Re: Heb. 2:3 LABOUSA

Date: Tue Mar 11 1997 - 11:24:15 EST

Dear Joe,

You wrote <<I've been working of Heb. 2:1-4 and I simply do not understand
how LABOUSA (2Aor. act. pct. nom. fem. sing. of LAMBANW) fits in the
sentence starting at 2:2 to 2:3. Am I working with a figure of speech here?
 Modern translations do not refer to but with a phrase lsomething like "after
it was at first spoken...">>

First of all, the sentence you are referring really starts in v. 3 (I assume
you aren't challenging the editors' punctuation). It follows a question, and
the sentence begins with hHTIS (nom. fem. sg.), which is the subject of the
sentence. It appears to be taking the place of a simple relative pronoun and
means "which". The referrent is SWTHRIAS.

LABOUSA is an adverbial participle. It modifies the main verb EBEBAIWQH: "It
was confirmed". Trying to untangle relationships like this are tough, and it
helps to make a diagram which clarifies the relationships between the
independent clauses, dependent clauses (such as adverbial modifiers and
prepositional phrases). This construction has a long string of dependent
clauses modifying adverbially the main verb:

                                        ARCHN LABOUSA LALEISQAI

                                         UPO TWN AKOUSANTWN
                                          EIS hUMAS
I suppose DIA could modify the main verb, but the sense of the passage would
place it as modifying LALEISQAI. If you feel strongly otherwise, I guess you
could make a case.

The headache in the passage may be the real source of your trouble: what does
ARCHN LABOUSA LALEISQAI mean? Rienecker translates it literally as "having
received a beginning to be spoken." The infinitive LALEISQAI complements the
participle. The temporal placement of the aorist participle before the
aorist main verb by modern translators is determined by the context (ARCHN).
 A rigidly literal translation would not make good sense in English. Even
the NASB gets a little loose with this phrase.

While making a diagram has its limitations, I still recommend it. Two
explanations of diagramming are in W. J. Kaiser's "Towards an Exegetical
Theology," Baker, 1981, and Gordon Fee's "New Testament Exegesis,"
Westminster Press, 1983, pp. 60-77.

The limitations of this method of diagramming are that it can obscure the
logical relationships between sentence clusters, and it is not a good
indication of emphasis (the main clause is not always the emphatic element,
but it looks that way in this kind of diagram).

Cindy Westfall
Post Grad Student
Denver Sem

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:09 EDT