Gentry on "en tachei"

 
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Ely



Joined: 21 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:09 pm    Post subject: Gentry on "en tachei" Reply with quote

Hey guys, I posted this on another forum in the midst of a discussion with a full preterist. he's been very busy and hasn't had a real chance to get back to me. So, me being impatient, I thought I'd post it here and see what yall make of it. It's basically a response to some comments which Kenneth Gentry made in his book, "Before Jerusalem Fell" (http://freebooks.entrewave.com/freebooks/docs/html/kgbj/kgbj.html) I haven't read the whole book, but I just wanted to respond to some excerpts from it. Any thoughts, feedback, greatly desired:

Some thoughts on Gentry's comments on "en tachei"

When approaching Revelation and similar so-called "apocalyptic" scriptures, Kenneth Gentry - like other preterists - is big on literally interpreting so called "time markers." He painstakingly establishes what he considers to be the correct meaning of such words and phrases and then insists that any honest exegete must interpret them accordingly. The premillennialist is often irked/amused by this because the likes of Gentry also insist that many other words and phrases in Revelation must not be interpreted literally, even when such words have a consistent literal meaning everywhere else in the Scriptures. It seems that for Gentry et al, only the "time markers" must be interpreted in a consistent literal manner.

Anyhoo, here are some thoughts on the meaning of the phrase, “en tachei” [Strong’s # 5034 (+1722)]. If I understand him properly, Gentry argues that “en tachei” can only denote something that is immediately imminent as in within the lifetime of the writer and the original audience. To support this, he writes:

Quote:
modern translations almost universally read as if John's expectation was for a soon eventuation of the prophecies. Notice the following translations of the crucial portion of Revelation 1:1:


He gives some examples before continuing:

Quote:
The translation under question (i.e., in Revelation 1:1, although the other references cited should be kept in mind, as well) has to do with the proper interpretation of the Greek phrase en tachei. Tachei is the dative singular of the noun tachos. Lexicographers seem to be universally agreed with the translators as to the meaning of the word.

According to the Arndt and Gingrich Lexicon, tachos is used in the Septuagint (and certain non-canonical writings) to mean "speed, quickness, swiftness, haste." In the prepositional phrase en tachei, the word is used adverbially in the Septuagint and Josephus to mean "quickly, at once, without delay." The New Testament uses tachos in this manner, says Arndt and Gingrich, in Acts 10:33; 12:7; 17:15 [apparently not in the Majority Text or the Critical Text – Ely]; 22:18. In Luke 18:8; Romans 16:20; 1 Timothy 3:14 [not in the Majority Text - Ely]; Revelation 1:1; and 22:6 this lexicon translates it "soon, in a short time." The various entries proffered at the tachos entry by Thayer include: "quickness, speed' and "quickly, shortly, speedily, soon." Thayer lists Revelation 1:1 and 22:6 with the "speedily, soon" entries. Abbott-Smith concurs; for the Revelation 1:1 and 22:6 texts he offers: "quickly, speedily, soon."12 Hort translates it "shortly, soon."13 Noted Greek scholar and church historian Kurt Aland agrees...


After quoting Aland, Gentry concludes:

Quote:
It would seem that only an interpretive a priori against the translation of the noted lexicographers and modern translations could account for the views of the commentators cited above.


Wow! Well, this may or may not be accurate. I can't speak for the commentators in question (including premillennialists, Valvoord and Mounce). But the mere fact that many translators and lexicographers might agree on a particular interpretation of a particular word or phrase does not make that particular interpretation the correct one. Any fully-realised preterist would surely agree that truth is not determined by majority vote!

I wanted to point out a couple of things.

Firstly, while indeed most English Bible translations interpret “en tachei” in Revelation 1:1 to mean “soon”, there are others which do not seem to, for example:

“[The] revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to Him to show to His slaves what [things are] necessary to occur with quickness. And He made [it] known, having sent through His angel to His slave John”
Analytical Literal Version

“The Unveiling of Jesus Christ, which *God _gives to Him, to show to His *slaves what |must |occur~ in swiftly; and He signifies it, _dispatching through His *messenger to His *slave John”
Concordant Literal Version

Secondly, several English Bible translations (including some of those cited by Gentry) understand “en tachei” to be describing the manner of an action (“speedily/swiftly”) as opposed to it's timing in Luke 18:8:

"I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?"
New King James Version

”I say unto you, that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?”
American Standard Version

”I tell you, he will vindicate them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
Revised Standard Version

“I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
English Standard Version

“"I say to you*, He will execute justice for them with quickness. Nevertheless, the Son of Humanity”
Analytical Literal Version

“I am saying to you that He will be doing the avenging of them swiftly. Moreover, consequently, at the coming of the Son of Mankind, will He be finding the faith on the earth?"
Concordant Literal Version

“I tell you, he will give them justice speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
NET Bible

“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, will he find faith on the earth?”
Noah Webster Version

This shows that English Bible translators apparently do not consider “en tachei” to be a term which can only mean “at once, without delay” but can also be "indicating a rapidity of execution after the beginning takes place" (Valvoord).

Thirdly, Gentry provides an impressive number of lexicographers who apparently understand that “en tachei” can only mean “very soon, without delay, immediately.” But it has been pointed out elsewhere that other Greek authorities disagree with this understanding. For example, Gentry's good friend (!) Robert Ice writes:

Quote:
“Just as BAG [the same as “Arndt and Gingrich”] is the leading lexicon in our day, the most authoritative Greek grammar is one produced by Blass, Debrunner, and Funk (Blass-Debrunner). Blass-Debrunner, in their section on adverbs, divides them into four categories: 1) adverbs of manner, 2) adverbs of place, 3) adverbs of time, 4) correlative adverbs (pp. 55-57). The táchos family is used as the major example under the classification of "adverbs of manner." No example from the táchos family is listed under "adverbs of time." In a related citation, Blass-Debrunner classify en táchei as an example of "manner," Luke 18:8 (p. 118). Greek scholar Nigel Turner also supports this adverbial sense as meaning “quickly.” (Nigel Turner, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, ed. by James H. Moulton, Vol. III, Syntax (T. & T. Clark, 1963), p. 252)”” http://www.ldolphin.org/preterism-ice.html


All of this is to show one thing. According to various Greek scholars and Bible translators, “en tachei” can have at least two possible meanings. It can be referring to the imminent occurrence of an event or it can be referring to the swift nature of that event once it commences. That “en tachei” in Revelation 1:1/ 22:6 (and Romans 16:20) may be applying the latter meaning is therefore not an unreasonable or unscholarly proposition... unless I’m missing something, which is entirely possible!
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Last edited by Ely on Tue Nov 28, 2006 3:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fascinating, Ely! This had never occurred to me. I just discovered that the JB2000 translation renders the first part of Revelation 1:1 as follows:

The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which are convenient to do quickly...
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