Re: hEWS

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Wed Sep 24 1997 - 01:12:55 EDT

On Tue, 23 Sep 1997 14:57:37 -0400 "Jim Beale" <> writes:
>On Sep 23, 1:15pm, Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>> On Tue, 23 Sep 1997 11:43:21 -0400 Jim Beale <> writes:
>> >A friend and I were discussing this sentence:
>> >
>> > (Mt 1:25)
>> >
>> >the other day and we couldn't decide on the force of hEWS. Does
>> >"not X hEWS Y" imply "META Y, X" or not?
>> Jim, so good to hear from you again. Was on the way out, then saw
>> your post. Couldn't resist. It takes only one example to the
>>contrary to refute implication, as you know. One quick one comes to
>> He will confirm you blameless until (hEWS) the end. Does this imply
>> that afterwards He will not confirm us blameless? I don't think so.
>Hi Paul,
>The logic is not the problem. Logic deals with propositions in
>formal language. The problem is that the Bible is not written in
>formal language. It must be exegeted from a natural language into
>formal language. And there is the rub. The local context must be
>determinative of the meaning.

Jim, I was just following your lead. You said:
" . . . we couldn't decide on the force of hEWS. Does
"not X hEWS Y" imply "META Y, X" or not?"

If the use of "imply" here has a logical connotation, then the answer
is no, it doesn't, which you do not deny. If, by it, you mean to suggest
that the use of hEWS suggests or implies it, then your question relates
to the use of the word hEWS, which is how I took it.

As I did not have the time to do a word study, I simply pulled one
occurrence of hEWS off the top of my head, which occurrence
argued against taking the way you apparently had taken it. I'm sure
you will be able to find occurrences of hEWS that support your
interpretation, but I suspect I will also be able to find others to
argue against it. If you really want to do a definitive study on it, why
not do a thorough study of the occurrences in the NT, or at least in
Matthew? The fact I was able to bring up one so easily, though,
might suggest that your conclusions on Mt 1:25 may not be so
firm as you had hoped.

I believe the safest and surest interpretation of Mt 1:25 is simply
that Joseph did not have sex with Mary up to the time when she
gave birth to Christ. I don't think hEWS, by itself, implies that
afterwards Joseph did have sex with her. Not being
Catholic, I have no problem with Joseph and Mary practicing
the normal marital duties, especially in light of the fact scripture
mentions Christ had brothers and sisters. But, I would not want
to argue this point with a Catholic on the basis of the use of
hEWS, not unless it can be demonstrated that hEWS always,
or almost always, implies such. I suspect the better tact would
be to argue: 1) scripture never says they didn't have sex afterwards,
and 2) the fact Christ had siblings.

Paul Dixon

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