Re: Gal. 4:7

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed May 10 2000 - 07:23:14 EDT

At 11:10 PM -0700 5/9/00, Byron Knutson wrote:
>I have been reading in Gal. and when I came to 4:7, it sticks out like a
>sore thumb because Paul switches to a singular subject here when in the
>previous verses he has been using the plural. Why? Any ideas?

We had a thread last week (subject-header: "Re: Acts 2:38 -- umwn") dealing
not directly with what's involved in this present passage but with the
larger question of shifts from singular to plural and vice versa. I had
noted that Paul tends to underscore the CORPORATE relationship of believers
to God through Christ and its implied relationship of believers to each
other in the congregation. Someone as a corrective noted that there were
points where Paul underscores the personal relationship of believer to God
in Christ also, something I wouldn't want to deny. And here is one. It's a
curious movement of subjects, from indefinite sg. in Gal. 4:1, to corporate
1 pl. in 4:3 and the essential 1 pl. is continued through 4:5 (...
APOLABWMEN). In 4:6 he shifts to the 2nd pl. (hOTI DE ESTE hUIOI ... but
again shifts to the 1st pl. (EIS TAS KARDIAS hHMWN ...). And then in 4:7
comes this shift to the sg. hWSTE OUKETI EI DOULOS ALLA hUIOS ...). After
shifts like that, I'd be inclined to interpret the flow of this passage as
conversationally homiletic: "I tell you all, this is how we are, this is
what God has done for us ... you all must realize ... this means that you
(pointing to an individual) are a Son, not a slave ..." I have no idea what
the discourse analysts will say about this, but this is a pretty powerful
impression I derive from reading it.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

B-Greek home page:
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: []
To unsubscribe, forward this message to
To subscribe, send a message to

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:25 EDT