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The purpose of this paper is to bring together somewhat more fully than can be easily found in one place elsewhere, the material for forming a judgment as to the sense borne by the term [ta.] lo,gia, as it appears in the pages of the New Testament. This term occurs only four times in the New Testament. The passages, as translated by the English revisers of 1881, are as follows: "Moses . . . who received living oracles to give unto us" (Acts vii. 38); "They [the Jews] were intrusted with the oracles of God" (Rom. iii. 2); "When by reason of the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need again that some one teach you the rudiments of the first principles of the oracles of God" (Heb. v. 12); "If any man speaketh let him speak as it were oracles of God" (I Peter iv. 11). The general sense of the term is obvious on the face of things: and the commentators certainly do not go wholly wrong in explaining it. But the minor differences that emerge in their explanations are numerous, and seem frequently to evince an insufficient examination of the usage of the word: and the references by which they support their several views are not always accessible to readers who would fain test them, so that the varying explanations stand, in the eyes of many, as only so many obiter dicta between which choice must be made, if choice is made at all, purely arbitrarily. It has seemed, therefore, as if it would not be without its value if the usage of the word were exhibited in sufficient fullness to serve as some sort of a touchstone of the explanations that have been offered of it. We are sure, at any rate, that students of the New Testament remote from libraries will not be sorry to have at hand a tolerably full account of the usage of the word: and we are not without hope that a comprehensive view of it may help to correct some longstanding errors concerning its exact meaning, and may, indeed, point not obscurely to its true connotation - which is not without interesting implications. Upheld by this hope we shall essay to pass in rapid review the usage of the term in Classic, Hellenistic and Patristic Greek, and then to ask what, in the light of this usage, the word is likely to have meant to the writers of the New Testament.
I. It may be just as well at the outset to disabuse our minds of any presumption that a diminutive sense is inherent in the term lo,gion, as a result of its very form.2 Whether we explain it with Meyer-Weiss3 as the neuter of lo,gioj and point to logi,dion4 as the proper diminutive of this stem; or look upon it with Sanday-Headlam5 as originally the diminutive of lo,goj, whose place as such was subsequently, viz., when it acquired the special sense of "oracle," taken by the strengthened diminutive logi,dion - it remains true that no trace of a diminutive sense attaches to it as we meet it on the pages of Greek literature.6
We are pointed, to be sure, to a scholium on the "Frogs "of Aristophanes (line 942) as indicating the contrary. The passage is the well-known one in which Euripides is made to respond to Æschylus' inquiry as to what things he manufactured. "Not winged horses," is the reply (as Wheelwright translates it), "By Jupiter, nor goat-stags, such as thou, Like paintings on the Median tapestry, But as from thee I first received the art, Swelling with boastful pomp and heavy words, I paréd it straight and took away its substance, With little words, and walking dialogues,7 And white beet mingled, straining from the books A juice of pleasant sayings, - then I fed him With monodies, mixing Ctesiphon." It is upon the word here translated "with little words," but really meaning "verselets" (Blaydes: versiculis) - evpulli,oij - that the scholium occurs. It runs: vAnti. tou/ logi,oij mikroi/j\ w`j de. bre,foj brefu,llion, kai. ei=doj eivdu,llion\ ou;tw kai. e;poj evpu,llion.8 That is to say, evpu,llion is a diminutive of the same class as brefu,llion and evpu,llion,9 and means lo,gion mikro,n. Since the idea of smallness is explicit in the adjective attached to lo,gion here, surely it is not necessary to discover it also in the noun,10 especially when what the scholiast is obviously striving to say is not that evpullioij means "little wordlets," but "little verses." The presence of mikroi/j here, rather is conclusive evidence that logi,oij by itself did not convey a diminutive meaning to the scholiast. If we are to give lo,gion an unexampled sense here, we might be tempted to take it, therefore, as intended to express the idea "verses" rather than the tautological one of "little words" or even "little maxims" or "little sayings." And it might fairly be pleaded in favor of so doing that lo,gion in its current sense of "oracle" not only lies close to one of the ordinary meanings of e;poj ("Od.," 12, 266; Herod., 1, 13, and often in the Tragedians), but also, because oracles were commonly couched in verse, might easily come to suggest in popular speech the idea of "verse," so that a lo,gion mikro,n would easily obtrude itself as the exact synonym of evpu,llion, in Euripides' sense, i. e., in the sense of short broken verses. There is no reason apparent on the other hand why we should find a diminutive implication in the word as here used, and in any case, if this is intended, it is a sense unillustrated by a single instance of usage.
And the unquestionable learning of Eustathius seems to assure us that to Greek ears lo,gion did not suggest a diminutive sense at all. He is commenting on line 339 of the Second Book of the "Iliad," which runs,
phv dh. sunqesi.ai te kai. o[rkia bh,setai h`mi/n,
and he tells us that o[rkion in Homer is not a diminutive, but is a formation similar to lo,gion, which means "an oracle": Ouvc u`pokoristiko.n de. par v `Omh,rw| ouvde. ) ) ) to. i'cnion) [Wsper de. ta. o[rkia parwno,mastai evk tou/ o[rkou( ou[tw kai. evk tou/ lo,gou ta. lo,gia h;koun oi` crhsmoi,.11 There is no direct statement here, to be sure, that lo,gion is not a diminutive; that statement is made - with entire accuracy - only of o[rkion and i;cnion:12 nor is the derivation suggested for lo,gion, as if it came directly from lo,goj, perhaps scientifically accurate. But there is every indication of clearness of perception in the statement: and it could scarcely be given the form it has, had lo,gion stood in Eustathius' mind as the diminutive of lo,goj. It obviously represented to him not a diminutive synonym of lo,goj, but an equal synonym of crhsmo,j. What lo,gion stood for, in his mind, is very clearly exhibited, further, in a comment which he makes on the 416th line of the First Book of the "Odyssey," where Telemachus declares that he does not "care for divinations such as my mother seeks, summoning a diviner to the hall":
qeopropi,hj evmpa,zomai( h[n tina mh,thr
evj me,garon kale,sasa qeopro,pon evxere,htai)
Eustathius wishes us to note that qeopro,poj means the ma,ntij, qeopropi,a his art, and qeopro,pion the message he delivers, which Eustathius calls the crhsmw,|dhma, and informs us is denominated by the Attics also lo,gion. He says: vIste,on de. o[ti qeopro,poj me.n a;llwj( o` ma,ntij) qeopropi,a de.( h` te,cnh auvtou/) qeopro,pion de.( to. crhsmw|,dhma( o] kai. lo,gion e;legon oi` vAttikoi,.13 To Eustathius, thus lo,gion was simply the exact synonym of the highest words in use to express a divine communication to men - qeopro,pion,14 crhsmw|,dhma( crhsmo,j. Similarly Hesychius' definition runs: Lo,gia: qe,sfata( mauteu,mata, (pro)fhteu,mata( fh/mai( crhsmoi,. In a word, lo,gion differs from lo,goj not as expressing something smaller than it, but as expressing something more sacred.
The Greek synonymy of the notion "oracle" is at once extraordinarily full and very obscure. It is easy to draw up a long list of terms - mantei/a( manteu,mata( pro,ganta( qeopro,pia( evpiqespismoi,( qe,sfata( qespi,smata( lo,gia, and the like; but exceedingly difficult, we do not say to lay down hard and fast lines between them, but even to establish any shades of difference among them which are consistently reflected in usage. M. Bouché-Leclercq, after commenting on the poverty of the Latin nomenclature, continues as to the Greek:15
"The Greek terminology is richer and allows analysis of the different senses, but it is even more confused than abundant. The Greeks, possessors of a flexible tongue, capable of rendering all the shades of thought, often squandered their treasures, broadening the meaning of words at pleasure, multiplying synonyms without distinguishing between them, and thus disdaining the precision to which they could attain without effort. We shall seek in vain for terms especially appropriated to divination by oracles. From the verb crh/sqai, which signifies in Homer 'to reveal' in a general way, come the derivatives crhsmo,j and crhsth,rion. The latter, which dates from Hesiod and the Homerides, designates the place where prophecies are dispensed and, later, the responses themselves, or the instrument by which they are obtained. Crhsmo,j, which comes into current usage from the time of Solon, is applied without ambiguity to inspired and versified prophecies, but belongs equally to the responses of the oracles and those of free prophets. The word mantei/on in the singular designates ordinarily the place of consultation; but in the plural it is applied to the prophecies themselves of whatever origin. In the last sense it has a crowd of synonyms of indeterminate and changeable shades of meaning. The grammarians themselves have been obliged to renounce imposing rules on the capricious usage and seeking recognition for their artificial distinctions. We learn once more the impossibility of erecting precise definitions for terms which lack precision."
Among the distinctions which have been proposed but which usage will not sustain is the discrimination erected by the scholiast on Euripides, "Phœniss.," 907,16 which would reserve qe,sfata( qespi,smata( crhsmoi, for oracles directly from the gods, and assign manteu/ai and manteu,mata to the responses of the diviners. The grain of truth in this is that in ma,ntij( manteu,esqai( mantei,a, etymologically, what is most prominent is the idea of a special unwonted capacity, attention being directed by these words to the strong spiritual elevation which begets new powers in us. While, on the other hand, in qespi,zein the reference is directly to the divine inspiration, which, because it is normally delivered in song, is referred to by such forms as qespiw|do,v, qespiw|,dein) Crhsmo,j, on the other hand, seems an expression which in itself has little direct reference either to the source whence or the form in which the oracle comes, but describes the oracle from the point of view of what it is in itself - viz., a "communication" - going back, as it does, to crh/n, the original sense of which seems to be "to bestow," "to communicate."17 lo,gion doubtless may be classed with crhsmo,j in this respect - it is par excellence the "utterance," the "saying." It would seem to be distinguished from crhsmo,j by having even less reference than it to the source whence - something as "a declaration" is distinguished from "a message." If we suppose a herald coming with the cry, "A communication from the Lord," and then, after delivering the message, adding: "This is His utterance," it might fairly be contended that in strict precision the former should be crhsmo,j and the latter lo,gion, in so far as the former term may keep faintly before the mind the source of the message as a thing given, while the latter may direct the attention to its content as the very thing received, doubtless with a further connotation of its fitness to its high origin. Such subtlety of distinction, however, is not sure to stamp itself on current use, so that by such etymological considerations we are not much advanced in determining the ordinary connotation of the words in usage.
