Re: Heb 12:14

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Oct 28 1999 - 13:44:52 EDT

At 12:36 PM -0500 10/28/99, David Scherer wrote:
>In this verse we find OU CWRIS OUDEIS OPSETAI TON KURION. Frequently the
>negative OU is translated "without" and treated as a relative pronoun
>(refering to hAGIASMON AND perhaps TO EIRHNH as well). Why is this
>preferred? Why not read OU as intensifying CWRIS? In that case, the verse
>says "Follow peace with all and holiness; alone no one will see the Lord."
>In other words, peace and holiness serve to build the community, because
>that is where the Lord is manifest. This appears to be sensible in context,
>so why prefer the other translation?

(a) If you look at the diacritical marks, you'll note that it isn't OU
that's printed in the text but hOU: this IS a relative pronoun and CWRIS is
regularly used in a postpositive position with a preceding genitive object.
And this seems to be the easiest way to make sense of this text; BUT

(b) If you want to say that these diacritical marks weren't in the earliest
MSS anyway, so how can we know that it isn't the negating OU instead of the
relative pronoun in the genitive singular, one fairly strong indication is
that the construction you're suggesting would really require, in terms of
ordinary Greek idiom, an OUC with the OYETAI--i.e. the ordinary phrasing
for "not separately will anyone ever see the Lord" would probably be
something like "OUDE CWRIS OUC OYETAI OUDEIS TON KURION." It really seems
preferable to read it the way it's usually been read, i.e. with the
omicron-upsilon understood as hOU, the relative pronoun in the genitive

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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