Re: Help with Gal 5:16

Date: Mon Apr 27 1998 - 11:10:53 EDT

Lex Kuhta wrote:
> I'm looking for some help with Gal 5:16
> in/by the Spirit walk/live and the agenda of the flesh...
> TELESHTE is aorist subjunctive. But how should it be translated?
> A) future: you will never ever carry out.
> B) imperative: do not carry out.
> Option A renders the conditional imperative but seems to imply it is
> possible not to sin. Option B does not imply it is possible not to sin
> but moves the emphatic future negation to more of a prohibitoty or
> hortative subjunctive. I've read Brooks and Winbery, as well as Wallace,
> and cannot come to a resolution on how to translate this passage. I
> don't want to start an argument about the possibility of sin but rather
> to gather some takes on the potentialities of the syntax in this verse.
> Help!!!

I like to see the LEGW DE as a part of the syntax of this sentence,
because it doubles the force of the present tense in a way that gives
balance to the double negation OU MH that so forcefully claims the
aorist subjunctive. OU gives it wholly 'NOT', whereas MH gives it
'NOT' in any particular. The subjunctive gives the future, of course,
[as does the imperative], but in a way that indicates likelihood, and
when modified with the double negative, the certain likelihood, of the
future. It really is NOT an imperative, you see, or it would have
been written as one. It is a future that can be predicted with
confidence based upon the PRESENT imperative PERIPATEITE. A parallel
English sentence might read: "Be telling the truth and you will
[should/might] never lie." The KAI introduces the consequence of
PNEUMATI PERIPATEITE, which causes the consequence [OU MH TELESHTE].
The subjunctive is in the aorist, which gives it an indefinite, [with
respect to time], force across the future, and we are given, [with the
OU MH], the further information that it is EVERY time.

This is a classic illustration of the force of the ongoing present in
creating a future consequence [in character], aoristically [unlimited
with respect to time].

"But I am saying "IN SPIRIT be you walking, and desire of flesh NEVER
might you engoal."

This try, [at stating it in English], honors the Greek construction
without editorializing, and requires the reader to participate in it
thoughtfully. I would be interested in seeing how it is received by
an English only reader. It obviously has no polish!!

Another note ~ The lack of a preposition with PNEUMATI gives it an
adverbial force, carrying a wide range of particular prepositional
possibilities, in much the same way as the aorist carries a wide range
of particular time possibilities, thus giving the wholeness of this
passage additional balance and continuity between the two sides joined
by KAI.

Is this helpful?


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