After my usual Greek study this morning, I turned to the gospel for next Sunday in Greek. I know. I know. I have lost my mind. But practicing reading Greek, any practice, is good for my Greek. And I know the stories of the readings pretty well so the excellent interlinear text provided by biblehub.com which is amazingly cross-linked makes it easy to at least pronounce out loud the passage as well as understand about a third of the words.
This morning the Greek word σταυρός caught my eye. It’s the word Jesus uses when he says take up your cross and follow me: “Take up your stauros and follow me.”
First I checked the OED for “star” wondering if the English word was related to “cross” somehow.
But the OED shows that “star” is one of those words that is common to languages I don’t usually think of related to each other like Sanskrit and Latin/Greek. In fact, I don’t know if you can see it, but the first use of the word in English cited is a quote from Psalm 148:3 Hergað hine alle steorran & leht.
Once again by Googling this verse, I ended up at Biblehub.com.
I count 20 translations linked in on this page (click the pic for a link to it). So just for giggles I looked up “cross” in the OED.
I don’t know if you can read the small print, but “cross” seems to mostly descend from Latin, “crucem.”
So what does the Greek stauros actually mean? Googling took me back to Biblehub.com.
This page actually cross indexes the gospel passage I began with in Matthew 16. Cool.
After Greek I turned to Paul Bradshaw’s The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship: Sources and Methods for the Study of Early Liturgy. I am trying to read this little book before it’s due back to the library at Western Theology Seminary.
The ideas and controversies about where the Christian Mass came from and how it evolved is one of my interests since I became aware of them years ago. It’s interesting to me that Bradshaw footnotes scholarly articles by both Rowen Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury (3 times)
and Joseph Ratzinger who is better known as Pope Benedict XVI (1 time).
One article in a footnote caught my eye this morning. “Is There a Liturgical Text in This Gospel?: The Institution Narratives and Their Early Interpretive Communities” by Andrew McGowan. I have been assuming that my online access to liturgical sources such as the one this article is found in (“Journal of Biblical Literature”) is pretty limited. Most of the online subscriptions that Hope has are more academic than liturgical of course. Western Theological Seminary might have hard copies, though. So again just for giggles I went over to the online catalog which combines both Hope and WTS and checked it out.
I was surprised to find that Hope’s subscription to JSTOR includes archival access to old copies of the Journal of Biblical Literature. Within seconds I was looking at the article.
I do love the interwebs. One of the things that interests me in Bradshaw’s overview of scholarship is how the Biblical passages about worship relate to how people prayed then and now.