Re: dikaiosounh

James H. Vellenga (
Fri, 2 Aug 96 08:24:26 EDT

>From John M. Moe:
> Friends, Scholars, and Gramarians,
> At Philippians 3:9 Paul speaks of righteousness THN DIA PISTEWS CRISTOU. I'm
> wresteling wtih the old subjective/objective gen. question here. I am becoming
> more and more convinced that "Christ's faithfulness" is what Paul has in mind.
> Am I out of gramatical bounds?
> Thanks
I'm an amateur myself, but after checking some of the back
postings in the archives, and studying a number of passages
myself, I'm becoming more and more convinced of the subjective
genitive. The arguments seem not to be based on grammar,
but tradition and context.

Apparently, many (maybe most) of the church fathers (writers of the first
few centuries) who actually quote Paul treat the phrase as
objective genitive. However, those who don't quote Paul
directly may use the phrase as subjective genitive (so says
at least one poster).

Another argument is context such as Galatians 2.16, where
a "PISTIS of Christ's" is mixed in with "even as we committed
(from PISTEUW) ourselves to Christ Jesus." So those who hold consistently
with the subjective genitive (as I do for now) must interpret
this as an interaction of mutual commitment (Christ commits
himself for our sake, and we respond with a commitment of our
own) -- but many scholars do not.

So far I haven't seen an argument that says
the phrase could NOT be subject genitive on the basis of
grammar. My own reason for treating it as subjective genitive
is that PISTIS with any other genitive of person (MOU, SOU, QEOU)
(cf. Rom 3.3) is treated as subjective genitive, and it seems to me that
we ought for consistency to do the same for PISTIS CRISTOU.


James H. Vellenga |
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