Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

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cwconrad
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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by cwconrad » February 16th, 2015, 9:58 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:My puzzlement remains. One idea occurs to me, however. Supposing that different members of the congregation do indeed have different χαρίσματα, two or more members might be teachers: should we suppose that the superior ability of one teacher over another's be in proportion to the relative strength of each other's faith? That still seems a bit troublesome to me.
Well, I'm not going to bring enlightenment - a way out of your puzzlement, but I can keep chatting with you till sombody else does.

I think that more or less moves on to the question, "What is (the nature of) faith?". There are a number of categories of meaning listed in the larger Greek dictionaries and in the theological dictionaries. The basic question seems to be is "faith" a homogeneous revelation for all believers - i.e. do all appreciate equally the life of Christ in the same way to the same extent? I'm not sure that Greek alone is the answer to this issue, but I feel sure that discussing it at the level of the Greek is a positive step.

It is thinking along the same lines as you seem to be suggesting that led me to the extension of κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς to all the ἐν τῇ's that follow. As much as one who teaches has a cheerful disposition, they will minister alms with that disposition etc. As an example of how prepositions are simplified, we could make up something like, "Dress shoes are selling at two hundred and fifty dollars a pair, sneakers for seventy, deck shoes for sixty and thongs for seven dollars fifty." It is a feature of English, so I'm assuming (until I have a reason to discard the idea) that it is a human speech habit, and I'm also assuming that a simpler or more generic preposition would be the most likely candidate for carrying a wide range of meanings. (cf. Eph. 4:14, 15 ἵνα μηκέτι ὦμεν νήπιοι, κλυδωνιζόμενοι καὶ περιφερόμενοι παντὶ ἀνέμῳ τῆς διδασκαλίας, ἐν τῇ κυβείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων, ἐν πανουργίᾳ πρὸς τὴν μεθοδείαν τῆς πλάνης·)

A little bit different from what you appear to be saying, I thought that the ἀναλογία is in proportion to Christ the fullness or perfect man OR the entire faith expressed in the life of the Church, as the mathematical unity (since ἀναλογία is a mathematical term), not relative to each other, though in effect is does mean that one person is better or worse than another at one of the functions (πρᾶξιν) - each has a certain proportion of the faith - in some respects expressing the life of Christ in the congregation - as much as it has been given. I suspect that we will have to find out whether the ἀναλογία is measured against an absolute or relatively - but for all intents and purposes, in the case of two things, the larger of the two is the unity against which the other would be measured..
I’m trying to stretch my mind toward what Stephen is suggesting here — very tentatively. I certainly agree that πίστις as “faith” in the sense of what we have been led to believe about God, Jesus, etc., etc., including our whole self-understanding as members of a community of believers differs very much from person to person (sometimes to the point of endangering the community’s unity or integrity). I suspect that is true even in congregations in which there is considerable uniformity or homogeneity of what individual members “believe”. That is to say: what one person believes and as a consequence of belief envisions as his or her appropriate “mission” or “opportunity for service” will differ considerably from that which another believes and envisions. Each understand his or her role differently in terms of what the “faith” that she or he holds implies to her or him. Might that be what ἀναλογία τῆς πίστεως is indicating?

Let’s say then that μέτρον πίστεως is an allotment, is the way that πίστις affects us and remolds us to be a servant. Paul is trying to explain how faith impacts the self-understanding and sense of mission that each of us has as a participant in the community of believers.

That is guesswork; I don’t know whether it adequately expresses what Paul means by these phrases in this text, but I’m drawing some hints from something in the Greek tradition that might conceivably have shaped Paul’s thinking in the same way that Greek athletic competition shaped the kind of metaphors he employed for evaluating his own and others’ interactive performance. The Greek cultural tradition has a notion of a person’s μέρος or μοῖρα, one’s “portion” — a kind of “slice of the pie” served up to each one of us. Sometimes associated with this is the notion a a personal δαίμων (originally meaning something like “dicer” or “dealer” (e.g., as at the card table), but then taking the sense of a “guardian angel” who assists each one of us in “playing out or performing our part or role”. I’m wondering whether Paul is envisioning something comparable in the “assignment of a role that faith is to express” to the several members of the community of believers. That might, just possibly, link the image of “members” as organic parts of a somatic unity to the earlier admonition to sober consideration of each member’s own strengths and weaknesses and capacities.
Stephen Hughes wrote:As a curio, and for those who would like to think about this in Greek, these two words might be useful; τοιουτότης , ητος, ἡ, quality - What it is about the person/thing that the τοιοῦτος is bringing attention to. It is a generalisation of a particular example based on one particular quality. For example, οἱ τὰ τοιαῦτα πράσσοντες βασιλείαν θεοῦ οὐ κληρονομήσουσιν. "Those who do thing of the sort that have just been mentioned", conforming to the general quality of what was just mentioned. It is not the right word to translate "quality", in phrases like "high / low quality". ποσότης , ητος, ἡ, quantity - what the πόσος measures, cf. πλῆθος, μέτρον.
You mean, I guess, that τοιουτότης means something like "particularity" or "individuality" -- the uniqueness of each. And yet Greek wants to turn that into an abstract noun: you and I are both endowed with τοιουτότης, although it refers to something different in you from what it refers to in me. The traditional Greek perspective tends to devalue what is not shared with another or others and to value instead what even oddballs have in common. Thus, when Aristotle speaks of τὸ τί ἦν εἶναι -- "being what it is" or "being what it has continued to be", he's talking about an abstract quality, not unique identity possessed by one and only one existing thing.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 16th, 2015, 6:06 pm

