From: Carl W. Conrad (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Feb 19 1997 - 13:50:37 EST
At 11:56 AM -0600 2/19/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>I'm still throwing inkpots at participles, but I've gotten through Romans 7,
>and I think I now understand most of it pretty well
Do participles become better participles for having inkpots thrown at them?
(Fear not, I DO recognize the allusion).
>(thanks for all your
>help, folks!). I have one remaining grammatical question, this time on
>Romans 7:21 hEURISKW ARA TON NOMON, TWi QELONTI EMOI POIEIN TO KALON, hOTI
>EMOI TO KAKON PARAKEITAI
>Zerwick translates TWi QELONTI EMOI "when I want".
This is the meaning, but it's not literal, of course.
>I don't know if I
>understand the grammar well enough to follow this. Can I think of this as
>"to me, [who is] wanting to do good", or is there something else I should
>How is this as an idomatically-literal translation: "Now I find this law: to
>me, wanting to do good, in me evil is present."
One major problem left: PARAKEITAI is idiomatic, meaning something like "is
an option within my power." I may be wrong, but my recollection is that
this is a Stoic term and idea, that distinction between things that are in
our power and things that are beyond our power. What Paul means is, I
think, EVEN when he wants to do good, the thing that is in his power turns
out to be evil. This is a powerful rhetorical formulation expressing his
sense of moral impotence.
>Incidentally, after reading lots of stuff on nouns with and without the
>article, I find it amusing that most translations translate this as "a law"
>rather than "the law", despite the article:
>Roma 7:21 (KJV) I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is
>present with me.
>Roma 7:21 (LUT) So finde ich mir nun ein Gesetz, der ich will das Gute tun,
>da§ mir das Bšse anhangt.
>Roma 7:21 (NASB) I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the
>one who wishes to do good.
>The ASV finds a perfectly good way to translate it with "the law":
>Roma 7:21 (ASV) I find then the law, that, to me who would do good, evil is
>But is "the law" in ASV really any different from "a law" in KJV? I suspect
>that the sense of the Greek may be accurately conveyed by either, and maybe
>we shouldn't get too hung up about the English words used to convey
No, but there IS an important principle about the article at stake here:
the article is used when the noun it refers to is GENERALIZED, so that the
sense in this case is "I discover this general principle ...
I think I'd try to get away from "law" altogether, and go with "principle"
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
firstname.lastname@example.org OR email@example.com
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