Re: 1Pet.1:17

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Mar 19 2000 - 08:20:35 EST

At 7:08 AM -0500 3/19/00, wrote:
>In a message dated 3/18/2000 2:07:17 PM Central Daylight Time,
> writes:
><< I have a question about using EPIKALEOMAI in 1Pet 1:17.
> How should it be translated? Does the verb mean "to name" or "to call
> upon"?
> If "to name" is correct, should it be understood as "if you call the one
> who ... judges father ..."? And if "to call upon" is correct, should it
> be understood as "if you call [upon someone] as Father who judges..." or
> "if you call upon the one who judges ... as Father"?
> >>
>I think you need to take the range of meanings which have been found to be
>applicable to a term in various contexts and determine what best fits the
>context with which you are dealing. In this case I would be inclined to
>choose a term which approaches the concept of "to invoke." If I may
>paraphrase for the sake of clarity, this becomes
>If the one you call upon as your father is the one who is a strictly
>impartial judge and examines your deeds, you have reason to be afraid.
>The following verseS, however, contrast with this position.
>In other words,
>"If you invoke a Father who impartially judges each according to his works,
>you live your life [the time of your sojourn] in fear. You know that you were
>freed from your vain traditional behavior, not with fleeting silver or gold,
>but with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without spot and blemish."

Pedantic note--perhaps a quibble, but I think the original question Dmitry
raised has a grammatical element as well as the lexicological one. There is
a nuance of difference between the implications of two ways of construing
and understanding the five-word sequence.

What is implicit but hasn't been addressed hitherto in discussion of this
question is the grammatical construction of PATERA EPIKALEISQE TON
APROSWPOLHMPTWS KRINTONTA: George Somsel indicates by his version above
that he understands PATERA as the direct object of EPIKALEISQE and TON ...
KRINONTA as an attributive participle to PATERA. But some others take TON
APROSWPOLHMPTWS KRINONTA as the direct object of EPIKALEISQE and understand
PATERA as a predicate accusative to that participial accusative phrase.

I would agree with George that the sense needed for EPIKALEISQE here
(particularly as it is a middle-voice form) is "invoke"--but that doesn't
altogether resolve Dmitry's original question, which I took to be about the
grammar: is it "You invoke AS A FATHER the one who judges impartially" or
is it "You invoke A FATHER (who is) THE ONE WHO JUDGES IMPARTIALLY"?

And I would agree with George's implicit answer to this question--that
PATERA is the direct object, TON ... KRINONTA is an attributive participle
phrase. The emphasis is thereby put on TON KRINONTA, as is shown in what
follows in vs. 18 with its observation--or admonition--about the sort of
life to be lived by one who invokes that kind of a judge. If the emphasis
were upon PATERA as a predicate accusative, one could imagine that the
"paternal" status of the judge liberates one from living out one's life in

George has neatly finessed the distinction in his paraphrase, "If the one
you call upon as your father is the one who is a strictly impartial judge
and examines your deeds" which indicates the identity of PATERA and TON
KRINONTA without quite resolving the grammatical question. And so long as
one recognizes this identity, perhaps it isn't necessary to do the
analysis. Generally speaking, grammatical analysis is "invoked" only when
it becomes evident that one is not quite sure how the construction works.


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 WWW:

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