cwconrad wrote:First is the admonition, μὴ ὑπερφρονεῖν παρ᾿ ὃ δεῖ φρονεῖν, ἀλλὰ φρονεῖν εἰς τὸ σωφρονεῖν. I take it that this means that members of the congregation should each ascertain a sober sense of his or her abilities or capacity for service. The verb φρονεῖν and its cognates generally refer to rational insight with a moral rather than an intellectual focus; σωφρονεῖν and σωφροσύνη generally refer to recognition of one’s station within society and the limitations or obligations imposed by that station. Tradition links the Delphic Apollonian maxims, γνῶθι σεαυτόν and μηδὲν ἄγαν with the σωφρον- words: one is to grasp one’s proper place within the group and behave accordingly and responsibly. The gender bias of ancient Greek culture seems to dictate that the σωφρον- words, when applied to women, regularly have sexual connotations of “chastity” or “modesty”, while a more general sense of “sobriety” is understood when referring to males. Being aware of the implicit association of these words with behavior appropriate to one’s status within the group does help us understand it as introductory to the propositions regarding kinds of service within the ecclesiastical body.
Some of the points here are useful for my earlier post Is σωφροσύνη used of women in contemporary literature? from last year.

Directly from this though, if I drew the inference from this that the opposite of ὑπερφρονεῖν "think more highly of oneself than the group order allows" is σωφρονεῖν "think soberly of oneself within the expectations of the group", rather than καταφρονεῖν (+gen.) "(????legitimately or haughtily????) think that someone is lower than them in some regard", "look down on", "consider oneself better than". It seems to all intents and purposes that ὑπερφρονεῖν (abs. or with a dat of the sort of thing despised) and καταφρονεῖν (with a genitive of the person or thing despised) are synonyms.

FWTW - It seems that the examples of ὑπερφρονεῖν from 4 Maccabees are used in a different sense and suggest that it is used in a good sense within that philosophical reasoning (4 Maccabees 13:1, 14:11 (= referred to again in 16:2)) where to ὑπερφρονεῖν can control emotional impulses and allow one to remain "reasonable" under even the worst circumstances.
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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by cwconrad » February 17th, 2015, 8:50 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:First is the admonition, μὴ ὑπερφρονεῖν παρ᾿ ὃ δεῖ φρονεῖν, ἀλλὰ φρονεῖν εἰς τὸ σωφρονεῖν. I take it that this means that members of the congregation should each ascertain a sober sense of his or her abilities or capacity for service. The verb φρονεῖν and its cognates generally refer to rational insight with a moral rather than an intellectual focus; σωφρονεῖν and σωφροσύνη generally refer to recognition of one’s station within society and the limitations or obligations imposed by that station. Tradition links the Delphic Apollonian maxims, γνῶθι σεαυτόν and μηδὲν ἄγαν with the σωφρον- words: one is to grasp one’s proper place within the group and behave accordingly and responsibly. The gender bias of ancient Greek culture seems to dictate that the σωφρον- words, when applied to women, regularly have sexual connotations of “chastity” or “modesty”, while a more general sense of “sobriety” is understood when referring to males. Being aware of the implicit association of these words with behavior appropriate to one’s status within the group does help us understand it as introductory to the propositions regarding kinds of service within the ecclesiastical body.
Some of the points here are useful for my earlier post Is σωφροσύνη used of women in contemporary literature? from last year.

Directly from this though, if I drew the inference from this that the opposite of ὑπερφρονεῖν "think more highly of oneself than the group order allows" is σωφρονεῖν "think soberly of oneself within the expectations of the group", rather than καταφρονεῖν (+gen.) "(????legitimately or haughtily????) think that someone is lower than them in some regard", "look down on", "consider oneself better than". It seems to all intents and purposes that ὑπερφρονεῖν (abs. or with a dat of the sort of thing despised) and καταφρονεῖν (with a genitive of the person or thing despised) are synonyms.