A much more famous discrimination, and one which much more nearly concerns us at present, has been erected on what seems to be a misapprehension of a construction in Thucydides. In a passage which has received the compliment of imitation by a number of his successors,18 the historian is describing the agitation caused by the outbreak of the Peloponnesian war, one symptom of which was the passion for oracles which was developed. "All Hellas," he says,19 "was excited by the coming conflict between the two cities. Many were the prophecies circulated, and many the oracles chanted by diviners (kai. polla. me.n lo,gia evle,gonto( polla. de. crhsmolo,goi h|=don), not only in the cities about to engage in the struggle, but throughout Hellas." And again, as the Lacedæmonians approached the city, one of the marks he, at a later point, notes of the increasing excitement is that "soothsayers (crhsmologoi) were repeating oracles (h=|don crhsmou,j) of the most different kinds, which all found in some one or other enthusiastic listeners."20 On a casual glance the distinction appears to lie on the surface of the former passage that lo,gia are oracles in prose and crhsmoi, oracles in verse: and so the scholiast21 on the passage, followed by Suidas22 defines. But it is immediately obvious on the most cursory glance into Greek literature that the distinction thus suggested will not hold. The crhsmoi, are, to be sure, commonly spoken of as sung; and the group of words crhsmw|do,j( crhsmw|de,w( crhsmw|di,a( crhsmw|,dhma( crhsmw|,dhj( crhsmw|diko,j, witnesses to the intimate connection of the two ideas. But this arises out of the nature of the case, rather than out of any special sense attached to the word crhsmo,j: and accordingly, by the side of this group of words, we have others which, on the one hand, compound crhsmo,j with terms not implicative of singing (crhsmhgore,w( crhsmago,rhj - crhsmodote,w( crhsmodo,thj( crhsmodo,thma - crhsmologe,w( crhsmolo,goj( crhsmologi,a( crhsmolo,gion( crhsmologikh,( crhsmole,schj - crhsmopoio,j), and, on the other hand, compound other words for oracles with words denoting singing (qespiw|de,w( qespiw|,dhma( qespiw|do,j). The fact is that, as J.H. Heinr. Schmidt23 points out in an interesting discussion, the natural expression of elevated feeling was originally in song: so that the singer comes before the poet and the poet before the speaker. It was thus as natural for the ancients to say vati-cinium as it is for moderns to say Weis-sagung or sooth-saying; but as the custom of written literature gradually transformed the consciousness of men, their thought became more logical and less pictorial until even the Pythia ceased at last to speak in verse. Meanwhile, old custom dominated the oracles. They were chanted: they were couched in verse: and the terms which had been framed to describe them continued to bear this implication. Even when called lo,gia, they prove to be ordinarily24 in verse; and these also are said to be sung, as we read, for example, in Dio Cassius (431, 66 and 273, 64): lo,gia pantoi/a h|;deto. What appears to be a somewhat constant equivalence in usage of the two terms crhsmo,j and lo,gion, spread broadly over the face of Greek literature, seems in any event to negative the proposed distinction. Nor does the passage in Thucydides when more closely examined afford any real ground for it. After all, lo,gia and crhsmoi, are not contrasted in this passage: the word crhsmoi, does not even occur in it. The stress of the distinction falls, indeed, not on the nouns, but on the verbs, the point of the remark being that oracles were scattered among the people by every possible method.25 If we add that the second polla, is probably not to be resolved into pollou.j crhsmou,j,26 the crhsmou,j being derived from the crhsmw|lo,goi, but is to have lo,gia supplied with it from the preceding clause, the assumed distinction between lo,gia and crhsmoi, goes up at once in smoke. Lo,gia alone are spoken of: and these lo,gia are said to be both spoken and sung.27
So easy and frequent is the interchange between the two terms that it seems difficult to allow even the more wary attempts of modern commentators to discriminate between them. These ordinarily turn on the idea that lo,gia is the more general and crhsmo,j the more specific word, and go back to the careful study of the Baron de Locella,28 in his comment on a passage in (the later) Xenophon's "Ephesiaca." Locella's note does indeed practically cover the ground. He begins by noting the interchange of the two words in the text before him. Then he offers the definition that oraculorum responsa are generically lo,gia, whether in prose or verse, adducing the lo,gia palaia, of Eurip., "Heracl.," 406, and the lo,gion puqo,crhston of Plutarch, "Thes.," i. 55, as instances of lo,gia undoubtedly couched in verse; while versified oracles, originally in hexameters and later in iambic trimeters are, specifically, crhsmoi, - whence crhsmw|de,w is vaticinor, crhsmw|di,a, vaticinium, and crhsmw|do,j, vates. As thus the difference between the two words is that of genus and species, they may be used promiscuously for the same oracle. It is worth the trouble, he then remarks, to inspect how often lo,gion and crhsmo,j are interchanged in the "Knights" of Aristophanes between verses 109 and 1224, from which the error of the scholiast on Thucydides, ii. 8, is clear and of Suidas following him, in making lo,gion specifically an oracle in prose, and crhsmo,j one in verse. He then quotes Eustathius on the "Iliad," ii. ver. 233, and on the "Odyssey," i. ver. 1426; adduces the gloss, lo,gion( o` crhsmo,j; and asks his readers to note what Stephens adduces from Camerarius against this distinction.29 The continued designation by Greek writers of the prose Pythian oracles as crhsmoi, is adverted to, Plutarch's testimony being dwelt on: and relevant scholia on Aristophanes' "Av"., 960, and "Nub.," 144, are referred to. It is not strange that Locella's finding, based on so exhaustive a survey of the relevant facts, should have dominated later commentators, who differ from it ordinarily more by way of slight modification than of any real revision - suggesting that lo,gia, being the more general word, is somewhat less sacred;30 or somewhat less precise;31 or somewhat less ancient.32 The common difficulty with all these efforts to distinguish the two words is that there is no usage to sustain them. When the two words occur together it is not in contrast but in apparently complete equivalence, and when lo,gion appears apart from crhsmo,j it is in a sense which seems in no way to be distinguishable from it. The only qualification to which this statement seems liable, arises from a faintly-felt suspicion that, in accordance with their etymological implications already suggested, crhsmo,j has a tendency to appear when the mind of the speaker is more upon the source of the "oracle" and lo,gion when his mind is more upon its substance.
Even in such a rare passage as Eurip., "Heracl.," 406, where the two words occur in quasi-contrast, we find no further ground for an intelligible distinction between them:
my preparations well are laid:
Athens is all in arms, the victims ready
Stand for the gods for whom they must be slain.
By seers the city is filled with sacrifice
For the foes' rout and saving of the state.
All prophecy-chanters have I caused to meet,
Into old public oracles have searched,
And secret, for salvation of this land.33
And mid their manifest diversities,
In one thing glares the sense of all the same -
They bid me to Demeter's daughter slay,
A maiden of a high-born father sprung."34
And ordinarily they display an interchangeability which seems almost studied, it is so complete and, as it were, iterant. Certainly, at all events, it is good advice to follow, to go to Aristophanes' "Knights" to learn their usage. In that biting play Demos - the Athenian people - is pictured as "a Sibyllianizing old man" with whom Cleon curries favor by plying him with oracles,
a|;dei de. crhsmou,j\ o` de. ge,rwn sibullia|/.35
Nicias steals tou.j crhsmou,j from Cleon, and brings to.n i`ero.n crhsmo,n to Demosthenes, who immediately on reading it exclaims, w= lo,gia!36 "DEM.: +W lo,gia. Give me quick the cup! NIC.: Behold, what says the crhsmo,j? DEM.: Pour on! NIC.: Is it so stated in the logi,oij? DEM.: O Bacis!" To cap the climax, the scholiast remarks on w= lo,gia: "(manteu,mata): he wonders when he reads to.n crhsmo,n." Only a little later,37 Demosthenes is counseling the Sausage Vender not to "slight what the gods by toi/j logi,oisi have given" him and receives the answer: "What then says o` crhsmo,j?" and after the contents of it are explained the declaration, "I am flattered by ta. lo,gia." As the dénouement approaches, Cleon and the Sausage Vender plead that their oracles may at least be heard (lines 960-961: oi` crhsmoi,). They are brought, and this absurd scene is the result: "CLEON: Behold, look here - and yet I've not got all. S. V.: Ah, me! I burst - 'and yet I've not got all!' DEM.: What are these? CLEON: Oracles (lo,gia). DEM.: All! CLEON: Do you wonder? By Jupiter, I've still a chestful left. S. V.: And I an upper with two dwelling rooms. DEM.: Come, let us see whose oracles (oi` crhsmoi,) are these? CLEON: Mine are of Bacis. DEM.: Whose are thine ? S. V.: Of Glamis, his elder brother." And when they are read they are all alike in heroic measure.
It is not in Aristophanes alone, however, that this equivalence meets us: the easy interchange of the two words is, we may say, constant throughout Greek literature. Thus, for example, in the "Corinthiaca" of Pausanias (ii. 20, 10) an oracle is introduced as to. lo,gion, and commented on as o` crhsmo,j.38 In Diodorus Siculus, ii. 14,39 Semiramis is said to have gone to Ammon crhsome,nh tw|/ qew|/ peri. th/j ivdi,aj teleuth/j, and, the narrative continues, le,getai aujth|/ gene,sqai lo,gion. Similarly in Plutarch's "De Defectu Orac.," v.40 we have the three terms to. crhsthri,on( to. lo,gion and ta. mantei/a tau/ta equated: in "De Mul. Virt.," viii.41 the lo,gia are explained by what was evcrh,sqh: in "Quaestiones Romanae," xxi.42 lo,gia came by way of a crhsmw|dei/n. In the "Ephesiaca" of the later Xenophon metrical manteu,mata are received, the recipients of which are in doubt what ta. tou/ qeou/ lo,gia can mean, until, on consideration, they discover a likely interpretation for the crhsmo,n that seems to meet the wish of the God who evmanteu,sato.43
How little anything can be derived from the separate use of lo,gion to throw doubt on its equivalence with crhsmo,j as thus exhibited, may be observed from the following instances of its usage, gathered together somewhat at random: 44
Herodotus, i. 64: "He purified the island of Delos, according to the injunctions of an oracle (evk tw/n logi,wn)"; i. 120: "We have found even oracles sometimes fulfilled in unimportant ways (tw/n logi,wn e;nia)"; iv. 178: "Here in this lake is an island called Phla, which it is said the Lacedæmonians were to have colonized according to an oracle (th.n nh/son Lakedaimoni,oisi, fasi lo,gion ei;nai kti,sai)"; viii. 60: "Where an oracle has said that we are to overcome our enemies (kai. lo,gio,n evsti tw/n evcqro/n katu,perqe)"; viii. 62: "which the prophecies declare we are to colonize (ta. lo,gia le,gei)." Aristophanes, "Vesp.," 799: o[ra to. crh/ma ta. lo,gi v w`j perai,netai; "Knights," 1050, tauti. telei/sqai ta. lo,gi v h;dh moi dokei/. Polybius, viii. 30, 6: "For the eastern quarter of Tarentum is full of monuments, because those who die there are to this day all buried within the walls, in obedience to an ancient oracle (kata, ti lo,gion avrcai/on)." Diodorus Siculus ap. Geog. Sync., p. 194 D ("Corpus Scriptorum Historiae Byzantinae," i. 366), "Fabius says an oracle came to Æneas (Aivnei,a| gene,sqai lo,gion), that a quadruped should direct him to the founding of a city." Ælian, "Var. Hist.," ii. 41: "Moreover Mycerinus the Egyptian, when there was brought to him the prophecy from Budo (to. evk bou,thj mantei/on), predicting a short life, and he wished to escape the oracle (to. lo,gion) . . ." Arrian, "Expedit. Alex.," ii. 3, 14 (Ellendt., 1. 151): w`j tou/ logi,ou tou/ evpi. th|/ lu,sei tou/ desmou/ xumbebhko,toj; vii. 16, 7 (Ellendt., ii. 419), "But when Alexander had crossed the river Tigris with his army, pushing on to Babylon, the wise men of the Chaldeans (Caldai,wn oi` lo,gioi) met him and separating him from his companions asked him to check the march to Babylon. For they had an oracle from their God Belus (lo,gion evk tou/ qeou/ tou/ bh,lou) that entrance into Babylon at that time would not be for his good. But he answered them with a verse (e;poj) of the poet Euripides, which runs thus: 'The best ma,ntij is he whose conclusion is good."' Plutarch, "Non posse suaviter vivi," etc., 24 (1103 F.): "What of that ? (quoth Zeuxippus). Shall the present discourse be left imperfect and unfinished because of it? and feare we to alledge the oracle of the gods (to. lo,gion pro.j vEpi,kouron le,gontej) when we dispute against the Epicureans? No (quoth I againe) in any wise, for according to the sentence of Empedocles, 'A good tale twice a man may tell, and heare it told as oft full well';" "Life of Theseus," §26 (p. 12 C, Didot, p. 14), "He applied to himself a certain oracle of Apollo's (lo,gio,n ti puqo,crhston)" §27 (p. 12 E, Didot, p. 14): "At length Theseus, having sacrificed to Fear, according to the oracle (kata, ti lo,gion)"; "Life of Fabius," §4 (Didot, p. 210), vEkinh,qhsan de. to,te pollai. kai. tw/n avporvr`h,twn kai. crhsi,mwn auvtoi/j bi,blwn( a]j Sibullei,ouj kalou/si\ kai. le,getai sundramei/n e;nia tw/n avpokeime,nwn evn auvtai/j logi,wn pro.j ta.j tu,caj kai. ta.j pra,xeij evkei,naj. Pausanias, "Attica" [I. 44, 9] (taken unverified from Wetstein): qu,santoj Aivakou/ kata. dh, ti lo,gion tw|/ Panellhni,w| Dii`,. Polyaenus, p. 37 (Wetstein) [I, 18]: o` qeo.j e;crhse - oi` pole,mioi to. lo,gion eijdo,tej - tou/ logi,ou peplhrwme,nou; p. 347 [IV, 3, 27], h-n de. lo,gion vApo,llwnoj. Aristeas, p. 119 (Wetsteln): euvcaristw/ me.n( a;ndrej( u`mi/n( tw|/ de. avpostei,lanti ma/llon\ me,giston de. tw|/ qew|/( ou[tino,j evsti ta. lo,gia tau/ta.
A survey of this somewhat miscellaneous collection of passages will certainly only strengthen the impression we derived from those in which lo,gion and crhsmo,j occur together - that in lo,gion we have a term expressive, in common usage at least, of the simple notion of a divine revelation, an oracle, and that independently of any accompanying implication of length or brevity, poetical or prose form, directness or indirectness of delivery. This is the meaning of lo,gion in the mass of profane Greek literature. As we have already suggested, the matter of the derivation of the word is of no great importance to our inquiry:45 but we may be permitted to add that the usage seems distinctly favorable to the view that it is to be regarded rather as, in origin, the neuter of lo,gioj used substantively, than the diminutive of lo,goj. No implication of brevity seems to attach to the word in usage; and its exclusive application to "oracles" may perhaps be most easily explained on the supposition that it connotes fundamentally "a wise saying," and implies at all times something above the ordinary run of "words."46
II. It was with this fixed significance, therefore, that the word presented itself to the Jews of the later centuries before Christ, when the changed conditions were forcing them to give a clothing in Greek speech to their conceptions, derived from the revelation of the old covenant; and thus to prepare the way for the language of the new covenant. The oldest monument of Hellenistic Greek - the Septuagint Version of the Sacred Books, made probably in the century that stretched between 250 and 150 B.C. - is, however, peculiarly ill-adapted to witness to the Hellenistic usage of this word. As lay in the nature of the case, and, as we shall see later, was the actual fact, to these Jewish writers there were no "oracles" except what stood written in these sacred books themselves, and all that stood written in them were "oracles of God." In a translation of the books themselves, naturally this, the most significant Hellenistic application of the word "oracles," could find little place. And though the term might be employed within the sacred books to translate such a phrase as, say, "the word of God," in one form or another not infrequently met with in their pages, the way even here was clogged by the fact that the Hebrew words used in these phrases only imperfectly corresponded to the Greek word lo,gion, and were not very naturally represented by it. Though the ordinary Hebrew verb for "saying" - rm;a' 47 - to which etymologically certain high implications might be thought to be natural, had substantival derivatives, yet these were fairly effectually set aside by a term of lower origin - rb'D' 48 - which absorbed very much the whole field of the conception "word."49 The derivatives of rm;a' - rm,ao, hr'm.ai, hr'm.a,, rm'a}m; - in accordance with their etymological impress of loftiness or authority, are relegated to poetic speech (except rm'a}m;, which occurs only in Esther i. 15, ii. 20, ix. 32, and has the sense of commandment) and are used comparatively seldom.50 Nevertheless, it was to one of these that the Septuagint translators fitted the word lo,gion. To rb'D' they naturally consecrated the general terms lo,goj( r`h/ma( pra/gma: while they adjusted lo,gion as well as might be to hr'm.ai, and left to one side meanwhile its classical synonyms51 - except mantei,a and its cognates, which they assigned, chiefly, of course, in a bad sense, to the Hebrew mmq in the sense of "divination."
hr'm.ai is, to be sure, in no sense an exact synonym of lo,gion. It is simply a poetical word of high implications, prevailingly, though not exclusively, used of the "utterances" of God, and apparently felt by the Septuagint translators to bear in its bosom a special hint of the authoritativeness or awesomeness of the "word" it designates. It is used only some thirty-six times in the entire Old Testament (of which no less than nineteen are in Ps. cxix.), and designates the solemn words of men (Gen. iv. 23, cf. Isa. xxix. 4 bis., xxviii. 23, xxxii. 9; Ps. xvii. 6; Deut. xxxii. 2) as well as, more prevailingly, those of God. In adjusting lo,gion to it the instances of its application to human words are, of course, passed by and translated either by lo,goj (Gen. iv. 23; Isa. xxix. 4 bis.; Isa. xxviii. 23, xxxii. 9), or r`h/ma (Deut. xxxii. 2; Ps. xvii. 6). In a few other instances, although the term is applied to "words of God," it is translated by Greek words other than lo,gion (II Sam. xxii. 31, LXX. r`h/ma, and its close parallel, Prov. xxx. 5, LXX. lo,goi, though in the other parallels, Ps. xii. 7, xviii. 31, the LXX. has lo,gia; Ps. cxix. 52, 154, where the LXX. has lo,goj; in Ps. cxxxviii. 2, the LXX. reads to. a[gio,n sou, on which Bæthgen remarks, in loc., that "a[gio,n seems to be a corruption for lo,gion," which is read here by Aquila and the Quinta). In the remaining instances of its occurrences, however - and that is in the large majority of its occurrences - the word is uniformly rendered by lo,gion (Deut. xxxiii. 9; Ps. xii. 7 bis., xviii. 31, cv. 19, cxix. 11, 38 ,52 50, 58, 67, 76, 82, 103, 116, 123, 133, 140, 148, 158, 162, 170, 172, cxlvii. 15; Isa. v. 24). If there is a fringe of usage of hr'm.ai thus standing outside of the use made of lo,gion, there is, on the other side, a corresponding stretching of the use made of lo,gion beyond the range of hr'm.ai - to cover a few passages judged by the translators of similar import. Thus it translates rm,ao in Num. xxiv. 4, 16; Ps. xviii. 15 [xix. 15], cvi. [cvii.] 11, and 7=rb'D' in Ps. cxviii. [cxix.] 25, 65, 107, 169, [cxlvii. 8]; Isa. xxviii. 13; and it represents in a few passages Xoyov, a variation from the Hebrew, viz., Ps. cxviii. [cxix.]; Isa. xxx. 11, 27 bis. In twenty-five instances of its thirty-nine occurrences, however, it is the rendering of hr'm.ai.53 It is also used twice in the Greek apocrypha (Wis. xvi. 11; Sir. xxxvi. 19 ), in quite the same sense. In all the forty-one instances of its usage, it is needless to say, it is employed in its native and only current sense, of "oracle," a sacred utterance of the Divine Being, the only apparent exception to this uniformity of usage (Ps. xviii. 15 [xix. 15]) being really no exception, but, in truth, significant of the attitude of the translators to the text they were translating - as we shall see presently.
What led the LXX. translators to fix upon hr'm.ai as the nearest Hebrew equivalent to lo,gion,54 we have scanty material for judging. Certainly, in Psalm cxix, where the word most frequently occurs, it is difficult to erect a distinction between its implications and those of rb'D' with which it seems to be freely interchanged, but which the LXX. translators keep reasonably distinct from it by rendering it prevailingly by lo,goj,55 while equally prevailingly reserving lo,gion for hr'm.ai.56 Perhaps the reader may faintly feel even in this Psalm, that hr'm.ai was to the writer the more sacred and solemn word, and was used, in his rhetorical variation of his terms, especially whenever the sense of the awesomeness of God's words or the unity of the whole revelation of God57 more prominently occupied his mind; and this impression is slightly increased, perhaps, in the case of the interchange of lo,gion and lo,goj in the Greek translation. When we look beyond this Psalm we certainly feel that something more requires to be said of hr'm.ai than merely that it is poetic.58 It is very seldom applied to human words and then only to the most solemn forms of human speech - Gen. xxiv. 23 (LXX., lo,goi); Deut. xxxii. 2 (LXX., r`h/ma); Ps. xxvii. (LXX., r`h/ma) ; cf. Isa. xxix. 4 bis (LXX., lo,goi) where the speaker is Jerusalem whose speech is compared to the murmuring of familiar spirits or of the dead,59 and Isa. xxviii. 23, xxxii. 9, where the prophet's word is in question. It appears to suggest itself naturally when God's word is to receive its highest praises (II Sam. xxii. 31; Ps. xii. 7, xviii. 31; Prov. xxx. 5; Ps. cxxxviii. 2), or when the word of Jehovah is conceived as power or adduced in a peculiarly solemn way (Ps. cxlvii. 1860; Isa. v. 24). Perhaps the most significant passage is that in Psalm cv. 19, where the writer would appear to contrast man's word with God's word, using for the former rb'D' (LXX., lo,goj) and for the latter hr'm.ai (LXX., lo,gion): Joseph was tried by the word of the Lord until his own words came to pass.61 Whatever implications of superior solemnity attached to the Hebrew word hr'm.ai, however, were not only preserved, but emphasized by the employment of the Greek term lo,gion to translate it - a term which was inapplicable, in the nature of the case, to human words, and designated whatever it was applied to as the utterance of God. We may see its lofty implications in the application given to it outside the usage of hr'm.ai - in Num. xxiv. 4, for example, where the very solemn description of Balaam's deliverances - "oracle of the hearer of the words of God" (la-yrem.ai) - is rendered most naturally fhsi.n avkou,wn lo,gia ivscurou/. Here, one would say, we have the very essence of the word, as developed in its classical usage, applied to Biblical conceptions: and it is essentially this conception of the "unspeakable oracles of God" (Sir., xxxvi. 19, ) that is conveyed by the word in every instance of its occurrence.
An exception has been sometimes found, to be sure, in Ps. xviii. 15 (xix. 14), inasmuch as in this passage we have the words of the Psalmist designated as ta. lo,gia: "And the words (ta. lo,gia) of my mouth and the meditation of my heart shall be continually before thee for approval, O Lord, my help and my redeemer." In this passage, however - and in Isa. xxxii. 9 as rendered by Aquila, which is similar - we would seem to have not so much an exception to the usage of ta. lo,gia as otherwise known, as an extension of it. The translators have by no means used it here of the words of a human speaker, but of words deemed by them to be the words of God, and called ta. lo,gia just because considered the "tried words of God." This has always been perceived by the more careful expositors. Thus Philippi62 writes:
"Psalm xix. 14 supplies only an apparent exception, since ta. lo,gia tou/ sto,matoj mou there, as spoken through the Holy Spirit, may be regarded as at the same time, lo,gia qeou/."
"In Psalm xix. 15 (14) the term thus occurs: 'let the words of my mouth (ta. lo,gia tou/ sto,mato,j mou = ypi-yrem.ai, from rm,ae), and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer.' But even here the term may be fitly regarded as having its otherwise invariable reference. The Septuagint translator looked upon the sacred writer as giving utterance in his Psalm - the words of his mouth - to diviner thoughts than his own, to the thoughts of God Himself. He regarded him as 'moved' in what he said, 'by the Holy Ghost."'64
In a word, we have here an early instance of what proves to be the standing application of ta. lo,gia on Hellenistic lips - its application to the Scripture word as such, as the special word of God that had come to them. The only ground of surprise that can emerge with reference to its use here, therefore, is that in this instance it occurs within the limits of the Scriptures themselves: and this is only significant of the customary employment of the term in this application - for, we may well argue, it was only in sequence to such a customary employment of it that this usage could intrude itself thus, unobserved as it were, into the Biblical text itself.
It is scarcely necessary to do more than incidentally advert to the occasional occurrence of lo,gion = logei/on in the Septuagint narrative, as the rendering of the Hebrew !v,x, that is, to designate the breastplate of the high priest, which he wore when he consulted Jehovah.65 Bleek writes, to be sure, as follows:66
"How fully the notion of an utterance of God attended the word according to the usage of the Alexandrians too is shown by the circumstance that the LXX. employed it for the oracular breastplate of the High Priest (!v,x), Ex. xxviii. 15, 22 seq., xxix. 5, xxxix. 8 seq.; Lev. viii. 8; Sir. xlv. 12, for which logei/on, although found in Codd. Vat. and Alex., is apparently a later reading; lo,gion, to which the Latin translation rationale goes back, has also`osephus, "Ant.," iii. 7, 5, for it: evssh,nhj (!vx) me.n kalei/tai( shmai,nei de. tou/to kata. th.n `Ellh,nwn glw/ttan lo,gion; c. 8, 9: o[qen [Ellhnej . . . to.n ejssh,nhn lo,gion kalou/sin; viii. 3, 8. And similarly apparently Philo, as may be inferred from his expositions, in that he brings it into connection with lo,goj, reason, although with him too the reading varies between the two forms: see "Legg. Allegor.," iii. 40, p. 83, A. B.; §43, p. 84, C. "Vit. Mos.," iii. 11, p. 670 C.; §12, p. 672 B.; §13, p. 673 A. "De Monarch.," ii. 5, p. 824 A."
