From: Mike Sangrey (
Date: Tue Sep 28 1999 - 12:40:28 EDT said:
> B-greekers:
> Yesterday my Greek class was looking at Galatians and comparing 1:18
> with 2:1.

[Some deleted]

> ...[I]s Paul referring here to a total period of fourteen years
> (the period of 2:1 having the same starting point as 1:18, i.e.
> concurrent), or seventeen years (the period of 2:1 running from the
> end of the period of 1:18, i.e. consecutive)?

> The Greek is different in 1:18 and 2:1. Is this significant for the
> point at issue?

> In 1:18 Paul says, "Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem

> In 2:1 Paul says, "Then after fourteen years I went up again to

> Three issues:

[Two issues deleted since I feel unqualified to offer any insight]

> 3. The major point: In the second passage, the preposition is DIA plus
> the genitive. Is this an equivalent for META with the accusative, so
> that once again (as in point 1, above) we have two synonyms, the
> difference being purely stylistic? Or alternatively: Does DIA plus the
> genitive have the force of "through" and indicate that the fourteen
> years of this verse travels "through" the earlier period of three
> years which Paul has just mentioned in the immediate context?

> It is interesting to note that translations seem uniformly to render
> 2:1 as "Then after fourteen years" or "Fourteen years later"; none
> that I have consulted bring out any idea of "through" for the DIA.

I consulted the ASV and it translates the second as "Then after the
space of fourteen..." which somewhat brings out the "throughness".

> I will be interested in your comments.

This is interesting.

Here's my insight, FWIW.

The accusative brings out the notion of 'extent'. I see Paul standing
before an audience and as he speaks, I picture him raising his right
hand in the air as if he is holding a grapefruit sized ball--"this
three year span." I think of META with the accusative in this way.
That's the first picture. There is not a strong emphasis on the time,
but, at least there is 3 years to account for.

However, the second phrase is in the genitive. This case would bring
emphasis to the 'kind of thing'--this was a 14-year kind of span.
And DIA brings emphasis to a 'through' or 'spanning' idea. So I
picture Paul, hands raised, index fingers extended, touching and to
his left. He pulls his right hand away from his left as he says,
"fourteen year span." In other words, he is getting his readers
to focus on the span itself and not just the extent of the time.
By this he strongly emphasizes the length of time. The fact that
he contrasts (and I think of this as contrast and not that the one
time segment is within the other) META with DIA appears to me to
add additional emphasis to that time span.

His argument in the context is that he did not receive the Gospel
from any man. He is using time to bolster that argument. And, I
think, he uses DIA + genitive to emphasize that 14 year span. If the
3 year and 14 year span overlapped, this would weaken his argument.

As I said, FWIW.

Mike Sangrey
Lancaster, Pa.
       There is no 'do' in faith, everywhere present within it is 'done'.
             And faith should commend itself from within every 'do'.

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