Re: Re Conditional sentences

Rod Decker (
Fri, 10 May 1996 16:39:57 -0500

Michael Holmes wrote:

>In my experience, virtually every English-only
>reader thinks that the tempter is challenging the *identity* of Jesus,
>whereas it seems almost certain that what is being challenged is his
>*character* (cf., e.g., Fitzmyer on Luke)--i.e., the only reason the tempter
>bothers to tempt this particular individual is precisely because he is "son
>of God," and he wishes to learn what kind of son he will prove to be. In
>this case, in view of the limited means in English to deal with conditional
>sentences (limited, at least, vis-a-vis Greek), doesn't it "inadvertantly
>confuse the context" to translate EI as "if"? Would not "since" be truer to
>the intent of the text?

That's an interesting approach to this text. I'm not familiar with
Fitzmyer's discussion, but if his argument re. the tempter's purpose can be
substantiated, then you have a very good point re. translating the cond. as
"since." I noted one response to Mike's proposal that didn't get the point
here; the crux is that one cannot assume either 'if' or 'since' in English.
Rather, we need to ask which best expresses the contextual intent.


_/Rodney J. Decker, Asst. Prof./NT Calvary Theol. Seminary\_
_/ Kansas City, MO\_
_/As of 7/96: Baptist Bible Seminary (PA)\_