Re: Gal 2:20: EN PISTEI ZW TOU UIOU TOU QEOU, "faithfulness of the son of God?"

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Sep 21 1996 - 11:24:07 EDT

At 8:17 AM -0500 9/21/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Some translations speak of (1) "faith *in* the Son of God", others speak
>of the
>(2) "faith *of* the Son of God". Most modern translations seem to use
>*in*. How
>are they interpreting the genitive?
>No translation I've looked at translates PISTIS as faithfulness, e.g. (3) "The
>life I live in the body, I live by the faithfulness of the Son of God, who
>me and gave himself for me." Would this translation be equally valid?
>Here's the Greek:
>Gala 2:20 (GNT) zw de ouketi egw zh de en emoi Cristos o de nun zw en sarki en
>pistei zw th tou uiou tou qeou tou agaphsantos me kai paradontos eauton uper
>Gala 2:20 (NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but
>Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of
>God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
>P.S. I asked this earlier, but didn't get a response. I thought that focussing
>the question more tightly might prompt a response.

Nochmals fragt der "Graeculus esuriens!" I'm reminded of a little stanza
used as the prefatory heading of a book on Socrates--I don't know who wrote
it (Goethe, "West-Oestliche Divan"?), but I always thought it pretty apt
for Socrates:

        --"Meinst Du denn wirklich was Du sagst?"
        --"Meinst Du denn wirklich was Du fragst?"
        --"Wem kuemmert's was ich sag' und meine?
          Denn alles meinen ist nur Frage."

Yes, I think there's plenty of reason to understand the genitive here as a
subjective genitive: it is not faith IN Christ but rather CHRIST's faith
that saves. By my recollection there have been two threads on B-Greek on
this subject in the course of the last year or two. It really is a pity
that our archives have gone down the tube. [I hope that James Tauber may
have been able at least to save to disks the archives that he had
maintained up to the point that he had to discontinue the web archive, so
that we can make use of them if and when we're ever able to get a new web
archive going.] At any rate, I'll retrieve what I can find on my own
hard-disk archive and try to make significant points of that thread
available at my own web site, if anyone's interested. My recollection of
that thread is that, (a) there's a former (perhaps current) subscriber to
the list who was doing a dissertation on this topic in Australia; (b) David
Moore and others pointed out a few passages where it is rather difficult to
sustain this understanding of "faith OF Jesus Christ." I also seem to
recall that one of the more useful services performed by Luke T. Johnson in
his NT Introduction text was to argue in favor of the subjective-genitive

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

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