[b-greek] Re: 2 Cor. 5:19

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Tue Jul 25 2000 - 08:37:41 EDT

At 2:37 AM +0000 7/25/00, Mark Wilson wrote:
>I have a few questions concerning 2 Cor. 5:19
>I do not understand this prepositional phrase. Does this mean that God (the
>Father) was in Christ (God the Son)?

I think that the usual Pauline sense of EN CRISTWi is something like "in
corporate union with Christ" or "acting in association with the corporate
body of Christ." That sense may well be involved here, but I think the more
common understanding of it is either locative (God present within or acting
within Christ) or instrumental (God acting by means of Christ). My own
inclination would be to take it as both locative and instrumental but to
consider seriously adding the other dimension to which I first referred:
i.e, the work of reconciliation begun in the work of Christ continues on in
the corporate body of Christ, the EKKLHSIA. I do think that the range of
possible meanings of EN CRISTWi may turn out to be difficult to delimit
very precisely.

>Does it mean the God the Father was reconciling the world BY MEANS OF Christ
>on the cross?

I think that this is probably implicit here, judging from Paul's statements
elsewhere and from the MH LOGIZOMENOS participial phrase.

>Or, does it mean Christ was divine, and as God, he was reconciling?

Grammatically I don't see that as implicit here: QEOS is the subject and
the reflexive dative pronoun hEAUTWi must refer back to the subject, not to

>Does reconciliation only take place “in Christ” ??

There is nothing IN THIS TEXT that specifically implies that "only."

>This implies to me that since God has reconciled the world, he will no
>longer impute their trespasses to their account, almost as if all the sins
>were imputed to Christ.

Be careful here: the main verb here is the periphrastic imperfect HN ...
KATALLASSWN (that's the way I'd understand this; although some might prefer
to read KATALLASSWN as a circumstantial participle and the primary
assertion to be simply that "God was in Christ"--I don't really think that
KATALLASSWN can be dissociated from the meaning of QEOS HN EN CRISTWi);
there is no implication or assertion that the work of reconciliation is
complete; even if the EN CRISTWi adverbial qualification of the verb is
understood in the narrowest terms as referring only to the crucifixion as a
saving event, it seems to me that the periphrastic imperfect implies that
the efficacy of the reconciling work has not been completed.

>Can someone explain "MH LOGIZOMENOS" ??
>Simply because God has reconciled himself to the world, that would not
>address whether man has reconciled himself to God. Right?

Once again, I would protest your formulating the statement of
reconciliation in the perfect tense. That periphrastic imperfect seems to
me to imply that something was initiated by God in Christ and there is no
indication that what was initiated has been finished.

I think a question here that is very much worth raising is why the negative
particle MH rather than OU is used with LOGIZOMENOS. The "reckoning" or
"calculating" implicit in the participle is evidently not a simple fact but
somehow contingent? Is it an expression of intent or will? "not intending
to impute ...?) I'm asking this as a question, because I think the fact
that we have MH here rather than OU is perhaps very significant.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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