Re: Gal 1:1, who sent Paul?

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Sat Apr 18 1998 - 23:13:47 EDT

At 8:13 AM -0400 4/14/98, Jim West wrote:
>At 01:33 PM 4/14/98 +0200, you wrote:
>>Dear b-greekers,
>>After reading Gal 1:1 I wondered that if Paul was sent *through* (DIA)
>dia can also be translated "by"- thus Paul was sent "by" God.

It is true that DIA can be translated as "by", but does that really mean
that it can introduce an AGENT? Even when translated as "by" DIA usually
indicates INSTRUMENTALITY (sometimes called SECONDARY AGENCY). In such
contexts it usually means "by" in the sense of "by means of" as in "killed
*by* the sword", not strict agency as in "sent by God." The distinction
between agency and instrumentality was fuzzy at points, though, so it's not
impossible to imagine that DIA could introduce an AGENT, though that would
be unusual.

While the notion of agency MAY be possible in this context, the mere fact
that we can use "by" to translate DIA does not in itself indicate that this
is a viable option.

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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