Re: transgressions

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Feb 17 1999 - 14:06:30 EST

At 11:37 AM -0600 2/17/99, Michael Holmes wrote:
>One of Mary Pendergraft's observations in her last response to Carl suggests
>an answer to a question nagging me from the start: why the aorist participle
>Mary wrote:
>>The infinitive with EI MH then answers TI POIHSANTAS: "having done what,
>if not having lived in a holy and >righteous way..."
>The following context runs:
>"... except to live in a holy and righteous way, and to regard these worldly
>things as alien to us, and not desire them? (7) For when we desire to
>acquire these things, we fall away from--APOPIPTOMEN--the way of
>If, in light of Mary's suggestion, one construes the aorist POIHSANTAS in
>conjunction with the present APOPIPTOMEN, then we might translate:
>"Therefore, what have we done to obtain them, if not to live in a holy and
>righteous manner ..."
>In short, the author is looking back to what has been done, POIHSANTAS (not,
>as my initial suggestion indicated, what we must do), and is warning his
>readers against "falling away" from an action they have already taken.

This has been a very fruitful exchange on a passage that certainly isn't so
simple. One thing that helps, certainly, is seeing the passage within its
context, which is enough to clarify for me (along with finding that Bart's
"ton" really was meant to be the genitive plural TWN rather than the m.
acc. sg. TON) that ANASTREFESQAI must mean "live" "go through life" in this
context rather than "be converted" (as I was taking it last night).

I must say that I have a problem with this reading of POIHSANTAS as
referring to past actions: the fact that it is answered in the EI MH clause
with a present infinitive ANASTREFESQAI; moreover, the POIHSANTAS is
coordinated with the aorist infinitive EPITUCEIN. In this instance I don't
think we should see the participle as temporal but rather as indicating
completion of the act: "What do we need to get done to achieve these things
but to proceed to live ..."

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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