Thursday, July 14, 2005
There’s No Shame in Being Agrammatoi
This 1999 article in New Testament Studies takes a thorough look at the Greek words agrammatoi and idiotai, which are used to describe the Sanhedrin’s perception of Paul and John in Acts 4. Thomas Kraus argues that the strong negative connotation of the English derivatives “ungrammatical” and “idiots” should be left out of our reading of Acts 4:13. Instead, “agrammatoi” (lacking education) and “idiotai” (lacking expertise) are neutral descriptions of the lack of specialized knowledge on the part of Paul and John, which makes their testimony all the more remarkable.
I was impressed that modern translations seemed to have aptly softened the KJV’s translation of “unlearned and ignorant”: