>This has been a really interesting thread! Time for my two cents...
>Carl Conrad wrote:
>> Personally I've always thought that the delicate irony of 13:1
>> makes pretty clear what Paul means by "the greater gifts" and
>> that is why I think the adversative DE in 12:31 is important:
>> not everyone can heal, not everyone can speak in tongues or
>> interpret them, but everybody can show Christ's love, and that
>> is a considerably greater, more valuable gift, the absence of which
>> nullify any value to healing, tongue-speaking, or interpretation.
>Whenever I question Carl's interpretations, I look like a fool
>but I always learn something useful in the process, so here goes...
If you DON'T question them, you may look like a WORSE fool! Aristotle
said at some point early in the Ethics, in disagreement with Plato's
conception of the Idea of the Good, "Plato is my friend, but the truth
is a greater friend." In my last response to James Vellenga yesterday,
I said I wavered between the two explanations, particularly because of
the nice competitive emphasis in ZHLOUTE, which could indeed refer to
the Corinthians' competitive individualism in spiritual matters, but
I'm still inclined toward understanding the ZHLOUTE as imperative.
>I like the above interpretation, but I'm struggling with the meaning
>KAQ hUPERBOLHN hODON:
>1Cor 12:31 (GNT) ZHLOUTE DE TA CARISMATA TA MEIZONA. KAI ETI KAQ
>hODON hUMIN DEIKNUMI. 13:1 EAN TAIS GLWSSAIS TWN ANQRWPWN LALW KAI
>Doesn't ETI indicate that love is a *still* more outstanding way than
>greater gifts? If this is the case, then it can't be identical with
>greater gifts. And TA CARISMATA is plural - love would be one gift,
>Robertson's Word Pictures suggests the translation "I show you a way
>excellance", or "beyond all comparison", saying that this is
>not comparative. He indicates the use of KAQ hUPERBOLHN EIS hUPERBOLHN
>Cor 4:17 to support this. But if this is the case, what is that ETI
There are three questions here: (1) Is KAQ' hUPERBOLHN in fact a
comparative or superlative expression? (2) How does ETI function here?
and (3) Doesn't the plural MEIZONA (CARISMATA) stand in contradiction
to the focus of chapter 13 on AGAPH.
(1) I would agree that KAQ' hUPERBOLHN ought to be understood as a
superlative rather than a comparative, and I think Robertson's
suggestion of <italic>par excellence</italic> to translate it is, well,
excellent. I just checked LSJ for hUPERBOLH and I find it somewhat
ironic that far more often than not, particularly in adverbial
expressions, the word tends to have a pejorative sense of excess. Here,
however, I don't think a pejorative sense of excess is conceivable. I
think it has to be superlative.
(2) But Jonathan is right: if it's superlative, how can ETI govern it?
"Still/yet most excellent"? Seems dubious. What people want to
understand it as is a comparative, "still more excellent." But it
really doesn't seem to be a comparative. So what about ETI? Actually,
the function of ETI as a qualifier of comparatives is secondary; its
original and primary usage is as a temporal adverb much like Latin IAM
or German NOCH or English "yet." It points to the immediate present or
future in relation to the past or the fading present: OUKETI = "no
longer, no more"; ETI KAI NUN = "and even now." I think that the sense
of KAI ETI in 1 Cor 12:31 may very well be "and now ..." and be
understood not with KAQ' hUPERBOLHN but rather with DEIKNUMI (which
verb, by the way, is one of those present tenses with future
reference!): "And NOW I'll show you ... (ta'da!) ... a course
(3) I don't have my previous post at hand, but I believe that I said I
thought that the MEIZONA (CARISMATA) referred not just to AGAPH but
rather to PISTIS, ELPIS, and AGAPH, the three endowments that MENEI
(13:13) even after the others fade away with the dawning of the new
age--and Paul certainly does emphasize, in 13:8-10, the passing-away of
those other endowments of which the Corinthians pneumatics are so
proud. These three last into the age-to-come, and of the three, Paul
says, MEIZWN hH AGAPH.
I reiterate: I think this is a plausible reading, but I think that the
alternative reading (ZHLOUTE as indicative) is quite plausible as
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
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