Re: Romans 12:2a translation

From: Jim West (jwest@Highland.Net)
Date: Wed Aug 06 1997 - 17:57:05 EDT

At 03:53 PM 8/6/97 -0400, you wrote:

>I would deem both verbs middle/reflexive; as I have indicated in the past,
>I would really rather not ever use the word "deponent." I can understand
>why some might want to consider METAMORFOUSQE a passive, and I think it
>almost comes out the same way as I view it, but nevertheless I think the
>sense of METAMORFOUSQE is not "be transformed" but "let yourself be
>transformed"--Yes, the transformation is God's doing, but the commitment is
>on the part of the believers whom Paul is addressing.

This excellent distinction might be valid for classical Greek; but Koine is
not so consumed with attachment to particular grammatical rules. Koine was
the language of the commoners and they wouldn't have known such sharp

Here again we must remember that the writers of the NT used common terms in
common ways because they wrote for the common people. The simplest meaning
is generally the right one.

>I would understand TWi AIWNI TOUTWi as dative construed with the verb in
>view of its prefix, and I would translate, "Do not conform yourselves TO
>(the pattern of) this world-age ..." And I would take THi ANAKAINWSEI TOU
>NOOS as instrumental: this is the MEANS whereby the transformation of
>believers' selves is to be consummated. More below in response to the next

again- case distinctions might have been sharply adhered to in classical
greek- but in koine they were not. No one, to put it commonly, is "washed
in the blood of the subjunctive mood".
Be wary of attaching to great importance to precise usage of cases.

>As I noted yesterday with regard to FRONHMA and FRONHSIS, nouns formed from
>verbal stems with the suffix -SIS generally refer to the process,
>performance, or action of the verb in question.

again Carl makes an exceelnt point. But whether or not this point would
have been recognized or even admitted by the NT writers is highly
questionable. First year greek students learn the rules- and second year
students learn that the rules are regularly broken by koine writers.

>There's one set of options, at any rate.

I am not in disagreement with Carl. I would only suggest caution when
dealing with koine; for the rules were ignored by koine writers when it
suited them.

>Carl W. Conrad


Jim West, ThD
Adjunct Professor of Bible, Quartz Hill School of Theology

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