Re: PANTES OU versus OU PANTES in 1 Cor 15:51

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Apr 25 1999 - 07:44:26 EDT

At 8:27 PM -0500 4/24/99, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>On 04/24/99, ""Carl W. Conrad" <>" wrote:
>> At 10:56 PM -0500 4/23/99, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>> >Dear Carl,
>> >
>> >On 04/23/99, ""Carl W. Conrad" <>" wrote:
>> >> At 12:31 AM -0500 4/23/99, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>> >> >Dear B-Greekers,
>> >> >
>> >> >In 1 Cor 15:51, we read
>> > "All of us inclusively (i.e. 100% of us) are NOT going to
>> >> sleep, but all of us inclusively (i.e. 100% of us) ARE going to undergo
>> >> transformation.."
>> >
>> >Does this rendering imply that no one of us is going to sleep?
>> No. Perhaps you'd prefer this: "We shall not sleep--all of us." Certainly
>> it could have been written OU PANTES KOIMHQHSOMEQA and perhaps have been
>> clearer that way, but I don't think the meaning is changed by the different
>> word order so much as that Paul intended to make PANTES the emphatic word
>> in both clauses in order to make it all the more forceful in the second
>> clause. He wants to emphasize the collective aspect of apocalyptic
>> redemption. Perhaps an even more vivid rendering, though I don't know
>> whether the Greek could properly be punctuated to yield this: "All of
>> us--even though we won't be all sleeping--yet ALL OF US will undergo
>> transformation."
>Carl, to see if I have understood you, let me ask clarifying
>questions. But let me first mention three translations:
> 1) Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be
>changed, RSV
> 2)I'm telling you a mystery. Not all of us will die, but we will
> all be changed. GWT
> 3) Behold, I tell you a mystery: We all shall not sleep,
> but we shall all be changed, ASV
>a) Does your understanding support the ASV translation ( 1)?

I think that ASV translates the sense in a way that might be misunderstood,
although the juxtaposition of "we all" BEFORE "shall not sleep" makes it
somewhat less likely to be misunderstood.

>b) Is the RSV translation (1) ambiguous between (2) and (3)?

No; I think the RSV is clear as a bell.

>c) I thought that the context indicates (2) correctly captures
> Is it grammatically possible to render it as (2)?

Yes, I think so.

>d) If Paul wrote OU PANTES KOIMHQHSOMEQA, wouldn't it clearly mean
> 2)?

Yes, but he didn't write it that way, and I think the reason lies in his
sense of the rhetorical antithesis of the two clauses. Let me suggest
another strategy that emphasizes this antithesis: the first clause
indicates what is NOT true of "all of us' while the second indicates what
IS true of "all of us." So another strategy for the translation that might
convey Paul's rhetoric more clearly is:
"The truth is NOT that we are all going to sleep; rather the truth is that
we ARE all going to undergo change." Does that help any?

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

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