It is much more probable, however, that we have here an itacistic confusion by the copyists, than an application by the Septuagint translators of lo,gion to a new meaning. This confusion may have had its influence on the readers of the LXX., and may have affected in some degree their usage of the word: but it can have no significance for the study of the use of the word by the LXX. itself.
III. Among the readers of the Septuagint it is naturally to Philo that we will turn with the highest expectations of light on the Hellenistic usage of the word: and we have already seen Bleek pointing out the influence upon him of the LXX. use of lo,gion = logei/on. Whatever minor influence of this kind the usage of the Septuagint may have had on him, however, Philo's own general employment of the word carries on distinctly that of the profane authors. In him, too, the two words crhsmo,j and lo,gion appear as exact synonyms, interchanging repeatedly with each other, to express what is in the highest sense the word of God, an oracle from heaven. The only real distinction between his usage of these words and that of profane authors arises from the fact that to Philo nothing is an oracle from heaven, a direct word of God, except what he found within the sacred books of Israel.67 And the only confusing element in his usage springs from the fact that the whole contents of the Jewish sacred books are to him "oracles," the word of God; so that he has no nomenclature by which the oracles recorded in the Scriptures may be distinguished from the oracles which the Scriptures as such are. He has no higher words than lo,gion and crhsmo,j by which to designate the words of God which are recorded in the course of the Biblical narrative: he can use no lower words than these to designate the several passages of Scripture he adduces, each one of which is to him a direct word of God. Both of these uses of the words may be illustrated from his writings almost without limit. A few instances will suffice.
In the following, the "oracle" is a "word of God" recorded in the Scriptures:68
"For he inquires whether the man is still coming hither, and the sacred oracle answers (avpokri,netai to. lo,gion), 'He is hidden among the stuff' (I Sam. x. 22)" ("De Migrat. Abrah.," §36, pp. 418 E). "For after the wise man heard the oracle which being divinely given said (qespisqe,ntoj logi,ou toiou,tou) 'Thy reward is exceeding great' (Gen. xv. 1), he inquired, saying. . . . And yet who would not have been amazed at the dignity and greatness of him who delivered this oracle (tou/ crhsmw|/ dou,ntoj)?" ("Quis rer. div. her.," §1, pp. 481 D). "And he (God) mentions the ministrations and services by which Abraham displayed his love to his master in the last sentence of the divine oracle given t0 his son (avkroteleu,tion logi,ou tou/ crhsqe,ntoj auvtou/ tw|/ ui`ei/) ("Quis rer. div. her.," §2, pp. 482 E). "To him (Abraham), then, being conscious of such a disposition, an oracular command suddenly comes (qespi,zetai lo,gion), which was never expected (Gen. xxii. 1) . . . and without mentioning the oracular command (to. lo,gion) to anyone . . ." ("De Abrah.," §32, P., p. 373 E). "[Moses] had appointed his brother high-priest in accordance with the will of God that had been declared unto him (kata. ta. crhsqe,nta lo,gia") ("De Vita Moysis," iii. 21, P., p. 569 D). "Moses . . . being perplexed . . . besought God to decide the question and to announce his decision to him by an oracular command (crhsmw|/). And God listened to his entreaty and gave him an oracle (lo,gion qespi,zei). . . . We must proceed to relate the oracular commands (lo,gia crhsqe,nta). He says . . . (Num. ix. 10)" ("De Vita Moysis," iii. 30, P., p. 687 D). "And Balaam replied, All that I have hitherto uttered have been oracles and words of God (lo,gia kai. crhsmoi,), but what I am going to say are merely the suggestions of my own mind. . . . Why do you give counsel suggesting things contrary to the oracles of God (toi/j crhsmoi/j) unless indeed that your counsels are more powerful than his decrees (logi,wn)?" ("De Vita Moysis," i. 53, P., p. 647 D). "Was it not on this account that when Cain fancied he had offered up a blameless sacrifice an oracle (lo,gion) came to him? . . . And the oracle is as follows (to. de. lo,gio,n evsti toio,nde) (Gen. iv. 7)" ("De Agricult.," §29, M. i. 319). "And a proof of this may be found in the oracular answer given by God (to. qespisqe.n lo,gion) to the person who asked what name he had: 'I am that I am"' ("De Somniis," i. §40, M. 1, 655). "But when he became improved and was about to have his name changed, he then became a man born of God (a;nqrwpoj qeou/) according to the oracle that was delivered to him (kata. to. crhsqe.n auvtw|/ lo,gion), 'I am thy God"' ("De Gigant.," §14, M. 1, 271). "For which reason, a sacred injunction to the following purport (dio. kai. lo,gion evcrh,sqh tw|/ sofw|/ toio,nde) 'Go thou up to the Lord, thou and Aaron,' etc. (Gen. xxiv. i.). And the meaning of this injunction is as follows: 'Go thou up, O soul"' ("De Migrat. Abrah.," §31, M. 1, 462). "For which account an oracle of the all-merciful God has been given (lo,gion tou/ i[lew qeou/ mesto.n h`mero,thtoj) full of gentleness, which shadows forth good hopes to those who love instruction in these times, 'I will never leave thee nor forsake thee' (Jos. i. 5)" ("De Confus. Ling.," §32, M. i. 430). "Do you not recollect the case of the soothsayer Balaam? He is represented as hearing the oracles of God (lo,gia qeou/) and as having received knowledge from the Most High, but what advantage did he reap from such hearing, and what good accrued to him from such knowledge?" ("De Mutat. Nominum," §37). "There are then a countless number of things well worthy of being displayed and demonstrated; and among them one which was mentioned a little while ago; for the oracle (to. lo,gion) calls the person who was really his grandfather, the father of the practiser of virtue, and to him who was really his father it has not given any such title; for it says, 'I am the Lord God of Abraham, thy Father' (Gen. xxviii. 13), and in reality he was his grandfather, and, again, 'the God of Isaac,' not adding this time, 'thy Father' ('De Somniis,' i. §27)." "And there is something closely resembling this in the passage of Scripture (lit. the oracle: to. crhsqe.n lo,gion) concerning the High Priest (Lev. xvi. 17)" ("De Somniis," ii. §34).
On the other hand, in the following instances, the reference is distinctly to Scripture as such:
"And the following oracle given with respect to Enoch (to. crhsqe.n evpi. vEnw.c lo,gion) proves this: 'Enoch pleased God and he was not found' (Gen. v. 24)" ("De Mutat. Nom.," §4).
It is a portion of the narrative Scriptures which is thus adduced.
"But let us stick to the subject before us and follow the Scripture (avkolouqh,santej tw|/ logi,w|) and say that there is such a thing as wisdom existing, and that he who loves wisdom is wise" (do).
Here to. lo,gion is either Scripture in general, or, perhaps more probably, the passage previously under discussion and still in mind (Gen. v. 24).
"Marturei/ de, mou lo,gion to. crhsqe.n evpi. tou/ vAbraa,m to,de, 'He came into the place of which the Lord God had told him; and having looked up with his eyes, he saw the place afar off (Gen. xxii. 9)'" ("De Somniis," i. 11).
This narrative passage of Scripture is here cited as lo,gion to. crhsqe,n.
"This is a boast of a great and magnanimous soul, to rise above all creation, and to overleap its boundaries and to cling to the great uncreated God above, according to his sacred commands (kata. ta.j i[eraj u`yhgh,seij) in which we are expressly enjoined 'to cleave unto him' (Deut. xxx. 20). Therefore he in requital bestows himself as their inheritance upon those who do cleave unto him and who serve him without intermission; and the sacred Scripture (lo,gion) bears its testimony in behalf of these, when it says, 'The Lord himself is his inheritance' (Deut. x. 9)" ("De Congressu erud. grat.," §24, p. 443).
Here the anarthrous lo,gion is probably to be understood of "a passage of Scripture" - viz., that about to be cited.
"Moreover she (Consideration) confirmed this opinion of hers by the sacred scriptures (crhsmoi/j), one of which ran in this form (evni. me.n toiw|/de - without verb) (Deut. iv. 4). . . . She also confirmed her statement by another passage in Scripture of the following purport (e`te,rw| toiw/|de crhsmw|/) (Deut. xxx. 15) . . . and in another passage we read (kai. evn e`te,roij) (Deut. xxx. 20). And again this is what the Lord himself hath said . . . (Lev. x. 3) . . . as it is also said in the Psalms (Ps. cxiii. 25) . . . but Cain, that shameless man, that parricide, is nowhere spoken of in the Law (ouvdamou/ th/j nomoqesi,aj) as dying: but there is an oracle delivered respecting him in such words as these (avlla. kai. lo,gion e;stin evp v auvtw|/ crhsqe.n toiou/ton): 'The Lord God put a mark upon Cain' (Gen. iv. 15)" ("De Profug.," §11, M. i. 555).
Here it is questionable whether "the Law" (h` nomoqesi,a) is not broad enough to include all the passages mentioned - from Genesis, Leviticus and the Psalms - as it is elsewhere made to include Joshua ("De Migrat. Abrah.," §32, M. i, 464. See Ryle: p. xix). At all events, whatever is in this nomoqesi,a is a crhsqe.n lo,gion: the passage more particularly adduced being a narrative one.
"After the person who loves virtue seeks a goat by reason of his sins, but does not find one; for already as the sacred Scripture tells us (w`j dhloi/ to. lo,gion), 'It hath been burnt' (Lev. x. 16) . . . Accordingly the Scripture says (fhsi.n ou=n o` crhsmo,j) that Moses 'sought and sought again,' a reason for repentance for his sins in mortal life . . . on which account it is said in the Scripture (dio. le,getai) (Lev. xvi. 20) De Profug.," §28, M. i. 569).
Here to. lo,gion seems to mean not so much a passage in Scripture as " Scripture" in the abstract: Lev. x. 16 not being previously quoted in this context. The same may be said of the reference of o` crhsmo,j in the next clause and of the simple le,getai lower down - the interest of the passage turning on the entire equivalence of the three modes of adducing Scripture.
"This then is the beginning and preface of the prophecies of Moses under the influence of inspiration (th/j kat v evnqousiasmo.n profhtei,aj Mwu?se,wj). After this he prophesied (qespi,zei) . . . about food . . . being full of inspiration (ejpiqeia,saj). . . . Some thinking, perhaps, that what was said to them was not an oracle (ouv crhsmou,j). . . . But the father established the oracle by his prophet (to. lo,gion tou/ profh,tou). . . . He gave a second instance of his prophetical inspiration in the oracle (lo,gion, anarthrous) which he delivered about the seventh day" ("De Vit. Moysis," iii. 35 and 36).
"And the holy oracle that has been given (to. crhsqe.n lo,gion = 'the delivered oracle'; Ryle, 'the utterance of the oracle') will bear witness, which expressly says that he cried out loudly and betrayed clearly by his cries what he had suffered from the concrete evil, that is from the body" ("Quod det. pot. insid.," § 14, M. L, 200).
Here the narrative in Gen. iv, somewhat broadly taken, including vers. 8 and 10, is called to. crhsqe.n lo,gion.
"There is also something like this in the sacred scriptures where the account of the creation of the universe is given and it is expressed more distinctly (to. paraplh,sion kai. evn toi/j peri. th/j tou/ panto.j gene,sewj crhsqei/si logi,oij perie,cetai shmeiwde,steron). For it is said to the wicked man, 'O thou man, that hast sinned; cease to sin' (Gen. iv. 7)" ("De Sobriet.," §10, D7. 1, 400).
