PARA in Paul

From: Stevens, Charles C (
Date: Thu Sep 04 1997 - 17:38:14 EDT

While on the subject of Romans 1, I have read a wide variety of
arguments on the subject of what exactly is meant by PARA FUSIN here.

(1) FUSIN, typically translated "nature", in this period had not been
generalized in common usage -- for example, to "Nature" as distinct
from "<one's own> nature". The concept of "Nature" is a much later
idea. Not being within the confines of FUSIN does not have the negative
connotations we have since ascribed to it, and the use of this word in
an identical context in Romans 11:24 with a *positive* connotation
supports that observation.

(2) PARA basically means "parallel to", "beside", "along with", "by",
"alongside" and the like, and perhaps even "beyond", but ascribing a
connotation of "in opposition to", "in conflict with" and so forth would
be suspect.

(3) Specifically in disagreement with (2), I have read that while
*generally* PARA carries the former connotations, Romans 1:26 represents
a unique case in which it obviously carries the latter (this I ran into
in a grammar of Biblical Greek; I forget which grammar it was.).

(1) and (2) strike me as plausible here, and (3) implausible (and
further as a case in which a particular view may be influencing the
choice of English equivalents!).
PARA TON NOMON in Acts 18:13 could be considered supportive of (3), but
being outside the confines of the law has serious connotations for Jews
of the period that would not necessarily apply to other uses of PARA.

Moreover, it strikes me there are plenty of Greek words implying
opposition (e.g., ENANTIOS and its intensive hUPENANTIOS, ANTIKEIMAI,
APENANTI) that Paul would have been more likey to use had he intended
the connotation of opposition.

Comments on the semantics of PARA FUSIN here and in Romans 11:24, and of
PARA in for example Romans 16:17 (PARA THN DIDAXHN), specifically with
respect to the "at cross purposes with" connotation that many
translators seem to impute on PARA in these contexts?

    -Chuck Stevens [SMTP:]

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