Heidegger's Bible Handbook: New Testament in General: The Purity of the Style of the New Testament

12. The style of the Books of the New Testament is so pure that it is free from barbarisms and solecisms.



Moreover, the style of the books of the New Testament is to this extent pure, that those books are imbued with no barbarisms and solecisms: not as some think, not a little unjustly to the Holy Spirit, that it had not been possible with the speech made use of and received, which was prevailing in use, to speak and express one’s mind without solecisms and barbarity. If any Hebraisms, Targumisms, Latinisms, and other vestiges of the various Dialects of the Greek tongue appear here and there, they do not argue barbarism, but the manner of speaking and writing used and received at that time. But those expressions, which some χαριέντες, men of refinement, disdain as less elegant, are swallowed down by other delicate Critics as Attic niceties, as often as they occur in profane authors. Now, that they occur quite frequently, Most Learned Men, Henricus Stephanus in his Præfactione Novi Testamenti, Theodore Beza in his notis ad Novum Testamentum, Sebastian Pfochen[1]in his de puritate linguæ Græca Novi Testamenti, and others, confirm. Therefore, if any called the diction of the Ancient books of the New Testament ἀγροικιζομένην/boorish, σολοικίζουσαν/solecistic, βαρβαρίζουσαν/barbarous, ἰδιωτικήν/vulgar, of which the Most Learned Salmasius[2]treats at greater length, de Hellensita, page 260, either they are simply to be rejected, as rude censors of sacred style, or they are thus to be interpreted, that they might be said, not to assail the purity of the sacred speech, but to distinguish the sacred speech from the juicy and sweet dollops of words of the Rhetoricians. First, let the filthiness of barbarism and solecism be far removed, Fabius[3]was saying of old, beginning instruction concerning this matter. May the same be allowed to be said here. But both the Most Learned Bœclerus,[4] Appendice Dissertationis de Lingua Græca Novi Testamenti, and others, have thoroughly wiped away that blot from the sacred speech.


[1]Sebastian Pfochen was a seventeenth century German theologian and philologist. Little is known about his life. [2]Claudius Salmasius, or Claude Saumaise (1588-1653) was a French Protestant scholar of classical antiquity. He succeeded Joseph Scaliger in the professorship at Leiden. [3]Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (42-c. 122) was a Roman rhetorician. [4]Johann Heinrich Boeckler (1611-1672) was a German polymath, excelling particularly in history, law, and philology.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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