Re: Romans 7:15 - OU with QELW or PRASSW?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Apr 14 1998 - 12:54:38 EDT

At 10:49 AM -0500 4/14/98, Williams, Wes wrote:
>In Romans 7:15,
>For what I do not wish, this I practice vs
>For what I wish, this I do not practice.
>At first glance, it looks like the OU should modify QELW (I do not
>want). But a cursory glance at fifteen English translations reveals that
>almost all of them take the OU with PRASSW (I do not practice). Why do
>most translations take the OU with PRASSW?
>Now that I typed the question I think I see the answer, but will pose
>the question anyway (many problems are solved by merely identifying the
>question). Is it due to the ALLA clause that follows, which contrasts
>the above clause with "rather, that which I hate, this I practice?
>Therefore, since a contrast is present, it argues that the OU should go
>with PRASSW since this would form a contrasting statement. Is this the
>reason or is there another?

I'd say that the word-order itself and standard usage of hOUTOS forms,
especially neuter sg. or pl., to refer to something already mentioned, are
pretty solid indications here. The fact that the GAR follows immediately
upon the OU, which most normally immediately precedes what is negated, also
should be viewed as an indication that it is the whole proposition that is
negated here. The force of the word-order is something like: "For it's not
what I WANT--not THAT--that I do ..."

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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