Here there is a formal citation of a portion of Scripture, viz., the portion "concerning the creation of the universe," which means, probably, the Book of Genesis (see Ryle's "Philo and Holy Scripture," p. xx) ; and this is cited as made up of "declared oracles," evn toi/j crhsqei/si logi,oij. The Book of Genesis is thus to Philo a body of crhsqe,nta lo,gia.
"And this is the meaning of the oracle recorded in Deuteronomy (par v o] kai. lo,gion e;sti toiou/ton avnagegramme,non evn Deuteronomi,w|), 'Behold I have put before thy face life and death, good and evil"' ("Quod Deus Immut.," §10, M. i. 280).
Here the "oracle" is a "written" thing; and it is written in a well-known book of oracles, viz., in "Deuteronomy," the second book of the Law. This book, and of course the others like it, consists of written oracles.
"And the words of scripture show this, in which (dhloi/ de. to. lo,gion evn w-|) it is distinctly stated that 'they both of them went together, and came to the plain which God had mentioned to them (Gen. xxii. 3)" ("De Migrat. Abrah." §30, M. i. 462).
"And for this reason the following scripture has been given to men (dio. lo,gion evcrh,sqh toio,nde), 'Return to the land of thy father and to thy family, and I will be with thee' (Gen. xxxi. 3)" "(De Migrat. Abrah.," §6, M. i. 440).
Here, though the words are spoken in the person of God, the generalized use of them seems to point to their Scriptural expression as the main point.
"Moses chose to deliver each of the ten commandments (e;kaston qespi,zein tw/n de,ka logi,wn) in such a form as if they were addressed not to many persons but to one" ("De Decem Oracul.," peri. tw/n De,ka Logi,wn, §10).
"And the sacred scripture (lo,gion, anarthrous) bears its testimony in behalf of this assertion, when it says: 'The Lord himself is his inheritance' (Deut. x. 9)" ("De Congr. Erud. Grat.," §24, M. i. 538).
"For there is a passage in the word of God (lo,gion ga.r e;stin) that . . . (Lev. xxvi. 3)" ("De praem. et poen.," §17, M. ii. 424).
Both classes of passages thus exist in Philo's text in the greatest abundance - no more those which speak of words of God recorded in Scripture as lo,gia than those which speak of the words of Scripture as such as equally lo,gia. Nor are we left to accord the two classes of passages for ourselves. Philo himself, in what we may call an even overstrained attempt at systematization, elaborately explains how he distinguishes the several kinds of matter which confront him in Scripture. The fullest statement is probably that in the "De Vita Moysis," iii, 23 (Mangey, ii, 163). Here he somewhat artificially separates three classes of "oracles," all having equal right to the name. It is worth while to transcribe enough of the passage to set its essential contents clearly before us. He is naturally in this place speaking directly of Moses - as indeed commonly in his tracts, which are confined, generally speaking, to an exposition of the Pentateuch: but his words will apply also to the rest of the "sacred books," which he uniformly treats as the oracles of God alike with the Pentateuch.69 He writes:
"Having shown that Moses was a most excellent king and lawgiver and high priest, I come in the last place to show that he was also the most illustrious of the prophets (profhtw/n). I am not unaware, then, that all the things that are written in the sacred books are oracles delivered by him (w`j pa,nta eivsi. crhsmoi. o;sa evn tai/j i`erai/j bi,bloij avnage,graptai crhsqe,ntej di v auvtou/): and I will set forth what more particularly concerns him, when I have first mentioned this one point, namely, that of the sacred oracles (tw/n logi,wn) some are represented as delivered in the person of God by His interpreter, the divine prophet (evk prosw,pou tou/ qeou/ di v e`rmhne,wj tou/ qei,ou profh,tou), while others are put in the form of question and answer (evk peu,sewj kai. avpokri,sewj evqespi,sqh), and others are delivered by Moses in his own character, as a divinely prompted lawgiver possessed by divine inspiration (evk prosw,pou Mwu?se,wj evpiqeia,santoj kai. evx auvtou/ katasceqe,ntoj).
"Therefore all the earliest [Gr. prw/ta = the first of the three classes enumerated] oracles are manifestations of the whole of the divine virtues and especially of that merciful and boundless character by means of which He trains all men to virtue, and especially the race which is devoted to His service, to which He lays open the road leading to happiness. The second class have a sort of mixture and communication (mi,xin kai. koinwni,an) in them, the prophet asking information on the subjects as to which he is in difficulty and God answering him and instructing him. The third sort are attributed to the lawgiver, God having given him a share in His prescient power by means of which he is enabled to foretell the future.
"Therefore we must for the present pass by the first; for they are too great to be adequately praised by any man, as indeed they could scarcely be panegyrized worthily by the heaven itself and the nature of the universe; and they are also uttered by the mouth, as it were, of an interpreter (kai. a;llwj le,getai w`sanei. di v evrmhse,wj). But (de.) interpretation and prophecy differ from one another. And concerning the second kind I will at once endeavor to explain the truth, connecting with them the third species also, in which the inspired character (evnqousiw/dej) of the speaker is shown, according to which he is most especially and appropriately looked upon as a prophet."70
A somewhat different distribution of material - now from the point of view, not of mode of oracular delivery, but of nature of contents - is given at the opening of the tract "De praem. et poen." (§1, init.):
"We find then that in the sacred oracles delivered by the prophet Moses (tw/n dia. tou/ profh,tou Mwu?se,wj logi,wn) there are three separate characters: for a portion of them relates to the creation of the world, a portion is historical, and the third portion is legislative."
Accordingly in the tract "DeLegat. ad Caium," §31 (Mangey, ii. 577), we are told of the high esteem the Jews put on their laws:
"For looking upon their laws as oracles directly given to them by God Himself (qeo,crhsta ga.r lo,gia tou.j no,mouj ei;nai u1polamba,nontej) and having been instructed in this doctrine from their earliest infancy, they bear in their souls the images of the commandments contained in these laws as sacred."
By the side of this passage should be placed doubtless another from the "De Vita Contemplativa," §3, since it appears that we may still look on this tract as Philo's:
"And in every house there is a sacred shrine . . . Studying in that place the laws and sacred oracles of God enunciated by the holy prophets (no,mouj kai. lo,gia despisqe,nta dia. profhtw/n) and hymns and psalms and all kinds of other things by reason of which knowledge and piety are increased and brought to perfection."
It is not strange that out of such a view of Scripture Philo should adduce every part of it alike as a lo,gion. Sometimes, to be sure, his discrimination of its contents into classes shows itself in the formulæ of citation; and we should guard ourselves from being misled by this. Thus, for example, he occasionally quotes a lo,gion "from the mouth (or 'person') of God" - which does not mean that Scriptures other than these portions thus directly ascribed to God as speaking, are less oracular than these, but only that these are oracles of his first class - those that "are represented as delivered from the person of God (evk prosw,pou tou/ qeou/) by his interpreter, the divine prophet." A single instance or two will suffice for examples:
"And the sacred oracle which is delivered as" [dele "as"] "from the mouth" [or "person"] "of the ruler of the universe (lo,gion evk prosw,pou qespisqe.n tou/ tw/n o[lwn h`gemo,noj) speaks of the proper name of God as never having been revealed to anyone71 when God is represented as saying, 'For I have not shown them my name' (Gen. vi. 3)" ("De Mutat. Nom.," §2). "And the oracles" (oi` crhsmoi, which is a standing term for 'the Scriptures' in Philo) "bear testimony, in which it is said to Abraham evk prosw,pou tou/ qeou/ (Gen. xvii. 1)" (ditto, §5). "And he (Jeremiah the prophet) like a man very much under the influence of inspiration (a;te ta. polla. evnqonsiw/n) uttered an oracle in the character of God (crhsmo,n tina evxei/pen evk prosw,pou tou/ qeou/) speaking in this manner to most peaceful virtue: 'Hast thou not called me as thy house' etc. (Jer. iii. 4)" ("De Cherub.," §14, AT. i. 148).
The other oracles, delivered not evk prosw,pou tou/ qeou/ but in dialogue or in the person of the prophet, are, however, no less oracular or authoritative. To Philo all that is in Scripture is oracular, every passage is a lo,gion, of whatever character or length; and the whole, as constituted of these oracles, is ta. lo,gia, or perhaps even to. lo,gion - the mass of logia or one continuous logion.
It is not said, be it observed, that Philo's sole mode of designating Scripture, or even his most customary mode, is as ta. lo,gia. As has already been stated, he used crhsmo,j equally freely with lo,gion for passages of Scripture, and oi` crhsmoi, apparently even more frequently than ta. lo,gia for the body of Scripture. Instances of the use of the two terms interchangeably in the same passage have already been incidentally given.72 A very few passages will suffice to illustrate his constant use of crhsmo,j and oi` crhsmoi, separately.
In the following instances he adduces passages of Scripture, each as a crhsmo,j:
On this account also the oracle (o` crhsmo,j) which bears testimony against the pretended simplicity of Cain says, 'You do not think as you say' (Gen. iv. 15)" ("Quod det. potiori insid.," §45, M. i. 223). "And of the supreme authority of the living God, the sacred scripture is a true witness (o` crhsmo.j avlhqh.j ma,rtuj) which speaks thus (Lev. xxv. 23)" ("De Cherub.," §31, A7. i. 158). "For a man will come forth, says the word of God (fhsi.n o` crhsmo,j) leading a host and warring furiously, etc. (Num. xxiv. 7)" ("De Praem. et Poem," §16, M. ii. 423). "And the sacred scripture bears witness to this fact (marturei/ de. o` peri. tou,twn crhsmo,j): for it says (Num. Xxlil. 19)" ("De Migrat. Abrah.," §20, M. i. 454). "For though there was a sacred scripture (crhsmou/ ga.r o[ntoj) that 'There should be no harlot among the daughters of the seer, Israel' (Deut. xxiii. 17)" ("De Migrat. Abrah.," §39, M. i. 472). "And witness is borne to this assertion by the scripture (ma,rtuj de. kai. crhsmo,j) in which it is said: 'I will cause to live,' etc. (Deut. xxxii. 39)" ("De Somniis," ii. 44, M. i. 698). "The oracle (o` crhsmo,j) given to the all-wise Moses, in which these words are contained" ("Quod det. pot. insid.," §34, M. i. 215). "Which also the oracle (o` crhsmo,j) said to Cain" (do., §21). "And I know that this illustrious oracle was formerly delivered from the mouth of the prophet (sto,mati d v oi=da, pote profhtikw|/ qespisqe,nta dia,puron toio,nde crhsmo,n), 'Thy fruit,' etc., (Hos. xiv. 9)" ("De Mutat. Nom.," §24, M. ii. 599). In this last case it is to be noticed that the "oracle" is taken from Hosea: the corresponding passage in "De Plant. Noe.," §33, NI. 1, 350, should be compared: "And with this assertion, this oracle delivered by one of the prophets is consistent, etc. (Hos. xiv. 9) (tou,tw| kai. para, tini tw/n profhtw/n crhsqe.n funa|,dei to,de)."
Two other passages may be adduced for their inherent interest. The first from "De Profug.," §32 (M. i. 573), where we read:
"There are passages written in the sacred scriptures (oi` avnagrafe,ntej crhsmoi,) which give proof of these things. What they are we must now consider. Now in the very beginning of the history of the law there is a passage to the following effect (Gen. ii. 6) (ai;detai, tij evn avrch|/ nomoqesi,aj meta. th.n kosmopoii<an euvqu.j toio,sde)."
Here there is a precise designation where, among "the written crhsmoi,," a certain one (tij) of them may be found, viz., in the beginning of "The Legislation" immediately after "The Creation" (cf. Ryle, p. xxi, note 1). The other is from the first book of the "De Somniis," § 27 (M. i. 646):
"These things are not my myth, but an oracle (crhsmo,j) written on the sacred tables (evn tai/j i`erai/j avnagegramme,noj sth,laij), For it says (Gen. xlvi. 1)."
