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Hebrew of the Hebrews

Posted: Wed Oct 03, 2018 6:33 am
by Ruminator
This question concerns whether or not a Greek phrase used in the NT is a Hebrew idiomatic usage. If this is off topic, please let me know and I'll delete the question.

The phrase is:

Philippians 3:5 I was circumcised on the eighth day, from the people of Israel and the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews. I lived according to the law as a Pharisee.

Philippians 3:5 περιτομῇ ὀκταήμερος ἐκ γένους Ἰσραήλ φυλῆς Βενιαμίν Ἑβραῖος ἐξ Ἑβραίων κατὰ νόμον Φαρισαῖος


Is this a Hebrew idiomatic usage? Or should it be understood word by word?

English translations vary on how it is to be understood: https://biblehub.com/philippians/3-5.htm

Re: Hebrew of the Hebrews

Posted: Sun Oct 07, 2018 9:27 pm
by SteveMiller
William,
There is no 'Hebrew of Hebrews' or 'Israelite of Israelites' in the OT.

In the OT, we do have the expressions: holy of holies, king of kings, Lord of Lords, God of Gods, heaven of heavens - and maybe others.
These expressions refer to the ultimate of that group.
All of these are in the NT except for God of Gods and heaven of heavens.

Re: Hebrew of the Hebrews

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:38 am
by Ruminator
Thank you Steve. It appears that the preposition ἐξ makes this not a Hebraism: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/ ... ippians-35

Re: Hebrew of the Hebrews

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:35 pm
by SteveMiller
Ruminator, I agree. LXX and NT never translated any of the Hebrew superlatives with the preposition "ek" in between.