aioy€[i'ov!] 
Toiv aTTO KiL/irji ^9a))([ioi\ 
TTJi wpos aiDjXtoiTjyv tq- 
[7r(opx'as).] 

10 dsreypai/'d/iiyv * rili £v[£o--] 
T(3ri 1/8 L N£p(Di'o[s] 
KXavSiou K.aiarapoi 
%ej3a(TTov Ttp/iaviKov 
AwoKparopos irtpl rijv 

15 avrriv ^6£\iv diro ^[o-] 
v^s S>v €)^ta 6pe/J.iJi,aLT<o[y] 
apvai SfKa Bvo. Kal v\'[y\ 
&Troypa.<l>Ofiai TOirs e7r[ty£-] 
yovdras ets T^v £>'£0-T[So-ai'] 

20 8£UT£pav airoypa<j)r]V a[7ro] 
yoi^s tSi/ auTcui' ^pe/x[|iid-] 
T<i)i' apvai kirra, ytvoi'[Tat] 
apvK iirrd. /cat d/tv[ij<«] 
NepcDva KXavSiov Kato-ap[a] 

25 ic/SaoTTOv Fepp,avucbv 

AvTOKparopa fx-q iirf(TTa[X6(ai).] 
£[pptti(o-l9£).] 



To Papiscus, former cos- 
metes of the city and now 
strategus of the Oxyrhynchite 
nome, and Ptoleinaeus, royal 
scribe, and the writers of the 
nome, (5) from Harmiysis, the 
son of Petosiris (the son of 
Petosiris), his mother being 
Didyme, the daughter of. Dio- 
genes, of the men of the 
village of Phthochis which is 
in the eastern toparchy.^ (10) 
I- enrolled * in the present 
12th year of Nero Claudius 
Caesar Augustus Germanicus 
Imperator, nigh unto that (15) 
same Phthochis, of the young 
of the sheep that I have, 
twelve lambs. And now I 
enrol those that have since 
been born, for the present (20) 
second enrolment ; of the young 
of those same sheep seven lambs 
— they are seven lambs.* And 
I swear by Nero Claudius 
Caesar (25) Augustus Germani- 
cus Imperator that I have kept 
back nothing. 

Farewell. 



In another hand . 



'AiroXAuii'ios 
7r[t(rK0v] 



ir(apa) Ila- 
(TTpaTrjyov <r£(77;(p,cia)/iai) dpi'(as) 



I Apollonius, one of the men 
of * Papiscus the strategus, have 
noted 7 lambs. 

(30) In the year 12 of Nero 
the lord, Epiph 30. 



30 L tj8 Nfipuvos TOV Kup(i)o[i;] 
'Ettei^ X. 

There follow, in a third and fourth hand, the signatures of the 
other officials to the same effect. 

The handmiting of this document is interesting on account 
of the dear, almost literary uncials of the main text, sharply 

' [The word translated " province " in i Mace. xi. 28. With regard to vofUs 
of. Bibelsiudien, p. 142 f. ; Bible Studies, p. 145. Tr.] 
' Technical expression for making a return. 
' /.«., " total seven." • [/.«., "representing," cf. p. 162, n. 3. Tr.] 



174 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



dislinguished from the cursive signatures of the attesting 
officials. We must imagine this state of things reversed in the 
case of the Epistle to the Galatians ; the handwriting of the 
amanuensis of Gal. i. i-vi. lo (or -v. i) was probably cursive, 
and the autograph signature of St. Paul the stiff, heavy 
uncials of a manual labourer; the contrast was just as great. 
In regard to contents this text is one of the most important ^ 
evidences that the title Kyrios (" lord ") was applied to the 
emperor as early as the reign of Nero. It is not the farmer 
Harmiysis who employs it, but the officials use it three times 
over in their formal signatures. 



10 



Letter from Nearchus, an Egyptian, to Heliodorus, ist or 2nd 
cent. A.D., papyrus from Egypt, now in the British Museum, 
published by Kenyon and Bell ^ (Figure 30). 



Ne'app^os a[ 

iroAXwv Tov Ka[ 

Koi. fJi€^i TOV irKfiy e . [ 

fiiviiiv, Iva Tots ;^€[i]po7r[oi]r;[TOi)s 

"'-] _ 
5 )(yai l(TTopri<7U)cn, iyia irap- 

€7ro[tr;(7]d-' 
IJL-qv KoX apa/xevoi a.vdTr\o[yv 

■7r]ap[a-] * 
ytvofjifvoi Tt €is T£ Soiyvas koX 

odtv T\yy])^d- 
vei NeiXos peW koi tis Ai^vrjV 

OTTOV 

A/Ji/Awv Tra.(TLV avBpti-iroK XPV' 

(TflUlStl 

10 [/cat] €iI<o->TO/u.a ^ 'L<rT6p[yj}a-a 

Koi TtllV (jjiKlOV 

[ij/i[u>v rjtt di-o/tara iv€)^a.pa^a 

TOIS I[c-] 
pins ae//ii'jy<o->Ta)S* to irpoir- 

Kvvqfia 



Nearchus ... (to Helio- 
dorus) . . . (greeting). 

Since many . . . even unto 
taking ship,' that they may 
learn about the works made 
by men's hands, (5) I have done 
after this s.ort and undertook 
a voyage up and came to 
Soene * and there whence the 
Nile flows out,' and to Libya, 
where Ammon sings oracles 
to all men,!" (10) and I learnt 
goodly things,!^ and I carved 
the names of my friends ^^ on 
the temples for a perpetual 



memory, the intercession . . . 
[Two lines washed out.] 

Endorsed : 
'HXtoSd/jto. I To Heliodorus. 

» Cf. Chapter IV. (p. 351 ff.) below. 

[For notes 2 to 12 see next page. 



1^'^-. v>^, 








Fig. 30. — Letter from Nearchus, an Egyptian, to Heliodorus, ist or 2nd century, a.d. 
Papyrus from Egypt. Now in the British Museum. By permission of the Museum 
authorities. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 175 

This little fragment of a letter about travel is of great 
interest to the historian of civilisation. It also gives a good 
picture of the social piety which was already known to us 
from the assurances of mutual intercession in other papyrus 
(and Pauline) letters. Nearchus ^ does not neglect to pray for 
his friends at the seats of grace, and, as if to make his inter- 
cession permanent, he inscribes their names on the temple walls. 

The writer seems to be a man of the middle class, but his 

• Unfortunately nothing is known of the writer's identity. As moreover 
we have no exact data concerning the provenance of the papyrus, the utmost 
that we can do is to suggest, without answering, the question whether this 
fragment may have belonged to the correspondence of the Heliodorus who 
is mentioned below (p. 236). 



Continuation of notes from p. 1 74 : — 

• Greek Papyri in the British Museum (Vol. III.), London, 1907, No. 854 
(p. 206) ; facsimile, Plate 28, here reproduced by kind permission of the 
British Museum (Figure 30) . The letter is assigned by the editors to the first 
century ; Grenfell and Hunt, as I was informed by Wilcken (letter, Leipzig, 
13 October, 1907) would place it in the second century. The text is now 
accessible also in Milligan, p. 69 f . 

' Wilcken 's reading, confirmed by Grenfell and Hunt. 

• Ditto (omitting koI). 

' The papyrus has evro/ia. The meaning would then be : " and I visited 
regions easily traversed " (in opposition to the difficult approach to the oasis) . 
Hermann Diels (letter, Berlin W., 22 July, 1908) writes : " evoro/ia = arcana, 
mysteria, I take to be a reminiscence of the AlyvimaKo. of Herodotus (ii. 171), 
which then, as now, every traveller on the Nile had in his pocket." See also 
Wilcken, Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 4, p. 554. 

' Grenfell and Hunt's reading. 

' Perhaps : " Since many now make journeys and resolve them even to 
a sea voyage." 

' = Syene. 

• With regard to the supposed source of the Nile " between Syene and 
Elephantine," which occurs already in a story told to Herodotus (ii. 28) by 
the temple scribe at Sais, Wilcken refers me to Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci 
Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 168,, I. p. 243 f., and Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung 
3. P- 326. 

'» The oracle of Jupiter Ammon in the oasis of Siwah is referred to. [Cf. 
Major W. T. Blake, " On Ford Cars to Siwa.Oasis," Discovery, 4 (July 1923) 
pp. 175-179- Tr.] 

'* This refers either to the impressions of the journey in general or specially 
to a favourable oracle of the god Ammon. 

^' Inscriptions of this kind, the work of pilgrims and travellers of the 
Ptolemaic and Imperial periods, still exist in great numbers, cf . the Egyptian 
inscriptions in the Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum. They, generally contain 
the proskynema, a special intercession at the place of pilgrimage for absent 
friend and relatives. Let us hope that some of the proskyiiemata inscribed 
by Nearchus may yet be found. 



176 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

style, despite faint echoes of the book-language, is on the whole 
non-literary.^ 

II 
Letter from Irene, an Egyptian, to a family in mourning, 2nd 
cent. A.D., papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, now in the Library 
of Yale University, U.S.A., discovered and published by 
Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 31). 

Irene to Taonnophris and 
Philo good comfort. 

I am as sorry and weep 
over the departed * one as 
I wept for Didymas. {5) And 
all things, whatsoever were 
fitting, I have done, and all 
mine, Epaphroditus and Ther- 
muthion and Philion and 
ApoUonius and Plantas. But, 
nevertheless, (10) against such 
things one can do nothing. 
Therefore comfort ye one 
another. Fare ye well. Athyri.^ 

Endorsed : 

Taovvwtjipu Koi ^lXojvi \ To Taonnophris and Philo. 

Philo and Taonnophris, a married pair at Ox5n:hynchus, 

have lost a son by death, and Irene, a friend of the sorrowing 

mother,'' wishes to express her sympathy. She can fully 

' Eduard Norden, in a letter to me (Gross-Lichterfelde W., 3 September, 
1908), disagrees with this view. 

* The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (I.), No. 115. For the facsimile (Figure 31) 
I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Arthur S. Hunt. A translation is also 
given by Preisigke, p. 109. Text and notes in U. von Wilamowitz-Moellen- 
dorff, Griechisches Lesebuch, I. 2', Berlin, 1906, p. 398, and II. 2^, 1902, p. 263. 
Cf. also Milligan p. 95 f . ; Wilcken, Chrest, p. 564 f . ; Helbing p. 116 fi. ; 
Schubart, p. 63 f. ' Epistolary use of the aorist. 

* The word was first taken as a proper name, Evfioipoii. But, as pointed out 
by E. J. Goodspeed, the article surely shows that the word is an adjective; 
cf. Wilcken, Archiv fiir Papjrrusforschung, 4, p. 250. I have found the word 
more than once as an epithet of deceased persons in early Christian inscrip- 
tions from Egypt (Gustave Lefebvre, Recueil des Inscriptions grecqwes-chri- 
tiennes d'£gypte, Le Caire, 1907, p. xxxi) ; cf. also Milligan, Selections, p. 96. 
This interpretation is moreover supported by the parallel toC ytaxaplov of the 
ancient letter-writer, cf. below (p. 177). [Per contra: p. 214, 1. 9. Tr.] 

' Equivalent, I think, to oAA^Aous, as often in the N.T., e.g. Col. iii. 16. 
« = 28 October. 

' That is why Irene in the letter names the mother before the father : 
Preisigke, p. 109. 



Etpr/VT; 'Vaovvii><j>pti koI ^i\oyvi 

KOX 

ouTcos (Xvirrj6r)v tKXav(Ta ^ iirl 

TOit 

(i/j.oCp<M,^ (Ls iirl AtSu/tSros 
5 eK\av(Ta . xat TrdvTa oaa rjv Ka- 
BrjKOVTa liroCritTa. koX TravTc; 
01 i/jioi, 'ETrac^poSeiTos koi 

©ep/xou- 
6iov Koi ^iKiov Koi AwoWlilVLOi 
Koi nXavTas. dX\' o/iuis ov&iv 
10 Bvvarai tis n-pos to. Toiavra. 
iraprjyopuTe ovv iavTOvs-^ 

IV Trpa.TTi.Te. AOvp a.' 



HUH^j-i^f^W^ '^*^i 








'^^'-^^^^t^^iM*.^^ 





Fig. 3i.-^Letter trom Irene, an Egyptian, to a Family in Mourning, 2nd 
cent. A.D. Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the Library of Yale Uni- 
versity. Facsimile kindly obtained by Dr. Arthur S. Hunt. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 177 

understand the grief of her friends ; she weeps over again the 
tears that she shed before for her own lost one, the departed 
Didymas ^ : personal sorrow has made her sympathetic with 
other people's trouble. She speaks therefore of her own 
tears first. But she must write more than that : it is to be 
a letter of consolation. Irene, who knows how to write a 
business letter quickly and surely,^ experiences the difficulty 
of those whose business it is to console and who have no con- 
solation to offer. And so she ponders over sentences to fill 
up the sheet : it will be a satisfaction to the mourners to hear 
that she and all her family have fulfilled all the duties of 
affection and decency that are customary in such cases.' But 
after these lines full of names, slowly written by great effort, the 
genuine feeling in her heart breaks through, that despairing 
resignation which speaks of inevitable fates. And then, illogical 
and truly womanly, the concluding injunction, " Comfort ye 
one another ! " Who could help feeling for the helplessness 
of this woman, whose own sympathy was assuredly so true ? 

Poor Irene ! It is certainly with no wish to do her injustice 
that I call attention to the fact that similar formulae of con- 
solation were common to the age. An ancient model letter- 
writer gives the following formulary * : — 

■q iwicrToki^. Xiav ^/aSs fj arro- 
PiuKTK Tov fiaicapiov Tov Seivoi 
iX.virri<Te kol irevSeiv koI SaKpvuv 
■fivdyKade' tolovtov tfiiKov yap cnrov- 



The letter. The death of 
N. N., now blessed, hath 
grieved us exceedingly and 
constrained us to mourn and 
weep; for of such an earnest 
and altogether virtuous friend 
have we been bereaved. Glory 
then and praise be to God, 
who in wisdom and incompre- 
hensible power and providence 
governeth the issues to death, 
and, when it is expedient, re- 
ceiveth the soul unto Himself. 

If the second half of this formulary shows signs of BibUcal 

' Her husband (?) or, more probably, her son (?). 

* Cf. her letter to the same family, The Oxyrhynchus Pap}rri, No. Ii6. To 
judge from this, Irene was a landed proprietress. 

" Funeral offerings ? Prayers ? One would gladly know more. 

* Proclus,-De forma epistolari, No. 21 (Epistolographi Graeci, rec. Hercher, 
p. lo). The authorship of this letter-writer has been sometimes attributue 



Saiov Kat iravaptTOv ecTTtp'qOrjfJi.ev. 
Sofa oZv Kol atvccris T<o iv croi^La. kui 
oLKaraX't^'/ma 8wa.fJi.ei Kal irpovola. 

KV^CpV&VTL 6(^ TttS Sie^oSoUS T(3 

6avdTw Kal T^v ij/vyfrjv ijiiKO cn>p.<^ipii 
Trapa\.a/i0dvovTi.. 



178 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

influence,! the first half is obviously ancient and secular. 
Irene's letter exhibits very similar formulae, the resemblance 
of the opening lines being particularly striking. But it is 
not mere imitation ; the no doubt familiar formulae are ani- 
mated by the personality of the writer, and we shall be 
justified in regarding even the concluding words of resignation 
as an expression of real feeling. That this feeling was a wide- 
spread one, 2 and that it produced similar thoughts in another 
formulary for a letter of consolation,^ need be no objection 
to the view we have taken. 

St. Paul doubtless was thinking of such despairing souls 
in his letter to Thessalonica, when he inserted these words of 
comfort for the Christians in trouble for their dead * :, — 

" But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, 
concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even 
as others which have no hope." 

And then with all the realism of an ancient popular writer 
he unfolds a picture of the Christian's future hope, culminat- 
ing in the certainty * :— 

" And so shall we ever be with the Lord." 

To which he immediately adds, in conclusion, the exhorta- 
tion * : — 

" Wherefore, comfort one another with these words," 
reminding us of the ending of Irene's letter of consolation,' 
except that behind- St. Paul's words there is not the resigna- 
tion of the " others " but a victorious certitude, triumphing 
over death. 

to Libanius, as well as to the Neo-Platonist Proclus (cf. Karl Krumbacher, 
Geschichte der byzantinischen Literatur,' Miinchen, 1897, p. 452, who reject9 
both attributions). I regard the text as a Christian adaptation of ancient 
models; cf. the Biblical intrusions noticed in the next footnote, like those 
in the formulary for a letter of contrition mentioned below (p. 192, on the 
letter of Antonis Longus) . 

1 Cf. the whole tenor and especially LXX Psalm Ixvii. [Ixviii.] 20, toC Kvpt'ov 
al Sw'foSoi ToC Bavdrov, " unto the Lord belong the issues from death," and John 
xiv. 3, ■napaXijiupoiiai iftas irpos ifiavTov, " I will receive you unto Myself." 

» Wilcken recalls a saying frequent in epitaphs, " No one is immortal." 

' Demetrius Phalereus, Typi epistolares. No. 5 (Epistolographi, rec. Hercher, 
p. 2), cwoTjfleis 8c on to roiavra irdaCv iariv viroKel/ieva . . ., " bearing in mind 
that such dispensations are laid upon us all." 

* I Thess. iv. 13. " 1 Thess. iv. 17. ' 1 Thess. iv. 18. 

' Irene : wapijyopeire oSv iaorpis. \ St. Paul : mare nixpaxdkelTe dAA^Aovf, etc. 
St. Paul doubtless adopted the exhortation from the epistolary formulae of the 
age (cf. also i Thess. v. 11, and later Heb. iii. 13). The model letter of 




Fig. 32. — Letter from Apion. an Egyptian soldier in the Roman Navy, to 
his father Epimaclius, Misenum, 2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus from the Fayum. 
Now in the Berlin Museum. By permission of the Directors of the State 
Museums. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 179 



12 



P IT-, 



Letter from Afion, an Egyptian soldier in the Roman navy, to his 
father Epimachus, Misenum, 2nd cent, a.d., papyrus from 
the Fayum, now in the BerUn Museum, pubhshed by Paul 
Vierecki (Figure 32). 

This splendid specimen had been frequently discussed (and 
translated) before the first publication of this book, and it 
has of late received a still greater share of attention.^ 

01 Atnoiv Ewifid^^u) Tuit TrarfA Kal 

1 fi" Kvpim 3 irXeTa-Ta xatjoeij'. irpo /lev vdv- 

5 p. '^'"'' «i'XO/*<"' o"e vyiaivnv * Kal SiA irai/ros 
ipm/xevov eirvxeiv /lera t^s a8eX<^^s 
fiov Kol T^s dvyarpoi airrji Kal tov dS«X<^oS 

:|^ 9 fiov. EvxapLo-rS) ' t<5 Kvpim *. liepdiriSi, 

I M °" 1^0^ KivSvveva-airoi ets 6dKacra-av ' 

o- ;§, ia-iDo-e iv9t(t)^ *. ore cl(njX.Oov ek Mr;- 

3^ I <n;vous *, tXaySa 1" /iidriKov " Tropa Kai'p-a|OOs 

10 Hj O" X/'""''°''s T/)ets. Kat KaAuJs /loi e'trnv. 

^ 3 ipuiTii)^^ a-e oSv, Kvpie /jiov irar-^p, 

e , ypa\pov fioi cTTto'ToAio)' irpSn-ov 

S" ^ /A£V Trepi riys crmTiyjOias ^^ o-ov, Seu- 

5! §^ TepOI/ TTCpl T-^S T(OV dScXl^UV /iOU, 

15 "' ' '''pl.Q'f'OVi 'vo- o-ov ■Kpoa-KwrffTUi ttjv 

> y^pav ^*, oTi /U6 ejratStiio-as koASs 
Kat eK TovToi) eA-TTtfo) Ta;(ii irpoKo- 
(rat ^^ tCiv 6e[ai}v 6e\6vTO)v ^*. aa-irao-ai ^' 
«' " Ka7rtT<Jv[a 7ro]\\a ^* sat to[us] dScAt^ous 
20 ,_, ^" g^ [/i]oD Ktti ^ilprjvQWav Kal Tolh] tjtiKovi /to[u.] 
V • 'EircpLipd o[i ttJKOi'ti' ^* /^[ov] 5ia Eukt^- 
. ] fiovoi. talrji [Si] /jlov ovo/jlol 'Avtwi'is Mo- 
,_, \ l1^ f'/*os ^''- « 'EppCxrOai a-e evxofiai. 

-V g„ KevTupt(a) 'kOrjvovLKT]^^- 

r^ I, The address on the back : 

28 • ■ ([Is] 9[LX.]aSeX<j)iav^^ 'E-n-i/jiy^dxui diro 'Ajtlwvos viov. 

>^ * 

L— J BO U— I 

Two lines running in the opposite direction have been added ^* / 

'AttoSos cts \u>pTr]V TTpifiav \X ' A-Tra/JiqvSiv 'lo[i)Xi.]a[i']oi) 'Ai' . [. .]** 

30 \tl3\apiu> ** d-TTO 'Am(i)vos Sia- XX'^* 'E7ri/x.ap((u -n^arpl avrov. 

consolation already quoted from Demetrius Phalereus, No. 5, also ends with 
the exhortation : KoSuis aAAw Trap-jjveaas, aavr^ irapaCveaov, " as thou hast 
admonished another, admonish now thyself." 

[For notes i to 26 see pages 180-182. 






R> 



i8o LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Apion to Epimachus his father and lord* many greetings. 
Before all things I pray that thou art in health,* and that thou 
dost prosper and fare well continually together with my sister 
(5) and her daughter and my brother. I thank ^ the lord * Serapis 
that, when I was in peril in-the sea,'' he saved me immediately.* 
When I came to Miseni ® I received as viaticum ^^ (journey- 
money) from the Caesar (10) three pieces of gold. And it is well 
with me. I beseech thee therefore, my lord father, write unto 
me a little letter, firstly of thy health, secondly of that of my 
brother and sister, (15) thirdly that I may do obeisance to thy 
hand" because thou hast taught me well and I therefore hope 
to advance quickly, if the gods will.^' • Salute ^^ Capito much ^* 
and my brother and sister (20) and Serenilla and my friends. I 
sent [or "am sending"] thee by Euctemon a little picture" 
of me. Moreover my name is Antonis Maximus.^" Fare thee 
well, I pray. Centuria Athenonica.^"- (25) There saluteth thee 
Serenus the son of Agathus Daemon, and . . . the son of . . . 
and Turbo the son of Gallonius and D[. . .]nas the son of [. . .]sen 

[. . .r ■■■ . 



The address on the back : 
(28) To Philadelphia ^^ for EpimXachus from Apion his son. 
Two lines running in the opposite direction have been added ** ; 

Give this to the first Cohort \X of the Apamenians to (?) 

XY Julianus An ... ^^ 
(30) the Liblarios,** from Apion so that (he may convey it) to 

Epimachus his father. 



Notes to pages 179 and 180 : — » 

> Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Koeniglichen Museen zu Berlin (II.), No. 423 
(cf. II. p. 356). For the photograph here facsimiled by kind permission of the 
Directors of the State Museums at Berlin, I am indebted to W. Schubart. The 
figure is about one-third smaller than the original. 

2 Cf . Viereck in his article in the Vossische Zeitung ; Erman and Krebs, 
p. Zi4f.; Cagnat, p. 796 ; Preisigke, p. loi f. ; Lietzmann," p. 4 f. ; Milligan, 
p. 90 ff. ; Wilcken, Chrestomathie, p. 65 f . ; Helbing, p. 100 ff . ; Schubart, 
p. 79 (see also the full-sized facsimile, recto anci verso, in his Tabulae, No. 28). 

' Lord, here and in I. 11, is a child's respectful form of address. 

' A frequent formula in papyrus letters, cf. Bibelstudien, p. 214 (not in 
Bible Studies), and the similar formula in 3' John 2, nepX nivTo^v eiJxo/iai' o€ 
tioSovodat Kal iytaivetv, " I pray that in all things thou mayest prosper 
and be in health." Misunderstanding this formula, many commentators on 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE i8i 

Apion, son of Epimachus, of the little Egyptian village of 
Philadelphia, has entered the Roman army as a marine,^ 
and after the farewells to father, brothers and sisters, and 

' Cf. Preisigke, p. loi ff., and Wilcken, Chrestomathie, p. 565. 



Continuation of notes to pages 179 and 180. 

the Third Epistle of St. John have assumed that Gaius, the addressee, had 
been ill immediately before. 

» This is a thoroughly " Pauline " way of beginning a letter, occurring also 
elsewhere in papyrus letters (cf. for instance Bibelstudien, p. 210; it is not 
given in Bible Studies). St. Paul was therefore adhering to a beautiful 
secular custom when he so frequently began his letters with thanks to God 
(i Thess. i. 2; 2 Thess. i. 3; Col. i. 3; Philemon 4; Eph. i. 16; i Cor. i. 4; 
Rom. i. 8; Phil. i. 3). 

s Serapis is called lord in countless papyri and inscriptions. 

' Cf. St. Paul's " perils in the sea," 2 Cor. xi. 26, klvSvvois tv OaXdaarj. The 
Roman soldier writes more vulgarly than St. Paul, els SdXaaaav instead of 
ev daXaaaij. 

' Cf. St. Peter in peril of the sea, Matt. xiv. 30 f., " beginning to sink, he 
cried, saying. Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth His 
hand . . .*' {dp^dfievos KaTairovrlCeaOai eKpa^ev Xeyiav kv pie^ awaov ix€, tvdeuts 
8c d 'Itjoovs GKreCvas ttjv x^^P'^ • • ■)• One sees the popular tone of the 
evangelist's narrative : he and the Roman soldier are undoubtedly following 
the style of popular narratives of rescue. 

" There are other instances of this plural form of the name of the naval 
harbour, generally called Misenum, near Naples. 

1° This form is one of the many vulgarisms found also in the New Testament, 
cf. Neue Bibelstudien, p. 19; Bible Studies, p. 191. 

^* The viaticum is aptly compared by Preisigke with the marching allowances 
in the German army. It consists of three pieces of gold (aurei) = 75 drachmae. 
Alfred von Domaszewski writes to me (postcard, Heidelberg, 6 August, 1908) : 
" The viaticum (cf. Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, VIII. No. 2557) is a 
stipendium." For the orthography of the word Lionel R. M. Strachan refers 
me to H. I. B[eU] in Notes and Queries, nth Ser., vii. 283 f. (i2 April, 1913). 

•' Again the " Biblical " word. 

" oamjpia here means " welfare " in the external (not in the religious) 
sense, as in Acts xxvii, 34, Heb. xi. 7. 

" X^pav = x«'pi. with vulgar v appended, like xe'pav in John xx. 25, Codices 
N* AB; other examples in Blass, Grammatik des Neutestamentlichen 
Griechisck,' p. 27 [Eng. trans, p. 26]. — By hand I think Apion means his 
father's handwriting, which will recall his father's presence. A specially fine 
touch in this letter of fine feeling. 

'^ irpoKoaat no doubt = irpoKoipai, " to advance," as in Luke ii. 52, Gal. i. 14. 
The soldier is thinking of promotion. Fine parallels, especially to Luke ii. 52, 
in Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 32518 ('70818), Istropolis, before 100 b.c, [t^] 
T€ •^XiKia TrpoKOTrruiv Kal Trpoayofievos els to deoae^etv (cf. MiUigan, p. 91). 

'' The pious reservation " if the gods will " is frequent in pagan texts, cf. 
Neue Bibelstudien, p. 80; Bible Studies, p. 252. 

" The writers of papjorus letters often commission greetings to various 

[For continuation of notes see next page 



i82 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

friends, has taken ship (probably at Alexandria) for Misenum. 
Serenus, Turbo, and other recruits from the same village 
accompany him. The voyage is rough and dangerous. In 
dire peril of the sea the young soldier invokes his country's 
god, and the lord Serapis rescues him immediately. Full 
of gratitude, Apion reaches his first destination, the naval 
port of Misenum. It is a new world to the~ youth from the 
distant Egyptian village ! Put into the centuria with the 
high-sounding name " Athenonica," with three pieces of gold 
from the Emperor in his pocket as viaticum, and proud of 



Continuation of notes to pages 179 and 180 : — 

persons, and often convey them from others (1. 25), just as St. Paul does in 
most of his letters. 

" Cf. the same epistolary formula in i Cor. xvi. 19. 

" The reading here used to be a[oi to o9]6vi.v, " the linen," which was 
understood to refer to Apion's. civilian clothes. Wilcken has re-examined 
the passage in the original, and made the charming discovery that Apion sent 
his father his [«'jKonv (= elxoviov), " little picture " (results communicated to 
me in letters, Florence, 20 April, 1907, Leipzig, 5 May, 1907). It is just like 
German recruits getting themselves photographed as soon as they are allowed 
out of barracks alone. 

^" On entering the Roman naval service Apion, not being a Roman, received 
a Roman name. Antonis is short for Anionius. The passage has an impor- 
tant historical bearing on the subject of changing names, cf . Harnack, Militia 
Christi, Die christliche Religion und der Soldatenstand in den ersten drei 
Jahrhunderten, Tiibingen, 1905, p. 35; and Die Mission und Ausbreitung 
des Christentums in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten,' Leipzig^ 1915, I-, p. 410 
(Moffatt's trans. ^1905, p. 38 n.). There will be found a neat analogy to the 
present instance : Tarachus, a Christian soldier, says, " a parentibus dicor 
Tarachus, et cum mUitarem nominatus sum Victor." 

^^ The name of his company, given no doubt as part of the correct address 
to be used in answering. 

2- New reading by Wilcken. 

*' Philadelphia in the Fayum. 

^* The crosses mark the place for tying up the letter when folded (Wilcken, 
Chrestomathie, p. 566) . The cohort mentioned in these instructions for delivery 
was stationed in Egypt (Preisigke, p. 102), The letter therefore went first of 
all from the garrison of Misenum to the garrison of this cohort (Wilcken : 
Alexandria), and the Liblarios (= Hbrarius, cf. note 26), i.e. accountant to 
the cohort, was then to forward it, as occasion should serve, to the village in 
the Fayum. 

" George Milligan informed me (postcard, Murthly, 7 April, 1910) that Sir 
W. M. Ramsay considered it possible we ought to read av{Ti\Xi§Xapim (pro 
librario) . 

*» On this borrowed word, which also forced itself into Jewish usage in the 
form liblar, cf. Blau, Papyri und Talmud, pp. 17 and 27. I agree with Blau 
in thinking that Hbrarius (the r becoming /), and not libellarius (as Wilcken 
and others suppose) is the source. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 183 

his new name, Antonis Maximus, he immediately has his 
portrait painted for the people at home by some artist who 
makes a living in the taverns about the docks. And now he 
writes off to his father a short account of all that has hap- 
pened. The letter shows him in the best of spirits ; a rosy 
future lies before Apion : he will soon get promotion, thanks 
to his father's excellent training. When he thinks of it all, 
of his father, and his brother, and his sister with her little 
daughter, and Capito and his other friends, his feelings are 
almost too much for him. If only he could press his father's 
hand once again ! But there, father will send him a note in 
reply, and his father's handwriting will call up the old home. 
The letter is just about to be closed when his countrymen 
give him their cheery greetings to send, and there is just room 
for them on the margin of the papyrus. Finally the letter 
must be addressed, and that is a little troublesome : in the 
army there are rules and regulations for everything, but to 
make up for it the soldier's letter will be forwarded by 
miUtary post to Egypt, and by way of the Liblarios' room 
of the first Apamenian cohort it will reach the father in 
safety. 

Have I read too much between the lines of this letter? 
I think not. With letters you must try to understand what 
is written between the lines. Nobody will deny that this 
soldier's letter of the second century, with its fresh naivete, 
rises high above the average level. 

We possess further the original of a second, somewhat 
later letter by the same writer, addressed to his sister, ^ which 
was also found in the Fayum, and is now in the Berlin 
Museum. I believe I am able to restore a few lines additional 
to those already deciphered. 

' See letter 13 below. 



i84 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



13 
A second letter from the same soldier (Apian, now) Antonius Maximus; 
to his sister Sahina, 2nd cent. A.D., papyrus from the 
FayAm, now in the Berlin Museum, published by Fritz Krebs ^ 
(Figure 33). 



'Ai'[tu)1'i]os Ma^i/ios !§a/3iVjj 
T^ d[8]eA^^ ^ irXiltna. \avp€LV. 
trph fiiv TravTutv eiip^OjU.ai 
CTC vyiaiviLV, koX -yo) yap avTos 
5 vyuuv\w\. Mviav trov ■n-oiovp.i- 
vo% ^ napa rois [evjflaSc flcois * 
eKO/Jna-ap-riv [«]v^ E7n[o-]TdAiov 
irapa ' AvTo>Vf[i\vov tow <rvv- 
■iro\[i]iTov rjfj,!i>v. km iirvyvov's 
10 (Tf. ippiD/j-ivriv Xiav i)(dpr)v.^ 
Kol 'yi> Sia irSo-ai' a.(fiop[iriv 

T^[s] <T<i)Tripiai fiov KoX twv 
ifiwv. 'Ao-TTOo-at Md^ip.ov' 
15 TToXXa Kai Koirp^v* TOV Kvpiv ® 
/i[ov. a]cnra^«Tat' crt 17 o'vp.Pi- 
qs [^'01' A]v<^i8ta Kot [M]afi/ios 
[6 ^^ v'6<: li\ov, [ov] £(rTt[v] Tot 

[<7ia 'EJTretTT TpiaKas Kaff "E\- 
20 [Xr;va]s, Kal "EXttis koX ^opTOv- ^^ 
[vaTa]. 'A(T7r[a]croi Tov KvpiQv 

• Aegyptische Urkunden aus den Koeniglichen Museen zu Berlin (11.) i 
No. 632, published by Fritz Krebs ; partly translated by Erman and Krebs, 
p. 215, and by Preisigke, p. 103. For the facsimile (Figure 33, about f of 
the size of the original) I am indebted to the kindness of W. Schubart. 

' The sister was named in the first letter. Her daughter, not being named 
in the second letter, had probably died meanwhile. It is not likely that 
Sabina was a second sister of the writer, because in the first letter only one 
sister is mentioned. The father too seems not to have been alive at the time 
of the second letter. 

' Assurance of intercession for the receiver at the beginning of the letter 
is a pious usage with ancient letter-writers (cf. Ziemann, pp. 317 fif. and 
321 ff.) ; intercession for the receiver can, however, be traced back to the 
East in very ancient times (Joh. Theiss, Altbabyloniscke Briefe, Teil I, a Berlin 
dissertation, Leipzig, 1913, p. 8 ff.). In exactly the same way as our soldier, 
St. Paul writes ixveiav aov Troiovjiivos, Philemon 4; cf. i Thess. i. 2, Eph. i. 16, 
Rom. i. 9 f., 2 Tim. i. 3; and see Bibelstudien, p. 210 (not in Bible Studies). — 
The participial clause can also be taken with iyiaivut (so Wilcken) . 

* Where Antonius Maximus was at the time is not known. Alfred von 
Domaszewski suggests Alexandria to me (postcard, Heidelberg, 6 August, 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



Antonius Maximus to Sabina 
his sister ^ many greetings. 

Before all things I pray that 
thou art in health, for I myself 
also (5) am in health. Making 
mention of thee * before the 
gods here * I received a ^ little 
letter from Antoninus our 
fellow-citizen. And when I 
knew (10) that thou farest well, 
I rejoiced greatly. ^ And I at 
every occasion delay not to 
write unto thee concerning the 
health of me and mine. Salute 
Maximus ' (15) much, and 
Copres * my lord. There 
saluteth thee my life's partner, 
Aufidia, and Maximus my i" 
son, whose birthday is the 30th 
Epip according to Greek reckon- 
ing, (20) and Elpis and Fortu- 
nata. Salute my lord . . . 




25 



28 



Fig. 33. — Letter from (Apion, now) Antonius Maximus, an Egyptian 
soldier in the Roman Navy, to his sister Sabina, 2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus 
from the Fayiim. Now in the Berhn Museum. By permission of the 
Directors of the State Museums, (t of the size of the original). 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 185 

There follow 6 mutilated lines, obviously containing more satu- 
tations. 

28 [ippSxrOaX a-e eu;(o]/iai. | (28) Fare thee well, I pray. 

On the verso the address : 
[SajSiVij] d[8£]\<^[i5] dir[o] To Sabina his sister, from 
'Avt[iu]i'iou Ma^i/x[o]v d8e\- Antonius Maximus her brother. 
<j>[ov]. 

I imagine the situation in this second letter to be as 
follows : — 

Continuation of notes to page 184 : — 

1908]. The soldier now serves the gods of the place where he is garrisoned, 
as formerly he had served the lord Serapis of his native country; and this 
is not without analogies, cf. the worship of local gods in the Roman army, 
von Domaszewski, Die Religion des romischen Heeres, Trier, 1895, p. 54 ff., 
and the letter of Athenodorus, a soldier (paps^rus No. zo in the collection of 
the Berlin University New Testament Seminar, in P.M. Meyer's Griechische 
Texte, p. 82 fi.), who prays for his " sister " to the gods in the foreign country 
where he is. 

^ h> = the indefinite article, a popular usage often found in the New 
Testament, for which, according to Blass, Grammatik des Neutestamenilichen 
Griechisch,' p. 145 [Eng. trans, p. 144], Hebrew afforded a precedent. Well- 
hansen, Einleitung in die dvei ersien Evangelien, p. 27, explains it as an 
Aramaism. As a matter of fact this usage of popular Greek, which has been 
still further developed in Modern Greek, is parallel to the Semitic, Teutonic 
and Romance usages. 

' XCav ex^'f"!" ^^ ^^ epistolary formula like tx^-Pt^ ^o-" ™ * John 4 and 
3 John 3. 

' Maximus is probably the sister's son, who would then be named after 
his uncle. 

' Copres is probably the brother-in-law. 

• On Kvpis (= Kvpios) see Thumb, Die griechische Sprache im Zeitalter des 
Hellenismus, p. 154. 

1° So I have restored lines 18-21. I have altered nothing except miv to ■^air 
in line 19. Etkitt is the month 'Emi^ ; for the spelling with final ir cf . the 
examples in Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, I. p. 809. Ka6' 'EXXrivas, " according 
to the Hellenic (i.e. not Egyptian) calendar," is a technical formula; cf. the 
.2nd cent, horoscope, FayAm Towns and their Papyri, No. 139, Kod' 'JJAAiji-as 
Meaopr/ f, and the editors' note ; also Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, I. p. 792 ff. 
The nominative rpiaxas is grammatically unimpeachable, for it is a predicate 
and not a statement of time (" on the thirtieth "). Even in the latter case, 
however, the nominative is occasionally left, e.g. Berliner Griechische' 
Urkunden, No. 55, IIjo (161 a.d.), 6414 (216-217 a.d.). For the prominence 
given to the birthday cf. for instance Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 333, 
2nd or 3rd cent. a.d. [Bibelstudien, p. 215 ; not in Bible Studies). — W. Sphubart 
informed me by letter (Berlin, 6 June, 1907) that my conjectures fit in well 
with the traces of letters remaining and with the size of the lacunae in 
the papyrus; he approves also, in spite of doubts suggested by the hand- 
writing, the reading ttuit. 

'* Krebs wrote eAm's and ^oprov. I regard both as proper names ; of course 
one could also conjecture Fortunatus (cf. 1 Cor. xvi. 17). As the son Maximus 
has been already named, with special stress laid on his birthday, one is 
rather inclined to assume in 1. 20 f. that the writer had two daughters. 



i86 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

• Years have passed. Apion, who has long ago discarded this 
name and now uses only his soldier-name Antonius Maximus, 
has taken a wife, called Aufidia. She presents him with two 
daughters, Elpis and Fortunata (the parents delight in 
beautiful names with a meaning), and at last the longed-for 
son and heir. His birthday, according to the Greek calendar, 
is 30 Epiph (24 July), and the soldier's child receives his 
father's splendid soldier-name, Maximus. Changes too have 
taken place at home, in the far-away little village of Phila- 
delphia, in Egypt. The sister Sabina has lost her little 
daughter ; lord father Epimachus has also died ; but Sabina 
and her husband Copres have got a little boy instead, who is 
named Maximus in honour of his soldier uncle : is not uncle's 
portrait, left them by grandfather, hanging on the wall ? Sabina 
is the link between her brother and his old home. He writes 
as often as he can, and when he cannot write he remembers 
his sister daily before the gods of his garrison in brotherly 
intercession. But this is not his only connexion with home. 
An old friend in Philadelphia, Antoninus, has just written, and 
was kind enough to assure him of Sabina's being well. 

That is the occasion of the letter to the sister. Written in 
a perfectly familiar strain, simply to impart family news and 
to convey all sorts of greetings, it nevertheless, like that other 
letter of richer content to the father, gives us a glimpse of 
the close net of human relationships, otherwise invisible, 
which the giant hands of the Roman army and navy had 
woven with thousands of fine, strong threads and spread 
from coast to coast and from land to land over the enormous 
extent of the Mediterranean world at the time of the infancy 
of Christianity. In judging of the Roman army of the second 
century it is not without importance to know that among 
the human materials of which that mighty organism was 
composed, there were such attractive personalities as our 
friend Apion. Another soldier's letter (No. 17), given below, 
also permits favourable conclusions to be drawn. ^ 

I other soldiers' letters, sometimes highly characteristic, are forthcoming 
among the papyri. Preisigke, p. 99 ff., translates the unblushing begging- 
letter of a soldier to his mother, 3rd cent, a.d., Berliner Griechische Urkun- 
den, No. 814. Cf. also a letter now in the New Testament Seminar, Berlin, 
from Athenodorus to his " sister," published by P. M. Meyer, Griechische Texte 
aus Aeqypten, No. 20. 






r1 '^ '■; ■ ■:i{M"'^n3 



lO 



L'*^- 









i^^^^t 



rm- 




•{^juf-u 



"tT' 



illfi. 













I'iG. 34. — Letter from :i Prodigal Son, Antonis Longus, to his mother Nilus, 2nd cent. a.d. 
Papyrus from the Fayum. Now in the Berhn Museum. By permission of the Directors of 
the State Museums. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 187 

14 

Letter from a prodigal son, Antonis Longus, to his mother Nilus, 
Fayiim, 2nd cent, a.d., papyrus, now in the Berlin Museum, 
published by Fr. Krebs » and W. Schubart ^ (Figure 34). 

'AvtSivk ' Aovyos NeiXovri 

H3 hV'p''- T[A.]roTa xaCpeiv. Kal Si- 

a wavT<o[i'] tvxofiaC crat * vy^aiv€iv. to irpoarKvvi)- 

/li <TOv [ttoiJuJ Kar oUacTTiji' rnjiaCpav Trapa tG 
5 Kvplia [SeplairetSei.^ •yeivmo-fceii/ crai OeKio,^ 5- 

Ti ovx [^AttJi^oi',' OTt dva/iivK ih Tr]V lirjTpo- 

iroKiv.^ X[d]g€iv TovTo * ov8' iyo e'unjOa l" eh t^v iro- 

A.IV. ai8[u]o-o7ro[i;]jii?;v ^1 Se eX^etv ek KapaviSa" l^ 

on o-ajrpGs irajioiiraTu. aXypa\j/a. ^^ a-oi, on yu^vos 
10 £t/i«. TgpaKa[X]i 1* o-ai, /ijjTijjOj 8[iJa\ayi;Tt jito'-^* ^ot- 

irov ^* oTSa Tj [ttot'] ^' atfiavrZ wopeo-xv/uoi. iranraCh 

Stv/ittt ^* Ko6' Si/ 8i 1* TpoTTOv. oiSa, oTi ■^p.dpniKa.^'' 

T]Kov<ra Tapa to[v UootJchj/^ou *^ toi/ tipovra ^^ craL 

fv Tto 'Apa-aivotirri ^^ kol aKatpiioi irdvra a-oi Sl- 
15 vy^TOi. ovK olSe^, oTi 6fX.iii 2* TTijpps yeycWat,** 

«''« yvowai,27 57<is28 S.vGponm'^^ [I]t[i] 6<^nXoi ojSoXoV; 

[ ]"[ ]o-u avTT; eX^e. 

L ]x'"'(f [ ■ " • Jo" ■^youo-a, on . . 

L ] ■ Xi;o-at[ . . ] TrapaKoXw (rat 

20 [ ] . . . a[ . ] , oiyo) erxeSi/ 

[ ] o) Tra/jaKaXoi <;-cn 

[ ]<i)vo« 0c'X(i) otyi) 

I Jo-£i oix f. 

I. ] . . . . aXXtos iroi[ , ] 

Here the papyrus breaks off. On the back is the address : 
[ ] jirjTpil dir' 'AvTiovim A.6vy(>v veiov. 

' Aegyptische Urkunden aus den KoenigUchen Museen zu Berlin (HI.), 
No. 846. 

' Ibid. Heft 12, p. 6. Some conjectures by me are given below. The 
photograph used for the facsimile (Fig. 34) here given by the kind permis- 
sion of the Directors of the State Museums was obtained for me by W. 
Schubart. Preisigke, p. 99, translated the letter in part and spoke, as I do, 
of the writer as a " prodigal son." Later reprints of the text in Lietzmann,» 
p. 5 ; Milligan, p. 93 ff . (who has also given a facsimile in the Journal of the 
Transactions of the Victoria Institute, vol. 44, London, 1912, p. 76) ; Helbing, 
p. iiofC. 

' Antonis, short for Antonius, cf. letter 12 above, p. 179. 

' oaX = ae. Numerous repetitions of this word and similar cases are not 
specially noted. 

' This sentence, occurring in innumerable papyrus letters, is the stereo- 
t}rped form of assurance of mutual intercession. 

[For continuation of notes see pages 188-igo. 



i88 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

There can be no doubt that this letter is one of the most 
interesting human documents that have come to light among 
the papyri. This priceless fragment, rent like the soul of its 
writer, comes to us as a remarkably good illustration of the 
parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke xv. ii ff.).^ Others may 
improve on the first attempt at interpretation. 

Antonis ' Longus to Nilus his mother many greetings. And 
continually do I pray that thou art in health. - 1 make intercession 
for thee day by day to the (5) lord Serapis.* I would thou 
shouldst understand * that I had no hope that thou wouldst go 
up to the metropolis.* And therefore I came not to the city. 
But I was ashamed to come to Caranis,^" because I walk about in 
rags. I write [or " have written " ^*] to thee that I am naked. 
(10) I beseech thee,^* mother, be reconciled to me.^^ Furthermore, 
I know what I have brought upon myself. I have been chastened " 
even as is meet. I know that I have sinned.^' I have heard 
from Postumus,^^ who met thee in the country about Arsinoe 
and out of season told thee all things. (15) Knowest thou not 
that I had rather be maimed than know that I still owe a man an 
obol ? . . . . come thyself ! .... I have heard that .... 
I beseech thee .... (20) I almost .... I beseech thee .... 
I will .... not .... do otherwise. 

Here the papyrus breaks off. On the hack is the address : 

[ ] his mother, from Antonius Longus her son. 

' If this letter had happened to be preserved in some literary work there 
would of course be a number of monographs, proving the parable to be derived 
from the letter, and many a doctoral dissertation would have been made out 
of it. 

Continuation of notes to pages 187 and 188 : — 

' Epistolary formula, occurring also in St. Paul, Phil. i. 12 (with jJouAojaai). 
Other like formulae are frequent in the Pauline Epistles. 

' ^Amjov = rjXmlov with the vulgar aspirate, as in the New Testament 
instances aifieXm^oj and c'^' .iXiriSi (Blass, Grammatik des NeutestamentUchen 
Griechisch,^ p. 17, 'p. 11 §14 [Eng. trans, p. 15]). W. Schubart examined the 
original expressly and assured me by letter (Berlin, 14 June, 1907) that ray 
conjectured restoration of the text is quite feasible. 

' The metropolis is perhaps Arsinoe. 

' I used to explain this as = x°-P"' tovtov (as Schubart also did in a letter to 
me). In the papyri this prepositional x""?'" often stands before its case; 
cf. for instance a passage, somewhat similar to the present one, in the letter 
of Gemellus to Epagathus, 104 a.d., FayUm Towns and their Papyri, No. 1169^. 
em [= €iT€t] ^ov^^aifiaL [ets TrJdAtv direXdtv x^P"' [tou] fiiKpov Kai xctptv eKt[vou] toO 
ficTucapov. But Nachmanson, Eranos 11 (1912) p. 225 ft., is probably right in 
assuming here a vulgarism, xap^" governing the accusative. 

[For notes 10-23 see next page. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 189 

Antonius Longus/ of Caranis in the Fayum, has quarrelled 
with his (widowed ?) 2 mother Nilus and left the village. The 

• The name Antonius Longus occurs elsewhere : as the name of a veteran 
(M. Antonius Longus Pull<us>) on a diptych of the time of Domitian from 
the ruins of Philadelphia, reproduced in Appendix VI ; again in a communica- 
tion from Herais, a woman of Theadelphia in the Fayum, to the decadarch 
Antonius Longus (and cent, a.d.), Hamburg papyrus No. lOi. Anyone with 
surplus imagination might conjecture family connexions or even identity with 
the writer of our letter : Antonius Longus, the son of a worthy veteran in 
the Fayum, becomes, after a very ill-spent youth, something respectable after 
all. Thus we should have a nice moral epilogue to the letter. But my advice 
is : curb the imagination. 

= Otherwise there would surely have been some mention of the father. 



Continuation of notes to pages 187 and i88. 

" = iyoi el(rij\6a. 

'* I at first conjectured €fle]i<oiT[T6]in]v, " I was hindered," as in Rom. xv. 22. 
From the photograph Wilcken and I came to the conjecture given above = 
iSvaumoviiiiv, " I was ashamed." This word, which gives excellent sense, is 
found more than once in translations of the Old Testament ; in the letter of 
Gemellus to Epagathus, 99 a.d., FayAm Towns and their Papyri, No. 112,2; 
and in another letter, Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 128,, 6th or 7th cent. a.d. 
Further particulars in the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae. W. Schubart, writing 
to me from Berlin, 3 October, 1907, proposed after fresh examination of the 
original icoT[c]crKojrou/ii)v. But that, I think, would not make sense. Schubart's 
reading, however, is a warning to be cautious in accepting mine. 

'" Caranis (a village in the Fayum) was probably the writer's home and the 
residence of his mother. 

'' Refers probably to the present letter. 

'* This verb, which occurs several times here, is used exactly as in the New 
Testament. 

" Cf. Matt. V. 24, hiaXKayrjBi, -rai a.he\ij>u> oov, " be reconciled to thy brother," 
and in the charming letter ("if we could fly ! ") written by Tays (a woman) 
to ApoUonius (Giessen papyrus No. 1713, of the time of Hadrian; also in 
Wilcken, Chrestomathie, p. 566), SmAAayijfli -ruieZv, where it rather means " be no 
more angry with us." 

" Adverbial, without article, as in 2 Tim. iv. 8, 1 Thess. iv. i. 

" The restoration of the text is uncertain. 

" The word is used exactly in the " Biblical " sense of " chasten," which 
according to Cremer, Biblisch-theologisches Worterbuch,* p. 792, is "entirely 
unknown to profane Greek." 

'' I used to take St as = Si;. Virtually xafl' ov 817 rpoiTov = Ka$' ovnva oZv Tpovov, 
2 Mace. xiv. 3, 3 Mace. vii. 7. But Wilcken makes a better suggestion : 
Sr = Sei. The reading Sirpoiros, " with two souls," can hardly be ent.ertained. 

'" Cf. the Prodigal Son, Luke xv. 18, 21, " Father, I have sinned." 

"■ It is best to assume some proper name here. I at first thought of 
[^i]Svfwv, but I now prefer the reading adopted above, although the space is 
somewhat small for so many letters. The name Postumus occurs often in the 
Berlin papyri, but must remain doubtful here. 

'^ The construction is grammatically incorrect, but such cases are frequent 
in letters. Preisigke (p. 99) translates the sentence differently. 

'" " Nome," " district," must be understood. 

[For notes 24 to 28 see next page. 



igo LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

cause of the dissension seems to have lain with the son — 
loose living, and running up debts. ^ It fares ill with him in 
the strange country; he is in such wretched plight that his 
clothes fall from him in rags. In such a state, he says to 
himself with burning shame,^ it is impossible for him to 
return home. But he must go back — he realises that, for he 
had soon come to his senses ; all this misery he has brought 
upon himself by his own fault, and it is the well-deserved 
punishment. Full of yearning for home he remembers his 
mother in prayer daily to the lord Serapis, and hopes for 
an opportunity of re-establishing communication with her. 
Then he meets an acquaintance of his, Postumus (?). He 
hears how Postumus ( ?) had met his mother in the Arsinoite 
nome, as she was returning home from the metropoUs, 
Arsinoe (to Caranis), and how the poor woman had hoped to 
find her son at the metropolis. Unfortunately Postumus (?) 
recounted to the disappointed mother the whole scandalous 
story of the runaway once more, reckoning up his debts for 
her edification to the last obol. 

' Cf. Castor of Hermopolis, the dissolute fellow whose disgraceful life is 
made the subject of bitter complaint by his parents in a communication to 
the strategus Heraclides (Florence papjrrus No. 99, ist or 2nd cent. a.d. ; 
also in Milligan, p. 71 f.)> 

' The word, if rightly read, is extraordinarily expressive. An ancient 
lexicographer says, SvaamelaBai, dvrl tou uij>opSa8ai Kal ^o^tioBai Kal fieO' imvoias 
aKvBp<oTrat,ew, " the word hvaunreioBai. means 'to stand with downcast eyes,' 'to 
be fearful,' and figuratively ' to look sad and gloomy ' " (see the Thesaurus 
Graecae Linguae). The position reminds one of Luke xviii. 13, says Heinrich 
Schlosser (postcard to the author, Wiesbaden, 2 July, 1908). 



Continuation of notes to pages 187 and 188 : — 

«* BeXm with following ij papyrus (et), " I had rather . . . than . . .," is 
used exactly like this in 1 Cor. xiv. 19. 

" The first editors read napaaYevearai., which I at first took for irapaaialveaBiu 
(*ai.yaiv(D = oiaivo), as vytyaivco == iyialva), Karl Dieterich, Uniersuchungen zur 
Geschichte der griechischen Sprache, p. 91 f.). With the photograph to help 
me I read wiypoj. Schubart tells me (letter, 3 October, 1907) this reading is 
possible, 



'« This reading was also approved by Schubart (letter, 3 October, 1907) after 
inspecting the original, oirois is used vulgarly like ■nSis = los = on (Blass, 
Grammatifi des Neutestamentlichen Griechisch,' p. 235 f., 'p. 222 f. § 396 
[Eng. trans, pp. 230-1] ; Hatzidakis, Einleitung in die neugriechische Gratn- 
matik, p. 19), e.g. Mark xii. 26, aveyvoyre . . ., wuts elirev avria 6 Beos (quotation 
follows), and many other passages. I find this use of Snots beginning in Luke 
xxiv. 20. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 191 

That is the occasion of the letter : gratitude to the mother 
for having looked for him, as he had not ventured to hope, 
in the metropolis — and anger at Postumus (?) the scandal- 
monger. The letter is dashed off in a clumsy hand and full 
of mistakes, for Antonius Longus has no practice in writing. 
The prodigal approaches his mother with a bold use of his pet 
name Antonis, and after a moving description of his misery 
there comes a complete confession of his guilt and a passionate 
entreaty for reconciliation. But in spite of everything, he 
would rather remain in his misery, rather become a cripple, 
than return home and be still one single obol in debt to the 
usurers. The mother will understand the hint and satisfy 
the creditors before the son's return. And then she is to 
come herself and lead her son back into an ordered way of 

life. ..." I beseech thee, I beseech thee, I will " 

— ^no more than this is recoverable of the remainder of the 
letter, but these three phrases in the first person are sufficiently 
characteristic. Antonius has a foreboding that there is still 
resistance to be overcome.^ 

Astute persons and models of correct behaviour will tell 
us that the repentance of this black sheep was not genuine ; 
that sheer poverty and nothing else wrung from him the con- 
fession of sin and the entreaty for reconciliation; that the 
lines assuring his mother of his prayers to Serapis were mere 
phrasing. But was not the prodigal's confession in the Gospel 
parable also dictated by his necessity ? Jesus does not picture 
to us an ethical virtuoso speculating philosophically and then 
reforming, but a poor wanderer brought back to the path by 
suffering. Another such wanderer was Antonius Longus the 
Egyptian, who wrote home in the depths of his misery : "I 
beseech thee, mother, be reconciled to me ! I know that I 
have sinned." 

We see very plainly how genuine and true to life it all is 
when we compare the tattered papyrus sheet with a specimen 
letter of contrition, ship-shape and ready for use, as drafted 
by an ancient model letter-writer ^ : — 

' A somewhat difierent explanation of the letter is attempted by Ad. 
Matthaei, in the Preussische Jahrbiicher, January 1909, p. 133 f- 

» ProGlus, De forma epistolari. No. 12. (Epistolographi Graeci, rec. Hercher, 
p. 9). Cf. the note on letter No. 8 above, p. 177, n. 4. 



192 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



17 l7rt(rTo\iy. oiSa cr^aXeis xaKuis 
(xe SiaOdfJLfvoi. 816 /AtTayvoiis tt/v 
im Tip <T<l>d,KiJ,aTL crvyyvu>/ji.Yiv alrS). 
fieraoovvai 8e fiot /x'^ xaroKi'jjoTjs Sta 
Tov Kwpioi'.^ ScKaioi/ yap iari avy- 
yivwcTKeLv irTaiau(Ti, tois <^iA.ok, oTt 
HaXuTTa KOI d^iovo-i crvyyviL/j.rj'i 
Tv\eLV. 



The letter. I know that I 
erred in that I treated thee ill. 
Wherefore, having repented, I 
beg pardon for the error. But 
for the Lord's sake ^ delay not 
to forgive me. For it is just 
to pardon friends who stumble, 
and especially when they desire 
to obtain pardon.* 



The person who calls himself " I " in this letter is a lay- 
figure, and not even a well-made one ; when Antonis Longus 
says " I do this or that " a man of flesh and blood is speaking. 
His affecting acknowledgments — more genuine perhaps than 
the contrite wording of Lydian and Phrygian expiatory 
inscriptions ' or the conventional sentence employed by 
Justinus * the Christian — would lose naught of their inward 
truth if his " I know that I have sinned " had been as much 
a current formula as the " I know that I erred." The 
prodigal had gone through experiences enough to animate 
even formulae into confessions. 

15 and 16. 

Letters from Sempronius, an Egyptian, to his mother. Saturnila 
and his brother Maximus, Alexandria (?), second half of the 
2nd cent, a.d., papyrus, now in the British Museum, published 
by H. I. Bell ^ (Figure 35). 

2e/*irpu)vios %aTOvpviX.a rrj /irjTpil ^^ 

KoX Kvpla^ Tr\u<TTa )(aipeiv. 

irpo tSiv oXiav ippiucrOi ' <t€ ev^^o/xai * /lACTot Kai * tu)v 
ajSatTKavTuiv ^'' fxov dScXc^frSv. d/ta Se Kal to TrpocTKV- 

' This formula is undoubtedly Christian (i Cor. iv. 10; 2 Cor. iv. 11; 
Phil. iii. 7, 8). ' Probably a faint echo of Luke xvii. 4. 

' Cf. Franz Steinleitner, Die Beicht im Zusammenhange mil der sakraUn 
Rechtspflege in der Antike, Leipzig, 1913. * Cf. letter 23i8f. below. 

* Some Private Letters of the Roman Period from the London Collection, 
offprint from the Revue figyptologique i, fasc. 3-4 (igig), No. 2, p. 5ff. 
For the photograph, which reduces the size of the original by a half, I am 
indebted to the comradeship in learning so often shown me by Bell. The 
letters, separated from each other when they reached the British Museum, 
and there brought together again, were obtained together with portions of 
the correspondence of Zeno (see p. 152 above), which emanates from the 
Fayum; whether they were found there is not quite certain. According to 
Bell the place where they were written is possibly Alexandria. 

[For notes 6 to 28 see pages 193, 194- 

















30 






prA 



^jSsaL/ 




Fig. 35. — Letters from Sempronius, an Egyptian, to his mother Saturnila 
and his brother Maximus, second half of the 2nd cent. a.d. Papyrus from 
Alexandria (?). Now in the British Museum. Facsimile kindly obtained 
by H. I. Bell. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 193 

5 vij/ia '^^ v[i.Zv TTOloiiiJLi ' r]fi,epr]iTiii>s Tvapa t<3 Kvpi- 

(I) SepairiSi. TocrauTas i/teii/^' iTruTToXa.'s Storf/t- 

xj/dfiriv KovSe/ieiav ^* /ioi direypai^arat,^* too-outojv 

(farairXeuo-avTo)!'. 'Epconj^eis,.^^ i? Kupi'a /lov,^* dvo/cvcos 

/i.01 ypa<jieiv iripi t^s o-wn/pias ^' v/iSi' tva Kayo) d;u,£- 
10 pifivoTfpa '■° oidyio. tovto fioi yap evKT^ov ' i(TTlv StoTrav- 

Tos. aoTra^Ofiai Mdft/ioi' koI t^v (rvfi.^iov avTov koj. 2o- 

TovpvtA.oi' Kai Fe/ieWoi' lca^ 'E\eV)7V xat Toiis auT^s. '^^ [icrdSoi 

airrj OTt fKO/ifiad/irjv^^ "Xefnrpaiviov iireLO-ToXrjv^^ 

OTTO KajnroooKtas. '' d(Tird^o/xai 'lovXiov Koi Toiis ai- 
15 ToB Kor' ovojxa ^ koX "ZkvOikov koj. ©epfiovOiv ^^ kol to. 

irtSia ' avr^s. do-n-df etc ' vjuSs r«/i6X\os. 

* / e ' Ifi p / 

tppuuTO fioi, ij Kvpia fiov, otaTravTos. 

Continuation of notes to pages 192-195 : — 

' " Mother and lady," deferentially, like older English " my lady mother " 
or modern German " Frau Mutter." For " lady " cf. 2 John i and 5 and 
p. 167 above; also the graffito of Amerimnus, p. 277 below. 

' e for ot. * Cf. p. 180, n. 4. 

• On fiera KcU (the KOI pleonastic, as in Phil. iv. 3) cf. Neue Bibelstudien, 
p. 93; Bible Studies, pp. 64, 265 f. 

'° ipdaKavTos is a frequent expression for averting evil (" apotropaeic ") in 
the papyri, equivalent to the wish, " whom may no evil eye injure." [It 
comes from paaKoivo), " to bewitch," the word used in Gal. iii. 1. Cf. p. 280, 
n. 6 below. Tr.] 

'' Cf. p. 187, n. 5 above. 

" Cf. p. 180, n. 6 above. 

" a for 4. ' '• at for «. 

^' The initial E is very large. Sempronius means ipamiSeiaa ; he uses the 
participle in curiously abrupt fashion here and in 1. 21. Cf. below, letter 
No. 21, col. Ill, 1. I. 

" Nominative for vocative, as often in the New Testament. 

" Cf. p. 180, n. 13 above. 

*' [Comparative of the word used in i Cor. vii. 32, " without carefulness " 
'(A.V.), or " free from cares " (R.V.). Tr.] • 

" The family relationships appear to be as follows : the mother, Saturnila, 
is a widow; there are living with her (in the Fayum?) her sons Maximus 
(married), Saturnilus and Gemellus (considerably younger), and the married 
daughter Helena with her children ; Helena's husband, also called Sempronius 
(1. 13 f.), seems to be abroad, in Cappadocia, and is in correspondence (per- 
haps of a business kind) with his brother-in-law, the writer of our letter (who 
is in Alexandria ?). — ^The persons named later on, Julius and family, Scjrthicus 
and (his wife?) Thermuthis and her children, seem to be domestics. The 
Gemellus of 1. 16 has gone with Sempronius to Alexandria (?) as assistant. 
Might he be twin-brother of the Gemellus in 1. 12 ? Each must then have 
had some distinguishing name in addition. 

