Re: Hebrews 11:1

From: Jim West (jwest@Highland.Net)
Date: Tue May 04 1999 - 12:31:45 EDT

At 12:04 PM 5/4/99 +0000, you wrote:
>I have several questions regarding Hebrews 11:1, which reads as follows:
>1. One generally sees HUPOSTASIS and ELEGXOS translated with a definite
>article in English, but they lack such in Greek. I realize that Greek and
>English sometimes use the article in different ways. But wouldn't it be
>possible to render these words without the article, as in "Now faith is of
>things hoped for a confident assurance, a conviction of things not seen"?

Or perhaps, "Faith is substantive hopefulness and conviction without aid of
I agree with your assesment that the definite article is not necessary here
in English either.

>2. Does PRAGMATWN belong with ELPIZOMENWN, BLEPOMENWN, or both? Could it
>possibly have a stronger force than "things" here; maybe something like

Or perhaps "deeds", "actions".

>3. My main question is whether HUPOSTASIS should be taken as "substance"
>or "assurance" here. (I looked in the archives and couldn't find a
>discussion of this.) [snipped]

I think "substantive" or some such meaning is most likely- though the range
is fairly broad. Still, I take it in almost a philosophical way, and
believe that that is how the word is intended.

>Any thoughts on this? Am I missing any evidence that is relevant to the
>question? And if the translation should be "substance," what is that
>supposed to mean? Thanks in advance for whatever light you can shine on
>these questions.

Well, faith is substantive- it is not mere "pie in the sky in the sweet bye
and bye". I think the author here is intimating that faith is as real as
material reality. In fact, I might go so far as to say that he is almost
using the idea of substance and reality in a Platonic sense. I.e., it is
the heavenly that is real and the earthly is merely shadow of that reality.
Faith then grasps the really real while discounting the apperance of
"material" reality.

>Kevin L. Barney




Jim West, ThD
Petros Baptist Church- Pastor
Quartz Hill School of Theology- Adjunct Prof. of Bible

fax- 978-231-5986
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