Re: Word order, James 1:5 this time

From: Paul Zellmer (
Date: Sun Apr 05 1998 - 17:08:26 EDT

>Paul Zellmer wrote:
>>In James 1:5b, I run into another case of convoluted word order, if
>>trusts the English translations. The clause reads AITEITW PARA TOU
>>DIDONTOS QEOU PASIN hAPLWS. The translations seem to either treat
>>PASIN hAPLWS as if it preceded QEOU, or DIDONTOS as if it followed
>>QEOU. The one exception seems to be the Amplified, which states
>>(supplies?) the DIDONTOS both before and after QEOU.
>>Is the one lacking wisdom commanded to ask of the giver, who is God?
>>Or is he supposed to ask of God, who gives? Or is it the giving God?
>>In any case, how does "to all liberally" fit?

Carl responded:

>In this instance, Paul, I think you are looking for a differentiation
>meaning between these alternative formulations that isn't--the
>differentiation, that is--and hereby I am mimicing, I believe, the
>word-order of the construction--there. DIDONTOS is here an attributive
>participle: the participle is between the article and the noun
governed by
>the article; the two standard ways of conveying an attributive
>into English are (a) a relative clause ("the God who gives") and (b) an
>agent noun which in this instance must function as an appositive to the
>noun governed by the article ("God, the giver"). But no matter whether
>uses the first or the second strategy to convey the attributive
>phrase into English, the phrase PASIN hAPLWS must construe as a
>to the participle DIDONTOS.

Must the phrase be the complement because other options make no logical
sense, or is there another clue here? I don't disagree with you. I'm
just not comfortable with the splitting of the complement from the

>So, not to "beat the bush" (as my Spanish-speaking friend who means
>"beat about the bush"), your question above, Paul, makes a false
>distinction between the alternatives, each of which is right: (1) one
is to
>ask of the giver, who is God (the giver to all without distinction);
>one is to ask of God, who gives (to all without distinction); (3) one
is to
>ask of the giving (to all without distinction) God. # 3 here reflects
>"literally" the Greek, but in a format that is unidiomatic English. I
>add finally that "without distinction" or "without differentiation" is
>precisely what hAPLWS means, while "liberally" is an interpretative

To use old generative terms, you are right that these three are the
same in the deep structure, but in the surface structure, only #2 and
#3 are actually "equivalent." Anyway, based on it being an example of
attributive word order, you have answered the question. One is to ask
of God, and God is modified by the participial phrase.

Oh, and I agree with your comments on hAPLWS. I guess I fall back on
my memorization too much, and I did that in KJV because I ministered
primarily among conservatives in the "Bible Belt."

Thanks for the help,


Paul and Dee Zellmer, Jimmy Guingab, Geoffrey Beltran
Ibanag Translation Project
Cabagan, Philippines

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:21 EDT