Re: How to translate Jam 4.5

From: David L. Moore (
Date: Sat Apr 25 1998 - 21:22:57 EDT

Francisco Orozco <> wrote:

>Hello Daniel, Steven,
> Thank you for taking a stab at my question. I searched the BGreek
>archives, and found that the same question had been posted in Jan 22, 1997 &
>Oct 17, 1996 but went unanswered. There are a couple of posts on the
>passage, but these are also mostly questions and not answers.
> Daniel had written
>"La dificultad de las traducciones *proviene* de la dificultad del original,
>y la mayor proviene del hecho de que no conocemos con seguridad (o me
>equivoco?) el origen de la cita, y por tanto su contexto."
>[me now]
>Yes, I agree, I did not mean to imply that the Gr was not difficult. I think
>that since we have the Gr, let us limit ourselves to it, and dismiss
>Wettstein's conjecture since it does not have Mss evidence (that I know of).
>O'Callaghan's rendition also seems too difficult.

        We might not want to dismiss Wettstein's conjecture so quickly - and maybe
not at all. One thing that is sure is that James is referring to some
writing that can be called hH GRAFH. One might think of some
pseudoepigraphic writing with which we are not familiar, but most probably
the citation is from the Bible itself, since that is the usual meaning of
hH GRAFH in the NT.

        A look in the LXX at the verse given with Wettstein's conjecture, in the
apparatus of N-A 27, shows some interesting similarities with the rest of
Jame's citation. Psalm 41:2b (41:1 in English and Spanish translations) in
the LXX reads, hOUTWS EPIPOQEI hH YUCH MOU PROS SE hO QEOS, in the passage
that speaks of the deer panting for the brooks of water. If this is the
verse James referred to, we have a use of the same word in EPIPOQEI; for
YUCH in the psalm, we have the cognate concept, PNEUMA, in James; and the
context fits James's argument. He is calling his readers' attention to the
problem of double-mindedness, and in keeping with his major theme of
discerning between a genuine, living faith and one that is dead and
fruitless, he calls them to recognize that the spirit that is within the
genuine believer is one that thirsts after God above and beyond all other

        Since, as Francisco has pointed out, we have no MS evidence for this
proposed emendation, it doesn't really seem legitimate to translate
according to what we think the text might say; but I believe, considering
the indicators that point in that direction, it might be good to include a
marginal note on the possibility that one should read TON QEON in place of

        I'm answering this from the b-greek-digest, but I hope my post will arrive
in a fairly timely manner in order to fit into the discussion.

David Moore

David L. Moore
Miami, Florida, USA
Southeastern Spanish District of the A/G Dept. of Education
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