This passage in Genesis is thus an oracle "written in the sacred tablets" - and thus this phrase emerges as one of Philo's names for the Scriptures. Elsewhere we read somewhat more precisely:
"Now these are those men who have lived irreproachably and admirably, whose virtues are durably and permanently recorded as on pillars in the sacred scriptures (w-n ta.j avreta.j evn tai/j i`erwta,taij evsthliteu/sqai grafai/j sumbe,bhken)" ("De Abrah.," §1, M. ii. 2). "There is also in another place the following sentence (gra,mma) deeply engraven (evsthliteume,non), (Deut. xxxii. 8)" "(De Congr. Erud. Grat.," §12, M. i. 527).
The "Scriptures" thus bear to Philo a monumental character: they are a body of oracles written, and more - a body of oracles permanently engraved to be a lasting testimony forever.
The designations for Scripture in Philo are, indeed, somewhat various - such as i`erai. grafai, ("Quis rerum div. heres," §32 M. i. 495); i`erai. bi,bloi ("Quod det. pot. insid.," §44, M. i. 222); toi/j i`eroi/j gra,mmasin ("Legat. ad Caium.," §29, M. ii. 574). But probably none are used so frequently as, on the one hand, lo,goj, with various adjectival enhancements - such as o` profhtiko.j lo,goj ("De Plantat. Noe," §28, M. i. 437), o` qei/oj lo,goj ("Legg. Alleg.," iii, §3, M. i. 89; "De Mutat. Nom.," §20; "De Somniis," i. 33, ii. 37), and o] i`eroj lo,goj ("De Ebriet.," §36, M. i. 379; "De Mut. Nominum," §38; "De Somniis," i. 14, 22, 33, 35, 37, 39, 42; ii. 4, 9, 37, etc.); and especially, on the other hand, oi` crhsmoi,, occurring at times with extraordinary frequency.73 Some passages illustrative of this last usage are the following:
"For the sacred Scriptures (oi` crhsmoi,) say that he entered into the darkness" ("De Mutat. Nom.," §2). "But the sacred oracles (oi` crhsmoi,) are witnesses of that in which Abraham is addressed (the words being put in the mouth of God), (evn oi-j le,getai tw|/ vAbraa.m evk prosw,pou tou/ qeou/) (Gen. xvii. 1)" (do. §5). "And these are not my words only but those of the most holy scriptures (crhsmw/n tw/n i`erwta,twn, - anarthrous to bring out the quality in contrast to evmo.j mu/qoj), in which certain persons are introduced as saying . . ." (do. §28). Of Isaiah xlviii. 22 it is said in do. §31: lo,goj ga.r o;ntwj kai. crhsmo,j evsti qei/oj. "Accordingly the holy scriptures (oi` crhsmoi,) tell us that . . ." (do. § 36). "Therefore the sacred scriptures (oi` crhsmoi,) represent Leah as hated" (do. §44) "For she is represented by the sacred oracles (dia. tw/n crhsmw/n) as having left off all womanly ways (Gen. xviii. 12)" ("De Ebrietat.," §14, M. i. 365). "On which account the holy scripture (oi` crhsmoi,) very beautifully represent it as 'a little city and yet not a little one"' ("De Abrah.," §31, M. ii. 25). "Therefore the sacred scriptures (oi` crhsmoi,) say (Gen. xxiv. 1)" ("De Sobriet.," §4, M. i. 395). "According as the sacred scriptures (oi` crhsmoi,) testify, in which it is said (Ex. viii. 1)" ("De Confus. Ling.," §20, M. i. 419). "On which account it is said in the sacred scriptures (evn crhsmoi/j) (Deut. vii. 7)" ("De Migrat. Abrah.," §11, 1VI. i. 445). "God having drawn up and confirmed the proposition, as the Scriptures (oi` crhsmoi) show, in which it is expressly stated that (Deut. xxx. 4)" ("De Confus. Ling.," § 38, M, i. 435).
When we combine these passages with those in which lo,gion occurs it will probably not seem too much to say that the dominant method of conceiving the Bible in Philo's mind was as a book of oracles. Whether he uses the word lo,gion or crhsmo,j, it is, of course, all one to him. Indeed, that nothing should be lacking he occasionally uses also other synonyms. For example, here is an instance of the Homeric word qeopro,pion cropping out: "For there is extant an oracle delivered to the wise man in which it is said (Lev. xxvi. 12), (kai. ga,r evsti crhsqe.n tw|/ sofw|/ qeopro,pion evn w-| le,getai)" ("De Somniis," i, §23). And this oracular conception of Scripture is doubtless the reason why it is so frequently quoted in Philo by the subjectless fhsi,( le,gei( le,getai (instead of, say, ge,graptai). There are in general, speaking broadly, three ways in which one fully accepting the divine origin and direct divine authority of Scripture may habitually look upon it. He may think of it as a library of volumes and then each volume is likely to be spoken of by him as a grafh, and the whole, because the collection of volumes, as ai` grafai,, or, when the idea of its unity is prominently in mind, as itself h` grafh,. On the other hand, the sense of its composite character may be somewhat lost out of habitual thought, swallowed up in the idea of its divine unity, and then its several sentences or passages are apt to be thought and spoken of as each a gra,mma, and the whole, because made up of these sentences or passages, as ta. gra,mmata. Or, finally, the sense of the direct divine utterance of the whole to the soul, and of its immediate divine authority, may overshadow all else and the several sentences or passages of the book be each conceived as an unmediated divine word coming directly to the soul - and then each passage is likely to be called a lo,gion or crhsmo,j, and the whole volume, because the sum of these passages, ta. lo,gia or oi` crhsmoi, - or occasionally, when its unity is prominently in mind, one great to. lo,gion or o` crhsmo,j. Each of these three ways of looking at the Scriptures of the Old Testament finds expression in Philo,74 in Josephus and in the New Testament. But it is the last that is most characteristic of the thought of Philo, and the first possibly of the writers of the New Testament:75 while perhaps we may suspect that the intermediate one was most congenial to the thought of Josephus, who, as a man of affairs and letters rather than of religion, would naturally envisage the writings of the Old Testament rather as documents than as oracles.
From this survey we may be able to apprehend with some accuracy Philo's place in the development of the usage of the word lo,gion. He has received it directly from profane Greek as one of a series of synonyms - lo,gion( crhsmo,j( qeopro,pion, etc. - denoting a direct word from God, an "oracle." He has in no way modified its meaning except in so far as a heightening of its connotation was inseparable from the transference of it from the frivolous and ambiguous oracles of heathendom to the revelations of the God of Israel, a heightening which was, no doubt, aided by the constant use of the word in the Septuagint - Philo 's Bible - to translate the Hebrew hr'm.ai with all its high suggestions. But in this transference he has nevertheless given it a wholly new significance, in so far as he has applied it to a fixed written revelation and thus impressed on it entirely new implications. In his hands, lo,gion becomes, by this means, a synonym of gra,mma, and imports "a passage of Scripture" - conceived, of course, as a direct oracle from God. And the plural becomes a synonym of ta. gra,mma( ai` grafai,( oi` bi,bloi( o` lo,goj - or whatever other terms are used to express the idea of "the Holy Scriptures" - and imports what we call "the Bible," of course with the implication that this Bible is but a congeries of "oracles," or direct utterances of God, or even in its whole extent one great "oracle" or utterance of God - that it is, in a word, the pure and absolute "Word of God." But when we say that lo,gion is in Philo's hands the equivalent of "a passage of Scripture," we must guard against supposing that there is any implication of brevity attaching to it: its implication is that of direct divine utterance, not of brevity; and "the passage" in mind and designated by lo,gion may be of any length, conceived for the time and the purpose in hand as a unitary deliverance from God, up to the whole body of Scripture itself." Similarly ta. lo,gia in Philo has not yet hardened into a simple synonym of "Scripture," but designates any body of the "oracles" of which the whole Scripture is composed - now the " ten commandments," now the Book of Genesis, now the Pentateuch, now the Jewish Law in general."
There is little trace in Philo of the application made in the LXX. of lo,gion to the high priestly breastplate, by which it came to mean, not only the oracular deliverance, but the place or instrument of divination - though, quoting the LXX. as freely as he does, Philo could not help occasionally incorporating such a passage in his writings. We read, for example, in the "Legg. Allegor.," iii, §40 (M. i. 111) :
"At all events the Holy Scripture (o` i`ero.j lo,goj), being well aware how great is the power of the impetuosity of each passion, anger and appetite, puts a bridle in the mouth of each, having appointed reason (to.n lo,gon) as their charioteer and pilot. And first of all it speaks thus of anger, in the hope of pacifying and curing it, 'And you shall put manifestation and truth' [the Urim and Thummim] 'in the oracle of judgment (evpi. to. lo,gion tw/n kri,sewn) and it shall be on the breast of Aaron, when he comes into the Holy Place before the Lord' (Ex. xxviii. 30). Nor by the oracle (lo,gion) is here meant the organs of speech which exist in us. . . . For Moses here speaks not of a random, spurious oracle (lo,gion) but of the oracle of judgment, which is equivalent to saying a well-judged and carefully examined oracle."
Thus Philo gradually transmutes the lo,gion = logei/on of his text into the lo,gion = crhsmo,j of his exposition: and it is a little remarkable how little influence this LXX. usage has on his own use of the word. With him lo,gion is distinctively a passage of Scripture, and the congeries of these passages make ta. lo,gia.
That this usage is not, however, a peculium of Philo's merely, is evidenced by a striking passage from Josephus, in which it appears in full development. For example, we read:
"The Jews, by demolishing the tower of Antonia, had made their temple square, though they had it written in their sacred oracles (avnagegramme,non evn toi/j logi,oij) that their city and sanctuary should be taken when their temple should become square. But what most stirred them up was an ambiguous oracle (crhsmo,j) that was found also in their sacred writings (evn toi/j i`eroi/j eu`rhme,noj gra,mmasin) that about that time one from their country should become ruler of the world. The Jews took this prediction to belong to themselves, and many wise men were thereby deceived in their judgment. Now this oracle (to. lo,gion) certainly denoted the rule of Vespasian" ("De Bello Jud.," vi. 5, 4).
