EI as Since

Sun, 12 May 1996 10:51:11 -0400

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?

Then Rod Decker wrote:

>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

It is interesting that the demons in Matt 8 take it for granted that Jesus is
the Son of God: '"What do you want with us, Son of God?' they shouted. 'Have
you come to torment us before the appointed time?'" (Matt 8:29). And if Satan
is the "prince of the demons" (Matt 24), and presumably knows what they know,
do we not have a contextual or theological reason for translating the EI as
"since" in this particular case.

This is my first post but have been enjoying the list for several months now.

Bill Combs
Professor of NT
Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary