Re: Rom 1:17

From: Edgar M. Krentz (emkrentz@mcs)
Date: Sat Feb 03 1996 - 14:54:10 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.

To which Carl Conrad replied:

>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.

Carl's explanation is on target. The predicative position of EK PISTEWS
argues against it modifying hOI DIKAIOI.

But I wonder how Carl [or others] might react to the suggestion that we
have here an exampale of SUNTAXIS APO KOINOU, i.e. that EK PISTEWS here has
a double significance; that rhetorical device would allow you to apply it
to both phrases. -- Just raising the possibility!

One might ask how each interpretation agrees with Paul in Romans 4, that is
ask what the phrase might "sum up" in advance.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
Tel: 3112-256-0752; (H) 312-947-8105

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