In this short passage we have most of the characteristics of the Philonean usage repeated: here is the interchangeable usage of lo,gion and crhsmo,j, on the one hand, and of ta. lo,gia and ta. gra,mmata, on the other: the sacred writings of the Jews are made up of "oracles," so that each portion of them is a lo,gion and the whole ta. lo,gia.78
IV. That this employment of ta. lo,gia as a synonym of ai` grafai, was carried over from the Jewish writers to the early Fathers, Dr. Lightfoot has sufficiently shown in a brief but effective passage in his brilliant papers in reply to the author of "Supernatural Religion."79 It is not necessary to go over the ground afresh which Dr. Lightfoot has covered. But, for the sake of a general completeness in the presentation of the history of the word, it may be proper to set down here some of the instances of its usage in this sense among the earlier Fathers. Clement of Rome, after having quoted examples from the Scriptures at length, sums up the lesson thus: "The humility, therefore, and the submissiveness of so many great men, who have thus obtained a good report, hath through obedience made better not only us, but also the generations which were before us, even them that received his oracles in fear and truth" (c. 19); again (c. 53), "For ye know, and know well the sacred Scriptures (ta.j i`eraj grafa,j), dearly beloved, and ye have searched into the oracles of God (ta. lo,gia tou/ qeou/)"; and still again (c. 62), "And we have put you in mind of these things the more gladly, since we knew well that we were writing to men who are faithful and highly accounted and have diligently searched into the oracles of the teaching of God (ta. lo,gia th/j paidei,aj tou/ qeou/)." The same phenomenon obviously meets us here as in Philo: and Harnack80 and Lightfoot81 both naturally comment to this effect on the middle instance - the former calling especially attention to the equation drawn between the two phrases for Scripture, and the latter to the fact, as shown by the Scriptures immediately adduced, that the mind of the writer in so designating Scripture was not on "any divine precept or prediction, but the example of Moses." Equally strikingly, we read in II Clem., xiii, "For the Gentiles when they hear from our mouth the oracles of God, marvel at them for their beauty and greatness. . . . . For when they hear from us that God saith, 'It is no thank unto you, if ye love them that love you, but this is thank unto you, if you love your enemies and them that hate you [Luke vi. 32]' - when they hear these things, I say, they marvel at their exceeding goodness." "The point to be observed," says Lightfoot,82 "is that the expression here refers to an evangelical record." Similarly Polycarp, c. vii, writes: "For every one 'who will not confess that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is antichrist' (I John iv. 2, 3) ; and whosoever shall not confess the testimony of the cross is of the devil; and whosoever shall pervert the oracles of the Lord (ta. lo,gia tou/ kuri,ou) to his own lusts and say there is neither resurrection nor judgment, that man is the firstborn of Satan." On this passage Zahn, followed by Lightfoot, very appropriately adduces the parallel in the Preface to Irenaeus' great work, "Against Heresies," where he complains of the Gnostics "falsifying the oracles of the Lord (ta. lo,gia Kuri,ou), becoming bad exegetes of what is well said": while later ("Haer.," i. 8, 1) the same writer speaks of the Gnostics' art in adapting the dominical oracles (ta. kuriaka. lo,gia) to their opinions, a phrase he equates with "the oracles of God," and uses in a context which shows that he has the whole complex of Scripture in mind. In precisely similar wise, Clement of Alexandria is found calling the Scriptures the "oracles of truth" ("Coh. ad Gent.," p. 84 ed. Potter), the "oracles of God" ("Quis Div. Sal.," 3) and the "inspired oracles" ("Strom.," i. 392); and Origen, "the oracles," "the oracles of God" "De Prin.," iv. 11; in Matt., x. § 6): and Basil, the "sacred oracles," "the oracles of the Spirit" ("Hom.," xi. 5; xii. 1). The Pseudo-Ignatius ("ad Smyr.," iii) writes: "For the oracles (ta. lo,gia) say: 'This Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven,' etc. [Acts i. 11]" - where the term certainly is just the equivalent of h` grafh,.83 And Photius tells us ("Bibl.," 228) that the Scriptures recognized by Ephraem, Patriarch of Antioch (circa 525-545 A.D.), consisted of the Old Testament, the Dominical Oracles (ta. kuriaka. lo,gia) and the Preaching of the Apostles" - where the adjective kuriaka, is obviously intended to limit the broad ta. lo,gia, so that the phrase means just "the Gospels."
Dr. Lightfoot's object in bringing together such passages, it will be remembered, was to fix the sense of lo,gia in the description which Eusebius gives of the work of Papias and in his quotations from Papias' remarks about the Gospels of Matthew and Mark. Papias' book, we are told by Eusebius ("H. E.," iii, 39), was entitled Logi,wn kuriakw/n evxhgh,seij - that is, obviously, from the usage of the words, it was a commentary on the Gospels, or less likely, on the New Testament: and he is quoted as explaining that Matthew wrote ta. lo,gia in the Hebrew language and that Mark made no attempt to frame a su,ntaxin tw/n kuriakw/n logi,wn,84 or, as is explained in the previous clause, of ta. u`po. tou/ Cristou/ h' lecqe,nta h' pracqe,nta - that is, as would seem again to be obvious, each wrote his section of the "Scriptures" in the manner described. The temptation to adjust these Papian phrases to current theories of the origin of the Gospels has proved too strong, however, to be withstood even by the demonstration of the more natural meaning of the words provided by Dr. Lightfoot's trenchant treatment: and we still hear of Papias' treatise on the "Discourses of the Lord," and of the "Book of Discourses" which Papias ascribes to Matthew and which may well be identified (we are told) with the "Collection of Sayings of Jesus," which criticism has unearthed as lying behind our present Gospels.85 Indeed, as time has run on, there seems in some quarters even a growing disposition to neglect altogether the hard facts of usage marshaled by Dr. Lightfoot, and to give such rein to speculation as to the meaning of the term lo,gia as employed by Papias, that the last end of the matter would appear to threaten to be worse than the first. We are led to use this language by a recent construction of Alfred Resch's, published in the " Theologische Studien" dedicated to Bernhard Weiss on his seventieth birthday. Let us, however, permit Resch to speak for himself. He is remarking on the identification of the assumed fundamental gospel (Urevangelium) with the work of Matthew mentioned by Papias. He says:
"Thus the name - lo,gia - and the author - Matthew - seemed to be found for this Quellenschrift. In the way of this assumption there stood only the circumstance that the name 'lo,gia' did not seem to fit the Quellenschrift as it had been drawn out by study of the Gospels, made wholly independently of the notice of Papias - since it yielded a treatise of mixed narrative and discourses. This circumstance led some to characterize the Quellenschrift, in correspondence with the name lo,gia, as a mere collection of discourses; while others found in it a reason for sharply opposing the identification of the Logia of Matthew and the fundamental gospel (Urevangelium), or even for discrediting the whole notice of Papias as worthless and of no use to scholars. No one, however, thought of looking behind the lo,gia for the hidden Hebrew name, although it was certainly obvious that a treatise written in Hebrew could not fail to have a Hebrew title. And I must myself confess that only in 1895, while the third volume of my 'Aussercanonischen Paralleltexte' was passing through the press, did it occur to me to ask after the Hebrew name of the lo,gia. But with the question the answer was self-evidently at once given: ~yrib'D.,86 therefore [;Wvye yreb.Di. To this answer attached itself at once, however, the reminiscence of titles ascribed in the Old Testament to a whole series of Quellenschriften: laWmv. yrbD, %lMh `dywd yrbD, aybNh !tn yrbD, (harh) hzth dG yrbD (cf. I Chron. xxix. 29); hmlv yrbD rps (I Kings xi. 41); hVnm yrbD, larcy yklm yrbD (II Chron. xxxiii. I8). As, then, there in the Old Testament, it is just historical Quellenschriften of biographical contents that bear the name of myirb'D;, so this New Testament Quellenschrift, the title [;Wvey yreb.Di. It contained therefore the history of Him of whom the prophets had prophesied, Who was greater than Solomon, David's Son and David's Lord and the King of Israel. And as the LXX. had translated the title certainly unskillfully enough by lo,goi, so Papias or his sponsor (Gewährsmann) by lo,gia. The sense, however, of the Hebrew ~yrib'D. is, as Luther very correctly renders it - 'Histories.' Cf. Heft iii. 812. By this discovery of the original title, the New Testament Quellenschrift which from an unknown had already become a known thing, has now become from an unnamed a named thing. The desiderated x has been completely found."87
Criticism like this certainly scorns all facts. The Hebrew word rbd, meaning a "word," passed by a very readily understood process into the sense of "thing." In defining the term as used in the titles which Resch adduces, Dr. Driver says:88 "words: hence affairs, things - in so far as they are done, 'acts'; in so far as they are narrated, 'history."' The word rbd thus readily lent itself, in combinations like those adduced by Resch, to a double meaning: and it is apparently found in both these senses. In instances like tl,h,qo yreb.Di (Eccl. i. l, cf. Prov. xxx. 1, xxxi. 5; Jer. i. 1; Am. i. 1; Neh. i. 1) it doubtless means "words of Koheleth," and the like. In the instances adduced by Resch, it is doubtless used in the secondary sense of "history." The Greek word lo,goj, by which rbd was ordinarily translated in the LXX., while naturally not running through a development of meaning exactly parallel to that of rbd, yet oddly enough presented a fair Greek equivalent for both of these senses of -yreb.Di, used in titles: and why Resch should speak of lo,goi as unskillfully used in the titles he adduces, does not appear on the surface of things. Certainly, from Herodotus down, oi` lo,goi bore the specific meaning of just "Histories," as afterwards it bore the sense of "prose writings": and the early Greek historians were called accordingly oi` logogra,foi.89 The LXX. translators, in a word, could scarcely have found a happier Greek rendering for the titles of the Quellenschriften enumerated in I Chron. xxix. 29, 30, etc. Who, however, could estimate the unskillfulness of translating yrbd in such titles by lo,gia - a word which had no such usage and indeed did not readily lend itself to an application to human "words?" Papias (or his sponsor) must have been (as Eusebius calls him) a man of mean capacity indeed, so to have garbled Matthew's Hebrew. It should be noted, further, that Papias does not declare, as Resch seems to think, that Matthew wrote ta. lo,gia tou/ qeou/, or even ta. kuriaka. lo,gia - it is Papias' own book whose title contains this phrase; and it will be hard to suppose that Papias (or his sponsor) was a man of such mean capacity as to fancy the simple ta. lo,gia a fair equivalent for the Hebrew [wvy yrbd in the sense of "The History of Jesus." If he did so, one does not wonder that he has had to wait two thousand years for a reader to catch his meaning. Such speculations, in truth, serve no other good purpose than to exhibit how far a-sea one must drift who, leaving the moorings of actual usage, seeks an unnatural meaning for these phrases. Their obvious meaning is that Papias wrote an "Exposition of the Gospels," and that he speaks of Matthew's and Mark's books as themselves sections of those "Scriptures" which he was expounding. Under the guidance of the usage of the word, this would seem the only tenable opinion.90
It is not intended, of course, to imply that there is no trace among the Fathers of any other sense attaching to the words to. lo,gion( ta. lo,gia, than "the Scriptures" as a whole. Other applications of the words were found standing side by side with this in Philo, and they are found also among the Fathers. To. lo,gion, used of a specific text of Scripture, for example, is not uncommon in the Fathers. It is found, for instance, in Justin Martyr, "Apol.," i. 32: "And Jesse was his forefather kata. to. lo,gion" - to wit, Isa. xi. 1, just quoted. It is found in Clement of Alexandria ("Strom.," ii. Migne, i. 949a), where Isa. vii. 9 is quoted and it is added: "It was this lo,gion that Heraclitus of Ephesus paraphrased when he said . . . . " It is found repeatedly in Eusebius' "Ecclesiastical History," in which the Papian passages are preserved, as, e. g., ix. 7, ad fin., "So that, according to that divine (qei/on) lo,gion," Viz., Matt. xxiv. 24; x. 1, 4, " the lo,gion thus enjoining us," viz., Ps. xcvii. (xcviii.) 1; x. 4, 7, "concerning which a certain other divine lo,gion thus proclaims," viz., Ps. lxxxvi. (lxxxvii.) 3. Ta. lo,gia is also used in the Fathers, as in Philo, for any body of these Scriptural lo,gia, however small or large (i. e., for any given section of Scripture) - as, e.g., for the Ten Commandments. It is so used, for instance, in the "Apostolical Constitutions," ii. 26: "Keep the fear of God before your eyes, always remembering tw/n de,ka tou/ qeou/ logi,wn"; and also in Eusebius (H. E., ii. 18, 5). So, again, we have seen it, modified by qualifying adjectives, used for the Gospels - and indeed it seems to be employed without qualifications in this sense in Pseudo-Justin's "Epistola ad Zeram et Serenum" (Otto, i. 70b). It is further sometimes used apparently not of the Scripture text as such, but of certain oracular utterances recorded in it - as, for example, when Justin says to Trypho (c. 18): "For since you have read, O Trypho, as you yourself admitted, the doctrines taught by our Saviour, I do not think that I have done foolishly in adding some short utterances of his (brace,a tou/ evkei,nou lo,gia) to the prophetic statements" - to wit, words of Jesus recorded in Matt. xxi, xxiii and Luke xi, here put on a level with the oracles of the prophets, but apparently envisaged as spoken. All these are usages that have met us before.
