Re: Hebrews 11:1

From: George Blaisdell (
Date: Sat May 08 1999 - 17:37:47 EDT


>From: "Carl W. Conrad"

As to the bearing on translation of this chiastic grammatical structuring, I
am but exploring that possibility.


>I think that there is indeed a chiastic, or better a "ring"

'Ring' has a nice ring to it, Carl... :-)


>I really think that PRAGMATWN depends upon the predicate nominatives found
>on either side (hUPOSTASIS and ELEGCOS), and then the passive participles,
>one of them negated, both qualify PRAGMATWN.

Of course they do! The question I am addressing has to do with the word
order and its implications for translation, not the grammar per se.

>But I think it is fundamentally wrong and misleading to take PRAGMATWN
>directly with PISTIS;

Grammatically, I agree joyfully ~ The issue here is the import of the center
of the 'ring', where the ring itself is seen as the 'predicate nominative'
of PISTIS. Is the center of that ring the center of the meaning? I want to
think so...

>I think it's intolerable that PRAGMATWN should be construed as objective
>genitive to a
>noun farther removed from either of those immediately adjacent to it.

Well, I certainly have no tolerance for it! :-) d'accord!

>Consequently I'd consider the "ring" to encompass only the elements


>And also, although in this
>particular instance I think we do indeed have a deliberate "ring," I don't
>think you can so readily make this concentric grammatical association that
>you want to make every opportunity it seems to crop up;

Well, Carl, you are probably right. On the other hand, how can one learn to
swim without entering the water? I do happen to think that concentric
thinking is characteristic of the literature of this period, and that we
really should approach it that way. It is structures like this that keep
feeding this idea...

PRAGMATWN, in the context of Hebrews, seems to refer to events foretold, and
should probably be understood this way. Thus the central thrust of this
passage would be:

"Faith is of events foretold, events hoped for yet unseen,
their basis and their proof."

The implications of this understanding are startling indeed! [DIANOIA is
bypassed, for instance! Off limits, I know!!]

So I am still working on it...

George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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