Re: 1 Peter 1:2

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Aug 19 1997 - 07:46:41 EDT

At 4:02 PM -0500 8/18/97, Jim Beale wrote:
>Concerning this passage, I'm puzzling over the antecedent of the
>several prepositions, KATA, EN and EIS. Most of the translations
>I've seen insert the word 'elect' to complete the sense. But this
>does not seem to correlate well with the second of the three clauses.
>I can understand being elected unto obedience, but elect by the
>sanctification of the Spirit (or spiritual sanctification?) doesn't
>make sense to me. Can anyone help shed light on this?

Let me see if I have rightly understood the question: (1) I had always
thought that it was primarily PRONOUNS that have antecedents, but now Jim
has extended that to include PREPOSITIONS--unless, of course, he really
means to be asking about the syntactic construction of these prepositions,
their dependency upon some appropriate word; (2) that this is what he means
seems indicated by his saying that translations "insert" the word 'elect'
to complete the sense. So far as I can tell, EKLEKTOIS is actually in the
text of vs. 1 (with the modifier EPISHMOIS), so IF it is inserted, it is
simply repeated after the genitive string that is itself dependent upon
EKLEKTOIS in order to make clear to the reader how the translator
understands the dependency of the prepositional phrases. That genitive
string is long enough to make the linkage of those prepositional phrases in
vs. 2 awkward (although not as awkward as that isolated phrase in John
1:14, the nominative PLHRHS CARITOS KAI ALHQEIAS which is set so far off
from the only nominative with which it can construe, namely hO LOGOS).

I think that the problem, Jim, may lie in the construction of hAGIASMWi

(1) I think it would be best to understand this with the verbal notions in
hUPAKOHN and hRANTISMON. That is: the addresses have been chosen in
accordance with the foreknowledge of God the father for the purpose of
(EIS) obedience (hUPAKOHN) and purification (hRANTISMON) by means of (EN
with instrumental force) the sanctification of the Spirit. That is to say:
I'd take KATA PROGNWSIN with EKLEKTOIS, but I'd take EN hAGIASMWi with EIS
hUPAKOHN KAI hRANTISMON. That's one alternative.

(2) A second alternative would be to understand hAGIASMOS PNEUMATOS as a
periphrasis for hAGION PNEUMA; if that should be the case, then there's no
problem seeing the phrase EN hAGIASMWi PNEUMATOS as instrumental with
EKLEKTOIS. I don't really like this as well as the first alternative,

(3) A third alternative would be to take EN hAGIASMWi PNEUMATOS with the
main clause of this salutation, CARIS hUMIN KAI EIRHNH PLHQUNQEIH. Although
the arrangement of elements in vss. 1-2 is already somewhat awkward, this
construction seems to me extremely unlikely.

NEB seems to understand the sense in accordance with alternative (1), but
the translators have so completely rephrased the sense of the verses that
the unsuspecting reader might well suppose that the Greek text were a model
of lucidity and rhetorical concinnity:

"From Peter, Apostle of Jesus Christ, to those of God's scattered people
who lodge for a while in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and
Bithynia--chosen of old in the purpose of God the Father, hallowed in his
service by the Spirit, and consecrated with the sprinkled blood of Jesus

Here EKLEKTOIS has been postponed until after the geographical indicators,
KATA PROGNWSIN is expanded into "of old in the purpose," and EN hAGIASMWi
has been transformed into TWO participles to go with hUPAKOHN and
hRANTISMON respectively: "hallowed" and "consecrated." Interesting too that
hUPAKOH has here become "service"--a reasonable understanding of the real
meaning, I think. I must say that this translation rather puts me in mind
of Werner Jaeger's magnificent study of classical Greek cultural ideals,
_PAIDEIA_--after reading and re-reading it in Gilbert Highest's grand
English version, I was utterly shocked later to read Jaeger's German
original and see how awkward and graceless it was. Uncanny what a good
translation can do for an awkward original!

Another curious element here: the aorist passive optative PLHQUNQEIH. Are
we to suppose that the "big fisherman from Galilee" learned this kind of
Greek somewhere in the course of his career? Perhaps while fishing over
near Tiberias?

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