2° More probably o than a. 

*' Just as in 3 John 15, aand^ov tovs ^I'Aovs kot' Svo/jia, " salute the 
friends by name " (R.V.). 

** The woman's name is either Thermuthis or Therniuthi[o]n. 

[For notes 23-28 see next page. 



194 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

irX[€]io-Ta y^aiptw. vpo tuiv o\a>i' fpZaOi ' 

20 (re ii>^op.ai.^ p,eTeXaj3ov on ySapeius 8ov\eij{ou}cT£ 

T^v Kvpiav ' i^/iSi' p.r]Tepav.^^ ipu>Tr}Oe.U}^ aSe\<l>k y\v- 
KVTarai,^* iv firjSevel ^* avrrjv \vira. tl 8e Ttis ^' TuJi/ d- 
ScXi^Sv di/TiXeyet ai7~5, cru dt^ctXets airovs KoXa^t- 
([ei[i']. ^8tj -yap Trarrjp d^tXcis ^'' KaXeitr^ai. iireiaraixi ^'' ^ 

25 OTi x<upts Tuii' ypap.judTO)!' |iOu 81/vaTos ei auT^ 

a.pi(Ti.''' ° dXXoL |A^ /3ape(DS cp^e |U,oi; Ta ypd.p,fLaTa vovOl- 
,ToCv[T]d tTE. 6<j)iXoiJ,ev ^^ yap (rtj3€(T6e ^ t'^v TCKoCfrav is 
St[o>'] ^^ ^dXeuTTa ^^ roiauTijv oStrai' dyaflj^iA. TaCrd coi e- 
ypai/ra, dScXc^c, eireurTa/xevos ^^' ^* T^v yXv(cao-tav t5v 

30 Ku[pi]o)v yoytoiv. KaXus 7r[o]i^o-ts *^ ypdi^os ju.01 ircpl t^s 
o-[<i)T]77pias ^' i/*[<3]i'. IpptiXTo jiiot, d8cXi^e. 

0« i/(e verso the address : 
diro8os Ma^t/xtui X dTTO Se/uirpcuviou 

X dScXt^ov. 

Sempronius to Saturnila his mother and lady * many greetings. 
Before all things fare thee well, I pray,* together also ' with my 
brethren unbewitched.^" And withal I make my (5) intercession *^ 
for you daily to the lord ^^ Serapis. So many letters have I sent 
unto you, and not one have ye written back again unto me, 
though so many have sailed down. Besought ^^ (art thou), my 
lady, to write unto me without delay of your health,^' that I also 
may live more free (10) from cares. ^* For this is my prayer 
continually. I salute Maximus and his life's partner and Satur- 
nilus. and Gemellus and Helena and them (which are) of her 
(household). 1* Impart unto" her that I have received of Sem- 

Continuation of notes to pages 192-195 : — 

" For ippwaSai. 

" Vulgar form and use of the accusative. 

" iforo. 

^" For the thought cf. Philemon 21, dStJiis on xal inep 5. Xiyoa iroi4aas, 
" knowing that thou wilt do even beyond what I say " (R.V.). 

" Important for the understanding of the famous opening of the homily 
2 Clem. i. I : ourajs 8ei ijfiSs (jtpovdv vepl '/ijooO XpiaroS (is irepl 8eoS, 
" thus we ought to think of Jesus Christ as it were of (a) god " (cf. Pliny to 
Trajan, Epist. x. 97, carmenque Christo quasi deo dicere, " and sing a hymn 
to Christ as it were to a god "). The men of the ancient world were simple 
and did not understand such lofty words, proper to a cult, in any strained 
dogmatic sense. 

"' As it stands the participle ought to mean " because I know." Far more 
suitable to the context would be " because thou [as a married man ?] knowesf." 
The nominative of the participle might in vulgar usage that has thrown off 
the restraints of syntax refer to the dative " thee." Sempronius does not 
shine in his use of participles generally. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 195 

pronius a letter from Cappodocia.*" I salute Julius and them 
(which are of) his (household) (15) by name,^^ and Scythicus and 
Thermuthis ** and her children. Gemellus saluteth you. 

Fare me well, my lady, continually. 

Sempronius to Maximus his brother many greetings. Before 
all things fare thee well, (20) I pray.* I heard that ye are dull of 
service to the lady * our mother. Besought (art thou), sweetest 
brother : in nothing grieve her. But if one of the brethren gain- 
say her, thou oughtest to buffet them. For thou oughtest now 
to be called father. I know (25) that without writings from me 
thou art able to please her.** But be not displeased with my 
writings admonishing thee. For we ought to worship her who bore 
us as it were a god,*' especially when she is good. These things 
have I written unto thee, brother, knowing ** the sweetness of 
the lords our parents. Thou shalt do well if thou writest unto 
me concerning your health. Fare me well, brother. 

On the verso the address : 
Deliver to Maximus X from Sempronius 

X his brother. 

It is maddening ! Here we are, far from home in the great 
city, slaving day after day, trying to overcome homesickness 
by faithful intercession for mother, brothers, and sister before 
the lord Serapis, even writing letter after letter home — but 
day after day passes, without any answer ! Brother-in-law 
Sempronius is the only one who still seems to remember us ; 
but if the letter from him finds its way from distant Cappadocia 
to (Alexandria?), well, really, mother and Maximus might 
surely send a line ! With boats arriving so often from home 
too ! But no, not one single sign of life from them direct ! 
Instead of that, unpleasant gossip reaches the ears of the 
anxious letter-writer. People coming from his part of the 
country have looked him up at the docks and told him that 
everything ii going topsy-turvy at home : since father's death 
there has been no more obedience in the house; instead of 
looking after their mother, the youngest have been behaving 
rudely to the old lady and doing just as they liked. . . . Oh, 
it is maddening ! Can't Maximus put a stop to it ? But he 
himself seems to have been behaving in none too exemplary 
fashion towards his mother. . . . 

Sempronius is writing under the vivid impression of this 



196 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

news and of his increased anxieties. One thing is clear to his 
delicate sensibility ^ : he must not let his lady mother, who 
obviously is now having a specially hard time, observe that 
he knows anything of the scandal of those ill-behaved brothers ; 
that would only distress her still more. And so. the blowing- 
up is put into the letter to Maximus ; the old mother hears 
nothing but kindness and affection. She hears it literally; 
for she can probably neither read nor write. ^ Maximus reads 
the letter to her, and then surely she will at last dictate a few 
lines for the homesick son so far away. She surely must 
notice how greatly he yearns for a message, how he remembers 
them all, in his prayers and out of them — mother, brothers, 
sister, his sister-in-law and the little ones, and the farm hands 
— every one of them without exception. 

That Maximus himself is not entirely free from blame is 
shown by the opening of the refreshingly plain letter of reproof 
to him : " Ye are dull of service to the lady our mother." 
But Sempronius then discharges his main wrath on the 
younger brothers, Saturnilus and Gemellus : they deserve a 
clouting, right and left, and the eldest brother, who really 
is entitled to stand in the father's place, had better administer 
it. Maximus is bound to see it all ; he does not really need a 
letter like this, for he is at bottom a faithful son. And so 
the great saying will have its effect on him : " We ought to 
worship a mother as it were (a) god." Sempronius did not 
coin this saying himself ; he knows it from his teachers. But 
he believes in it; and as he writes the words, Sempronius 
sees the old lady before him, in her helplessness and distress, 
but in all her goodness of heart too : oh, what a splendid 
mother we have got ! how sweet it is still to have parents to 
love ! These thoughts come in all tenderness from the same 
soul which, a moment ago, in deep indignation, had demanded 
such rough physical measures. . . . 

The two letters of Sempronius are valuable evidences of a 
humanity which, transcending all the divisions of separate 
cults, was present in the ancient world, a fragment of real 
praeparatio evangelica. Hearts of such deep family S3mipathy, 
of such strong religiously tinged devotion to father and 

* This has already been pointed out with fine discrimination by Bell. 
' As also conjectured, I think rightly, by Bell. 



15 



/ V'^y-^,','1. 



v^ 






e.* 



/AAA Tit^]y ( ^j^ifr 'hl/^r/t<» ,*v 






4 












I 
^ 



miSarv''t;rb';ne'''l/nTT^r'""'/'"'''!'^"'' *^'«'A"'""'^. to Julius Domitius, 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 197 

mother, were no bad soil for the grains of wheat scattered by 
the apostolic sowers. 

17 
Letter from Aurelius Archelaus, beneficiarius, to Julius Domitius, 
military tribune, Oxyrhynchus, 2nd cent, a.d., jj&pyrus, 
noW in the Bodleian Library, Oxford, discovered and pub- 
lished by Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 36). 

This letter is of great interest in various respects : as a 
good example of an ancient letter of recommendation,'* as an 
early Latin letter, as a speciinen of vulgar Latin ^ of the date 
of the Muratorian Canon. Scholars of repute have even 
considered it to be a Christian letter — and if that were so its 
value, considering its age, would be unique. 

I have retained the remarkable punctuation by means of 

stops. The clear division of the words should also be noticed.* 

I[u]lio Domitio ^ tribuno 



• mil{itum) leg(ionis) 
ab- Aurel(io) Archelao be- 
nef{iciario) 

suo salutem- 
iam tibi et pristine commen- 
daueram Theonem amicum 
meum et mod[o qu]oque peto 
domine * ut eum ant' oculos 
habeas'' tanquam- me-^ est e- 
nim- tales omo ' ut ametur 



To Julius Domitius,* mili- 
tary tribune of the legion, from 
Aiu-elius Archelaus his bene- 
ficiarius, greeting. 

Already aforetime I have 
recommended unto thee (5) 
Theon my friend, and now also 
I pray, lord,* that thou mayest 
have ' him before thine eyes as 
myself.* For he is such a man 



* The OxjThynchus Papyri (I.) No. 32. The facsimile there given (Plate 
VIII.) is reproduced here (Figure 36) by permission of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund. The last part of the letter, which was discovered later, is given by 
Grenfell and Hunt in the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part II. p. 318 f. It comprises 
lines 22-34. 

' Cf. p. 171 above. 

' Observe the marked use of parataxis, and cf. p. 131 £f. above. 

* The two little fragments to the right below (on a level with 11. 20, 21) 
read respectively ]s<.[ and ]quia[. 

' The subordinate politely places the name of his superior officer first, 
cf. pp. 152, n. 3; 162, 1. 9. Alfred von Domaszewski (postcard, Heidelberg, 6 
August, 1908) refers to the forms of an official report ; actus (1. 16) he takes to be 
" conduct of my office," the writer's conscience being not quite easy on that 
score. In line 26 my correspondent would conjecture suc]cessoris, supposing 
the soldier about to be relieved of his post. 

' Lord is a polite form of address. 

' For this phrase, which recurs in 1. 31 f., cf. w/jo 6<f>9a\iiu>v XanPdvav, 
2 Mace. viii. 17, 3 Mace. iv. 4, and the Tebtunis Papyri, No. 281, {circa 114 b.c), 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 



igS 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



10 a te- reliquit- enim su[o]s [e\t 
rem suain et actum et me 
secutiis esf^ • et per omnia 

me 
se[c]urum fecit- et idea peto 
a tern ut habeat intr[o]itum- 

15 at te *• et omnia tibi refere- 
re potest- de actu[m] nos- 
trum '• 
quitquit m[e d]ixit- [i]l- 

[lu]t et fact[um ][. .] 

amaui h[o]min[e]m [ ] 

20 m[ ] set^ de- [ ] 

fl[ ] . domin[e ] 

* w[ ]..id es[t ] 

c[ ] hab{.. ] 

K ] et [ ] 

25 <oy ./..[... ] icg[ ] 

ilium- ut[...'\upse[ 

inter (?)-] 
cessoris u[t il]lum co[mmen- 
darem ( ?)] 



that he may be loved (10) by 
thee. For he left his own 
people, his goods and business, 
and followed me.^ And through 
all things he hath kept me in 
safety. And therefore I pray 
of thee that he may have 
entering in (15) unto thee.* And 
he is able to declare unto thee 
all things concerning our busi- 
ness.' Whatsoever he hath 
told me, so it was in very 
deed.* I have loved the man 
... (21) lord . . « . . that 
is ... . have .... and .... 
(25) (fr)iend .... him as 
. . . . mediator tha,t I would 
recommend (?) him. Be ye 



• Cf. Matt. xix. 27 — Mark x. 28 = Luke xviii. 28, " Lo, we have left all, 
and have followed Thee." Cf. also Matt. iv. 20, 22. 

' Cf. St. Paul, I Thess. i. 9, 6-noCav tlaoSov eoxoiuv npos viids, " what manner 
of entering in we had unto you." 

' = (f « actu (or acta) nostra. Cf. ad nobis, Muratorian Canon, 1. 47. For 
the whole sentence cf . St. Paul. Col. iv. 7, to kot' t/ic iravra yviapiati, ifiXv Tvx'.kos, 
" all my affairs shall Tychiciis make known unto you." 

* The conjectured restoration of the text is uncertain. Grenfell and Hunt : 
" Whatever he tells you about me you may take as a fact." 

' Hugo Koch, writing to me from Braunsberg, 25 'November, 1908, con- 
jectured a relative clause with the subjunctive here. He quoted Ambrosius, 
De Obitu Theodosii, c. 34 (Migne, Patr. Lat. 16, col. 1459), " dilexi virum, qui 
magis arguentem quam adulantem probaret." 

' Here begins the second and more recently discovered fragment. 



Continuation of notes to page 197 : — 

with Crdnert, Wochenschrift fiir klassische Philologie, 20 (1903) col. 457 ; irpo 
o^9a\iiu)v n9fvai. Epistle of Aristeas, 284, and Berliner Griechische Urkunden, 
No. 362 V,f. (215 A.D.) ; and actually irpo d^ffaA/iwi' Ix^iv in an inscription at 
Talmi, Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Seleciae, No. 210, [circa 
247 A.D.). Another inscription of the reign ojf Hadrian, from Pergamum, 
Athenische Mitteilungen, 24 (1899) p. 199, should be compared. I note these 
passages, because people might easily scent a Hebraism here. 

' Cf. St. Paul, Philemon 17, wpoaAajSoC owtoi' «is iiid, " receive him as myself." 
' — talis homo. With onto cf. odie, in the Muratorian Canon, 1. 11. 



30 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 199 

most happy, lord, many years, 
with all thine, (30) in good 
health. Have this letter before 
thine eyes,* lord, and think 
that I speak with thee.* Fare- 
well. 



estote felicissi[mi domine 

mul-] ^ 
fis annis cum [tuis omni- 
bus {?)] 

ben[e agentes] 

hanc epistulam ant' ocu- 

los * habeto domine puta[{\g 

me tecum loqui ^ 

uale 



On the verso the address : * 



35 lOVLIO DOMITIO TRI- 
BVNO MILITVM LE- 
G(IONIS) 
ab- Aurelio- Archelao- b(ene- 
ficiario) 



(35) To Julius Domitius, mili- 
tary tribune of the legion, from 
Aurelius Archelaus, benefici- 
arius. 



The situation in this letter is quite clear, and needs no 
reconstruction. It is only necessary to say something about 
the theory, first advanced by N. Tamassia and G. Setti in 
collaboration,^ and approved by P. Viereck,* that the letter 
was written by a Christian. In support of it we are referred to 
the various " Biblical " and especially " New Testament " 
echoes it contains, the chief being a striking parallel to the 
words of St. Peter, " Lo, we have left all, and have followed 
Thee." In conscious or unconscious recollection of these 
Gospel words, we are told, Archelaus writes of Theon that 
he had left his own people, his possessions, and business, and 
had followed him — so that Archelaus at least must be regarded 
as a Christian.' There is certainly something alluring about 
this theory, but nevertheless I am not able to accept it. If 
Archelaus were a Christian it is extremely unlikely, I think, 
that he would have profaned St. Peter's words by applying 
them to the relations of an ordinary human friendship. The 

' Grenfell and Hunt conjecture to- instead of mul-. 
' See p. 197, n. 7. 

' This pretty observation should be compared with the ancient comparison 
of a letter to a conversation, quoted below, p. 228, n. i. 

* The address is written on fragment I. 

' Due Papiri d'Oxirinco. An offprint from the Atti del R. Istit. Veneto di 
Scienze, etc., t. 59, Venezia, 1900. I know this paper only from Viereck's 
review (see next note). 

* Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift, 2i (1901) col. 907 f. 
' Viereck, col. 907. 



200 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

double concept of leaving and following is employed by 
St. Peter in the deepest sense of evangelical self-denial and 
refers to the disciples and the Master. But the expression 
" leave and follow " is quite likely to have been one of the 
stock phrases in ancient letters of recommendation; in the 
Gospel it acquires ethical status. The other " Biblical " and 
particularly " Pauline " echoes are explainable in the same 
way. Archelaus was not acquainted with the Pauline 
Epistles,^ but Paul and Archelaus were acquainted with the 
complimentary phraseology employed in ancient letter- 
writing. 

To the historian of manners this letter of Aurelius Archelaus 
is a speaking testimony to the noble, unreserved humanity 
that was possible in the Roman army of the second century, 
even in the relations between a subordinate and his superior. 



Letter from Harpocras, an Egyptian, to Phthomonthes, 29 Decem- 
ber, 192 A.D., ostracon from Thebes, now in the author's 
collection, deciphered by U. Wilcken ^ (Figure 37). 

A delivery-order in letter-form, perfectly simple and un- 
assuming, but interesting in style and language. 



80s 4'€v/«.(/)(v)5»; IlaS Kttt n\ijn 

naova)crip(5) 
aTTo ^ $/Aaii y€wpyols A(ju,v)j9/* € 
eU ir\i7pio(7iv / Ae y{ii'OVTaL) f Ac. 
L Ay// TC/?(0 y. 
I Koi rjSyj iroT£ ' 80s T^ iiJ.rj ^ 

Tas Tov f y £ I 



Harpocras to Phthomonthes 
greeting. Give to Psenmonthes. 
the son of Paos, and to Plenis, 
the son of Pauosis, of Phmau, 
husbandmen of the lake, 5 
(artabae) of wheat, to make 
up the 35 (artabae) of wheat. 
They are 35 (artabae) of wheat. 
(5) In the year 33, Tybi 3. And 
now at length give to my maid 
the 3| artabae of wheat. 



1 What a significance for the history of the canon would attach to quota- 
tions from St. Paul found in an unknown person's letter in the second century 1 
How pleased we should be to be able to believe the letter Christian ! 

' Cf. now P. M. Meyer, Griechische Texte aus Agypten, Deissmann collection, 
ostracon No. 57 (p. 1 76 f .) . I have taken account of Meyer's fresh decipherment. 
For details see his commentary. The text will also be found in Preisigke, 
Sammelbuch griechischer Urkunden aus Agypten, I, Strassburg, 1915, No. 
4253. 

' The same a-no that has been so often misunderstood in Heb. xiii. 24 ; cf. 
my little note in Hermes, 33 (1898) p. 344. As on the ostracon people at 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 




Fig. 37.- 



-Letter from Harpocras, an Egyptian, to Phthomonthes, 29 December, 192 a.d. 
Ostracon from Thebes. Now in the Author's collection. 










Fig. 38.— Letter from Theon, an Egyptian boy, to his father Theon 2nd or 3rd cent a d 
Papyrus from Oxyrhynchus. Now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford. Facsimile kindly obtained 
by Dr. Arthur S. Hunt. ' 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 201 

19 
Letter from Theon, an Egyptian boy, to his father Theon, 2nd or 
3rd cent. A.D., papyrus from Oxyrhynchus, now in the 
Bodleian Library, Oxford, discovered and published by 
Grenfell and Hunt * (Figure 38). 

This letter, written in a schoolboy's uncial hand, is of the 
highest importance for a variety of reasons : it is at once a 
. picture of ancient family life, a portrait of a naughty boy 
drawn by himself, and a specimen of the most uncultivated 
form of popular speech. Blass's ^ remark, that the boy 
" violates " grammar, is about as true as if I were to call a 
sloe-hedge a violation of the espalier. At the outset Theon 
had no grammar to suffer humiliation and violence at a later 
stage of his career. He had merely the language of the streets 
and the playground, and that language the rogue speaks also 
in his letter. The spelling too is " very bad," says Blass — 
as if the boy had been writing an examination exercise ; but 
from this " bad " (really on the whole phonetic) spelling the 
Greek scholar can learn more than from ten correct official 
documents. The style I recommend to the consideration of 
all who are specialists in detecting the stylistic features 
characteristic of the Semitic race. 

®iaiv ®iaivi tS) irarpt )(aip€iv. 
KoXZs iiroiijo-e^.^ ovk airevrjxU * /*« /teT i- 
<TOV * eJs TToKiv. ^ * oi dcXis ' aireviKKUv * /te- 
t' iaov * £is 'AXi^avSpiav, ov fir] ypai^O) (re e- ,. 

1 The Oxyrhynchus Papyri (J.) No. 119, cf. II. p. 320. See also U. von 
Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Gottingische gelehrte Anzeigen, 1898, p. 686, 
F. Blass, Hermes, 34 (1899) p. 312 ff.; Preisigke, p. no f. Grenfelland Hunt, 
it seems, did not adopt all Blass's suggestions. I follow their readings. For 
the facsimile (Figure 38) I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Arthur S. Hunt. 
Further reprints of the text in Lietzmann,' p. 13 f.; Milligan, p. 102 f.; 
Laudien, p. 4 f.; Helbing, p. 121 ff.; Schubart, p. 78. 

' Page 312. 

* = airqveyKes- * = "ou, formed like cftov, common. 

' =BeXeis. ' = arreveyKelv. 



Continuation of notes to page 200 : — 

Phmau are meant, so no doubt in the Epistle to the Hebrews 01 am rrjs 'IraXtas 

(" they of Italy," A.V., R.V.) means people in Italy. [Cf . p. 1 73, text, 1. 8. Tr.] 

* Contraction for mipoO, " wheat." 
' i)hij wore is used as in Rom. i. 10. 

* «/4os unemphatic as, for example, in Rom. x. i. 

" female slave." 



•202 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

5 VLcrToXyiv, ovTi XakZ <r€, ovre vlyevai ^ at 
tira. av^ 8e e\6r]^ eh ' AXe^avSpiav, ov 
fii] Xa^u) ;^Erpai' ' irapd [<r]ov, ovt€ irdXi * )(cupui 
(re XvTTov.^ afj, fi^ ® OeXrji direveKaL ' fi,[e], 
Tavra yt[i]veTe.^ koi 17 ln^riTr^p p,ov eTttc 'Ap- 

10 xtXaoi, oTt dvacTTaToi [le' S,ppov ' avrov. 

KaXiii% 8e eiroiiyo-es.^" huipa. /*8i lTrep.^t\<i] ^^ 
fieyaXa, dpaKia. ireirXavrjKav fip.ioi^^ eK€[i], 
T^ ■fip.epa ifi oTi ^' tTrXtuo-es.^* Xwrbv * ttc/xi/'OV ti[s] 
/ie, napaKaXlo ere. o/t jU^ ' ire/i\pi]^, ov //.rj <^d.- 

15 7<i), oi /i'^ iretVo).'^^ Tavra. 

ipSurOe^^ (Tt tv'<{o/jiai). 

On the verso the address : 

diroSos ®euivi [a]iro Otuvaros viol. 

Theon to Theon his father greeting. Thou hast done well.^' 
Thou hast not carried me with thee to the town. If thou wilt 
not carry me with thee to Alexandria, I will not write thee ** a 
(3) letter, nor speak thee,^* nor wish thee ^' health. But if thou 
goest ^° to Alexandria, I will not take hand from thee, nor greet 
thee again henceforth."" If thou wilt not carry me, these things 
come to pass. My mother also said to Archelaus, (10) " he driveth 
me mad "^ : away with him." "^ But thou hast done well.*^ 
Thou hast sent me great ^' gifts — locust-beans.** They deceived *' 

' = iyiyevw {— iyiyalvo) from vyiatvw, Karl Dieterich, Untersuchungen , 
p. 91 f. and p. 187, n. 25 above). 

' = idv. • = xdpa. 

* = jrdXiv as in the oldest Christian papyrus letter extant (No. 21 below, 

n,«.) 

* = AotTTOV. 

' eac/ii) as in the letter of the Papas Caor (No. 24 below). 

^ = aTTCvey/cat. * = yCveToi. 

'" = eVoHjcay. '' = iTrepnlias. 

" = OTE ? ' n = tTrXtvaas. 

'* = ippcooBat. 

" The word in the original has the form of the accusative. This is not 
an outrage on grammar, but a symptom that the dative was beginning to 
disappear in the popular language. 

" That is to say : alone, without taking the son. 

" Xoivov, as used frequently in St. Paul's letters. 

'' The " New Testament " dvaoTarou), cf. p. 84 f. above. 

" Spov is used exactly like this in John xix. 15. 

" Blass and Preisigke take " great " with the word which I have translated 
" locust-beans." Our interpretation makes the irony clearer. 

'* Perhaps something like the husks which the Prodigal Son (Luke xv, 16) 
would fain have eaten. 

" wAovooi, as frequently in the New Testament. 





« 


= ipov. 




12 


= VH-as. 




IB 


— mvio. 


17 


Ironical. 





THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 203 

us ^ there on the 12th day, when thou didst sail. Finally,* send 
for me, I beseech thee. If thou sendest not, I will not eat (15) 
nor drink.* Even so.* Fare thee well, I pray. Tybi 18. 

On the verso the address : 
Deliver to Theon from Theonas * his son. 

A nice handful, this boy ! He has wrought his mother to 
such a pitch that she is almost beside herself and has but one 
wish: "Away with him!" And the father is no better 
treated. Little Theon is determined at all costs to share in 
the journey to Alexandria planned by Theon the elder. There 
have already been several scenes about it, and the father, 
who has no need of the urchin on his long journey, can think 
of no other way out of the difficulty but to start on the voyage 
to the capital, Alexandria, under the pretext of a little trip 
"to the town" (probably Oxyrhynchus)." This was on 
7 January. The weak father's conscience pricks him for his 
treachery, and so he sends a little present to console the boy 
he has outwitted — some locust-beans for him to eat, which the 
father perhaps thought would be a treat for him so early in 
the year. But he was mistaken there. As day after day goes 
by and the father does not return from " the town," the 
victim sees through the plot. He knows now why he was 
not allowed to go with his father this time to " the town " ; 
he sees now why he received the fine present — fine present 
indeed, why the poor people eat those locust-beans ' ! Burn- 
ing with rage, he sits down to write on 13 January. Having 
found out that his father was to stop somewhere en route, 

' t/s = probably Theon and (his brother ?) Archelaus. 

' See p. 202, n. 20. 

' This notice of a hunger-strike recalls the curse under which the Jewish 
zealots bound themselves, " that they would neither eat nor drink till they had 
killed Paul " (Acts, xxiii. 12, 21). Wettstein, Novum Testamentum Graecum, 
II. p. 615, quotes similar formulae from Rabbinic sources. 

• After ToCra we must probably understand ylvirai (cf. 1. 9). Cf. the abrupt 
TouTtt in inscriptions : Eduard Loch, Festschrift . . . Ludwig Friedlaender 
dargehracht von seinen Schiilern, Leipzig, 1895, p. 289 ff. ; R. Heberdey and 
E. Kalinka, Denkschriften der Kais. Akad. d. Wissensch. zu Wien, Phil.-hist. 
Classe, 45 (1897) I Abh. pp. 5 f., 53- 

' Theonas is the pet-form of the name Theon. 

• I surmise that Theon's home was some little place on the Nile (cf . evXevoes, 
1. 13), south of Oxyrhynchus, which would then be " the town " referred to. 

' Cf. Blass, p. 314. 



204 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

he composes this blackmailing letter we have before us. 
Impudent, ironical,, with childish wilfulness he pours out his 
threats. He will stop doing everything that a well brought-up 
child should do to its parents — ^wishing them good-day, shak- 
ing hands, wishing them health, writing nice letters. Worst 
threat of all, he will starve to death of his own free will. 
That will bring daddy round, the device has never failed yet. 
And still with all his defiant naughtiness, Theon can contrive 
a tolerable joke. His mother had cried in desperation to 
(his brother ?) Archelaus, " He drives me mad, away with 
him," and Theon is quick-witted enough to turn this into an 
argument with his father for travelling to Alexandria after 
all ! The same derisive artfulness is apparent in the address. 
On the outside of a letter bristling with impudence he has 
mischievously written as the name of the sender Theonas, 
the father's pet name for his pampered child. 

Did Theon the elder, to whom such a letter could be 
written, do what the naughty boy wanted at last ? The out- 
lines which the son has unconsciously drawn of his father's 
portrait^ certainly do not forbid our answering the question 
in the affirmative.^ 

20 

Letter from Pacysis, an Egyptian, to his son, about the 3rd cent. 
A.D., ostracon from Thebes, now in the author's collection, 
deciphered by U. Wilcken* (Figure 39). 

Pacysis, the son of Patsebthis, 
to my son greeting. Contra- 
dict not. Ye have dwelt there 
with a soldier. But take her 
not till I come to you. 

(5) Farewell. 



YLaKVKTi^ TlaT<ri^6Lo(^) tS viu> 



[(ui ?]y^<raT' (Ktt. (!f[»;8]e irapaSt- 
[fiy avT7J]v,* ?o)s eX.6<ii irpo5 ruicii ^ 

[••; ] 

ippUMTO. 



• Anyone who needs a restorative after the impudence of Theon had better 
read the letters (dull, it must be admitted) from model boys to their parents, 
as preserved, for instance, in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 1296 and in Bell, 
Some Private Letters,' No. 2, p. 2 ff. 

* Wilcken examined the ostracon on two occasions, once in the autumn of 
1904, and again at the beginning of 1907. Not all that was visible in 1904 can 
be read now. See now P. M. Meyer, Griechische Texte aus Agypten, Deissmann 
collection, ostracon No. 64 (p. 187), and Preisigke, Sammelbuch I, No. 4254. 

[For notes 3-5 see next page. 




Fig. 39. — Letter from Pacysis, an Egyptian, to his son, about the 3rd cent. a.d. Ostracon 
from Thebes. Now in the Author's collection. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 205 

In its wretchedly sorry state this greatly faded ostracon is 
a typical example of a poor man's letter in ancient times. 
Theon, the father whose acquaintance we made in the last 
letter, was obviously better off, but would he, we wonder, 
ever have been able, like Pacysis, in dealing with his son to 
use such a wholesomely rough expression as " Contradict 
not " ? 

21 

Letter jrom an Egyptian Christian at Rome to his fellow-Christians 
in the ArsinoUe nome, between 264 (265) and 282 (281) A.D., 
papyrus from Egypt (probably the Fayum), formerly in 
the collection of Lord Amherst of Hackney at Didlington 
Hall, Norfolk, published by Grenfell and Hunt ^ (Figure 40). 

This papyrus is at present perhaps the oldest ^ known 
autograph letter in existence from the hand of a Christian 
and in spite of being badly mutilated it is of great value. 

From external characteristics the fragment was dated 

• The Amherst Papyri, Part I. No. 3a, with a facsimile in Part II. Plate 25, 
which I he^e reproduce by the kind permission of the late Lord Amherst of 
Hackney. The reproduction (Figure 40) is about half the size of the original. 
The text is also in Wilcken, Chrestomathie, p. 153 f., No. 126. Another 
restoration of the text was attempted by E. Kalinka in " Aus der Werkstatt 
des Horsaals : Papyrusstudien und andere Beitrage," a volume presented to 
the Innsbruck " Philologenklub," Innsbruck, 1914, p. 2 ff. I agree with 
Wilcken, p. 153, in thinking that a re-examination of the original is necessary. 

• The Bale papyrus No. 16, also a Christian letter, has been assigned by 
its editor Rabel (cf. above, p. 31, n. i) to the beginning of the 3rd cent. a.d. 
Wilcken, however, would place it nearer the middle of the 3rd cent. 
(Archiv 6, p. 437) . The letter (extremely meagre in contents) might therefore 
be older than our No. 21 ; but I think the question is not yet decided. 



Continuation of notes to page 204 : — 

' The punctuation was doubtful to me at first. I thought of reading ^iij 
avTiXoyqints fiiTo. arpaTuarov, " dispute not with a soldier," when /lerd would be 
used as it is frequently in the New Testament and elsewhere after voXeiieca. 
But I now feel sure that the sentences should be separated as above. avnXoyem 
is used of obstinacy, like avrMyia in the letter of Sempronius (above, No. 
[15 and] i6j3). 

* I now restore the text thus, following a suggestion from Gustav Brondsted 
(letter, Hellerup, 13 April, 191 2). There seems to be a reference to a girl 
with whom the son was about to contract an irregular union. Only thus 
do the ye and you become clear. There is no need to mention her by name, 
because father and son know precisely who is meant. 

' ij/ios must certainly mean ipias; this confusion, of which there are 
countless instances in MSS. of the New Testament, arose in consequence of 
both words being pronounced alike, imas. 



2o6 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

between 250 and 285 a.d. by Grenfell and Hunt, who deci- 
phered and first published it, and their chronology has been 
brilliantly confirmed by an observation of Harnack's.^ He 
found that the " pope Maximus " mentioned in the letter was 
Bishop Maximus of Alexandria, who was in office from 264 
(265) to 282 (281) A.D. 

By no means everything has yet been accomplished for the 
restoration of the text. Two other texts contained on the 
same precious fragment have from the first somewhat diverted 
attention from the letter itself. A few lines from the begin- 
ning of the Epistle to the Hebrews have been written above 
the second column of the letter in an almost contemporary 
hand,^ while on the back Dr. J. Rendel Harris was the first to 
recognise a fragment of Genesis i. 1-5 in Aquila's translation 
preceded by the Septuagint parallel in a handwriting of the 
age of Constantine. 

The first attempt at a restoration of the missing parts of 
the letter was by C. Wessely.' My own attempt, here given,* 
agrees in several places independently with his. I feel 
obliged to point out that parts of the attempted restoration 
of the text are extremely hypothetical. The same remark 
applies also to the attempt made by Kalinka.* But com- 
bined effort is necessary for the solution of such tasks, and 
I should be the first to discard these conjectures in favour 
of better ones. 

Column I 

contains the remains of 10 lines, not deciphered by Grenfell 
and Hunt. A re-examination of the original is- greatly to be 
desired, but merely from the facsimile I should not venture to 
say anything. 

' Sitzungsberichte der Koniglich Preussischen Akademie der Wissenschaften 
zu Berlin, 1900, p. 987 ff. Harnack thinks there is much to be said for the 
theory that the papyrus contains two letters. Then, I think, we should have to 
assume that the fragment was a leaf of the writer's letter copy-book (cf . below, 
p. 235 f ., the remarks on Rom. xvi.) . But the more probable assumption is that 
we have only one letter here. 

' See the facsimile. 

» Patrologia Orientalis, Tome IV. Fascicule 2, p. 135 ff. 

* Cf. also a short notice in the Supplement to the Allgemeine Zeitung 
(Munich), 1900, No. 250. 

» Cf. p. 205, n. I above. Skirmishing between Wessely and Kalinka in the 
Deutsche Literaturzeitung (1916) col. 1944 f. ^°<1 (19^7) co^- nof. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 207 
Column II 

k[ Jyoyy <tov ^s dw[(ov7;s] ^ 

..[.... efo]§idcrat tjjv Kpi6-ipi[ . . . ] 
Ik foy [a.vTov\ A.dyov [xai] fi-q to a.vT[o] 
0povj-[«rciMn]i' oloj' koI €i/jijr<o* . [ . . ]o 
5 €y9i/K[Sv' oiroJfTTeA.Xofitj'Jov vrpos 
avToi/ d[7ro] t^s 'AXefavSpeias. Kai 
irpo^do-c[is] Kat dvaj8oA.as Kai dva- 
Soo-is * 7roi7j[o-d]/it£i'os o£;( o"o/xat auT[6]i' 
TaCra [Si^a] airios ovTOs^ iri^pBvi- 
10 Kfi/at.' ei Se xal av vBi' avrq rj irepur- 
79T35 V ovfiPcfiiQicviav ' /ij 7roi);(rai 
J^yov, IS TO KaXus fX'f!' t['^]*?i' «" 
ave}(0[iai. tl Si t[ . . . . ] dpTOis * ird- 

Xj ' TreTTpda-iy ^^ o [[ . ]] ety [ . ]v §ia /*[ J/cpov ye- 
15 via-Bai irpbs rr/v [ . . ]«[ . . . ]v NiXov 
KOI Tov jraripa 'AjroXXfini' tU 

A . . T ct . cTreo'TtiXdi' t« 

5rapn;(p['5/ii]a to apyvpiov iioSiatr- 
67}vai ifuv. o Kol KOToydytiTai ^^ 
20 IS Trjv 'Aki^avSpiav d>vri<raiJit- 

yov ^^ ddi/as ■'* Trop' «/ttv «v tcJ 'Apcrivo- 
[tJiVi;. ToSro yap 0T;i'e6[e]/*iji' Dpa- 
/ictrctvu), wo-Te to apyvpiov aiT[S>] is 
t[^1'] 'A[X«]fdi'8piov i^mSiaa-OrjvaiM 
25 [(erovs).]// HaSi/i ^ dTro 'Pca/iijs.^' 
' This conjecture is not certain, but U. Wilcken agrees with me in thinking 
it probable. The Latin annona often appears as a borrowed word in Greek 
papyri. 2 = etprjTo. 

' Corpus Glossariorum Lat. 5, 619 : " enteca est pecunia commertiis desti- 
nata " (Kalinka, p. 5). 

* = avaSoofis. ' ^ ovTcas. 

' = TK^povriKhiax. ' = avfiPePrjKvia. 

' = dprous ? • = iidXiv, as in Theon's letter above, No. 19,. 

'" = neirpd(Ka.') aiv ? '^ = Karaydyere. '^ = cuwjod/ievoi ? 

'^ Grenfell and Hunt cite from Epicharraus dwv as the name of a fish. They 
observe — very rightly — ^that this is not likely to be the word here. We may 
perhaps assume with Wessely that dfloVas was the word intended (of. column 
III). Hermann Diels wrote to me (Berlin W., 22 July, 1908) : " 666vas is 
suggested by the sense, but there is not room enough for it. Is it possible 
that the word there was the synonymous ^'dvay (vestimenta) , which has 
hitherto defied explanation in Bacchylides 17 {16), 112?" A. Debrunner 
(letter, Basel, 25 April, 1913) asks : " Ought we to read d(y)6vas = dwumas 
in 1. I ? " [The new Liddell and Scott, 1926, assumes aiav here to mean "a 
kind of garment." Tr.] 
'* = iloSiaaBijvai,. 

•> This and the corresponding line in column III are written in another 
hand than the body of the letter. Cf. above, pp. 166, n. 7 ; 172. 



2o8 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Column III 

KaXoJs ow 7ronj(raVT[es, dSeXt^ot',] 

<ovJ7(7a/i«i'o[t] ^ TO. 6d6v[ia Tt-] 

ves ef wL*"]." " '''°^ "[ Xo)SeT(i)(r-] * 

av o-iv avTots e^op/A[i;(roi'T«s trpbsi] 
5 Mafi/xov Toi' 7raira[v * icat ] * 

Tov a.vayv[<o<T]rrjv. Kal [Iv rrj A\(^av&pia] 

7r<i)Xija'ovT[6s] Ta 666[via CKCiva t^o-] 

StaCTijre to apyipiQV [lIpet/^ieiTei-] 

va) ij Ma^tjuoi Toi iraTr[a aTro^^i' djro-] 
10 Xo/t;8dvovT[c]5 Trap' aiT[oS. airos Se t^v] 

t7rt^5!([iyv, T^i/ Ti.pr)v rov vtft v/ifiv] 

■7rtii\p[u//.e']i'OU ap[TOU Kai Till' d^ovi'-] 

0)1' TO apyvpiov, irapaKa^\Ta.6iar$ia Trapa-] 

Sovis airo ©eovS,' 'va o'ui' [®e5 * Trapa-] 
15 y(.v6p.f.vo% IS T^v A\£|[dvSp£tav] 

eupo* avTO fs Ta dyoXol)p.o[Ta /;iou. /;i^] 

ow anch^drjTe, aSek<j>o[i, 8ta Top^e-] 

(i)V ToiiTO iroirjcrai, iva fi7i[ npcijuei-J 

Tttfos 8ia T^v cp.'^v 7rpo[6£0-p.iai' iv] 
20 tt} 'AKe^avSpeCa Siarpltl/Tj [irXetv jueWui'] 

eVt T^v Pwpijv, dX\ is ^/uSs [co<^eX)j(r£ ira-] 

paTtvftv '^" TraTra Kai rois Kar o[i;toi' oytto-J 

' After KoAuJswoiEiv we have here as in Theon's letter (No. 19 above) not the 
infinitive, but a paratactic participle; similar constructions in the Oxyrhyn- 
chus Papyri, No. ii3ef. and u6j(„]4 (both letters of the 2nd cent. AiD.). The 
use is, however, much older, as shown by the letter (Hibeh Papyri, No 82171. 
c. 238 B.C.) quoted above, p. 87, note 5. 

* ^ vpuv. 

' This conjecture is not free from doubt, as the writer generally divides 
words differently. 

* For the title wawos, " pope,'' cf. Harnack's observations on the letter, 
p. 989 ff., and see Caor's letter. No. 24 below. 

' Wessely here conjectures the name Primitinus. But this, in the ortho- 
graphy of the writer, would be too long. 

' Grenfell and Hunt read ■napwco, but to judge from the facsimile irapoKg. 
would also be possible. 

' For this conjecture cf. 1. 16 of the letter of Psenosiris, No. 22 below, orai' 
lAfli) oiv Beifi. The formula am Bi<(>, " with God," occurs frequently elsewhere. 
The writer of this letter fulfils almost literally the injunction in the Epistle of 
St. James iv. 13 ff. not to say, " To-day or to-morrow we will go into such a, 
city . . . and trade, and get gain," without adding, " If the Lord will and we 
live." 

» = eupo), cf. 1. 24 Td|o. The writer often confuses and w. 
" TTopaTeufis is a new word, " intercourse, personal relations," perhaps also 
"intercession" (cf. Ivrev^is, Bibelstudien, pp. 117 f., 143 f.; Bible Studies, 
pp. 121, 146). 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 209 

TttTow ^ vpn[e<TTSt(rL^], Tti<T[ij) airS) x^P""] 
(cai vaivra (r[u/i.^(a]i'a rafo * i[iuv xai 'A-] 
25 yadofiovlXio. ippjaurOai ii[ju.a{ cv;^ofiai.] 
]arrai.a.[ 

Column II 

... of which corn . . . deliver the barley * . . . from the 
same account, and that they should not be careful of that same 
which had also been said ... (5) when the stores [of money] 
were sent to him * from Alexandria. And though I made excuses 
and delays and puttings off, I think not that he " thus desired 
these things ' without cause. (10) And even if now this super- 
fluity* which hath happened should not make a reckoning 
[possible], for the sake of [my own] good feelings * I will gladly 
endure ^' to pay. But if . . . they have again sold loaves, . . . 
in a little while (15) happen to . . . Nilus ^^ and [my ?] father 
Apollonis ^* in A . . . And they have written that the money 
shall be delivered unto you immediately. Which also bring 
ye down (20) to Alexandria, having bought . . . among you in 

• For ayiiiraTos cf . Jude 20. The superlative is common in both secular 
and ecclesiastical use. 

' For irpofoTtas, " chief man," " ruler " in early ecclesiastical use cf. Joh. 
Caspar Suicerus, Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus ' II., Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1746, col. 
840; for the later Egyptian use see quotations in W. E. Crum, Coptic 
Ostraca, p. 113 of the lithographed part. 

' = Tafoi, cf. 1. 16 eSpo. avii^otvos is common in the papyri in such contexts. 
The phrase aiii/jxai/a SiardTTm is quoted in the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae from 
Plato, Legg. 5. 746 E. 

" Hence we may conclude that dealings in corn are in the background of 
this letter. 

' I.e. Primitinus, who was then also in Rome. 

• Primitinus. 

' Payment of the money in Alexandria instead of Rome. 
» The letter was dated or signed in the beginning of June ; this suggests 
that the harvest was unusually good, and business correspondingly heavy. 

' Cf. the last lines of column III. The writer wants to have his conscience 
clear towards Primitinus. 

'° The word is no doubt used playfully. Wilcken proposes : " yet I will 
gladly make the sacrifice for the sake of decency." 

" If the reading " Nilos " is not certain, I should expect a female name, say 
" Nilus "(cf. letter 14, above). The preceding word would then be [ah]%[X^ri]y, 
"sister." Kalinka adopts this conjecture and thinks Nl{v\ov is possible as a 
woman's name. 

^* Apollonis is short for Apollonius. Harnack assumes that " Father " was 
the title of the provincial bishop, and takes Apollonius to be the bishop of 
the particular church in the Arsinoite nome (p. 991 ; cf. also his Geschichte der 
aUchristlichen Literatur, II. 2, p. 180). This does not seem to me very prob- 
able. I rather think that the writer is speaking of his real father (and 



210 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the Arsinoite [nome]. For I have covenanted this with Primi- 
tinus, that the money shall be delivered unto him at Alexandria. 
(25) [Year]//, Pauni 8,1 from Rome. 

Column III 

Ye did well,^ therefore, brethren, having bought the linen 
cloth. ... let some of you take the . . . and set forth with 
it * unto (5) Maximus the Papas and . . . the Lector. And 
having sold that linen cloth in Alexandria, deliver the money 
unto Primitinus or * Maximus the Papas, receiving a quittance 
(10) from him. But the gain, the price of the bread sold by you 
and the money for the linen cloth, let him commit and deliver 
it up unto Theonas,^ in order that I, being come with God (15) to 
Alexandria,* may find it [ready] against my charges. Neglect 
not, therefore, brethren, to do this speedily, lest Primitinus, on 
account of the time appointed of me,'' (20) should tarry in Alex- 
andria, being about to sail for Rome,* but that, as he hath pro- 
fited us by dealings with the Papas and the most holy rulers 
who are before him, I may pay him thanks and determine all 
things in agreement for you and (25) Agathobulus.* Fare ye 
well, I pray i" 

' = 2 June. 

' In the Greek text the verb is in the participle, through the carelessness of 
the writer in haste. Eadermacher, Neutestamentliche Grammatik, p. 167, is 
no doubt right in asserting that the abrupt aorist participle is intended as a 
true past tense. — For the abrupt participle cf. the letters of Sempronius 
Nos. 15 and 16, lines 8 and 21, p. 193 f. above. 

' Or : " Then let some of you take the . . with you (aurols) and set forth 
unto . . ." 

* If Primitinus has not yet arrived at Alexandria. 

' Theonas is therefore probably the financial agent of the Papas. Harnack 
suggests very plausibly that he might be the Theonas who succeeded Maximus 
as Papas of Alexandria, 282 (28i)-300 a.d. 

• The writer therefore intends presently to go from Rome to Alexandria. 
' The date arranged with Primitinus for the pajrment of the money. 

' Primitinus is therefore at present in Alexandria, but intends to return to 
Rome, where, according to column II, he had already been before. 

" If our conjectural restoration of the text is correct in principle, Agathobulus 
would be eminently interested in the settlement of the money matters dis- 
cussed in the letter. Perhaps he as well as the writer was the confidential 
agent of the Arsinoite Christians at Rome. 

" The letters anaXa defy all attempts at certain restoration. Can it be that 
the Papas is once more named here ? Kalinka, p. 5 f . is well worth noting. 
The conclusion of the letter containing the good wishes seems to have been 
set back farther from the margin (" indented," a printer would say), which 
at a later date was quite usual, cf. my note in Veroffentlichungen aus der 
Heidelberger Papyrus-Samnilung I. p. loi, and the letters' of Psenosiris, 
Justinus, and Caor which follow below (Nos. 22-24). 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 211 

Let us now attempt to make out the situation in this 
venerable document. A hint will be sufficient reminder 
that, so far as the restored portion of the text is concerned, 
the attempt must remain questionable. 

We might place as a motto at the head of this, possibly 
the earliest Christian letter of which the original has come 
down to us, the words which Tertullian ^ wrote two genera- 
tions earlier : " We do business in ships ... we follow 
husbandry, and bear our part in buying and selling." The 
Christians of the generation before the great tempest of 
Diocletian persecution, whom we can here watch going 
about their work from our hidden post of observation, took 
their stand in the world, not alone praying for their daily 
bread, but also trading in it ; " they bought, they sold." 

Christians,^ living somewhere in the fertile Arsinoite 
nome * of Egypt, have far away at Rome * a confidential 
agent whose name we do not know, but whose letter and 
Greek we have before us in the original : rude clumsy 
characters in the main text of the letter, a somewhat more 
flowing hand in the concluding lines (perhaps in the agent's 
autograph), the spelling uncultivated as of the people, the 
syntax that of the unlearned. This agent is supported 
perhaps by another, Agathobulus. * They are entrusted with 
the dispatch of certain business connected with corn.* 

A somewhat earlier letter written from Rome by one 
Irenaeus to his brother Apolinarius, who also resided in the 
Arsinoite nome,' gives us a vivid picture of the kind of 
business. The man landed in Italy on the 6th of the month 
Epiph, finished unloading the corn-ship ^ on the i8th Epiph, 
went on 25th Epiph to Rome, " and the place received us as 
the god willed." " After that, it is true, Irenaeus had to wait 

' ^^oi. 42, " Navigamus . . . et rusticamur et mercatus proinde miscemus." 

= Column nil, (HIJ- 

' ni„. ' n,. 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 27. 

' Cf. the corn-ship of Alexandria in which St. Paul sailed from Myra to 
Melita on his voyage to Rome, Acts xxvii. 6, 38. 

» rai napeSe^aro ■fjiias 6 ronos tir o flcos TJ9eX€v. This phrase has led 
people to regard the letter as a Christian one. The assumption is, I think, 
disposed of by Wilcken (Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, i, p. 436; 4, p. 208 f.; 
Chreslomathie, p. 524 f., on No. 445) ; he interprets ronos as the collegium 
naviculariorum at Rome, and d Bios as the god of this guild of seamen. 



212 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

day after day for the conclusion of his business : "to this 
present day ^ not one (of us) has finished this business of the 
corn." 

Such no doubt was the sort of work that the writer of 
our letter had to do, and he was dealing just now with a 
man named Primitinus,^ to whom he had to pay money.^ 
That cannot very well be money for corn, for it is to be 
assumed that the people of Egypt sold corn rather than 
bought it. Primitinus might be a shipowner, claiming the 
cost of freightage of the corn. In that case it is not sur- 
prising that he is now in Rome, now in Alexandria.* At the 
present time he is expected at Alexandria or is already 
there,* but will return to Rome before long.* First, however, 
he will receive his money at Alexandria : so he had arranged 
at Rome with the writer of the letter. ' The latter would have 
preferred some other mode of settlement, and had therefore 
at first tried all sorts of expedients,* but he came at last to 
the conviction that Primitinus had his good reasons,* and the 
writer Of the letter is now greatly concerned to keep his 
agreement with the man. For to him, the Alexandrian 
shipowner, the Christians of the Arsinoite nome are indebted 
for their close relations with the Papas of Alexandria, 

Maximus, the Lector , and other ecclesiastical dignitaries 

in the cosmopolis of Egypt. ^^ And although the good harvest 
has greatly stimulated the trade in corn, and the settlement 
of the bill might still perhaps be postponed to some quieter 
time,^'^ he presses for immediate payment : he wants his 
conscience to be easy,^^ is anxious to keep true to his contract ^^ 
and not appear ungrateful.^* 

If, however, the Arsinoites do send people ^* on the journey 
to Alexandria, to pay Primitinus, as good business men they 
will try to make a little money at the same time. They 
must take with them home-grown linen ^' that they have 
bought and sell it in the capital^''; then, after Primitinus is 
paid,i* there will remain a tidy balance,^^ which, with the 

1 The letter is dated 9 Mesore (2 August). 

" Il2,f. Ilia,. i8f. ' Hair. 

' Illait. ' Il22ff. 

" Illaim " Ilioir. 

" Illja. " Illjf. 



« Il5,6, 111,0.21. 


» Ills,. 20. 


' n.ff. 


• Ilsf. 


" n„. 


" Il^ff. III,j, 


" n„,„ Ilia. 


" lUa 


•• ni„. 





THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 213 

profit from other ventures,'^ they must hand over to the 
Papas Maximus,^ in reahty to his steward Theonas,* to hold 
as a deposit for the use of the writer of the letter when he 
presently returns, God willing, to Alexandria.* This is 
perhaps not the first time that they have laid up such 
" stores " * at Alexandria. 

To the ecclesiastical historian this is the most interesting 
part of the letter : Egyptian provincial Christians employ 
the highest ecclesiastic in the country as their confidential 
agent in money affairs ! The link between the Christian 
corn-sellers in the Fayum and their agent in Rome is no 
casual exchanger, intent on his share of profit, but the Papas 
of Alexandria ! This is certainly not a bad indication of 
the way in which the scattered churches held together socially, 
and of the willingness of the ecclesiastical leaders to help 
even in the worldly affairs of their co-religionists. 

And so this oldest of Christian letters preserved in the 
original, although it contains, thank God, not a word of 
dogma, is still an extraordinarily valuable record of Chris- 
tianity in the days before Constantine — quite apart from its 
external value as an historical document, which Harnack 
has demonstrated to satisfaction. Certainly this papyrus 
was not unworthy of the impressive lines from the Greek 
Old and New Testaments which were afterwards written on 
it, and inscribed with which it has come down to our own 
day. 

22 
Letter from Psenosiris, a Christian presbyter, to Apollo, a Christian 
presbyter at Cysts in the Great Oasis, beginning of the 4th 
cent. A.D., papyrus from the Great Oasis, now in the British 
Museum, pubUshed by Grenfell and Hunt* (Figure 41).' 

This " original document from the Diocletian persecution " 
was made the subject of a special investigation by me in 

* Cf. in Iliair. the hints, now unfortunately very obscure, of the sale of 
bread. 

' iii,ff. » iii.M. * ni,4ff. ^ n.,f. 

• Greek Papyri, Series II., Oxford, 1897, No. 73., Further reprints of the 
text in Preuschen, Analecta V (1909), p. 93 i- : Lietzmann," p. 15 f . ; Milligan, 
p. 117 ff.; Wilcken, Chttstomathie, p. 154 f. (No. 127); Helbing, p. 134 If.; 
Schubart, p. 104. 

' This reproduction is almost of the exact size of the original. 



214 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



1902.^ The copious literature to which the precious fragment 
has given rise since then has been already noted,^ and I will 
only add here that I have been confirmed in my theory of 
the letter by the agreement of almost all the subsequent 
writers.' I here reprint the text with a few improvements, 
which, do not affect my explanation of the letter, and with the 
corresponding alterations in the translation, and refer for the 
rest to my own little book and the other literature.* 



^evotrtpt irp£cr;8[uT€]p(i) 'AjroX- 

\oyvi 
irpecr^vTepu) dyairijTW dSeXc^G 

iv K(upi)(D )(a,Lpeiv. 
irpb Tuii' oX<i)v TToKka tre d.(nra.- 
5 ^o/iai Koi TOIJS TrajDa <T(il irrai'Tas 
dSeX^ovs iv ®(e)£. yivutiTKfiv 
(re OcKu), aSc\<l>e, OTi 01 vcKpo- 
Ta<^oi evr]v6\a<TLV ivddSe 

CIS TotTO) T^I' IIoXlTlltljv TrjV 

10 7r€ft06et(rav eis "Oacrii' iiro Trjs 

« r]yefiovia%. Kol [rJauTJjv ira- 

paSeSo>Ka Tois icaXois Kai wi- 

(TTOli i^ avTWV Tll>V VtKpOTO.- 

<f>ij>v €15 rrjprricnv, {<tt, av eK- 
' Ein Original-Dokument 



To {sic) Psenosiris presbyter, 
to Apollo presbyter, his beloved 
brother, greeting in the Lord.^ 

Before all things I salute 
thee much (5) and all the breth- 
ren with thee in God. I would 
have thee know, brother, that 
the grave-diggers have brought 
here to Toeto Politica, who (10) 
hath been sent into the Oasis 
by the government. And I 
have delivered her unto the 
good and faithful of - these 



grave-diggers in keeping, till 

der Diocletianischen Christenverfolgung , 
Tubingen und Leipzig, 1902 (translated under the title The Epistle of Psenosiris, 
I.ondon, 1902; Cheap Edition, 1907). ^ Page 46, n. 3. 

' Grenfell and Hunt have meanwhile published a new example of the word 
that they print with a small letter instead of a capital, woAitiki}, " harlot " 
(The Oxyrhynchus Papyri [VI.]. No. 9033,, 4th cent. a.d.). But this does 
not affect the possibility of my reading, /7oAiti/c^, a proper name. The numer- 
ous, examples I gave of the use of this proper name can also.be increased; 
Cronert, for instance, in January 1904 referred me to a Greek inscription of 
the 2nd or 3rd cent. a.d. from Rome (Bull, della comm. arch. comm. di Roma, 
1903, 279), IIoXemK^ ovfi^lifi. Cf. also A. Merk, Zeitschrift fiir katholische 
Theologie 35 (ign) P- 414 6- 

* On 4 October, 1906, I examined the papyrus in the British Museum, and 
convinced myself that Grenfell and Hunt were right in reading «^ avraiv in 
1. 13, and Vevoaipi in 1. i, and that 1. 9 reads not «s to eaiu but (as Wilcken had 
pointed out, Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung 3, p. 175) eis toeto) or eis roeyw. 
The conjecture that this might be the name of a place (Chrestomathie, p. 155; 
and the earlier editions of the present work) is now, I think, assured. We 
must read ti's Toerw. A place named Toeto is mentioned several times in the 
London Papyri IV. 1460 and 1461 ; fugitives escape sometimes to Toeto, 
sometimes from Toeto, and there is nothing to show that the place was not in 
the Great Oasis. Toeto was a Kiop-ri or a pagarchy (Wilcken, letter to me, 
16 May, 1911 ; and Chrestomathie, p. vi.). Dies diem docet. 

' Cf. Wilcken, Chrestomathie, p. 155. 



^^^^^^^i^^ 




i,:-^'* -:^ 



Fig. 41. — Letter from Psenosiris, a Christian presbyter, to Apollo, a 
Christian presbyter at Cysis (Great Oasis). Papyrus, beginning of the 4th 
cent. A.D. (Diocletian persecution). Now in the British Museum. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 215 



15 6ri 6 mos oir^s NetXos. koX 
oTav iXOrf <tvv ®€U), fxapTvprj- 
<n troi jrepi fiv auT^v 7r«7roi- 
^Kao-tv. 8[i;]\<i)[(r]oi' [8e] /loi 
K[ai o-v)] TTtpt fiv deXets ti/TaC- 
20 6a ^Siioi iroiovvTL. 

ipprntrOai crt cv^^ojual 
<>' K{vpi)io ®{f)Si. 



(15) her son Nilus come. And 
when he come, with God, he 
shall witness to thee concerning 
what things they have done 
unto her. But do thou also 
declare unto me concerning 
what things thou wouldest 
have done, and (20) gladly 
will I do them. Fare thee 
well, I pray, in the Lord God. 



On the verso the address : 



'AttoWoivi X irapa ^evo(ripto[s] 

TrpitT^vripw X Trpca-fivrepov iv 

K(vpi)a> 



To Apollo 
presbyter 



X from Psenosiris 
X presbyter in the 
Lord. 



23 
Letter from Justinus, an Egyptian Christian, to Papnuthius, a 
Christian, middle of the 4th cent, a.d., papyrus from Egypt, 
now in the University Library, Heidelberg, published by 
Deissmann ^ (Figure 42). ^ 

I give here only the text and translation of the letter, which 
is typical of the popular religion of Egypt in the age of 
Athanasius and Pachomius, and for the rest refer to my 
edition, which gives a detailed commentary. 



[Toi Kvpiut p.ov KOI dyaTTjjTtu] 
[dScX^O) TiairvavBiui ^(piycrTO-] 
[0opco* 'loiMTTtVOS j(atp£iv.] 

;[•' ; • • ■] 

ri\y IStt ypa]<^^v[a]i 7r[pos t^i'] 
arjv ;(/)[ijo-TOT]i7Tav, Kvpie. fiov 
dyairiT«. TruTTtvo/itv yap 
T^f 7rdXiTio[i' (T^ov ivv oipavS). 
iyiOtv Biopovfiiv (ri tov 



To my lord and beloved 
brother Papnuthius, the Christ- 
bearer 3 — Justinus, greeting, 

• • ■ (5) . which it behoved 
[me] to write to thy goodness, 
my beloved lord. For we 
believe thy citizenship in 
heaven. Thence we consider 



* Veroffentlichungen aus der ' Heidelberger Papyrus-Sammlung, I. (Die 
Septuaginta-Papyri und andere altchristliche Texte), Heidelberg, 1905, No. 6 
(pp. 94-104). Further reprints in Milligan, p. 125 ff.; Schubart, p. 106 f. 

* This reproduction reduces the size of the original by one-third. On the left 
is the text of the letter, on the right a part of the verso with the address. 

' [Following H. I. Bell, Jews and Christians in Egypt, London, 1924, pp. 
101 f., 108 f., Deissmann no longer reads X/njoroifiopov, " the son of Chresto- 
phorus," but xp^<"'°<l>°P1'' the word being still" in the 4th cent, as in the time 
of the Ignatian Epistles (Ign., Eph. 9, 2) a technical term, " Christ-bearer," 
applied e.g. to those endowed with special gifts of prayer. See Deissmann's 
Paulus', p. 108, n. 3; Eng. trans. »p. 136, n. 6. Tr.] 



2l6 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



10 SeoTTon/i' KoX Ktvov (ir)a[T]p(«[va]. 
iva ovv fii) iroWa ypatjua koX 
^kvpap-qcria, iv yap [ttoJXX'^ 

XaXta OVK £K<^£ljfoVT[oi] 

(t)^(i') afiapTirj, TrapaKakSi [ojJi/, 
15 SeffTTOTa, tea p.v^p.ov[€]vr]i 
p.01 £ts Tas dyi'as <Tov tuxos, i- 
va hmn)6iofii,iv fiepoi rov (d/Jt-) 
apri&v KaOapLtj-etoi. eis ydp 
i/*a Tov a/xapTOvkov. * irapaKa- 
20 X(o Kara^ioxTov SefecrOai 

TO /iiKpov Ikeov Bia to5 dSeX- 
<^oB ^/icov Moyapiou. TroXXa 
irpo<ra"ya)pei'(iu) irdvTes tovis d- 
8cX^0V9 i}/i(i>i' cf Ku. ippia- 
25 fiivov <Ti rj OC- 

a vpovoia <j>vXaia[i] 
irri ixeyi<TTOv xpo- 

VOV iv Klji XttI, 

Kvpii dya7r»jT[e]. 



thee the (10) master and new 
patron. Lest therefore I should 
write much and prate — for in 
much speaking they shall not 
escape sin * — I beseech thee, 
therefore, (15) master, that 
thou rememberest me in thy 
holy prayers, that we may be 
able [to obtain] a part in the 
purifying from sins. For I am 
one of the sinners.^ (20) Count 
[me] worthy, I beseech, and 
accept this little oil through 
our brother Magarius. I greet 
much all our brethren in the 
Lord. (25) The divine Provi- 
dence keep thee in health for a 
very great time in the Lord 
Christ, beloved lord. 



the address : 

dScXi^o) HairvovBio) )^prj<TT0<f>6pl<o] 



On the verso 
30 [tu> Kvpiio] fiov KoX ayaTrryria 
Trap I Lovtrnvov. 

(30) To my lord and beloved brother Papnuthius, the Christ- 
bearer, from Justinus. 



24 
Letter from Caor, Papas of Hermupolis, to Flavius Abinnaeus, 
■^ an officer at Dionysias in the Fay^m, c. 346 a.d., papyrus 
from Egypt, now in the British Museum, published by 
Kenyon * (Figure 43). 

This little letter is one of the finest among the papyri. 
The situation resembles that in St. Paul's letter to Philemon, 
and the letter from the Papas to the officer can also be com- 

^ Justinus is here quoting the Septuagint (Prov. x. 19) in a form of consider- 
able textual interest. 