But there are lower usages also discoverable in the later Patristic writers at least. There is an appearance now and then indeed as if the word was, in popular speech, losing something of its high implication of "solemn oracular utterances of God," and coming to be applied as well to the words of mere men91 - possibly in sequence to its application to the words of prophets and apostles as such and the gradual wearing down, in the careless popular consciousness, of the distinction between their words as prophets and apostles and their words as men; possibly, on the other hand, in sequence to the freer use of the word in profane speech and the wearing away of its high import with the loss of reverence for the thing designated. Thus we read as early as in the "Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena," edited by Prof. James for the " Cambridge Texts and Studies," and assigned by him to the middle of the third century (c. 28, p. 78), the following dialogue, in the course of a conversation between Polyxena and Andrew, "the apostle of the Lord": "Andrew saith: 'Draw not near me, child, but tell me who thou art and whence.' Then saith Polyxena: 'I am a great friend -of these here (xe,nh tw/n evntau/qa), but I see thy gracious countenance and thy logia are as the logia of Paul and I presume thee, too, to belong to his God."' If we may assume this to mark a transition stage in the usage, we may look upon a curious passage in John of Damascus as marking almost the completion of the sinking of the word to an equivalence to r`h,mata. It occurs in his "Disput. Christiani et Saraceni " (Migne, i. 1588, iii. 1344). The Saracenic disputant is represented as eager to obtain an acknowledgment that the Word of God, that is Christ, is a mere creature, and as plying the Christian with a juggle on the word lo,gia. He asks whether the lo,gia of God are create or increate. If the reply is "create," the rejoinder is to be: "Then they are not gods, and you have confessed that Christ, who is the Word (lo,goj) of God is not God." If, on the other hand, the reply is "increate," the rejoinder apparently is to be that the lo,gia of God nevertheless are not properly gods, and so again Christ the lo,goj is not God. Accordingly John instructs the Christian disputant to refuse to say either that they are create or that they are increate, but declining the dilemma, to reply merely: "I confess one only lo,goj of God that is increate, but my whole Scripture (grafh,) I do not call lo,gia, but r`h,mata qeou/." On the Saracen retorting that David certainly says ta. lo,gia (not r`h,mata) of the Lord are pure lo,gia, the Christian is to reply that the prophet speaks here tropologikw/j, and not kuriologikw/j, that is to say, not by way of a direct declaration, but by way of an indirect characterization. It is a remarkable logomachy that we are thus treated to: and it seems to imply that in John's day lo,gia had sunk to a mere synonym of r`h,mata. That men had then ceased to speak of the whole grafh, as ta. qei/a lo,gia we know not to have been the case: but apparently this language was now made use of with no more pregnancy of meaning than if they had said ta. qei/a r`h,mata.92 This process seems to have continued, and in the following passage from a work of the opening of the eleventh century - the "Life of Nilus the Younger," published in the 120th volume of Migne's "Pat. Graec." (p. 97 D), - we have an instance of the extreme extension of the application of the word: "Then saith the Father to him: 'It is not fitting that thou, a man of wisdom and high-learning, should think or speak ta. tw/n koinw/n avnqrw,pwn lo,gia.'"93 And accordingly we cannot be surprised to find that in modern Greek the word is employed quite freely of human speech. Jannaris tells us that it is used in the sense of "maxim," and that in colloquial usage ta. lo,gia may mean "promise" - in both of which employments there may remain a trace of its original higher import.94 While Kontopoulos gives as the English equivalents of lo,gion, the following list: "A saying, a word; a maxim; a motto, an oracle; ta. qei/a lo,gia, the divine oracles, the sacred Scriptures."95
Thus not only all the usages of the word found, say, in Philo, are continued in the Fathers, but there is an obvious development to be traced. But this development itself is founded on and is a witness to the characteristic usage of the word among the Fathers - that, to wit, in which it is applied to the inspired words of prophets and apostles. And by far the most frequent use of the word in the Patristic writings seems to be that in which it designates just the Holy Scriptures. Their prevailing usage is very well illustrated by that of Eusebius. We have already quoted a number of passages from his "Ecclesiastical History" in which he seems to adduce special passages of Scripture, each as a lo,gion. More common is it for him to refer to the whole Scriptures as ta. lo,gia, or rather (for this is his favorite formula) ta. qei/a lo,gia - and that whether he means the Old Testament (which in the "Praep. Evang.," ii. 6 [Migne, iii. 140 A], he calls ta. vEbrai,wn lo,gia), or the New Testament, or refers to the prophetic or the narrative portions. Instances may be found in "H. E.," v., 17, 5, where we are told that Miltiades left monuments of his study of the qei/a lo,gia; vi. 23, 2, where the zeal of Origen's friend Ambrose for the study of the qei/a lo,gia is mentioned as enabling Origen to write his commentaries on the qei/ai grafai,; ix. 9, 8, where a sentence from Ex. xv. 1 is quoted as from the qei/a lo,gia; x. 4, 28, where Ps. lvii. (lviii.), 7 is quoted from the qei/a lo,gia; "Palestinian Martyrs," xi. 2, where the devotion of the Palestinian martyrs to the qei/a lo,gia is adverted to. Even the singular - to. lo,gion - seems occasionally used by Eusebius (as by Philo) as a designation of the whole Scripture fabric. We may suspect this to be the case in "H. E.," x. 4, 43, when we read of "the costly cedar of Lebanon of which to. qei/on lo,gion has not been unmindful, saying, 'The forests of the Lord shall rejoice and the cedars of Lebanon which he planted' (Ps. cv. [civ.] 16)." And we cannot doubt it at "H. E.," ii. 10, 1, where we read concerning Herod Agrippa, that "as h` tw/n pra,xewn grafh, relates, he proceeded to Cæsarea and . . . . to. lo,gion relates 'that the angel of the Lord smote him"' - in which account it is worth while to observe the coincidence of Josephus' narrative with th.n qei/an grafh,n. Here, of course, to. lo,gion is primarily the Book of Acts - but as the subsequent context shows, it represents that book only as part of the sacred Scriptures, so that to. lo,gion emerges as a complete synonym of h` qei/a grafh,. Whatever other usage may from time to time emerge in the pages of the Fathers, the Patristic usage of the term, kat v evxoch,n, is as a designation of the "Scriptures" conceived as the Word of God.96
In the light of these broad facts of usage, certain lines may very reasonably be laid down within which our interpretation of [ta.] lo,gia in the New Testament instances of its occurrence should move. It would seem quite certain, for example, that no lower sense can be attached to it in these instances, than that which it bears uniformly in its classical and Hellenistic usage: it means, not "words" barely, simple "utterances," but distinctively "oracular utterances," divinely authoritative communications, before which men stand in awe and to which they bow in humility: and this high meaning is not merely implicit, but is explicit in the term. It would seem clear again that there are no implications of brevity in the term: it means not short, pithy, pregnant sayings, but high, authoritative, sacred utterances; and it may be applied equally well to long as to short utterances - even though they extend to pages and books and treatises. It would seem to be clear once more that there are no implications in the term of what may be called the literary nature of the utterances to which it is applied: it characterizes the utterances to which it is applied as emanations from God, but whether they be prophetic or narrative or legal, parenetic or promissory in character, is entirely indifferent: its whole function is exhausted in declaring them to be God's own utterances.97 And still further, it would seem to be clear that it is equally indifferent to the term whether the utterances so designated be oral or written communications: whether oral or written it declares them to be God's own Word, and it had become customary to designate the written Word of God by this term as one that was felt fitly to describe the Scriptures as an oracular book - either a body of oracles, or one continuous oracular deliverance from God's own lips.
This last usage is so strikingly characteristic of the Hellenistic adaptation of the term that a certain presumption lies in favor of so understanding it in Hellenistic writings, when the Scriptural revelation is in question: though this presumption is, of course, liable to correction by the obvious implications of the passages as wholes. In such a passage as Rom. iii. 2 this presumption rises very high indeed, and it would seem as if the word here must be read as a designation of the "Scriptures" as such, unless very compelling reasons to the contrary may be adduced from the context. That the mind of the writer may seem to some to be particularly dwelling upon this or that element in the contents of the Scriptures cannot be taken as such a compelling reason to the contrary: for nothing is more common than for a writer to be thinking more particularly of one portion of what he is formally adducing as a whole. The paraphrase of Wetstein appears in this aspect, therefore, very judicious: "They have the Sacred Books, in which are contained the oracles and especially the prophecies of the advent of the Messiah and the calling of the Gentiles; and by these their minds should be prepared": though, so far as this paraphrase may seem to separate between the Sacred Books and the Oracles they contain, it is unfortunate. The very point of this use of the word is that it identifies the Sacred Books with the Oracles; and in this aspect of it Dr. David Brown's comment is more satisfactory: "That remarkable expression, denoting 'Divine Communications' in general, is transferred to the sacred Scriptures to express their oracular, divinely authoritative character." The case is not quite so simple in Heb. v. 12: but here, too, the well-balanced comment of Dr. Westcott appears to us to carry conviction with it: "The phrase might refer to the new revelation given by Christ to His apostles (comp. c. i. 2) ; but it seems more natural to refer it to the collective writings of the Old Testament which the Hebrew Christians failed to understand." In Acts vii. 38 the absence of the article introduces no real complication: it merely emphasizes the qualitative aspect of the matter; what Moses received was emphatically oracles - which is further enhanced by calling them "lively," i. e., they were not merely dead, but living, effective, operative oracles. The speaker's eye is obviously on Moses as the recipient of these oracles, and on the oracles as given by God to Moses, as is recorded in the Pentateuch: but the oracles his eye is on are those recorded in the Pentateuch, and that came to Moses, not for himself, but for the Church of all ages - "to give to us." Here we may hesitate to say, indeed, that lo,gia means just the "Scriptures"; but what it means stands in a very express relation to the Scriptures, and possibly was not very sharply distinguished from the Scriptures by the speaker. With the analogies in Philo clearly in our mind, we should scarcely go far wrong if we conceived of lo,gia here as meaning to the speaker those portions of Scripture in which Moses recorded the revelations vouchsafed to him by God - conceived as themselves these revelations recorded. In I Peter iv. 11 the interpretation is complicated by the question that arises concerning the charisma that is intended, as well as by the casting of the phrase into the form of a comparison: "let him speak as it were oracles of God." It is not clear that the Divine Scriptures as such are meant here; but the term, in any case, retains all its force as a designation of sacred, solemn divine utterances: the speaker is to speak as becomes one whose words are not his own, but the very words of God - oracles proclaimed through his mouth. Whether it is the exercise of the prophetic gift in the strict sense that is adverted to, so that Peter's exhortation is that the prophet should comport himself in his prophesying as becomes one made the vehicle of the awful words of revelation; or only the gift of teaching that is in question, so that Peter's exhortation is that he who proclaims the word of God, even in this lower sense, shall bear himself as befits one to whom are committed the Divine oracles for explanation and enforcement - must be left here without investigation. In either case the term is obviously used in its highest sense and implies that the lo,gia of God are His own words, His awesome utterances.
What has thus been said in reference to these New Testament passages is intended to go no further in their explanation than to throw the light of the usage of the word upon their interpretation. Into their detailed exegesis we cannot now enter. We cannot pass by the general subject, however, without emphasizing the bearing these passages have on the New Testament doctrine of Holy Scripture. It will probably seem reasonable to most to interpret Rom. iii. 2 as certainly, Heb. v. 12 as probably, and Acts vii. 38 as very likely making reference to the written Scriptures; and as bearing witness to the conception of them on the part of the New Testament writers as "the oracles of God." That is to say, we have unobtrusive and convincing evidence here that the Old Testament Scriptures, as such, were esteemed by the writers of the New Testament as an oracular book, which in itself not merely contains, but is the "utterance," the very Word of God; and is to be appealed to as such and as such deferred to, because nothing other than the crystallized speech of God. We merely advert to this fact here without stopping to develop its implications or to show how consonant this designation of the Scriptures as the "Oracles of God" is with the conception of the Holy Scriptures entertained by the New Testament writers as otherwise made known to us. We have lately had occasion to point out in this Review some of the other ways in which this conception expresses itself in the New Testament writings.98 He who cares to look for it will find it in many ways written largely and clearly and indelibly on the pages of the New Testament. We content ourselves at this time, however, with merely pointing out that the designation of the Scriptures as ta. lo,gia tou/ qeou/ fairly shouts to us out of the pages of the New Testament, that to its writers the Scriptures of the Old Testament were the very Word of God in the highest and strictest sense that term can bear - the express utterance, in all their parts and each and every of their words, of the Most High - the "oracles of God." Let him that thinks them something other and less than this, reckon, then, with the apostles and prophets of the New Covenant - to whose trustworthiness as witnesses to doctrinal truth he owes all he knows about the New Covenant itself, and therefore all he hopes for through this New Covenant.