I saw this come up in Twitter today — Larry Hurtado’s comments on a recent study by Philip Payne concerning whether 1 Cor 14:34-35 were originally part of 1 Corinthians. His thoughts are concise and clear, so folks not into textual criticism can get something out of them immediately. Payne’s original article is accessible via a link on Hurtado’s page.
Here are Peter Gurry’s thoughts as well (Evangelical Textual Criticism blog) for good measure.
(And nice title, Peter!)
I recently added this to my FAQ, but I thought I’d post it here as well.
Do you think Matthew 24:37-38 is a prophecy about the return of nephilim or has anything to do with Genesis 6:1-4?
The short answer to both is no. (I also don’t think it has anything to do with UFOs or aliens). Back around the year 2000 or so I suspected that was the case, but I know better now. It’s not a text-driven argument or position. I blogged about this (and Dan 2:43 as well) back in 2015. There are several problems with the idea, but I’ll summarize my thoughts here.
There are several reasons why Matt 24:37-38 does not connect back to Gen 6:1-4. The sons of God are mentioned nowhere in Matt 24. There isn’t a whiff of divine-human transgression. Their presence is assumed on the basis of the phrase “marrying and giving in marriage,” but that’s actually where the idea breaks down. If Matthew wanted readers to think about Genesis 6:1-4 in these comments, he’d use the Greek terms in the Septuagint of LXX for what the sons of God and mortal women were doing. Matthew doesn’t do that even once. The LXX reads ἔλαβον ἑαυτοῖς γυναῖκας ἀπὸ πασῶν, ὧν ἐξελέξαντο (lit: “they took for themselves women from all which they chose”). Matthew doesn’t use any of these terms. Matthew’s Greek for “marrying and giving in marriage” is γαμοῦντες καὶ γαμίζοντες (lit: “marrying and giving in marriage”). Even if you can’t read Greek you can look at the words and know they aren’t the same as Gen 6 LXX.The other significant problem is that saying Matthew 24:37-38 is about a repeat of Genesis 6:1-4 requires you to ignore parts of what Matthew describes — or deliberately not see the disconnections with Genesis 6:1-4. Here is the full list of what Matthew says will be going on when Jesus returns that was going on in the days of Noah:
– eating and drinking
– marrying and giving in marriage
– not watching / being unaware
Only one of those (conceivably — but incorrectly) could be associated with Gen 6:1-4 — the “marrying and giving in marriage.” The others have no association whatsoever with the supernaturalist aspects of Gen 6:1-4. So why impose the supernaturalist character of Gen 6 onto what Matthew says? It’s an arbitrary decision, and one made incoherent and unsustainable by the lack of any connection to the LXX of Gen 6:1-4. When biblical writers want their readers to cross-reference an OT passage with what they are saying, they create connections. Matthew doesn’t do that even once.
The episode is now live.
This one kicks off a series of topical episodes now that we’ve finished Leviticus. It’s a topic I’ve been asked to do many times, since I’ve alluded to the fact that the meaning of this passage takes us back to Genesis 6 (1 Cor 11:10 – “because of the angels”). The focus of the episode is the work of Troy Martin, whose work in Greco-Roman medical texts has profound explanatory power for understanding the intellectual worldview for the head covering language of 1 Cor 11.
NOTE: The content of this episode is overtly sexual in nature. In a nutshell, what Paul says about the head covering is framed by the “non-scientific science” of the first century AD (and earlier) with respect to procreation and fertility. You’ll be amazed at what Hippocrates (460 BC – 370 BC) really believed! You’ll be even more amazed at how much sense all that makes for understanding what Paul says in this passage.