' This confession of sin can hardly be so genuinely felt as the peccavi of 
the prodigal son Antonis Longus (letter No. 14, above). 

' See p. 215, n. 3. 

* Greek Papyri in the British Museum, Catalogue with Texts, Vol. II., 
Londoji, 1898, p. 299 f., No. 417. The fascimile (Plate 103) is here reproduced 
by kind permission of the British Museum authorities (Fig. 43). Further 
reprints in Milligan, p. 123 ff.; Wilcken, Chrestomathie p. 156 f. (No. 129); 
and Schubart, p. 109 f. 




'-^r":3: 



t^^ 



'^ k^-^xS^^y^m^'^ i'° ^ 












ay 



^-v ^:;..^-»=«" j=i^ 



"^.1®^ 



^ ^ — ■ :rt 




»" 1i. 



Fig. 42. — Letter (with Address) from Justinus, an Egyptian Christian, to Papnuthius, a 
Christian. Papyrus, middle of the 4th cent. a.d. Now in the University Library, Heidelberg. 



%■ 


















Fig. 43, — Letter from Caor, Papas of Hermupolis, to Flavius Abinnaeus, 
an officer at Dionysias in the Fayum. Papyrus, circa 346 a.d. Now in the 
British Museum. By permission of the Museum authorities. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 217 

pared in contents with that beautiful little letter of the 
Apostle's, though the Papas is not fit to hold a candle to 
St. Paul. 



To) httnroTTi /xo^ koI dyaTTijrcu 

dScX^u) A/iivveto irpai ^ 

Kaop ' TTOTras 'Ep/iouTroAews 

doTrd^<i)/iai * Ta ireSia ^ aov 
iroXXd. 
5 yivoaKiv^ <Ti 6fX(o, Kvpie, 
5r[epi] riai'Xw tov o'TpaTiOTi] ' 
Trepi Trjs ^vyrji, crvv)^iapTJ(Tt * 
avTov TOUTOj TO d/8of,' 
CTTttS^ a(T)(o\u) iXOlv ^^ irp()[s] 
10 (Ttv^^ avTeti/xipi.^^ (cat TrttXtii/,** 
a/1 fir] ^* jroiVcToi,^* €p;^€Tat 



To my master and beloved 
brother Abinneus the Praepo- 
situs — Caor, Papas of Hermu- 
polis, greeting. I salute thy 
children much. I would have 
thee know, lord, concerning 
Paul the soldier, concerning 
his flight : pardon him this 
once, seeing that I am without 
leisure to come unto thee at 
this present. And, if he slacken 

' Abbreviation for irpaiiroaiTm. The title irpaxmanos Kdarptov is the Latin 
praefectus castrorum. 

' I at first suspected an abbreviation Katrrp — Kaarptov. But Kenyon 
informed me (by postcard, London, W.C, 8 June, 1907) that the letters were 
certainly not Kaarp. Both Wilcken (letter, Leipzig, 5 May, 1907), Schubart 
and Carl Schmidt (postcard, Berlin, zg June, 1907) read from the facsimile 
Kaop. The two latter conjecture that -op is the Egyptian god's name Hor 
(as is commonly assumed, though not with certainty, to be the case in the 
name of Origen) . 

^ = ;fatp«v. * ^ daTrd^Ofiai. 

* = TraiSia. * = yivwoKeLV. 

^ ^ IJavXov T,oG arpaTutnov. * = avvxoiprjoai^ 

' = auTui TovTo TO dwof . This is a still older example of the substantival use 
of aiTo^ which occurs in the inscription of King Silco (Dittenberger, Orientis 
Graeci Inscripiiones Selectae,J^o. 201 ; cf. p. 137, 11. 3 above^, which R. Lepsius 
took to be a Copticism. See Dittenberger's notes, 7 and 10. Wilcken 
considers it to be popular Greek. In the Archiv fur Papyrusforschung 6, 
p. 379 Wilcken quotes an example from the 2nd cent. a.d. (oAAa oTraf). Cf. 
further in the early Byzantine Doctrina Jacobi nuper baptizati 45, 17 oAAo djrof 
(P. Maas, Byzantinische Zeitschrift 20, p. 577). A. von Premerstein, Philo- 
logus, Suppleraentband 16, Heft 2, Leipzig, 1923, notes toOto t6 anai in a 
papyrus of the reign of Claudius. [Early examples are furnished by the 
LXX : Judges xvi. 28, Iti to S.na^ ; 2 Sam. xvii. 7, to diro|~ToCTo. Tr.] 

" =eXectv. 

•* = ae. This aev is not a clerical error, but a vulgar use. 

^^ = aiOrfiiepoVt or avnjficpav ? 

" = mXw. 

" This o/i /t^ = eav /tij occurs twice in the bad boy Theon's letter to his 
father Theon (2nd or 3rd cent, a.d.), Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 1198,14; 
cf. above, letter No. 19. 

'' This is Wilcken's reading from the facsimile. Kenyon read at first 
VfSBerai — iJKiSeTai. According to the corrigenda in Vol. III. of the Greek 
Papyri in the British Museum Grenfell and Hunt also read iraJaerai. 



2l8. 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



11,0.1 iroWots XPO" 
15 vbis,' Kvpii /to" 



not, he will come again into 
thy hands * another time. Fare 
thee well, I pray, many years,^ 
my lord brother. 



The letter forms part of the correspondence of Flavius 
Abinnaeus, a Christian ofificer, who about the middle of the 
fourth century a.d. was praefectus castrorum of the camp 
of auxiliary cavalry at Dionysias in the Arsinoite nome. 
Important alike in respect to the history of civilisation, of 
language, and of the Christian religion, this correspondence 
consists of some sixty original papyrus letters, some long, 
some short, some at London and some at Geneva, and still, 
in spite of excellent provisional publications by Kenyon * 
and Nicole,* awaiting a collective edition.* The earliest 
dated letter in this priceless collection was written in the 
year 343, the most recent in 351 a.d. 

Among the numerous unknown persons who have come to 
life again as correspondents of Abinnaeus in this collection 
one of the most remarkable is the writer of the present 
letter, Caor, Papas of Hermupolis. Like Kenyon ' I at 
first took him to be a bishop, understanding the word Papas 
in the same way as in the Christian letter from Rome.^ But 
I was unable to answer the difficult question, which Hermu- 
polis could then be meant ? Lines 9 and 10 would suit neither 
Hermupolis Magna nor Hermupolis Parva, the only sees of 
this name; such an expression as we have there could only 
be used by somebody who lived not far from the residence of 
the addressee. I talked the matter over with my friend 
Wilcken, and he reminded me that several other letters in 

• = aAAo oiraf, cf. n. 9, p. 217. 

^ I.e. he will not desert again while executing an order, but will return to 
you. 

3 = ;(poi/os, " year," is late Greek. 

* Greek Papyri in the British Museum, Vol. II. pp. 267-307 ; and 307 ff. 
' Les Papyrus de Genive, Nos. 45-65. 

Wilcken's valuable notes should not be forgotten, Archiv fur Papyrus- 
forschung, i, p. 162; 3, p. 397. 

' Page 299. 

' Letter No. 21 above. For vdiras as the title of a bishop (abbreviated M) 
cf. Giessen Papyrus No. 55, Thebaid, 6th cent, a.d., and the remarks of the 
editor, P. M. Meyer, who gives further material in the Berliner philologische ' 
Wochenschrift, 1913. col- 875. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 219 

the correspondence of Abinnaeus were written from a village 
called Hermupolis, in the south-west of the Fayum, which 
is mentioned in the papyri from the Ptolemaic age down to 
the seventh century a.d.^ It then seemed to me that the 
obvious thing was to identify the Hermupolis of our papyrus 
with this village, and to regard the Papas not as a bishop 
but as a simple priest. The word Papas was applied in early 
times to village priests,^ so there is no difficulty in so under- 
standing it here. This degradation of the writer of the 
letter in no way detracts from the value of the letter. Of 
the bishops of the fourth century we already knew more 
than enough; in Caor, who calls himself " pope," but is no 
pope, we rejoice to meet a representative of village Chris- 
tianity, and we range him beside Psenosiris, presbyter in 
the Oasis a generation earlier. 

* Details in Grenfell, Hunt, and Goodspeed, The Tebtunis Papyri, Part II., 
London, 1907, p. 376. 

" In the Theologische Literaturzeitung, 27 (1902) col. 360, Harnack notes 
the earliest passage known to him : in the Martyrium Theodoti a Galatian 
village-priest is called Papas. This passage is no doubt older than our papyrus. 
(H. D[elehaye], in the Analecta Bollandiana, 27, p. 443, considers that the 
Martyrium is not so old. But see Ramsay, Luke the Physician, London, 
1908, p. 374.) Cf. further the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae, s.v. Ildnas. The 
differentiation, there shown to be as old as Eustathius of Thessalonica (Opus- 
cula, p. 38, 1. 58, about 1200 a.d.), by accenting the distinguished bishop Wwar 
and the insignificant presbyter ■nwnSs is probably mere learned trifling. The 
history of the meaning of the word Papas is highly interesting. The question 
is, whether the grand word (for bishop or even archbishop or pope) degenerated, 
so that it could be applied to every presbyter, or whether an originally vulgar 
word was gradually ennobled. Looking merely at the comparative frequency 
of the word in its two meanings, one would be inclined to suppose that degenera- 
tion had occurred. But the facts of the case were probably the other way 
round : the word mvas, a native of Asia Minor, where it was used as an epithet 
for Attis and Zeus (A. Dieterich, Eine Mithrasliturgie erldutert, Leipzig, 
1903, p. 147), was probably first adopted from the popular Christianity of 
Asia Minor, and rose only gradually to its narrower and more distinguished 
meaning. Cf. U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorflf, Griechisches Lesebuch, II. 2 
(Erlauterungen),* Berlin, 1902, p. 260; A. Margaret Ramsay in Sir W. M. 
Ramsay's Studies in the History and Art of the Eastern Provinces, p. 27 ; and 
Ramsay, Luke, p. 373 f. If we now possess more examples of the grand 
meaning than of the other, that is because documents of popular Christianity 
have not been preserved in such numbers as those of the higher class (cf. the 
conclusion of this chapter, p. 249). There is therefore philological justifica- 
tion for the old saying that the pettiest priestling conceals a popeling. [The 
German proverb says, " Es ist kein Pfafflein so klein, Es steckt ein Papstlein 
drein " — " No priestling so mean But hides a popeling, I ween." Tr.] On 
irdiras as a secular title cf . Crum, Catalogue of the Coptic Manuscripts in the 
Collection of the John Ry lands Library, Manchester, Manchester, 1909, p. 145. 



220 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Whether the " Pope " of Hermupolis was master of the 
Greek language seems to me to be a doubtful question. The 
good man was certainly not learned ; indeed, his syntax is so 
rudimentary and his orthography so autocratic that many 
a rude soldier's letter shows to advantage beside this of the 
Papas. Perhaps the man's mother-tongue and language for 
ordinary occasions was Coptic ; Greek he had learnt in a very 
vulgar form, and, good or bad, he made the best use he could 
of it. But I cannot help feeling that this violence to grammar, 
which would be unendurable in a book, is really not so bad in 
a letter, especially in this letter : it merely serves to strengthen 
the tone of unaffected sincerity. 

What is the letter all about ? Paul, one of the soldiers 
of the garrison under Abinnaeus, has been entrusted with 
some commission to execute,^ and has failed to return to his 
commanding officer. After more or less vagabondage the 
deserter tires of the business and would like to go back. 
But how is he to set about it ? how escape the punishment 
that is certainly in store for him ? Then at Hermupolis he 
makes a village-priest his confidant and intercessor, promis- 
ing by all that is sacred that he will behave better in future. 
The Papas is in some doubt about the case ; perhaps he knows 
the ecclesiastical ordinances dating from the concordat 
between church and state, by which deserters are to be visited 
with ecclesiastical penalties, and he is not sure whether the 
man's good resolutions may be trusted. But the pastor 
triumphs over the man of. ecclesiastical discipline, and he 
good-naturedly gives the deserter this note to take with him. 
If his Greek is not unexceptionable, his command of the 
epistolary formulae of an age of growing formalism is at 
least as good as that of the polite and unctuous Justinus.^ 
Without further argument he throws into the scale for Paul 
his personal friendship with Abinnaeus and his children, 
and then at once ventures to ask for a pardon. " This once " 
is delightful, and the pastor, foreseeing the weakness of the 
flesh, must have smiled as he wrote " if he slacken not." The 

' This seems a fair inference from lines ii and 12. 

' Note tlie formal resemblances between the letters of Caor and Justinus 
(No. 23 above), and compare the stereotyped nature of the formulae in the 
correspondence of Abinnaeus as a whole. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 221 

officer, who knows the fellow, is intended to smile too, in 
spite of his wrath, and it may be that Paul will after all go 
scot free. 

This little genre painting gains in interest when we re- 
member that the treatment of deserters was a problem 
that occupied the early church and even led to a conciliar 
decree. In the year 314 the Council of Aries determined 
" that those who throw down their arms in time of peace 
shall be excommunicate." ^ Caor the Papas of Hermupolis, 
however, solved the problem in his own way — and, I think, 
not badly. 

25 
Letter from Samuel, Jacob, and Aaron, three Egyptian candidates 
for the diaconate, to their bishop, Abraham of Hermonthis{?) , 
c. 600 A.D., Coptic ostracon from Egypt, now in the possession 
of the Egypt Exploration Fund, published by Crum ^ (Figure 
44)- 
This and the following Coptic ostracon, of the period pre- 
ceding the tremendous upheaval that Islam brought upon 
Egypt, may close our selection of letters. The Bishop 
Abraham to whom the first ostracon is addressed, and who 
probably caused the second to be written, Crum^ conjectures 
with good reasons to be identical with the Bishop of Hermon- 
this who is known from his will, now extant on papjnrus * 
in the British Museum, to have been living as an anchorite 
on the Holy Mount of the Memnonia (= JSme) near Thebes, 
most probably towards the end of the 6th cent, a.d.^ I owe 
the translation of these instructive texts to the kindness of 
my friend Carl Schmidt, of Berlin.* 

' Canon III : De his qui arma proiciunt in pace placuit abstineri eos 
it communione; cf. Harnack, Militia Christi, Die christliche Religion, und 
der Soldatenstand in den ersten drei Jahrhunderten, Tiibingen, 1905, p. 87 ff. 

' Coptic Ostraca from the Collections of the Egypt Exploration Fund, the 
Cairo Museum and others. No. 29 (p. 8 of the lithographed part, and p. 9 of 
the letterpress). The facsimile of the back of the ostracon (Fig. 44) is repro- 
duced here from Plate I. with the kind consent of the Egypt Exploration 
Fund. 

' Coptic Ostraca, p. xiiif. 

• Greek Papyri in the British Museum (Vol. I.), No. 77 (p. 231 ff.). 
' Coptic Ostraca, p. xiii f. 

• [As, far as possible the wording of Crum's (incomplete) translation has 
been used here. Tr.] 



222 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



Recto 

(f ) 1 I, Samuel, and Jacob and Aaron, we write to our holy 
father Apa Abraham, the bishop." Seeing ^ we have requested * 
thy paternity that thou wouldest ordain * us deacons, « we are 
ready ' to observe the commands * and canons ' and to obey 
those above us and be obedient i* to the superiors and to watch 
our beds on the days of communion ** and to . . . the Gospel ^^ 
according to " John and learn it by heart " 

Verso 

'by the end of Pentecost. If we do not learn it by heart and 
cease to practise it,"^^ there is no hand on us. And we will not 
trade nor take usury nor will we go abroad without asking (leave). 
I, Hemai, and Apa Jacob, son of Job, we are guarantors for 
Samuel. I, Simeon and Atre, we are guarantors for Jacob. 
I, Patermute the priest,^* and Moses and Lassa, we are guarantors 
for Aaron. I, Patermute, this least ^' of priests,'* have been 
requested ^* and have written this tablet "" and am witness. 

One wonders what the episcopal archives of the holy 
father Apa Abraham can have looked like, destined to contain 
such potsherd petitions as this.^^ Probably they were as 
primitive as the potsherd itself, as primitive as the intel- 
lectual equipment of the three prospective ecclesiastics, 
Samuel, Jacob, and Aaron, who have displayed the extent 
of their learning, ability, and ambition on this ostracon 
We ought rather to say, they got the least of all presbyters, 
Patermute, to display it for them, for — there is no con- 
cealing it — they themselves could perhaps only read, and 
not write at all. 

The three worthies are about to be ordained deacons; 

' Coptic letters generally begin with tlie monogram of Christ. 

' (moKonos. ' cVfiSij. [Crum compares i Cor. i. 22 (R.V.). Tr.] 

* irapaKaXe'Lv^ ^ XeipoTovetv. ^ StaKovoS' ' eToi/io?. 

** evToXai. * Kavoves. ^^ vTroTaaaeadai. ^^ avvayeiv, 

1- tiayyiXiov. [Crum gives " master(?) " in the place of Schmidt's blank. 
Tr.] 

" Kara. " aTrofmjffi^fiv. On this word see p. 2^3, n. 11. 

'' fieAera^. (Crum has : " and if we do not so but keep it by us (?) and 
recite it." Tr.] '" ■irpeaP(vTtpos) ■ " iXaxtaroi. 

" npeiofivTepos). '" aheiv. "» wAaf (of white limestone). 

" ' Crum (p. 9 f .) has published a number of similar petitions from candidates. 












Fig. 44. — Letter from Samuel, Jacob, and Aaron, candidates 
for the diaconate, to Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis (?). 
Coptic ostracon, circa 600 a.d. (verso). Now in tlie possession 
of the Egypt Exploration Fund, by whose permission it is 
reproduced. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 223 

but before the " hand " of the bishop "is on them " they 
must fulfil the requirements of the sacred ordinances.^ 
They must be prepared, firstly to keep the commandments * 
and rules,' secondly to obey their superiors, thirdly " to 
watch their beds " * on communion days, fourthly to abjure 
commerce and take no usury, and fifthly to fulfil the duty 
of residence. All this, however, I expect, troubled them less 
than a special condition which the bishop had imposed upon 
them. Apa Abraham had set other candidates to learn the 
Gospel according to Matthew,^ or according to Mark,* or a 
gospel,' or a whole gospel * by heart, or to write out the 
Gospel according to John ' ; Bishop Aphu of Oxyrhynchus 
once required of a candidate for deacon's orders five-and- 
twenty Psalms, two Epistles of St. Paul, and a portion of a 
gospel to be learnt by heart ^° ; and the task assigned to our 
three friends was to learn by heart the Gospel according to 
John by the end of Whitsuntide^ and practise reciting it." 
Failing this, they could not be ordained. This stipulation 
presupposes some sort of examination by the bishop before 
ordination. The sureties produced by the candidates — 



' Cf. Crum's excellent citations (p. 9) from Egjrptian ecclesiastical law, 
which I have made use of in what follows. 

' Of God and the bishop ; this is clear from the allied ostraca. 
1 Of the Church. 

• Crum thinks this refers to sexual continence of the married clergy (post- 
card to the author, Aldeburgh, 13 September, 1907). Still it should be 
possible, I think, to explain the expression with reference to watching through 
the nights before communion. 

' Ostracon No. 31, Crum, p. 9. 

• Ostracon No. Ad. 7, Crum, p. 10. 
, ' Ostracon No. 34, Crum, p. 10. 

' Ostracon No. 39, Crum, p. 11. 

• Ostracon No. 37, Crum, p. 10. This probably throws some light on the 
origin of the gospel texts on ostraca already discussed (p. 57 ff.). We may 
suppose that they were written by prospective ecclesiastics at the bishop's 
orders. Our general judgment of the texts is not affected by this supposition ; 
these potsherd-clerics are certainly not to be counted with the cultured class, 
they belong to the non-literary common people. 

^'' Evidence in Crum, p. 9, where still more examples are given. 

" The future historian of this custom of learning by heart must not neglect 
the similar phenomena in Judaism and Islam. Early Christian material is 
collected by E. Preuschen, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 15 (1906) p. 644 ; and 
especially by Reitzenstein, Historia Monachorutn, pp. 162 fi., and 61 f., where 
the verb airooTiiOiCav, occurring on our ostracon, is shown to be a technical 
expression. 



224 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

three by one candidate, and two each by the others — are 
again in accordance with the ecclesiastical regulations.^ 

A singular revelation of sorry circumstances this potsherd 
letter must be to those who imagine that three hundred^ 
years after the triumph of Christianity all the young clergy' 
of Egypt would be theologians gifted with the knowledge of 
an Origen. But there can be no talk of a decline of learning 
in the case : the average education of the clergy probably 
never had been greater in this remote country district. 
And Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis, with his sympathy 
for the life of an anchorite, was not likely to be the man to 
raise the standard of learning among his people. The 
numerous documents from his hand, or from his chancery, 
written on the material used by the very poorest, and published 
by Crum, show him to have been a practical man, and 
particularly a man of discipline. 

26 
Letter probably from Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis (?) in Egypt 
to the clergy of his diocese, c. 600 a.d., Coptic ostracon from 
Egypt, now in the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund, 
published by Crum ^ (Figure 45). 

There may be some doubt concerning the persons to 
whom this episcopal letter was sent. It deals with the ex- 
communication of a certain Psate, who was guilty of some 
misconduct towards the poor. The letter might therefore 
have been addressed to Psate's own church, but it is equally 
possible that copies of the letter of excommunication were 
sent to all the churches in the diocese.' 

The question. What was Psate guilty of? depends on the 
interpretation of navKi^w, a word borrowed from the Greek, 
which keeps on recurring in the letter. It is not immediately 
obvious * what its meaning is here. The lexicographer 

* Cf. Crum, p. 9. 

^ Coptic Ostraca, No. 71 (p. 16 f. of the lithographed text, and p. 13 of the 
letterpress) . The facsimile of the back of the ostracon (Plate I.) is here repro- 
duced by kind permissioft of the Egypt Exploration Fund (Fig. 45). 

' Cf. the similar practice of the West at this period, F. Kober, Der Kirchen- 
bann nach den Grundsdtzen des canonischen Rechts, Tiibingen, 1857, p. 177. 

* E. A. Sophocles' lexicon fails us completely : neither of its two quotations 
can be found. Theinformation in the Thesaurus is better. Gleye, Padagog- 
ischer Anzeiger fiir Russland, 1912, No. 3 (offprint, p. 3), refers to Ducange, 
appendix, for the meaning " to enervate " (effeminare). 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 225 

Hesychius says it means " to act as pander " ^ and in this 
sense it occurs according to Johannes Baptista Cotelerius in 
the Nomocanon edited by him.* It is, however, a question 
whether it has not a wider meaning there, something like 
" to bring into misery." ^ In an old Greek penitentiary * 
the word occurs in a question of the father confessor, prob- 
ably in the meaning " to seduce." I know no other instances 
of the use of the word. In the case of this ostracon the 
meanings " act as pander " and " seduce " seemed to Crum 
and Carl Schmidt not to suit particularly well; I therefore 
conjectured a wider meaning " oppress," " bring into misery," 
and in the former editions of this work I allowed it to stand in 
Carl Schmidt's translation. I now think, however, that the 
meaning " to play the pander," " to procure," or " to seduce " 
should be adopted.* 

Recto . 

Since * I have been informed that Psate seduceth ' the poor 
and they have told me saying,* " He seduceth ' us and maketh 
us poor and wretched " ; he that seduceth ' his neighbour is 
altogether reprobate ' and he is like unto Judas (5) who rose ^^ 
from supper ^^ with his Lord and betrayed i" Him, as ^^ it is 

^ fiavXt^diV fiaoTponevtjiv. Cf. also the Index graeco-latinus (p. 577 fiavXiar-^s) 
and anglosaxonicus-latinus (p. 706 scyhend maulistis) in the Corpus Glossari- 
orum Latinorum, vol. VII., false. II., Lipsiae, 1903. According to M. Lambertz, 
Glotta 6, p. 5 f . /iauAioTijpioi' ("brothel"?) is a Lydian word. [Scyhend is 
the present participle of a rare Old English verb *scyccean (the infinitive is 
conjectural), " to seduce," a derivative of scucca, " demon, devil." The 
modern English equivalent of scucca is shuck,' the name of a dog-fiend or 
spectre hound in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, and the adjective shy is related. 
Modern German cognates are scheuchen, " to scare," and Scheusal, " thing of 
horror." See the New English Dictionary and the English Dialect Dictionary. 
Tr.] 

^ Ecclesiae Graecae Monumenta, Tomus I., Luteciae Parisiorum, 1677, 
p. 158 A, cf. p. 734 C ; eight years of penance are imposed on the ij.avMl,uiv. 

' The jiavXiloyv is in company with the men who plough false furrows, give 
short measure and short weight, and sow their neighbours' fields (?). 

* Edited by Jo. Morinus in his Commentarius Uistoncus de Disciplina in 
Adminisiratione Sacramenti Poenitentiae, p. 466 of the Venice edition of 1702 
which I use, i/iavXiaas nva ; "hast thou seduced anyone to unchastity? " 

' Crum says " ill-use." (Tr.) • €ir«8ij. ' ^auAiijaK. 

" Carl Schmidt suspects a clerical error here. 

» Crum translates " is excluded from the feast." 
'" Carl Schmidt prefers " who sat." 
*^ heiTTVov. ^* irapaStSovoft. ^' Kara. 



226 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

written, " He that eateth my bread hath lifted up his heel against 
me." 1 He that seduceth ^ his neighbour is altogether reprobate 
and he is like unto the man to whom Jesus said, " It were better 
for him (lo) if he had not been born,"^ that is Judas. He that 
seduceth ^ his neighbour is altogether reprobate and he is like 
unto them that spat in His face * and smote Him on the head.^ 
He that seduceth * his neighbour is altogether reprobate and he 
is like unto Gehazi, unto whom (15) the leprosy of Naaman did 
cleave, and unto his seed.* The man that seduceth ^ his neighbour 
is altogether reprobate and he is like unto Cain, who slew his 
brother. (20) The man that seduceth * 

Verso 

his neighbour is altogether reprobate and he is like unto Zimri, 
who slew his master.' He that seduceth * his neighbour is alto- 
gether reprobate and he is like unto Jeroboam, who (oppressed?) 
(5) Israel, sinning (?).* He that seduceth ^ his neighbour is 
altogether reprobate, and he is like unto them that accused 
Daniel the prophet.' He that seduceth ^ his neighbour is alto- 
gether reprobate and he is like unto them that accused Susanna, i' 
But ^1 he that seduceth ^ his neighbour is altogether (10) reprobate 
and he is like unto the men that cried, " His blood be on us and on 
our children." ^^ The man that seduceth ^ his neighbour is alto- 
gether reprobate and he is like unto the soldiers i' that said, " Say 
ye. His disciples " came (15) by night and stole Him away, while 
we slept." 1^ 

This episcopal letter, which we may regard as a kind of 
letter of excommunication, has nothing particularly original 
about it. No doubt practically all of it is well-worn material, 
and even the monotony of the formulae of excommunication 

' Psalm xl. [xlj.] 10 as quotedin John xiii. 18. ' /lavXlleiv. 

' Matt. xxvi. 24 = Mark xiv. 21. 

• Matt. xxvi. 67 II Mark xiv. 65. 

• Ibid. " On the head " is inexact. 

" ancp/ia. The allusion is to 2 Kings v. 27. 

' 2 Kings ix. 31, Za/iPpel 6 ^ovevr^s tov xvpCov airov, " Zimri who slew his 
master." 

' I Kings xii. 30. 

• Trpo^^T-ijs. Dan. vi. 13, 24. 

»» Susanna 28 ff. " S^. 

" Matt, xxvii. 25. 

" This is a slight error of the bishop's; the words were spoken to the 
soldiers, not by them. 
'* fmOirrai. " Matt.xxviii. 13. 




Fig. 45. — Letter probably from Bishop Abraham of Hermonthis ( ?) 
to the clergy of his diocese. Coptic ostracon, circa 600 a.d. (verso). 
Now in the possession of the Egypt Exploration Fund, by whose 
permission it is reproduced. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 227 

is borrowed. 1 But this record of episcopal discipline was 
most certainly intelligible to common folk and effective with 
them, and in the severity against Psate, who had wronged 
" the poor," we see the survival of a sentiment thoroughly 
characteristic of the primitive Christians. 

4. In the foregoing pages we have brought together six- 
and-twenty letters of ancient date. Had we merely printed 
the text of the letters, and nothing more, a casual reader 
might have supposed as he turned the pages that he had before 
him fragments of ancient literature. Witkowski's magni- 
ficent collection of letters of the Ptolemaic age, which has 
found its way into Teubner's " Bibliotheca Scriptorum 
Graecorum et Romanorum," is no doubt placed by many 
purchasers without further thought on the same shelf as the 
other Scriptores. A glance, however, at the facsimiles of 
the original letters will banish at once in almost every case 
the thought of literature : no page of an ancient book ever 
looked like that letter of Antonis Longus to his mother 
Nilus, or like the ostracon addressed by the three candidates 
to Bishop Abraham. And whoever goes on to make himself 
acquainted with the contents of the texts will see still more 
clearly that he has before him not products of literary art 
but documents of life, and that Mnesiergus and Zoilus, 
Hilarion, Apion, and Sempronius are not Scriptores, nor is 

' For the passage about Judas and for the form in general cf. the Nomo- 
canon above cited in Cotelerius, I. 155 C, Seurcpa a/tapn'a iarlv Sons . . . fuoti 
Kal KaraXaXei tov ttXtjoIov avTov. o/xoio; yap cotlv tov irapaSwaai^os rov Kvpiov. Sto 
If at ^CT* avTov ex<oaiv iiepos, " the second sin is, whosoever . . . hateth and 
slandereth his neighbour; for he is like unto him that betrayed the Lord. 
Therefore shall they also have their portion together with him." Judas is 
frequently the type of the reprobate with whom no communion- is possible : 
[I;f0i t]iji' fiipLha tov Eiovha tou [wpoSoTOu] toO hiairorov ■^fiiov '/[ijaou XpuxT]ov, 
" may he have the portion of Judas, the betrayer of our Lord Jesus Christ," is 
the imprecation in the epitaph of a Christian deaconess at Delphi (not later 
than 6th cent, a.d.) on whomsoever shall open the tomb, Bulletin de Corre- 
spondance Hell6nique, 23 (1899) p. 274, and the same curse is found in many 
other epitaphs (Victor Schultze, i)z« Katakomben, Leipzig, 1882, p. 158.; 
Miinz, Anatheme und Verwunschungen auf christlichen Monumenten, Annalen 
des Vereins fur Nassauische Altertumskunde und Geschichtsforschung, 14 
[1887], p. 169 S.), also in the official anathema of the Council of Toledo, 633 
A.D., and other councils (Kober, Der Kirchenbann, pp. 41, 37). Of course the 
ecclesiastical formulae have been influenced by Jewish precedent : cf. the 
leprosy of Gehazi in our ostracon and in a Jewish formulary cited by Kober, 
p.5f. 



228 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

even Psenosiris, although that little letter of his, snatched 
from the dust of the Great Oasis, already figures in two 
histories of literature. Though we have printed them in a 
book, these ancient texts have nothing to do with books and 
things bookish. They are non-literary — ^most of them 
popular as well as non-literary — admirably adapted to 
familiarise us with the essential characters of popular and 
non-literary writing, and with the character of the non- 
literary letter in particular. 

What is a letter? A letter is something non-literary, a 
means of communication between persons who are separated 
from each other. Confidential and personal in its nature, 
it is intended only for the person or persons to whom it is 
addressed, and not at all for the public or any kind of publicity. 
A letter is non-literary, just as much as a lease or a will. 
There is no essential difference between a letter and an oral 
dialogue; it might be described as an anticipation of the 
modern conversation by telephone, and it has been not 
unfairly called a conversation halved.^ It concerns nobody 
but the person who wrote it and the person who is to open it. 
From all other persons it is meant to be a secret. Its con- 
tents may be as various as life itself, and hence it is that 
letters preserved from ancient times form a delightful collec- 
tion of the liveliest instantaneous photographs of ancient 
life. The form of the letters also varies greatly; but in the 
course of centuries a number of formal peculiarities were 
developed, and we not infrequently find the same forms 
becoming stereotyped into formulae in civilisations apparently 
quite independent of one another. But neither contents, 
form, nor formulae can be decisive in determining the 
characteristic nature of a letter. Whether the letter is written 
on lead or on earthenware, on papyrus or parchment, on 
wax or on palm-leaf, on pink notepaper or on an inter- 

' The expression occurs in antiquity. Demetrius, De elocutione (Epistolo- 
graphi Graeci, rec. Hercher, p. 13) traces back to Artemon, the editor ol 
Aristotle's letters, the saying that " a letter is the half of a conversation." 
See further in Bibelstudien, p. 190; Bible Studies, p. 3 B. Aurelius Archelaus, 
the beneficiarius whose letter we have cited above (No. 17), also knows this 
comparison of a letter with a conversation : " hanc epistulam ant' oculos 
habeto, domine, puta[t]o me tecum loqui." This beautiful simile was there- 
fore quite a popular one. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 229 

national postcard, is as immaterial as whether it is clothed 
in the conventional formulae of the period. Whether it 
is well expressed or badly, long or short, written by a soldier 
or a bishop, that does not alter the peculiar characteristic 
which makes it a letter.^ Nor are the special contents any 
more decisive : the cool business letter of Harpocras, the 
impudent bojdsh scrawl of Theon, and the sanctimonious 
begging-letter of Justinus are distinguished from the coarse- 
ness of Hilarion and the despair of Ahtonis Longus only by 
the tone and the spirit in which they are written. 

If the non-literary character of the letter, especially the 
ancient letter, has not always been clearly grasped, the 
explanation and excuse lie in the fact that even in antiquity 
the form of the non-literary letter was occasionally employed 
for literary purposes. At the time of the rise of Christianity 
the literary letter, the epistle as we have already called it," 
had long been a favourite genre with writers among the Greeks, 
Romans, and Jews. 

What is an epistle ? An epistle is an artistic literary form, 
a species of literature, just like the dialogue, the oration, or the 
drama. It has nothing in common with the letter except its 
form ; apart from that one might venture the paradox that the 
epistle is the opposite of a real letter. The contents of an 
epistle are intended for publicity — they aim at interesting 
" the public." If the letter is a secret, the epistle is cried in 
the market ; everyone may read it, and is expected to read 
it : the more readers it obtains, the better its purpose will 
be fulfilled. The main feature of the letter, viz. the address 
and the detail peculiar to the letter, becomes in the epistle 

' Cf. Bihelstudien, p. 190 ; Bible Studies, p. 4. 

' Cf. p. 140, n. 4 above. So also Adolf Wagner writes in Die Hilfe, 2 
(1896) p. 2, to Friedrich Naumann, the editor of that newspaper : " But, my 
dear sir, vfhat was meant to be a mere letter has grown into a long epistle — a 
regular essay, though written in haste." Even in the early centuries of the 
church people were sensible of the distinction between a letter and an epistle. 
A. von Harnack (postcard, Grunewald, 19 April, 1921) replying to one of my 
" Evangelische Wochenbriefe ■' (" Protestant Weekly Letters " — ^which he 
justly terms epistles) refers me to Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. VII. xxvi. 2, where, 
speaking of the writings of Dionysius of Alexandria, it is said that there are 
extant by him imoToXaX koL S-q TroAuevreiy Xoyoi ev emaroA^s x^P*""^?' ypa^eiT«, 
" letters and copious treatises written in the manner of letters." Among 
the latter Eusebius cites books which can really only be classed with letters 
inasinuch as they contain dedications. 



230 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

mere external ornament, intended to keep up the illusion of 
" epistolary " form. Most letters are, partly at least, un- 
intelligible unless we know the addressees and the situation 
of the sender. Most epistles are intelligible even without 
our knowing the supposed addressee and the author. To 
attempt to fathom the soul of a letter-writer is always ven- 
turesome ; to understand what an epistolographer has written 
is- apprentice-work by comparison. The epistle differs from 
a letter as the dialogue from a conversation, as the historical 
drama does from history, as the carefully turned funeral 
oration does from the halting words of consolation spoken 
by a father to his motherless child — as art differs from 
nature. The letter is a piece of life, the epistle is a product 
of literary art. 

Of course there are things intermediate between letter and 
epistle. There are so-called letters in which the writer ceases 
to be naive, perhaps because he thinks himself a celebrity 
and casts a side-glance at the public between every word, 
coquettishly courting the publicity to which his lines may 
some day attain. " Letters " such as these, epistolary 
letters (the counterpart of letter-like epistles), more than 
half intended for publication, are bad letters; with their 
frigidity, affectation, and vain insincerity ^ they show us 
what a real letter should not be. 

5. A large number of examples of both groups, letters and 
epistles, have come down to us from antiquity. 

For a letter to become public and reach posterity is, strictly 
speaking, abnormal. The letter is essentially ephemeral, 
transitory as the hand that wrote it or the eyes for which it 
was destined.^ But thanks to loving devotion, or learning, or 

' Letters such as these no doubt inspired Grillparzer's paradox (recorded 
byAugustSauerintheDeutscheLiteraturzeitung,27, igoe.col. 1315) : " every 
letter is a lie." [Franz Grillparzer, the great Austrian dramatist, 1791-1872. — 
The English reader may like to see the same thought expressed in character- 
istic style by Dr. Johnson. Criticising the letters of Pope, he says in the 
Lives of the Poets : " There is, indeed, no transaction which offers stronger 
temptations to fallacy and sophistication than epistolary intercourse." Tr.] 

2 Adolf Schmitthenner says (Die Christliche Welt, 15, 1901, col. 731) : 
" Printed letters are really a self-contradiction. A letter implies pen and ink, 
the one person who writes it, the other to whom it is written, and nothing more. 
It is a substitute for intercourse by word of mouth. Such intercourse ends 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 231 

accident, or spite, we possess and may read letters that were 
not addressed to us. At an early date it became the custom 
after the death of eminent men to collect their manuscript 
remains. The first case of the publication of such a collec- 
tion of real letters among the Greeks is considered to be that 
of Aristotle's, soon after his death in 322 B.C. Whether 
fragments of this genuine collection are preserved among the 
" Letters of Aristotle " ^ that have come down to us, is a 
matter of question. The traditionary letters of Isocrates * 
(t 338 B.C.) are probably to some extent genuine, and the 
letters of Plato have been recently, in part at least, pronounced 
genuine by eminent scholars. Authentic letters of Epicurus 
(t 270 B.C.) have also come down to us, among them a frag- 
ment of a delightfully natural little letter to a child,^ com- 
parable with Luther's celebrated letter to his son Hansichen.* 
We may mention further one example among the Latins.^ 
Cicero (f 43 B.C.) wrote an enormous number of letters, four 
collections of which have come down to us. Still more 
valuable to us in many respects than these letters of great, 
men are the numerous letters of unknown persons which the 
new discoveries have brought to light, .and of which we have 
already given a selection in this book. They possess the 

with the spoken word and leaves no trace, save in our inward being. Should 
it not be the same also with that which takes its place ? Ought we not from 
time to time to burn all our correspondence ? — We do not." [Schmitthenner 
was a Heidelberg pastor and story-writer of distinction, 1854-1907. Tr.] 

• Edited by R. Hercher in the Epistolographi Graeci, pp. 1 72-1 74. 
^ In Hercher, pp. 319-336. 

' In Hermann Usener, Epicurea, Leipzig, 1887, p. 154; Bibelstudien, 
p. 219 f., Bible Studies, p. 28, and U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorflf, Griechisches 
Lesebuch, I. 2,' p. 396, and II. 2', p. 260. It is not certain whether the child 
was Epicurus' own. 

* [See Letters of Martin Luther selected and translated by Margaret A. 
Currie, London, 1908, p. 221. Te.] 

' Hermann Peter, Der Brief in der romischen Litteratur : Litterargeschicht- 
liche Untersuchungen und Zusammenfassungen (Abhandlungen der philo- 
logisch-historischen Classe der Konigl. Sachsischen Gesellschaft der Wissen- 
schaften, Bd. XX. No. III.), Leipzig, 1901, supplies a great deal of material, 
but suffers from lack of a distinction between letter and epistle, isolates 
" Roman " literature too rigidly, describes the suppression of individuality as a 
characteristic feature of classical antiquity, and judges the men. of the period 
far too much according to the accidental remains of classical literature. Cf . 
my review in the Theologische Literaturzeitung, 27 (1902) cols. 41 ff. — I have 
not seen Loman's Nalatenschap, I., Groningen, 1899, pp. 14-42; cf. G. A. van 
den Bergh van Eysinga, Protestanische Monatshefte, 11 {1907) p. 260. 



232 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

inestimable advantage that they have come down to us in 
the autograph original, and that their writers had not the 
slightest thought of future publication, so that they constitute 
a completely unprejudiced testimony on the part of the 
forgotten writers. They not only yield valuable evidence 
regarding the nature and form of the ancient letter, ^ they 
are also instructive to those who study the nature and form of 
Biblical and early Christian letters.^ 

It is not surprising that we possess so many specimens 
of ancient epistles. As an artistic literary form the epistle 
has no intention of being transitory. Being published 
from the first in a considerable number of copies it cannot 
so easily perish as a letter, of which there is only one or at 
most two copies made. It is moreover a very easily 
manageable form of literature. It knows no rigid laws of 
style ; it is only necessary to employ the few epistolary 
flourishes and then affix an address. Hence it comes that 
every man of letters, even the least well-fitted, was able to 
write epistles, and the epistle became one of the most widely- 
used genres. Right down to the present day it has remained 
a favourite in all literatures. Of ancient epistolographers 
there are, for instance, Dionysius of Halicarnassus and Plutarch 
among the Greeks, L. Annaeus Seneca and the younger Pliny 
among the Romans, to say nothing of the poetical epistles of 

1 It was therefore an extremely promising subject that the Philosophical 
Faculty of Heidelberg set for a prize competition in 1898-9 : " On the basis 
of a chronological review of Greek private letters recently discovered in 
papyri, to describe and exhibit historically the forms of Greek epistolary 
style." The subject was worked out by G. A. Gerhard, but of his work only 
a portion was published (cf. above, p. 151, n. 3). Cf. moreover the valuable 
work of Ziemann, already mentioned ; also Wendland, Hellenistisch-romische 
Kultur'i', p. 411 ff. ; and A. Calderini and M. Mondini, Repertorio per lo studio 
delle letlere private dell' Egitto Greco-Romano (Studi della Scuola Papirologica 
II. 109 ff.), Milano, 1917. 

' Some day, when we possess exact chronological statistics of the formulae 
employed in ancient letters, we shall be better able to answer a whole series of 
hitherto unsolved problems relating to the Biblical and early Church writings, 
froin the approximate chronology of the Second and Third Epistles of St. John 
(and so, indirectly, of the First Epistle and the Gospel of St. John) to the 
question of the authenticity of the epistle of Theonas to Lucianus (cf . Harnack, 
Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 11, 1886, cols. 319 fif. and Geschichte der alichristlichen 
Literatur, I. p. 790; Bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur, II. 
p. 216 £f.), etc. On the other hand many of the early Christian letters that 
have come down to us through literary sources can be exactly dated, and thus 
enable us to draw conclusions as to the age of some papyri that have not yet 
been dated. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 233 

Lucilius, Horace, and Ovid. The epistle was especially 
frequent in the literature of magic and religion. Nor must 
we forget mention of one special feature in the literary history, 
i.e. pseudonymous (or rather " heteronymous ") epistolo- 
graphy. Particularly under the successors of Alexander and 
in the early Empire numerous epistles were written under 
false names, not by swindlers, but by unknown men of letters 
who for some reason or other did not wish to inention their 
own names. They wrote " letters " of Demosthenes, of 
Aristotle and Alexander, of Cicero and Brutus. It would be 
a mistake to brand as downright forgeries these products of 
a literary instinct that was certainly not very sincere or 
powerful. It is certain that letters were forged, but it is 
equally certain that most " pseudonymous " epistles are 
witnesses to a very widespread and unobjectionable literary 
habit. 1 

6. What is the use to us of this distinction between letter 
and epistle, to which we have been led by the ancient letters 
on lead, papyrus, and earthenware ? 

The New Testament contains a considerable number of 
texts, larger or smaller, calling themselves " Letters " — 
" Letters " of Paul, of James, of Peter, etc. Fresh from 
our consideration of the ancient letters and epistles, we are 
at once alive to the problem : Are the " Letters " of the 
New Testament (and further, of early Christianity in general) 
non-literary letters or literary epistles? The fact that all 
these " letters " have been handed down by literary tradition 
and were first seen by all of us collected in a book, might 
long deceive us as to the existence of the problem. Most 
scholars regard all these texts unhesitatingly as works of 
literature. But now that the new discoveries of letters 
have shown the necessity of differentiation, and have given 
us a standard for judging Whether an ancient text is letter- 
like in character, the problem can no longer be kept in the 
background. And I think the study of these ancient letters, 
newly discovered, obliges us to maintain that in the New 
Testament there are both non-literary letters and literary 
epistles. 

• Cf. Bibelstudien, p. 199 ff. ; Bible Studies, p. 12 ff. 



234 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

The letters of Paul are not literary ; they are real letters, 
not "epistles; they were written by Paul not for the public 
and posterity, but for the persons to whom they are addressed. 
Almost all the mistakes that have ever been made in the 
study of St. Paul's life and work have arisen from neglect of 
the fact that his writings are non-literary and letter-like in 
character. His letter to the Romans, which for special 
inherent reasons is the least like a letter, has determined the 
criticism of all his other letters. But we must not begin our 
discussion of the question how far Paul's letters are true 
letters by examining the one to the Romans. We must begin 
with the other letters, whose nature is obvious at first sight. 
The more we have trained ourselves, by reading other ancient 
letters, to appreciate the true characteristics of a letter, the 
more readily shall we perceive the relationship of Paul's 
letters to the other non-literary texts of the period. 

Paul's letter to Philemon is no doubt the one most clearly 
seen to be a letter. Only the colour-blindness of pedantry 
could possibly regard this delightful little letter as a treatise 
" On the attitude of Christianity to slavery." In its inter- 
cession for a runaway it is exactly parallel to the letter, 
quoted above, from the Papas of Hermupolis to the officer 
Abinnaeus. Read and interpreted as a letter this un- 
obtrusive relic from the age of the first witnesses is one of 
the most valuable self-revelations that the great apostle has 
left us : brotherly feeling, quiet beauty, tact as of a man of 
the world — all these are discoverable in the letter.^ 

If, as seems to me probable for substantial reasons, the 
i6th chapter of Romans was specially written by Paul to 
be sent to Ephesus, we have in it a text about which there 
can be no doubt that it is letter-like in character. It is easy 
to produce parallels from the papyrus letters, especially for 
the one most striking peculiarity of this letter, viz. the 
apparently monotonous cumulation of greetings. There is, 
for instance, Tasucharion's letter to her brother Nilus * 
(Fayum, second century A.D.) and the letter of Ammonius 
to his sister , Tachnumi ^ (Egypt, Imperial period). Their 

1 Cf. Wilhelm Baur, Der Umgang des Christen mit den Menschen, Neue 
Christoterpe, Bremen und Leipzig, 1895, p. 151. 

2 Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 601. 

" Paris PapjTus, No. 18 (Notices et extraits des manuscrits de la biblio- 
th^que imp., t. XVIII. 2, p. 232 f .) ; Bibelstudien, p. 215 f. ; not in Bible Studies. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 235 

resemblance to Romans xvi. is most striking ; Paul, however, 
enlivens the monotony of the long list of greetings by finely 
discriminative personal touches.^ So too there is no lack of 
analogies for a letter of recommendation plunging at once 
in medias res and beginning with " I commend." ^ 

In opposition to the Ephesian hypothesis it is usual to ask. 
How came this little letter to Ephesus to be united with the' 
long letter to Rome as handed down to us? This question 
can perhaps be advanced a little by reference to ancient 
customs of letter-writing. We knew already that letter- 
books were in use in antiquity, containing either copies of 
the letters sent ^ or collections of letters received.* We 
now possess a number of interesting papyrus fragments of 
letter copy-books : among others * one of the Ptolemaic 
period, now in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, with copies 
of letters from an official®; one of the year 104 a.d., also 
with official documents (two letters and one rescript), now in 
the British Museum ' ; and one from Hermupolis Magna, 

• The long list of greetings has, by the way, survived in precisely similar 
form in the epistolary style of the Mediterranean world down to the present 
day. Examples : the Coptic letter of " poor " Athanasius, bishop of Tapotheca 
(i8th and 19th cent, a.d.), in Crum, Catalogue of the Coptic Manuscripts in the 
Collection of the John Rylands Library, Manchester, No. 461 (p. 231 ff.) ; and 
a letter in my possession from a South Italian naval stoker (postmark, R. 
Nave Amalfi, 7 Oct., 1913). which in form and contents reflects altogether 
unchanged the ancient popular characteristics. Michele Petrone, to whom I 
showed this letter, said that during the war he read a great many similar 
letters, especially from the sons of Italian peasants. The Russian peasant 
letter shows the same peculiarity : the principal contents consist not of news 
but of greetings (Eugen Mayer, Frankfurter Zeitung, 5 April, 1922). 

» The letters in Epistolographi Graeci, rec. Hercher, p. 259 (Dion to Rufus) 
and p. 699 (Synesius to Pylaemenes) begin, like Rora. xvi., with awiaTTqiu. 

' Libri litterarum missarum. References in Wilcken, Archiv fiir Papyrus- 
forschung, i, p. 372; and in Otto Seeck, Die Brief e des LibUnius zeitlich 
geordnet, Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen 
Literatur, New Series, 15, i, Leipzig, 1906, p. 19 ff., and Studien zu Synesios, 
Philologus 52 (1893), pp. 442-483; G. Grutzmacher, Synesios von Kyrene, 

Leipzig, 1913. P- II- 

' Libri litterarum adlatarum. References in Wilcken, Archiv, 1, p. 372. 
Of special interest is a papyrus roll at Vienna, consisting entirely of different 
letters to the same addressee stuck together. Also in the Berliner Griechische 
Urkunden, Nos. 1203-1209, we have letters of the years 29-23 B.C. stuck 

together. 

' Wilcken (ArcTiiy fiir Papyrusforschung, 5, p. 221) mentions also the Lille 
Papyrus No. 3 (c. 241-240 B.C.) and the papyrus in Milanges Nicole, Geneve, 

1905. P- 58 ff. 

« Edited by John P. MahafJy, cf. Wilcken, Archiv, 1, p. 168. 

' Greek Papyri, Vol. III. No. 904,. p. 124 ff., with facsimile (Plate 30). A 
portion of this fragment (the rescript) is given below. Fig. 51, facing p. 271. 



236 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

of the beginning of the second century A.D., now in the 
Heidelberg University Library,^ with copies of three letters 
from one Heliodorus ^ to Eutychides, Anubas, and Phibas, 
each of whom he calls " brother." These three letters are 
written in three parallel columns in the same hand ; the upper 
margin contains in each case the praescript, " Heliodorus to 
N. N., his brother, greeting." 

Now we know that St. Paul did not write his letters with 
his own hand, but dictated them.^ The handwriting of the 
originals and of the letter copy-books, if such existed, will 
therefore have varied in appearance with the amanuensis. 
The little letter to Ephesus was written by a certain Tertius,* 
and the letter to Rome, being of the same date, would no 
doubt be written by the same Tertius and stand in his hand- 
writing next to the Ephesian letter in the copy-book. In 
making a transcript from the copy-book it was the easier 
for the two letters in the same hand to run into one another 
because in the copy-book the praescripts were generally 
abbreviated.* And how easily might any upper margin, 
containing the praescript, break off ! Just look, for example, 
once more at the letter of Justinus.^ When once the prae- 
script was gone, however, the two letters would fall into 
one.' But even if we assume that St. Paul's letters were 
reproduced not from copy-books but from the originals, the 
two letters might easily have become confused owing to the 
similarity of the handwriting.* 

The two " Epistles to the Corinthians " that have come 

' Provisional number 22 ; not yet published. 

' Letters from other members of this man's family are preserved in the 
Amherst Papyri, Kos. 131-135. Heliodorus himself is mentioned there more 
than once. There are other letters of his at Heidelberg. 

' Cf. above, pp. 166, n. 7; 171 f. 

* Rom. xvi. 22. 

' Wilcken, Archiv, i, p. 168. 

' No. 23, with facsimile, Fig. 42, p. 216 above. 

' There is perhaps a case of this kind in the unpublished Heidelberg papyrus 
No. 87. This also belongs to the correspondence of Heliodorus and contains 
a letter from him to his father Sarapion in one wide column. To the right are 
visible remains of a second column; the right-hand margin has been torn ■ 
away. Was there a second praescript at the top of the second column ? If 
so, the papyrus must be part of a second letter copy-book belonging to 
Heliodorus. Cf . also p. 206, note i above. 

' The question of the technique followed in the compilation of ancient 
collections of letters will have to be gone into some day in its widest connexions. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 237 

down to us also belong to the group of real letters. What is 
it that makes the second Epistle so extremely unintelligible 
to many people? Simply the fact that it is out-and-out a 
letter, full of allusions which we for the most part no longer 
fully understand. St. Paul wrote this letter with the full 
strength of his personality, putting into it all the varied 
emotions that succeeded and encountered one another in his 
capacious soul — deep contrition and thankfulness towards , 
God, the reformer's wrath, irony and trenchant candour 
towards the vicious. The first " Epistle to the Corinthians " 
is calmer in tone because the situation of the letter is different, 
but this also is no pamphlet addressed to the Christian public, 
but a real letter to Corinth, in part an answer to a letter from 
the church there. 

The two " Epistles to the Thessalonians " are also genuine 
letters, the first even more so than the second. Written in 
comparative composure of mind, they represent, one might 
say, the average type of a Pauline letter. 

The " Epistle to the Galatians," on the other hand, is the 
ofEspring of passion, a fiery utterance of chastisement and 
defence, not at all a treatise " De lege et evangelio," the 
reflection rather of a genius flashing like summer lightning. 

The " letters of the captivity," of iwhich we have already 
mentioned that to Philemon, will perhaps gain most in mean- 
ing when treated seriously as letters. We shall come more 
and more, as we weigh the epistolary possibilities and prob- 
abilities of actual letter-writing, to shift the problem of their 
date and origin from the profitless groove into which the 
alternative " Rome or Caesarea " must lead ; we shall try to 
solve it by the assumption that Colossians, Philemon, and the 
" Epistle to the Ephesians " (Laodiceans), and also Philip- 
pians were written during an imprisonment at Ephesus ^ 
(or various periods of arrest in Asia). The contrast both in 
subject and style which has been observed between Colossians 

» The careful reader of St. Paul's letters will easily find evidences of an 
imprisonment of St. Paul at Ephesus.— I may remark, in answer to a reviewer 
of the first edition, that I do not owe this hypothesis (which has meanwhile 
met with a number of ingenious champions in the case of Philippians) to 
H. Lisco's book, Vincula Sanctorum. Berlin, 1900. I introduced it when 
lecturing at the Theological Seminary at Herborn in 1897. with application 
to Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians. 



238 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

and Ephesians oil the one hand and the rest of the Pauline 
Epistles on the other is likewise explained by the situation 
of those letters. Paul is writing to churches that were not 
yet known to him personally, and what seems epistle-like in 
the two letters ought really to be described as their reserved, 
impersonal tone. The greatest stone of offence has always 
been the relationship between the contents of the two texts. 
Now I for my part see no reason why Paul should not repeat 
in one " epistle " what he had already said in another; but 
all astonishment ceases when we observe that we have here a 
missionary sending letters simultaneously to two different 
churches that he is anxious to win. The situation is the 
same in both cases, and he treats practically the same questions 
in like manner in each letter. The difference, however, is after 
all so great that he asks the two churches to exchange their 
letters.^ The most remarkable thing to me is the peculiar 
liturgical fervour of the two letters, but this is the resonance 
of notes that are occasionally struck in other Pauline letters 
and which are not 'without analogies in contemporary, texts 
of solemn import in non-Christian cults. 

The " Epistle to the Philippians," most gracious of all 
St. Paul's writings to the churches, is obviously letter-like. 
As already hinted, the question of where it was written stands 
also in great need of re-examination, for statistics carefully 
compiled from inscriptions and papyri would show that 
" praetorium " ^ and " Caesar's household," * which have 
hitherto always been taken to indicate Rome, are by no means 
necessarily distinctive of the capital. 

The Ephesian theory of St. Paul's prison writings, suggested 
by a consideration of the probabilities of actual letter-writing, 
opens up new possibilities of accounting for the Pastoral 
Epistles, or at least some of them. The chief problem lies 
not in their language or the teaching contained in them, but 
in the circumstances under which the letters, were written. 



» Col. iv. i6. 

" Phil. i. 13. A beginning of such statistics was made by Theodor Momm- 
sen, Hermes, 35 (1900) pp. 437-442. 

' Phil. iv. 22. This does not refer to the palace (there were imperial 
palaces elsewhere than in Rome), but to the body of imperial slaves, scattered 
all over the world. We have evidence of imperial slaves even at Ephesus. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 239 

the journeys that must be presupposed, and other external 
events in the lives of the apostle and his companions. 

In the case of " Romans " one might at first be in doubt 
whether it were a letter or an epistle.^ At any rate its 
letter-like character is not so obvious as that of 2 Corinthians. 
Yet it is not an epistle addressed to all the world or even to 
Christendom, containing, let us say, a compendium of St. 
Paul's dogmatic and ethical teaching. Its mere length 
must not be held an argument against its letter-like character : ^ 
there are long letters,* as well as short epistles. " Romans " 
is a long letter. St. Paul wishes to pave the way for his visit 
to the Roman Christians ; that is the object of his letter. The 
missionary from Asia does not yet know the Western Church, 
and is known to it only by hearsay. The letter therefore 
cannot be so full of personal details as those which the apostle 
wrote to churches long familiar to him. " Romans " may 
strike many at first as being more of an epistle than a letter, 
but on closer examination this explains itself from the 
circumstances of writing. Here also, therefore, if we would 
understand its true significance, we must banish all thought 
of things literary.* Not even the oldest codices of the New 
Testament, to say nothing of printed editions, give a perfectly 
correct idea of the spirit of this text. What was originally 
non-literary has there by subsequent develojSment become 
literary. Early in the fourth century a Christian at Oxy- 
rhynchus — ^his name was probably Aurelius Paulus — copied 
the beginning of Romans for some private, purpose, very 

1 Cf. also the examination of this question by M. J. Lagrange, The Con- 
structive Quarterly 3 (1915) p. 501 flf. 

' Cf. Bibelstudien, p. 237 ; Bible Studies, p. 45. 

' E.g. the petition of Dionysia to the Pra^sfect, Oxjrrhynchus Papyri, No. 
237 (186 A.D.) is not much shorter than the Epistle to the Komans. This 
gigantic letter, between two and three yards long, gives one a good idea of the 
probable outward appearance of St. Paul's " long " letters — great rolls made 
of single-column sheets stuck together. 

♦ Wilhelm Bousset (Theologische Literaturzeitung, 22, 1897, col. 358) says 
admirably : " Paul's Epistles — even that to the Romans — must he read as 
outpourings from the heart of an impulsive prophet-like personality, and not 
as dialectic didactic writings." Similarly Adolf Jiilicher in the Gegenwarts- 
bibel (Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments neu iibersetzt und fiir die Gegenwart 
erklart, herausgegeben von Johannes Weiss, II. 2, Gottingen, 1905, p. 2) : 
" The Epistle to the Romans remains a letter not only in form but in 
essence. ..." 



240 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

likely for use as an amulet, on a sheet of papyrus that is 
now in the Semitic Museum of Harvard University (Fig. 46).^ 
The coarse, rustic, non-litpfary uncials in which he wrote, or 
got somebody to write, are more in keeping with St. Paul's 
letter than the book-hand of episcopally trained scribes. 
Those powerful lines assume once more the simple garb they 
probably wore in the autograph of Tertius written from 
Paul's dictation at Corinth. 

Taking one thing with another I have no hesitation in 
maintaining the thesis that all the letters of Paul are real, 
non-literary letters.^ St. Paul was npt a writer of epistles 
but of letters ; he was not a literary man. His letters were 
raised to the dignity of literature afterwards, when the piety 
of the churches collected them, multiplied them by copying 
and so made them accessible to the whole of Christendom. 
Later still they became sacred literature, when they were 
received among the books of the " New " Testament then 
in process of formation; and in this position their literary 
influence has been immeasurable. But all these subsequent 
experiences cannot change the original character of Paul's 
letters. Paul, whose yearning and ardent hope expected the 
Lord, and with Him the Judgment and the world to come — 
Paul, who reckoned the future of " this " world not by 
centuries and millenniums but by years, had no presentiment 
of the providence that watched over the fate of his letters in 
the world's history. He wrote with absolute abandon, more 
so than Augustine in ]^\s' Confessions, more than the other 
great teachers * in their letters, which not infrequently are 

1 The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 209. The facsimile (Fig. 46) is reproduced 
by kind permission of the Egypt Exploration Fund. Cf. my discussion of the 
papyrus in the Theologische Literaturzeitung, 26 (1901) col. 71 f. After 
a long study of early Christian amulets, I now prefer the theory that the 
papyrus served as an amulet for the Aurelius Paulus who is named in a 
cursive hand beneath the text from Romans. The folds also favour this 
explanation. 

' Cf. the fine observations of Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Die 
griechische Literatur des Alterturas, Die Kultur der Cegenwart, Teil I. 
Abteilung 8, 2 Auflage, Berlin und Leipzig, 1907, p. 159 f., and of Johannes 
Weiss in the Gegenwartsbibel, II. 1, pp. i fif. 

' Again and again in conversation I have been reminded of the epistle-like 
character of so many " letters " of the Fathers, and a similar character has 
been claimed for the letters of Paul. But it is quite mistaken to attempt to 
judge Paul's letters by the standard of later degenerations from the type. 



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THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 241 

calculated for publication as well as for the immediate 
recipient. 

This abandon constitutes the chief value of the letters of 
St. Paul. Their non-literary characteristics as letters are a 
guarantee of their reliability, their positively documentary 
value for the history of the apostolic period of our religion, 
particularly the history of St. Paul himself and his great 
mission. His letters simply are " document " — original 
tidings.^ They are the remains, scanty it is true, but contain- 
ing the essential part, of the records of the propaganda of the 
cult of Christ — just as the letter of Zoilus,* lately come to 
light, represents a missionary document of the cult of Serapis. 
The exegesis of St. Paul's letters therefore becomes spontane- 
ously a matter of psychological reproduction, justice being 
done to the ebb and flow of the writer's temporary moods. 
The single confessions in the letters of a nature so impulsive 
as St. Paul's were dashed down under the influence of a 
hundred various impressions, and were never calculated for 
systematic presentment. The strange attempt to paste them 
together mechanically, in the belief that thus Paulinism might 
be reconstructed, will have to be given up. Thus Paulinism 
will become more enigmatical, but Paul himself will be seen 
more clearly; a non-literary man of the non-literary class 
in the Imperial age, but, prophet-like in personality, rising 
above his class and surveying the contemporary educated 
world with the consciousness of superior strength. All the 
traces of systematisation that are found here and there in 
him are proofs of the limitation of his genius ; the secret of 
his greatness lies in religion apart from system.* 

There are two more real letters in the New Testament, 
viz. 2 and 3 John. Of the third Epistle I would say with 



Paul wrote under circumstances that could not be repeated, circumstances 
that preclude all possibility of playing with publicity or with posterity : he 
wrote in expectation of the end of the world. 

1 [A pun in the German : Urkunde = " document," but it is spelt here 
l/r-i^MMie, " original tidings ; pristine knowledge." Tr.] 

* Letter No. 2 above, p. 152. 

' I refer to my book, Paulus. Eine kultur- und religionsgeschichtliche 
Skizze, Tubingen, 191 1, '1925 {St. Paul, translated by Lionel R. M. Strachan, 
London, 1912; 2nd ed. by William E. Wilson, 1926; in Swedish, in shorter 
form, Stockholm, 1910, '1918). 



