Re: polus ischuw deaysis dikaios energew

From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Wed May 29 1996 - 09:29:18 EDT

> On Fri, 24 May 1996, James H. Vellenga wrote:
> > Let me suggest something a little unorthodox. I like "succeed" for ISCUW
> > and "work inwardly" for ENERGEW. Hence, assuming the present participle
> > (from my text), I get something like
> >
> > An appeal of an upright [person] succeeds in [doing] a lot [as it
> > keeps] working inwardly.
Brent Arias responded:
> Ug! No offense, but that translation reminds me of the "translationese"
> discussion on this forum about four months ago. For those of you who
> don't remember, it works like this.
> *Imagine a Spanish text that says (in English words):*
> You should make certain to remove your shoes before entering the
> locker room. You must shower using soap before entering the pool. Thankyou.
> *Now here is the English "translationese" of the hypothetical Spanish above.*
> Take the wrapping off of your meat before inserting into cubby room. You
> must water pouring out onto you and also soap inserting afterward into
> water. Thankyou.
> Jim, could you provide a non-"translationese" version of your unorthodox
> translation? I would like to get the jist of what it is you are seeing.
I am actually trying as best I can to do a "translationese" version, but
using words that (I hope) secular contemporaries would understand -- and
then using context to make the meaning clearer. So I hope I'm avoiding
translating "flesh" as "meat" and using obscure terms like "cubby room."

But that aside, after studying the passage some, I've come to the
conclusion that prayer, in James's view, is not infinitely powerful,
but merely powerful enough so that it can succeed in doing quite a bit.
Moreover, he seems to conditionalize that by saying that a person
who lives an upright (traditionally "righteous") life style has more
suasion with the Almighty than does a person of characterized by
less uprightness. And finally, that prayer -- viewed as an appeal
to God -- has its effect by working inwardly, on the inside of people
and/or events, rather than by a kind of "deus ex machina" descending
from the rafters.

And from Don Wilkins:
> ... The literal Greek is something like "the prayer of
> a righteous man (or person), being effective (set into action), is able (or
> powerful) in respect to much". The word "much" is loosely covered in the
> NIV's "powerful and effective", though the translation does not really ac-
> count for it (e.g. the NIV's version probably wouldn't be different if "much"
> were not it the Greek). The Greek "being effective" is more of an adverbial
> idea--when (if) the prayer is put into action--than an adjective.

I am away from my Greek text, but isn't "being effective" a present
participle, implying continuing (or at least simultaneous) action?
This was my thought when I inserted the "[as it keeps] working inwardly"
-- the idea being that the effect of the prayer is ongoing on
an unseen level.

So Brent, less literally, but how about

  A prayer of an upright person can accomplish quite a bit as
  it keeps working on an unseen level.

Jim V.

James H. Vellenga |
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