FWTW - It seems that the examples of ὑπερφρονεῖν from 4 Maccabees are used in a different sense and suggest that it is used in a good sense within that philosophical reasoning (4 Maccabees 13:1, 14:11 (= referred to again in 16:2)) where to ὑπερφρονεῖν can control emotional impulses and allow one to remain "reasonable" under even the worst circumstances.
Well, perhaps what is “opposite” depends on the perspective: If ὑπερφρονεῖν means “overestimate”, then I would say that the “opposite” should mean “underestimate”; καταφρονεῖν might have this subjective sense in the context, although elsewhere it does seem more often to mean “despise”. I would be inclined to think in Aristotelian terms here of σωφρονεῖν as the mean, ὑπερφρονεῖν as the excessive behavior, perhaps καταφρονεῖν as the defective behavior.

On the other hand, I think that in my earlier puzzlement over the sense of πίστις in the phrases μέτρον πίστεως and ἀναλογία τῆς πίστεως I’ve confronted the same sort of difficulty that I have previously encountered over the analogous Latin noun fides which derives from the same IE root. It now seems more likely, even obvious, in view of the initial admonitions of the apostle to congregants not assess their levels of competence soberly, that πίστις in the troubling phrases must mean “reliability” or “trustworthiness”. I think that this makes sense because the kinds of service delineated require self-confidence, recognition of one’s capacity for this particular service and they also require “trustworthiness” or “reliability” in the eyes of others in the congregation. I think we may reasonably expect that reliability in distinct capacities is “allotted” or “distributed” — and that this sort of “allotment” or “distribution” is what the terms, μέτρον πίστεως and ἀναλογία τῆς πίστεως, are indicating.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 21st, 2015, 7:56 am

cwconrad wrote:I think that in my earlier puzzlement over the sense of πίστις in the phrases μέτρον πίστεως and ἀναλογία τῆς πίστεως I’ve confronted the same sort of difficulty that I have previously encountered over the analogous Latin noun fides which derives from the same IE root. It now seems more likely, even obvious, in view of the initial admonitions of the apostle to congregants not assess their levels of competence soberly, that πίστις in the troubling phrases must mean “reliability” or “trustworthiness”. I think that this makes sense because the kinds of service delineated require self-confidence, recognition of one’s capacity for this particular service and they also require “trustworthiness” or “reliability” in the eyes of others in the congregation. I think we may reasonably expect that reliability in distinct capacities is “allotted” or “distributed” — and that this sort of “allotment” or “distribution” is what the terms, μέτρον πίστεως and ἀναλογία τῆς πίστεως, are indicating.
Like so many of the words that we learn early on and take for granted later (on), πίστις needs to be revisited from time to time to consider what meanings it can have beyond the simple gloss that we assume it has. μέτρον immediately suggests something quantifiable, and in terms of prayer (to get things (done)) or miracles, there is the earlier meaning that you suggested, or so it seems. Here, "fidelity" or "faithfulness" is an interesting suggestion that seems to fit the context of ministry.

Taking that understanding to the text, ἔχοντες δὲ χαρίσματα ... διάφορα ... προφητείαν, κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς πίστεως it would mean "having a gift - the proclaimation of God's word in proportion to that individual's faithfulness". Employing my understanding that ἐν is being used as a shorthand way of repeating a phrase, the next one would be εἴτε διακονίαν, {κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς} διακονί{ας}, "having a gift - service in proportion to that individual's (ability or disposition towards) service." That is very close to my original understanding of it.
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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by cwconrad » February 21st, 2015, 8:39 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:I think that in my earlier puzzlement over the sense of πίστις in the phrases μέτρον πίστεως and ἀναλογία τῆς πίστεως I’ve confronted the same sort of difficulty that I have previously encountered over the analogous Latin noun fides which derives from the same IE root. It now seems more likely, even obvious, in view of the initial admonitions of the apostle to congregants not assess their levels of competence soberly, that πίστις in the troubling phrases must mean “reliability” or “trustworthiness”. I think that this makes sense because the kinds of service delineated require self-confidence, recognition of one’s capacity for this particular service and they also require “trustworthiness” or “reliability” in the eyes of others in the congregation. I think we may reasonably expect that reliability in distinct capacities is “allotted” or “distributed” — and that this sort of “allotment” or “distribution” is what the terms, μέτρον πίστεως and ἀναλογία τῆς πίστεως, are indicating.
Like so many of the words that we learn early on and take for granted later (on), πίστις needs to be revisited from time to time to consider what meanings it can have beyond the simple gloss that we assume it has. μέτρον immediately suggests something quantifiable, and in terms of prayer (to get things (done)) or miracles, there is the earlier meaning that you suggested, or so it seems. Here, "fidelity" or "faithfulness" is an interesting suggestion that seems to fit the context of ministry.