242 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff ^ : "It was entirely a 
private note . ; . ; it must have been preserved among the 
papers of Gains as a relic of the great presbyter." ^ The 
second Epistle of St. John is not so full of letter-like detail 
as the third, but it too has a quite definite purpose as a letter, 
although we cannot say with complete certainty who the 
lady was to whom it was addressed. That it was addressed 
to the whole church seems to me quite impossible. The two 
letters are of especial interest because they clearly show in 
several instances a peculiar type of epistolary style, concern- 
ing which it is to be hoped that, with the aid of the papyri, 
we shall some day be able to set the bounds of its date more 
exactly. 

7. With the same certainty with which we describe the 
Pauline and two Johannine epistles as real non-literary letters, 
we recognise in other New Testament texts literary epistles, 
most clearly in the Epistles of James, Peter, and Jude,* 
which have from ancient times been known as " catholic " 
or " general." * A glance at the " addressees " shows that 
these are not real letters. Impossible demands are made of 
the " bearer " if we are to imagine one. A " letter," for 
instance, superscribed " to the twelve tribes which are 
scattered abroad " would be simply undeliverable. James, 
in \yhose praescript we find this " address," writes as does 
the author of the Epistle of Baruch " to the nine-and-a-half 
tribes that are in captivity." In these cases we have to do 
not with definite addressees but with a great " catholic " 
circle of readers. The authors did not despatch a single 
copy of their " letter," as St. Paul did of " Philippians," 
for example : they published a number of copies of a 
pamphlet. 

The Epistle of James is from the beginning literary, a 
pamphlet addressed to the whole of Christendom, a veritable 

• Lesefriichte, Hermes, 33 (1898) p. 529 ft. This essay is especially 
instructive on points of style. 

« Page 531. 

" Cf. the excellent remarks of Georg HoUmann and Hermann Gunkel in 
the Gegenwartsbibel, II. 3, pp. i and 25. 

' This old designation includes by implication the essential part of our 
observations. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 243 

epistle. The whole of its contents agrees therewith. There 
is none of the unique detail peculiar to the situation, such as 
we have in the letters of St. Paul, but simply general questions, 
most of them still conceivable under the present conditions 
of our church life. But the Epistle of James is nevertheless 
a product of popular literature. The Epistles of Peter and 
of Jude have also purely idealised addresses ; the letter-like 
touches are merely decorative. Here we have the beginnings 
of a Christian literature; the Epistles of Jude and Peter, 
though still possessing as a whole many popular features, 
already endeavour here and there to attain a certain degree 
of artistic expression. 

The question of the " authenticity " of all these epistles 
is, from our point of view, not nearly so important as it would 
certainly be if they were real letters. The personality of the 
authors recedes almost entirely into the background. A great 
cause is speaking to us, not a clearly definable personality, 
such as we see in the letters of St Paul, and it is of little 
importance to the understanding of the text whether we 
know the names of the writers with certainty or not. From 
our knowledge of the literary habits of antiquity, as well as 
on general historical grounds, we are bound to regard the 
catholic epistles first and foremost as epistles issued under 
a protecting name, and may therefore call them, in the good 
sense of the word, heteronymous. 

It is very noteworthy in this connexion that the longest 
" epistle " in the New Testament, the so-called Epistle to 
the Hebrews, is altogether anonymous, as it has come down 
to us. Even the " address " has vanished. Were it not for 
some details in xiii. 22-24 that sound letter-like, one would 
never suppose that the work was meant to be an epistle, not 
to mention a letter. It might equally well be an oration or 
a "diatribe";'- it calls itself a "word of exhortation" 
(xiii. 22). It is clear from this example how in epistles all 
that seems letter-like is mere ornament ; if any of the ornament 
crumbles off, the character of the whole thing is not essentially 
altered. Failure to recognise the literary character of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews has led to a large number of super- 

' [In the sense of " disquisition " or " critical discussion." The word is 
ambiguous in German as well as in English. Te.] 



244 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

fluous hypotheses about the "addressees," etc.,^ and the 
fact has been overlooked that the Epistle gains immensely in 
importance if really considered as literature : it is historically 
the earliest example of Christian artistic literature. What 
had been shyly attempted in some other epistles has here 
been more fully carried out. Alike in form and contents this 
epistle strives to rise from the stratum in which Christianity 
had its origin towards the higher level of learning and culture. 

The so-called " First Epistle of St. John " has none of the 
specific characters of an epistle, and is, of course, even less 
like a letter. The little work has got along with the epistles, 
but it is best described as a religious " diatribe," in which 
Christian meditations are loosely strung together for the 
benefit of the community of the faithful. 

The " Apocalypse of John," however, is strictly speaking 
an epistle : it has in i. 4 an epistolary praescript with a religious 
wish, and in xxii. 21 a conclusion suitable for an epistle. The 
epistle is again subdivided at the beginning into seven small 
portions addressed to the churches of Asia — Ephesus, 
Smyrna, Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea. 
These again are not real letters, sent separately to the respective 
churches and afterwards collected together. All seven pf 
them, rather, have been written with an eye to the whole, 
and are to be read and taken to heart by all the churches, not 
only by the one named in the address. They represent, 
however, in my opinion, a more letter-like species of epistle 
than those we have been considering. hitherto. The writer 
wishes to achieve certain ends with the single churches, but 
at the same time to influence the whole body of Christians, or 
at any rate Asiatic Christians. In spite, therefore, of their 
familiar form his missives have a public and literary purpose, 
and hence they are more correctly ranged with the early 
Christian epistles than with the letters. They belong more- 

' Cf. William Wrede, " Das literarische Ratsel des Hebraerbriefs. Mit 
einem Anhang iiber den literarischen Charakter des Barnabasbriefs " (Part 8 
of the " Forschungen," edited by W. Bousset and H. Gunkel), Gottingen, 1906. 
Wrede agrees with my view. As he very well puts it (p. 73), " The main 
point in the end is to recognise the whole epistle as a literary work." In 
recent works on Hebrews this problem has received abundant consideration; 
cf. for instance its profound treatment by Eduard Riggenbach in Zahn's 
Kommentar zum Neuen Testament, vol. 14'/', Leipzig, 1922, p. xii ff . 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 245 

over to a large species of religious epistolography, which 
still plays an important part in the popular religion of the 
present day,^ viz. the " letters from heaven." ^ 



8. Having clearly worked out the difference between the 
non-literary letter and the literary epistle, we are now able to 
attempt a sketch of the literary development of Primitive 
Christianity. If in doing so we speak of times or periods, we 
do not mean to imply that sharp chronological divisions are 
possible. 

Christianity, then, does not begin as a literary movement. 
Its creative period is non-literary. 

Jesus of Nazareth is altogether unliterary. He never 
wrote ' or dictated a line. He depended entirely on the 
living word, full of a great confidence that the scattered seed 
would spring up. Always speaking face to face with His 
friends, never separated from them by the ocean. He had no 
need to write letters. In His rural homeland He wanders 
from village to village and from one little town to another, 
preaching in a boat or in synagogues or on a. sunlit hill, but 
never do we find Him in the shade of the writing-room. 
Excelling them of old time in reverence, as in all things else. 
He would not have ventured to take the prophet's pen and 
add new " Scriptures " to the old, for the new thing for which 
He looked came not in book, formulae, and subtle doctrine, 
but in spirit and in fire. 

Side by side with Jesus there stands, equally non-literary, 

• In May 1906 I bought at Athens for 5 lepta a reprint of a " letter of 
Christ " that was being sold in the streets together with lives of saints : 
^EttiotoXtj tov Kvpiov Tj^oiv 'Itjoov XpwTov evpedetaa cm toG Tojjmv rijs deoTOKOv, 
" Letter of our Lord Jesus Christ, found on the grave of the Mother of God." 
During the Great War " letters from heaven " played a prodigious part. 

* Cf. on this subject Albrecht Dieterich, Blatter fiir hessische Volks- 
kunde, 3 (1901) No. 3, and Hessische Blatter fiir Volkskunde, i (1902) 
p. 19 ff.; V. G. Kirchner, Wider die Himmelsbriefe, Leipzig-Gohlis, 1908 
(wages war of extermination against these " letters from heaven ") ; W. 
Kohler, " Briefe von Himmel und Briefe aus der HoUe," Die Geisteswissenschaf- 
ten I (1913-14) pp. 588 ff., 619 ff., and Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 
3, col. 29 ff. ; R. Stube, Der Himrnelsbrief in der Religionsgeschichte, Tubingen, 
1918; Gressmann, Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften, 
Berlin, 1921, p. 620 ff. — ^As a new example No. 23 of the Odes of Solomon is 
worth noting. 

' [The writing in John viii. 6, 8 was not literary. Tr.] 



246 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

His apostle. Even from the hand of St. Paul we should 
possess not a line, probably, if he had remained, like his 
Master, in retirement. But the Spirit drove the cosmopolite 
back into the Diaspora. The great world-centres on the roads 
and on the coasts become homes of the gospel, and if the. 
artisan-missionary at Ephesus wishes to talk to the foolish 
Galatians or the poor brethren at Corinth, then in the midst 
of the hurry and worry of pressing daily duties he dictates 
a letter, adding at the end a few lines roughly written with his 
own hard and weary weaver's hand.^ These were no books 
or pamphlets for the world or even for Christendom; they 
were confidential pronouncements, of whose existence and 
contents the missionary's nearest companions often knew 
nothing : Luke even writes his Acts of the Apostles without 
knowledge of the letters of St. Paul (which were written but 
not yet published). But the lack of all publicist intention, 
the complete absence of literary pose, the contempt of the 
stylist's sounding phrase, — this it was that predestined St. 
Paul's unbookish lines, so unassuming and yet written with 
such powerful originality, to literary fortunes of truly world- 
wide import to history. They were to become a centre of 
energy for the future, influencing leading men and books and 
civilisations down to the present day. 

Such sayings of the non-literary Jesus as have been re- 
ported to us by others, and such non-literary letters as remain 
to us of St. Paul's, show us that Christianity in its earliest 
creative period was most closely bound up with the lower 
classes and had as yet no effective connexion with the small 
upper class possessed of power and culture. Jesus is more in 

' When I first wrote these lines I was unconsciously expressing myself 
quite in the manner of the apostolic age, even as to form. Thus, according 
to Eusebius {Eccl. Hist. III. xx. 3), did the relatives of Jesus describe themselves 
before Domitian : etra Se Kai tcLs x^ipas ris eavrwv iinSaKvvvai, iiaprvptov ttjs 
avTovpyCas rijv rov aaifiaros OK\r)plav KaX toOi airo ttjs ovvcxoCs epyaoCas ivairorvnio- 
flevxaf em ruiv Ihiwv xfip'in' tuAows ■napioravras, " then showed they also their hands 
and, as a witness of their working themselves, the hard places on their bodies 
and the callosities that had come impressed upon their hands by continual 
labour." 

^ One of the worst blunders ever made by criticism was to explain the 
particularly clear tokens of this connexion as later Ebionite interpolations. 
But even if we surrendered to these critics all that Jesus says about mammon, 
Ve shall still, for linguistic and other reasons, be bound to maintain our thesis. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 247 

company with the small peasants and townsmen of a rural 
civilisation — the people of the great city have rejected Him; 
St. Paul goes rather with the citizens and artisans of the great 
international cities ^ ; but both Jesus and St. Paul are full 
of magnificent irony and lofty contempt where the upper 
classes are concerned. But the conventional language of 
rural civilisations is always the simpler, and therefore the 
popular standard and popular elements are seen much more 
clearly in Jesus than in St. Paul. Paul's letters, however, 
are also popular in tone. This is most conspicuous in his 
vocabulary, but even the subject-matter is adapted to the 
problems, difficulties, and weaknesses of humble individuals. 
Only, of course, a man of St. Paul's greatness has knowledge 
beyond the thousand-word vocabulary ^ of (say) a mere loafer 
at the docks, leading a vegetable existence, and with no 
religion except a belief in daemons. St. Paul has a poet's 
mastery of language, he experiences with unabated force in 
the depths of his prophet-soul the subtlest, tenderest emotions 
known in the sphere of religion and morals, and he reveals 
his experience in the personal confessions contained in his 
letters. 

The creative, non-literary period is followed by the con- 
servative, literary period, but this receives its immediate 
stamp from the motive forces of the former epoch. The 
earliest Christian literature is of a popular kind, not artistic 
literature ' for the cultured.* It either creates a simple form 
for itself (the gospel), or it employs the most artless forms 

» The whole history of Primitive Christianity and the growth of the New 
Testament might be sketched from this point of view. [Cf. the author's 
article in The Expositor, February to April 1909, " Primitive Christianity and 
the Lower Classes." Tr.] 

' [The "thousand" should not be thought of literally. Otto Jespersen, 
Language, London, 1922, p. 126, points out the absurdity of the myth (to 
which Max Miiller gave currency) that an English farm labourer has only 
about 300 words at command. Minute investigation shows the vocabulary 
of Swedish peasants to amount to at least 26,000. words. Tr.] 

' At the present day it is possible for literature to be both popular, in the 
above sense, and artistic, viz. when it imitates consciously the forms which 
have grown up naturally in popular books. 

• Cf. Georg Heinrici in " Theologische Abhandlungen Carl von Weizsacker 
. . . gewidmet," Freiburg i. B., 1892, p. 329 : " The New Testament writings 
are distinguished by a far-reaching neglect of the laws that were recognised 
throughout the classical world as governing artistic representation." 



248 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

assumed by Jewish or pagan prose (the chronicle, apocalypse, 
epistle, " diatribe "). The popular features exhibited are 
of two kinds, corresponding to the characteristic difference 
that struck us when comparing Jesus and St. Paul : we 
have on the one hand the influence of the country and 
provincial towns, on the other hand that of the great towns 
predominating. ^ 

The synoptic gospels, themselves based on earlier little 
books, exhibit the local colour of the Galilean and Palestinian 
countryside ; the great city, in which the catastrophe occurs, 
stands in frightful contrast to all the rest. The Epistle of 
St. James will be best understood in the open air beside the 
piled sheaves of a harvest field; it is the first powerful echo 
of the still recent synoptic gospel-books. 

St. Luke dedicates his books to a man of polish, but this 
does not make them polite literature. Here and there the 
language of his gospel, and more especially the style and 
subject-matter of his book of apostolic history, mark the 
transition to the popular books in which the cosmopolite tone 
prevails. To this latter class belong, so it seems to me, the 
Epistle of Jude, the Epistles of Peter, and the book of the 
seven cities (Revelation of St. John). This last is particularly 
popular in character, written with the passionate earnestness 
of a prophet who speaks the popular language of his time, and 
is familiar with the images created by the popular imagination 
of the East.2 

The Gospel of St. John, in spite of the Logos in the opening 
lines,* is altogether popular, and so is the " diatribe " which 
goes under the name of the First Epistle of St. John.* These 

' I hope nobody will suppose that I intend to hint at any difference of value 
between these two classes. 

' A sharp eye trained by the study of Diirer and Rembrandt sees clearly the 
marked popular character of this picture-book. This was shown me by a 
remark in a letter from Prof. Carl Neumann, of Kiel, dated Gottingen, 6 March, 
1905 : "In one of my Gottingen semesters I studied the Apocalypse with 

Albrecht Durer and then read 's commentary. Putting aside the thousand 

and one pros and cons and questions about sources, and looking at the effect 
of the whole, as the commentator is no longer naive enough to do, I must say 
I have never come across a work of such coloristic power in the contrasts, I 
might even say of such tremendous instrumentation. There is something 
of barbaric unrestraint about it all." 

' Cf. p. 69 f. above. 

* This sentence contains obviously, in concisest form, a whole programme 
of work to be carried out, which has, however, engaged my attention for thirty 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 249 

Johannine texts are still most decidedly popular works, but 
they are neither decidedly rural nor decidedly urban; rural 
and urban, synoptic and Pauline are united together into 
what I should call intercultural, oecumenical Christian 
characteristics. 

After this the production of popular Christian literature 
never ceased. It runs through the centuries. Often it 
went on as it were subterraneously, in holes and corners, in 
secret conventicles — from the earliest known texts of vulgar 
Latin, the Muratorian Canon, and the swarm of late gospels, 
" acts," and " revelations " which are branded as apocryphal, 
to the books of martyrdoms, legends of saints, and pilgrimages, 
— from the postils, consolatories, and tractates down to the 
vast modern polyglot of missionary and edifying literature. 
Even to-day the greatest part of this popular literature 
perishes after serving its purpose. The dullest book of pro- 
fessorial hypothesis in theology, which nobody ever will 
read, finds a place in our libraries, but books of prayer that 
served whole generations for edification become literary 
rarities after a hundred years. Thus of the whole vast mass 
of Christian popular literature of all times only a scanty 
remnant has come down to us, and even this is almost stifled 
by the volume of learned theological literature, which has 
pushed itself, bulky and noisy, into the foreground. 

If we trace this technical literature of theology back to its 
beginnings we come to the Epistle to the Hebrews, a work 
which seems to hang in the background like an intruder 
among the New Testament company of popular books. It 
marks an epoch in the literary development of Christianity 
inasmuch as it is the first tolerably clear example of a litera- 
ture which still, like the older popular writings, appealed only 
to Christians and not to the whole, world, but was consciously 
dictated by theological interests, and dominated (quite 
unlike the letters of Paul) by theological methods, and the 
endeavour to attain beauty of form. Christianity has moved 
from its native stratum and is seeking to acquire culture. 

years. In opposition to the widespread and widely prevalent view of the 
Johannine texts which emphasises their aristocratic and doctrinaire features 
it is time to do justice to their ho less marked popular character and intimate 
connexion with the cult. 



250 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

It was but a step from this artistic literature for Christians 
to artistic literature for the world, such as the apologists of 
the second century produced. The subsequent lines of this 
development are well known. 

But before Christian literature ventured on this great step 
into the world, the pristine inheritance was separated off 
from the books of the after-generation by the insurmountable 
barrier of a new canon. The formation of the New Testa- 
ment is the most important event in the literary history of 
mankind : wherein lay its significance, merely as regards 
literature ? • It meant, in the first place, the preservation of 
the rdics of the past age. Secondly, that the non-literary 
part of these relics was raised to the rank of literature, and 
the impulse given to unite all the parts gradually into a single 
book. Finally, that texts older than " the church " were 
elevated to standards for the church, and popular texts 
became a book for the world. ^ The fact that scarcely any 
but popular and primitive Christian writings found their way 
into the nascent New Testament is a brilliant proof of the 
unerring tact of the Church that formed the Canon. 

g. "We have reached the end of a chapter, and if anyone 
should object that its results could all have been obtained 
without the aid of the inscriptions, papyri, and ostraca, it is 
not for me to enter an indignant denial. Speaking for my- 
self, however, I am bound to say that I had never grasped 
those main lines of the literary development of Christianity 
until I took up the study of the class of document we have 
been considering. Then it was that the great difference 
between literary and non-literary writing impressed itself on 
me, and I learnt from the papyrus letters to appreciate the 
characteristics of the non-literary letter. 

From that time onward the literary history of Primitive 
Christianity stood out* before me in all its grandeur. 

It began without any written book at all. There was 
only the living word, — the gospel, but no gospels. Instead 
of the letter there was the spirit. The beginning, in fact, was 
Jesus Himself. This age of the spirit had not passed away 

• Just as, philologically, it meant that the vulgar language was elevated to 
the realm of things literary. 



THE NEW TESTAMENT AS LITERATURE 251 

before the apostle Paul was at work. He wrote his letters 
not to gain the ear of literary men, but to keep up confidential 
intercourse with undistinguished non-literary persons. 

Next there sprang up among the Christian brotherhoods 
popular books with no pretensions to literary art. Yet these 
were the beginnings of Christian cult and propaganda literature, 
and the authors — evangelists, prophets, apostles — being them- 
selves men of the people, spoke and wrote the people's language. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews shows us Christianity preparing 
for a flight from its native levels into the higher region of 
culture, and we are conscious of the beginnings of a Christian 
world-literature. First, however, the new religion, reviewing 
its own initial stages, begins to collect the relics of that early 
period as a standard for the future. 

The development of the literature is a reflex of the whole 
early history of Christianity. We watch the stages of growth 
from brotherhoods to church, from the unlearned to theo- 
logians, from the lower and middle classes to the upper world. 
It is one long process of cooling and hardening. If we still 
persist in falling back upon the New Testament after all 
these centuries, we do so in order to make the hardened metal 
fluid once more. The New Testament was edited and handed 
down by the Church, but there is none of the rigidity of the 
law about it, because the texts composing it are documents 
of a period antecedent to the Church, when our religion was 
still sustained by inspiration. The New Testament is a 
book, but not of your dry kind, for the texts composing it 
are still to-day, despite the tortures to which literary criticism 
has subjected them, living confessions of Christian inward- 
ness. And if, owing to its Greek idiom, the New Testament 
cannot dispense with learned interpreters, it is by no means 
a secret book for the few. The words in which it is written 
come from the souls of saints sprung from the people, and 
therefore the New Testament is the Bible for the many. 



CHAPTER IV 

SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY IN THE NEW 
TESTAMENT, ILLUSTRATED FROM THE NEW TEXTS 

I. In the days before the ancient inscriptions had sunk 
beneath the soil, when men still wrote on papyrus and potsherd, 
and the coins of the Roman Caesars were in daily circulation, 
Jesus of Galilee called for a silver denarius of Rome when He 
was disputing with His adversaries, and said, referring to the 
image and superscription on the coin, " Render unto Caesar 
the things that are Caesar's; and unto God the things that 
are God's." ^ It was an age which paid divine honour to 
the Caesar ; Jesus showed no disrespect towards him, but by 
distinguishing so sharply between Caesar and God He made a 
tacit protest against the worship of the emperor.* That 
pregnant sentence does not present us with two equal magni- 
tudes, Caesar and God : the second is clearly the superior of 
the first ; the sense is, " Render unto Caesar the things that 
are Caesar's; and, a fortiori, unto God the things that are 
God's." ' The portrait and legend were an ocular demon- 
stration of the right of the sovereign who coined the money 
to demand tribute from the provincials. The claims of God 
were in no sense affected, for they are high as the heavens 
above this world's claims. Thus Jesus made use of the 
portrait and legend on a Roman coin to give a concrete, 

' Matt. xxii. 21, with the parallel passages. 

* That the coins in particular might well provoke a feeling of protest against 
the cult of the Caesar, is shown for instance by a denarius of Tiberius (Madden, 
Jewish Coinage, 247) with the inscription, Ti(beriiis) Caesar divi Aug(usti) 
f(ilius) Augustus, " Tiberius Caesar Augustus, son of the divine Augustus," 
cited by E. Klostermann, Handbuch zum Neuen Testament, II. p. 103, on 
Mark xii. 16. 

' Ct. the remarks on the worship of the emperors, in § 9 below, p. 338 ff. 
This explanation of the passage is exactly how the Christian woman Donata 
understands it, in the Acts of the Scilitanian Martyrs : honorem Caesari quasi 
Caesari ; timorem autem Deo, " honour to Caesar as Caesar, but fear to God I " 
(Ausgewahlte Mdriyrerakten, herausg. von R. Knopf, Tubingen, 1901, p. 35). 

252 




Fig. 47. — Marble Inscription from Cos, containing the title Euergetes, circa 53 a.d 
Now in Sarrara Yussuf's garden wall, in the town of Cos. By permission of Rudolf Herzog 
and the publishing house of Theodor Weicher (Dieterich'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung). 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 253 

tangible answer to a question of the day involving religion 
and politics. 

Some time later, on the eve of His martyrdom, in the trusted 
circle of His immediate disciples, Jesus referred to a secular 
custom, examples of which are derivable from literature ^ 
and most abundantly from inscriptions and coins of Greek- 
speaking lands — the custom of distinguishing princes and 
other eminent men with the honourable title of Euergeies, 
" benefactor." ^ It would not be difficult to collect from 
inscriptions, with very little loss of time, over a hundred 
instances, so widespread was the custom. I give here one 
example only, of the same period as the evangelists. Gains 
Stertinius Xenophon, body-physician to the Emperor Claudius, 
whom he afterwards poisoned, was contemporary with Jesus, 
and received from the people of Cos, probably about a.d. 53 
in gratitude for his valuable services to his native island, the 
title of " Benefactor." The title precedes his name, for 
instance, in a fragmentary inscription from Cos ^ (Figure 47), 
which was probably connected with some honour conferred 
on his wife : * 



ToC fv(pyfT[a. r. Srcp-] 
Tiviov H«vo<^coit[os] 
aVKptodtlcrav T[a(] 
iroXei. 



of the benefactor 

G. Stertinius Xenophon, . . . 
consecrated to the city. 



Jesus knew this custom of " the Gentiles " most probably 
from Syrian and Phoenician coins ^ which circulated in 
Palestine, and it is, I think, justifiable ta suppose that this 
common Greek title existed as a borrowed word in Aramaic. 
The Greek title in the mouth of Jesus is, like His words about 
the denarius, one of the instances in which we seem to hear 

' Cf . for instance the Old Testament Apocrypha. 

* Lflke xxii. 25 f . 

' Discovered and published by Rudolf Herzog, Koische Forschungen und 
Funde, Leipzig, 1899, p. 65 ff., Nos. 24, 25. The greatly reduced facsimile 
(Plate IV. 2, 3) is here reproduced (Fig. 47) by the kind permission of the 
discoverer and his publisher. 

* The upper fragment ITHIOYA is perhaps part of another inscription. 

' E.g. coins of the cities of Ptolemais {Acre) and Aradus with Alexander I. 
Bala, 150-145 B.C., Journal international d'archfeologie numismatique, 4 (1901) 
p. 203, and 3 (1900) p. 148 ; and coins of Tyre and Aradus with Antiochus VII. 
Euergetes, 141-129 b.c, ibid. 6 (1903) p. 291, and 3 (1900) p. 148. 



254 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

in the language of the Master the roar of breakers coming 
from the great world afar off. He mentioned the title not 
without contempt, and forbade His disciples to allow them- 
selves to be so called : the name contradicted the idea of 
service in brotherhood. 

About twenty years after this St. Paul, on his journeyings 
through the world, finds himself at Athens. He walks through 
the streets, and stands meditating before an altar. He is 
profoundly interested by the inscription ^ : "To an unknown 
god." That line on the stone he interprets as the pagan 
yearning for the living God, whom he possesses in Christ. 

At Ephesus, whither St. Paul soon proceeded, there was 
another experience, not with an inscription this time, but 
with papyrus books. Preaching with the Holy Ghost and 
with power he won over a number of Jews and pagans, and 
many of them who had dealt in magic brought their magical 
books and burnt them publicly. There were such quantities 
of them that St. Luke — perhaps with some pious exaggeration 
— places their value at 50,000 silver drachmae.^ The new 
discoveries enable us to form a peculiarly vivid conception of 
the appearance and contents of these magical books. There 
are in our museums numerous fragments of ancient papyrus 
books of magic, sometimes of very considerable size, for the 
publication and elucidation of which we are especially indebted 
to Carl Wessely, Albrecht Dieterich, and Sir Frederic 
Kenyon. The most important fragment is no doubt the 
" Great " Magical Papyrus in the Bibliotheque Nationale at 
Paris,^ which was written about 300 a.d., and has been edited 
by Wessely.* Though it was not written till some centuries 
after St. Paul's adventure, though it is in the form of a codex 
(instead of the roll which was pro,bably still usual in the time 
of St. Paul), and though the usurpation of the name of Jesus 
(among other things) makes it no longer purely pagan or 
Jewish, yet it will in the main afford us magical texts that 

' 'AyviooTui Bew, Acts xvii. 23. For reasons which I cannot give here I 
believe firmly in the historicity of this inscription and of St. Paul's experience 
with it. 

* Acts xix. 19. 

' No. 574 of the Suppl6ment grec. 

* Denkschriften der philosophisch-historischen Classe der Kaiserlichen 
Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Wien, Bd. 36, Wien, 1888, pp. 27-208. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 255 

are considerably older than the MS., and we are in a position 
to construct from it a distinct picture of what ancient magical 
literature at the time of St. Paul was like. There can, I 
think, be no doubt that we must assume a strong strain of 
Jewish influence in it even then. I choose as a specimen leaf 
33 of the Paris book ^ containing the end of a pagan recipe, 
and a long recipe written by a pagan but originally Jewish* 
(Figures 48 and 49) : — 



Recto, Pagan Text (Figure 48) 

Tou Pvdov. ai 8e Swa/icis (tov iv -nj KapSia tov 'Ep- 
fi,ov fUTLv, Ta ^v\a <rov Ta ocrria tov Mveuews. Kot <rov 

2995 '"''' '"■vOrj eoTiv 6 o0da\/ios tov 'Qpov. to (tov (rwipfia 
TOV Davos i(TTL crTrip/xa. dySvi fuJae' p-qTavi} is KoX 
Tous Biovi. (Cat eirl vytia. ifiavTov Koi (TWOirkLcrdri- 
Tl iir cv)(r}. koi Sos ■^fuv Syva/iiv As o 'Apijs Koi 
rj AOrjva. iyta tlp-i 'Ep/irji. Xa/j./8av(i) o-e criiv ayad^ 

3000 Tv)(ri Koi dya6S> Aatyiioi'i Koi Iv Ka\rj £ * koi iv xaX^ 
^ f^ * Koi iiriTevKTLKrj vrpos iraira. Tairr' ti-Truiv 
TTjV fiiv Tpvyf)Ba<7av iroav eis KaBapov tKi(T(re 
oOoviov. T^s Se ptfi;s tov tottov errro p^v irvpov 
KOKKOVi Toirs Se lo^ous KpiB^q p.f\iTi Seucrai'Tes 

3005 iviPaXov KoX ttjv avacTKat^iiaav yrjv ei/^ua-os 
ctTraXA aa-irerai- 

1 Wessely has re-edited most of this leaf with a translation, Patrologia 
Orientalis, t. IV., 2, pp. 187-190. I have silently corrected a number of 
readings from the photograph ; and my translation departs a good deal from 
Wessely's ideas. The Jewish part of this leaf was explained before Wessely 
by Albrecht Dieterich. Abraxas Studien zur Religionsgeschichie des spdtern 
Altertums, Leipzig, i8gi, p. 138 ff. He sees in the " pure men " of the 
concluding lines members of a sect of the Essenes resembling the Therapeutae 
(p. 146). Valuable elucidations were contributed by Ludwig Blau, Das 
altjiidische Zauberwesen, Jahresbericht der Landes-Rabbinerschule in 
Budapest fiir das Schuljahr 1897-8, Budapest, 1898, p. U2 ff. K. Preisendanz, 
who was editing the papjrrus afresh, very kindly sent me on 7 June, 1909 a 
number of improvements in the reading. 

* I am indebted to the kindness of my friend the late Albrecht Dieterich 
for the photographs of the two sides of the leaf, here reduced to about two- 
thirds of the original size (Figs. 48 and 49). » = Jajgai. 

' = apa. Cf. the ostracon with the charm for binding, below, p. 306. This 
and the one in the next line are good examples of p-monograms, which are 
very numerous in the papyri. The so-called monogram of Christ, which 
had been in use long before the time of Christ, is also one of them. Cf. my 
Epistle of Psenosiris, p. 43 (in the German edition, Ein Dokument, p. 23). 



256 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Recto, Jewish Text (Figure 48) 

/ Trpos Sai/iovtaf o/AcVovs ^ nt/8jj;(e<os SoKi/iov. 

\a^i)V tKaiov o/j-fjiaKL^ovTa /xera /8oTai/»;s 

/lOOTiyias KOI ktarofi.'QTpai iij/ei, /ncTo crafuj/ovxov 
3010 a)(pu>TLa'Tov Aeyoji' • Ia)»/X • Qatrapdioifii • 

E/xcDpi • ©tw^ii^oifl • "SiLOtfiiiax ' 20)61; • 

I(i)i; • Mi/xti/'u)6i(iJU)<;fr • ^tpcroiOi AEHIOYO 

Io)j; • E(i);(a/>i^da • f$eX6e djro tou ^ ^ Kof *. 

TO Se ^uXa/cTijptov ctti XafivCm Ka<T<nT€piv!a 
3015 ypdtpt • lar)u> • APpa<ii6i<i)X ' 4>6a ' Mecrei'- 

i/'iviau) • $€0);^ • larjia • XapcrOK • /cai TTtpiaTm 

Tov iracr^ovTa TravTOs haifiovoi <l>pLKTOV o ^o- 

/SilTai. (7Tj)<ras avTiKpvi opKi^€. iariv &e o opxiirpoi 

ODTOs : ipKi^o) (Tf Kara, tov Ov tZv E/Spaicuv 
3020 'IjjoroB ■ Ia;8a • laj; • A^paaiO • Aia • ®<j)d • EA.€ ■ 

EA(D • A1J01 ■ Eov • lufiatx ' A)3ap/xas ' Ia;3a- 

paov • Ay3«X^«X • Amva • A/Spa • Mapoia • Bpa/ct- 

mv • irvpujiavrj • 6 iv p.i<rq apovprq% koX ^idi/os 

KoX 6/tt;j(A,j;s, TavvijTts, Kwra^aTio aov 6 ay- 
3025 yeXos 6 d.irapairqTO<i KaX thrKpiveria^ tov 

TTipLTTTa.fi.evov Sai/xova ToC TrAatr/iaTOS tovtov, 

o iirkatrev o di iv tui ayim iavTov wapaSei- 

aui. OTt €7r£ijj(0/iai ayiov 6v iiri Ap.p.iav- 
-i\j/evTav\ia. A*. opKi^o) o-e Xafipia ■ laKovd • 
3030 A^Aava6oi'aX/?a • AKpap-p.. X^. Awfl- la^a- 

I3a0pa • ILaxOa/ipaOa • 'X.ap.vvxtX • APpio- 

11)6. (TV A/BpatTiXtaO • AXXijXov • IcXcucrai ■ 

larjX. ' opKt'fo) cr« toi/ oTTxai'^Ei'Ta * tu 

'Offpa^X ^ ei/ crTi;Xa> <f>o)Tivlo kol vei^eXjj -^/ie- 
3035 P'"? *">' pvad/xtvov avTov tov Xdyov * Ipyov 

$apaui Ktti €Tr€viyKavTa liri ^apaui Ttjv 

' The word Sai/xowa^o) is probably formed on the analogy of aeAT/waJco ; 
it is found in 1. 86 of the same papyrus (Preisendanz) and in Agathangelus, 
edited by Lagarde 46,, [Abhandlungen der Gottinger Gesellschaft der Wissen- 
schaften, vol. 35] (as I was informed by Gleye, 2 July, 1914). 

' = Scti'a. 

' = Koivd, i.e. " and the other usual formulae." This note is frequent in 
magical papyri. 

* This must be a technical expression : the daemon, freed by exorcism, and 
fluttering about, is to be arrested so as not to enter into the man again (cf. 
Mark ix. 25). 

' = Ao'yof. 

° For this supposed " Biblical " word, cf. p. 83. 

^ = */apa^A. 

' Originally of course the formula contained the word Xaov and perhaps ini 
TOV epyov. Wiinsch conjectured ix toO for Ipyov (Preisendanz) . 




1 >^^^>»rtt|*^Wl>^^M^^Wty^^ (W f f ' '^^T'''V^* \# 



i\^., ^'l ^' '< %^J 



Fig. 48.— Foho 33 recto of the Great Magical Papyrus, written in Egypt 
Circa 300 A.D, Now in the BiWiotheque Nationale at Paris. (The photo- 
graph was obtained for me by the late Albrecht Dieterich.) 



3045 



30jo 



3055 



3060 



3065 



3070 



3075 



3080 



308.5 



ery-i-<vr/rti4>H \')T^y7T*/^6^ /^/c^t^rMcA-w/. -s^ 






t 






^; 
















lit, yyjmft^ fM»<ie^' 






Fig. 49. — Folio 33 verso of the Great Magical Papyrus, written in Egypt 
circa 300 A.D. Now in the Bibliotheque Nationale at Paris. (The photo- 
graph was obtained for me by the late Albrecht Dieterich.) 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 257 

oe({a7rA.ijyov 8(a to irapaKOvew airdl'. opKi- 
^0) (re, ttSv ■mitvixa. Sai/ioviov, \a\.rjcrai, oiroi- 
ov Kai av rji, on opKi^m at Kara t^s <T<ppayi- 
3040 00s ^s eOtTO Sio\op.i)V iirl rrjv •yXtoo-trov 

Tou Ir/pefiiov Kal iKdXrjiTfv. (cai crii XaXj/trov 
OTTOtoy eav ^ ^s cVcovpaviov * ■^ aipiov 

Verso, Jewish Text (Figure 49) 

eire imyeiov ttrc iTraryuov ij KaTa\66vLov 

1} Efiovtraiov r) XtpcraTov fj ^apuraiov. \d.\rj(rov 
3045 OTToloV iav 7JS, OTl opKL^ia <Tt 6fov <j><o(r4>6- 

pov aBafiavTov, rot iv KapBia iramjs ^oj^s 

hrurraufvov, tov ;^ouon-A.doT);v * tou yEi/ous 

rStv av6pi!>ir<ov, tov tfayayovra ef dSijAuv 

Koi TTVKvovvTO TO. fe^i) Kal vtTL^ovTa Trjv yTJv 
3050 Kal eiXoyoBvTa roirs KapTrous air^s, o^ cv- 

Xoyti iracra IvovpaviOi Swa/iios* ayyikiov 

apxayyiKwv. opKi^oi (re jxiyav $v Sa^Sa- 

<oS, Si' ov 6 Iop8ttVi}$ iroTa/ios dvixti*" 

prjiTtv £is TO. oTno'd) Kal '^pvdpa OdKaaira 
3055 ^i* u'St'Jfei' Elaparjk Kal lorat ^ avoSeuros" 

OTl opKitfa crt TOV KaTaSeifav™ Tas exaTov 

TicrdipaKOVTa y\<otrcrai Koi SiajucpicravTa 

Tu) iSi'ttJ wpo<TTdyiw.Ti. opKi^m <r£ tov t<3v av- 

^€vt(i)v yiyavTwv* Tois irprjaTyjpo'i, Kara- 
3060 fjikl^avTa, ov v/jLVL 6s ' oipavoi tSv oipavlov, 

ov vjuvovo'i Ta TTTipvyiajxaTa tov ' ILepov/iCv. 

opKiifO (Ti TOV irtpi&ivTa oprj Trj Bakdca-t] 

Tti^os * «f aniiov KUL ETTiTafavTo auT^ /i^ iirtp- 

jS^vai Kal £ir^KOU0-£V ij i^vo'a'oi. kol aii eira- 
3065 Kovtrov, Trav irveCfia 8ot/toviov, oti opKi^u) o-e 

TOV (TvvmovTa ' tovs Tt'caapas drcjuovs aTro 

Ta)v icpcSv ai(i)V(uv ovpavo'iS^ OaXaciro- 

eiS^ ve</>eXoeiS^ {jxjXTfftopov dSa/iao'TOv. 

opKi^u) TOV iv Trj KaOapS, lepoo'oXvp.u) «S to 

1 For this vulgar eav, which occurs again, instead of iv, cf . iVewe Bibelsiudien, 
p. 29 flf. ; Biife Studies, p, 202 ff. 

^ = cTTOvpdviov. 

' X<»«"f^<'")s (xooirAd<7Tijr) is a word, not yet found elsewhere, of Jewish 
origin. 

^ Bvvafus is meant. 

' = CCTTTj, cf. LXX Exodus xiv. 27, koi dneKaTforri to vSa>p. 

« A word has dropped out here ; Wessely's Sxl^v is a good conjecture. 

^ v/ivet d. 

' Corrected from ra^os. ' = owaaovra. 



258 * LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

3070 S.(TpitTT0V irvp Sta iravTos atojvos irpoctrapa- 
Kiirai ^ TO) 6v6/jiaTi avTov tu> ayiut lacu)- 
Pa<f>pfv€fi.ovv, A^, Of Tpiji-ii Vevva rrupos 
Ktti <f>\6y(i ■7repi<j>\oyi^ov(ri icat a-L&rjpos 
XaKo, Koi TToiv opos « OcfieXLov tftopeirai. 

3075 OpKL^Ol <Te, TTCiv TrV€VfJI,a Sai.fl,6vL0V, TOV €<f)0- 

pZvTa CTTi y^s KOI TTOioCvTa fKTpOfJLa ' Ta 

.Oe/jLiKia * air^s (cat iroi-^o'avTa to. Travra 

€^ iv * oix oi/Tcuv €15 TO (Tvai. opKL^ia Si (re Tov 

irapaXayn^dvovTa Toi/ opKurp-ov rovTov \oipiov ' 
3080 /ii) <f)ay(tv Koi vTroTay^trerai (Tol ttSlv irvEv/jLa 

Koi SaiixovLov oTTotov iav rjv.'' bpKitfiiV 8e 

<j)i'(Ta a * atro tZv aKpwv Koi Twv iroBwv a.<t>ai- 

piDV^ TO <j>v<Tr]/jia l(i)S TOV Trpoaiairov koI tic- 

Kpi6rj<Tcrai. fjtvXacnre Kudapds ' 6 yap Adyos 
3085 ecTTiv cjSpaiKOS Koi ^vXa&aro/xtvoi irapa xa- 

dapol's dvSpdinv '. 

Recto, Pagan Text 

The subject referred to is a root, which is dug up with certain ceremonies, 
while a magic spell is pronounced, part of which comes on this page. The 
daemon is being addressed. Note the paratactic style and the frequent 
use of and.^' 

" of the depth. But thy powers are in the heart of 

Hermes. Thy trees are the bones of Mnevis.^^ And thy 
2995 flowers are the eye of Horus. Thy seed 

is the seed of Pan. Gird thyself for the strife with rosin 
as also 1* 



' Preisendanz (Archiv fiir Religionsw'issenschaft 17, p. 347 f.) makes the 
attractive conjecture that ■npoonapaxoicTax was the original reading. 
' = Aoyoy. 

* exTpopos is not in the lexicons, but it seenis to be a synonym of evrpop/is, 
^Acts vii. 32, xvi. 29; Heb. xii. 21. (Tr.) 

* = BfptXia. 
' = «K tSv. 

' = xoi-pf">v according to Debrunner (letter, Basel, 25 April, 1913); 
' For ^v after idvci. Neue Bibelstudien, pp. 29, 31 ; Bible Studies, p. 201 f. 
' This o is no doubt a dittograph and may be struck out. According to 
Preisendanz a = a (ajra|). 

* The MS. has a^axptov, but a.ij>aipS>v would make no sense. atraCpaiv, 
however, used as in LXX Psalm Ixxvii. [Ixxviii.] 26, 52 in the sense of " make 
to go forth," suits admirably and was probably the original reading. 

'» Cf. p. 131 ff. above. 
" The Egyptain Sun-bull. 

" Here, I think, one line or more must have dropped out; even by taking ci; 
as a preposition we get no good sense. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 259 

the gods. And for my health ^ <and> be my companion 

in arms 
at my prayer.* And give us power like Ares and 
Athena. I am ^ Hermes. I seize thee in fellowship with * 

good 
3000 Tyche and good Daemon, and in a good hour, and on a 

day good and prosperous "for all things." Having said 

this, 
roll * up the gathered herb in a clean 

linen cloth. But into the place of the root seven wheat- 
grains, and the like number of barley, they ^ mixed with 

honey 
3005 and threw. And having filled in the earth that was dug up 
he * departeth. 

Recto, Jewish Text 

For those possessed by daemons, an approved charm by 

Pibechis.' 
Take oil made from unripe olives, together with the plant 
mastigia * and lotus pith,' and boil it with marjoram 
3010 (very colourless), saying : " Joel,^'' Ossarthiomi, 

' These words perhaps should be construed with the preceding. 

' Or " according to my wish." 

' Cf. pp. 136-143 above. 

' This avv is a technical expression in the ritual of magic and cursing. Cf . 
p. 303, n. I below. 

' Note the change of subject. 

• I.e. the digger of the root. 

' A magician, cf. Albrecht Dieterich, Jahrbiicher fur classische Philologie, 
i5. Supplementband (1888), p. 756. 

' ? ? Cf. Albr. Dieterich, Abraxas, p. 138. [Can " herb mastic," a plant 
resembling marjoram, be meant ? Tr.] 

' Loiometra is perhaps the name of a plant, cf . Thesaurus Linguae Graecas, 
V. col. 473. 

'" In these charms we should try to distinguish between meaningless hocus- 
pocus and words of Semitic (cf. Bibelstudien p. i fi. ; Bible Studies, p. 321 ff.) 
or Egyptian origin, etc., which once had and might still have a meaning. In 
trying to recover this meaning we must not only employ the resources of 
modem philology but also take into account the ancient popular and guessing 
etymologies, of which we have a good number of (Semitic) examples in the 
Onomastica Sacra. Several of the magical words in this text are Biblical 
and are explained in the Onomastica Sacra. That the explanations in the 
Onomastica Sacra were in some cases current among the people, is shown 
by the Heidelberg papyrus amulet containing Semitic names and Greek 
explanations (cf. Figure 73, facing p. 405 below). [The English reader will 
find other interesting examples of such " words of power " in a paper by W. R. 
Halliday, " Horse-Racing and Magic under the Roman Empire," Discovery, 
3 (April, 1922), pp. 99-102. Tr.] 



26q LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Eraori, Theochipsoith, Sithemeoch, Sothe, _ 
Joe, Mimipsothiooph, Phersothi AEEIOYO 
Joe, Eochariphtha : come out of ^ such an one (and the 

other usual formulae)." 
But write this phylactery " upon a little sheet of 
3013 tin : " Jaeo, Abraothioch, Phtha, Mesen- 

psiniao, Pheoch, Jaeo, Charsoc," and hang it 

round the sufferer : it is of every daemon a thing to be 

trembled at,^ which 
he fears. Standing opposite, adjure him. The adjura- 
tion is 
this : "I adjure thee by the god of the Hebrews 
3020 Jesu,* Jaba, Jae, Abraoth, Aia, Thoth, Ele, 
E16, Aeo, Eu, Jiibaech, Abarmas, Jaba- 
rau, Abelbel, Lona, Abra, Maroia, Bracion, 
thou that appearest in fire, thou that art in the midst of 

earth and snow 
and vapour,^ Tannetis * : let thy angel descend, 
3025 the implacable one, and let him draw into captivity the 
daemon as he flieth around this creature 
which God formed in his holy paradise.' 
For I pray to the holy god, through the might of * Ammon- 
- ipsentancho." Sentence. " I adjure thee with bold, rash 
words : Jacuth, 
3030 Ablanathanalba, Acramm." Sentence. " Aoth, Jatha- 
bathra, Chachthabratha, Chamynchel, Abro- 
oth. Thou art Abrasiloth, AUelu, Jelosai, 
Jael : I adjure thee by him who appeared unto 
Osrael * in the pillar of light and in the cloud by 

• The same formula exactly occurs in Luke iv. 35 ; with ck instead of a-no in 
Mark i. 25, v. 8, ix. 25. " I.e. amulet. 

' Cf. James ii. 19, and Bibehtudien, p. 42 f. ; Bible Studies, p. 288. 

* The name Jesu as part of the formula can hardly be ancient. It was 
probably inserted by some pagan : no Christian, still less a Jew, would have 
called Jesus " the god of the Hebrews." It is to be regretted that the passage 
is still uncritically made use of in William Benjamin Smith's Der vorchristliche 
Jesus,' Jena, 191 1, p. xxvi. f. 

5 Snow and vapour coming from God, LXX Psalm cxlvii. 5 [16], cf. also 
LXX Job xxxviii. 22, 9. 

« ? Dieterich, Abraxas, p. 138, alters it to TamaBets. 

' Cf. Tanchuma, Pikkude 3 : Rabbi Jochanan said : "... Know that 
all the souls which have been since the first Adam and which shall be till the 
end of the whole world, were created in the six days of creation. They are all 
in the garden of Eden " (Ferdinand Weber, Jiidische Theologie auf Grund des 
Talmud und verwandter Schriften,^ Leipzig, 1897, p. 225). 

' This em seems to be related to the technical aiv (p. 259, n. 4 above). 

' This form also suggests the pagan origin of the editor of the Jewish text. 



SOCIAL, AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 261 

3035 day,^ and who delivered ^ his word * from the taskwork * 
of Pharaoh and brought uppn Pharaoh the 
ten plagues ® because he heard not.* I adjure 
thee, every daemonic spirit, say whatsoever 
thou art.' For I adjure thee by the seal 

3040 which Solomon * laid upon the tongue 

of Jeremiah ' and he spake. And say thou 
whatsoever thou art, in heaven, or of the air. 

Verso, Jewish Text 

or on earth, 1* or under the earth or below the ground," 
or an Ebusaean, or a Chersaean, or a Pharisee.^* Say 

3045 whatsoever thou art, for I adjure thee by God the light- 
bringer.J* invincible," who knoweth what is in the heart 
of all life,^* who of the dust ^' hath formed the race 
of men, who hath brought out of uncertain [places] 
and maketh thick the clouds^' and causeth it to rain upon 
the earth ^' 

3050 and blesseth the fruits thereof ^^ ; who is 

blessed by every power in heaven of angels,^' 

' See for the facts Exod. xiii. 21. The LXX has pillar of fire, not pillar 
of light. 

* A frequent expression in the LXX. 

' Word (Aoyov) written by mistake for people (Aadv). 

* LXX Exod. i. II. 6 LXX Exod. vii. ff. • LXX Exod. vii. 4. 
' To obtain complete power over the daemon it is necessary to know his 

name ; hence the question to the daemon in Mark v. 9 = Luke viii. 30. 

' Solomon's seal is well known in magic ; see for instance Dieterich, Abraxas, 
p. 141 f., Schiirer, Gesckichte des jiidischen Volkes, III." p. 303. 

* I do not know what this refers to. The tradition is probably connected 
with LXX Jer. i. 6-10. 

"■ In spite of the resemblance to Phil. ii. 10, Eph. ii. 2, iii. 10, vi. 12, this is 
not a quotation from St. Paul. The papyrus and St. Paul are both using 
familiar Jewish categories. 

11 This remarkable trio of daemons obviously comes from LXX Gen. xv. 20, 
Exod. iii. 8, 17, etc., where we find XerToiot (who have become Xtpaaloi, 
i.e. "land daemons"), <PcpeJarot (who have become the more intelligible 
" Pharisees "), and 'h^ovaaloi. Xepaatos, which also occurs elsewhere as a 
designation applied to a daemon (see Wessely's index), has here no doubt the 
force of an adjective derived from a proper name. Dieterich, Abraxas, p. 139, 
explains the passage somewhat differently. 

" Cf. LXX Gen. i. 3 and many similar passages. 

" Cf. 3 Mace. vi. 13. 

1* LXX Job vii. 20; Psalm cxxxviii. [cxxxix.] 23. An inaccuracy in the 
translation here was corrected by P. W. Schmiedel (letter, Zurich, 9 March 
1909). " LXX Gen. ii.- 7. 

" LXX Psalm cxxxiv. [cxxxv.] 7. " LXX Job xxxviii. 26. 

" LXX Deut. vii. 13. " LXX Isaiah vi. 3. 



262 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

of archangels. I adjure thee by the great God Sabaoth, 
through whom the river Jordan returned 
backward/ — the Red Sea* also, 

3055 which Israel journeyed over and it stood ' impassable. 
For I adjure thee by him that revealed the hundred 
and forty tongues and divided them 
by his command.* I adjure thee by him who 
with his lightnings the [race?] of stiff-necked ^ giants con- 

3060 sumed,* to whom the heaven of heavens sings praises,' 
to whom Cherubin ^ his wings sing praises. 
I adjure thee by him who hath set mountains ' about the 

sea, 
a wall of sand,^" and hath charged it not to pass 
over,!^ and the deep hearkened. And do thou 

3065 hearken, every daemonic spirit, for I adjure thee 
by him that moveth ^^ the four winds since 
the holy aeons, him the heaven-like, sea- 
like, cloud-like, the light-bringer, invincible. 
I adjure thee by him that is in Jerosolymum ^^ the pure, 
to whom the 

' LXX Joshua iii, 13 fi. ; Psalm cxiii. [cxiv.] 3. 
- LXX Exod. xiv. 
' LXX Exod. xiv. 27. 

* Noah's generations enumerated in Genesis x. contain the names of 70 
peoples ; the Jews therefore assumed that there were 70 difierent languages 
(Weber,' p. 66). Our papyrus has 2 X 70 languages — a number not mentioned 
elsewhere, so far as I know. 

' Cf. LXX Psalm cxxviii. [cxxix.] 4. 

' This is a combination from LXX Gen. yi. 4 ff. and xix. 24 ff. The giants 
and the people of Sodom and Gomorrah are mentioned together as typical 
evil-doers in Ecclus. xvi. 7, 3 Mace. ii. 4, and the Book of Jubilees xx. 5. 
Dieterich, Abraxas, p. 143, explains the passage differently. 

' LXX Psalm xviii. [xix.] 2. 

' The use of Cherubin as a singular may perhaps be regarded as another 
proof that this Jewish formula was written out by a pagan. Cf. Tersteegen's 
plural form die Seraphinen, resulting from a like misconfieption of Seraphin as 
a singular. But Strachan refers me to LXX 2 Sam. xxii. 11 and 2 Chron. iii. 
II [where x^povptji is treated as a neuter singular. Cherubin, -m, was 
formerly used as a" singular in English. The New English Dictionary has 
examples ranging from Wyclif to Dickens, and the plural cherubims is 
familiar in the A.V. Tr.] 

• Mountains {opri) is a corruption of bounds (Spta), cf. LXX Job xxxviii. 10, 
and especially LXX Jer. v. 22. 

'» LXX Jer. v. 22. 
'» LXX Job xxxviii. 11 ; Jer. v. 22. 
" LXX Psalm cxxxiv. [cxxxv.] 7. 

" Cf. LXX Psalm cxxxiv. [cxScxv.] 21. The form of the name of he city 
again points to a pagan writer. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 263 

3070 unquenchable fire ^ through every aeon is 
offered,* through his holy name Jaeo- 
baphrenemun (Sentence), before whom trembleth ' the 

Genua ♦ of fire 
and flames flame round about * and iron 
bursteth * and every mountain feareth ' from its founda- 
tions. 

3075 I adjure thee, every daemonic spirit, by him that 
looketh down on earth and maketh tremble the 
foundations * thereof and hath made all things 
out of things which are not into being.* But I adjure 

thee, 
thou that takest unto thee this adjuration : the flesh of swine 

3080 eat not, and there shall be subject unto thee every spirit 
and daemon, whatsoever he be. But when thou adjurest, 
blow,^' sending the breath from above [to the feet] and 
from the feet to the face,^^ and he [the daemon] will 
be drawn into captivity. Be pure and keep it. For the 
sentence 

3085 is Hebrew and kept by men 
that are pure.^* 

Good parallels to the Jewish portion of the above text, both 
as a wjiole and in details, are furnished by the leaden tablet 
from Hadrumetum ^' and a magician's outfit discovered at 

* LXX Lev. vi. 9, 12, 13. The fire is that on the altar of burnt-offering at 
Jerusalem. As this fire was extinguished for ever in the year 70 a.d., this 
portion of the papyrus at any rate must have originated before the destruction 
of Jerusalem. 

* Originally (cf. p. 258, n. i above) "before whom the unquenchable 
fire . . . bumeth." 

' LXX Isaiah xiv. 9. 

* I.e. Gehenna. On the Jewish conceptions of hell cf. Weber,' p. 393 ff. 
The word Jaiewo, from which (through an intermediate form Acwa) our 
word Fcma is derived, occurs as a transcription in LXX Joshua xviii. 16. 

> LXX Isaiah bcvi. 15 ff., etc. 

' The translation is not certain. I assume a form Xaxato (= MaKu), a back- 
formation from fXanriaa. For the allusion see LXX Jer. vi. 28, Psalm cvi. 
[cvii.] 16, xlv. [xlvi.] 10. 

' LXX Psalm xvii. [xviii.] 8, etc. ; cf. also Bibehtudien, p. 45 f . ; Bible 
Studies, p. 290 f. 

' LXX Psalm ciii. [civ.] 32 ; cf . xvii. [xviii.] 8 and Bibehtudien, p. 44 ; 
Bible Studies, p. 290. 

' 2 Mace. vii. 28. "• For this formula cf. Luke x. 17, 20; i Cor. xiv. 32. 

" Cf. LXX Gen. ii. 7 (John xx. 22). 

^' These concluding lines again prove that the formula was written out by 
a pagan magician. 

" Bibehtudien, pp. 21-54; S**''' Studies, pp. 269-300. 



264 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Pergamum.i Anyone who can read this one leaf without 
getting bewildered by the hocus-pocus oi magic words will 
admit that through the curious channel of such magical 
literature a good portion of the religious thought of the Greek 
Old Testament found its way into the world, and must have 
already found its way by the time of St. Paul. The men of 
the great city in Asia Minor in whose hands St. Paul found 
texts of this kind were, though heathen, not altogether 
unprepared for Bible things. The flames of the burnihg 
papyrus books could not destroy recollections of sacred 
formulae which retained a locus standi even in the new faith. 
But, apart from this, the magical books, with their grotesque 
farrago of Eastern and Western religious formulae, afford 
us striking illustrations of how the religions were elbowing 
one another as the great turning-point drew near. They are 
perhaps the most instructive proofs of the syncretism of the 
middle and lower classes. 

Jesus handling coins, St. Paul reading the inscription on the 
Athenian altar, or watching the burning of magical books at 
Ephesus — are not these detached pictures typical? Is not 
the New Testament itself offering us a clue in our studies? 
Is it not telling us that the texts contemporary with' but not 
belonging to Primitive Christianity, which have come down 
to us in the original, must be read with the eyes of the religious 
man and with the spectacles of the historian of religion? 
This raises the subject of the present chapter : the bearing 
of the new texts on social ^ and religious * history. In the 

' Antikes Zaubergerat aus Pergamon, herausgegeben von Richard Wiinsch. 
Jahrbuch des Kaiserl. Deutschen Archaolog. Instituts, Erganzungsheft 6, 
Berlin, 1905, p. 35 f. 

' The application of the methods of social history (as attempted in the 
following pages) seems to me particularly needful and profitable. — And it 
would be a fascinating task one day to compare the historical with the political 
aspect of such study, for in many works of the critical schools a sort of 
political attitude towards the inquiry has all unknowingly become a great 
power, secretly influenced by the thought, " What can we make use of 
to-day? " 

' The comparative study of religion, so it seems to me, has of late led to 
an exaggeration of the so-called Oriental " influences " (Hermann Gunkel, 
Zum religionsgeschichtlichen Verstdndnis des Neuen Testaments, Gottingen, 
igo3). The material must be more sharply discriminated as "analogical" 
and " genealogical," and the genealogical portion is in the main only of 
indirect importance (this is also the opinion of Gunkel, who assumes that 
Judaism acted as intermediary). Gunkel, however (p. 6), rightly emphasises 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 265 

second chapter we discussed the linguistic, in the third the 
literary bearing of the new texts on the New Testament, and 
we were chiefly, of course, concerned with the more formal 
aspects of interpretation. Now we are proposing an inquiry 
which involves deeper issues. We seek to understand the 
substance of the New Testament (and so of Primitive 
Christianity), and here again, I believe, the new texts- will 
not desert us. 

Some kind of an understanding as to methods of work 
would certainly be desirable at the outset ; but I must resist 
the temptation to discuss here in its full extent a methodo- 
logical problem ^ which has engaged my liveliest interest 
since the beginning of my studies. I will only remark that 
in the case of each single observation made I find the questions 
resolve themselves for me into the alternative ^ : is it analogy 
or is it genealogy ? That is to say, we have to ask : Are the 
similarities or points of agreement that we discover between 
two different religions to be regarded as parallelisms of more 
or less equal religious experience, due to equality of psychic 
pitch and equality of outward conditions, or are they depen- 
dent one on the other, demonstrable borrowings ? 

Where it is a case of inward emotions and religious experi- 
ences and the naive expression of these emotions and 



the fact that the New Testament is a Greek book. This is the side of the 
problem which interests me most. My desire is to continue the work recently 
begun by Georg Heinrici, Adolf Harnack, H. J. Holtzmann, Otto Pileiderer, 
and other theologians, by Hermann Usener, Albrecht Dieterich, Richard 
Reitzenstein, Paul Wendland, and other classical scholars. To the literary 
Greek sources, which have been chiefly studied hitherto, I would add the non- 
literary ones, which are for the most part more congenial with the New Testa- 
ment. An excellent guide to the material hitherto collected by students of 
comparative religion is Carl Clemen's Religionsgeschichtliche Erklarung des 
Neuen Testaments, Giessen, 1909. 

' Richard M. Meyer, Knterien der Aneignung (oflfprint from Neue Jahrbiicher 
fiir das klassische Altertum, etc.), Leipzig, 1906, is very instructive. 

' Cf. Die Christliche Welt, 14 (1900) col. 270. Since then the same alter- 
native has been often adopted. Friedrich Pfister in his article on " Kultus " 
in Pauly-Wissowa-KroU's Realenzyklopadie (p. 5 of offprint issued in March, 
1922) formulates the problem as an alternative between " genealogy or 
polygenesis." On the subject cf. Franz Cumont, The Oriental Religions in 
Roman Paganism, Chicago, 1911, p. xviii. ; Karl Marbe, Zeitschrift f. Psycho- 
logie, 56 (1910) p. 261 ff. ; Refer, Die jungste {rel.-gesch.) Theologie [no place 
of publication, 1914], p. 3 f. ; G. Heinrici, Die Eigenart des Christentums, a 
rectorial address, Leipzig, 1911, p. 6. 



266 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

experiences in word, symbol, and act, I should always try 
first to regard the particular fact as " analogical." ^ 

Where it is a case of a formula used in worship, a pro-, 
fessional liturgical usage, or the formulation of some doctrine, 
I should always try first to regard the particular fact as 
" genealogical." 

The apologist, if he ever acknowledges anything, acknow- 
ledges as a rule only analogy, and prefers to erect walls and 
fences round his own little precinct. 

The amateur in these subjects thinks as a rule only of 
genealogy. His best instrument is the wooden ruler with 
which, to his own increasing admiration, he draws straight 
lines that can be produced to any length. Finding a phantom 
of the desert among the Bedouins and a slave possessed with a 
daemon in the lanes of Smyrna, he triumphantly proclaims 
the phantom as the ancestress of the daemon, and there is 
nothing hidden from his sagacity after he has persuaded 
himself that the gold in some prehistoric shrine came from 
Saba, the marble from Paros, and the cedar-wood from 
Lebanon. 

Most pitiable of all, however, are the mere shifters-on ^ 
and wipers-out of names. Anything trivial they regard as 
genuine ; where there is a great name, there is something to 
rub out : the Sermon on the Mount cannot be by Jesus, nor 
the Second to Corinthians by Paul. By whom then? The 
Sermon on the Mount by X or Y, or possibly by seventeen 
anonymous writers, and the Second to Corinthians, if written 
by anybody, then by Z, yes, by Z ! Having thus made 
everything anonymous, they think they have done a work of 
scholarship and have disposed of the texts themselves for ever. 

Now, supposing there were cogent reasons for doubting 
St. Paul's authorship of the confessions in the Second to 
Corinthians, I should acknowledge these reasons. But would 
the text itself be then done away with? The text itself, 
with its thoughts, remains, and remains classic : the dis- 
appearance of the one word Paul from the first line does not 

' To Georg Heinrici belongs the undoubted merit of having paved the way 
for the analogical method, in Germany, at a time when such researches met 
with little sympathy. 

■ The term Weiterschieher (here translated " shifters-on ") was coined by 
Hermann Oeser, Die Christliche Welt, 5 (1891) col. 780. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 267 

detract from the intrinsic value of the text. Does a coin- 
collector throw one of his gold coins on the dust-heap because 
it was along with the Persian ones and he finds it to be 
Lycian, or because he is unable to identify it at all ? 

What is the actual result of making the synoptic sayings of 
Jesus anonymous ? Merely the proper name Jesus is erased ; 
the centre of energy, the "I," the personality behind the 
sayings, remains. 

