Re: EI = since

From: Jeffrey B. Gibson (
Date: Sat May 30 1998 - 14:49:12 EDT

Steven Cox wrote:
> Jeffrey
> excuse me old chap but EI = if
> Sorry, not trying to be flippant, I am reacting not to your article
> so much as ATR; i.e. I already have this red-lined as one of ATR's all
> too frequent departures into circular theology masquerading as grammar:
> | In Luke 4:3 EI UIOS EI TOU QEOU EIPE we have a good example of the
> | first class condition. The devil would not, of course, use the second
> | class (assumed to be untrue), for that would be an affront to Christ.
> | The third and fourth classes would throw doubt on the point. The
> | temptation to have force must be assumed as true. The devil knew it
> | to be true. He accepts that fact as a working hypothesis in the
> | temptation. He is anxious to get Jesus to prove it as if it needed
> | proof for Christ's own satisfaction and for his reception. [p1009]
> Beware of greeks bearing gifts and grammarians who say "of course".
> The above may be true or it may be false, but either way it has little
> to do with the function of EI as a conditional, and it could not be
> EAN in this sentence. If ATR said that on b-greek Carl would beep him.

>(Personally I understand this confrontation to be part of a developing
> Matthean narrative up to 16:16; i.e. what purpose does it serve the author
> to include "you are the Christ" type credos, or even "a son of God" from
> the mouth of Satan before an obedient angel or even a human has given
> testimony?? IMHO anyway..)
> That aside I enjoyed and appreciated your article. You concentrate heavily
> on references to Exodus again.

All I'll say in response is that ATR's analysis assumes what in my mind
needs to be proven, namely, that behind the "Son" title lies an
assumption that the Son is one who has and should use miraculous powers.
But, among other reasons for rejecting this idea, is the consideration
that if the story is meant to be showing Jesus recapitulating the
experience of Israel in the wilderness [as I argue it does], with Jesus'
testings being those that Israel faced {as I argue they are], then the
basic presumption of the story is that Jesus is not approached as one
who himself has miraculous powers, but as one, who as Son, has the right
to demand that God should provide miracles for him. Therefore, what is
assumed to be true for the sake of argument is something regarding what
the Son can expect from God (which Jesus then refutes as appropriate for
a son), not what powers he bears (or does not bear) in himself.

So to bring this within the bounds of B-Greek, I would argue that ATR
quote illustrates how exegetical pressupositions have a bearing on our
understanding of syntax and its import.

In any case, I'm glad you found the article interesting. And I'm looking
forward to comments and criticisms from others who have accessed it.



Jeffrey B. Gibson
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626

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