Re: Romans 5:12 EF hW

From: Maurice A. O'Sullivan (
Date: Sun Feb 21 1999 - 11:39:10 EST

At 23:45 20/02/99, you wrote:
>Hi, I've been away for a while, up to my neck in other alligators, so if
>anyone has addressed anything to me and found it unanswered, please try
>I find myself in need of your expertise...
>In Romans 5:12, Paul writes EF hW PANTES hHMARTON, commonly translated "for
>that all sinned."
>If I'm not mistaken, this is literally "upon which all sinned."
>Is the EF hW part used anywhere else in Scripture?
>Or is it a common construct outside of the Scriptures?

Taking your second question first:
: What other possibile translations might it support?<
I see that Carl has replied:
>>you might use "because," "since," "the reason being that ..." or the like.<<

Well, his first suggestion is supported by:
with the REB going for " inasmuch that ..."

On the major, grammatical question, you are in good company, according to:
Fitzmyer, Joseph A. Romans. Anchor Bible 33. New York: Doubleday, 1993
when he remarks of EF' hWi that:

"it has been much debated throughout the centuries. It has been understood,
first, as introducing a genuine relative clause. "
 [ here follows 11/2 pages devoted to 8 separate translations ]
" Second, EF' hWi has been understood as equivalent to a conjunction. " [
with more than anothr page devoted to the subtleties of this ]

His analysis is replete with examples from early Greek literature, Church
Fathers, and modern scholars, so clearly you will have to have recourse to
this volume for a full treatment.

But perhaps I can outline the various options he considers:

Under the first ( above ) we find:

(1) "In whom," with the masc. pron. referring to Adam; it would imply
incorporation in him, a meaning based on the VL and Vg translations _in
quo_ and commonly used in the western church since Ambrosiaster
(2) "Because of whom," i.e., Adam, all have sinned. So several Creek Fathers:
3) "Because of the one by whom" (EF' hWi would elliptically equal EPI
TOUTWi EF' hWi ) , an interpretation that spells out a possibl elliptical
phrase and refers the
masc. pron. to Adam. It would thus imply "a relationship between the state
of sin and its initiator"
(4) "To the extent that all have sinned," an interpretation that
understands EF' hWi as neuter and equal to KAQ' HO; (so Cyril of
Alexandria etc )
(5) "On the grounds of which," or "because of which," an interpretation
that takes "death" as the antecedent of masc. EF' hWi and explains it
as the origin of death
(6) "Toward which," again with QANATOS as the antecedent, but expressing
the end or goal of human sin.

(7) "On the basis of what (law) all sinned," understanding NOMWi from the
general context and especially v I 3;
(8) "On the basis of which" or "under which circumstances," with the
antecedent understood as the preceding clauses in the verse;

Then he comes to the second, 'understood as a conjuntion'
(9) "Since, because, inasmuch as,'' the equivalent of a causal conj. DIOTI,
or as the equivalent of EPI TOUTWi hOTI, as many modern commentators
understand EF' hWi comparing 2 Cor 5:4; Phil 3:12; 4:10 (BAGD, 287; BDF

This is followed by a sharp critique of BAGD and Bauer, Aland, and Aland:

"The trouble with this interpretation is that there are almost no certain
instances in early Creek literature wherein EF' hWi is used as the
equivalent of causal DIOTI. Most of the examples cited by BAGD (287) or B-A
(582) are invalid. "

He issues a cautionary note on other occurences within the Pauline corpus:
"Moreover, alleged examples in the Pauline corpus itself, apart from 5: 12,
are far from certain. In Phil 3: I 2 EF' hWi means "that for which"; in
Phil 4: 10, "for whom," or possibly "with regard to which" (Moule, Idiom
Book, 132). Not even 2 Cor 5:4 does EF' hWi certainly mean "because"

There are futher examples of translation considered, and then Fitzmyer's
summing up.

Well worth reading, and it should satisfy you to be in the company of many
down the centuries <g>


Maurice A. O'Sullivan
[Bray, Ireland]

" To bury oneself in a Greek lexicon is to rise with Christ "
--- Sir Edwyn C. Hoskyns, Bart.

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