We will not dispute that the erasers and shifters-on may in 
their zeal empty an ink-pot over the map of the ancient 
Mediterranean lands ; a great deal is possible in the scholar's 
study. But if these poor people want us to do more than 
sympathise with them in their misfortune — as we certainly 
do most readily — ^if they ask us to believe that the blackened 
provinces of their dirty map have swallowed up all that was 
counted valuable evidence of the ancient culture of the Mediter- 
ranean, they demand the sacrifice of our intellects. We must 
treat them kindly, and let them go on shifting ; the earth is 
round, and so, across sea and land, they will find their way 
back to us some day. 

Pledged to no inexorable " method," but testing each case 
as it arises; not providing an answer at any cost to every 
question, but content to leave doubtful what is really obscure ; 
recognising, however, that light is light — ^the New Testament 
student will reap a rich harvest from our texts. Let me 
proceed to give some indication of the sort of thing he is 
likely to find, and where it may be found. ^ 

2. He finds the world as, it was in the age of the Caesars, 
that is the historical background of Primitive Christianity — 
and first of all the general cultural background. 

In sketching the literary development of Primitive Christi- 
anity we saw that in the growth of our religion there is 
reflected from the very beginning the difference between 
the characteristics of the common people in town and 
country. To comprehend this difference we must know 
what the ancient civilisation was like in town and country. 

• The following pages make no claim to even approximate completeness of 
statement. As a rule only characteristic examples have been picked out ; the 
amount of material still to be worked up is enormous. 



268 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

From literary sources we were fairly well acquainted with 
ancient city-life, but the ancient village and small country 
town, being seldom touched upon in literature, were practi- 
cally inaccessible. Archaeological discovery, especially since 
the finding of papyri and ostraca, has brought about a 
resurrection of such places. As students of the New Testa- 
ment we are most interested in the villages and little country 
towns of Galilee, and we have at any rate become acquainted 
with the same kind of places in the neighbour land of 
Egypt. 

Some idea of the abundance and freshness of the materials 
now at our command to illustrate the civilisation of certain 
Egyptian villages may be gathered from an examination 
of Wessely's ^ valuable collections relating to the villages of 
Caranis and Socnopaei Nesus. Anyone who has been brought 
up in the country and has a spark of imagination clinging to 
him can now without difficulty participate by sympathy in 
the thousand and one little things that made up the social 
vortex for the men and women of these places. The same 
trifles, of daily occurrence among their not very dissimilar 
neighbours in Galilee at the same epoch, served the Master 
of parable as symbols of the Eternal. 

No less vividly, however, the country towns of Egypt, large 
and small, arise before us — Arsinoe, Magdola, Oxyrhynchus,^ 
Hermupolis,' and other places. 

There must, of course, have been differences between 
country life in Egypt and in Palestine, owing particularly 
to differences in the soil and methods of work. The degree 
of Hellenisation must also have been slighter in Galilee than 
in Egypt. But the common element must have predominated. 

The parallelism extends not only to details of social history, 

1 Karanis und Soknopaiu Nesos, Studien zur Geschichte antiker Cultnr- und 
Personenverhaltnisse. Denkschriften der Kaiserl. Akademie der Wissen- 
schaften in Wien, philos.-hist. Classe, Band 47, Wien, 1902, p. 56 ff. 

2 Erich Ziebarth discourses with charm and fascination of these three little 
towns in his KuUurbilder aus griechischen Stddten (Vol. 131 of the series called 
" Aus Natur und Geisteswelt "), Leipzig, 1907, p. 96 S. A rich collection of 
material for Arsinoe is given by Carl Wessely, Die Stadt Arsinoe (Krokodilo- 
polis) in griechischer Zeit, Sitzungsber. der Kais. Akad. d. W. in Wien, philo|S.- 
hist. CI., Bd. 145, Wien,. 1902, pp. 1-58. 

' Cf. the life-like description by Paul Viereck, Die Papyrusurkunden von 
Hermupolis. Ein Stadtbild aus romischer Zeit. Deutsche Rundschau, 35, 
Part I (October 1908), pp. 98-117. 







\ 



'^€0^'' 









fF^i-^St4, 








Fig. 50.- Report of Judicial Proceedings before tlie Praefect of Egypt, G. Scptiniius 
Vegetus, H5 AD. Papyrus. Now at Florence. 15y permission of the R. Accademia del Lincei. 
(J of the size of tlie original). 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 269 

such as the unpopularity of the " publicans," ^ or again the 
" tribute " of two drachmae ^ levied in Egypt for the Great 
Great God Suchus in the gospel age,^ but also to peculiarities 
of legal life. 

A Florentine papyrus * of the year 85 a.d. (Figure 50) 
supplies a very noteworthy parallel to Mark xv. 15, etc. In 
the words of the evangelist,* 

" And so Pilate, willing to content the people, released 
Barabbas unto them, and delivered Jesus, when he had 
scourged Him, to be crucified." 

The papyrus, containing a report of judicial proceedings, 
quotes these words of the governor of Egypt, G. Septimius 
Vegetus, before whom the case was tried, to a certain 
Phibion : — 

Thou hadst been worthy of scourging * . . but I will 
give thee to the people." ^ 

' Cf. Wilcken, Grieckische Ostraka, I. p. 568 f. 

' Matt. xvii. 24. 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 748, of the year 48 a.d. Cf . Wilcken, 
Grieckische Ostraka, I. 360. For the expression " Great Great (= greatest) 
God," imitated from the Egyptian (Wilcken), cf. Moulton, Grammar,^ p. 97, 
and Bruno Mueller, Meyas Beos, a dissertation published at Halle, 1913, pp. 
330 and 346 f. A Jewish inscription, Fayum, 25 B.C. (Archiv fiir PapjTus- 
forschung 5, p. 163) has the expression: Beifi neydXip iJxydXai vi/jCotui, " to God 
the Great Great Highest." 

* No. 6ira ff. Supplementi Filologico-Storici ai Monumenti Antichi Papiri 
Graeco-Egizii pubblicati dalla R. Accademia dei Lincei, volume primo, Papiri 
Fiorentini . . . per cura di Girolamo Vitelli, Milano, 1906, p. 113 fE., with 
facsimile (Plate IX.), here reproduced (Figure 50) by kind permission of the 
R. Accademia dei Lincei. Cf. Ludwig Mitteis, Zeitschrift der Savigny- 
Stiftung fur Rechtsgeschichte, 26 (1905), Romanistische Abteilung. p. 485 ff., 
and Chrestomathie p. 88 f., No. 80. For the chronology cf. Wilcken, Archiv, 

4. P- 445- 

* d 3c TTctAaTos ^ovXofievos TTOtijfjai to iKavov tw o^A*^ d-rreXvaev auTOiy tov Bapa^P&v 
Kal iTopeSatKev rov ^Iijaovv ^payeXXutaas iva OTavpwdij. 

' A parallel to John xix. i, cf, also Luke xviii. 33, etc., where, as in the 
papyrus, the word used is fiaanyoo). 

' dfios pi.f]v ^s /J.aoTiywB'^vai, . . . ;fapiJo/iat he ae Toiy o;^Aois. Vitelli called 
attention to Mark xv. 15. 1 first learnt of the papyrus in conversation 
with Wilcken. [W. M. Calder, Classical Review 38 (Feb.-March, 1924), pp. 
29, 30, refers to the Ephesian inscription of Phlegethius (circa 441 a.d.). Count 
of the Domestici and Proconsul of Asia, who reminds the people of Smyrna 
that they deserve punishment, and goes on : Sid be rds cVjSo^ans rain-ijs x^j 
XofiTrpds ^E^Eolunt fnjTpoTToXetos Kai ort ov Set avrajv raj Sei/acty to KaBoXov 
irapaKpoveaBai, aTToXilopxv ijiSs ktX. (Gr^goire, Recueil No. 100'; Anato- 
lian Studies presented to Sir W. M. Ramsay, Manchester, 1923, p. 154 ff.), 



270 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Phibion's offence was that he had " of his own authority 
imprisoned a worthy man [his alleged debtor] and also women." 
The Florentine papyrus is thus a beautiful illustration of the 
parable of the wicked servant (Matt, xyiii. 30 ; cf. also Matt. 
V. 25 f. II Luke xii. 58 f .) and the system, which it presupposes, 
of personal execution by imprisonment for debt. Numerous 
other papyri and inscriptions show that this was in Graeco- 
Roman Egypt, and elsewhere, a widespread legal custom.^ 
Probably the most interesting example for us is an inscription ^ 
in the Great Oasis containing ao edict of the governor of 
Egypt, Tib. Julius Alexander, 68 A.D. The technical 
expression here used has the same ring as in the gospel. 
" They delivered them into other prisons," says the Roman 
governor ^; " he cast hirri into prison," says Jesus.* 

Perhaps the most remarkable discovery, of this kind in the 
new texts is a singular parallel to the statement in Luke ii. 3, 
which has been so much questioned on the strength of mere 
book-learning, that on the occasion of the enrolment for 
taxation made by Cyrenius, " all went to enrol themselves, 
every one to his own city." ® That this was no mere figment 
of St. Luke or his authority, but that similar things • took 
place in that age, is proved by an edict ' of G. Vibius Maximus, 

" by reason of the outcries of this illustrious metropolis of the Ephesians, and 
because their prayers ought not to be at all set aside, we release you. . . ." 
As Calder remarks, " the action of these two Roman officials," Septimius 
Vegetus and Phlegethius, " in the Greek East at an interval of centuries 
suggests that Pilate's procedure was neither fabulous nor capricious." Tr.] 

• Cf. especially Ludwig Mitteis, Reichsrecht und Volksrecht in den dstlichen 
Provinzen des romischen Kaiserreichs, Leipzig, 1891, p. 444 ff. ; also Zeitschrift 
der Savigny-Stiftung fiir Rechtsgeschichte, 26 (1905), Romanistische Abteilung 
p. 488, a note on the Reinach Papyrus No. 7; Grundziige, pp. 19 f., 44 f.; 
Chrestomathie, p. 122 ff.; H. Lewald, Zur Personalexekution im Recht der 
Papyri, Leipzig, 1910. 

' Dittenborger, Orieniis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 66918 g, (cf. below, 
Fig. 66, facing p. 358). 

^ irapeSoaav Kal €15 aAAa? (ftvXaKds. 

• e^aXev avTov els tftvXaKijv. 

' Kal enopevovTO rnvres airoypajieoBai., fKaoTos els ti^v iavroS ■noXiv. That 
Luke is here employing departmental language is shown by a comparison 
with the report in Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 15 I. lo f. (194 a.d.), 
where the order cKaoTos Is Trjv eavroO Ktlifi-qv is issued (also by the ijyt/Muv). 

• The Egyptian edict does not correspond with the passage in St. Luke in 
every particular, but the similarity is very great. 

' Greek Papyri in the British Museum, Vol. III., ed. F. G. Kenyon and 
H. I. Bell, London, 1907, p. 125, No. 904188-., with facsimile (Plate 30), here 



l-'-r-^ 



K.rX-r.^- 









r^ 



"a,. 










2j 



1 






















1 



■^-^f^X 









^.i;■;^r•i9'^':.■| 



>^y«vvvTt<i 



i'^*.. 



Fig. 51. — Edict of the Praefect of Egypt, G. Vibius Maximus, 104 a.d. Papyrus (part of a 
letter copy-book). Now in the British Museum. By permission of the Museum authorities. 
(J of the size of the original.) 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 271 

governor of Egypt, 104 a.d. (Figure 51). I am indebted to 
.Ulrich Wilcken ^ for the following restoration of the text, to 
which re-examinations of the original by Grenfell and Hunt 
have also contributed : — 

r[aios Out]j8io[s Maft/ios «ro]px[os] 
. . Aiyvirr[ov \iya '] 
20 T^s Kar oi[Kiav a.iroypa<f>rji t]vea-Tdi[(rrji] ^ 

ttvayKaiov [e'cTTiv irStrtv Tot]s Kaff ^[vTiva] 

STjiroTc atT[tav iKarain tS>v eavrStv] ^ 

vo/iiwv irpoualyyeXXtjirOai £7ra[i'€X-] 

Oilv ets TO £av[Tcov f]<j>ea-Tia, tv[a] 
25 Kal Tyjv ow-^Bti [olJKovo/itav t^[s aTro-] 

ypaiftrji irh/ipuuTtiKnv Kal -n) 7rpoo-[ijKou-] 

<n] airois ytiopyiat, Trpoa-KapTtpi^a-ai[(Tiv.^ 

Gains Vibius Maximus, Praefect of Egypt, saith : The enrol- 
ment by household * being at hand, it is necessary to notify all 
who for any cause soever are outside their nomes to return to 
their domestic hearths, that they may also accomplish the cus- 
tomary dispensation of enrolment and continue steadfastly in 
the husbandry that belongeth to them. 

With regard to the last two lines Wilcken b writes to me : 
" We have several such edicts, requiring the peasants to 
return and do their work {e.g.* Geneva Pap5n:us No. 16). 
The Praefect here goes beyond his immediate subject when he 
takes the opportunity to enforce these injunctions once again." 

reproduced by kind permission of the British Museum (Fig. 51). Cf. J. H. 
Moulton, The Expository Times, Vol. 19, No. i, October 1907, p. 40 f., and 
E. Schflrer, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 32 (1907) col. 683 f. — I have already (p. 235 above) 
referred to the importance of this papjrrus in other respects. 

' Letter, Leipzig, 13 Oct. 1907. For the text see now in the first place 
Wilcken, Chrestomathie, p. 235 fi., No. 202; also Milligan, Selections, p. 72 fi. 

• As read by P. W. Schmiedel (and now by Wilcken). 
' The restoration is not certain. 

• The reference is to one of the censuses which were taken (according to 
an important discovery by U. Wilcken, Hermes, 28 [1893] p. 230 ff.) every 
14 years in order to fix the poll-tax or other personal dues. Among the papjrri 
there are large numbers of documents relating to these assessments. Sir 
W. M. Ramsay, Was Christ born at Bethlehem ? Zx)ndon, 1898, attempted to 
explain the enrolment in the time of Cyrenius by means of these facts (con- 
tested by E. Schiirer, Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 24 [1899] col. 679 f.). I think it possible 
that this line of argument may really lead on to something. 

' Letter, Leipzig, 24 Oct. 1907. Cf. also P. M. Meyer, Griech. Papyri . . . 
zu Giessen I. 2 (1910), p. 34. 

• This and other edicts are cited by the editors Kenyon and Bell, p. 124 f. 



272 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

The cultural parallelism between Egypt and the birthplace 
of Christianity again explains the fact that we are repeatedly 
able to illustrate from Egyptain papyri details of the life of the 
people in Palestine which Jesus immortalised in His parables. 

Besides the above-mentioned parallel to the parable of the 
wicked servant, we have illustrations to the parables of the 
good Samaritan/ the importunate widow,^ and the prodigal 
son.* To one familiar with both the gospels and the papyri 
the general impression says even more plainly than the details 
that we are dealing with the same kind of people in the two 
countries. 

Of course there are equally notable parallels to gospel details 
in the written remains found in other Mediterranean lands. 
The fact is that the threads of connexion between Primitive 
Christianity and the world are to be sought not in the high 
regions of culture and power but in the lower levels of the 
common life of the people, which has been far too much 
neglected hitherto. When it has once been grasped that the 
threads cross and re-cross where labourers work for hire in the 
vineyard, and where the house is swept for the sake of a lost 
drachma, we shall be ready to receive with something more 
than indifference a detail like the following, which brings so 
vividly before our eyes the popular character of the gospel.* 

In order to arm His disciples for their dangerous work in 
the world with the same trust in God that filled His own heart, 
Jesus exhorts them (Matt. x. 28 flf.) thus : — 

" Fear not. . . . Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing ? 
and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your 
Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 
Fear ye not therefore; ye are of more value than many 
sparrows." 

The evangelist Luke (xii, 6) has recorded this saying 
somewhat differently : — 

" Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings ? " 

' Cf. above, p. 134, n. 7. ' Cf. above, p. 134, n. 7. 

» Cf. above, p. 134, n. 7; p. 165, n. i ; and especially p. 187 3. A pretty 
parallel to the parable of the barren fig-tree (Luke xiii. 6 fi.) is given by Hans 
Windisch, Neue Jahrbiicher, 1910, p. 209, from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri, 
No. 53 (316 A.D.). 

• In what follows I avail myself of my article on " Der Marktpreis der 
Sperlinge " in Die Christliche Welt, 17 (1903) col. 203 ff. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 273 

The difference between these two versions is practically 
quite unimportant, although the equation 2:5 = 1:2 does 
not hold mathematically. On the purchaser's taking a larger 
number of birds the proportional price may well have been 
reduced ; as we should say nowadays, they came cheaper by 
the half-dozen. It is quite possible that Jesus repeated this 
particularly homely analogical conclusion from the less (the 
little sparrows) to the greater (the infinitely more valuable 
human beings) on more than one occasion, with variants, so 
that both versions might go back to Him. Be that as it may, 
the saying about the sparrows — apart, of course, from the 
mighty " Fear not," which is indivisible — contains a threefold 
statement if we analyse it as an economic document of the 
Imperial period : — 

(i) Sparrows were a very cheap article sold in the market 
as food for the poor ; 

(2) They were sold in the market either by the pair or in 

fives, the pair being the smallest, and five the next 
smallest quantity sold ; 

(3) The market price in the time of Jesus was a " farthing " 

(= about a halfpenny of our money) a pair, or two 
" farthings " (= about a penny of our money) 
for five.^ 

The same three deductions, nearly, can be drawn from one 
of the inscriptions discovered recently. There is a highly 
important commercial law of the Emperor Diocletian, known 
as the maximum tariff, the greater part of which has long been 
known from inscriptions. All kinds of articles of commerce 
are quoted in this tariff, and to each item is attached the 
highest price at which it is allowed to be sold. Historians 
of the Imperial period are not agreed as to the real purpose 
of this tariff ; but the question does not concern us here. The 
interesting point for us is that a new fragment ^ of the tariff 
which was discovered in Aegira in 1899 gives us the highest 

' Another market price, the price of wheat and barley, which may be of 
chronological importance, is mentioned in Rev. vi. 6. It would be valuable 
to get together some day as complete a collection as possible of corn prices 
during the second half of the first century a.d. 

' Published in an Athens journal, E^jiepis ApxatoXoyuei], 1899, p. 154. 



274 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

price for sparrows. From it we learn the following particulars, 
applying of course to the end of the third century a.d. :— 

(i) Of all birds used for food sparrows are the cheapest; 
they are cheaper, for instance, than thrushes, 
beccaficoes, and starlings. 

(2) They were usually sold in decades. Ten seems to have 

been the regular number with all sorts of small 
animals (cf . our dozen) ; the tariff, for instance, 
gives the prices for 10 thrushes, 10 beccaficoes, 
10 starlings. 

(3) According to the tariff 10 sparrows are to be sold for at 

most 16 " denarii." This does not mean the old 
silver denarii, but the new copper coins, whose value 
Theodore Mommsen ^ and Salomon Reinach ^ agree 
in estimating at {1^ pfennig, 2 J centimes) less than an 
English farthing. The market price of 10 sparrows 
was fixed at a maximum of threepence-halfpenny 
(English). 

From what Jesus says, the half-decade of sparrows in His 
day cost about one penny (English) ; the whole decade would 
therefore cost about twopence. Taking into account the 
difference in date — which is itself quite sufficient to explain 
the difference in price — and the fact that Diocletian is fixing 
a maximum pric6, we cannot deny that Jesus spoke with 
correct observation of the conditions of everyday life. This 
is not a mere game that we have been playing with farthings. 
The edict of the Emperor Diocletian helps us, I think, to 
understand one of the finest utterances of Jesus in its original 
significance. Even in small things Jesus is great. The 
unerring eye for actualities that asserts itself so repeatedly 
in the gospel parables comes out also in the saying about the 
sparrows. St. Paul has been accused — ^but unjustly — of 
overreaching himself in the figure (Rom. xi. 17 ff.) of the wild 
branch grafted on the cultivated olive. The reproach is 
groundless, because St. Paul is tliere bent on demonstrating 
something that is really against nature; but St. Paul, the 
inhabitant of the city, had not the marvellous simplicity of 
Jesus, the child of the country, in his attitude to nature, 

* Hermes, 25 (1890) p. 17 flf. ' Revue nuinismatiq,ue, 1900, p. 429 ff. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 275 

or he would never have written (i Cor. ix. 9), with expectation 
of a negative answer, " Doth God take care for oxen ? " 
Jesus grew up among country people, who lived with their 
animals and felt for them : the ox and the ass, as we know 
from pictures in the catacombs, were early placed beside the 
manger-cradle of the child Christ, and the popular instinct 
that borrowed them from Isaiah i. 3, and still speaks to us 
from those pictures, was right. Jesus was in His true element 
in the market-place, watching a poor woman counting her 
coppers to see if she could still take five or ten sparrows home 
with her. Poor, miserable little creatures, fluttering there, 
such numbers of them, in the vendors' cages ! A great many 
can be had for a very small sum, so trifling is their value. 
And yet each one of them was loved by the Heavenly Father. 
How much more will God care for man, whose soul is worth 
more than the whole world ! 

While the papyri from the villages and small towns of 
Egypt introduce us indirectly to the characteristic civilisation 
of the synoptic gospels,^ the rediscovered culture of the cities 
of Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, and Southern Italy shows us 
rather the background of St. Paul's missionary labours. 

Even Pompeii, although St. Paul probably never walked its 
lanes, is extraordinarily instructive. It not only furnishes 
us with texts ; it has, by its peculiar fate, been itself preserved 
with all the actuality of petrifaction, and we may regard it as 
a typical town. " Such was the actual appearance of a 
city of Campania at the time when the Emperors Nero, 
Vespasian, Titus ruled the world of their day." This remark 
about Pompeii was made by Friedrich von Duhn,^ under whose 
masterly guidance I was privileged to visit the place, gather- 
ing new and lasting impressions; and I would add, speaking 

' Judging from a great number of separate instances that I have observed, 
I think it would be a fascinating task to demonstrate in detail the far-reaching 
parallelism in the civilisations of Egypt and Palestine under the early Roman 
Empire, using on the one hand the papyri etc., and on the other hand the N.T., 
the Mishna, the Talmuds, etc. Particularly with regard to law there is much 
to be shown. See a note by L. Blau, valuable as concerning methods, in 
Judaica Festschrift zu Hermann Cohens 70. Geburtstag, p. 208. 

2 Pompeji, eine hellenistische Stadt in Italien (Aus Natur und Geisteswelt 
114), Leipzig, 1906, p. 24. This is an excellent introduction. The large works 
on Pompeii are easily accessible. 



276 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

in terms of the New Testament : Such was the appearance 
of a small Hellenistic town in the West in the time when 
St. Paul wrote at Corinth his -letter to the Romans, his heart 
full of thoughts of the West, which began for him with Italy. ^ 
Besides the indescribably valuable general impression, there 
are plenty of striking details. The Pompeian inscriptions 
HRISTIAN (?) and Sodoma Gomora^ and the Pompeian 
" Judgment of Solomon " * have given rise to a well-known 
controversy. In the Macellum * at Pompeii we can imagine 
to ourselves the poor Christians buying their modest pound 
of meat in the Corinthian Macellum (i Cor. x. 25), with the 
same life-like reality with which the Diocletian maximum 
tariff called up the picture of the Galilean woman purchasing 
her five sparrows. How full the wall-inscriptions are of 
popular wit and popular coarseness ! What degradation of 
the higher classes is revealed when the obscene Pompeian 
bronzes, costly in material and execution, are shown in the 
Naples Museum ! One single example of a contribution to 
our knowledge of the New Testament from Pompeii may be 
given here in more detail. * 

In the Revelation of St. John (xiii. 18) we read : — 

" Let him that hath understanding, count the number 
of the beast : for it is the number of a man, and his number 
is. Six hundred three score and six." (Some ancient 
authorities read 616 instead of 666.) 

Scientific commentators are probably by this time agreed 
that the name to be " counted " must be found by 
" gematria," i.e. we must look for a name the letters 

* Paul obviously divided his world into two halves : the eastern half 
stretched " from Jerusalem unto lUyricum " (Rom. xv. 19) . What was under- 
stood by " lUjrricum " in the Imperial age is shown by Wilhelm Weber, Unter- 
suchungen zur Geschichte des Kaisers Hadrianus, Leipzig, 1907, p. 55. 

* Cf. A. Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Chrisientums in den 
ersten drei Jahrhunderten,' II., Leipzig, 1906, p. 74 ('1915, p. 90) ; The Expan- 
sion of Christianity in the first three centuries, translated and edited by James 
Moffatt, II., London, 1905, pp. 243 n. 3, 391 n. 3 ; and E. Nestle, Zeitschrift 
fiir die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 5 (1904) p. 168, where other possible 
direct witnesses to Judaism and Christianity in Pompeii are mentioned. 

' Cf. the literature in Erich Becker, Malta Sotteranea, Strassburg, 1913, 
P-85. 

* I.e. " shambles," " meat-market." 

' Cf. Die Christliche Welt 17 (1903) col. 746 f. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 



277 



of which, taken separately in their ordinary values as 
numerals and added together, will make up the sum of 666 
or 616. Now it has been generally assumed by exegetists 
hitherto that gematria was a specifically Jewish form of the 
numerical riddle, and therefore attempts have often been 
made, especially in recent times, to solve the number 666 
or 616 by means of the Hebrew alphabet. As a matter of 
fact, however, the interchange of numbers for words and 
words for numbers was not unknown to the ancient Greeks, 
as even Greek lexicons ^ tell us. The patristic writers, in so 
far as they attempt to solve the riddle with the Greek alphabet, 
show that such numerical puzzles were not entirely foreign 
to the Greek world. From Pompeii, however, we learn that 
they were current among the people at the very time in which 
the New Testament was being written. A. Sogliano ^ has 
published graffiti (wall-scribblings) from Pompeii, i.e. not 
later in date than 79 a.d., one example of which is as follows : — 



JSias K(v)pia(s) eir' dyafiu ^s 6 
apidfioi ft,e' (or aXe') Tov KoXov 
ovo/jLaro^ [of. James ii. 7]. 



Amerimnus thought upon his 
lady Harmonia ^ for good. The 
number of her honourable name 
is 43 (or 1035). 



Another example reads : — 

tfyiXS) ijs api6fx6% 4>ixi. I I love her whose number is 545. 

These graffiti, in date not far removed from the Revelation 
of St. John, certainly suggest new riddles, but they also 
establish, besides those already pointed out, the following 
facts : — 

(i) They are concerned with names of persons, which names 
for some reason or other are to be concealed. 

(2) The name was concealed by resolving it into a number. 
In all probability single letters were given their usual values 
as numerals and then added together. 

' S.v. ia6ijn](jios. H. D[elehaye], in the Analecta Bollandiana, 27, p. 443, 
refers to Perdrizet, Revue des etudes grecques, 17 (1904) pp. 350-360. 

' Isopsepha Pompeiana, Rendiconti della Reale Accademia dei Lincei, 10 
(1901) pp. 256-259. An extract is given in the Wochenschrift fiir klassische 
Philologie, 19 (1902) col. 52. Wilhelm Weber (postcard, Groningen, 27 May, 
1912) refers me to E. Rohde, Griech. Roman'', p. 487. 

' This name is probably only bestowed playfully by the writer on his 
mistress; her real name is hidden in the number. [For the whole sentence cf. 
LXX Neh. V. 19, xui. 31. Te.] 



278 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST ' 

(3) The similar numerical riddle in the Revelation would 
not necessarily seem Semitic, i.e. foreign, to the men of the 
Greek-speaking world. Examples of such playing with 
numbers have been found on inscribed stones ^ of the Imperial 
period at Pergamum, which was one of the cities of the 
Apocalypse (Rev. ii. 12 ff.). Franz Biicheler ^ has con- 
vincingly proved how widespread the habit was at that time, 
and a passage in Suetonius (Nero, 39), hitherto obscured by 
false conjectures, has been cleared up by his brilliant dis- 
covery that the name " Nero " is there resolved numerically 
into " matricide." 

(4) In solving the apocalyptic numbers 616 and 666, 
occurring in the Greek book^ it is not only not unfeasible 
to start from the Greek alphabet,^ it is in fact the most 
obvious thing to do. 

In any case the graffiti at Pompeii bring the Book of Mys- 
teries a little bit nearer to the Hellenistic world — ^the world 
in which it originated, but from which the exegetists have 
often divided it by an all too deep gulf, although in language 
and coloration it shows clearly the reflection of that world. 

A visit to Pompeii and the study of its records are most 
excellent means of supplementing one's Eastern impressions, 
gathered from moderately sized towns of Asia Minor, siich as 
Magnesia on the Maeander, or Priene, and deepened by the 
magnificent publications * of the inscriptions and other 
discoveries. The same is true of Hierapolis ^ and many 
smaller towns of Asia.® 

' Cf. Die Inschriften von Pergamon, Nos. 333, 339, 587. The Pompeian 
graffiti are, however, more valuable, because more popular. 

^ Rheinisches Museum fiir Philologie, New Series, 6i (1906) p. 307 f. I owe 
this reference to Wilhelm Weber. 

' If I may here venture to propose a solution, 616 (= Kataap 6e6s, " Caesar 
god ") is the older secret number with which the Jews branded the worship of 
the emperor. 666 is perhaps a Christian adaptation of the Jewish number 
to bring it into (subordinate) harmony with 888 (= 'IijaoSs, " Jesus "). 

♦ For Magnesia on the Maeander, which I visited on 15 April, 1906, see 
p. 13, n. 4 above, and Thieme's book (p. 20, n. 4 above). For Priene, which I 
saw under the guidance of Theodor Wiegand on 16 April, 1906, cf. p. 13, n. 5 
above, and Rouffiac's book (p. 20, n. 5 above) ; also Ziebarth, Kulturbilder, 
p. 50 ff. The early Christian " house-church " at Priene is of great interest, cf. 
Priene, p. 480 f. 

' Cf. p. 14, n. I above. I visited the town on 14 March, 1909. 

' Cf. pp. 13-17, above. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 279 

A good deal is also known about the civilisation of the 
islands in the Imperial age. The islands of the sea between 
Ephesus and Corinth were not outside the sphere of St. Paul's 
missionary labours. There are scholars who, in the i6th 
chapter of Romans, assume with the utmost calmness whole- 
sale migrations of poor Christians from Asia to Rome.^ and 
who make the slave Onesimus mentioned in Philemon run 
over from Colossae to Rome or Caesarea, as if it were some- 
thing quite ordinary; and yet these same scholars regard a 
journey of St. Paul from Ephesus to Crete as wildly im- 
probable. But the islands were easier to get at than many 
towns in the interior of Asia Minor : the list of perils en- 
countered by Paul the traveller in 2 Cor. xi. 23 ff. shows us 
that travelling by land was fraught with great difficulties for a 
poor man. 2 From our authorities we must certainly assume 
that St. Paul made many more voyages than we are now able 
to determine in detail. He had suffered shipwreck three 
times already before the Second Epistle to the Corinthians 
was despatched ^ ; and the Pastoral Epistles also mention 
voyages of the apostle and his companions, of which nothing 
more is known, the principal one being a voyage of St. Paul 
to Crete.* This last reference points at least to the early 
establishment of Christianity in the islands.* Even. if it is 
not yet certain whether the " angel " inscriptions from Thera 

* The assumption breaks down at once from the fact that Aquila and 
Priscilla were at Ephesus when the First Epistle to the Corinthians was written 
(i Cor. xvi. 19), and that their house was a centre for church meetings. If, as 
is generally assumed, the Epistle to the Romans was written not very long 
afterwards, then within that short time Aquila and Priscilla must have not 
only gone to Rome, but also have got together again at once the church meeting 
in their house mentioned in Rom. xvi. 5. — ^To describe the personal names in 
Rom. xvi. as specifically Roman on the strength of inscriptions found in the 
city of Rome is about as safe as to describe Wilhelm, Friedrich, Luise as 
specifically Berlin names because they are found on Berlin tombstones. 
The " Roman " names referred to are found swarming in inscriptions, papyri, 
and ostraca all over the Mediterranean world. — Least appropriate of all to a 
letter to Rome is the passage Rom. xvi. 17-20. 

' The " perils of rivers, perils of robbers " (2 Cor. xi. 26) have remained the 
same to our own times, as we were able to convince ourselves in April igo6, 
riding through the swamps of the Maeander, and next day at Didyma in the 
house of a Greek who had been shot by robbers immediately before our arrival. 

' 2 Cor. xi. 25. 

* Titus i. 5. 

' Cf. Hamack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums,* II. p. 195 f . ; 
The Expansion of Christianity, translated by Mofiatt, II. p. 370 f. 



28o LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

are Christian,^ the islands would deserve our attention for 
at least one reason, viz. that the inscriptions found there 
furnish a quantity ,of valuable information bearing on the 
history of the " New Testament ", vocabulary.^ Especially 
noteworthy are the inscriptions of Delos,^ Thera,* and Cos.^ 
Immeasurable, next, is the abundance of light, ever in- 
creasing from year to year, that has been shed upon the great 
New Testament cities ^ of Greece, Asia Minor, and Syria, 

' Cf. the stimulating conjectures of Hans Achelis, Spuren des Urchristentums 
auf den griechischen Inseln ? Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamentliche Wissen- 
schaft, I (1900) p. 87 ff. I saw the ayycAos-inscriptions on 18 May, 1906, in 
the Thera Museum. Many of them bear a rosette $, the central lines of 
which look like a cross, but are not a Christian cross (on this rosette see R. 
Herzog, Koische Forschungen und Funde, p. 90, n. i). As Friedrich von 
Duhn also remarked on that occasion, only one, No».952, bears instead of a 
rosette with a p-cross. I am indebted to the kindness of Dr. Hugo Kehrer for 
a photograph (Fig. 52). But I consider it highly probable that the rosette 
was given its Christian character subsequently. On 14 May, 1906, in the New 
Museum at Epidaurus, I saw a Christian rosette just like this on an ancient 
stone inscribed to Asclepius. Christian symbols are often found on stones of 
pre-Christian age. — In considering the question of the age of the Christianity 
of the islands two things must not be forgotten : the older Jewish settlements 
and the opportunities for intercourse between the islands. There were Jewish 
congregations in Crete, and how near Thera is to Crete I first learnt from 
personal observation : from the heights of Thera we saw in the south, where 
sky and deep blue sea joined, the snowy peaks of Ida and the other mountains 
of Crete. The preliminary conditions for a Christian mission from island to 
island were therefore very favourable. — I may add that in the monastery of 
St.- Elias in Thera I saw a number of Biblical and patristic Greek MSS., the 
existence of which is, I believe, not generally known. Cf. the account (not 
quite exhaustive) of them given in the Theol. Lit.-Ztg. 33 (1908) col. 491, 
by Samuel Brandt, who was travelling with me. There are also patristic 
MSS. in the Museum at Candia in Crete, as I was told by the director there, 
Dr. Hatzidakis. I had no time to inspect them, but I obtained the titles 
afterwards. 

^ Cf. the examples in Chapter II. above. 

' Cf. p. 15, n. I above. 

' Cf. p. 14, n. 2 above, and Ziebarth's sketch, Kulturbilder, p. 16 ff. 

' Cf. p. 14, n. 3 above. 

' Cf. on the whole subject Sir W, M. Ramsay, Pauline Cities, London, 1907. 
[The Zeus-Hermes dedication of Sedasa, near Lystra, soon after 250 a.d., dis- 
covered by Sir W. M. Ramsay's fellow-traveller, W. M. Calder, throws light on 
the conduct of the natives of Lycaonia who called Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul 
Mercury, Acts xiv. u ff. The inscription, found at Baliik-laou (Balyklagho) , 
about a day's ride south of Lystra, records the dedication of a statue of 
Hermes to Zeus by men with Lycaonian names, thus proving the existence of 
a local cult of these deities, to which Ovid's location of the story of Baucis and 
Philemon (Metamorphoses viii. 620-625) also points. Published by Calder in 
the Classical Review, 1910, pp. 76 ff., and the Expositor, July 1910, p. i ff. 
He also has an article, " New Light on Ovid's Story of Philemon and Baucis," 




Fig. 52. — "Angel" Inscription from the Island of Thera. 
Gravestone, Imperial Period. Now in the Thera Museum. 
From a photograph by Dr, Hugo Kehrer. 



m. 







Fig. 53. — The Zeus-Hermes dedication from Sedasa (Ak-Kilisse), near 
Lystra, soon after 250 a.d. Now in a house-wall at Baliik-laou (Balyklagho) , 
near Lystra. Photograph of a rubbing kindly supplied by Professor W. M. 
Calder. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 281 

illuminating the mission-field proper of Primitive Christianity. 
The spaciousness and boldness of their proportions, the 
strength and grace of their architecture, the equable beauty 
of their Graeco-Roman works of art (from the marble miracles 
of masters in sculpture down to the humblest of the terra- 
cottas and small bronzes), the old places of worship, venerable 
still in ruins — whoever has seen, and seeing has reanimated, 
all this in Athens ^ and Corinth,^ in ever royal Pergamum,* 
' in Smyrna,* in the solemn and oppressive gravity of 
Ephesus,^ and in the silent and but recently desecrated 

in Discovery, August 1922, pp. 207-211. Cf. also Classical Review, Feb.- 
March 1924, p. 29, n. i. The inscription (see Fig. 53, photograph of a rubbing, 
kindly supplied by Professor Calder), on an oblong pillar, about 2 feet high, 
built into a house-wall, reads : Tovrjs ( ? Tov^s) M[a]\Kf>eZvos o| koI 'ApdaKmi\Tos 
Ktti BdTa\ms BpeTaai\Sos 'Epfiijv] /UyiOTOvl Kara ev^'qi'l emaKevdaav\Tfs aini (upa|Ao}^<<Jt 
« raWlt'Si'ajv (dv)aAa)/i|oTa)v aviaT\i)]\aav Ail ['//Ai<f>]. " Tues Macrinus, who also 
is called Abascantus, and Batasis the daughter (son?) of Bretasis, having 
restored (this) Hermes Most Great according to a vow, together with the sun- 
dial, at their own private charges, set it up to Zeus the Sun." For d Koi 
cf. Acts xiii. 9 and p. 452, n. i below; for Abascantus cf. p. 193, n. 10 above. 
aAai/uiTiuv is probably a mistake of the carver for avd!uofi.aTaa>, though it occurs 
in Boeotian inscriptions. Again in May 1926, as announced in Discovery 7 
(Aug. 1926), p. 262, Calder and W. H. Buckler found near Lystra a stone 
altar dedicated to the " Hearer of Prayer " (Zeus ?) and Hermes. Tr.] 
1 19 April to u May, 1906. 

" 12 May, 1906. Corinth, the scene of events in the earliest history of 
Christianity, is indescribably impressive. With the Acrocorinthus it con- 
stitutes, merely as natural scenery, an experience of the highest order. 

' For Pergamum cf. p. 13, n. 3 and p. 20 above. On Good Friday, 13 April, 
1906, 1 had the advantage of seeing Pergamum under the guidance of Wilhelm 
Dorpfeld. Actual inspection of the place suggests that " Satan's throne " 
(Rev. ii. 13) can only have been the altar of Zeus ; no other shrine of the hill-city 
was visible to such a great distance and could therefore rank so typically as the 
representative of satanic heathendom. 
* 14 April, 1906; II and 16 March, 1909. 

' For Ephesus cf. p. 13, n. i above. It well repa3rs the theological visitor. 
I inspected the Austrian excavations, under Dr. Keil's guidance, on Easter 
Sunday, 15 April, 1906, and a second time on 12 March, 1909, with Carl 
Schmidt (of Berlin) and Wilhelm Weber. Though one cannot see the house 
inhabited by the mother of Jesus, in spite of the already highly reputed, modern 
cult of Panagia Kapuli (cf. an article by me in Die Christliche Welt, 20 [1906] 
col. 873 ff.), yet there are the tragic remains of the temple of Artemis (Acts xix. 
27), the well-preserved theatre (Acts xix. 29), where the Anatolian spring sends 
its blood-red ane^nones to shine among the tiers of white marble seats, the 
Stadium in which St. Paul fought with- beasts (if i Cor. xv. 32 is to be taken 
literaJly), the " prison of St. Paul," and important remains of early Christian 
architecture (the best, perhaps, still unexcavated). And above all, one obtains 
an ineradicable impression of the greatness and distinctiveness of the most 
important city in the world, after Jerusalem and Antioch, in the early history 
of Christianity— the city of St. Paul and St. John the Evangelist. 



282 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

fairy-world of Milettis-Didyma,i at Laodicea ^ and Hiera- 
polis,^ at Angora * and Konieh,^ at Tarsus,® Antioch on the 
Orontes,' and at Damascus,^ will have acquired, even if 
all the details were to escape him, one permanent possession 
— the recognition of the grandeur of that world of which 
a Paul had ventured to say that it was passing away.' Was 
this remark of the artisan missionary dictated by the futile 
envy of one excluded from it ? or did it come from the con- 
sciousness of an inner power superior even to that world? 
And the quiet little Book containing the simple evidences of 
that power — does it not seem strangely great when we open, 
it on the Acrocorinthus or among the ruins of Ephesus ? greater 
than the whole Bibliotheca Christiana of after times with 
its frequent sins of prolixity ? 

Some traditional lines in the picture of the ancient world 
would have to be altered if we were to try to-day to depict 
that world after a study of its own records.^" Most of us, 
probably, at some time or other, have heard that the world to 
which the Gospel message came was thoroughly corrupt. 

' For Miletus-Didyma, see p. 13, n. 6 and p. 14, n. 6 above. We visited 
these places under the guidance of Theodor Wiegand, 16-18 April, 1906. 
Some Milesian matter will be found in the Appendices. 

^ 13 March, 1909. ' 14 March, 1909. 

* 2 and 3 March, 1909. ' 6-8 March, 1909. 

' 20 and 21 March, 1909. ' 23 and 24 March, 1909. 

* 29 and 30 March, 1909. ' i Cor. vii. 31. 

'" The best works available to theologians are : Theodor Mommsen, Romische 
Geschichte, Vol. V. ; Ludwig Friedlander, Darstellungen aus der Sittengeschichte 
Roms in der Zeit von Augustus bis zum Ausgang der Antonine, 4 parts, 8th 
edition, Leipzig, 1910 (in the 7th edition the notes were unaccountably " 
omitted) [Eng. trans, by L. A. Magnus and J. H. Freese, London, 1908-1913; 
vol. iv., by A. B. Gough, contains the notes and appendices of the 6th edition] ; 
and especially Paul Wendland, Die hellenistisch-rdmische Kttltur in ihren 
Beziehungen zu Judentum und Christentum (Handbuch zum Neuen Testament, 
I. 2), Tubingen, igo-j;'-'- 1912. The only thing I miss Jn this excellent 
work is a stronger emphasis on the popular elements in the culture of the 
Imperial age. The background sketched by Wendland is more suitable to 
that stage of Christianity (2nd cent.) in which it was becoming literary and 
theological. W. Staerk, Neutestamentliche Zeitgeschichte, 2 small volumes in 
Goschen's series, Leipzig, 1907, gives a popular and well-ordered summary of 
recent research. — Theologians must on no account neglect the investigations of 
Ludwig Mitteis in the first part of his Reichsrecht und Volksrecht in den 
ostlichen Provinzen des romischen Kaiserreichs, Leipzig, 1891, entitled " Die 
hellenistische (cf. p. vii) Civilisation und ihre Grenzen." Though written 
before the publication of most of the papyri and ostraca, this book was epoch- 
making in its use of the non-literary texts which were known down to that 
time. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 283 

Many writers have in good faith painted the situation in the 
Roman Imperial period in the darkest colours ; and in cases 
where there was really nothing but light to be seen, people 
have been only too often inclined to call the virtues of the 
heathen brilliant vices. 

This dark picture of the ancient world is due, I think, to 
two main facts : it was drawn from the literary records of 
the age, and it was influenced by the polemical exaggera- 
tions of zealous Fathers of the Church. St. Paul must not 
be held responsible for it ; in spite of his feeling of superi- 
ority to this transitory world and its hollow wisdom, and in 
spite of his knowledge of the corruption of a great city,^ he 
did not overlook the light places, and he was never a mere 
■advocate abusing his opponent. It was otherwise with the 
later champions of the faith, when the world had declared 
war to the knife against it. They had to struggle against 
the world outside and the world in their own camp, and it 
is not difficult to understand their passionateness and to 
pardon their heated exaggerations. 

But the Christian historian of to-day ought to be just in 
his judgments — because he is a Christian, and, if not for 
that reason, then because he is entered on the roll of the 
religion that came out victorious in the struggle. At any rate 
he ought to notice which lines are caricatured. And it ought 
to be equally clear to him that the merely literary records 
of an age are insufficient to give him a reliable picture.* 
As a generalVule, literature is a reflex of upper-class opinions. 
Doubt, denial, satiety, frivolity always proclaim themselves 
much more loudly in the upper than in the vigorous and 
unspoiled lower classes. A lower class that begins to doubt 
and scoff is generally copying the educated classes ; it always 
lags some few dozen years behind the class above it, that 
amount of time being required for the impurities to filter 
down. Then, however, purification takes place automat- 
ically ; the giant body is robust and contains its own means 
of healing. 

The Roman Imperial period of literature is, as a matter 
of fact, rich in notes of negation and despair; the luxury 
of the potentates,, with its refinements in the cultivation of 

> Rom. i. 24 ft. • Cf. pp. 3 f ., above. 



284 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

obscenity and brutality, certainly does give the age a dark 
look. But even in the literature forces of a different kind 
are heard and felt. The popular writers on ethics in the 
narrower sense, to whom Georg Heinrici ^ so insistently refers, 
served positively to prepare the way for Christianity; but, 
not to mention them, what an attractive personality, taken 
all round, is Plutarch — and there are many other good names 
besides his that could be mentioned in the cultured and powerful 
class. And then, when we descend into the great masses and 
listen to them at their work, in the fields, in the workshop, 
on the Nile boat and the Roman cornships, in the army and 
at the money-changer's table, — he must be blind who cannot 
see that many were leading useful, hard-working, dependable 
lives, that family feeling and friendship bound poor people 
together and strengthened them, that the blessings of an old 
and comparatively established civilisation were felt in the 
smallest villages, and, chiefly, that a deeply religious strain 
went through that entire world. 

3. This brings us to that feature of the world contemporary 
with Primitive Christianity which is for us, of course, the 
most important, viz. its religious position. The new texts 
are here extraordinarily productive, for a large proportion 
of them are of a directly religious nature.* There are the 
innumerable epitaphs, in poetry and prose ; there are prayers 
and dedications, temple laws and sacrificial regulations; 
there are confessions of sin,^ private letters with a religious 
colouring, horoscopes, amulets, cursing tablets and magical 
books ; there are oracles and thankful accounts of deliverance 
from dire peril or of miraculous cures at the great shrines. 
And if anyone doubts the words of these texts— setting 
aside the assurances of intercession in the papyrus letters 
as mere phrases, and the reports of cures as simply so much 
sacerdotal fraud — ^perhaps figures will appeal to him. Let 
him calculate the sums of money that were devoted to 

1 Chiefly in his various commentaries on the Epistles to the Corinthians, 
and in his semasiological analysis of the Sermon on the Mount (VoL III. of 
his Beitrdge, Leipzig, 1905). 

2 Many examples are made use of in the various chapters of this book. 

' These extremely remarkable texts have now been conveniently collected 
and criticised by Franz Steinleitner, Die Beicht. Ci. p. 192, n. 3 above. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 285 

religious purposes in the Imperial period on the evidence of 
dedicatory inscriptions and the papyri^ — from the monster 
presentations to great temples immortalised in marble 
splendour, to the drachmae and obols of the Isis collections 
for which a receipt was issued to the Egyptian peasant on a 
miserable potsherd.* 

Were it possible to collect before us, in all their shades of 
variety, the original documents attesting the piety of the 
Gentile world in the age of the New Testament, and could 
we then with one rapid glance survey them all, we should 
feel as St. Paul did at Athens. After passing through the 
streets of that one city he was fain to .acknowledge that the 
men he had seen were " extremely religious." * 

The impression is deepened when we gaze actually upon 
some of the great places of worsbip which were still in high 
repute in the Hellenistic period of Roman history. We 
experience over again in all their complexity the feelings of 
the ancient devotee, so far as they were determined by the 
prevailing atmosphere of the sacred place itself. It is 
possible, of course, unconsciously to read something modern 
into our interpretation of the temple walls and ordered 
columns rising from the debris. Above all, the imposing 
solitude which usually surrounds us as we stand beside these 
ruins to-day may easily mislead us into giving a false touch 
to the picture we piece together for ourselves. But the great 
things cannot be sophisticated : sky, and sea, and cliff, 
gorge and plain, fig-tree and olive grove, and over all the 
frolic strife of sunlight and shadow — these are eternally the 
same. And it cannot be altogether wrong to assume that the 
feelings which come over us to-day * on the site of the ancient 
shrines were experienced also by the pious men of old who 
discovered and consecrated, settled and tended these places. 
All the effects come under one of two main heads : either the 

' There is much material in Walter Otto, Priester und Tempel im helleni- 
stischen A'gypten, ein Beitrag zur Kulturgeschichte de's Hellenismus, 2 vols., 
Leipzig, 1905 and 1908; and especially in Bernhard Laum, Stiftungen in der 
griechischen und romiscken Antike, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1914- 

' Cf . p. 105 above. 

» Kara vavra ws SaaiSai/ioveoTepouy, Acts xvii. 22. The A.V. " too super- 
stitious " is an incorrect translation, found also in Luther's Bible. 

* The following is a sketch of my own impressions in April and May, 1906, 
in some cases deepened and extended in 1909 — on visiting the places named. 



286 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

beauty and loveliness of the sacred place enlarge the heart to 
solemn devotion, or else the grandeur and the vastness make it 
sink shuddering before the terrible and the sublime. 

There is Olympia, with the sprightly charm of what might 
almost be a German hill-landscape — a place of joyous festal 
celebration. There is Epidaurus, the goal of sick pilgrims, 
in its green forest solitude remote from all the world. And 
Eleusis, above the silent bay bounded by the cornfields and 
olive plantations of the plain and by the cliffs of Salamis; 
— the spirit of this sanctuary is rendered with marvellous 
feeling in the most deeply religious work of ancient sculpture 
that I have ever seen, the Eleusinian Triptolemus relief in 
the Museum at Athens.^ 

There Corinth lies, above the gleaming beauty of her rock- 
crowned gulf, not unlike Eleusis, only vaster, severer, more 
masculine, possessing the oldest temple on Greek soil, and 
overhung by the defiant mass of the Acrocorinthus. There 
in her pride and strength and beauty the Acropolis of Athens 
sits enthroned above the crow:ded Polis, bearing sway over 
the sea and the islands, . and calling up feelings of patriotic 
devotion. 

And then the island shrines : the temple of Aphaea in 
Aegina, on a steep wooded height, with wide expanses of sea 
visible through the tops of evergreen trees ; lovely Delos 
in the circle of her humbler sisters ; Thera, opening up to us 
from primeval peaks, still sacred to this day, the beauty of 
sea and sunshine stretching away into the blue limitless 
distance. Finally the great seats of worship in Asia Minor : 
Pergamum, Ephesus, and Miletus-Didyma, Hierapolis. 

But nothing can approach the shrine of Delphi in dignity 
and vastness. The giants of the prime whose hands piled 
those frowning mighty walls of rock, the Phaedriads,^ have 
here created for the sacred precinct a background of in- 
describable solemnity; not even the extravagant profusion 
of costly votive offerings in bronze and marble can have 
banished that solemnity in ancient times. And, on the high- 
road, if you let the eye stray downward from the bare rocks 
' [Ernest A. Gardner, A Handbook of Greek Sculpture, London, 1907, 
pp. 303 f. Jr.] 

'■' [Steep rocks on one of the peaks of Parnassus, 800 feet above Delphi, 
2,000 feet above sea-level. Tr.] 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 287 

opposite into the valley, the stream that you see there far 
below is a stream — or rather, sea — of gloomy, silent olive 
woods : naught save the distant streak of some bay on the 
Corinthian Gulf, lit up for a moment as it catches a glimpse 
of the sun, gives to the heroic outlines of this awesome 
picture a kindlier touch. 

The inspection of all these venerable and solemn places, 
their buildings and their sculptures, increases our knowledge 
of ancient piety beyond what we know from the inscriptions 
and pap5nri. This is chiefly because in those texts — one need 
only recall the magical texts, for instance — it is the coarser 
forms of religion, strongly suggestive of " heathenism," that 
come prominently to the front. If we did not know it before, 
we learn now frolm this inspection that, even at the time of 
the great turning-point in religious history, there were 
various levels of piety. Just as in museums we see the 
neolithic bowl side by side with the masterpiece of Attic vase- 
painting, so in the cults of Hellenism we find on the one hand 
vestiges of primitive popular religion, surviving in secret 
corners and at cross-roa,ds under cover of the night — lurking, 
too, in the letters of a propagandist ^ — and on the other 
hand temples bathed in the streaming sunlight, and votive 
gifts which nothing but a high religious culture could have 
created. And if we could awaken again to life the choirs 
that sang in those temples and are now for ever silenced, we 
should probably be still further convinced of the refinement 
of that culture. The earliest Christians certainly appreciated 
the mature beauty of the religious art of the world surrounding 
them, as we know from the comparatively unpolished writer 
of the Apocalypse. A good deal of the colouring of his 
visions is obviously derived from the religious art and usage ^ 
of Hellenistic Asia Minor; but he shared the popular liking 
for strong effects, and it was certainly the more startling 
shades that he adopted. 

' Cf. the letter of Zoilus, pp. 152 ff. above. 

' Cf. for instance my little essay on " White Robes and Palms " in fiibel- 
studien, p. 285 ff. ; Bible Studies, p. 368 ff. Much Hellenistic material for the 
background of the various Apocalypses will be found in Albrecht Dieterich, 
Nekyia, Beitrdge zur Erkldrung der neuentdeckten Petrusapokalypse, Leipzig, 
1893 ; and Georg Heinrici, Der litterarische Charakter der neutesiamentlicken 
Schriften, Leipzig, 1908, p. 87 f. 



288 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

4. Amid the tangle of religions in the Hellenistic world of 
the Mediterranean — this must at least be hinted in this 
connexion — certain great lines become clearer and clearer, 
chiefly as the consequence of the epigraphical (and archaeo- 
logical) discoveries, but thanks also to the papyri : we see 
the other religions that competed with Christianity because 
they were themselves missionary ^ religions. The great 
problems suggested merely by the new material already 
published ^ are by no means all solved yet. The older 
Egyptian texts, doubtless containing much undiscovered 
material of importance, have still to be utilised with the full- 
ness they deserve, and as yet we have no investigations dealing 
with the Hellenisation and secularisation of the Egyptian 
divinities.* What prospects are opened up merely by the Isis 
inscription from los * and the prayer to Isis from Ox5n:h5m- 
chus.* To Wilhelm Weber, with his wide knowledge of the 
archaeological material and of the texts, both non-literary and 
literary, we are here indebted for an important series of pre- 
paratory studies.*' Elsewhere the investigation of the new 
sources from the point of view of religious history has pro- 
gressed farther : we can already reconstruct with considerable 

' Here too the letter of Zoilus is typical (pp. 152 ff. above). 

' The pioneer works of Kichard Reitzenstein (especially Poimandres : 
Studien zur griechisch-agyptischen und friih-christlichen Literatur, Leipzig, 
1904; Die hellenistischen Mysterienreligionen,^ 1920), and the extensive 
literature called forth by them, deal chiefly with literary sources. 

' Franz Cumont (Les religions onentales dans le paganisme romain, Paris, 
1906,21909; English translation, The Oriental Religions in Roman Paganism, 
Chicago, 191 1 ) gives in the fourth chapter a brief survey and indicates the 
problems, also with respect to the other Eastern cults ; Toutain does the same 
in the second volume (Paris, 1911) of his work mentioned at p. 290, n. 2 
below. 

• P. 139 f. above. Adolf Rusch, De Serapide el I side in Graecia cultis, 
a Berlin dissertation, 1906, underestimates its importance as evidence of the 
worship of Isis. 

' Cf. p. 140, n. 13 above. 

' Cf . his Drei Untersuchungen zur dgypHsch-griechischen Religion, a " Habili- 
tations-Schrift," Heidelberg, 1911; Aegyptisch-griechische Cotter im Hel- 
lenismus, an inaugural address, .Groningen, 1912 ; and especially his great 
" Book of the Lord Gods " (as I like to call it) : Die dgyptisch-griechischen 
TerrakoUen, text and plates (Konigliche Museen zu Berlin, Mitteilungen aus der 
Agyptischen Sammlung, vol. 2), Berlin, 1914, which is uncommonly rich in 
material bearing on the religion of the lower classes. Much has been pub- 
lished by Otto Weinreich in his Neue Urkunden zur Sarapis-Religion, Tubingen, 
1919 ( and in his earlier work, Antike Heilungswunder, Giessen, 1909). 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 289 

certainty the religious map of the world in the Imperial 
period, at least at some of the main points. 

To take the chief instance, Greek Judaism, the mighty 
forerunner of Christianity as a world-religion, yielded up its 
hidden inscriptions; papyri and the evidence of literary 
writers did the rest, — and so Emil Schiirer ^ and Jean Juster ^ 
were able to write their very full sketches of the Jews of the 
Dispersion. 

Franz Cumont's work on Mithras ' is monumental, not 
only in the sense of being written from the monuments; 
but there are also smaller investigations, such as Alfred von 
Domaszewski's on the religion of the Roman army * or Hugo 
Hepding's on Attis,* which would have been impossible 
without modern epigraphy. 

Finally there remain to be mentioned the important ad- 
ditions to our knowledge due to the light that has been 
thrown upon the worship of the sovereign, particularly 
emperor-worship, in antiquity — a form of cult whose 

• Gesfhichte des jiidischen Volkes, III.' pp. 1-135 [Eng. • trs., Div. II., 
vol. 2, pp. 219-327] ; cf. also Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des 
Christentums, I.' pp. 1-16, »pp. 1-20; Moffatt's translation. The Expansion of 
Christianity, I. pp. 1-18; and Theodore Reinach, article Diaspora, in The 
Jewish Encyclopedia, IV.^ New York and London, 1903, p. 559 ff. In the 
map appended to my St. Paul^ (not in second edition) I have endeavoured to 
exhibit graphically the statistics of Jewish settlements outside of Palestine. 
It should be compared with Cumont's map of the Mithras cult (see next note 
but one). 

' Cf. p. 19, n. 2 above. 

• Textes et Monuments figuris relatifs aux Mysteres de Mithra, 2 vols., 
Bruxelles, 1899, 1896. Two small epitomes have appeared, entitled Les 
Mysteres de Mithra,^ Bruxelles, 1902, and Die Mysterien des Mithra. Ein 
Beitrag zur Religionsgeschichte der romischen Kaiserzeit. Autorisierte 
deutsche Ubersetzung von Georg Gehrich, Leipzig, 1903, "1911 (containing 
Cumont's map of the Mithras cult). English translation by T. J. M'Cormick, 
London, 1903. — Albrecht Dieterich, Eine MithrasHturgie erldutert, Leipzig, 1903, 
contains besides the material relating to the religion of Mithras (on which see 
Cumont. Revue de I'instruction publique en Belgique, 47, p. i, and Dieterich's 
reply, Archiv fiir Religionswissenschaft, 8, p 501) a number of other investi- 
gations bearing on our subject. -Dieterich had previously published a survey 
entitled " Die Religion des Mithras " in the Bonner Jahrbiicher [Jahrbflcher 
des Vereihs von Altertumsfreunden im Rheinland], Part 108, p. 26 flf. Cf. 
also Harnack, Die Mission und Ausbreitung des Christentums, II.* pp. 270 ff., 
•pp. 334 fiE. ; Moffatt's translation. The Expansion of Christianity , II. pp. 447 ff. ; 
and L. Patterson, Mithraism and Christianity, Cambridge, 1921. 

Die Religion des romischen Heeres, TiieT, 1895; offprint from the West- 
deutsche Zeitschrift fur Geschiehte und Kunst, 14 (1895). 
' Attis, Seine My then und sein Kult, Giessen, 1903. 



290 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

importance is becoming more and more obvious in the 
religious history of the Graeco-Roman period. Comprehensive 
works have been published by E. Kornemann ^ and J. 
Toutain.2 I think I am able to show later on in this chapter ^ 
how, considered in contrast with that of emperor-worship, 
much of the terminology of the earliest Christian worship 
acquires once more its original distinctive clearness. 

5. One other thing the student of Primitive Christianity 
owes to the new texts. It is something to have perceived 
the religious feelings that animated the great world con- 
temporary with the New Testament, and to have learnt to 
know its forms of worship, but much greater is the fact that 
ancient souls, seemingly lost to us for ever, have leapt into 
life once more. 

It has always been characteristic of Christianity from the 
beginning, that, as it lived in the souls of individuals, so it 
influenced the individual soul. Christianity is in the very 
front rank as regards the discovery and culture of individual 
souls. Its oldest documents are without exception reflexes 
of souls. What a soul is reflected in the words of Jesus ! 
What souls has He depicted with a few touches in His parables 
and words of disputation. And St. Paul's letters are soul- 
pictures in such high degree that their writer is probably 
the best-known man of the early Empire : not one of his 
celebrated contemporaries has left us such frank confessions. 
But to understand the'prdgress of the new faith through 
the world we must know the spiritual constitution of the men 
from whom the missionaries came and to whom the message 
and pastoral care of the missionaries were addressed. 

That these were men of the non-literary classes has been so 
often indicated in these pages from a variety of points of 
view, that I should have no objection if this thesis were 
described as a main feature of my book. There is a book 
which affords us admirable aid in dividing off these classes 
from the upper class which, being possessed of power, wealth, 
or education, is the most seen and heard in the literature of the 

1 Zur Geschichte der antiken Herrscherkulie, Beitrage zur alten Geschichte 
[Klio], I, pp. 51-146. 

' Les cultes patens dans I'empire romain. Prfemiere partie, tome I. Les 
cultes officiels; les cultes romains et grfico-romains, Paris, 1907. 

' Pp. 338-378. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 291 

Imperial age and elsewhere. Under the auspices of the 
Berlin Academy of Sciences three scholars, Elimar Klebs, 
Hermann Dessau, and Paul von Rohden, presented us with a 
three- volume work,^ Prosopographia Imperii Romani Saec. I. 
II. III., uniting in one great alphabetical catalogue 8,644 
men and women who are known from literature, inscriptions, 
etc., in the three centuries from Augustus to Diocletian, 
which of course mean to us the primitive period of Christi- 
anity. Turning the pages of these volumes we find among 
the men of the Imperial age the deified favourite Antinous, 
but not John the Baptist; ApoUonius of Tyana, but not 
Jesus of Nazareth ; the celebrated robber chief Bulla Felix, 
but not Paul of Tarsus ; the historian Flavins Josephus, but 
not the Evangelist Luke, to say nothing of the vanished souls 
in the lists of salutations in the letters of St. Paul. This is 
no mere accident ; the editors intentionally neglected " the 
endless multitude of plebeians that crowd the pages of ecclesi- 
astical and legal writers." ^ 

I will not press the sentence; I will not refer in confu- 
tation of it to the isolated examples of insignificant persons 
who of course have found their way into this book of grandees 
here and there. But one thing I will say : That endless 
multitude, as it is rightly called, which seems too big to be 
comprehended historically, and which begins below the 
upper eight-thousand found worthy to be catalogued in the 
Berlin Prosopographia, deserves attention because in it 
Primitive Christianity grew up and expanded. One of the 
greatest pictures in the Revelation drawn by one of that 
multitude and consecrated by the tears of those nameless ones 
shows * the " great multitude, which no man could number, 
of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stand- 
ing before the throne, and before the Lamb, . . . who came 
out of great tribulation, . . . and who shall hunger no more, 
neither thirst any more." 

' Berolini, 1897-1898. 

