Re: EN ATOMWi (Was: Mark 16:12)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Feb 18 1998 - 17:14:06 EST

At 3:39 PM -0600 2/18/98, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>At 06:15 PM 2/18/98, Ben Crick wrote:
>> I don't want to get into controversy either! But could one or another of
>> b-greek pundits say something about "PANTES DE ALLAGHSOMEQA, EN ATOMWi, EN
>> hRIPHi OFQALMOU, EN THi ESCATHi SALPIGGI" in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52?
>I am not ready to get too deep into this, but I WOULD like to point out
>that some church nurseries have a sign that quotes 1 Corinthians 15:51: "we
>shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed".

True--I've seen that.

As for the original question, however, that Ben Crick raised, I have to say
that I seriously doubt the viability of his suggestion; it appears that we
have three locatives of time being used. One aspect of ATOMOS that should
be grasped is that it is a 2-termination (compound) adjective (A privative
+ TEM/TOM "cut," "divide") meaning "indivisible." It is true that
Democritus and later the Epicureans used TO ATOMON as a substantive for an
indivisible unit of material, but it would also be readily used as a
substantive for an indivisible unit of time, "a moment"--and I think that's
what's really going on here. I rather doubt that Paul would latch on to a
materialist concept right at the point where he's trying to argue that
despite a continuity between old and new body, there is some radical
transformation from the mode of existence of the old to that of the new. At
least that's the way it looks to me.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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