Re: 1 Peter 1:7

From: Martin Arhelger (
Date: Tue Oct 07 1997 - 03:47:31 EDT

James H. Vellenga wrote:

> It seems to me that Jim Beale's original question may have
> differed from Martin's response (and perhaps that of others).
> It sounded to me like Jim was asking whether then phrase
> could be parsed as
> \ \_____hUMWN
> \__TO \____PISTEWS
> \___THS
> "the appraisal of you [who belong to] the faith"
> and Martin (and others) seemed to appraising the following
> parse
> \ \ \_____________PISTEWS
> \ \_____hUMWN \___THS
> \__TO
> "the appraisal of you, [that is,] of the faith"
> and Jonathan is reading it as
> \ \________PISTEWS
> \__TO \ \___hUMWN
> \___THS
> "the appraisal of _your_ faith"
> I'm not sure how Edgar was parsing what Jim meant -- perhaps
> structurally like the second, but treating THS PISTEWS as
> a sphere or means
> "the appraisal of you [in the area] of the faith"
> (but then goes on to say that he doesn't think that this works).
> Have I understood everybody correctly?
> Regards,
> Jim V.

Thanks Jim! You clarified the cases and our thoughts!

May I add some thoughts?

1st posibillity:
      \ \_____hUMWN
       \__TO \____PISTEWS
 "the appraisal of you [who belong to] the faith"

I think that this interpretation would run grammatically, but don't
think it makes a good sense with regard to the NT-use of PISTIS. I
do not know any case in the NT, where PISTIS is used to define an
affiliation. (PISTIS is sometimes used to define the Christian
doctrine or teaching, but that would be a very technical sense in 1
Peter 1:7, wouldn't it ?) Does anybody know an instance?
I don't know any exegete, who interpreted the words that way. Any

2 nd posibillity:
     \ \ \_____________PISTEWS
      \ \_____hUMWN \___THS
 "the appraisal of you, [that is,] of the faith"

I still think that this would be an awkward splitting of thoughts
(see my last e-mail). But it is interesting to find, that the famous
conservative German exegete A. Schlatter (1852-1938) seems to
understand it that way. In his commentary on James 1:3 (Der Brief
des Jakobus, Stuttgart 1932 - I don't know, whether there exists an
English translation), he writes:
        "Es genuegt auch kaum zu sagen, der Genetiv hUMWN sei vor sein
Nomen THS PISTEWS gestellt. Zunaechst ist wohl TO DOKIMION hUMWN
zusammengedacht. (...) Ein Geschulter haette fuer das, was Jakobus
wollte, gesagt: TO DOKIMION hUMWN TO THS PISTEWS. Dass Petrus die
Ordnung der Worte nicht veraendert hat, 1,7, spricht auch dafuer,
dass fuer beide hUMWN als Suffix an TO DOKIMION hing ..."

Translation by Martin Arhelger:
"It does not suffice to say, that the genitive hUMWN is set before
his noun THS PISTEWS. First of all TO DOKIMION hUMWN seems to bee a
unit. (...) A learned man, wanting to say, what James did, would
have written: TO DOKIMION hUMWN TO THS PISTEWS. Seeing that Peter
(1:7) did not change the order of words proves, that for both hUMWN
was the suffix of TO DOKIMION ..."

I don't agree with Schlatter, here. But I respect his view, seeing,
that I'm only a "Little Greek" with respect to Schlatter's profound

3rd posibillity (Jonathan's):

      \ \________PISTEWS
       \__TO \ \___hUMWN
 "the appraisal of _your_ faith"

I still think this is the most natural and casual way to interpret
the phrase. German supporters of this view (not paying heed to their
interpretation of "DOKIMION" nor of the question, whether hUMWN is
to be stressed) are for example "W. M. L. De Wette" (1780-1849), E.
Kuehl (1861-1918) or W. Bauer (1877-1960) (in his famous dictionary
of the NT-Greek, revised by K. Aland), and, I think, the majority of
German exegetes.

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| Martin Arhelger |
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