» Klebs in the Praefatio to Vol. I. (p. viii), " sed hominum plebeiorum 
infinita ilia turba qua scripta ecclesiastica et auctorum iuris referta sunt 
procul semota est." In exactly the same way the aristocratic historians of 
the Imperial age are devoid of almost all interest in Christianity in the first 
stages; and the fact that Jesus and St. Paul are not mentioned by certain 
contemporary writers is admirably accounted for by social history. 

* Rev. vii o— T^ 



292 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

And now to-day the new texts have brought a wonder to 
pass. That ancient world of the insignificant and the many 
who hungered and thirsted, which seemed to be inaccessible 
save to the dreamy eye of the seer, and hopelessly lost to the 
scholar, now rises up before us in the persons of innumerable 
individuals. They sow grains of wheat once more in the 
furrow blessed by the Nile ; they pay their drachmae for tax 
and impost, duty and rate and collection; they travel by 
boat, on camels or on donkeys to the capital, to fill the halls 
of justice with their quarrels and abuse; adventurous youths 
climb on board the imperial ships bound for Italy; in silent 
devotion the survivors observe ancestral custom at death 
and burial; And so it goes on from generation to generation, 
from the days of the Septuagint to the gospels and the 
church-meetings of the Pauline mission, on to Diocletian and 
the baptised Caesars : in the lower stratum there is always 
the same bustle of so many humble individuals eating, 
drinking, sowing; tilling, marrying and given in marriage. 

But out of the ceaseless rhythm of wholesale existence 
souls emerge, individual souls, in which the scholar may 
recognise types of ancient personal life. The unparalleled 
value of the papyrus letters is this, that they bring before us 
with all possible truth ancient souls and spiritual conditions 
in the non-literary classes. 

What is it that makes these newly discovered papyrus 
- letters such splendid evidence of the soul-life of the ancients ? 

What literature has to show us in the way of souls is a 
product of art, often of a high form of art, but even then 
generally only a drawing from the model. That which is literary 
cannot be completely naive. We cannot be sure whether it is 
the real face or only a mask of concealment worn by a player 
when the Emperor Hadrian writes these verses ^ before his 
death : — 

" Soul of mine, pretty one, flitting one. 
Guest and partner of my clay. 
Whither wilt thou hie away; — 
Pallid one, rigid one, naked one — 
Never to play again, never to play? " 

1 Whether they are genuine I do not know : Eduard Norden (letter, 
3 September, 1908) sees no reason for doubting their authenticity. They 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 293 

And the works of the plastic arts? The marbles and 
bronzes recovered from the ruins of ancient cities and from 
the sea-bed around the coasts are certainly not soul-less; 
but to whom would the athlete of Ephesus in the Theseion at 
Vienna,^ or the youth of Anticythera at Athens,^ have ever 
revealed his soul? These marvellous presentments of the 
human body so captivate us that we do not think of inquiring 
about their souls until we have said farewell to them and the 
bronzes can no longer understand our questioning. Who 
would venture to make the great eyes of the Egyptian mummy- 
portraits speak, or attempt to read the personal secrets of 
even the portrait-busts of the Imperial period? The con- 
noisseur only ventures on hesitating attempts at interpreta- 
tion when he is supported by literary tradition.' 

And the men who speak to us on the inscribed stones — do 
they stand quite naturally before us ? Are they not in the 
same publicity as the stone, and are not their words calcu- 



are found in the Scriptores Historiae Augustae, Hadrian, 25 (rec. Peter," 
p. 27) :— 

" Animula vagula blandula 
bospes comesque corporis, 
quae nunc abibis in loca 
pallidula rigida nudula 
nee ut soles dabis iocos ! " 

For the " naked soul " cf. for instance St. Paul, 2 Cor. v. 3. [These verses are 
of acknowledged difficulty to translate. Prior, Pope, Byron, and Christina 
Rossetti are amongst those who have essayed the task. The version in the 
text is by Merivale. Deissmann's rendering runs literally : " Thou restless 
charming little soul of mine, the body's guest and comrade, must now away, 
poor little thing, so pale and so bare, to a land so bleak, and hast for the last 
time jested ! " Tr.] A stimulating discussion between Otto Immisch, 
L. Deubner, Friedrich Reiche, and Ernst Hohl will be found in the Neue 
Jahrbiicher fiir das klassische Altertum, 1915, pp. 201 ff.; 412 f.; 413 ff.; 
415 f. My proposal to connect rigida with loca there received more than one 
confirmation. 

' [Guy Dickins, Hellenistic Sculpture, Oxford, 1920, p. 34, and 
Plate 26. Tr.] 

' [Anticythera is the official modern Greek name for the island of Cerigotto 
(between Cerigo and Crete), off whicli the statue was found. See Ernest A. 
Gardner, Six Greek Sculptors', London, 1925. PP- 244-6, with plate; Guy 

Dickins, op. cit., pp. 53 ^- XR-] 

' E.g. Wilhelm Weber, Uniersuchungen zur Geschichte des Kaisers Hadrianus, 
p. 174 : "A heaviness about the eyes and a reserved and piercing look give 
even to his (Hadrian's) face a peculiarly melancholy stamp." 



294 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

lated for publicity? We could indeed make shift to patch 
together some of their personalities, but we could put no life 
into them. The imperial physician and imperial murderer 
G. Stertinius Xenophon of Cos,^ the contemporary of St. Paul, 
is a case in point. The editor of the inscriptions of Cos has 
tried to make him live again and has found in him a figure 
for an historical romance *; — a figure, certainly, but no 
soul. 

Two generations later a Lycian millionaire, Opramoas of 
Rhodiapolis, thrusts himself forward with boastful ostentation 
among the crowd of inscriptions from Asia Minor. On the 
walls of the heroon destined for the reception of his mortal 
body we find still to-day nigh upon seventy records which, 
in order that his name might not perish, he engraved in marble, 
immortalising his money benefactions and other services, as 
well as the honours he received from emperors, procurators, 
and municipal associations. Thanks principally to modern 
archaeology ' this man with the full-sounding name has 
attained his object : Opramoas is to-day, at least in a few 
scholars' studies, a sort of celebrity. But where is his soul ? 
So far as it was not identical with his treasure, it is not to be 
found on all those great marble tablets.* And if we were to 
receive it from the hand of the angel commissioned to demand 
it of the rich man in the night, it would not be a soul that felt 
at home with the poor souls of the New Testament. 

Even where the inscriptions seem to bear a more personal 
note, we do not always- find a personal manifestation. In the 
poetical epitaphs, especially, there is much that is borrowed 
and plenty of second-hand feeling. It would be rash, for 
example, to say that Chrysogonus of Cos, with his eighty- 
three years, was a great drinker merely on the strength of the 
epigram on his tomb (Figure 54), even supposing he was 
himself responsible for the epitaph. 

* Cf. p. 253 above. 

' Rudolf Herzog, Koische Forschungen und Funde, p. 189 ff. 

* Reisen im sildwestlichen Kleinasien, II. pp. 76-135; Rudolf Heberdey, 
Opramoas Inschrifien vom Heroon zu Rhodiapolis, Wien, 1897. The inscrip- 
tions extend from 125 to 152 a.d. Heberdey enumerates 69 of them. 

* The Opramoas inscriptions are, however, of great value to us as religious 
history ; first in illustration of the powerfully sarcastic parable of the rich fool 
(Luke xii. 16-21) and the other allied types of the " rich man," and secondly 
in contrast with the spirit of Matt. vi. 1-4. For the type cf. also Ernst Meyer, 
Der Emporkommling : ein Beitrag zur antiken Ethologie, a Giessen dissertation, 
1913- 




Fig. 54.^Epigrain on the Tomb of Chrysogonus of Cos. 
Marble Altar, Imperial Period. Now built into the wall of 
.a house in Cos. By permission of Rudolf Herzog and the 
publishing house of Theodor Weicher (Dieterich'sche Verlags- 
buchhandlung). , 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 295 

This feeble epigram/ the metre of which is here imitated 
in the translation, dates from the Imperial period and runs 
as follows : — 



ovvofia S^ <o> Xpv<ro- 
yovoi Novu^uii' * 
AaTpis ivOiiSe K€LTal^i] 
■jrovTi \eymv irapo- 
8(i>' ^ irelve, )8\eVts 
TO TeKo%, 
fTwv 1 1- |. 



One, Chrysogonus bight, lies 
here, of nymphs an adorer, 

Saying to each passer-by, 
" Drink, for thou seest the 
end." 

83 years. 



The exhortation to drink in anticipation of approaching 
death is one of the well-known formulae of ancient popular 
morals * (often, no doubt, of popular wit), and is by no means 
rare in epitaphs.^ We can therefore draw no certain con- 
clusion whatever as to the spiritual constitution of Chryso- 
gonus in particular from his epitaph. We know little about 
the old man beyond his name and a cult to which he was 
devoted ; his soul has disappeared for ever. 

The epitaphs of antiquity as a whole are of this service, 
that they reflect for us the emotions of a class of men rather 
than the innermost thoughts of individuals. Stones with 
long metrical inscriptions almost provoke us, as we seek for 
something personal behind the ornate forms, to cry sometimes 
in the words of a medieval inscription from Heraclia on the 
Black Sea * : — 

• Discovered and published by Rudolf Herzog, Koische Forschungen und 
Funde, p. 103 ff., No. 163. The greatly reduced facsimile (Fig. 54) is given 
here from Plate VI. 2 by kind permission of the discoverer and his publisher. 

• Should no doubt be Nw^wv. 

' 6 irdpoSos, " the passer-by," " traveller " (cf. 6 awoSos, " companion on 
the road "); was hitherto only known in LXX 2 Sam. xii. 4, Ezek. xvi. 15, 25, 
and Symmachus Jer. xiv. 8 ; but it must be struck out of the list of " Biblical " 
words. It occurs not exactly rarely in inscriptions (Herzog, p. 104!) ; cf. also 
an inscription from Egypt in E. Breccia, Note epigrafiche e boUettino biblio- 
grafico, Extrait du Bulletin de la Soci^te Archfiol. d'Alexandrie, No. 12 (1910), 
p. 16, xalpm mpoBoi, and Inschrifien von Priene, No. 311, where there is no 
need to conjecture wapo8[tVa]is. 

• Cf. Isaiah xxii. 13 in the original text and in the interesting LXX transla- 
tion ; then cf . St. Paul's use of the passage in t Cor. xv. 32, which is very 
effective in a popular way. 

' Herzog, p. 105. 

• Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, No. 8748, 13th cent. a.d. : 

av o[t X\LBoi »tp[d]fa)(nv eic [ir]opoi/iioy, 

miMJiov Porfli, [d^iuvjoy, &livxos weWpEo]. 
I read [cu^avlos, after J. H. Moulton, The Expository Times, October 1908, 
p. 32. There is an allusion to Luke xix. ao. 



296 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

" If then the stones cry out, as saith the Word, 
Send forth a shout, thou voiceless, soulless rock ! " 

But the stones remain dumb : they have preserved for us 
no souls. 

Souls, however, living souls from the great perished multi- 
tude, good and bad, beautiful and ugly, joyful and tremulous, 
flutter towards us with the papyrus letters ^ that have been 
snatched from the rubbish of villages and little towns in 
Egypt. Those who, being vilely deceived in their hopes of 
autograph MSS. of philosophers and poets, cast the letters 
aside as lumber owned by the obscure, will fetch them out 
again when they have learnt to appreciate the value of non- 
literary naivete. The more obscure the writer, the more naive 
will be the letter, at least as concerns the thought of future 
publication. It may be said with some certainty that most 
of the papyrus letters written by unknown men and women 
of Egypt at the time when the New Testament was growing 
and consolidating are in the above sense of the word com- 
pletely naive and reflect single definite situations in the outer 
or inner lives of their writers with the greatest sincerity, even 
if we make some allowances for conventional wording. 

This estimate of the papyrus letters is quite in harmony 
with ancient ideas on the subject, as niay be shown by refer- 
ence to Demetrius,^ a theorist on the art of letter-writing, 
who says very finely that in writing a letter one draws a 
picture of one's own soul, and in nothing is the personality 
better reflected than in a letter. 

Interpretative scholarship ought certainly to come first 
to an understanding about the methods of regarding, explain- 
ing, and reanimating these ancient self-portraits. We are 
not yet sufficiently practised in this new art. The best way 
is to read the texts in conjunction with other scholars, with 
continuous discussion of the various possibilities of inter- 

1 It is a remarkable fact that the 2nd cent. a.d. is especially rich in personal 
letters allowing of conclusions as to spiritual conditions. Is that accident, 
or were men then really more sentimental and communicative ? This open- 
ness and sensitiveness of soul was an important factor in the Christian 
propaganda. 

' Epistolographi Graeci, rec. Hercher, p. 13.: axeHv yap eiWra wocttos ttjs 
iavToS ^ux^s ypdijiei, t^v eVicTToA^v. Kal eon fiiv koi ff d\kov \iyov Ttavros i8eiv to 
ij$os TOW ypdi^ovTos, tf oiSevos 8e ovtois ws (maroX^s. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 297 

pretation. What one regards as mummy-like another will 
perhaps be able to make live again. At any rate let us read 
without sentimentally lauding any supposed child of nature 
to the skies ; let us brand as brutal what is brutal, and accord 
no praise to vulgar narrowness. Not on any account, how- 
ever, must we come to the letters with the condescending 
superiority of the man from town who knows " the people " 
only from kail-yard fiction or from stage-representations, and 
perhaps from holiday tours in quest of old farmhouse furni- 
ture ; ' who thinks Hodge stupid, and is hugely amused at his 
lack of culture. In these texts we are dealing not with 
curiosities but with human destinies; sometimes only the 
humorous vexations of everyday life are concerned — and then 
it is permissible to smile — but often the trouble is very deep 
and real. We must leave our linguistic red-pencils at home, 
for these are not Greek examination papers to be corrected, 
and we shall do better to ask ourselves whether soldiers and 
day-labourers of the present day write any better. These 
texts should be read only by those who have hearts for the 
common people, who feel at home among fields, vineyards, 
and dykes, guard-rooms and rowing-thwarts, and who have 
learnt to read the lines of a hand distorted by toil. 

There is Alis, wife of the day-labourer Hilarion, growing 
anxious as her hour of trial approaches : a half-sentimental, 
half-brutal letter ^ is all that her husband writes her from the 
capital, on 17 June in the year i B.C. * 

Irene ^ is called upon to console a family that has just been 
plunged into mourning, but the poor empty soul has nothing 
to give but tears and a few good words dictated to her by 
custom ; and yet we cannot deny her our sympathy. 

Or a yoimg Egyptian soldier who has just been saved 
from peril on the sea by the lord Serapis, lands in Italy and 
writes to his father ' while the new impressions are fresh upon 
him. A thankful, hopeful temperament this soldier's, as he 
looks forward to the future, nor does he lose his attractiveness 
after years of hard service.* The same hearty goodwill 
comes out in the letter of another soldier. ^ 

Or Sempronius ' worries about his aged mother far away, 

• Cf. p. 134 ff. above. ' Cf. p. 176 S. above. • Cf. p. 179 fi. above. 

* Cf. p. 184 ff. above. ' Cf. p. 197 ff- above. » Cf. p 192 ff. above. 



298 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

who ought to be worshipped as if she were a god, but who is 
at the mercy of her unfeeling younger sons. 

Then again there is revealed to us the soul of a practising 
propagandist of a cult : Zoilus ^ stands undisguised before 
us, with all his servile fear and calculating thoughts of reward 
— on terms with the deity and with the great ones of this 
world, fulfilling with smartness and sanctity the requirements 
for extending and establishing his cult. 

And then Nearchus prattles on to Heliodorus ^ about his 
travels, and we see him in sacred places carving the names of 
his friends with intercessory prayer. 

Or we hear the prodigal Antonis Longus ' coming to him- 
self and expressing his contrition in these moving sentences 
in the first person : " I walk about in rags, I am naked. 
I beseech thee, mother, be reconciled to me ! I have been 
chastened. I know that I have sinned." 

And so it goes on, the texts are inexhaustible. The same 
pap5T:i that we made use of above to make clear the character- 
istics of the non-literary letter can thus be employed also in 
solving a greater and still more profitable problem — that of 
entering into the nature of individual souls among the non- 
literary classes of ancient society. Soul is added to soul, a 
new soul in every letter, and we even possess whole bundles 
of connected letters from one and the same family,* and are 
able to see into the relationship between various families of 
the same social stratum. Every new soul, however, makes 
clearer to us the " world " which was the object of the mission- 

• Cf. p. 152 S. above. " Cf. p. 174 f. above. ' Cf. p. 187 ff. above. 

' Cf. the 14 letters from the correspondence of the veteran L. Bellenus 
Gemellus, of the years 94-110 a.d., which were found in a house at Kasr el- 
Banat (the ancient Euhemeria) in the Fayfim, and published in FayAm Towns, 
Nos. 110-123. The handwriting of the letters written by the man himself 
shows the advance of age. The letters yield an unusually rich lexical harvest. 
For the epistolary formula oSs (Sv) iym ayanw iv d^TiBfi^, " whom I love in 
truth " (2 John i, 3 John i), there is analogy in the Gemellus letters iigmt. 
(c. 100 A.D.) and Il8j, (no a.d.), Tois t^XoOvres ■q/iSs (ai) irpos oA^fliov, 
" who love us (thee) according to truth." U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, 
Gottingische gel. Anzeigen, rgoi, p. 37 ff., made a beginning in the work of 
turning these letters to scientific account. — ^There should also be mentioned the 
correspondence of Heliodorus and others (see p. 236 above), part of which is 
published in the Amherst Papyri, Nos. 131-135, the rest at Heidelberg still 
awaiting publication. There are also connected family letters in the Berliner 
Griechische Urkunden, etc. The correspondence of Abinnaeus, which next 
follows in the Christian Imperial period, has been mentioned above, p. 218. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 299 

ary labours of St. Paul and his successors. This world was 
composed of human souls. The interest of the first missionary 
generations was directed, not to ancient systems of philosophy 
and speculative ways of combating them, but to the salvation 
of souls. It is, however, most highly probable that the souls 
of men on the coasts of Syria, Asia Minor, and Greece were 
not essentially different from those of their Egyptian con- 
temporaries. This is what I meant by saying above that we 
may take the souls of the Egyptian letter-writers as types of 
the ancient soul in general. If individual proof be wanted, 
think of the surprising similarity between the Prodigal Son 
depicted by Jesus the Galilean and the real soul of the 
Egyptian Antonis Longus. But chief stress must be laid on 
the total impression received ; anyone coming from the soul- 
life of the New Testament to the papyri finds himself in no 
strange world, and whoever comes from the papyri to the 
New Testament will encounter familiar states and expressions 
of emotion at every step. 

Some day perhaps, when all those men and families of the 
ancient lower classes have received individual attention and 
been made to live again, the command will go forth from the 
citadel of learning that they and the countless others whose 
names alone are mentioned shall also be enrolled. The 
personal register of the upper classes, which is a book of con- 
trast to the New Testament, will then be supplemented by a 
personal and family register of the humbler classes, a book 
not of contrast but of contact.^ And in this book, in which 
peasants and artisans, men and women, from Egypt jostle 

• A tremendous task no doubt. A specimen is furnished by Franz Paulus's 
Greifswald dissertation, Prosopographie der Beamten des APSINOITHS NOMOS 
in der Zeit von Augustus bis auf Diokletian, Boina-l^ipzig, 1914. None but 
nonrliterary persons, belonging to the upper ranges of their class, are there 
recorded, 1325 of them in all, mostly small officials, such as occur frequently 
in the N.T. Still more copious : Friedr. Preisigke, Namenbuch, containing 
all the Greek, Latin, Egyptian, Hebrew, Arabic and other Semitic and non- 
Semitic names of persons occurring in Greek documents (papjTi, ostraca, 
inscriptions, mummy tablets, etc.) found in Egypt, with an appendix by 
Enno Littmann, published by the author at 101 Gaisbergstrasse, Heidelberg, 
1922. Most of these names of course do not come into the light of the inquiry 
concerning souls : they remain names of isolated individuals out of the vast 
number of the Unknown. But the noteworthy fact is that, thanks especially 
to the discovery of letters, we are able to bring to life again a not inconsiderable 
number of individuals and families who may be regarded as typical of the 
masses in ancient times — those masses that were, to all seeming, lost. 



300 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

legionaries from Britain and the frontiers of Germany, in 
which traders from Syria and the Black Sea encounter with 
slaves from Ephesus and Corinth — -in this book of the For- 
gotten we shall not search in vain for the Baptist, for Jesus, 
and for St. Paul. 

Souls of the ancients ! Before we leave them let me 
commend their study to all those — I do not wish to blame 
them — ^who are so fond of chasing the psyche of " modern " 
man with the butterfly-net. If we look to the really great 
events and possibilities of the inward life, those " ancient " 
souls seem to be separated by no such great interval from our 
own. That is to say, the papyri teach us the continuity of 
human soul-life in all its main movements. If I may give 
practical point to the observation, they diminish, when heed 
is paid to things of the soul, the interval that many people 
nowadays, exaggerating the value of things intellectual, feel 
between themselves and the New Testament. 

6. When the individual souls of antiquity have been studied 
so far that a beginning can be made with the personal register 
of the humbler classes, we shall recognise better than we can 
at present how greatly Christianity met the n^eds of those 
souls. The depth of meaning will become clearer and clearer 
in that dream-vision ^ of a man of Macedonia, begging the 
Apostle of the Gentiles, then in Asia, to " come over into 
Macedonia, and help us." Indeed, the old and the new came 
to meet each other like two hands stretched out for a friendly 
clasp. 

In this connexion the fact which occupied us in the second 
chapter appears in a new light, I mean the fact of close rela- 
tionship between the early Christian missionary language 
and the popular language of the age. The scholars who 
isolated " New Testament " Greek did not reflect that by so 
doing they closed the doors of the early Christian mission. 
Paul would have found no " open door " ^ if he had not been 

^ Acts xvi. 9. 

' This thoroughly popular expression, a favourite with St. Paul (i Cor. xvi. 9 ; 
2 Cor. ii. 12; Col. iv. 3). is very characteristic. Thanks probably to the 
English, who know their Bibles so well, it has become a catchword of modern 
international politics, but not many who use it are conscious of its Pauline 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 301 

to the Greeks " a Greek," i.e., in our context, if he had not 
in the Hellenised world spoken to Hellenised men in the 
Hellenistic popular language. 

We can, however, go still further : Paul and the other 
apostles are, in a much higher degree than has probably 
been supposed, at home also in the world of cultural, especially 
of religious, ethical, and legal ideas peculiar to their Hellen- 
istic age, and they are fond of making frequent use of details 
taken from this world of thought. This is a fact which is 
not completely separable from the one discussed in Chapter II ; 
at many points philology and social history overlap. ^ This is 
particularly true in the case of technical ideas and litiu'gical 
formulae, but also where institutions of the surrounding world 
exert an influence on the figurative language of religion. 

One of the marks of the highly popular style of St. Paul's 
missionary methods is that in many passages of his letters 
we find St. Paul employing a usage particularly familiar and 
intelligible to popular feeling — I mean the technical phrase- 
ology and the cadence of the language of magic. 

I have tried elsewhere ^ to show that the curious sentence 
about " the marks of Jesus " ^ is best understood if read in 
the light of a magical formula handed down in a Leyden 
papyrus.* 

So too in the case of the directions to the Corinthian church 
concerning the punishment of the transgressor who had 

character. St. Paul perhaps found it current in the world about him. — C. E. 
Gleye, in the Padagogisoher Anzeiger fiir Russland, 1912, No. 3 (offprint, p. 4) 
suggested, not very convincingly, that the modern catchword should be 
traced back to Alfred de Musset. Afterwards (Tagliche Rundschau, 11 Oct., 

1915) he referred to the 25th edition of Biichmann's GeftUgelie Worte for 
evidence that the expression was introduced into the language of politics by 
John Hay, Secretary of State, U.S.A., in 1899. That would be compatible 
with my conjecture here put forth. [Deissmann nevertheless alters " English " 
to " Anglo-Saxons." But the New English Dictionary, s.v. ' Open door,' has 
quotations, beginning with one from a speech by the Chancellor of the 
Exchequer, Sir Michael liicks-Beach (afterwards Viscount St. Aldwyn, 1837- 

1916) in Jan. 1898, showing that the phrase was used throughout that year 
especially with reference to Chinese ports. Tr.] 

1 It is advisable, however, to keep the points of view of philology and social 
history distinct. At many points philology holds its own completely. 

' Bibelstudien, p. 262 ff. ; Bible Studies, p. 346 B. 

» Gal. vi. 17. 

* For this formula see also J. de Zwaan, The Journal of Theological Studies, 
April 1905, p. 418. 



302 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

committed sin with his step-mother, ^ the full meaning does 
not come out until the passage is read in connexion with the 
ancient custom of execration, i.e. devoting a person to the gods 
of the lower world. A person who wished to injure an enemy 
or to punish an evil-doer consecrated him by incantation and 
tablet to the powers of darkness below, and the tablet reached 
its address by being confided to the earth, generally to a 
grave.* A regular usage was established in the language of 
these execrations, — a usage common to antiquity. The only 
difference between Jewish and pagan execrations probably 
lay in the fact that Satan took the place of the gods of the 
lower world. In form, however, there must have been great 
similarities.^ This is seen in the words of St. Paul to the 
Corinthians : — 

" Gather together in the name of the Lord Jesus, ye 
and my spirit, and in fellowship with the power of our Lord 
Jesus deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the 
flesh, that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord 
Jesus." * 

Two technical expressions are here adopted from the ritual 
of cursing. The phrase " deliver unto Satan that . . .," 
recurring in i Tim. i. 20, corresponds to the formula in the 
London Magical Papyrus 46334 h.: — 

" Daemon of the dead, ... I deliver unto thee (such a 
man), in order that . . . ," ^ 

.and even the unobtrusive little word avv, " with," " in fellow- 
ship with," is technical in just such contexts as this : we 
find it not only in the Paris Magical Papyrus,* but also 

' I Cor. V. 4. 5. 

' Cf. Antike Fluchtafeln ausgew^lt und erklaxt von Richard Wiinsch 
(Lietzmann's Kleine Texte, No. 20), Bonn, 1907. 

» Cf. pp. 95, 96 above, the remarks on avoBenanCai, "I curse." 

' I Cor. V. 4, 5 ; ev t(o ovofiart tov Kvplov 'Iijaov ovvaxBevrcov vfiav koI rov c/xov 
wtvitaTOS, ovv rg Svva/ici toC Kvpiov ■qii&v 'Itjoov napaSoSvai tov toioStov t4> Saravf 
els oXeSpov rrjs aapK^Si Iva to irveOfia awd-^ ev rjj 'qiUp(^ rov KvpCov 'I-qaov, 

' Greek Papyri in the British Museum, ed. Kenyon (Vol. t.) p. 75, vciaiSalfuiiii, 
. . . irapaSiSoiiiC ooi Tof Z(eiva), SitoK. • • • The papyrus was written in the 
4th cent. A.D., but its formulae are ancient. The present formula, addressed 
to a daemon of the dead, is neither Jewish nor Christian. 

' Cf . p. 259 above, line 2999. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 303 

on a much older Attic cursing tablet of lead (3rd cent. 
B.C.) 1 :— 

" I will bind her ... in fellowship with Hecate, who is 
below the earth, and the Erinyes." 

All this proves therefore that the apostle advises the 
Corinthian church to perform ja solemn act of execration. 

And in the concluding lines of i Corinthians, which St. Paul 
wrote with his own hand,^ there is a reminiscence of the 
cadence of ancient curses imitated from the language of 
legislation : — 

" If any man loveth not the Lord, let him be anathema." 

With this compare the epitaph from Halicarnassus already 
cited above ^ : — 

" But if anyone shall attempt to take away a stone . . . 
let him be accursed." 

^ Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, Appendix (= InscripHones Graecae, 
Vol. III. Pars III.), No. io8, Sijuoi (cf. the following pages) cyut Ktarqv 
. . . am B' 'JEic<iT(ij)t x^opiot (cat 'Epivvoai. Considering the rarity of the 
preposition am (cf. Tycho Mommsen, Beiirdge zu der Lehre von den grie- 
chischen Prdposiiionen, 3 parts, Frankfurt a. M., 1886, 1887; at p. 107 aw 
is even described as an aristocratic word) this parallel is not without import- 
ance. The same aw occurs also in a metrical oracle from Asia Minor, in 
Heinevetter's Wiirfel- und Buchstabenorakcl, p. 6 : auv Ztjvl (neyiarta) (t)e(u)|]j e(^' 
Tjv) op/ias 7rpa(iv. — We may make room here for a remarkable parallel to Phil. i. 23, 
" to depart, and to be in fellowship with {avv) Christ." As to the formula " with 
Christ " (aw Xpiarw) I have tried to show (Die neuiestamentliche Formel "in 
Christo Jesu," Marburg, 1892, p. 126) that it nearly always means the fellow- 
ship of the faithful with Christ after their death or after His coming. Thus 
we read in a vulgar graffito from Alexandria (Imperial period ?) these words 
addressed to a deceased person, evypiiai Kayw ev ^a-yv avv aol clvai, " I would 
that I were soon in fellowship with thee " (Sitzungsber. der Kgl. Preuss. 
Akademie der Wissensch. zu Berlin, 1902, p. 1098) ; U. von Wilamowitz- 
Moellendorff there points out the striking fact' that the graffito already expresses 
the hope [not current even in the New Testament] of meeting again after death 
which is current among us. It seems that we have here an inscription (or 
formula?) that had previously been regarded as "Christian" (see Victor 
Schultze, Die Katakomben, Leipzig, 1882, p. 281). The matter needs looking 
into. Hermann Diels, writing from Berlin W., 22 July, 1908, tells me that 
the (certainly rare) mention of meeting again in ancient epitaphs has its 
exact parallel in the ancient mysteries : the gold plates of the Orphics 
[Vorsokratiker,^ p. 480, No. 17 ff.) have no other object than to guarantee this 
certainty^ The new thing about the graffito is its proof that the ideas of 
the mystics had penetrated among the people. 

* I Cor. xvi. 22, el ns ov ^lAel tov Kvpmv, rJToi avaBcixa. Similar formulae, 
Gal. i. 8, 9. 

• Page 96, n. 7. 



304 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Akin to this is the parallelism between St. Paul's assevera- 
tion 1 : — 

" I call God for a witness upon my soul." 

and the formula of an oath taken under Augustus and recorded 
in an inscription from Galatia,* in which the taker of the 
oath says, in case of breach of the oath : — 

" I pronounce a curse against myself, my body, soul, 
goods, children, etc." ' 

The clearest example of the use of technical expressions 
taken from magic is perhaps the phrase " bond of the tongue."* 
In the story of the healing of the deaf and dumb man St. Mark 
(vii. 35) says :— 

" And straightway his ears were opened, and the bond 
of his tongue was loosed." 

Most commentators, I think, have lightly pronounced " bond 
of his tongue " to be a " figurative " expression, without 
realising the technical peculiarity and therewith the point 
of the " figure." But running throughout all antiquity we 
find the idea that a man can be " bound " or " fettered " by 
daemonic influences. It occurs in Greek, Sytian, Hebrew, 
Mandaean, and Indian magic spells.^ In Greek we even have 
a detailed magical prescription for " binding " a man,* 
besides large numbers of inscriptions dealing with the matter. 
One of the oldest of these is the following, a leaden tablet 
from Attica of the first half of the 4th cent. B.C. (Fig. 55), 
which I give here as read by Adolf WUhelm ' : — 

' 2 Cor. i. 23, eym 8c fiaprvpa t6v Be6v iTtiKoSovfiai em rrpi ifirjv •jivxqv. " Upon 
my soul " or " against my soul " in case I say what is untrue. 

' Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 532-28 ir., cTropiS/iot 
aiiTOS TE KaT i/ioC Kai a[<u/xa]TOf tou e/iavroS Kal <jiv)(rjs koX /3iou (co[i t^Jwojh, etc. 

' At the same time a fine analogy to Luther's " Leib, Gut, Ehr, Kind 
und Weib," which is influenced by Luke xviii. 29 [" And though they take 
ourlife. Goods, honour, children, wife, Yet is their profit small . . ."inCarlyle's 
version of " Ein' feste Burg." Cf. p. 143, n. 1 above. Tr.] 

* d hea/ios rijs yXiiatrqs. For what follows cf. Die Christliche Welt, 17 

(1903) col. 554 e. . 

' Cf. Mark Lidzbarski, Ephemeris fiir semitische Epigraphik, i, p. 31. 
« Details in the Corpus Inscriptionum Atticarum, Appendix, p. xxx (by 
R. Wiinsch). 
' Jahreshefte des Osterreichischen Archaologischen Institutes in Wien, 7 

(1904) p. 120 f. The facsimile there (p. 121) is reproduced here (Fig. 55) by 
kind consent of the Austrian Archaeological Institute, 










O BO- 

a ° 

p »-< 

:§§ 

■g a) 

CO rn 



II 



d 
a 






SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 305 

0£ot. 'Ayadrj Tvxn-^ 

KaraStt) xal ovk di'aXwoi AvtikXco 'AvtkJuivo^ Koi'AvTUJadvrjv TlaTpoK^iOi 

Kat $i\oK\ca Kol ^\iO)(apTi}v 
KoX $i\oK\ca KOI ^iJ,LKpu>vi&riv Kol TifiixvdyjV kclX TiixdvOriv. 
Karaoiu toutos aTravTas Trpos toi' Ep/i'^v toi/ [toc] )(jS6viov Koi tov SoXiov 

5 KaTo;(Oi' /cai to;' ipiovviov koi ovk dvaXuVu). 

" Gods ! Good Tyche ! I bind down and will not loose Anticles, 
the son of Antiphanes, and Antiphanes the son of Patrocles, and 
Philocles, and Cleochares, and Philocles, and Smicronides, and 
Timanthes, and Timanthes. I bind these all down to Hermes, 
who is beneath the earth and crafty and fast-holding and luck- 
bringing, and I will not loose them." 

Many other Attic binding-tablets have been published by 
Richard Wiinsch,* but we also possess examples from other 
localities and of later date. 

The cases are particularly common in which a man's tongue 
is specially to be " bound." There are no less than thirty 
of Wiinsch's Attic tablets which bind or curse the tongue. 
And in the Louvre at Paris * there is this much later Mandaean 
inscription on a magician's dish : — 

" Bound and fast held be the mouth and fast held the 
tongue of curses" of vows, and of invocations of the gods. 
. . . Bound be the tongue in its mouth, fast held be its lips, 
shaken, fettered, and banned the teeth, and stopped the 
ears of curses and invocations." 

A binding-charm of essentially similar nature is found on 
an ostracon of the later Empire from Ashmuneji in Egypt, 
in which pagan and Jewish elements are mixed (Fig. 56). 
It was formerly in the possession of Mr. F. Hilton Price 
(1842-1909), of London, and was first published (as a Christian 

1 Samuel Brandt, in a letter to me dated Heidelberg, 22 September, 1908, 
proposes to write dyaB^ tuxj). This is well worth noting. 

' = TOVTOVS- 

' Corpus Inscfiptionum Atticarum, Appendix ; cf . also A. Wilhelm, he. cit. 
p. 105 flf., and R. Munsterberg, i6id. p. 145 ff. ; and for " binding " see further 
W. Kohler, Archiv f . Religionswissenschaft, 8, p. 236 ff. 

* Ephemeris fur semitische Epigraphik, i, p. 100. The date cannot be ascer- 
tained exactly. 



3o6 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



text) by F. E. Brightman.^ A similar charm was pointed out 
by Wilcken^ in the London Papyrus^ No. 12I935H. and there 
are other examples in allied texts of magical prescriptions 
against anger. 

The text of the ostracon (not yet fully established) is as 
follows : — 



Kpoi/os, 6 Karixt^v * Tov Bvnov 
oKiov Twv AvOpioiriDV, Karexf tov 

Ov/XOV *Qpl, TOl/ ^ £T€K6V 

5 Mapia *, Kt ' fi-rj idcrrji avTOV 

[. . . €^]opKtf(i) Kara Tov SaKTV- 
\ov TOV dtov *, tLva ^^ /XT; avaxix- 
vt) avTui, OTt KpivouTreXi ^^ k€ ' 
10 Kpovai rmoKiTf}-^ jjiij idcrrji 
avTOV \aX.i^<Ttv * ovtS /i^re 
vvKTav }^ /t^Te Tfixipav 
fi'qTe fiiav vf ^*. 



Cronos, thou who restrainest 
the wrath of all men, restrain 
the wrath of Hor, whom Mary 
bore*, and suffer him not to 
speak with Hatros(?), whom 
Taisis bore. I adjure ... by 
the finger of god ' that he open 
not his mouth to him, because 
he is subject to Crinupelis ( ?) " 
and Cronos. Suffer him not 
to speak with him, neither for 
a night nor a day, nor for one 
hour. 



1 In W. E. Crum's Coptic Ostfaca, No. 522, p. 4 f. (and p. 83 of the litho- 
graphed text) ; cf. U. Wilcken, Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 2, p. 173, and 
E. Preuschen, Byzantinische Zeitschrift, 15 (1906) p. 642. I am indebted to 
the kindness of W. E. Crum for the photograph which is here (Fig. 56) given 
in slightly reduced facsimile. 

' Archiv, 2, p. 173. 

" Published by Wessely, but now accessible in Greek Papyri in the British 
Museum (Vol. I.) p. 114. 

* Korexoii in magical texts often has the sense of " I cripple," and is com- 
pletely synonymous with the " I bind " which is elsewhere used. Cf . Bv/iOKdroxov, 
p. 93, n. 5 above. 

' Article for relative pronoun. 

» The addition of the mother's name is regular in magical texts, cf . Bibel- 
studien, p. 37; Bible Studies, p. 283; L. Blau, Das altjiidische Zauberwesen, 
p. 85; Wilcken, Archiv, i, p. 423 f.; W. R. Halliday, Discovery 3 (April, 
1922) p. loi. The occurrence of the name Mary once more (cf. p. 121 f. 
above) is interesting. 

' = Kot. ' = AoAijoeiv. 

» The " finger of God '• is an old Jewish expression, cf. LXX Exod. viii. 19, 
xxxi. 18 ; Deut. ix. 10. In Luke xi. 20 we have " the finger of God " in con- 
nexion with exorcism. Ample material will be found in Immanuel Low, Die 
Finger in Litteratur und Folklore der Juden, Gedenkbuch zur Erinnerung an 
David Kaufmann, Breslau, 1900, p. 65 ff. 

" = Iva. 

'^ I was unable to explain this name and conjectured a secret name for the 
god Aramon. Preisendanz, Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift, 1913, col. 

[For continuation of notes see next page. 




Fig. 56. — Charm for " Binding." Ostra- 
con from Ashmunen, late Imperial Period. 
Formerly in the possession of the late 
F. Hilton Price, London. Facsimile kindly 
obtained by W. E. Crum. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 307 

From these and many other texts we see what the ancients 
thought of as the result of binding the tongue, viz. inability 
to speak. The man whose tongue was bound was intended to 
become thereby dumb, so we may conclude conversely that 
the tongue of a dumb person was often considered in ancient 
popular belief to have been " bound " by some daemon. 
This view fits in with the wider complex of widespread ancient 
beliefs that certain diseases and morbid conditions were 
caused in general by daemonic possession. Jesus Himself 
says (Luke xiii. 16) that Satan had " bound " a daughter of 
Abraham eighteen years. He means the crooked woman 
previously mentioned in the context, " which had a spirit 
of infirmity," and whose " bond " was loosed on the Sabbath. 
■ It seems probable, therefore, that St. Mark's " bond of his 
tongue " is also a technical expression. The writer will not 
merely say that a dumb man was made to speak — ^he will add 
further that daemonic fetters were broken, a work of Satan 
undone. It is one of those thoroughly popular touches which 
helped Christianity to make its way in the world !, 

The formulae usual in ancient accounts of healing, of which 
we know plenty ^ from inscriptions at Epidaurus and other 
places where cures were wrought, of course cannot have been 
unknown to the apostles. As St. John's story of the healing 
of the man born blind finds a parallel in a Greek inscription 
from Rome,^ reporting the cure of a blind man, and as St. 
Matthew describes St. Peter's peril on the sea in the style of 
a popular narrative of rescue,' so also St. Paul clothes one of 
his most remarkable confessions in the style of the ancient 
texts relating to healing. Speaking of his severe bodily 
affliction, the " thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to 
buffet me," he confesses * : — 

" Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice," 

* As an introduction to the psychology of the cult of Asclepius cf. J oh. 
Tlberg's excellent address, " Asklepios," Neue Jahrbiicher fiir das klassische 
Altertum, 1901, p. 297 S. 

* Cf. p. 135 above. ' Cf. pp. 179, 180, n. 8 above. 

* 2 Cor. xii. 8, virep tovtov rpls^riv Kvpiov TrapcKoXeaa, 

Continuation of notes to page 306 : — 

1597 proposes convincingly to regard the word as a scribal error for Kpovov weSt 
= Kpamv ■naihi, " the son of Cronos." Nikos A. Bees (Bc'ijs) gives a different 
conjecture in his Byzantinisch-Neugriechische Jahrbiicher r (1920), p. 157. 
*• = inoKeiTtu. " Vulgar for vJicra. " = wpar, cf. p. 255 above, I. 3000. 



308 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

just as M. Julius Apellas, a man of Asia Minor in the Imperial 
age, narrating on a marble stele how he was cured at the 
shrine of Asclepius at Epidaurus, acknowledges with regard 
to one of his various ills ^ : — 

" And concerning this thing I besought the god." 

The parallel is all the more remarkable because the verb ^ 
used for " beseech " seems to be the technical term in such 
a context. It is moreover factually important, as showing 
very clearly that Christ * was occasionally, even by the piety 
of St. Paul, taken as the Saviour in the literal sense of 
" Healer." Whoever fears that the New Testament may 
suffer from the discovery of this parallel should read the whole 
inscription of M. Julius Apellas and the whole twelfth chapter 
of 2 Corinthians side by side, and then compare the souls and 
the fortunes of the two men of Asia Minor, Apellas and Paul. 
Two patients besought their Healers for healing, and to which 
of them did his Healer give the most ? What is greater ? 
the cures of Apellas' various ailments, following one another in 
rapid succession, and paid for in hard cash to Asclepius of 
Epidaurus ? or the answer that St. Paul received * instead of 
bodily healing ? — 

" My grace is sufficient for thee : for My strength is made 
perfect in weakness." 

And which is the more valuable text? the advertising 
inscription on marble, ordered by the god himself ® ? or that 
line of a letter, wrung from suffering and sent in confidence to 
the poor folk of a great city, without a thought that it would 
survive the centuries ? 

7. But there are other ways in which St. Paul made use 
of the forms and formulae of his age, as they presented them- 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 80430 f., '11 70, xaiyap mpl rovrov irapeKoKeaa rov 
6e6v, 

" Wilke-Grimm, Clavis Novi Tesiamenti,' quotes vapoKo^^tv Beovs or 6e6v only 
from Josephus. There are good examples in the letter of Zoilus (p. 153, n. 4 
above) and in a letter, valuable to the historian of religion, from Aurelius 
Demareus to his wife Aurelia Arsinoe in the Oxjrrhynchus Papyri, No. I0708f. 
(3rd cent. A.D.), Tov fidyav 6eov Zdpamv ■napaKoXSt irepi ttjs Jw^s ip,uiv. 

' To Him the word " Lord " refers, cf. verse 9, beginning and end. 

« 2 Cor. xii. 9. « Cf. 1. 31 f. of the inscription. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 309 

selves to him, principally, no doubt, in inscriptions. When 
in reviewing his past work he professes ^ : — 

" I have kept faith," 

and when, probably in the 2nd cent. A.D., the Ephesian 
M. Aurelius Agathopus, full of gratitude to Artemis, makes 
the same profession in an inscription in the theatre ^ : — 

" I kept faith," 

both no doubt are drawing from the same source, from the 
stock of formulae current in Asia Minor.^ On the other hand 
the metaphor employed by the apostle in the same passage,* 

" I have fought the good fight. . . . Henceforth there 
is laid up for me the crown of righteousness .. . . ," 

reminds one of phrases in an inscription relating to an athlete 
of the 2nd cent, a.d., also in the theatre at Ephesus ^ : — 

" He fought three fights, and twice was crowned." 

No doubt St. Paul in his time read inscriptions like this. 

The following is. a still more striking case of contact 
between the apostle and the world. In the Pastoral Epistles 
we read * : — 

" Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father ; the 
younger men as brethren : the elder women as mothers ; 
the younger as sisters in all purity." 

In the same way a pagan inscription of the 2nd or 3rd cent. 

^ 2 Tim. iv. 7, rrjv moriv Ter^prjKa, 

' The Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, Part 
III. No. 587 b, on Tijv manv er'qfirjaa (i.e. with the Gerusia or Senate). 

' Cf. also Wettstein's Novum Testamentum Graecum, II., Amstelaedami, 
1752, p. 366. The parallels show that mans in the passage in St. Paul means 
" faith " in the sense of " loyalty," not " the faith " in the sense of " creed." 
Further passages are quoted by W. Jerusalem, Wiener Studien, i, p. 56. 

* 2 Tim, iv. 7, 8, rov koXov ayStva 'qyatvLafiaif . . . Xotirov aTTOKCiToi fioi 6 Ttjs 
SiKaioo^vr]S mi^avos. 

' The Collection of Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, Part 
III. No. 604, ■qywviaaTo dytOvoy Tpets, eoTe'^flrj Svio. J. H. Moulton, The 
-Expository Times, October 1908, p. 33, adds another inscription of 267 B.C. 

' I Tim. V. I, 2, Trpea^vrepia /i^ ewHrA^fjj, aXAd irapaKaXei ws uaTcpa, vewrepovs 
(is dScA^ovj, irpfa^vrepas ats /iTjTfpas, vturripas <!>s dSeA^ds iv mar) ayvfia. 



310 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENt EAST 

A.D., at Olbia on the Black Sea,^ in honour of Theocles, the 
son of Satyrus, boasts of him as 

" bearing himself to his equals in age as a brother, to 
his elders as a son, to children as a father, being adorned 
with all virtue." 

Though much later in date than St. Paul this inscription is 
not dependent on the New Testament ; both it and St. Paul 
have been influenced by old tradition. Pithy sayings of 
ancient teachers, such as Wettstein ^ has collected in his note 
on the New Testament passage, were in the time of St. Paul 
commonplaces of popular ethics. They were taken over by 
him (perhaps after reading them in inscriptions ^) with a 
sure instinct of appreciation for noble thought and pregnant 
expression, and ip the same way their echo reaches us again 
later on from the Black Sea. 

Much might be said about ancient popular ethics in general 
and the fruitful effects of the same on early Christian popular 
ethics. The otherwise somewhat barren inscriptions,* espe- 
cially complimentary and funeral inscriptions, yield an 
abundance of ethical detailed material. The praises lavished 
on the meritorious citizens, or the thankfully commemorated 
good qualities of deceased persons, will not always tell us 
what those people were really like, but all such statements 
reflect the moral ideals of the men who set up the inscriptions, 
and whatever seems stereotyped may be reckoned part of 
the world's fixed moral consciousness at the time. Had I 
unlimited space at my disposal I would deal here in special 
detail with sculptured lines that reflect the best religious 
ethics of paganism, laws of those who, " having not the law, 
are a law unto themselves," ^ such as the wonderful Delphic 

' Inscriptiones Aniiquae Orae Septentrionalis 'Ponti Euxini Craecae et 
Latinae ed. Latyschev, I. No. 2228 tr. (cf. IV. p. 266 f.), rots iiev ijAtKuurai; vpoatjie- 
pi/ifvos lis dScA^os, Tots Se npea^uTcpots uis vi6s, rots 8e Traujiv <Js wonjp, waffjj aperij 
KtKoaii-riiifvos. 

» Novum Testamentum Graecum, II. p. 339. L. Martens (letter, Duisburg, 
18 May, igio) refers me to Plato, Apology 31 B, iKaoTM trpooiovra wairep narepa 
ij aSfXcjiov Tipea^vTepov. 

' This conjecture has since been confirmed to me by one of the inscriptions 
from Priene, No. 11755 ff. (ist cent. B.C.) : npeopvTf[povs npiuni ms yovet]:, rois Si 
KaS^XtKas tits aSeXtJMvs, tovs Si [vforrepovs (is naiSas{ ? )]. 

♦ For the literary sources I refer to the works of Georg Heinrici and Paul 
Wendland. ' Rom. ii. 14. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 311 

commandments,^ or the injunctions from a sanctuary at 
Philadelphia ^ of the Apocalypse, which were bestowed in 
a dream and are so insistent in their popular appeal. Truly 
it is one of the marks of St. Paul's fineness of perception that, 
far from denying the " world " all moral attributes, he credits 
the heathen ' with a general fund of real morality regulated 
by conscience, in the same way as he praises the depth of 
their religious insight.* 

In previous works ^ I have given a not inconsiderable 
number of examples of the secular origin of supposed exclu- 
sively " New Testament " ethical concepts. For the sake 
of argument I was bound to deal "only with the more unusual 
concepts, when of course the agreement between the apostles 
and the world would be most striking, but if attention is 
paid also to the concepts belonging to everyday morality we 
discover an extensive common ground on which the apostles 
could and did take their stand. Particularly as we read 
the pastoral exhortations of St. Paul in his letters (and not 
least in the Pastoral Epistles) and others imitating them, we 
feel that, instead of being spoken to the winds like so much 
obsolete wisdom, they were bound to find in the popular 
consciousness of their day a powerful reverberating medium. 

Here is an example. The expressions " conversation," 
" to have conversation," * etc. (A.V.), in an ethical sense 
(= " behaviour, manner of life," " behave, live," etc., R.V.), 
are frequent in the apostohc writers, and many commentators 
explain them as a Hebraism. But they were common to 
the ancient world as a whole, and it is senseless to make a 
difference between Semitic and non-Semitic. I have given 
the necessary quotations elsewhere already,' but here is an 

' Dittenberger, Sylloge*, No. 1268 (inscription from Miletopolis, 3rd cent. 

B.C.). 

* Ibid., No. 985 (ist or 2nd cent. a.ds). For this particularly valuable 
inscription we are indebted to Keil and von Premerstein, Bericht iiber eine 
dritte Reise in Lydien, p. 18 ff. (see p. 17, n. i above). 

' Cf. especially Rom. ii. 14 flf. 

* Acts xvii. 28. 

' Especially in Bibelstudien and Neue Bibelstudien (= Bible Studies). 

' avaarpo^ and dvaarpi^eaBtu, 

' Bibelstudien, p. 83 ; Neue Bibelstudien, p. 22 ; Bible Studies, pp. 88, 194 ; 
and, before that, E. L. Hicks in the Classical Review, i (1887) p. 6; and now 
Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, March 1908, p. 269; W. H, P. Hatch, 
Some Illustrations, p. 136 f. 



312 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

additional illustration that appeals to the eye : an inscrip- 
tion 1 (Fig. 57) in honour of the Gymnasiarch ApoUodorus, 
the son of Pyrrhus, on a marble pedestal in the gymnasium 
at Pergamum, of the Roman period (after 133 B.C.). It 
reads thus : — 

S^/nos eTtynTjtrev 'AiroXX68u>pov Hvppov 
)(PV(tS>l (7T£0av<i)i Kal e'lKOVi )(a,\K^i 
aptTTji (tvtKiv Koi (vvoiai rrj^ cis iavTOV 
Koi Sia TO yvp.vo.crw.p\ri<Tavra 
5 (caXctfS /cat evSd^cus a.va(TTpa.<^rivai. 

The people honoured ApoUodorus, the son of Pyrrhus, 
with a golden crown and a brazen image by reason of his 
virtue and goodwill towards them, and because of his good 
and glorious behaviour when he was Gymnasiarch. 

Extraordinarily interesting are the cases in which the 
apostles, being still in living contact with the lower classes, 
adopt the fine expressions which, coined in the workshop and 
the market-place, are a terse and pithy presentment of what 
the people thought was good. There is a phrase we find on 
the tombstone of a humble man * of the early Empire in a 
country district not far from the home of St. Paul in the 
south-west of Asia Minor. To the eye wearied with the 
bombast of overloaded eulogy in showier inscriptions it 
appears scarcely noticeable at first, and yet how eloquent in 
reality is this simple form of praise : Daphnus, the best 
among the gardeners, has raised himself a hero's resting- 
place (Hereon), and now has reached this goal,' 

" after that he had much laboured." 

To anyone with a sense for beauty in simplicity these lines 

• Die Inschriften von Pergamon, No. 459. The facsimile there given on the 
scale of I : 7-5 is reproduced here (Fig. 57) by kind permission of the Directors 
of the State Museums, Berlin. (The translation of the inscription in the 
first edition of this book was incorrect, as pointed out by Johannes Imelmann ; 
cf. also Eberhard Nestle, Berliner Philologische Wochenschrift, 28 [1908] 
col. 1527.) 

^ The inscription was discovered in the village of Ebedjik (S. W. Asia 
Minor) in the house of the mollah Mehmet, and published by Heberdey and 
Kalinka, Bericht iiber zvoei Reisen im siidwestlichen Kleinasien [p. 17, n. 1 
above], p. 41, No. 59, /xera to woAAa Komaoai. [In German spelling, Ibedschik. 
It is on the site of Bubon (Pliny, H.N. V. 27), in N. Lycia. Tr.] 

" This translation of the brief tovto of the inscription (cf. p. 203, n. 4 above) 
is very free. 



OAHMOZ ETflMHS ENAnOAAOAnPONnYPPoY 
X E,X&jipLT E 4>ANaiKAIEIKON 1 X A AKH 1 

KAIAIATorYMNAIlAPXHITANTA 
KAAnZKAIENAOSniAKAITFAtaAI 

Fig. 57. -^Marble Pedestal from Pergamum with an Inscription 
in honour of the Gymnasiarch Apollodorus of Pergamum. Roman 
Period. Original still at Pergamum. By permission of the 
Directors of the State Museums at Berlin. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 313 

concerning the much labour of the gardener Daphnus are as 
a green spray of ivy tenderly clasping the tombstone of its 
old friend. And the words of St. John, in the Revelation, 
are just as racy, just as primal, when, recording the voice 
heard from heaven, he gives a slight Asiatic tinge ^ to an 
old Biblical phrase,^ and says that the dead " rest from their 
labours." ' St. Paul, however, the artisan missionary, 
catches the popular tone of his native country even better 
when he boasts * of an Ephesian Mary, while she was yet 
living, that 

" she much laboured for you." 

Again, in a Roman cemetery ^ of later date, we hear the old 
popular phrase re-echoed by a wife who praises her husband, 

" who laboured much for me." 

In fact, with regard to all that Paul the tentmaker has 
to say about labour, we ought to place ourselves as it were 
within St. Paul's own class, the artisan * class of the Imperial 
age, and then feel the force of his words. They all become 
more life-like when restored to their original historical milieu, 
" I laboured more abundantly than they all " ' — these words, 
applied by St. Paul to missionary work, came originally 
from the joyful pride of the skilled craftsman, who, working 
by the piece, was able to hand in the largest amount of 
goods on pay-day. The frequent references to " labour in 

' He says kottujv instead of tfryow. He uses the latter word immediately 
afterwards: 

» Cf. LXX Gen. ii. 2. 

' Rev. xiv. 13, e'/c tuiv kottow airutv. [Cf. the epitaph in Bushey churchyard, 
said to have been copied before i860, with the last words of " a poor woman 
who always was tired " owing to domestic drudgery : " Don't mourn for me 
now, don't mourn for me never. For I'm going to do nothing for ever and 
ever," given in full in the Spectator, 2 Dec. 1922, p. 834. Tr.] 

* Rom. xvi. 6, n-oAAa iKoniaaev ei; u/ias; cf. also Rom. xvi. 12. 

° Corpus Inscriptionutn Graecarum, No. 9552, inscription from the cemetery 
of Pontianus at Rome (date?), tcCs [= ootij] iioi woAAd cVom'aacv. 

' St. Paul speaks of himself as a manual labourer in 1 Cor. iv. 12, and he 
writes to manual labourers (i Thess. iv. 11). There are two small studies of 
great importance in this connexion : Franz Delitzsch (18^0-1922), Judisches 
Handwerkerleben zur Zeitjesu,' Erlangen, 1875 ; and Samuel Krauss, " Parallelen 
im Handwerk," Vierteljahrsschrift fiir Bibelkunde, Talmud und patristische 
Studien, 3 (1907) p. 67 ff. 

' I Cor. XV. 10, Trepiaaorepov auroiv mvrcav eKOmaaa. 



314 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

vain " 1 are a trembling echo of the discouragement resulting 
from a piece of work being rejected for alleged bad finish 
and therefore not paid for. And then the remark to the 
pious sluggards of Thessalonica * : 

" That if any would not work, neither should he eat," 

I remember a newspaper controversy a generation ago, in 
which my opponent, a social reformer not quite so well up 
in his Bible as he should have been, denounced this text as 
a modern heartless capitalist phrase. As a matter of fact, 
St. Paul was probably borrowing a bit of good old workshop 
morality,' a maxim applied no doubt hundreds of times by 
industrious workmen as they forbade a lazy apprentice to 
sit down to dinner. 

In the same way we can only do justice to the remarks in 
the New Testament about wages by examining them in situ, 
amidst their native surroundings. Jesus and St. Paul spoke 
with distinct reference to the life of the common people. 
If you elevate such utterances to the sphere of the Kantian 
moral philosophy, and then reproach Primitive Christianity 
with teaching morality for the sake of reward, you have not 
only misunderstood the words, you have torn them up by 
the roots. It means that you have failed to distinguish 
between the concrete illustration of a popular preacher, 
perfectly spontaneous and intelligible in the native sur- 
roundings of Primitive Christianity, and a carefully con- 
sidered ethical theory of fundamental importance to first 
principles. The sordid, ignoble suggestions, so liable to 
arise in the lower class, are altogether absent from the 
sayings of Jesus and His apostle, as shown by the parable 
of the labourers in the vineyard and the analogous reliance 
of St. Paul solely upon grace. 

Still more instructive than the parallelism of single ethical 
phrases in popular use are the formulae in which pairs of 
ideas or whole series of ideas have united. When in Titus ii. 4, 
5 the young women are exhorted to be " loving to their 
husbands, loving to their children, soberminded," * this is 
the voice of popular ethics, for precisely this ideal of woman- 

> E.g. Gal. iv. 11; Phil. ii. i6; i Cor. xv. 58. 

* 2 Thess. iii. 10, «' ns oi 0e\ei cpyd^eaSai., /tijSe ioBUrm. 
' See Wettstein's quotations at 2 Thess. iii. 10. 

* ^iXavhpovs thai, ^(AorcKVOVs, a^povas. 




,I0YAT02 BASS OX 
OTA K I A lA nA A A n!^ 



Vthtay 

lYNAI 



YKYTATrt / 
KI$IAANAP/ 

'AI<J)IAOTEKNXi 
YNBIXISASH 

A M E M nra z 

ETH A- 




FiG. 58. — Marble Xombstone of 
Otacilia PoUa of Pergamum, about 
the time of Hadrian. Now in the 
garden of Pasha-Oglu Hussein, in 
the SeUnus valley, near Pergamum. 
By permission of the . Directors of 
the State Museums at Berlin. 



SOCIAL' AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 315 

hood ^ is set up by the inscriptions. In an epitaph at Perga- 
mum, of about the time of Hadrian^ (Figure 58), one Otaciha 
Polla is called " loving to her husband and loving to her 
children " : — 

Julius Bassus to Otacilia 

Polla, his sweetest wife. Loving 

to her husband, and loving to 

her children, she lived with 

him unblamably 30 years. 



lovXios Bao'a'os 
OraictXia TlmWr) 
TTj yXvKVTaTq 
[■y]uvaiKi (f>iKa.vip\tj>\ 
KoX tjtiXoTtKvm 
iruvpiuxrainf 

enj X. 



That this formula was no extempore formation is proved 
by a quotation from Plutarch, by an' inscription from Paros ' 
of Imperial age, and by a metrical inscription from Tegea.* 
The collocation " loving to her husband and soberminded " 
is also not rare; it occurs in epitaphs for women of the 
Irnperial period at Termessus in Pisidia,* Prusias on the 
Hypius in Bithynia,* and Heraclia on the Black Sea.' 

Whole series of ethical concepts are brought together in 
the well-known Primitive Christian lists of virtues and vices. 
These were no new creations, but based on Jewish and 
pagan series — this has long been recognised. ^ But it will be 

1 It would be an interesting and comparatively simple task to sketch 
the ancient ideal of womanhood as shown. in the inscriptions and papyri. 
A comparison with the Jewish inscriptions and the N.T. would reveal a 
far-reaching agreement throughout the whole of antiquity. 

' Die Inschriften von Pergamon, No. 604 (of. Neue Bibelstudien, p. 83 f. ; 
Bible Studies, p. 255 f.). The drawing (scale i : 10) is here reproduced with the 
kind consent of the Directors of the State Museums, Berlin (Fig. 58). 

' References in Neue Bibelstudien, p. 83 f . ; Bible Studies, p. 255 f. 

* Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique, 25 (1901) p. 279, ^iXoreKve !J>t\avSpe, 
" O thou loving one to children and husband ! " The date cannot be exactly 
determined. 

' Ibid. 23 (1899) p. 301, rqv aoK^pova Koi ifilXavSpov, " soberminded and loving 
to her husband." 

' Ibid. 25 (1901) p. 88, 1} ao^pow (sic) koX i^iXavBpos yvvri ycvo/ieyr), " who was 
a soberminded wife and loving to her husband." 

' Ibid. 22 (1898) p. 496, ■q <l)i\av8pos Kal (7[tu]^p<ov ij ^lAoffo^oy tpjoaaa Koaiiiuis, 
" loving to her husband and soberminded, a lover of wisdom, she lived 
modestly " (cf. i Tim. ii. 9 for this last word). 

' The latest treatment of this subject, brief but excellent, is in H. Lietz- 
mann's commentary on Rom. i. (Handbuch zum N.T., III. p. 11, 'p. 34 f.). 
Abundant material was collected by Albrecht Dieterich, Nekyia, Beitrdge zur 
Erkldrung der neuentdeckten Petrusapokalypse, Leipzig, 1893, p. 163 ff. Since 
then the literature has grown. The subject is not confined to the Mediter- 
-t *„, ^..^^...^i.:. ri,;„o.,o ii«+o of vices in the " Book of the Most 



3i6 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

as well to give up looking for the models exclusively in 
philosophical literature, although there may still be much 
to find there.i The popular hsts of virtues and vices are of 
more direct importance; they show better than the philo- 
sophical texts what had really made its way among the 
people. Scattered in many museums we find specimens of 
the counters * used in an ancient game resembling draughts : 
one side of the counter bears a number (up to 25 or 30 or 
40), and on the other side is a word addressed to a person, 
occasionally in verbal form, e.g. " Art thou glad ? " or " Thou 
wilt scarcely laugh," ^ but nearly always substantives or 
adjectives, generally in the vocative case. These give us 
a large number of popular names of vices * and virtues ; 
the Greek loan-words among the Latin lists show the Hellen- 
istic influence, and the decidedly vulgar form of the Latin 
words indicates that the game was a popular one. Although 
we have not yet recovered all the counters necessary for the 
game, and the presumable sequences of the counters are not 
yet certain, the parallels with St. Paul strike us immediately. 
Take, for instance, the list of vices ^ in i Cor. vi. 9, 10, 

" Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, abusers 
of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, 
revilers, extortioners." 

With the exception of " covetous," which is rather colourless, 
and " idolaters," which is not to be expected in a pagan list, 
all these will be found substantially, word for word, on the 
counters.* 

High concerning Deeds and Retaliations," a Taoist work translated by 
Wilhelm Schiiler in Die Welt des Ostens (supplement to the " Kiautschou- 
Post ") 2 (1909), No. 15. 

' The astrologers, e.g. Vettius Valens, also furnish plenty of material. 

2 Details in Chr. Huelsen, Tessere lusorie, Romische Mitteilungen, ii (1896) 
p. 227 ff. ; F. Buecheler, Rhein. Museum, New Series, 52 (1897) p. 392 ff. 

