Meaning of phusis
I have onelast posting on this subject, not because I expect to end debate, but because the issue of transaltion vis-a-vis semantic domains and such is an
important topic and I would welcome anhy comments on my comments that relate
to the art and science of translation in this context. I spent some time last night with Louw & Nida after looking at the references found to _phusis_ in
Schmoller's Handkonkordanz. I observed the following:
Rom 2:14: hotan phusei (when they do by phusei the things in the law). The
word here in question must, I think, refer tosomething innate in the doers.
I don't see any way for it to refer to some sort of observable characteristic.
1 Cor 11:14: oude he phusis (nature does not teach you ... does it? -- note that I am following Padgett's understandingof this verse. My own research of Paul's use of ou and me compounds leads me to believe he is asking a question here that expects a negative response) Here Paul uses phusis in the same way, IMHO, that we use the term "mother nature". He is saying that the created order teaches
nothing about long hair. Again, phusis here does not mean observable
characteristic but is being treated as an entity in its own right.
Gal. 2:15: hemeis phusei ioudaioi (we who by nature are Jews) I don't know
all the details of how a Jew might appear differently from a Gentile
in the Hellenistic world at large, but it seems clear to me that Paul is not
talking about outward, observable characteristics, but innate qualities.
EPh 2:3: emetha tekna phusei orge (we were by nature children of wrath) Surely
one cannot tell merely by looking at someone if they are a child of wrath.
This verse clearly uses phusis to refer to something completely
non-tangible this side of the eschaton. It refers to a basic, essentail
The same could be said for several other references. Louw and Nida divide the use of phusis into two parts (58.8 and 58.24 for those who want to know).
58.8: nature, character. It's semantic domain seems to overlap other
words for nature or essentail character or form. They reference 2 Pet. 1:4, which surely does not refer to anything outward but again uses phusis as Eph 2:3
58:24: category or kind, based on physiological or genetic qualities, as in
James, where it refers to different kinds of animals.
Goign then from these references of which I am fairly confident about the
meaning of phusis, I have a hard time envisioning how I could render
phusis in ROm 1 in any other way than "nature", meaning essential quality or
character. So Paul is saying that men gave up their essentail sexual nature
or essetial characteristic of males for another one. Comments on my
understanding of these verses or reliance upon semnatic domain? I'm done talking about Rom 1 on this topic.