RE: Ign. Eph. 15:3, Romans 5:12

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Jan 04 2000 - 12:17:17 EST

At 9:00 AM -0600 1/4/00, Bill Ross wrote:
>Personally, when Paul uses a different construction I don't say to myself
>"he just meant the same thing as if he had said..." because if he had wanted
>to say ... he would have said .... and so I look for what might be a subtle
>but profound difference.

Bill, I don't want to say nor do I mean that you're wrong about this, but I
do think you ought to consider an alternative to what you're asserting
here. Do YOU, in writing an e-mail or in conversation, sometimes say "since
..." and sometimes say "because ..." without meaning any significant
difference whatsoever? I think it's worth taking into account that, while
parts of Paul's letters certainly are composed with painstaking rhetorical
intricacy, large parts of them are really formulated in very colloquial
language. If you EXPECT to find a subtle but profound difference in meaning
in every exercise of an option for a different "synonym" you may very well
find it because you're expecting it, even if it isn't there. So what I'm
cautioning against here is the all too facile ASSUMPTION that different
phrasing means a profoundly different sense.

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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