instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

It's all Google to me

One of the nice things about the Internet is that you can be learned without having to do all that pesky learning. For example:

What can I tell you about the word "'εναγκαλισ'αμηνος"? Other than the obvious stuff, I mean, like that it's the aorist inflection of "'εναγκαλ'ιζομαι," meaning "to take in one's arms"?

I can tell you that this verb appears exactly twice in the New Testament, both times in the aorist, both times in Mark, both times with Jesus as the subject and children as the object:
Taking a child he placed it in their midst, and putting his arms around it he said to them, "Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the one who sent me."

And people were bringing children to him that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this he became indignant and said to them, "Let the children come to me; do not prevent them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Amen, I say to you, whoever does not accept the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it." Then he embraced them and blessed them, placing his hands on them.
I note that Mark, the brisk no-nonsense Gospel, adds the embrace that Matthew omits. This is a highly personal detail that suggests to me a personal witness; embracing the child isn't strictly necessary for the doctrinal point about accepting the kingdom of God like a child, but it was something remembered and found worth passing on. The embrace turns the child from an object (literally an "it" in the NAB translation of Mark 9:36) to a subject who receives the love of Christ.

I note also that, in the second passage from Mark, where the parents merely wanted Jesus to touch their children, which the disciples thought too much, Jesus goes beyond this desire and embraces them.