' gaudesne, vix rides. 

* The vices greatly preponderate on the counters that have been preserved. 
Even Lietzmann {he. cit. *p. 11) considered this list to be purely Jewish. 



« St. Paul : 


The counters : 


■nopvoi. 


impudes (the n wanting as in Kpi/joKifs, 2 Tim. iv. 10) 


fWLXol 


moice, moece 


fiaXoKol 


■patice 


dpaevoKotTM 


cinaidus, cinaedus 


ifAeTTTat 


fur 


jiiBvooi, 


ebriose and vinose 


MtoQOl 


trico ? 


apnayes 


arpax 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 317 

The comic dramatists afford us help in completing these 
popular lists of vices. No certain explanation has yet been 
given of the mention of such rare crimes as parricide and 
matricide in the list of vices in i Tim. i. 9 f . The text there 
enumerates : — 

" The lawless and disobedient, the ungodly and sinners, 
unholy and profane, murderers of fathers and murderers 
of mothers, manslayers, whoremongers, them that defile 
themselves with mankind, menstealers, liars, perjured 
persons.'-^ 

Now compare the " scolding " of Ballio the pander in the 
Pseudolus of Plautus ^ : quite a number of the most charac- 
teristic terms of abuse in that popular scene occur again in 
St. Paul's list, either literally or in forms nearly synonymous.^ 
Nor is the parallelism between the New Testament and 
the world wanting in the corresponding lists of virtues. 
This is shown by comparing 2 Peter i. 5, 6 with an inscription 
from Asia Minor, ist cent, b.c, in honour of one Herostratus, 
the son of Dorcalion.* The inscription mentions successively 
the faith, virtue, righteousness, godliness, and diligence of the 
person to be honoured; and the apostle incites his readers 

The last word afma^ was current as a loan-word in Latin comedy. In St. Paul 
it should probably not be translated " robber " but rendered by some other 
word, like " swindler " (" extortioner," A.V., 'R.V.). " Robbers " were A^oTai, 
with whom St; Paul became acquainted on his journeys (2 Cor. xi. 26). — For 
/ioAaxdr cf. letter No. 5 above, p. 164, n. 4. 

1 Cf. Hermann Usener, Italische Volksjustiz, Rhein. Museum, New Series, 56 
(1901) p. 23 ff. The passages in Wettstein, Novum Testamentum, II. p. 318 f., 
especially those from Pollux, afford a very interesting parallel to Plautus and 
St. Paul. 

Plautus : 
legirupa 

sacrilege 



2 St. Paul, : 

avooiaisi 
a/iapTcoXots 
, jSe^ijAots 



irarpoXaiais 

liTjTpoXijiais 
itopvois 
dpaevoKoiTots 

fmopKOK 



sceleste 
caenum and 

inpure 
parricida. — verberasti pairem ei mairem, to which the 

person abused answers scornfully : at que occidi quoque 

potius quam cibum praehiberem. 
impudice 

pernities adulescentum (this parallel is not certain) 
fraudulente 
periure 



' Dittenberger. Drien tix Graeci InscrMio nes Selectae, No. 438. 



3i8 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

to diligence m faith (= belief), virtue, knowledge, temperance, 
patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and love.^ 

8. The correspondences we have noted- so far relate only 
to isolated details of, the popular religion and popular morality 
of the world contemporary with the apostolic texts. The 
cumulative effect even of such details should be sufficiently 
remarkable, but there are besides in the New Testament 
whole groups of thought, the peculiar strength and beauty 
of which we can only appreciate from the vantage-ground 
of the ancient world. Recent discoveries have made it 
possible to reconstruct large portions of Hellenistic popular 
law, which was previously known only in miserable frag- 
ments, and this gives us an uncommonly valuable, means of 
judging some of the figurative religious language of Primitive 
Christianity. It has of course long been known, and mono- 
graphs have been written to prove, that St. Paul was strongly 
influenced by legal ideas ^ ; but the fact was not sufficiently 



' Inscription : 

avSpa dyaBov yevoiievov Kai StevevKavra 

nioTei Kai aperfj Kai S[i(c]atooui'g Kai 

evae^eiat Kai . . . t^v 7rXelaT['q]v ela- 

evTjveyfievov oirovB'qv. 



2 Peter : 



oirovoTjV Traaav -TrapeiaeveyKavTcs 
eTri,xopT)Yqaare iv rg irioTCi v/xiuv Tfjv 
aperi^v, ev Si T^ aper^ T^v yvcDotj', «V Si 
rij yv<iaei tiiv iyKparciav, ev Si rfj 
iyKpareCi^ tt^i* VTTOpAvqv, 4v Si TJj vTrofjLOv^ 
Trjv evoi^eiav, etc. 

Cf. also the remarks on the beginning of 2 Peter in Bibelstudien, p. 277 fi. ; 
Bible Studies, p. 360 fi. 

* In view of the importance of this point I offer the following statement 
of the literature of the subject, as far as it is known to me : — 

John Selden [1584-1654], De synedriis et praefecturis juridicis veterum 
Ebraeorurn, Liber II, Londini, 1653, c. XII., § iii., p. 523 (cited by 
Schramm, p. 398) ; 
Daniel Schraderus, Exercitatio juridica de jurisprudentia Pauli Apostoli, 
Halle /Magdeburg, 1695 (cf. Eger, Rechtsgeschichtliches zum N.T., 
p. 27) ; 
Johannes Samuel Stryck (Strickius), De Pauli jurisprudentia (title uncertain), 
Halle 1695, "1743 (cf. Schramm, p. 398, and Winer-Schmiedel § 3, 
I [p. 18]); 
Joh. Henricus Schramm, De stupenda Pauli Apostoli eruditione, Herbom, 
1710 (I use the edition printed together with his commentary on 
Titus, Lugd. Bat., 1763) ; 
Johannes Ortwin Westenberg, Paulus Tarsensis Jurisconsultus, Frane- 
querae, 1722, also Baruthi 1738 (cf. my Bibelstudien, p. 103; Bible 
Studies, p. 107 f.), and in his Opuscula Academica I, Leipzig, 1794; 
Gg. Wh. Kirchmaier (title not known to me, cf. Winer-Schmiedel, § 3^ 
I [p. 18]), Wittenberg, 1730; 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 319 

accounted for by comparisons either with Roman or with 
Jewish law, the latter, so far as the Diaspora was concerned, 
being probably for the most part a dead letter. We now 
receive help of a far different order from the law that was 
alive in the popular consciousness up and down the Hellenistic 
area in which the New Testament originated. A few examples 
will confirm this statement.^ 

The stupendous force of dogmatic tradition, and the 
fact that the word slave * with its satellites has been translated 
servant, to the total -effacement of its ancient significance, in 
our Bibles, have brought it about that one of the inost 
original and at the same time most popular appraisals of 
the work of Christ by St. Paul and his school has been, I 
think, only vaguely understood among us.' I refer to the 
metaphor of our redeinption by Christ from the slavery of 
sin, the law, idols, men, and death * — a metaphor influenced 

C. F. Freiesleben (cf. Winer-Schmiedel, ibid.), ILeipzig, 1840; 

My Bibelstudien (1895) and Neue Bibelstudien (1897) ; 

A. Halmel, Uber ronfisches Recht im Calaterbrief, Essen, 1895; 

Fr. SieflEert, Das Recht im N.T., Gottingen, 1900; 

{Th. Mommsen, " Die Rechtsverhaltnisse des Apostels Paulus," Zeitschrift 
fiir neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 2 (1901) p. 81 fif. ;) 

Max Conrat [Cohn], " Das Erbrecht im Galaterbrief," Zeitschr. f. neutest. 
Wiss. 5 (1904), p. 204 ff. ; 

My Licht vom Osten, 1908 ; 

William Duncan Ferguson, The Legal Terms Common to the Macedonian 
Inscriptions and the New Testament, Chicago, 1913; 

W. S. Muntz, Rome, St. Paul and the Early Church : The Influence of 
Roman Law on St. Paul's Teaching and Phraseology and on the 
Development of the Church, London, 1913 (which I know only from 
the bibliography in the Theologische Literatur-Zeitung, 1913, col. 

799) : 

The important works by Otto Eger already mentioned at p. 119, n. i above. 

1 Here Otto Eger (cf. p. 119, n. i above) has continued working most help- 
fully; I refer especially, for instance, to his luminous exposition of i Cor. 
iii. 9 fi. by the aid of ancient building law (Rechtsgeschichtliches zum N.T., 

p. 37 fi-)- 

^ In Luther's Bible the word " slave " {Sklave) does not occur once, although 
its equivalent is used times without number in the original (Old and New 
Testament). Knecht, the word used by Luther, is for modern Germans no 
longer the same as " slave." [The R.V. rendering, " bondservant," in text 
and margin, has helped to correct the misapprehensions of English readers. 
" Slave " does occur in the A.V., but only twice : Jer. ii. 14, Rev. xviii. 13. Tr.] 

' Similarly the mistranslation of SiaS^Kt) as " covenant " instead of " testa- 
ment " has interfered with the right understanding of another great group 
of ideas. The blame in this case does not fall on Luther. 

* Cf. my Paulus, p. 100 ff., »p. 134 ff. ; St. Paul, p. 149 ff., *p. 172 ff. 



320 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

by the customs and technical formulae of sacred manu- 
missions in antiquity.^ I should like to illustrate a little 
more particularly this instance of St. Paul's having been 
influenced by the popular law of the world in which he 
lived.2 

Inscriptions at Delphi have been the principal means of 
enlightening us concerning the nature and ritual of manu- 
mission with a religious object in ancient times.* The 
French archaeologists have discovered and published a large 
number of records of manumission relating to several different 
.centuries,* and particularly to that one which gave rise to 

1 Johannes Weiss, Die Christliche Freiheit nach der Verkundigung des 
Apostels Paulus, Gottingen, 1902, has the merit of bringing St. Paul's idea 
of freedom into connexion with ancient thought on the subject. But I think 
the author has gone to too high a bookshelf : the inscriptions, to be found 
among the folios at the bottom of the bookcase, are here more instructive 
than the philosophers on the higher shelves, just as we saw in the case of the 
lists of vices, p. 320 ff. above. I agree in thinking that St. Paul was influenced 
by popular philosophy, but I would lay stress on the mediation, mentioned 
by Weiss, of popular culture, into which a great deal of philosophy had 
percolated. 

* Since the earlier editions of this book the subject has become fairly well 
known and has been made use of in religious literature of the practical order 
{e.g. by Gottfried Traub, Gott und wir, Heilbrorin, 1912, p. 42 ft.; and by 
Harrington C. Lees [who became Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia, in 
1 92 1. Tr.], Christ and His Slaves, being Devotional Studies from the 
Egyptian Papyri, London, 19,11). 

' The pioneer works were Ernestus Curtius, Anecdota Delphica, Berolini, 
1843, pp. 10-47, 56-75. S'Dd P- Foucart, Mfemoire sur I'affranchissement des 
esclaves par forme de vente k une divinity d'apr^s les inscriptions de Delphes 
(Archives des missions scientifiques, deuxifeme s6rie, t. III., Paris, 1866, 
pp. 375-424; also separately, Paris, 1867). Cf. also Ludwig Mitteis, Reichs- 
recht und Volksrecht in den ostlichen Provimen des romischen Kaiserreichs, 
Leipzig, 1891, p. 374 fi. (a short account, but containing evers^thing that is 
essential), and E. Schiirer, Geschichte des jiidischen Volkes, III.' p. 53 f., 
*p. 93 f. There is much material on the subject of manumission customs in 
Gualterus Rensch, De manumissionum titulis apud Thessalos, Diss. Phil. 
Halenses, XVIII. 2, Halis Saxonum, 1908. Add to these A. B. Drachmann, 
De manumissione seruorum apud Graecos qualem ex inscriptionibus cog- 
noscimus, Nordisk Tidskrift for Filologi, Ny Raekke, vol. 8 (Copenhagen, 
1887/88), pp. 1-74; and especially A. Calderini, La manomissione e la con- 
dizione dei liberii in Grecia, Milano, 1908. Other literature in Dittenberger, 
Sylloge' 3, p. 352 £f. 

• Including two records of the manumission of Jewish slaves between 170 
and 157 B.C., probably prisoners from -the Maccabaean wars (cf. Schiirer, 
III.' p. 27, * p. 55 f.), and a manumission by Judaeus, a Jew, who sells his 
slave Amyntas to Apollo, ng b.c. (Juster, Les Juifs, II. p. 327). This Judaeus 
is most probably identical with one of the two Jewish slaves manumitted 
some forty years before. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 321 

the New Testament. After two thousand years the records 
stand to-day almost uninjured on the polygonal retaining- 
wall of the temple of Apollo (Fig. 59), the blocks of which 
seem, despite their bulk, to have collectively the effect of a 
poem in stone. Climbing greenery and blue blossoms greet 
you from the joints of the stone if you read the texts in 
springtime.^ 

But these are not records of something-peculiar to Delphi. 
Manumission on religious grounds was practised all about 
Parnassus and probably throughout ancient Greece, and it 
even made its way into Jewish and Christian ecclesiastical 
custom. As examples from places outside Delphi I may 
refer to iuscriptions at Physcus in Aetolia ^ (sale to Athene, 
and cent. B.C.), at Amphissa * (sale to Asclepius, Imperial 
period), and also in Cos * (sale to Adrastia and Nemesis [?], 
2nd or 1st cent. B.C.). Ernst Curtius ^ has collected records 
from Naupactus (sale to Dionysus), Chaeronia, Tithora, and 
Coronia (sale to Serapis), Chalia (sale to Apollo Nesiotes), 
Elatia and Stiris (sale to Asclepius), Daulis (sale to Athene 
Polias). Th. Macridy has published records from Notion. ^ 
We find this sacred kind of manumission among Jews ' 
" in the house of prayer " in two stone records from Panti- 
capaeum,® the first of which can be certainly dated 81 a.d. ; 
and there is a record * of great interest from Gorgippia, 
41 A.D., referring to the cult of " the Most High God." 

1 On 22 and 23 May, 1906, I was able to see these highly important remains 
of ancient civilisation in situ (Fig. 59). The topographical remarks below 
(p. 329) are the result of my own observation on 12 lila,y, 1906. 

* Bulletin de Correspondance Hell^nique, 22 (1898) p. 355. 
" Dittenberger, Sylloge,^ No. 844. 

* Paton and Hicks, No. 29; and now Herzog, Koische Forschungen und 
Funde, p. 39 f. This is not a record of manumission, but manumission of a 
sacred character is mentioned in it. Of. p. 327, n. 6. 

' Of. p. 320, n. 3 above. 

* Jahreshefte des Osterreichischen Archaologischen- Institutes in Wien, 8 
(1905) p. 155 ff. (Pointed out to me by Th'eodor Wiegand, postcard, Miletus, 
c. 26 May, 1908 ; and by Baron F. Hiller von Gaertringen, postcard, Berlin 
W., 4 June, 1908.) 

' Abundant material bearing on the subject in Juster II. p. 80 ff. Note- 
worthy also is the document, Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 1205, (291 a.d.), in 
which the synagogue pays the redemption-money. 

" InscripHones Antiquae Orae Septentrionalis Ponti Euxini, ed. Latyschev, 
Vol. II. Nos. 52 and 53. 

' Ibid. No. 400. 



322 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

These Jewish and Judaeo-pagan records ^ are of great 
importance in our problem, as sure proofs of the influence 
of the pagan rite on Jewish Hellenism ^ in the time of the 
apostle Paul. Finally, it has long been recognised by experts 
that " manumission in the church " ^ was nothing but a 
Christianised form of the old Greek custom. 

But between the Greek usage and the practice of the 
early Church there- stands St. Paul, who made the ancient 
custom the basis of one of his profoundest contemplations 
about the Christ. 

What was this custom? Among the various ways in 
which the manumission of a slave could take place by ancient 
law * we find the solemn rite of fictitious purchase of the 
slave by some divinity. The owner comes with the slave 
to the temple, sells him there to the god, and receives the 
purchase money from the temple treasury, the slave having 
previously paid it in there out of his savings. The slave is 
now the property of the god; not, however, a slave of the 
temple, but a protege of the god. Against all the world, 
especially his former master, he is a completely free man; 
at the utmost a few pious obligations to his old master are 
imposed upon him. 

The rite takes place before witnesses; a record is taken, 
and often, perpetuated on stone. 

The usual form of these documents must have been 
extremely well known, because they are so numerous. It is 
like this ^ : — 

Date. " N.N. sold to the Pythian Apollo a male slave 
named X.Y. at a price of — minae, for freedom {or on con- 
dition that he shall be free, etc.)." Then follow any special 
arrangements and the names of the witnesses. 

1 See Schiirer, III,» p. 53 f., • p. 93 f. 

' For a similar process in another field cf. the prayers for vengeance from 
Rheneia (Appendix I. below, p. 413), which exhibit a secularisation of the 
Jewish ritual for the expiation of an unexplained murder. 

' Manumissio in ecclesia, cf. Curtius, p. 26 f. ; Mitteis, p. 375 ; and the 
Jewish manumission " in the house of prayer," p. 321 above. 

♦ Cf. Mitteis, p. 372 ff. The redemptio servi suis nummis is discussed by 
Lothar von Seuffert, Der Loskauf von Sklaven mit ihrem Geld, Festschrift fiir 
die juristische Fakultat in Giessen, Giessen, 1907, pp. 1-20. 

'■ The texts are so numerous that individual quotation is unnecessary. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 323 

Another form, which occurs less frequently, is " sale to 
the god as trustee." An inscription ^ of 200-199 B.C. on 
the polygonal wall at Delphi may serve as an example : — 



Date. lirpiaTO 'ATrdWdJi' 
6 Ilvdios Trapa ^axri^iov 
AftKJua-deoi in eXcvdtpiai 
<TStp,[a\ ^ yvvaiKeiov, ai ovofia 
NiKata, TO yei/os'Pio/iaiW, Tt/i as 
apyvplov ixvav rpiZv koI 
fiixifoiaiov. •n-poawoSoTos * Kara. 
Tov vofiov Eii/xvacrTos 
AfujiuTcrtv^. Tav Tifiav 
aTre;(£i.* rav oe uivav 
iiriiTTf.v(Tt * NiKaia t(oi 
AiroWiavi Itt iX.tv6ipiai. 



Date. Apollo the Pythian 
bought from Sosibius of Am- 
phissa, for freedom, a female 
slave,* whose name is Nicaea, 
by race a Roman, with a price 
of three minae of silver and a 
half-mina. Former seller ^ ac- 
cording to the law : Eumnastus 
of Amphissa. The price he 
hath received.* The purchase,* 
however, Nicaea hath com- 
mitted * unto Apollo, for free- 
dom. 



Names of witnesses, etc., follow. 

St. Paul is alluding to the custom referred to in these 
records when he speaks of our being made free by Christ. 
By nature we are slaves of sin,' of men,* of death ® ; the Jew 
is furthermore a slave of the law,^" the heathen a slave of his 
gods." We become free men by the fact that Christ buys us. 
And He has done so : — 

" Ye were bought with a price," 

1 Dittenberger, Sylloge,' No. 845. 

* For aiSjxa = " slave " see above, p. 165, n. 2; also n. 7 below. 

' [TfpoaiToSorqs, " previous vendor " (Liddell and Scott,' 1901, wrongly 
" previous traitor " ; but see Addenda), in inscriptions and papyri =7rgojra)Ai)7Tjs ; 
often coupled with /3cj3aKimjp, " surety." Sosibius had bought Nicaea of 
Eumnastus, who thus, became the warrantor of Sosibius' rightful ownership. 
Tr.] 

* For this airexei see p. no ff. above. 

' Janell, Ausgewdhlte Inschriften, p. 107, wrongly translates " purchase 
money." 

" On this trusteeship cf. Josef Partsch j 1925, Griechische BUrgschaftsrecht I, 
Leipzig, 1911, p. 362 f. 

' Rom. vi. 17, 20, 6, 19; Titus iii. 3. The passage in Rom. vi. 6, " that the 
body of sin might be destroyed," is ambiguous, since " body " (acS/io) may also 
mean " slave "; similarly in Rom. viii. 23, anoXurpatais tov ad/Mros. 
' I Cor. vii. 23. 
• Horn. viii. 20 f . 

*" Gal. iv. 1-7, v. I. 

" Gal. iv. 8, 9. 



324 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

says St. Paul in two places,^ using the very formula of the 
records, " with a price." ^ Again, 

" For freedom did Christ set us free,^ ... ye were called 
for freedom " * 

— in these words of St. Paul we have literally the other 
formula of the records.^ 

In numerous records of manumission the nature of the 
newly obtained liberty is illustrated by the enfranchised 
person's being expressly allowed henceforth to 

" do the things that he will." « 

St. Paul, therefore, is referring to the danger of a relapse 

' I Cor. vi. 20, vii. 23, n/ifjs TJyopdoBiiTe. [ayopd^eiv is used of the purchase 
of slaves m the will of Attains III., 133 b.c, Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci 
Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 33835. For «/i^, " price," in the sale of a slave, 
cf. also I Clem. Iv. 2.] The repetition of this brief but expressive and 
exceedingly popular saying leads us to imagine that it was a favourite watch- 
word also in the apostle's spoken sermons. Cf. also Gal. iv. 5, " to redeem 
them that were under the law " [i^ayopaari) . 

• Ti/i^r (Ti/ioi) is quite a stereotyped expression in the records, of course with 
the addition of a definite sum. But nju^; can also be used absolutely, as 
shown by the great document containing royal ordinances of Euergetes II., 
118- B.C., The Tebtunis Papyri, No. 5,85, m, jo. cf. the editorial note p. 50 f. 
The Vulgate pretio magna and Luther's translation " dearly bought " can 
hardly be right. St. Paul is not emphasising the amount of the price, but 
the fact that the redemption has taken place. Cf . Lietzmann on i Cor. vii. 23 : 
he translates quite justifiably " bought for ready money." See also Wilcken 
on the Gradenwitz Papyrus No. i (Griechische Papyri der Sammlung Graden- 
witz, edited by Gerhard Plaumann, Heidelberg, 1914, p. 14). 

• Gal. v. I, Tjj iXevBepCq. '^/las Xpiar6s ■^XevBepaiaev. 

• Gal. v. 13, iiT eXevffepiq. cicA^5tjt€. 

' err' iXevBepif, cf. Curtius, pp. 17, 32. The formula is common at Delphi, 
Naupactus, and Tithora. Rensch, p. 100, refers to G. Foucart, De libertorum 
condicione apud Athenienses, Lutetiae Parisiorum, i8g6, p. 14 f. How very 
much the formula was alive in the popular consciousness is shown by a letter 
(Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 1141^11., Alexandria, 17th year of 
Augustus) to which my attention was called by Schubart (letter, Steglitz, 
31 July, 1909). It is a remarkable letter, extremely valuable for the N.T., 
and was written by a freedman apparently to his patron : tSy SoSXos in 
eXevBfptq, BfSei dpeaai [scil. rip levpiw, cf. I Cor. vii. 32 : wwy dp^or) rip KvpUp], 
ovTui Kdyo) TrjV ^Mav oov BiXoni dfuinrrov s/iOToi'"'" tT^jprjoa [cf. I Thess. V. 23, 
dfUpLTn-ojs rrjptjBetii], " as a slave for (the sake of) freedom desires to please 
(his lord), so have I also, desiring thy friendship, kept myself blameless." 

• Ttoicov Ka BiXji, cf. Curtius, pp. 17, 39, and especially Mitteis, Reichsrecht 
und Volksrecht, p. 390. The 4" BeXu in i Cor. vii. 39 originated probably in the 
formularies of bills of divorcement; see the material collected in Blau Die 
jiidische Ehescheidung, 2. Teil, p. 20 ff. (35. Jahresbericht der Landesrabbiner- 
achule in Budapest, Budapest, 1912). 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 325 

into servitude when he points to the possible result of the 
conflict between flesh and spirit with these words ^ : — 

" that ye may not do the things that ye would." 

Numerous manumissions, again, expressly forbid, some- 
times under heavy penalties, that the enfranchised shall 
ever " be made a slave " * again. We now see how wicked 
is the intention of those ' 

" who . . . spy out our liberty, which we have in Christ 
Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage." 

And we understand warnings like this * in the letters : — 

" For freedom did Christ set us free : stand fast there- 
fore, and be not entangled again in a yoke of bondage," 

and the still more moving exhortation ^ : — 

" Ye were bought with a price, become not slaves of men." 

Christians cannot become slaves of men because they have 
become " slaves of Christ " * by purchase, and have entered 

* Gal. V. 17, Iva iiri a iav BiXtfre ravra iroiiJTf. Note the context ; " under the 
law " (v. 18) also points to slavery. 

' KaraSovXC^eiv or -eadai, and similar formulae, cf. Curtius, p. 43. The 
prohibition of re-enslavement was hard to kill. It was known to St. John 
Chrysostom (p. 327 below) ; it goes over into medieval Christian law, and 
is found, for instance, in a formulary of manumission of the Byzantine period 
(published by Giannino Ferrari, Formulari Notarili inediti dell' Etcl Bizantina, 
Estratto dal BuUettino dell' Istituto Storico Italiano n. 33, Roma, 1912, 
p. 24) ; similarly, under pain of the curses of the 318 Fathers of Nicaea, 
anathema and heavy fines, in the Codex Vaticanus Palatinus Graecus No. 367 
(a formulary of the 8th [ ?] cent. a.d. ; Calderini, p. 448 f .) ; and even in a 
decree of Frederick the Great : " With regard unto this present case I call 
to mind how that His late Majesty my Father hath many years since decreed 
that, when a born serf hath served his country for a considerable time in the 
wars, the same shall on his dismissal, provided he hath established himself 
in a- town as a burgess, in addition receive his freedom without payment of 
any redemption-money therefor to his former lord, nor shall he again be able 
to be reclaimed by the latter to the slavery of serfdom " (Gustav Mendelssohn 
Bartholdy, Der Konig Friedrich d. Gr. in seinen Briefen und Erlassen, 
Ebenhausen, 1912, p. 264). 

' Gal. ii. 4, KaTaaKomjaoA, t^v iXevBeptav ■Ijiuav ffv exoiiev iv Xpiorif 'IriaoS, Iva 
ijfids KaraSovXioaovaiv. 

« Gal. v. I. 

' I Cor. vii. 23. The allusion is to moral slavery to humaii lusts and desires. 
Christians should be slaves of the brethren. 

• The expression SovAos XpiaroO is so common in St. Paul that there is no 
need to give instances. It is not a consequence of the metaphor of manu- 
mission, but older; it suggested the metaphor, however, and fits in admirably 
with it. 



326 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

into the " slavery of God " or " of righteousness. ^ " But, 
as in every other case of purchase by a god, the slave of 
Christ is at the same time free : indeed, he is " the Lord's 
(i.e. Christ's) freedman," * even when in the outward meaning 
of the word he is the slave of a human lord. When, further, 
in numerous documents the pious obligation of irapafiovy, or 
remaining in the household of his former lord, is imposed 
upon the enfranchised slave ' : — 

" let him remain with N.N." (his former master), 

or when we hear occasionally * : — 

" let Cintus abide with Euphronius . . . behaving 
decently," 

we are reminded of expressions in St. Paul, e.g. 

" let him abide with God," ^ 

and especially of. this one : — ^ 

" that which is decent, and attending upon the Lord 
without distraction." ' 

If this last example is not fully parallel to the pagan formulae 
because the reference in St. Paul is to the new master, it 
corresponds nevertheless to the Jewish formulae of manu- 

• Rom. vi. 22, i8. The am, " from," used in these two passages (and in 
Rom. viii. 2, 21) after eXevBepoo) is also a technical use of language; e.g. in 
the documents of manumission in Heuzey and Daumet, Missions archSologiques 
de Macidoine, Paris, 1876, p. 432 ff., we have an-cAeuffepcuffeWoy airo e.g. STpdramos 
(the master at the time of manumission). 

' anfXevBepos kvptov, I Cor. vii. 22. So also Curtius, p. 24, is of opinion that 
the expression " freedman of the god Aesculapius " {libertus numinis Aes- 
culapii) in a Latin inscription possibly originated in a sacred manumission. 
On St. Paul's expression see more below, p. 382. 

' vapaiidvaTw and similar formulae, cf. Curtius, p. 39 f. ; Mitteis, Reichsrecht 
mtd Volksrecht, p. 386 f . ; Rensch, p. 107 ff. A good example is the inscription 
from^Delphi, 173-2 B.C., Dittenberger, Sylloge,^ No. 850, wapa/neiraTco -8e jrapa 
'Afivtrrav Zurrripixos ctt; oktcu dvcyKA^Tajs, " but let Soterichus abide with Amyntas 
eight years, blamelessly." 

• Inscriptions recueillies A, Delphes, publides par C. Wescher, P. Foucart, 
Paris, 1863, p. 65, No. 66, n-opo/ifiraxcu [8e] Kiinos irapa Evtl)p6viov . . . 

• I Cor. vii. 24 (in close proximity to the principal passage, " ye were 
bought with a price "), litverw irapa $eui. 

' I Cor. vii. 35 (cf. also " blamelessly " in the inscription quoted in note 3 
above), to tw^W"' *"' fmrdpeSpov r<^ iwpi<ff anfpiandaTtos. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 327 

mission from Panticapaeum,^ which lay on the enfranchised 
slave the obligation to be loyal to the synagogue.^ 

These parallels do not exhaust the cases in which the 
apostle took his stand on this custom of the ancient world. 
All that St. Paul and St. John ' have to say about freedom 
has this background; but, most important of all, the fre- 
quently misunderstood conception of redemption,^ i.e. huying- 
off and hence deliverance (from sin, the law, etc.), belongs, as 
St. Chrysostom knew and pointed out,* to the same complex 
of ideas. An inscription of Cos, already referred to, uses this 
very word — -a rare one — to describe sacral manumission.* 

St. Paul's predilection for this whole group of images 
would be most beautifully accounted for if we knew him to 
have been previously acquainted with the Greek form of our 
Lord's deeply significant saying about the ransom.'^ And 
we have no reason to doubt that he was.* But when anybody 
heard' the Greek word \vTpov, " ransom," in the first century, 
it was natural for him to think of the purchase-money for 
manumitting slaves. Three documents ' from Oxyrhynchus 

' Page 321 above. 

» On the technical terms there used of. p. 102 above. 

' Cf. especially John viii. 36, " if the Son shall make you free, ye shall be 
free indeed," a beautiful saying, quite in the character of St. Paul. The word 
e\ev6ep6a>, which is here used, is found in innumerable documents of manu- 
mission, and in the Epistle of Aristeas 27 and 37. — ^The metaphor has been 
taken up also by other apostles, and in some cases further elaborated. 

* aTToMrpwais. This rare word occurs seven times in St. Paul I Cf. also 
Epistle of Aristeas 12 and 33. 

® On Romans iii. 24, Kat ovx airXws elire Aurpcuafo)?, aAA' aTroXvTpitiaeoiSt uts 
fiTIKCTi "Qfids eiraveXBeiv -ndXtv em r-qv avTrjv SovXeiav, " and he said not simply 
' ransoming ' (lytrosis) but ' ransoming away ' (apolytrosis) , so that we come 
not again into the same slavery " (cf. R. C. Trench, Synonyms of the New Testa- 
ment, 7th ed., London, 1871, p. 273) . With this sentence from St. Chrysostom 
cf. the provisions in the records, as mentioned above, against reducing the man 
to slavery again. In Theophylact, a late writer, we find the old apostolic 
metaphor already varnished over (Trench, p. 274). Much material is given by 
Joseph Wirtz, Die Lehre von der Apolytrosis. Untersucht nach den heiligen 
Schriften und den griechischen Schriftstellern bis auf Origenes einschliessUch, 
Trier, 1906. Later ecclesiastical speculation generally inclined to the view 
that redemption from the slavery of Satan was meant. 

,« Paton and Hicks, No. 29 ( = Herzog, p. 39 f .) . It is called first amXtvOepoiais, 
and then dvoXiiTpajais : those who perform the ancXevBepuais are not to 
make formal record of the aTToXvrpamis until the priests have reported that the 
necessary sacrifice has been made. See p. 321, n. 4. 

' Mark x. 45 = Matt. xx. 28, Xvrpov avrl miXXoiv, " a ransom for many." 

' I Tim. ii. 6 certainly sounds like an echo. 

• The Oxyrhynchus Papyri Nos. 48, 49, and 722; 



328 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

relating to manumissions in the years 86, loo, and 91 or 107 
A.D. make use of the word. " Under Zeus, Ge (= Earth), 
Helios (= Sun) for a ransom," ^ is the phrase used in the first 
two documents, and it is not impossible that all three adum- 
brate traces of sacral manumission.* 

I refrain from entering into a criticism here of the remark- 
able obscurations and complications which this whole circle 
of ancient popular metaphors has undergone at the hands of 
modern dogmatic exegesis. I would rather point out that 
St. Paul, in expanding and adapting to the Greek world ^ 
the Master's old saying about ransom, was admirably meeting 
the requirements and the intellectual capacity of the lower 
classes. For the poor saints of Corinth, among whom there 

' viro Aia rrjv 'HXiov irrl Xwrpois- The plural Aurpo is most usual. The singular 
XvTpov for a slave's redemption-money is found, however, several times (to- 
gether with the plural Aurpa) in inscriptions from Thessaly, of. Rensch, p. loi f. 
— On Xilrpov {XvTpa) cf. also Mitteis, Reichsrecht und Volksrecht, p. 388, and 
Steinlcitner, Die Beicht, pp. 36, 37 f., 59, iii. I give here only one example, a 
remarkable inscription on a votive relief from Kores (Keures) near Koula in 
Asia Minor (Fig. 60), printed in Buresch, Aus Lydien, p. 197 : raXXiKui 'AaKXrj-inas 
KwfiTIs Kfpv^fwv iToiSioxv Aioyevov Xthpov, " To Gallicus [= the god Men], 
Asclepias of the village of Ceryza, maidservant [cf. p. 200, n. 7 above] of 
Liogenes (Diogenes ?), presents this ransom." The word here probably means 
that Asclepias was releasing herself from a vow. Wiegand, who published 
the first picture of the stone in the Athenische Mitteilungen, 1904, p. 318, 
informed mc (postcard, Miletus, c. 26 May, 1908) that the original now belongs 
to the collection of the Lyceum Hosianum at Braunsberg. To the kindness of 
a venerable colleague at Braunsberg, W. Weissbrodt (now alas ! no more), 
who actually offered to send me the stone for inspection at Berlin, I owe the 
photograph (received 13 Feb. 1910) from which Fig. 60 has been made. By 
it Buresch's reading required some correction. [W. M. Calder, Classical 
Review 38 (Feb.-March, 1924), p. 30, remarks that the inscription had been 
correctly transcribed by W. H. Buckler, Annual of the British School at Athens 
1914-16, p. 181 ff., who explains raWmw as a feminine proper name, like 
KaXXujTU), 'lepci, etc., and clears away an unwarranted epithet of the god Men. 
Thus : FaXXiKot 'AoKXrjmas [= 'AoKXrineias] Kutfvqs Kepv^f<in> na{i,)Suix>) {A)uyycvov 
Xvrpov," Galliko, female slave of the Asklepian village of the Keryzeis, (dedicates 
this as) ransom of Diogenes." Tr.] 

' Cf. Mitteis, Hermes, 34 (1899) p. 104, and U. Wilcken's remark there on a 
Christian document of manumission of the year 354 a.d. containing the 
formula " free under earth and heaven according to [kot', not Kat] the service 
due to God the compassionate." 

' It is a matter of great importance how gospel conceptions were expanded 
and adapted to the world, when we try to understand Christianity as a world- 
religion. The most important example is the expansion of the originally 
Palestinian word " the Christ " (= the Messiah) into " Christ " as the world- 
wide name of God. Further details will be found in a small work by me. Die 
Urgeschichte des Christentunis im Lichte der Sprachforschung, Tiibingen, 1910. 




Fig. 6o. — Lytron ("ransom") Inscription from Kores (Keures), near 
Koula, in Asia Minor. Imperial Period. Now in the Lyceum Hosianum at 
Braunsberg. Photograph kindly obtained by the late W. Weissbrodt. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 329 

were certainly some slaves,^ he could not have found a more 
popular illustration ^ of the past and present work of the 
Lord. A Christian slave of Corinth going up the path to the 
Acrocorinthus about Eastertide, when St. Paul's letter 
arrived,^ would see towards the north-west the snowy peak 
of Parnassus rising clearer and clearer before him, and every- 
one knew that within the circuit of that commanding summit 
lay the shrines at which Apollo or Serapis or Asclepius the 
Healer bought slaves with a price, for freedom. Then in the 
evening assembly was read the letter lately received from 
Ephesus, and straightway the new Healer was present in 
spirit with His worshippers, giving them freedom from 
another slavery, redeeming with a price. the bondmen of sin 
and the law — and that price no pious fiction, first received 
by Him out of the hard-earned denarii of the slave, but paid 
by Himself with the redemption-money of His daily new 
self-sacrifice, rousing up for freedom those who languished 
in slavery. 

It is an extremely remarkable fact that St. Paul, who was 
so strongly influenced by the idea and the formulae of manu- 
mission as practised in antiquity, should have himself found 
a place afterwards in the formularies of manumission of the 
Christian period. A Byzantine formulary that we have 
already had occasion to mention * adorns itself with the 
words * : 

" Since, however, the most mighty-voiced Paul cries 
clearly, ' there is no bond, but free,' behold, thee also, my 
household-servant bought with money, . . . thee will I 
make free from this day forth." 

Moreover the other Christian book of formularies * which 
we have mentioned cites the apostle as an authority : 

* Cf. I Cor. vii. 21 and the various names of slaves in i Cor. 

' Used occasionally also by Epictetus, Diatribae (Schenkl) I. 19,, e/ie d Zevs 
eXe^depov a^xev (cf. P. Peine, Theologie des N.T.," Leipzig, 191 1, p. 489). 
■ The assumption is rendered probable by i Cor. xvi. 8 and v. 7, 8. 
' P. 325, n. 2 above. 

* Ferrari, p. 23 : ewel Si 6 iityaKo^uivunaTos IlavXos Sta^avuif j3o$' " om ian 
SoSAo; aAAa eXetiSepos" [Gal. iii. 28 is meant], ISov Kal ae toi' apyvpuivrjTov fiov 
oiKeTjjv . . . eXevdepico o€ diro Trjv orfp.€pov '^jiepav. 

' Calderini, p. 448 f. (cf. p. 320, n. 3 above) : ws ^tjcjIk d dn-daroAos' dStA^oOy 
Xpiaros ■qp-S.s iiriyopaaev [Gal. iii. 13] t<p Ta/*ia) avroC [probably a corruption of 
Ti/ii<}) auTou a'jxaTi : cf . I Peter i. 19], roCmv xai aii iaoi airo toC vvv iXevBepoSf 
rravreXevdepoSt *PwfiaXos noXtTTjSf 



330 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

" As saith the apostle, Christ hath redeemed us brethren 
with His precious (blood), therefore also be thou from now 
free, free altogether, a Roman citizen. ..." 

This formulary completes the circle yet more surely; 
the Master Himself as the great Liberator imparts to the 
act its real consecration : the text not only mentions Christ 
in this quotation, but gives Him quite a great position in the 
first part, such as had once, under the same sky, belonged to 
Zeus, Ge, and Helios.^ 

The question how this ancient metaphor of St. Paul's 
from the practice of manumission is to be interpreted in detail, 
I will merely mention. The chief point to examine is whether 
St. Paul regards redemption through Christ merely as a 
single summary act performed once for all in the past,* or 
(which seems to me probable) also as an act of liberation 
experienced anew, in each single case of conversion, by every 
person newly incorporated in Christ.' Further it may be 
asked whether the price is a necessary link in the chain of 
thought, or merely a pictorial detail of no ulterior significance. 
It is clear from i Peter i. i8, 19 that at a very early period 
the ■price was understood to be the Blood of Christ., The 
union of the idea of manumission' with the idea of sacrifice 
was made easier for the ancient Christians by the fact that- 
sacral manumission, e.g. at Cos, was not complete without 
sacrifice.* Finally should be pointed out the affinity between 
the idea of redemption (manumission) and the idea of for- 
giveness (remission) of our trespasses which was established 
for the ancients by the legal procedure they were accustomed 
to. In cases of non-payment of a money debt the system 
of personal execution ^ allowed not only arrest but even 
slavery for debt.^ 

The series of Gospel and Primitive Christian metaphors 

' The formula i!wd Ma, Frjv, 'HXiov occurs fairly frequently; of. p. 328, 
n. I, 2 above. 

« Cf. Gal. iii. 13. 

' Cf. redemption in Qhrist, Col. i. 14 ; Eph. i. 7 ; Rom. iii. 24 (like manumissio 
in ecclesia, p. 322, n. 3 above). 

* Cf. the inscription, p. 321, n. 4 above. 

' Cf. p. 270 above. 

' Cf. L. Mitteis, Reichsrecht und Volksrecht, pp. 358 f., 445 fF., and his 
observation on the Reinach Papyrus No. 7 (see p. 270, n. i above). 




■.i,4iia3 



Fig. 6i. — Note of Hand for loo Silver Drachmae, 
ist cent. A.D. Papyrus from the Fayum. Now 
in the Berlin Museum. By permission of the 
Directors of the State Museums. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 331 

to which we have thus alluded — metaphors connected with 
debt and forgiveness (or remission) — are likewise taken from 
the legal practice of antiquity, and might receive many an 
illustration from the new texts. I have pointed out else- 
where that the word o<^et\?/, " debt," supposed to be peculiar 
to the New Testament, is quite current in the papyri.^ So 
too there are plenty of original documents on papyrus to 
teach us the nature of an antient acknowledgment of dcbt.^ 
A large number of ancient notes of hand have been published 
among the Berliner Griechische Urkunden, and probably 
every other collection of papyri contains some specimens. 
A stereotyped formula in these documents is the promise to 
pay back the borrowed money, " I will repay " ^ ; and they 
all are in the debtor's own hand,* or, if he could not write, in 
the handwriting of another acting for him with the express 
remark, " I have written for. him." Thus, for instance, in 
a very vulgar note of hand for 100 silver drachmae written 
in the Fayum * in the first century a.d. for two people who could 
not write by one Papus, who was himself not much of a 
writer, we have (Figure 61 *) : — 



[as Koi d]iro8dcr(i)/xe/J.^"' — — 
[. . . . \\ii>pl<s aXXmv Siv o^tA.o€[. .J^"" 
— — . Ilairos eypaij/a v[w€p 
auT](i>i)™ Aypaix/xarov. 



.... which we will also 
repay .... beside ' any other 
that we may owe .... I 
Papus wrote for him [sic ; it 
should be them], who is not 
able .to write. 



It now becomes clear that St. Paul, who had playfully 
given the Philippians a sort of receipt,^ is in the letter to 

* Neue Bibelstudien, p. 48 ; Bible Studies, p. 221. 

2 Cf. Mitteis, Reichsrecht und Volksrecht, pp. 484, 493 f.; Gradenwitz, 
Einfilhrung, I. p. 109 fi. One technical expression, among others, for a 
memorandum of debt is the word x^i'p6ypa<l>ov, " hand-writing," " a writing by 
hand," which is also used for other private contracts. 

' Generally avohuiaia. 

* Hence the technical name, " hand-writing," " writing by hand " [cf. 
English " note of hand "]. See Neue Bibelstudien, p. 67 ; Bible Studies, p. 247. 

» Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 664. Wilcken recommends me, as 
a better example, the Oxjrrhynchus Papyrus No. 269 (57 a. or). 

" I am indebted for the photograph to the kindness of W. Schubart. 
' Or " apart from " (W. H. P. Hatch, letter, New York, 2 Dec, igii). 

* Phil. iv. 18; cf. p. 112 above. 



332 



LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 



Philemon (i8 f.) humorously writing him a sort of acknow- 
ledgment of debt ^ : — 

"If he hath wronged thee 
or oweth thee ought, put that 
on mine account.^ I Paul have 
written it with mine own hand, 
I will repay * it." 



ei 8e Ti r/SiKrja'iv cre r; o<^«- 
\(i, TovTO e//.oi eXXoya.^ eyw 
IlavXos fypaij/a t% ifji.'g X*'P'' ^7^ 



The parallelism between the legal formulae and the letters of 
St. Paul becomes still clearer when we observe that the ancient 
note of hand generally took the form of a letter acknowledging 
the debt.* 

Some ancient customs connected with the law of debt must 
be at the root of the celebrated passage in Col. ii. 14 where the 
technical expression " handwriting " (= bond) is employed 
in a religious sense and brought into a remarkable connexion 
with the cross. Christ, says the apostle, has forgiven us all 
the debts incurred by our trespasses. Then, with a piling-up 
of cognate metaphors,^ the writer continues : — 



i^akcaj/ai to koO' ^/iSv \ei- 
p6ypa<f>ov . . . Kai avTO rjpKev ck 
ToS fif<rov, irpoa-rjXuKrai avrb t<3 
(rravpcS. 



" Having blotted out the 
handwriting . . . that was 
against us . . . and He hath 
taken it out of the way, nailing 
it to the cross." 



" The handwriting nailed to the cross " — does that simply 

1 Eger, Rechtsgeschichtliches zum N.T., p. 44, shows that legally this is not a 
case of agency or guarantee (Hugo Grotius and Schraderus had considered it, 
from the point of view of Roman law, a constituium debiti alieni), but a 
private " intercession," a releasing adoption of the debt such that the old 
debtor is acquitted of his debt and another takes his place as debtor [something 
of the kind was the idea before me in previous editions]. Hans Reichel, 
Neue Ziircher Zeitung, No. 1731, 9 Nov., 1919, considers it a kind of novation 
(replacement of an existing debt by a new one, resting on a new basis) . 

' On this technical word, see p. 84 above. eXAoya has arisen by confusion 
of the -S.V and -eix types of inflexion (Blass-Debrunner, § 90, *p. 50) . 
' ' On this word, which is miich stronger than aitohtaam, cf. Gradenwitz, 
Einfilhrung, I. p. 85 ; also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, August 1908, 
p. 191 f. 

* Eger is quite right in pointing out (p. 45) that, by adding " albeit I do not 
say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides," Paul does 
away with the legal and business character of what he has just written. 

' Such piled-up metaphors, not admirable in point of style, but not 
ineffective in a popular sermon, often occur in St, Paul. Cf . my Paulus, p. 103, 
»p. 138; St. Paul, pp. 153 f., 2p, 17O, 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 333 

it is crucified," i.e. dead, ineffective?. That would be 
possible. But probably the image is a much livelier one ^ : 
there must be an allusion to some custom which is not yet 
known to us.^ If we are unable to point to the source of 
"the bond nailed to the cross," it may at least be allowed 
in passing to refer to " the cross on the bond." We have learnt 
from the .new texts that it was generally customary to cancel 
a bond (or other document) by crossing it out with the Greek 
cross-letter Chi (X).^ Ih the splendid Florentine papyrus,* 

* It was at least a right instinct for the technical something that led many 
commentators to conjecture that bonds were cancelled in antiquity by perfora- 
tion with a nail. As far as I know, nail perforations have been found hitherto 
only on inscribed leaden rolls, e.g. the leaden tablet from Hadrumetum {Bibel- 
studien, frontispiece and p. 26 ; not given in Bible Studies) ; but the nails were 
not meant to annul the text. [On the use of nails in magic cf. Richard 
Wunsch, Antikes Zaube'rgerat aus Pergamon, Jahrbuch des Kaiserlich Deut- 
schen Archaologischen Instituts, Erganzungsheft 6, Berlin, 1905, p. 43 f. ; 
and Franz Boll, Griechischer Liebeszauber aus Xgypten, Sitzungsberichte 
der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Heidelberg, 1910, p. 3 f.] 
Moreover, as Erich Haupt very rightly points out in his note on the passage 
(Meyer's Kommentar, S/g"'-, Gottingen, 1902, p. 96), the main point with St. 
Paul is not the nailing in itself, but the nailing to the cross. 

' A. H. Sayce, The Nation, Supplement, Nov. 12, 1910, p. 296, thinks that 
a parallel may be produced : " Slips of wood on which the household accounts 
were kept have been found in Theban tombs of the second century, with the 
previous week's accounts similarly ' blotted out.' The holes in the slips 
suggest that they may have been suspended on pegs or nails when not wanted 
for use, and so explain the reference to ' nailing to the cross ' (Col. ii. 14), to 
which Professor Deissmann is unable to find a parallel." Merely from this 
hint I am not able to judge the nature of the facts ; but at present the parallel 
is not very convincing to me. For the rest cf. the detailed investigation by 
Franz Josef Dolger, Die Sonne der Gerechtigkeit und der Schwarze, Munster i. 
W., 1918 (Liturgiegeschichtliche Forschungen, Part 2), p. 129 if. [Professor 
Sayce, writing on 16 and 18 July, 1923, kindly stated that the rectangular 
tablets of various sizes, all in Greek, of the 2nd cent, a.d., were in his own 
collection of Egyptian antiquities. He had published one or two many years 
ago, but could not remember where. He thought there might be similar tablets 
or " boards " in the British Museum; but Sir F. G. Kenyon, writing on r Aug., 
1923, knew nothing of them, and could only refer to perforated wooden tablets 
for school use, e.g. one containing lines from the Hecate of Callimachus, in 
the Rainer collection at Vienna, and a grammatical tablet, British Museum, 

Add. MS. 37516. Tr.] 

' A correspondent, Dr. R. Kluge (Charlottenburg, 9 June, 1910), suggested 
that a connexion between cross (substantive) and cross out was only possible 
in German. But that is not so [not to mention other modern" languages, 
such as English: e.g., "his (the tailor's) book uncross'd," Shakespeare, 
Cymbeline III. iii. 26. Te.] The letter Chi was identified with the shape 
of the cross in antiquity, and plays a great part in graphic representations. 

* No. 6i(j5f. ; p. 2i)9 i. above. 



33-1 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

of the year 85 A.D., of which use has been made before (Figure 
50), the governor of Egypt gives this order in the course of a 
trial :— 

" Let the handwriting be crossed out." ^ 

The same technical word, %tafa>, " I cross out," occurs in other 
similar contexts in papyri of New Testament age,^ but the 
Florentine passage is especially valuable as showing that the 
custom of crossing out (which has endured down to our own 
day) was not a mere private one, but also official. We have 
moreover recovered the originals of a number of " crossed- 
out " * I.O.U.'s : there are several at Berlin,* some at 
Heidelberg,^ and in other collections. The subject is perhaps 
not without some bearing on the origin of later allegorical 
and mystical trifling with the cross-letter Chi among 
Christians. 

Starting once more from the I.O.U. formulae of the Epistle 
to Philemon we can touch on yet another conception of 
Hellenistic law which was early applied metaphorically 
within the Christian range of religious ideas, viz. the con- 
ception of agency. Here also the new texts have opened up 
quite new views. 

" Roman law, as is generally and according to the sources 
in the Corpus Juris rightly taught, gave on principle no 
recognition to direct agency, i.e. acting in the name and at 
the expense of the principal, in whose person arise the rights 
and duties resulting from the business. Certain exceptions, 
especially direct agency in the acquisition of property, were 

^ KOI cK[i\Xeva€ rd x^pWrP"^""" x'""^^""' • ^^^ 1^* ^° ^^^^ in the facsimile 
(Fig. 50). 

' Grenfell and Hunt, The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part II. p. 243, quote it as 
occurring in Nos. 36215 (75 a.d.), 3635 {77-79 a.d.) ; they admit it in a restored 
reading, No. 26615 (9^ ^■^■) ■ 

' Of course the simple Chi is often somewhat altered, a,nd no doubt other 
forms of erasure will be discovered. 

* Berliner Griechische Urkunden, Nos. loi (114 a.d.), 272 (138-139 a.d.), 
179 {t. Antoninus Pius). This last has been reproduced in facsimile and 
explained by Gradenwitz, Einfuhrung in die Papyruskunde, I. frontispiece and 
p. 95 ff. [but see Wilcken, Deutsche Lit.-Ztg. 21 (1900) col. 2469]. It exhibits 
a whole network of Chi-strokes, like the Heidelberg specimens (see next note) 
and the London Papyrus No. 336. 

' Nos. 8c, and 26, unpublished. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 335 

gradually acknowledged, ' but the most important depart- 
ment of private law, that of obligatory contracts, remained 
entirely closed to direct agency.' " In these words Leopold 
Wenger ^ sketched what was known of agency iti antiquity 
before the papyri came to enlighten us. Afterwards he 
himself in a very informing monograph on Die Stellvertretung 
im Rechte der Papyri * worked up the material so far accessible 
in the newly discovered legal documents of Hellenistic and 
Roman Egypt, explaining from the original records, which are 
sometimes wonderfully well preserved, the facts concerning 
agency in public law, agency in actions, and agency in private 
law. It follows that the idea of agency must certainly have 
been one of the best-known elements of popular law in 
Egypt, and from many other analogies we may perhaps 
assume that Egypt, whose bundles of documents have been 
re-discovered, is here also only the paradigm for the other 
portions of the former Empire of Alexander, whose records, 
so far as they relate to actions and private law, have almost 
entirely disappeared. 

The supposition is perhaps confirmed by the use which 
St. Paul, the man of Asia Minor, makes of the idea of agency, 
which had certainly become dear to him also through his 
Jewish education.* The wish expressed (Philemon 13) that 
Onesimus, the slave who has run away from his master 
Philemon at Colossae, and is now with St. Paul, might serve 
the apostle in his captivity as the agent * of Philemon, would 
be, if there is really a legal allusion here at all, explainable 
evten on Roman principles — ^the slave represents his master.* 
But when St. Paul, after speaking of his convert Onesimus 
in verse 10 as his child, goes on to put himself in his place 
financially in terms of the adoption of a debt, this is best 

* Papyrusforschung und Rechtswissenschaft, Graz, 1903, p. 26 f. At the end 
he is citing Josef Hupka, Die Vollmacht, Leipzig, 1900, p. 7. 

' Leipzig, 1906. 

' On agency in the religious contemplation and speculation of Judaism cf. 
Ferdinand Weber, Jicdische Theologie auf Grund des Talmud und verwandter 
Schriften,' pp. 292 ff., 326 &., 361. Here again one can see how closely the 
" Semitic " may come in contact with the Hellenistic in matters of culture. 

♦ That is the meaning of imp ooS in Philemon 13, just as in so many papyri 
the scribe representing an illiterate debtor writes imp avmS, " for him," " as 
his agent," e.g. p. 166, n. 6 above, letter 6, and p. 331. 

» Cf. Wenger, Die Stellvertretung, p. 157 ft. 



336 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

understood as a father's agency for his son, according to the 
Greek law and Hellenistic law of the papyri. ^ 

Altogether, therefore, the idea of agency, which is employed 
in several important statements of St. Paul about the past 
and present work of Christ, cannot be regarded as a foreign 
body inside Hellenistic Primitive Christianity, but must be 
reckoned one of the many thoroughly popular means to make 
things plain which the earliest propaganda adopted. More 
important than single passages on the vicarious work of 
Jesus in the past is the general view taken of His vicarious 
present activity. This view, hinted at in the gospels,^ was 
probably started by St. Paul * ; it grew to full maturity and 
attained classical formulation * in the Johannine writings. 
Christ is our Paraclete,* i.e. advocate, our representative in 
the trial, our intercessor, comforter. Again the new texts 
help us to understand what a thoroughly popular conception 
was covered by this primitive and deeply expressive element 
of our religious vocabulary. The work of the advocate in the 
Hellenistic world has been illustrated hy^ Mitteis,* Graden- 
witz,' and Wenger * with so many speaking examples, , 
notably the reports of actual cases, which have lost nothing 
of their freshness and colour, that it has become simply, 
tangibly clear.® It should be specially pointed out that the 

1 Cf. Wenger, Die Stellvertretung, pp. 169 f., 235. 
' Mark xiii. 11 ; cf. Matt. x. ig f. ; Luke xii. 11 f., xxi. 14 f. 
' As it happens, St. Paul has not used the word Paraclete in his letters ; biit 
the idea is clearly there in Rom. viii. 26-34. 

* John xiv. 16, 26, XV. 26,"xvi. 7; 1 John ii. i. 

' A new instance of the use of the word in Greek, which is phonetically 
remarkable, occurs in a fragment of a mime in the British Museum, No. 1984 
/2nd cent, a.d., Fayum ?), published by A. Korte, Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung 
6, p. I fi., and Plate i. One of the characters, J, says : irdrep 'Iwv, oi XP"/""' 
aoi owe KpiTTJ [ovre] ■napaxprirm; and is then corrected by A : irapaxX'^Tco, (J : 
" Father Ion, I need thee not, neither as judge [nor] as paracrete." A : 
" Paraclete ! ").—l here recall the memory of a promising young theologian, 
Berthold Lohr, of Elberfeld, who just before the outbreak of the Great War 
had begun an extensive work on the concept wopokXijtoj, and who laid down 
his life for his country in 1915. The passage quoted from the mime was one 
of the latest jo}^ in his life as a scholar. 

' Reichsrecht und Volksrecht, pp. 150, 189 fE. ' Einfiihrung, I. p.. 152 ff. 

' Die Stellvertretung, pp. 123 ff., 150 ff. 

• For Asia cf. Dio Chrysostom, Or. 35, 15 (von Amim, p. 335 f.). — ^The 
popularity of this particular word is perhaps best shown by the fact that it has 
gone over as a borrowed word {peraklit) into Hebrew and Aramaic. It is used 
as a name of power in an Abyssinian magical text (W. H. Worrell, Zeitschrift 
fiir Assyriologie 24, p. 94). 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 337 

Pauline formula " through Christ," so often wrongly ex- 
plained, but recognised by Adolph Schettler ^ in its true 
character and relative unambiguity, is in many passages 
intelligible only if we start from the thought of the Paraclete.* 
Much more might be said about the background of the 
New Testament figurative language, but I am not aiming 
here at completeness of statement. I am content to have 
shown by some examples ' the importance of the whole 
subject. Perhaps the most necessary investigation still 
waiting to be made is that relating to the word Siadi]Kr], 
which so many scholars translate unhesitatingly " cove- 
nant." Now as the new texts help us generally to recon- 
struct Hellenistic family law and the law of inheritance, so 
in particular our knowledge of Hellenistic wills has been 
wonderfully increased by a number of originals on stone or 
papyrus. There is ample material to back me in the state- 
ment that no one in the Mediterranean world in the first 
century a.d. would have thought of finding in the word 
hiaOriKri the idea of " covenant." St. Paul would not, 
and in fact did not. To St. Paul the word meant what it 
meant in his Greek Old Testament *, " a unilateral enactment," 
in peirticular "a will or testament." This one point concerns 
more than the merely superficial question whether we are to 

' Die paulinische Formel " Durch Christus," Tubingen, 1907. 

' Cf. p. 121, n. 16 above, and Schettler, p. 28 f. 

' I have given other examples elsewhere already ; cf . the notes on vtoBeaia 
(adoption), Neue Bibehtudien, p. 66 f., Bible Studies, p. 239; on evictio and 
arrha, Bibehtudien, p. 100 f., Neue Bibehtudien, p. 56, Bible Studies, pp. 108 f., 
183 f., 230 (also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, Sept. 1908, p. 280) ; 
on ayyapevui, B. St., p. 81 f., B. Studies, p. 86 f.; i^LiDfia, B. St., p. 87 f., 
B. Studies, p. 92 f.; yeypairrai, B. St., p. 109 f-, N. B. St., p. 77 f., B. Studies, 
pp. 112 f., 249 f.; SiKoioj, B. St., p. 112 f., B. Studies, p. 115 f. (also Moulton 
and Milligan, The Expositor, Dec. 1908, p. 565 f.) ; «s to oro/to, p. 123 above; 
■cvTev^K, B. St., pp. 117 f., 143, B. Studies, pp. 121, 146; ■npa.KTwp, B. St., 
p. 152, B. Studies, p. 154; irpeaPvrepot, B. St., p. 1536., N. B. St., p. 60 ff., 
B. Studies, pp. 154 f., 233 f. ; cis aSerqaiv, N. B. St., p. 55 f., B. Studies, p. 
22% i.; aKaTayvoioTOS, N. B. St., p. 281, B. Studies, p. 200; anoKpiiia, N. B. 
St., p. 85, B. Studies, p. 257 (also Moulton and Milligan, The Expositor, Aug. 
1908, p. 187) ; iniievo), N. B. St., p. 76 f., B. Studies, p. 248 f. ; to im^aXhov 
liepos, AT. B. St., p. 57, Bv Studies, p. 230; emaKOiros, N. B. St., p. 57 f., B. 
Studies, pp. 156, 230 f.; ■npS.yp.a, N. §. St., p. 60, B. Studies, p. 233; « 
avit^mvou, N. B. St., p. 82 f., B. Studies, p. 255; Ti^pTjaK, N. B. St., p. 95. B. 
Studies, p. 267; x<"P''toiuu, N. B. St., p. 67, B. Studies, p. 247. Several new 
examples are given in Chapters II. and III. of this book. Note also the works 
of Otto Eger and the new examples in Moulton and Milligan's " Vocabulary." 
* [Jer. xxxi (xxxviii.) 31 ff. Tr.] 



338 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

write " New Testament " or " New Covenant " on the title- 
page of the sacred volume ; it becomes ultimately the great 
question of all religious history : a religion of grace, or a 
religion of works ? It involves the alternative, was Pauline 
Christianity Augustinian or Pelagian ? ^ 

9. Closely connected with the lower classes by the ties of 
popular language and non-literary culture, by the realism of 
keen-sighted religious imagery, by popular morality and 
popular law. Primitive Christianity displays moreover in 
one group of its most characteristic utterances a tone that 
might be interpreted as one of protest against the upper 
classes, and which certainly has that effect, although it arose 
less from conscious political or social antipathies than from 
the passionate determination of the monotheistic cult of 
Christ to tolerate no compromises. I mean the strongly 
pronounced tone of protest against the worship of the Caesar.^ 
In so far as the religious adoration of the sovereign is the 
crown and summit of the culture of the ruling classes,' 

* See the hints in my little sketch. Die Hellenisierung des semitischen Mono- 
theismus, Leipzig, 1903, p. 175 [15]. Future investigators will find matter 
of great importance in Eduard Riggenbach's " Der Begrifif der AIAQHKH im 
HebrSerbrief " in Theologische Studien Theodor Zahn zum 10 Oktober 1908 
dargebracht, Leipzig, 1908, pp. 289-316. Cf. also Moulton and Milligan, The 
Expositor, Dec. 1908, pp. 563, 565. Frederick Owen Norton's " Lexicograph- 
ical and Historical Study of AIA0HKH from the earliest times to the end of the 
classical period," Chicago, 1908, does not get far enough to deal with the 
period of the Greek Bible. Since then much valuable work has been done on 
the problem: Franz Dibelius, Das Abendmahl, Leipzig, 1911, especially p. 
76 ff. ; Joh. Behm, Der Begriff Stad^m; . im N.T., Leipzig, 191 2; Ernst 
Lohmeyer, Diatheke, Leipzig, 1913 (a Berlin University Prize Essay of 1909) ; 
Mitteis, Gnmdziige, p. 234 ff. ; O. Eger, Zeitschrift f . die neutestamentliche 
Wissenschaft 18 {1917), p. 98 ff., and Rechtsgeschichtliches p. 31 ff. 

' H. A. A. Kennedy's " Apostolic Preaching and Emperor Worship," The 
Expositor, April 1909, pp. 289-307, takes a similar view. His article was 
written before the publication of this book (letter, Toronto, 13 October, 1908), 
and appeared in the Expositor, April 1909. Cf. also Otto Weinreich, Lykische 
Zwolfgotter-Reliefs (Sitzungsberichte der Heidelberger Akademie der Wissen- 
schaften, phil.-hist. Klasse, 1913, 5. Abhandlung), Heidelberg, 1913, pp. 13, 
31 ; the writings of Wilhelm Weber; and especially E. Lohmeyer, Christuskult 
und Kaiserkult, Tubingen, 1919; for a later period : Erich Becker, " Protest 
gegen den Kaiserkult," offprint from F. J. Dolger's Konstantin der Grosse, 
Rom-Freiburg, 1913. The newly published texts, especially papsnri, contain 
much fresh material. [Cf. article "CaesariSm" by Principal James Iverach 
in vol. iii. of the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, edited by James 
Hastings and John A. Selbie, 191 1. Tr.] 

