Monday, May 15, 2017



W.D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, Matthew 1-7 (1988; rpt. London: T & T Clark Ltd, 2010), p. 525 (on Matthew 5:29 "It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell"):

Here are the extra-biblical parallels cited by Davies and Allison.

Diogenes Laertius 4.49 (= Bion of Borysthenes, fragment 57 Kindstrand; tr. R.D. Hicks):
He used repeatedly to say that to grant favours to another was preferable to enjoying the favours of others.

ἔλεγε δὲ συνεχὲς ὅτι αἱρετώτερόν ἐστι τὴν ὥραν ἄλλῳ χαρίζεσθαι ἢ ἀλλοτρίας ἀποδρέπεσθαι.
Seneca, On Anger 3.8.8 (tr. John W. Basore):
It is easier to refrain than to retreat from a struggle.

facilius est se a certamine abstinere quam abducere.
I don't have access to Graydon F. Snyder, "The Tobspruch in the New Testament," New Testament Studies 23.1 (October, 1976) 117-120, or Glendon E. Bryce, "'Better'-Proverbs: An Historical and Structural Study," Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Literature 108.2 (1972) 343-354, but G.S. Ogden, "The 'Better'-Proverb (Tôb-Spruch), Rhetorical Criticism, and Qoheleth," Journal of Biblical Literature 96.4 (December, 1977) 489-505, is useful. I came across the word Tobspruch in J. Ramsey Michaels, 1 Peter (Waco: Word Books, 1988), pp. 191-192 (on 1 Peter 3:17).

Thanks very much to John Cline for sending me a copy of Snyder's article, in which I see another extra-biblical parallel on p. 120, n. 1, viz. Andocides, On the Mysteries 125 (tr. K.J. Maidment):
The daughter of Ischomachus thought death better than an existence where such things went on before her very eyes...

ἡ δὲ τοῦ Ἰσχομάχου θυγάτηρ τεθνάναι νομίσασα λυσιτελεῖν ἢ ζῆν ὁρῶσα τὰ γιγνόμενα...

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