Re: Hebrews 11:1

From: George Blaisdell (
Date: Mon May 10 1999 - 13:22:14 EDT


>From: Steve Long


> >"Of events foretold, faith is the basis of their >being hoped for, the
>uncovering of their not being seen."
> >
> >OR ~ Embedding PRAGMATWN ~
> >
> >"Faith is the basis of events foretold being >hoped for, the uncovering
>of their not being seen."

> >Neither has the poetic beauty of the KJV ~ >Or the elegance of the Greek.
> I
> >would hope that both have precision of rendering
< <the Greek text insofar as
> >it is possible to do so in English.

>I wonder if most of trouble with rendering a Greek chiasm/parallelism into
>English is we try to use a Greek poetic form on an English sentence

I share your wondering...

>Wouldn't it be better English (and translation) to use an
>English poetic structure?

We share the same dream!

>Faith is the assurance and proof of reality
> for which we hope, yet cannot see.

>You see I have not replicated the parallelism but I folded it back on
>itself and intertwined it to preserve the chiasm.

Marvelous! And you don't really even need the comma. And surely this
passage does say that faith is hUPOSTASIS and ELEGCOS.

>The translators of the KJV were masters of understatement which is why that
>translation continues in popularity.

Well, it was written, after all, during a time in the history of the English
language that produced its greatest literature. It is indeed, for all its
textual problems, still the greatest masterpiece of Bible translation ever
produced in English. [imho] No other even comes close! But you better have
your NA 27, a Lex. and a grounding in Biblical Greek language alongside when
you look at it closely, yes? [Not to mention prayer!]

>After removing the parallelism I really believe that surety or assurance is
>intended for hUPOSTASIS rather that substance, if we have faith in God, our
>faith is not His substance (that would be the most arrogant kind of

Exactly on point. 'Substance', even though it is a Latin transliteration of
hUPOSTASIS, fails due to its very common usage as a gloss for OUSIA.

Yet surety or assurance seems to me a step or two 'up the ladder' from the
root of authorial intention. I could be wrong here, but really do think
that ground, foundation, basis, or any gloss that denotes 'that which stands
under' is to be preferred.

>so I must choose assurance because it is parallel to proof
>just as hope is parallel to unseen.

The parallelism is crucial... ELPIZOMENWN modifies hUPOSTASIS, and OU
BLEPOMENWN modifies ELEGCOS, with both related to PRAGMATWN on which they
turn. Faith is the basis of hope/expectation, the uncovering of the
invisibility of the future.

>I don't believe PRAGMATWN can be translated as actions or events, it
>removes too much passive nature of PRAGMATWN. It sounds as if you're
>reading it as PRAXEIS.

The MA suffix indicates a noun of result, yes? And the result of an action
is an event, yes? Hence event... :-)

This word has, I believe, in Hebrews a more narrow meaning, almost a
technical one, which comes to light, for instance, in 11:7. "Noah, by
faith, being apprised concerning that which was not as yet being observed,
and being pious, builds an ark..." The PRAGMATHS here is that of which he
is apprised [by God]. That means, to me, he was apprised of an event in the
future that was not being seen, and he was apprised 'by faith'...'being
pious' ~ The enclosers of this snip. Hence the essential role of faith in
his apprisal of a future event. [The apprisal not coming from anything of
this world.]

>I do not believe that this passage is refering in any way to "foretold
>events". I don't see how you can read that here.

Well, right or wrong, perhaps now you can see why I do so.

An amazing little 8 words...

George Blaisdell
Roslyn, WA

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