Re: Rom 1:17

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Feb 03 1996 - 08:17:23 EST

On 2/3/96, John Moe wrote:

> I have been wrestling with DIKAIOS EK PISTEWS ZHSETAI. I have always
> taken EK PISTEWS wtih ZHSETAI, but I am wondering why it should not be
> taken with DIKAIOS. At Gal 3:11 Paul has building his argument on
> Abraham and quotes Gen 15:6. DIKAIOS EK PISTEWOS is the point he is
> making there. Is there some gramatical reason that Paul's use of this
> phrase from Hab. 2:4 should not be taken this way. Since this seems to
> not be a strick quotation of the Heb or the LXX as we have them, I do
> not think that either of those should controle the understanding of
> Paul's N.T. Use.
> Thanks for any light you can cast.

By terms of "normal" Greek grammar, EK PISTEWS in Rom 1:17 SHOULD be
construed with ZHSETAI because it is in predicative position. For it to
mean "the one who is righteous by faith, it should be written hO EK PISTEWS
DIKAIOS. It has,in fact, always bothered me that Paul's central doctrine
appears to be based upon a grammatical misconstruction of his LXX proof
text as cited. As it stands, it would certainly appear to mean that the one
who is righteous will live (i.e. eschatological life, although I don't
think that was intended in the original formulation in Hab.) through faith;
it does NOT appear to mean that faith makes the person righteous and
THEREFORE that person will live.

I'm glad to see that this problem should be addressed and I am eager to
hear the views of others.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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