Re: Rom. 12:15 infinitives

From: Jim West (
Date: Fri Aug 06 1999 - 14:28:50 EDT

At 01:55 PM 8/6/99 -0400, you wrote:

>>> which must be understood as the readers, a group distinct from the
>>>group(s) described in the participles. Right?
>>No. Paul is directly addressing them as a group and telling them to
>>with those in their midst who rejoice and weep with those in their midst
>>weep. The readers are the weepers and rejoicers.
>This makes no sense to me. I would not automatically assume that all are
>members of the same Christian community.

Now you are confusing me. Are you suggesting that Paul is sending the
letter to rome and corinth at the same time? what other christian community
would he be addressing if not the one(s) in rome?

> In 12:14, "bless those who
>persecute you" seems to exhort Christian readers in their response to
>non-Christian persecutors.

What leads you to believe that they are not Christians?

> "Bless those who curse" does not mean that
>Paul's readers are themselves cursers. They are a group distinct from those
>who curse. In 12:14 the participles are the direct objects of the
>imperative verbs, not their subjects.

Not necessarily.

>But even if we do assume that all are members of the same community in
>12:15, still, Paul is exhorting his readers who are not weeping to weep with
>those who are. We have two groups here: weepers and co-weepers. And two
>groups there: rejoicers and co-rejoicers.

Not two groups- but one group. Sometimes they weep and sometimes they dont.
In fact the very notion that Paul exhorts them to join in the feelings of
one another means precisely that they are to be unified!

>I'm sorry, but this seems like evasive gobbledy-gook to me, and I am
>surprised, because usually your answers are clear. Of course these are
>substantival participles. Of course they have noun-like properties. In
>12:15, they serves as objects of the prepositions META.

Evasive???? I am never evasive- and I dont think my answer was unclear in
any event.

>If I say: TREXEIN META TREXONTWN, I assume that there is a group out there
>running, but I do not assume you are in that group.

You would assume wrongly- the action is present tense (at least that is how
I take the infinitive) - the participle describing the ongoin action of the
main verb. Almost = continue running with those who run... etc. The same
could be said of our original text---- continue weeping with those who weep-
continue rejoicing with those who rejoice... see?

>I am telling you to run
>with them. TREXONTWN is not the subject of the infinitive TREXEIN. It is
>the genitive object of the preposition META. The subject of the imperatival
>infinitive is an implied accusative SE or hUMAS.

NO! It is the subject of the infinitive. Beware that you are not "washed
in the blood of the subjunctive mood" (i.e., that you allow the "rules" to
have such a stranglehold on your reading of the text that you cannot see
what is there for the rules themselves.... for, as we all know, the writers
of the NT were not slaves to the rules anyway!).
Rules are guidelines and generalities- nothing more.

>Your assertion that a participle is like a noun is granted, but that does
>not make it the subject of the infinitive.

It does in the case here precisely because there is no subject. If there
were a subject separate from the participle I would agree completely with
you. But since there isnt, I am assinging the role of the subject to the
participle, where it rightly belongs. IMHO *don't snicker- i'm sincere
when i say 'humble'* :-)

>What am I missing here?

You are missing nothing. You are simply adding an understood subject where
none is necessary.



Jim West, ThD
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