"Perry L. Stepp" <plstepp@flash.net>

Edgar Krentz (ekrentz@lstc.edu)
Wed, 29 Jan 1997 09:05:03 -0600

>Dear Edgar, Perry, and Colleagues:
>Differing with Edgar Krentz gives me real pause, but I really think my
>suggestion of a few minutes ago is better, at two points:

>[Edgar Krentz's proposal:]
>I think you should translate something like the following:
>"It is better to live (have one's house) in a corner under the sky
>than in whitewashed walls with injustice and in a defiled (lit.: common)
>The sense is that a house is made ritually impure if the people in it
>commit injustice. Therefore it is preferable not to live in a house at all,
>since a corner in the open should be ritually pure.
>It reminds me of the whitewashed sepulchers in Matthew 23.
>[Edward Hobbs:]
>I believe "plastered [rooms]" is better than "whitewashed walls", in view
>of two things: (a) "plastered" is far the commonest meaning, and (b) it has
>a positive sense, which is what you want in this half of the clause.
>More importantly, while "KOINOS" can mean, IN THE NEW TESTAMENT (only?),
>"non-kosher (meat)", this is not a meaning in earlier Greek (I believe--
>maybe Edgar will shoot me down here), where "ordinary" or "regular" or the
>like is the semi-negative sense. But far more to the point is this: Look
>at the Hebrew; LXX translators were trying to render cHeVeR, which surely
>means "in common", "shared." Since the KOINOS in LXX can readily also mean
>this, it would be better to read it in that way--as a "house shared [with]"
>someone or something.

I'll gladly agree with Edward Hobb's interpretation of KOINOS. But I do
wonder just what Greek term Edward presupposes for "rooms"? It would be
easier for me to supply the term OIKOS, i.e. whitewashed or plastered
(since both were part of the house construction) houses. (What would you
say to adobe, Edward? made of dust?)

Not difficult to defer to Edward on this one. My knowledge of house
construction is what made me suggest whitewashed at first.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel: [773] 256-0752; (H) [773] 947-8105
e-mail: ekrentz@lstc.edu