' Cf. the brief but comprehensive account of emperor worship by U. von 
Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, " Geschichte der griechischen Religion," in the 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 339 

the Primitive Christian abhorrence of emperor worship does 
form an upper line of demarcation, and in course of time it 
unites here and there with those poHtical and social instincts 
of the oppressed which had long been present in Judaism. 

Politically the earliest Christianity was comparatively 
indifferent,^ not as Christianity, but as a movement among 
the humble classes, whose lot had undoubtedly been on the 
whole improved by the Imperium. The fire of national 
hatred of the foreigner which smouldered in Palestine re- 
mained practically confined to this area, and seems to have 
gained no hold among the disciples of Jesus at the outset. 
Their opponents were none other than His opponents, viz. 
the leaders of the nation itself, and the expectation of the 
coming kingdom of God is much more of a polemic against 
the Scribes and Pharisees than against the Romans. 

St. Paul, too, in spite of occasional conflicts with Roman 
officials on his journeys, had probably in his own person 
more often experienced the blessings than the burdensome 
constraint of State organisation. In what was to him 
personally the most momentous legal affair of his life he 
asserted his rights as a citizen ^ and appealed to the Caesar. 
He sees no theoretical difficulties in all the small political 
questions that affect the humble individual : to respect and 
pray for the powers in authority is as natural to him as the 
payment of tribute and custom.' It is no right view of the 
subject to say that Paul was indifferent to political problems 
because of his religious expectations of a coming end; if 

Jahrbuch des Freien Deutschen Hochstifts, 1904, Frankfurt am Main, p. 23 flf. 
(cf. Wilcken, Grundzuge p. 117). More recent than the works mentioned at 
p. 290 above : H. Heinen, Zur Begriindung des romischen Kaiserkultes, Klio 
11 (1911) p. 129 ff.; P. Riewald, De imperatorum Romanorum cum ceteris 
dis et comparatione et aequatione (Dissertationes philologicae Halenses, 20, 
pars 3), Halle, 1912. 

^ Heinrich Weinel, in his otherwise excellent work, Die Stellung des Urchris- 
tentums zum Staat, Tiibingen, 1908, exaggerates the political antipathies of 
the earliest Christianity. 

2 Acts xxii. 27. On the whole subject cf. Theodor Mommsen, " Die Rechts- 
verhaltnisse des Apostels Paulus," Zeitschrift fur die neutestamentliche 
Wissenschaft, 2 (1901) p. 81 ff. On appealing to Caesar cf. the important 
remarks of O. Eger, Rechtsgeschichtliches, pp. 20 ff., 24 ff., where new texts 
bearing on the right of appeal in the Imperial period are made use of. 

» The first book of Wilcken's Griechische Ostraka, with its evidence of 
218 different kinds of dues payable in Egypt, is a splendid commentary on 
Rom. xiii. 7. 



340 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

anything, those expectations were calculated to make him 
interested in politics. The fact is that political interest and 
political activity were on the whole remote from the class 
to which he belonged. The comparatively marked in- 
difference of St. Paul to politics is not specifically connected 
with Primitive Christianity, its causes are secular and social. 

All the more sensitive, however, was Primitive Christianity 
in its own most special field, the rieligious, on which all its 
passion was concentrated. The deification of the Caesars 
was an abomination to Christianity from the beginning. It 
is very probable that this antipathy was inherited by the 
daughter from monotheistic Judaism. ^ In those words of 
quiet delicacy in which Jesus names both the Caesar and 
God, we see already the place reserved for God which belongs 
to Him alone.2 Two generations later the Book of the 
Revelation, coming from the classical land of emperor 
worship, gives most powerful voice to the religious contrast, 
which by that time was heightened by the political resent- 
ment of the oppressed. This access of passion would be 
historically unintelligible were it not for the years that lie 
between the calm dignity of Jesus and the volcanic ardour of 
the Apocalypse-. With the lapse of time, the religious 
antithesis must have been felt more and more acutely until at 
length imprinted on the Christian conscience in indelible 
characters. 

And so it really was. If it has not been seen before, that is 
because the literary sources of the Imperial age are par- 
ticularly deficient on the point. The new texts, however — 
some of which are themselves direct evidence of the cult of 
the Caesar — enable us to judge of the feelings aroused by 
exhibitions of the cult of the sovereign even at the time of 
St. Paul's mission in the minds of those who had nothing but 
their God in Christ and their conscience. 

It must not be supposed that St. Paul and his fellow- 
behevers went through the world blindfolded, unaffected 
by what was then moving the minds of men in great cities. 
These pages, I think, have already shown by many examples 

' Cf. Tacitus, Hist. v. 5, on the Jews : non regibus haec adulatio, non 
Caesaribus honor. Abundant material on Judaism and the cult of the Caesars 
in Juster, I. p. 339 fE. 

' Cf. p. 214 above. 




Fig. 62. — ^Qriginal Limestone Plate {eha- 
ragma) inscribed with the seal of Augustus. 
Egypt, 5-6 A.D. Now in the Berlin Mu- 
seum. By permission of the Directors of 
the State Museums. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 341 

how much the New Testament is a book of the Imperial age. 
We may certainly take it for granted that the Christians 
of the early Imperial period were familiar with the institu- 
tions and customs that the Empire had brought with it. 
That they were familiar even with apparently out-of-the-way 
points is shown, for instance, by the allusion in Rev. xiii. 16 f . 
to the custom, now known to us from the papyri, of imprinting 
on deeds of sale and similar documents a stamp which 
contained the name and regnal year of the Emperor and 
was called, as in the Revelation, a charagma.^ To the 
examples previously given ^ from Augustus to Trajan there 
now comes a welcome addition in the form of an imperial 
stamp affixed to documents ^ from the Fayum, dated 48 a.d. 
As a concrete illustration I reproduce * here an actual-size 
facsimile of one of the original stamps of Augustus (5-6 A.D.), 
a soft plate of limestone now in the Berlin Museum (Figure 62). 
The legend, the letters of which are of course reversed, runs : — 



L Ac Kai(Tapo9 
yp^affiiiov ?) 



In the 35th year of the Emperor 
Scribe's chamber ( ?) 



If such superficial details were known among the people, 
how much more so the deification of the emperor, with its 
glittering and gorgeous store of the very loftiest terms em- 
ployed in worship, compelling every monotheistic conscience 
to most powerful reaction ! Such jewels were never intended 
for mortal brow ! And so from out the despised mass of 
the unknown Many the hard and deformed hands ^ of the 
saints in Christ stretch forth and appropriate from the 

1 Hiller von Gaertringen (postcard, Westend, i6 May, 191 4) referred me to 
an inscription from Antigonea (Mantinea), after 27 B.C., afterwards discussed 
by him in Dittenberger, Sylloge^ No. jS^^ss.. which says of a meritorious 
citizen : /tcxP' ■'''"'' .^e/SaaTeiW fiwXorjae xapo'f^paji', " he made a successful 
voyage to the August Persons (Augustus and Livia)." I translate " Persons," 
because clearly an audience at the Imperial Court is referred to — as in the 
decree of the Byzantines, p. 378, n. 6 below; that is to say, xapoKj^p is 
already being used here in a transferred sense. For a man of that period 
the transition from Emperor's stamp to Imperial Person was not very 
circuitous ; the Caesar was present to him even in the charagma. 

* Neue Bibelstudien, pp. 68-75 ; Bible Studies, p. 240 f . ; cf . also Wilcken, 
Archiv f. Papyrusforschung, i, p. 76, and J. C. Naber, ibid. pp. 85 f., 316 ff. 

' Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 748. 

* Neue Bibelstudien, p. 71 ; cf. Bible Studies, p. 243. 
° Cf. p. 246 above. 



342 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST > 

crown of the Caesars such old arid new divine insignia as 
offered, and deck therewith their Son of God, whose they are, 
because before He was set over them He had stood beside 
them; who became poor with the poor, who humbled Him- 
self with the lowly and humble and had lived submissively 
in the likeness of a slave, and who after a shameful death on 
the cross had been raised by God and had received a name 
which is above all names. ^ 

And that is what we may actually observe. The cult of 
Christ goes forth into the world of the Mediterranean and soon 
displays the endeavour to reserve for Christ the words already 
in use for worship in that world, words that had just been 
transferred to the deified emperors (or had perhaps even 
been newly invented in emperor worship).* Thus there 
arises a polemical parallelism between the cult of the emperor 
and the cult of Christ, which makes itself felt where ancient 
words derived by Christianity from the treasury of the 
Septuagint and the Gospels happen to coincide with solemn 
concepts of the Imperial cult which sounded the same or 
similar. 

In many cases this polemical parallelism, whiclv is a clear 
prophecy of the coming centuries of martyrdom, may be 
established by very ancient witness. In other cases the word 
which corresponds with the Primitive Christian term of -wor- 
ship may turn up only in later texts relating to the cult of the 
emperors. It could hardly be otherwise considering the 
fragmentary nature of the tradition.^ I am sure that in 

* 2 Cor. viii. 9 ; Phil. ii. 5-1 1 . These two passages certainly give the strongest 
outlines of Pauline " Christology," at any. rate those most effective with a 
popular auditory. Cf. my Paulus, pp. 112 f., ^^149 ff. ; Paul, pp. 168 S., '192 ff. 

' A particularly fine appreciation of these facts was shown many years ago 
by Ferd. Kattenbusch, Das apostoUsche Symbol 2, Leipzig, 1900, p. 611 ff., and 
more recently by the Abbot of Maria Laach, lldefons Herwegen, Das Konig- 
tum Christi in der Liturgie (offprint from " Ehrengabe deutscher Wissenschaft "), 
Freiburg i. Br., 1920. 

■ The New Testament also uses technical terms of contemporary con- 
stitutional law which by accident are not known to us from other sources 
until later, e.g. Acts xxv. 21, «'s ttji" toC SifiaaToG hiayvomiv, " for the decision 
of Augustus." htayvmois is a technical expression for the Latin cognitio, but 
is not found elsewhere until 144 A.D. (Berliner Griechische Urkunden, No. 891) ; 
and again at the end of the 2nd cent. a.d. in the title of an official in a Roman 
inscription, Inscriptiones Graecae, XIV. No. 1072 (also with the genitive toB 
ZePaoToS, as in the Acts), eVt . . . Smyvtoaecov toS Se^aarov, " a . . . cogni- 
tionibus Augusti." 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 343 

certain cases a polemical intention against the cult of the 
emperor cannot be proved ; but mere chance coincidences 
might later awaken a powerful sense of contrast in the mind 
of the people. 

It cannot be my task to collect together the whole gigantic 
mass of material in even approximate completeness; ^ I 
can only offer a selection of characteristic parallelisms.* 
Those versed in the subject will agree with me that it is not 
always possible in such cases to distinguish between the 
Imperial cult and the Imperial law ; the Imperial cult was 
in fact a portion of the law of the constitution. 

I begin with the family of ideas which groups itself round 
the word deos, " God." There can be no question of 
any kind of Christian borrowings from the language of the 
Imperial cult, because both the cult of Christ and the cult of 
the emperor derive their divine predicates from the treasure- 
house of the past. But the words compounded with or 
derived from " God " in the Imperial cult were the most 
likely to arouse the sensation of contrast ; they were known 
to every plain Christian man by reason of their frequent 
occurrence, and their lack of all ambiguity brought even the 
very simplest souls, in fact the very simplest souls rather than 
others, into the most painful conscientious difficulties. Even 
St. Paul declared one of the signs of Antichrist to be that he 
would proclaim himself as God.^ We may leave to themselves 
all the minuter side-issues, e.g. the date when the divine 
titles were first bestowed on the living sovereign. As we are 
specially concerned with what the Primitive Christians felt, 
we need only point out that the difficulties of this contrast are 
older than the Imperial period. Under the successors of 
Alexander, who handed on to the Empire ready-made all the 

' I have therefore in this new edition not attempted to work in all the new 
material of which I have become aware in the interval. But besides the works 
already mentioned I would especially refer to Fritz Blumenthal, " Der 
agyptische Kaiserkult," Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 5, p. 317 ff., and W. 
Otto, " Augustus Soter," Hermes 45 (1910). P- 448 ff. 

» The work, ahready referred to (p. 112, n. 4), of David Magie on the offidal 
formulae of the Imperial age has been of great help here. It does not, how- 
ever, in the least exhaust the epigraphical and papyrological material; by 
far the larger number -of my examples are derived from my own reading of 
the texts. 

' 2 Thess. ii. 4. 



344 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

essential forms used in the adoration of the sovereign, exactly 
the same problem confronted the pious Jew into whose hands 
fell, let us say, the coins of the Seleucidae ^ with the legend 
" God " upon them appUed to the kings, or who drew up an 
inscription, friendly in other respects to the State, to be placed 
on a synagogue in one of the scattered Jewish settlements; 
however great the respect shown to the sovereign, the title of 
" God " is denied him.* The Imperial age strengthened the 
feeling of contrast, since all the titles formerly bestowed on 
the various smaller rulers were now concentrated on one great 
ruler, and the conjecture made above ^ that the apocalyptic 
number 6i6 means " Caesar God " * appears in this connexion 
fairly obvious. 

A few examples will show with what force those titles must 
have struck upon a monotheistic conscience. In an official 
inscription ^ of the year 48 B.C. the town council of Ephesus, 
in conjunction with other Greek cities of Asia, spoke of Julius 
Caesar, who was then Dictator, as " the God made manifest, 
offspring of Ares and Aphrodite, and common saviour of 
human life." A formula for an oath, " by Caesar, god of 



' To take one example out of many : a coin of the city of Aradus in 
Phoenicia has the legend BamXews ^ijftijTpiou BcoO 4>iXabfK<l>ov iViifaTopos 
(Demetrius II., Nicator, 144 B.C.), Journal internat. d'arch^ologie numis- 
matique, 3 (1900) p. 148. The title " god " was however applied to Antiochus 
II. in the 3rd cent. B.C., cf. J. Rouvier, ibid. p. 146 ; also to Antiochus IV. 
Epiphanes, ibid. 4 (1901) p. 202. — Ptolemaic parallels are very plentiful. — 
The Attalidae of Pergamum seem to have been less assuming (Max L. Strack, 
Rheinisches Museum, New Series, 55 [1900] p. 180 f.). — The Ijest account of 
the whole matter is given by E. Kornemann, " Zur Geschichte der antiken 
Herrscherkulte," Beitrage zur alien Geschichte [Klio] i, pp. 51-146. 

' Examples of this in the Ptolemaic and Imperial periods in Johann Oehler, 
" Epigraphische Beitrage zur Geschichte des Judentums," Monatsschrift fiir 
Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums 53 (igog), p. 533; and cf. 
Juster I, p. 342. 

' Page 278, n. 3. Cf. also p. 356, n. 2 below, Martyrium Polycarpi viii. 2. 

* Kaiaap $e6s. The word " Caesar " of course means " Emperor " here. 

« Dittenberger, Sylloge.^ No. 347, »No. 760, rov am "Apews Kal 'A<l>poSe[C]nis 
Biov im^avr)Ka\ kowov rqS avBpomivov jSi'ou atarijpa. The combination of ourrrip and 
d€6s, which is also used of Augustus, Inschriften von Olympia, No. 53 [quoted 
by Wendland, Zeitschrift f. d. neutest. Wissenschaft, 5 (1904) p. 342], is much 
older : a votive offering at Halicarnassus, 3rd cent. B.C. {The Collection 0} 
Ancient Greek Inscriptions in the British Museum, IV. i, No. 906), is dedicated 
to the honour " of Ptolemy the saviour and god," TTroAe/iaiov tou acarijpos koi 
$toO. The double form " God and Saviour " afterwards became important in 
early Christian usage. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 345 

god," of the first year of Augustus, ^ and an inscription from 
Socnopaei Nesus in the Fayum, dated 17 March, 24 B.C., 
which also gives to Augustus the title " god of god," 2 are 
particularly vivid examples. The calendar inscription of 
Priene (Figure 71) speaks of the birthday of Augustus simply 
as the birthday " of the god " ; » and, to mention one very 
remarkable instance from the time of St. Paul, Nero is actually 
called, in a votive inscription* of the before-mentioned ^ 
Gains Stertinius Xenophon of Cos, "the good god," with 
which, for the sake of the contrast, one may compare the 
passionate, classical saying in the gospel,^ " There is no man 

» Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. 145311, Kaiaap^a} ffew eV OtoC (cf. Wilcken, 
Archiv fvir Papyrusforschung 6, p. 423). 

' Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 655, 6eov eV Bcov. 
This formula is Ptolemaic (cf. the Rosetta Stone in honour of Ptolemy V. 
Epiphanes, ibid. No. gOi,, impxoiv deos «V BeoO koI 8eas xaSamp 'iipos 6 t^s "lotos 
KOI 'Ooipios vtos, "he is god of god and of goddess, as Horus the son of Isis 
and Osiris ") and becomes very important later in Christianity as a deeply 
significant formula of belief. It appears to be first found in Gregory Thauma- 
turgus (t c. 270), as I am informed by Karl HoU (i Aug., 1922) ; then in 
Lucian of Antioch, Eusebius of Caesarea, in the Nicene Creed, in Western 
texts of the Creed of Constantinople, etc. (References in William A. Curtis, 
A History of Creeds and Confessions of Faith, Edinburgh, 191 1, pp. 55, 57, 
71, 73 f.) In Gregory the influence of Origen is conjectured by HoU. That 
would be Egyptian influence ! 

' Inschriften von Priene, No. lOSjot. [ij ytvedXws] toS deov. 

* Paton and Hicks, No. 92; cf. Herzog, Koische Forsckungen und Funde, 
p. 196, ayaSi^ Beio. As far as I am aware, no other example of this title for an 
emperor is known at present. I assume that in the case of Nero the expression 
is somehow connected with the fact that immediately after his accession 
. this Caesar was identified with the 'AyaSos Aoiiuav (the god of the city of Alex- 
andria). The notification of his accession in an announcement which is no 
doubt official, Oxyrhynchus Papyri No. ;o2i (17 Nov., 54 a.d.), calls him 
^AyaBos AaCficov rijs ovKovfievrjs^^'^ ^PX^ '^^ tc TravTwi' dyoBwv'. The title ^AyaBos 
Aalfiwv remains with him in an inscription from Egjrpt, 56 a.d. (Dittenberger, 
Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 666 = C.I.G. 4699). A coin 
of the city of Alexandria in B.V. Head, Historia numorum,^ Oxford, 191 1, 
p. 863, calls him Neo AyaJd. Aaip.. On the whole question cf. R. Ganszyniec 
(Ganschinietz), De Agathodaemone, Warszawa, 1919 (Arbeiten der Gesell- 
schaft der Wissenschaften zu Warschau II No. 17, 1919), p. 50; and Wilcken 
in The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Part VTI (1910),- p. 149. Wilhelm Weber (letter, 
Heidelberg, 9 Feb., 1911) conjectures with regard to Pap. Oxyrh. No. 1021 
that the title was given in the decree of the governor of the Eastern Province, 
and sees in the adaptation to the Alexandrian cult an intentional piece of 
propaganda on behalf of the cult of the Emperor. Cf . also Blumenthal, p. 330, 
who refers to Schiff, Festschrift fur Hirschfeld, p. 377 ff. 
' Cf. pp. 253, 294 above. 

" Mark x. 18 = Luke xviii. 19 (cf. Matt. xix. 17), oiScls dyaSos « /iri 
els Beos. 



346 LIGHT FROM THE. ANCIENT EAST 

good, but one, that is God." Further quotations for the title 
" god " are unnecessary; the nets break if we try to get them 
all.^ Merely as an ocular demonstration of the way in which 
the inscriptions dinned this term of worship every day into 
the ears of everyone that could read, I reproduce here an 
inscription of the Imperial age from Pergamum ^ (Figure 63) 
which mentions in line 10 a Hymnodus of the god Augustus, 
and in line 13 f . a priestess of the goddess Faustina (wife of 
the Emperor Marcus Aurelius). 

I have already treated of the title deov vl6s, " son of God," 
in another place.* I remember discussing with a librarian 
friend of mine the fact that in many inscriptions and papyri of 
the Greek East Augustus and (with the name of their divine 
father inserted) his successors are called " the son of a god." 
My friend, a classical scholar, smiled benignly and said there 
could be no significarice in that, " for " it was a translation of 
the Latin divi filius.* I do not think that a Christian out of 
one of St. Paul's churches would have smiled at the expression 
or have considered it non-significant.^ St. Paul's preaching 
of the " son of God " had so quickened his religious feelings 
that he was bound to protest against the adornment of any 
other with the sacred formula. New individual quotations 
are unnecessary here; I give, again for ocular demonstra- 

1 Many instances from a single city, in Thieme, Die Inschriften von Magnesia 
am Mdander und das Neue Testament, p. 28. 

2 Die Inschriften von Pergamon, No. 523. The facsimile (Figure 63) is 
reproduced by kind permission of the Directors of the State Museums, Berlin. 
Cf. also Fig. 64. 

8 Bibelstudien, p. 166 f. ; Bible Studies, p. 166 f. Friedrich Pfister, Siidwest- 
deutsche Schulblatter, 25 (1908) p. 345 f., tries to account for the legend that 
Augustus dedicated an altar to Christ the Son of God by supposing that a 
votive inscription dedicated to the Emperor as " the son of a god " was 
misinterpreted . 

* I may perhaps be allowed to interpolate another reminiscence (like that 
recorded on p. 147). It was the BeoO vtos in No. 174 of the Berliner Griechische 
Urkunden that stimulated me, all in a flash, to a considerable part of the work 
that has occupied my life as a scholar. Some thirty years ago I happened to 
see the unbound volume in the hands of Wilhelm Schulze in the Marburg 
library. Looking over his shoulder I noticed the text, which caught zSyy eye 
owing to its being an autograph reproduction. I was arrested, fascinated by 
the 8eov vios, and found myself, as I continued to turn the leaves, everywhere 
in the world of the New Testament and the world surrounding it. 

' Cf. U. von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff, Jahrbuch des Freien Deutschen 
Hochstifts, 1904, p. 24 : " Whoever regards the divi filius as empty ornament, 
or fraud, does not understand either the time or the man (Augustus)." 





TI'kA'MEAITlNHN 

lEPAZAMENHNTHISI 
kH^oPOYKAinoAiAAOS 

AeHNASENAoraSKA\^IA° 
TIHASOvrATEPATlKAMl 
" \TOYAP0MEnsnAPAA<^J*Y 
Nj^HtANTOSlEPOYrEIlE , 
.TIK Q VS: A naNAt AE 14 A ^^ 
; OYAYrOYiTOY 

/ rAZAFXAtl^^kTOYPrrAIEK 
TEA CS ANTorA I^^flTAE KAIKA 

4>rtMrAX0YrATEPAn 

4AYtTElNHi:i<AlEn ... „..,^ 
TAYf OKASA^ INEnifiYOH Mt 
EKroNHTIkAKAHMEMTOEK.. ^-, 

^' »■■''■■»■ .^ 1 II" '/ 1 Mil '.■\ I"j 



rAifi|cA)EI<npor'oiJflNIEPElA>' 




Fig. 63. — Marble Pedestal from Pergamum 
with an Inscription in honour of a Priestess 
of Athene. Imperial Period. Now in the 
Berlin. Museum. By permission of the Direc- 
tors of the State Museums. 



cQi 



W 



ss 







Ph a 



SOCIAL A^D RELIGIOUS HISTORY 347 

tion, only two inscriptions. Five fragments of a marble 
pedestal from Pergamum ^ (Figure 64) bear this inscription, 
which was put up in honour of Augustus while he was still 
alive : — 

[AuTOKpaT]op[a Kjaio-apo [6]eo0 viov Oeov 2€/?acrTo[v] 
[ttoot;?] y^[i ic]al 6[a\\d(r(rr]i [e]7r[d7r]T['»;i'] 

The Emperor, Caesar, son of a god, the god Augustus, 
of every land and sea the overseer. 

" Overseer " as a title of honour in this inscription recalls the 
use of the same word as a predicate of God in Judaism and 
Primitive Christianity.^ 

Then an example of St. Paul's time — a votive inscription 
for Nero on a marble slab at Magnesia on the Maeander' 
(Figure 65), between his adoption by Claudius and his acces- 
sion to the throne (50 and 54 a.d.). Nero is called (line 3 ff.) 
" Son of the greatest of the gods, Tiberius Claudius," etc.* 

The adjective Oelo<;, " divine," belonging to the same 
family-group of meanings, is, hke the Latin divinus, very 
common ^ in the sense of " Imperial " throughout the whole 
Imperial period. So firmly had it established itself in the 
language of the court that it is found even in the period when 
Christianity was the religion of the State — a period far removed 
from the Primitive Christian standard of conscience. I will 
give but one example from the earliest, and a few from the 
later and latest period.® The calendar inscription of Priene 
(Figure 70), about g B.C., speaks of the birthday of Augustus 
" the most divine Caesar." ' The usage continues through 

' Die Inschriften von Perqamon, No. 381. The facsimile (Fig. 64) is 
reproduced with authority from the Directors of the State Museums at Berlin. 

' ejroTTTijs used of God in Additions to Esther v. i (xv. 2) ; 2 Mace. iii. 39, 
vii- 35; 3 Mace. ii. 21; and Clement of Rome, i Cor. lix. 3. Cf. p. 418 below. 
Much material in C. Burk, De Chionis epistuUs, a Giessen dissertation, Darm- 
stadt, 1912, p. II. 

' Die Inschriften von Magnesia am M dander, No. 157b; the facsimile (Plate 
VIII.) is here reproduced (Fig. 65) by kind permission of the Directors of 
the State Museums, Berlin. The text on the left of the plate belongs to 
another inscription, 

* TOK vlov Tov iieyCoToii Bewv Ti^epiov KXavBiov, etc. Cf. Thieme, Die Inschriften 
von Magnesia am M dander und das Neue Testament, p. 33. 

^ I cannot understand why Magie (p. 31) says the word was seldom used. 

• Cf. p. 91 above, and Neue Bibelstudien, p. 45 {= Bible Studies, -p. 218). 
' Inschriften von Priene, No. 10522, tov Bijorarov Kaiaapo[s]. 



348 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the centuries, e.g. in the phrases ^ " divine commandments," 
".divine writings," " divine grace." In the third volume of 
Greek Papyri in the British Museum ^ we have no less than ten 
documents in which Christian emperors are called " our most 
divine Lord " ' — Justinian twice, 558 and 561 A.D. ; Justin II. 
four times, 567, 568, 571, 576; Tiberius II. twice, 582; 
Maurice once, 583; Herachus once, 633 A.D. Similarly we 
find deioTv?, " divinity," used of the (Christian) Emperor's 
majesty,* this also, of course, being taken over from the old 
language of religious observance. 

In this connexion some light is perhaps thrown on the old 
title deoXoyof;, "the theologian," bestowed on the author of 
the Apocalypse.* The well-known explanation, that he was 
so called because he taught the divinity of the Logos, is so 
obviously a little discovery of later doctrinaires, that it does 
not merit serious discussion. The title is much more likely, 
to have been borrowed from the Imperial cult. The theologi, .-, 
of whom there were organised associations, were quite well- 
known dignitaries in the Imperial cult of Asia Minor, against 
which the Apocalypse protests so strongly. I have given the 
quotations elsewhere,' and it is significant that the examples 
come from the very cities mentioned in the Apocalypse, 
Pergamum, Smyrna, Ephesus. These " theologians " seem 
occasionally to have borne actually the name of sebastologi,'' 
as being the ofificial special preachers in connexion with the 
Imperial cult in. Asia Minor, and when we further consider 

' Cf. ivToX'q, ypinnara, below, p. 375 f . 

' See the index of that volume, p. 333. 

' ToO fletoTciTou Tijiiav heoTrorov. The superlative is still used as under 
Augustus. 

* Greek Papyri in the British Museum, Vol. II. p. 273, No. 233 (345 a.d.). 
Other quotations in E. A. Sophocles, Greek Lexicon, p. 572. 

'' P. Wendland, Deutsche Literaturzeitung 31 (1910), col. 1942, refers to 
Heidel, Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, XLV. 4 
(1910). See moreover Reitzenstein, Historia Monachorum, p. 135 ff. 

' Neue Bibelstudien, p. 58 f. ; Bible Studies, p. 231 f . Cf. also Wilhelm Weber, 
Untersuchungen zur Geschichte des Kaisers Hadrianus, pp. 140, 214. 

' This new and extremely remarkable word otjSooToAoyos turned up in an 
inscription from Didyma (temp. Caligula), Wiegand, Siebenter vorlaufiger 
Bericht (1911), p. 65. It seems to me to stand in the same relation -to BeoXoyos 
as cej3a(7To^opos (recorded by Suidas) does to 8eo<j)6pos. The inscription shows 
the enormous extension of the cult of the CaeSars in the West of Asia Minor, 
which was the scene of apostolic missionary enterprise. Of New Testament 
cities Miletus, Pergamum, Laodicea, Adramyttium, Smyrna and Sardis had 
at that time already joined the cult of Caligula's Philosebasti. 




Fig. 65. — Marble Slab from Magnesia on the Maeander with a Votive Inscription for 
Nero, 50-54 A.D. Original at Pergamum; plaster cast in the Berlin Museum. By permis- 
sion of the Directors of the State Museums. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 349 

that they were often hymnodi ^ at the same time, the borrow- 
ing of the title becomes all the more intelligible. John the 
Theologian, the herald ^ of the true and only * God, is at the 
same time His great Hymnodus, leader of the choir of those 
who sing * " a new ode " * and " the ode of Moses, the slave 
of God, and the ode of the Lamb." ® 

Most important of all is the, early establishment of a 
poleinical parallelism between the cult of Christ and the cult 
of Caesar in the application of the term Kvpiof, "lord." The 
new texts have here furnished quite astonishing revelations.^ 

' References, Neue Bibelstudien, p. 58 f. ; Bible Studies, p. 231 f. The 
Greek expression is viJ.vt{>S6s, " singer of hymns," e.g. Die Inschriften von 
Pergamon, No. 52311,, Figure 63 above, p. 346. Minute details of the 
functions of the hymnodi are given in the Pergamum inscription No. 374, 
which has been excellently commented on by Max Frankel, and two portions 
of it are facsimiled below (Figs. 68 and 69). Hugo Koch, writing from Brauns- 
berg, 25 November, 1908, referred me to his book Ps.-Dionysius in seinen 
Beziehungen zum Neuplatonismus und Mysterienwesen, 1900, pp. 38-49. 
More recent works : Franz Poland, Geschichte des griechischen Vereinswesens, 
Leipzig, 1909, p. 46 f.; J. Keil, " Zur Geschichte der Hymnoden in der 
Provinz Asien," Jahreshefte des Osterreichischen Archaologischen Institutes, 
1910. 

* " Herald of God " is perhaps the best translation of BeoXoyos. A memory 
of this meaning lingers in John Chrjrsostom, who calls the author of the 
Apocalypse BeoXoyov BwK-qpvKa, " theologian and herald of God," Orat. 36 (cf. 
Suicerus, Thesaurus Ecclesiasticus, s.v. O^oXoyos) ; so too an Anonymus in 
Boissonade, Anecdota, 5, p. 166 (quoted in the Thesaurus Graecae Linguae, s.v. 
BeoKfjim^. In the word " theologus " the primary sense is that of a prophet; 
the doctrinal sense that now prevails among us is secondary. 

* In Rev. XV. 4 the word " only " has been inserted by John in the Old 
Testament quotation. 

* The quotation in Eusebius, Eccl. Hist. V. xxviii. 5, is still entirely the 
utterance of the psyche of antiquity : rd yap Elprjvaiov re /cat MeXirtovos Koi ruiv 
XoiTTviv Tis ayvoGL )?(j3A(a, B^ov kox avBpoyjTov KorayyeXXovTa tov XpiaTOV, iJ/aXfiol 
Se otjoi Kal <^dab dScA^wv dw* apx^s viro TTiarcov ypa^eiacu tov Xoyov tou BeoO 
TOV Xp iqTov vfivovaiv BeoXoyovvrcs ; ' ' For who knows not the books of Irenaeus 
and Melito and the rest, preaching Christ as God and man ? And how many 
psalms and odes, written by faithful brethren from the beginning, sing hymns 
unto Christ as the Word of God, proclaiming Him divine ? " Here we have 
Christian hymnodi and theologi, and their 6«oAoyei>' does &ot mean " theologise.' ' 

* Rev. V. 9, xiv. 3. 

' Rev. XV. 3. Cf. the many other hymn -like portions of the Revelation. 

' I pointed out the essential lines in the history of this word in Die Christ- 
liche Welt, 14 (1900) col. 291 ; cf. also Deutsche Literaturzeitung, 27 (1906) 
col. 588 f. Similarly Lietzmann, Handbuch zum N.T. III. (1906) p. 53 ff. Cf. 
also Weinel, Die Stellung des Urchristentums zum Staat, p. 19; and W. H. 
P. Hatch, Some Illustrations, p. 139 f. There is also important matter in 
Ferdinand Kattenbusch, Das apostolische Symbol, II., Leipzig, 1900, p. 605 ff. 
The whole problem has since been opened up to the widest discussion by 
Wilhelm Bousset's Kyrios Christos, Gottingen, 1913, and the literature result- 
ing therefrom. 



350 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

It was previously known that Augustus and Tiberius 
had scorned the title of " lord," because it directly contra- 
dicted the Roman conception of the empire as a " principate." 
" Lord " is a term instinct with Oriental feeling; the kings of 
the East have from time immemorial been " lords," and their 
subjects nothing better than slaves. 

The same conception runs through the Oriental religions, 
which delight to express the relation of the divinity to the 
worshipper as that of the " lord," or, as we saw in the in- 
scription of the beggar-priest of the Syrian goddess from 
Kefr-Hauar,^ of the "lady" to the slave. In religious 
history the most important illustration of this is undoubtedly 
the Old Testament, especially in the Greek Septuagint trans- 
lation, which, following Jewish custom, has even replaced 
the divine name Jahveh by " Lord." ^ 

But we find " lord " or " lady " as divine names * ex- 
tending also into a number of cults of the Graeco-Roman 
world. " The lord Serapis," to take but one example, en- 
countered us in the letters of Apion, the soldier,* and the 
prodigal son Antonis Longus.^ It may be said with certainty 
that at the time when Christianity originated " Lord " was 
a divine predicate intelligible to the whole Eastern world. St. 
Paul's confession of " Our Lord Jesus Christ " was his cosmo- 
politan expansion of a local Aramaic cult-title, Marana,^ applied 
to Jesus the Messiah by the apostolic Primitive Christians at 
Jerusalem and occasionally even by Paul himself in the outer 
world. Like the complemental thought, that the worshippers 
are the "slaves " ' of the Lord, it was understood in its full 
meaning by everybody in the Hellenistic East, and it facili- 
tated the spread of the Christian terms of worship and of the 

* Above, p. log. Cf. also the inscription from the temple of Isis at Philae, 
p. 352, n. 6 below; also p. 352, n. 8. 

' On the far-reachmg importance of this substitution see my little sketch 
Die Hellenisierung des semitischen Monotheismus, p. 173 [13] flf. 

' I have already referred (ibid. p. 174 [14]) to the article " Kyrios " in 
W. H. Roscher's AusfUhrliches Lexikon der griechischen und romischen 
Mythologie. 

* Page 179 and Fig. 32 above. 

' Page 187 and Fig. 34 above. Also Sempronius, p. 193, Fig. 35. 

" Marana = Our Lord, I Cor. xvi. 22. Cf. also Didache x, 6. 

' This thought, also Eastern in origin, was specially adapted to the Hellen- 
istic world by St. Paul through the metaphor of sacral manumission; see 
p. 319 £E. above. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 351 

cult of Christ itself. This becomes still clearer if we compare, 
for instance, St. Paul's sacral expression " the table of the 
Lord (Jesus Christ)," i Cor. x. 21, with the analogous Egyp- 
tian expression, 1 " the table of the lord Serapis," which has 
been discovered in the pap5T:i ^ and can be traced in abbreviated 
form as far as Cologne.* 

This is no doubt a case of independent parallelism. St. 
Paul's expression was most probably influenced by such 
passages as Malachi i. 7, 12 and Ezekiel xxxix. 20, xliv. 16 
in the Greek Old Testament. Another Pauline phrase, " the 
table of devils " (i Cor. x. 21), seems to be connected with 
Isaiah Ixv. 11, Septuagint version. It is of course chrono- 
logically possible, but not at all probable, that the Serapis 
formula was influenced by the Christian one. All that can 
be said at present is that the two formulae (like the parallel 
" cup "-formulae *) are found side by side, and that no 
genealogical connexion is perceivable. The Egyptian 
analogy shows that in yet another vital point the language of 
ancient Christianity was approached by a usage of ancient 
paganism. St. Paul himself, wishing to make the Corinthians 
reaUse the nature of the Lord's Supper, alluded to the analogy 
of the sacred feasts of the pagans (i Cor. x. 19-21). 

Now it has generally been assumed hitherto that the Roman 
emperors were first named " lord " or " our lord " from 
Domitian onward, i.e. not until after St. Paul's time. That 
may be true of Rome and the West. In the East, however, 
as the records now show, the ancient title, which had long been 
in use in the language of the native courts, and the soul of 
which was of cult origin and nature, was bestowed on the 
emperors much earlier. The subsequent victory of the 

1 Cf. Die Christliche Welt, i8 (1904) col. 37. 

* The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, Nos. no and 523, 2nd cent, a.d., invitations to 
" sup at the table [literally " couch " or " sofa "] of the lord Sarapis," Seiirv^oai, 
els kMvtiv rov Kvpiov Sapwni&os- Wilcken refers to Archiv fiir Papynis- 
forschung, 4, p. 211. These invitations are at the same time an excellent 
illustration of i Cor. x. 27; cf. Die Christliche Welt, 18 (1904) col. 36 f. 

' Cf. the Cologne inscription Soli Serapi cum sua dine and WUcken's 
remarks, Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 6, p. 424. For the adoption of the 
Greek cult-word kIUvt) into the Latin cult-vocabulary in the form dine cf . the 
parallel exKhjaia, ecdesia (p. Ii2f.). 

* In St. Paul himself norfipiov Kvplov and itonjpiov Sai/iovliov, 1 Cor. x. 21 ; 
with which cf. for example mnjpioi' 'AyaJSov Aainovos in Ganszyniec (Gan- 
schinietz], De Agathodaemone, p. 28. 



352 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

" Dominate " over the " Principate " i— ultimately a victory 
of Oriental over Roman feeling — was thus foretold centuries 
in advance. 

Here too Hellenistic culture paved the way,^ at least in 
Egypt. As it had been usual to address the Pharaoh with 
" king, our lord," * so a Munich Pap5a-us gives as one of the 
official titles of King Ptolemy IV. Philopator (221 — 205 B.C.), 
translated into Greek, "lord of the diadems"*; and the 
Rosetta Stone ^ attaches the same title to Ptolemy V. Epi- 
phanes (205-181 B.C.). Still more remarkable is it, how- 
ever, when on 12 May, 62 B.C., a high Egyptian official in 
an inscription on the door of the temple of Isis on the island 
of Philae calls Ptolemy XIII. "the lord king god," ® or when 
in an inscription from Alexandria of the year 52 B.C. the 
co-regents with this king (Ptolemy XIV. and Cleopatra) 
are called " the lords, the most great gods." ' In corre- 
sponding fashion an inscription from Pselkis (Dakkeh), in 
Nubia, 13 B.C., gives the title of " the lady queen " to an 
Ethiopian Candace.* It cannot, therefore, have sounded 
foreign to Egyptian ears when the Egyptian translators of 
the Old Testament into Greek rendered quite literally ' 
the Semitic " Lord King " which occurs not unfrequently 
in the original. Semitic and Egyptian here coincided, and 

' I.e. in constitutional law the victory of the theory that the Caesar is 
" Lord " over the other theory that he is " First " in the State. 

* Lietzmann, op. cit., p. 54 middle, disputes this. 

' Of. U. Wilcken, Zeitschrift fur die agjrptische Sprache und Altertumskunde, 
35 (1897) P- 84. 

* icSpios /Sa[<7tAei(oi'] ; of. Wilcken, Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung, i, p. 481 £f. 
■> Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. gOj. 

' Ibid. No. 1869, ToO Kvpiov j8oCTtA[^]os 6eov. Before that he says rJKo) wpds t^v 
K[v]piav ''laat, " I came to the lady Isis " — a. good example of " lady " as a 
divine title (cf. above, p. 350), but still more important as an analogue to the 
use of fjKui, " I come," in the language of worship, instances of which occur on 
Orphic gold tablets. Lamellae Aureae Orphicae ed. A. Olivieri (Lietzmann's 
" Kleine Texte," No.,i33), Bonn, 1915, pp. 9, 11, and 5 : cf. the Septuagint 
Psalter and John vi. 37, irpor e/xe rj^ei, " shall come to Me." 

' Sitzungsberichte der Kgl. Preuss. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 
1902, p. 1096, Tois Kvpiois 9eois neylarois (cf. the explanation by U. von Wila- 
mowitz-Moellendorff, ibid.). [Cf. 'Epp.^v fieyiOTov in the Sedasa inscription, 
p. 280, n. 6. Tr.] 

' Now in Wilcken, Chrestomathie, No. 4, p. 11, tijj' Kxipiav PaaiXiaaav (the word 
used for an Ethiopian Candace in Acts viii. 27). Afterwards there is mention 
of the K^pios 'Epfifls. 

' KiSptos j3aaiAev; is therefore common in the LXX, including the Apocrypha. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 353 

when we find the same title applied to the Herods in Greek 
inscriptions ^ of Palestine (and other places), that is only 
another instance of the parallelism already ^ insisted on 
between Egyptian and Palestinian culture. 

It is therefore in accordance with Egyptian or Egypto- 
Semitic custom that in numerous Greek papyri, inscriptions, 
and ostraca of the earliest Imperial period the title " lord " 
is attached also to the Caesars by Egyptians and Syrians. 
Some temj)le accounts of the year i a.d. in the Oxyrhynchus 
Papyri * mention sacrifices and libations for " the god and 
lord Emperor " (Augustus). The Lysanias inscription from 
Abila in Syria (before 29 a.d.), which names " the lord 
Cronos," speaks of " the lords Augusti," * by which Tiberius 
and his mother Livia are meant.* There is literary record that 
Caligula allowed himself to be called " lord." * An Egyptian 
document ' of the year 49 and an ostracon ^ from Thebes of 
the year 54 call Claudius " the lord." 

For Nero " the lord," i.e. in the time of the most important 
of St. Paul's letters, the number of examples suddenly 
rushes up tremendously. For a long while I was unable to 
account for this uprush, but I now think it possible that it is 
connected with the proclamation of Nero as Agathus Daemon 
in Egypt on his accession.' At any rate the statistics are 
quite striking; everywhere, down to the remotest village, 
the officials called Nero Kyrios. Wilcken's book alone con- 
tains 27 ostraca dated after Nero " the lord," among them the 

1 A number of examples in Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones 
Selectae, No. 415 {Herod the Great), 418 (41 a.d., Herod Agrippa I.), 423, 425, 
426 (Herod Agrippa II.). 

2 Cf. p. 268 ff. above. 

' No. 1 143 : vnkp rov Bfov Kal Kvpiov AvTOKparopos. 

* Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscriptiones Selectae, No. 606, tw Kvpimv 
Ze[paaTwv]. Better now, after the discovery of a new copy of the inscription 
(R. Savignac, Revue Biblique, 1912, p. 533 ff.), in Bleckmann, Zeitschrift des 
Deutschen Palastina-Vereins 36 (1913) P- 220. See p. 5, n. i above. 

^ So among others Schvirer, Geschickte des jiidischen Volhes, I.^p. 603, 
^•*p. 718 f. [Eng. trs., Div. I., vol. 2, by John Macpherson, Edinburgh, 1890, 
p. 338], Cagnat, Inscriptiones Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes, note on 
No. 1086. 

' Aur. Vict. Caes. 3; cf. Christoph Schoener, Ueber die Titulaturen der 
roraischen Kaiser, Acta Seminarii Philologici Erlangensis, 2 (1881) p. 476. 

' The Oxyrhynchus Papyri, No. 375t. 

' Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, No. 1038. 

• Cf. p. 345, n. 4 above, and p. 365, n. 2 below. 



354 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

one of 4 August 63 which is facsimiled above.^ My own 
collection also contains 8 Neronian i^ynos-ostraca, among 
them one with " Nero Kyrios " quite in the manner of a 
formula ^ (without article, like the " Kyrios Jesus " in 
I Cor. xii. 3). We find the title " lord " applied to Nero also 
in papyrus documents, of which a good example is the letter of 
Harmiysis, 24 July 66, of which a picture is given above * 
(Figure 29). The ofi&cials who sign the document use the 
title three times. It is a very important fact that under 
Nero we first find the .Kynos-title in an inscription in Greece. 
The marble tablet of Acraephiae in Boeotia * which has 
yielded such an extraordinarily rich harvest, and which 
immortalises, among other things, a speech made by Nero 
at Corinth in November 67, contains a decree of honour in 
which the Boeotian town calls him once " lord of the whole 
world," and then, what is in my opinion more important, 
simply " the lord Augustus," divine honours being awarded 
him by the decree. This important inscription shows how 
far the East had" already penetrated on its march of conquest 
into the West. A living illustration of the inscription and 
the forebodings it arouses is supplied by the journey under- 
taken a year before (66 a.d.) by the Persian king Tiridates to 
do homage to the Emperor. Tiridates came from the East to 
Italy and did homage to Nero at Naples as " the lord" and 
in Rome as " the god." * 

The fact that a New Testament writer * well acquainted with 
this period makes Festus the Procurator speak of Nero simply 
as " the lord " now acquires its full significance in this con- 
nexion. The insignificant detail, questioned by various 
commentators, who, seated at their writing-tables in Tiibingen 
or Berlin, vainly imagined that they knew the period better 
than St. Luke, now appears thoroughly credible. 

1 Page 105 (Fig. 12). 

' Ostraca in the Deissmann collection (printed in P. M. Meyer's Griechische 
Texte), Nos. 22, 23, 24, 25, 36a, 37, 76 Nipoiv 6 Kvpios, 39 Nipwv Kvpios. 

' Page 173. 

• Most easily accessible in Dittenberger, Sylloge^, No. 376,1, '81431, <> toC 
iravTo; Koa/wv Kvpios Nepuiv; 53, tou Kvplov Hc^aoTov [Nepwvos]- 

' Albrecht Dieterich, Zeitschrift fiir die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 
3 (1902) p. 9 £E., has seen in this journey, which is recorded by Die Cassius and 
others, one of the motives of the gospel story of the Adoration of the Magi. 

° St. Luke, Acts xxv. 26. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 355 

Further examples of the Kyrios-title down to Domitian 
could be easily given, especially from the ostraca/ but they 
are not necessary. Itis sufficient for our purpose to have 
realised the state of affairs in the time of Nero and St. Paul. 
And then we cannot escape the conjecture that the Christians 
of the East who heard St. Paul preach in the style of Phil. ii. 
9, II and I Cor. viii. 5, 6 must have found in the solemn 
confession ^ that Jesus Christ is " the Lord " a silent protest 
against other " lords," and against " the lord," as people 
were beginning to call the Roman Caesar. And St. Paul 
himself must have felt and intended this silent protest, — 
as well as Jude, when he calls Jesus Christ " our only master 
and Lord." * 

Not many years later, soon after the destruction of Jeru- 
salem, Jewish rebels in Egypt, Sicarii from Palestine, so 
Josephus .* tells us (doubly credible when one thinks of what 
we were describing above — the Egyptian use of the title 
"lord " at this time), refused to call the Caesar " lord," 
because they "held God alone to be the Lord," — and gave 
their bodies to be burned, men and boys.^ Surely these 
Kyrios martjnrs had. not yet passed out of memory when, 
on 31 March, 116 A.D., an Egyptian Jewess, Mary, the 
daughter of Abietas, paid her Jewish poll-tax, and the 
collector dated her receipt by the year of the Kyrios 
Trajan. The ostracon,* which chance has preserved, is 
mentioned here only for the sake of its typical significance, 
reminding us vividly of two facts : the merciless march of 

' For instance, the Deissmann ostraca Nos. 17, 18, 47, 59, 86, 87 are Ves- 
pasian-ostraca with the title Kyrios; Nos. 40, 44, 77 are similar Domitian- 
ostraca; so also numerous ostraca in Wilcken. 

' " God hath given Him [Jesus Christ] a name [ = Kyrios] which is above 
every name . . . that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord 
[Kyrios]," Phil. ii. 9, 11 ; "... as there be gods many, and lords many; but 
to us there is but one God . . . and one Lord Jesus Christ " (i Cor. viii. 5, 6) . 

' Tov fiovov ZtoTTorqv koX KVpmv rifuav, Jude 4. 

* Jewish Wars, VII.' x. i. Already under Caligula Jews had been martyred 
for refusing to worship the Caesar (Schiirer I'-* p. 499 [Eng. trs., Div. I., 
vol. 2, p. 917]). [Sicarii are the" Assassins " of Acts xxi. 38 R.V. Tr.] 

^ Windisch (Neue Jahrbucher fiir das klassische Altertum 25 [1910], 
p. 204 f.) well contrasts this Jewish refusal with a Deissmann ostracon. No. 17, 
now in his possession, which is of this period (74-75 a.d,} and calls Vespasian 
Kyrios (P. M. Meyer, p. 137). 

• Deissmann ostracon No. 33 (P. M. Meyer, p. 151). 



356 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

the Imperium over the conscientious objections of Jewish 
monotheism, and the nevertheless persistent mental anguish 
of the Jews, in whom secretly the old question would present 
itself poignantly at every fresh occasion when the tax fell due. 
At the period when their historic separation was about to be 
completed, Judaism and Christianity, in this inner sanctuary 
of their convictions, clung with equal fervour to the best 
belonging to their joint inheritance. 

Though the grief and resentment of those Sicarian wit- 
nesses was not yet burning in those who loved Jerusalem 
before the catastrophe of the year 70, yet St. Paul and his 
friends were one with them in the reUgious protest against 
the deification of the Caesar. And a hundred years later the 
Christian exclusive confession of ' ' our Lord Jesus Christ, ' ' which 
could not but sound politically dangerous to a Roman official 
(since from Domitian onwards the title " our lord " was 
applied to the Caesars),^ led to Christian mart5T:doms, in 
repetition of the sufferings of the martyred Egyptian Sicarii. 
In the case of Polycarp, at Smyrna in the year 155, it was a 
question of the " lord "-formula. " What is the harm in 
saying ' lord Caesar ' ? " the Irenarch Herod and his father 
Nicetes asked the saint seductively.^ The scene enacted on 
17 July 180 at Carthage before the judgment-seat of the 
Proconsul P. Vigellius Saturninus stands out even more 
plainly.^ The Roman official commands the Christian 
Speratus of Scili (Scilli) in Numidia * : " Swear by the genius 
of our lord the Emperor ! " And the Christian answers : 
" I know no imperium of this world, ... I know my Lord, 
the King of kings, and Emperor of all nations." ^ 

^ Alfr. Fincke, De appellationibus Caesarum honorificis et adulatoriis, Diss. 
Regimonti Pr. [1867] p. 31 f. 

2 Martyrium Polycarpi, viii. 2, ri yap koko'v iarw dmlv Kvpios Kataap; 
Extraordinarily characteristic of the Christian sense of the contrast is the 
date of this Martyrium (c. 21) — month, day, hour, names of the high priest 
and the proconsul, and then in the place where one would expact the Imperial 
regnal year : ^aaiMovros Si els tows aliavas 'IrjoovXptoToS ^ ■q S(!|a, n/xij, fieya^ammri, 
Bpovos aluivios anA yeveSs els yevfdv a/ti]V, " and Jesus Christ reigning for ever, to 
whom is the glory, honour, greatness, and an eternal throne from generation 
to generation, Amen." 

Passio Sanctorum Scilitanorum, in R. Knopf's Ausgewdhlte Mdrtyreracten, 
p. 34 f. Quoted in this connexion by Lietzmann, p. 55. 

' lura per genium domni nostri imperatoris. 

6 Ego imperium huius seculi non cognosco, . . . cognosco domnum menm, 
regem regum et imperatorem omnium gentium. 



SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 357 

That the old polemical parallelism was felt even after 
Christianity became the state religion is shown perhaps by 
the fact that the Christian emperors, though they did not 
drop the title of " lord," often chose another Greek word 
instead. In Greek titles of Christian emperors in the papyri 
the word Kyrios is conspicuously eclipsed by the title Despotes 
(which occurs towards the end of the 3rd cent.^), as though 
Kyrios was intended to be reserved for the heavenly Lord. 

The Church of England prays " through Jesus Christ our 
Lord " for " our most gracious Sovereign Lord " the King, 
and there is no offence in the collocation, but few users of 
this and similar prayers in modern Western liturgies ever 
dream of what lies behind those words — that there were times 
in which the most earnest among Christians went to execution 
rather than transfer to a man the divine title of their Saviour. 

Still more strikingly than with the substantive, the parallel- 
ism between the language of Christianity and the official 
vocabulary of Imperial law shows itself in the use of the 
adjective KvpiaK6<s, "belonging to the Lord," "Lord's." 
Familiar to every reader of the New Testament from i Cor. 
xi. 20 and Rev. i. 10, where it occurs in the phrases " the Lord's 
supper " and " the Lord's day " {i.e. probably ^ Sunday), it 
may certainly be described as a very characteristic word of 
the early language of Christian worship, and it was formerly 
considered as a specifically Biblical and ecclesiastical word, 
some even going so far as to regard it as a coinage of St. 
Paul's. But as a matter of fact St. Paul took it from the 
language of (^ontemporary constitutional law, in which it 
meant "Imperial." I have shown elsewhere ^ on the 
authority of papyri and inscriptions that the word was 
common in Egypt and Asia Minor during the Imperial period 
in certain definite phrases, e.g. " the lord's treasury " = 
imperial treasury, " the lord's service " = imperial service, 
and I could now multiply the number of examples from the 
2nd cent. A.D. onwards. 

* Cf. Wilcken, Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, 4, p. 260. 

* The Old Testament " day of the Lord " might perhaps be meant. Later, 
however, the expression is often used for Sunday. 

' Neiie Bibelstudien, p. 44; Bible Studies, p. 217 f. For the two mistakes 
'in the spelling of the place-names at the end of paragraph i in the German 
edition I am not responsible. Read, of course, " Aphrodisias " and 
" Thvatira." Cf. also W. H. P. Hatch. Some Illustrations, p. 138 f. 



358 LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

Instead of doing so here, I will only show a picture (Figure 
66) of the inscription containing the oldest example yet known 
of the official use of the word in the Imperial period. It is 
an edict of the Praefect of Egypt, Ti. Julius Alexander, 
6 July, 68 A.D., inscribed on the wall of the propylon of a 
temple at El-Khargeh in the Great Oasis. ^ 

In this edict the high Roman official, who was also a Jew 
like St. Paul, uses the word KvpiaKo^' twice. In line- 13 he 
speaks of the " imperial finances," ^ and in line 18 of the 
" imperial treasury." ^ In their bearing on the methods of 
research these passages are extremely instructive. Scholars 
who only believe in the borrowing of secular words for purposes 
of the Christian religion when they are shown pre-Christian 
quotations,* will hardly wish to assert here that the Praefect 
of Egypt had borrowed the remarkable word which he uses ' 
a few years later than St. Paul from Christianity and intro- 
duced it into his own vocabulary of constitutional law. It is 
much more likely to be the case that the presumably older 
Hellenistic (perhaps Egypto-Hellenistic) ^ word KvpiaKo^ was 
in use as a technical expression of constitutional law before 
St. Paul, though it happens not to be discoverable in con- 
stitutional use until after St. Paul had introduced it into the 
language of Christian worship. 

In line 3 of the same inscription the Strategus of the 
Great Oasis, Julius Demetrius, who had to publish the Prae- 
fect's edict, distinguishes the day of publication (i Phaophi 
= 28 September, 68 a.d.) by a name which must also be noted 
in this connexion, viz. Julia Sebaste.^ Moreover Sebaste 

• The best edition so far is that of Dittenberger, Orientis Graeci Inscrip- 
tiones Selectae, No. 669; all further literature ibid. The photograph of this 
important inscription is due to Professor Moritz, formerly of Cairo. A 
diapositive of this (lines 1-46), which I received from Baron F. W. von Bissing 
through Wilcken's kind mediation, has been used for Fig. 66. The gigantic 
inscription can here only be given in a greatly reduced form; but with a 
magnifying glass even inexperienced persons can probably check the text 
roughly to some extent. 

' Toir KvpiaKais ilirjifiois ; cf . Wilcken, Archiv fur Papyrusforschung, 4, p. 240. 
' Tov KupiaKov \6yov, 

* Cf. p. 77 above. 

' Cf . the Egypto-Hellenistic use of the substantive Kvpms in sacral language, 
p. 352 f. above. 

' 'lovXiq. ZfPaariji. Wilcken, Zeitschrift der Savigny-Stiftung 43 (1909) 
p. 504, shows that it means the eponym-day of the Empress Livia, who had 
borne the name Julia Augusta since 14 a.d. 




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SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 359 

alone occurs very frequently in the Imperial period as a name 
for a day, both in Egypt and in Asia Minor. It was first 
made known to us by the new texts, and although the problems 
it raises are not all solved yet, it may be said with some 
certainty that it means something like " Augustus Day " ; 
that is to say, a certain day ^ of the month received the name 
Sebaste in honour of the Emperor Augustus. On collecting 
the examples known to me many years ago,^ I said that this 
name, formed probably after some Hellenistic model,^ was 
analogous to the Primitive Christian " Lord's Day " as a 
name for Sunday.* But the more I regard this detail in con- 
nexion with the great subject of " Christ and the Caesars," the 
more I am bound to reckon with the possibility that the 
distinctive title " Lord's Day " may have been connected 
with conscious feelings of protest against the cult of the 
Emperor with its " Augustus Day." 

The " Sebaste Day," although never mentioned in literature, 
cannot have been a passing fancy of the " adulators." * The 
ostraca show it as an Eastern institution familiar even to the 
lower orders in the period which saw the birth of Christianity. 
Wilcken * was able to refer to seven ostraca, ranging from 15 
to 44 A.D., which are dated by the Sebaste Day. My own 
collection (No. 36) contains an eighth example, from Thebes, 
23 September, 33 a.d. (Figure 67), which Wilcken deciphered 

• Or certain days of the month ? Or (later) a certain day of the week ? 

' Neiie Bibelstudien, p. 45 f.; Bible Studies, p. 218 f.; and Encyclopaedia 
Biblica, 3, col. 2815 f. References there to other literature; cf. Wilcken, 
Grieckische Ostraka, i, p. 8i2f. ; H. Dessau, Hermes, 35 (1900) p. 333 f.; 
Thieme, Die Inschriflen von Magnesia am Mdander und das Neue Testament, 
p. 15 f. A great advance was made by Blumenthal, p. 337 ff., who showed 
that in Egypt from 30 B.c.to Trajan the 24th [sic; ? 26th. Tr.] of every month 
was kept as TuiipaZe^aarri in memory of the birthday of Augustus (23 September), 
which in 30 B.C. fell on the 24th [26th ? Tr.] of the month Thoth. 

' Cf. the " King's Day " in the time of the Ptolemies, Encyclopaedia Biblica, 
3, col. 2815 f. 

• E. Schiirer expressed himself in agreement with this, Zeitschrift fiir die 
neutestamentl. Wissenschaft, 6 (1905) p. 2. A. Thumb, Zeitschrift fiir 
Deutsche Wortforschung, i (1900) p. 165, and Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 
2, p. 424, came also to my conclusion. 

^ Earlier investigators misunderstood many of. the institutions of the 
Imperial age by dismissing their technical expressions as " adulatory " and 
occasional. 

• Grieckische Ostraka, i, p. 812; and the Strassburg Ostracon No. 203, 
Archiv fiir Papyrusforschung, 4, p. 146. 



36o LIGHT FROM THE ANCIENT EAST 

for me. ^ As a document from the hand of a simple money- 
changer it may serve to supplement the high official's inscrip- 
tion in the Oasis : — 

Siayeypa{<j>r]Kev) ''Opos Uepfidfiios vir{tp) xii>(fj,aTiKov) 

K X -^ 'X 

^0 ]J ^3 *f TtTpoPo* Koi Pa(aviKov) Tcrpd/So* 
l5 ^6 ^3 ^^7 \_S if^l ^^ tovt(ci>v) jrpoo-8(iaypa<^o/Acva) 
i^ — 8 l5 |_2 k Ti^cpiov KaiVapos 
2ej8a(7To5 fi.r]v6i 'Se/iairTov 

2t;8a(rT^l. n£Te/Jl€(vcil<^ls) IllK{S>TOi.) 

Horus, the son of Permamis, has paid for embankment tax ' 
of the igth year six drachmae four obols, and for bath tax^* 
four obols J : they are 7 drachmae, 2 J obols ; and of tflese the 
further levy of ij obols. ^^ In the year 20 of Tiberius Caesar 
Sebastos, in the month Sebastos, on Sebaste Day.** Peteme- 
(nophis), the son of Picos.^^ 

I have already hinted that these examples from Egypt are 
not isolated. Here, as so often, corresponding examples 
from Asia Minor ^* prove the unity of the culture on the 
eastern and southern shores of the Mediterranean. To 
illustrate the uniformity I give here (Figures 68 and 69) two 
portions of the inscription at Pergamum, of the reign of 
Hadrian,^^ which has been mentioned already in connexion 
with the hymnodi. The name Sebaste is here assumed to be 

• In p. M. Meyer, Griechische Texte, p. 155. I havjB taken advantage of 
Meyer's new reading of the ostracon. 

' I.e. €TOvs. " I.e. Spaxfids. * I.e. rerpoPoXov. 

' I.e. i obol. ' I.e. yivovrat. ' I.e. 2 obols. 

• I.e. I obol. The beginning of the line is to be extended : «f d^oAov 
'qfiiaj^eXiov. 

' For the embankment tax of. Wilcken, Griechische Ostraka, i, p. 333 ff. 

'" For the bath tax cf. Wilcken, ibid, p. 163 ff. 

1' I.e. ■s.\ obols per stater of 4 drachmae, cf. Wilcken, Archiv fiir Papjrrus- 
forschung, 4, p. 147. 

" Note the cumulation of Sebastos = Augustus. The month Sebastos is 
the Egyptian month Thoth, 29 August — 27 September. 

" This collector's name appears on other ostraca. 

'* Neue Bibelstudien, p. 45 f. ; Bible Studies, p. 218 f. ; Encyclopaedia Biblica, 
3, col. 2815 f. 

" Die Inschriften von Pergamon, No. 374 B and D. The drawing there 
given (p. 261) of sides B and D, on a, scale of i : 6f, is here reproduced by 
kind permission of the Directors of the State Museums at Berlin (Figures 
68 and 69). Cf. p. 349, n. i above. 











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Fig. 67.— Ostracon, Thebes 



h " ; °7-^~'^'. °"' -^''<''''='' ^^t*=d Sebaste Dav ., Seotem 
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SOCIAL AND RELIGIOUS HISTORY 361 

so well known that it is not written out in full but abbreviated 
in three places (B. 4, 8 ; D. 10) as te0 or Se/S. 

In these three passages where the Sebaste Day is mentioned 
in the inscription the reference is to money payments of a 
religious nature which two officials, the Eukosmos and the 
Grammateus, of the association of hymnodi have each to 
make on this day. Money payments due on Sebaste Day are 
heard of again on an inscription at lasus/ and all the ostraca 
that mention the Sebaste Day are receipts for money. Were 
then the Sebaste Days, I would ask, favourite days for effect- 
ing payments in the Hellenistic East ? And I would further 
ask, with all caution : - When St. Paul a