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Without God: Some Notes On A Greek Expression

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Chapter Summary

There is a famous passage in the New Testament where, in the context of a discussion about persecution, Jesus says that not even one sparrow will fall to the ground without your Father. Many translators and commentators have racked their brains over the precise sense of the apparently simple expression. These translations can roughly be divided into two categories: without Gods knowledge versus without Gods will. There is an important distinction here: knowledge does not imply will, but will (and consent) does imply knowledge. Since Matthew wrote in Greek and there is a long history of expressions meaning without god (or: the gods) in Greek literature, this chapter reviews some of the most pertinent passages from Greek authors, ranging over a period of more than a thousand years, in a roughly chronological order.

Keywords: Gods knowledge; Gods will; Greek literature; Jesus; Matthew; New Testament

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