What is the effect of adding μέν to Romans 6:11?

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Bill Ross
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What is the effect of adding μέν to Romans 6:11?

Post by Bill Ross » October 14th, 2020, 11:57 am

[Rom 6:11 MGNT] (11) οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς λογίζεσθε ἑαυτοὺς εἶναι νεκροὺς μὲν τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ ζῶντας δὲ τῷ θεῷ ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ

English translations seem to normally translate μέν as "indeed" which to my ears indicates that the assertion is absolutely true without qualification:

indeed adverb
in·​deed | \ in-ˈdēd \
Definition of indeed
1: without any question : TRULY, UNDENIABLY —often used interjectionally to express irony or disbelief or surprise
2: in reality
3: all things considered : as a matter of fact
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/indeed

And, "indeed", when I look at LSJ, that seems to be how it reads without a δέ or other adversative conjunction:

https://logeion.uchicago.edu/%CE%BC%CE%AD%CE%BD

However, contextually in Romans 6:11 it seems to be contrary to what Paul is explaining, to say nothing of what is evident from checking one's pulse. I looked at Thayer's and he says this:

...Accordingly, it takes on the character of a concessive and very often of a merely distinctive particle, which stands related to a following δέ or other adversative conjunction, either expressed or understood, and in a sentence composed of several members is so placed as to point out the first member, to which a second, marked by an adversative particle, is added or opposed...

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/le ... 303&t=NKJV

Can that be the situation here? That this is saying "consider yourself dead-ish"? IE: "Sort of dead"? Or "dead, in a sense"?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: What is the effect of adding μέν to Romans 6:11?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 14th, 2020, 12:42 pm

No, none of this. The μέν simply supplies the contrast to δέ, very standard Greek. In English the contrast is clear from context, and so most translations have no direct rendering of μέν, as is often the case for particles. What English translation renders it as "indeed?" I spot checked the ESV, the NAS and the NIV, none of which does so.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: What is the effect of adding μέν to Romans 6:11?

Post by Stephen Carlson » October 14th, 2020, 5:55 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
October 14th, 2020, 12:42 pm
What English translation renders it as "indeed?" I spot checked the ESV, the NAS and the NIV, none of which does so.
Maybe he meant in other contexts? (But if so, that’s not how language works.)
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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Bill Ross
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Re: What is the effect of adding μέν to Romans 6:11?

Post by Bill Ross » October 15th, 2020, 7:02 pm

Okay, well 12 translations I see on BibleHub.com but yes, it is usually untranslated.

So no effect at all?
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Bill Ross
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Re: What is the effect of adding μέν to Romans 6:11?

Post by Bill Ross » October 16th, 2020, 11:16 am

Thayers specifically points to this verse (Romans 6:11) as an example of the concessive usage:
"...I. Examples in which the particle μέν is followed in another member by an adversative particle expressed. Of these examples there are two kinds:
1. those in which μέν has a concessive force, and δέ (or ἀλλά) introduces a restriction, correction, or amplification of what has been said in the former member, indeed... but, yet, on the other hand. Persons or things, or predications about either, are thus correlated: Matthew 3:11, cf. Mark 1:8 (where T Tr WH omit; L brackets μέν); Luke 3:16 (where the meaning is, 'I indeed baptize as well as he who is to come after me, but his baptism is of greater efficacy'; cf. Acts 1:5); Matthew 9:37 and Luke 10:2 (although the harvest is great, yet the laborers are few); Matthew 17:11f (rightly indeed is it said that Elijah will come and work the ἀποκατάστασις, but he has already come to bring about this very thing); Matthew 20:23; Matthew 22:8; Matthew 23:28; John 16:22; John 19:32; Acts 21:39 (although I am a Jew, and not that Egyptian, yet etc.); Acts 22:3 (R); Romans 2:25; Romans 6:11; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 1 Corinthians 9:24; 1 Corinthians 11:14; 1 Corinthians 12:20 (R G L brackets Tr brackets WH marginal reading); 1 Corinthians 15:51 (R. G L brackets); 2 Corinthians 10:10; Hebrews 3:5; 1 Peter 1:20, and often. μέν and δέ are added to articles and pronouns: οἱ μέν... οἱ δέ, the one indeed... but the other (although the latter, yet the former), Philippians 1:16f (according to the critical text); ὅς μέν... ὅς δέ, the one indeed, but (yet) the other etc. Jude 1:22f; τινες μέν... τινες δέ καί, Philippians 1:15; with conjunctions: εἰ μέν οὖν, if indeed then, if therefore... εἰ δέ, but if, Acts 18:14f R G; Acts 19:38f; 25:11 L T Tr WH (εἰ μέν οὖν... νυνί δέ, Hebrews 8:4f (here R G εἰ μέν γάρ)); εἰ μέν... νῦν δέ, if indeed (conceding or supposing this or that to be the case)... but now, Hebrews 11:15; κἄν μέν... εἰ δέ μήγε, Luke 13:9; μέν γάρ... δέ, 1 Corinthians 11:7; Romans 2:25; μέν οὖν... δέ, Luke 3:18; εἰς μέν... εἰς δέ, Hebrews 9:6f μέν... ἀλλά, indeed... but, although... yet, Romans 14:20; 1 Corinthians 14:17; μέν... πλήν, Luke 22:22. (Cf. Winers Grammar, 443 (413); Buttmann, § 149, 12 a.)..."

https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/le ... 303&t=NKJV
I appreciate the feedback. I guess I'm on the horns of a bit of a dilemma here. I find Thayer's take more in line with how I read this context but I will take to heart your experience as well. Thanks and have a great day.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: What is the effect of adding μέν to Romans 6:11?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » October 17th, 2020, 6:45 am

Bill Ross wrote:
October 16th, 2020, 11:16 am
Thayers specifically points to this verse (Romans 6:11) as an example of the concessive usage:

[...]

I appreciate the feedback. I guess I'm on the horns of a bit of a dilemma here. I find Thayer's take more in line with how I read this context but I will take to heart your experience as well. Thanks and have a great day.

You are better off using BDAG rather than Thayer:
① marker of correlation, w. other particles
ⓐ introducing a concessive clause, followed by another clause w. an adversative particle: to be sure … but, on the one hand … on the other hand, though in many cases an equivalence translation will not fit this scheme; rather, the contrast is to be emphasized in the second clause, often with but.
Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 628). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Another way to say this is that the first part of the contrast marked by μέν, "on the other hand, to be sure, indeed" is most often implied by context in English, which simply uses "but" with no marker for the first part. I would say supplying it is what we sometimes call an "over translation."
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

Bill Ross
Posts: 180
Joined: August 12th, 2012, 6:26 pm

Re: What is the effect of adding μέν to Romans 6:11?

Post by Bill Ross » October 17th, 2020, 6:57 am

I see what you mean. Okay, thanks Barry.
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What I lack in youth I make up for in immaturity.

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