Taking that understanding to the text, ἔχοντες δὲ χαρίσματα ... διάφορα ... προφητείαν, κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς πίστεως it would mean "having a gift - the proclaimation of God's word in proportion to that individual's faithfulness". Employing my understanding that ἐν is being used as a shorthand way of repeating a phrase, the next one would be εἴτε διακονίαν, {κατὰ τὴν ἀναλογίαν τῆς} διακονί{ας}, "having a gift - service in proportion to that individual's (ability or disposition towards) service." That is very close to my original understanding of it.
I'm still at a loss to understand how "faithfulness" doled out in different quantities to different members will qualify those members for specific service roles. "Reliability" in the performance of a role for which one is qualified seems more meaningful to me as a qualification than "faithfulness." I can't understand, for instance, how διακονία is to be understood in terms of a particular amount of πίστις and προφητεία understood in terms of a different amount of πίστις. On the other hand, I can see how πίστις as either "faithfulness" or "reliability" can be distributed in different measures among members who are qualified for different forms of service. It is those individuals who are most reliable or faithful within each category of service who should be chosen to serve in those capacities. But we don't want to say that πίστις is a χάρισμα, do we?

For what it's worth, I've written lots of recommendations for students applying to graduate school; I have felt it to be my responsibility to note not only the kinds of competence that a student has demonstrated but also how much industry and perseverance and reliability a student has displayed in learning and research and writing. It's disheartening to recognize that some student is really brilliant and might become a productive scholar in the field -- but can't be trusted to finish the job.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 22nd, 2015, 8:12 pm

cwconrad wrote:But we don't want to say that πίστις is a χάρισμα, do we?
Well, checking that has raised an interesting point.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 wrote:τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως, καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν· θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον· 9 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.
I had always assumed the "that" in English referred to "faith". What do you take the τοῦτο (θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον) as referring to?
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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 22nd, 2015, 8:20 pm

cwconrad wrote:I'm still at a loss to understand how "faithfulness" doled out in different quantities to different members will qualify those members for specific service roles. "Reliability" in the performance of a role for which one is qualified seems more meaningful to me as a qualification than "faithfulness." I can't understand, for instance, how διακονία is to be understood in terms of a particular amount of πίστις and προφητεία understood in terms of a different amount of πίστις. On the other hand, I can see how πίστις as either "faithfulness" or "reliability" can be distributed in different measures among members who are qualified for different forms of service. It is those individuals who are most reliable or faithful within each category of service who should be chosen to serve in those capacities.
I hadn't made much of a distinction between "reliability" and "faithfulness" (in English) before you mentioned it. I had taken "faithful" as always ready, always on alert, which is very close to the meaning of "reliable" in as much as reliable means consistent.
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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 23rd, 2015, 6:56 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:But we don't want to say that πίστις is a χάρισμα, do we?
Well, checking that has raised an interesting point.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 wrote:τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως, καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν· θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον· 9 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.
I had always assumed the "that" in English referred to "faith". What do you take the τοῦτο (θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον) as referring to?
A specific reference to faith would require αὕτη. τοῦτο most likely refers to the entire preceding clause.
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Re: Eph 2:8 πίστις and τοῦτο

Post by cwconrad » February 23rd, 2015, 7:24 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:But we don't want to say that πίστις is a χάρισμα, do we?
Well, checking that has raised an interesting point.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 wrote:τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως, καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν· θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον· 9 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.
I had always assumed the "that" in English referred to "faith". What do you take the τοῦτο (θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον) as referring to?
A specific reference to faith would require αὕτη. τοῦτο most likely refers to the entire preceding clause.
Perhaps I ought to have written, "But for my part, I don't want to say that πίστις is a χάρισμα. The fact is that I don't.

We've had several discussions of Eph 2:8 and the question of the antecedent of τοῦτο. I know that the view that τοῦτο refers back to πίστις is held by many, but I would agree with Barry that, if it were, we might better expect a feminine demonstrative. I've also seen the explanation that τοῦτο refers forward to δῶρον, but I don't find that satisfactory either. I prefer to understand τοῦτο as referring to the entire clause, ]τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως: "... and that (the fact that you have been saved by grace by means of faith) (is) not your doing; it's God's gift; it's not a result of works ... "
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Rom. 12:3-8 Equivalencies

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 23rd, 2015, 7:26 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
cwconrad wrote:But we don't want to say that πίστις is a χάρισμα, do we?
Well, checking that has raised an interesting point.
Ephesians 2:8, 9 wrote:τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως, καὶ τοῦτο οὐκ ἐξ ὑμῶν· θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον· 9 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων, ἵνα μή τις καυχήσηται.
I had always assumed the "that" in English referred to "faith". What do you take the τοῦτο (θεοῦ τὸ δῶρον) as referring to?
A specific reference to faith would require αὕτη. τοῦτο most likely refers to the entire preceding clause.
嗯, this seems to be one of those places where knowing even a modest amount of Greek can actually improve undetstanding.
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