RE: 1Cor 1:24

From: Alan Wong (
Date: Mon Mar 27 2000 - 10:08:48 EST

Daniel L Christiansen <> wrote:
|Dmitriy Reznik wrote [snipped]:
|> Could you tell me if CRISTON QEOU DUNAMIN KAI
|> QEOU SOFIAN is to be translated as "[We preach]
|> Messiah the power of God, and the wisdom of God"
|> or "Messiah as the power of Cod etc."
|> I have a difficulty with this because there is no
|> article before "power" and "wisdom".
| All kidding aside: I am not certain that a
| positive choice can be made for either rendering.
| Whether DUNAMIN and SOFIAN are retained objects,
| or are the objects of an implied hOS ESTIN, it seems
| to me that the article would not be required.

If I recall correctly, Wallace points out in his grammar
that the absence of the article does not require
that the substantive is indefinite (e.g. proper nouns
without an article are clearly definite). Contextual
considerations should, of course, dictate. Here the
monotheistic background of the early church requires us
to take QEOU as definite despite the lack of the article.

The lack of the article in QEOU DUNAMIN KAI QEOU SOFIAN
both the head nouns and the genitive nouns is known as
Apollinarius (sic?) construction (again see Wallace on
the article - my memory is a bit rusty here).

A more interesting discussion would be to ask what
kind of genitive these are? The comment that Paul in the
context is discussing the cross as the saving power and
wisdom of God (while certainly true) seems to truncate
some of Paul's identification of Christ as the person
who instantiates the power and wisdom of God. He
repeats the same statement again in 1 Cor 1:30-31.

hO KAUCWMEOS EN KURIW KAUCASQW. (citing Jer 9:23-24)

Is the "power of God and the wisdom of God" an attributive
genitive (Christ demonstrates the perfections of God)?
Or is it a subjective genitive (viz. Christ as God's
saving agent)? Of course, I am sensitive that the Greek
language is more nuanced than our technical grammars
like to make it to be, but that does not take away
the fun of the discussion :). In the last few weeks,
I just read an interesting discussion by Augustine in
_De Trinitate_ where he discusses these very verses from
Paul and tries to understand what this could mean
Christologically in the light of his understanding of the
Nicene Creed and in the light of the Aristotlean
distinction between substance and accident. Of course, his discussion
does not quite fit into the norms of modern critical scholarship,
but I actually think that is
besides the point (I have a Gadamerian streak).

-Grace and Peace,
Alan Wong
M.Div. candidate
Gordon-Conwell Seminary.

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