Re: Romans 5:15

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Sep 08 1999 - 07:00:03 EDT

At 5:55 PM -0700 9/7/99, Daniel L Christiansen wrote:
> Of course, all that Carl said regarding the positioning of the
>article is correct. Does that go without saying?
> However, I wonder whether that was what you were asking? You seem
>to have been asking whether the article can come after its substantive:
>the answer is "no, it cannot." The "difficulty" with this passage, IMO,
>is not the placement of THi, but the absence of a substantive after the
>article. In other words, this article does not "go with" CARITI, but
>begins an attributive phrase which modifies CARITI. What you have here,
>is a third attributive position (noun-article-adjective), camouflaged by
>the omission of the adjectival.
> When my students encounter this passage, I suggest to them that they
>imagine a participle (probably something like WN or ERCOMENWN) occurring
>after THi; thus, they can translate the phrase along the lines of "by
>grace WHICH IS / WHICH CAME through the one man...". Of course, once
>they understand the thought, I have to convince them to remove that
>participle, and not be tempted to actually pencil it into their texts :)
> And, certainly, if Carl's post answered what your true question was,
>I apologize for muddying the waters :)

If we're going to muddy the waters, let's carry the matter yet a bit
further. I don't really disagree with what Dan is suggesting here, but I
think that the same thing can be said slightly differently, perhaps more
clearly (but that's why I fear muddying of the waters!).

Our original text in Rom 5:15 was: POLLWi MALLON hH CARIS TOU QEOU KAI hH

I agree that we have an attributive phrase in THi TOU hENOS ANQRWPOU IHSOU
CRISTOU, an attributive phrase that is intended to I think that the
distinctive force of the article in this kind of attributive phrase is
intensely demonstrative and practically substantival (I don't think it
hurts to remember that hO/hH/TO was originally a demonstrative and in some
functions in later Greek continues to be one) and the phrase is like an
appositive: "grace--THAT (grace) of the one man Jesus Christ ..."

Now, perhaps those waters can be rendered as nearly translucent as possible
by noting that what Dan is saying is really equivalent to what I'm saying,
however different its phrasing: if one postulates an imaginary participle
to construe with that "post-positive" article that is in agreement with its
noun, one is in fact recognizing that the article is functioning in the
role of a demonstrative pronoun; Dan makes it a relative pronoun, and I
think it's okay to see it that way too, but there's a distinctive force
when the article comes in this position without there having been an
article preceding the noun: the attributive phrase is far more emphatic
than it would be had Paul written: EN THi TOU hENOS ANQRWPOU IHSOU CRISTOU
CARITI; and even though it's also true that that's a mouthful of words to
fit between the article and noun, one does see that large an attributive
phrase "sandwiched" between article and noun frequently enough.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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