Re: Ro.5:19

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Aug 01 1997 - 06:15:05 EDT

At 9:04 PM -0400 7/31/97, T & J Peterson wrote:
>paul wrote:
>> I need to know why kathistimai in Ro. 5:19 is translated "made" when
>> most lexicons and systematic theologies (Reformed)define it as
>> "constituted"
>I think you're referring to KAQISTHMI. BAGD defines it as 1) bring,
>conduct, take; 2) appoint, put in charge; 3) make, cause (someone to be
>something). I suppose "constituted" seems like a sensible enough
>translation in some cases, but any of these three definitions seems to
>come out about the same: "brought [to the point of being] righteous,"
>"appointed [as] righteous," or "made righteous." Number two doesn't
>seem to be quite the right force, though, since it carries the idea of
>being put in a place of authority, and number one requires inserting a
>lot of words, so number three seems to be the most natural rendering.
>Incidentally, it seems to include the idea of making or causing someone
>to be something, which definitely fits this context. Used in this
>sense, then, does "constituted righteous" really say anything different?

I don't dissent from anything that Trevor has written, but I might add a
note or two. KAQISTHMI (active) and KAQISTAMAI (middle/reflexive) found a
natural Latin form in CONSTITUO and its modifications, inasmuch as that
Latin verb means the same thing: "bring into such-and-such a state or
condition" or, in the middle/reflexive, "enter into such-and-such a state
or condition." The English derivative of CONSTITUO, derived from its
participle, is, of course, "constitute." I don't have a KJV readily
available but my guess is that "constitute" was the verb used in Romans
5:19 there and that this is the reason why the reformed Lexica and
commentaries referred to by "paul" (who really ought to indicate more
clearly who he is) use "constitute" rather than "make." Although
KATESTAQHSAN and KATASTAQHSONTAI may be translated respectively as "were
constituted" and "will be constituted" in Romans 5:19, I think that's a
rather archaic or at least secondary meaning of "constitute" in
contemporary English.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(704) 675-4243 OR

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