Re: Rom. 12:15 infinitives

From: Jim West (jwest@Highland.Net)
Date: Fri Aug 06 1999 - 10:32:44 EDT

At 10:03 AM 8/6/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Can someone help me understand how the infinitives are being used here?
>Rom. 12:14-15 -
>I want to connect CAIREIN and KLAIEIN with some verb and subject,
>e.g. EULOGEITE; however, that doesn't seem to fit. What's Paul
>doing here?

The participles contain the subject. The nature of participles is that they
are verbal nouns. Here the call is to rejoice with whoever rejoices and
weep with whoever weeps. Rather general and universalistic- but appropriate
none the less.

>The flow of the words in vs 14-15 seem full of a mood of rhetoric;
>a person standing on a stage speaking as if to the air, not directly
>to his audience.

Well..... ummmmm... Paul is definitely not on a stage nor is he speaking
imprecisely to the air. This is Paul, not Aristophanes.

>The only explanation I can arrive at is in terms of a picture I've just
>alluded to. I picture a person walking down a narrow street at
>dawn, crying out, "CAIREIN META CAIRONTWN." He is not thinking of
>anyone in particular doing the action; nor is he making a verbal idea
>more precise by using an infinitive. He is just heralding an idea.
>Is this the thought behind this use of the infinitive? Paul just bursts
>with "To rejoice with rejoicing!"

I dont think so. I think Paul has in mind a concrete situation which the
Romans are familiar with.

>Perhaps I haven't given enough of the context. Verses 9 and
>following list a bunch of actions we are to do. Paul does this
>with participle after participle. Then, with EULOGEITE, he uses an
>imperative, breaking the chain and then he uses these infinitives.
>This brings me to quote the great Greek, Winnieus hO Poohus, "It
>muddles me rather."

Paul likes to mix his partciples and infinitives with imperatives and
indicatives. He does it to break the monotony.

>I guess my precise question is this, "How do the infinitives fit
>into the flow of Paul's thought here in Rom. 9-21?" Why not just
>continue with the participles?

Because the participles would become redundant and numbing- so he breaks
them up with other verbal forms.



Jim West, ThD
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