Re: PNEUMATIKA as used Paul

From: Stephen C. Carlson (
Date: Thu Aug 29 1996 - 21:36:07 EDT

At 12:26 8/29/96 EDT, KULIKOVSKY, Andrew wrote:
>Now, you have made me think a bit about this and I have slightly
>changed my view: [...]
>ie. PNEUMATIKWN is translated as "spiritual manifestations"
> instead of "spirituality"
>This is alluded to in v. 7 (mind you I don't have my GNT handy
>so I can't check the actual wording)

Taking into account your comments as well as those of Bloomquist
and Winbery, it seems quite interesting that the substantive was
left unstated. What was it? TWN ANQRWPWN PNEUMATIKWN, spiritual
people? TWN CARISMATWN PNEUMATIKWN, spiritual gifts?

Perhaps, it was intentionally left unstated, giving a vague, PERI
DE TWN [PRAGMATWN] PNEUMATIKWN "now about the spiritual[ matter]s."
The vagueness of the meaning (possibly intentional on Paul's part)
could give him enough wiggle-room for him to shift the discussion
to what he feels is important: MEIZWN DE TOUTWN hH AGAPH (13:31).

At any rate, the primarily referent of TWN PNEUMATIKWN was what
the Corinthians intended, probably the flashier gifts, and that
gave Paul a point of departure for his own views, exploiting his
carefully crafted polysemy. So, perhaps, the question as to what
"the" meaning of TWN PNEUMATIKWN is flawed because there were two
meanings: the Corinthians' and the most excellent way of Paul's.

If a *translator* is forced to pick the two meanings, it would seem
best to render it as "spiritual gifts" to connect with the apparent
question of the Corinthians. Such explicitness (more than in
Paul's letter) is probably necessary, because unlike either Paul
or the Corinthians, modern readers don't have the original questions.
I don't think it would be too wise to anticipate Paul's discussion
by translating it as wht Paul means, because it loses the connection
with the Corinthians' query and the reader will read Paul's views

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                   : Poetry speaks of aspirations,              : and songs chant the words. :               -- Shujing 2.35

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