[b-greek] Re: 1 Cor 12:2

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Fri Sep 01 2000 - 07:36:37 EDT

At 8:50 PM -0400 8/31/00, Dmitriy Reznik wrote:
>Dear friends:
>Will you please help me to understand syntax of 1 Cor 12:2:
>APAGOMENOI. [Note: I've corrected EGHSQE to HGESQE. cwc]

>Robertson says there is an ellipsis [HTE] before APAGOMENOI. Is that
>true? And if yes, where is the predicate then?

That's possible and may be so, but I don't think it's absolutely necessary
to assume it: it COULD be just a conflation of two indirect-discourse
constructions: (a) Verbs of perception/knowing take indirect discourse with
participle rather than infinitive, and when the subject of the clause of
indirect discourse is identical with the subject of the introductory verb
the participle remains in the nominative case, so that OIDATE APAGOMENOI
might well be "You know that you are/were carried away." (b) but on the
other hand, this OIDATE is followed by the conjunction hOTI which normally
introduces a clause of indirect discourse with a finite verb, normally in
the indicative--so that, if we understand the construction that way, we do
need an auxiliary verb with APAGOMENOI and it would pretty much have to be
HTE--and we would understand HTE APAGOMENOI as a periphrastic imperfect,
equivalent to the simpler form APHGESQE. What confuses matters all the
more--and even suggests the possibility of a corrupted MS tradition
here--is that HGESQE and APAGOMENOI are so similar to each other and
indeed, APAGOMENOI is a participial form of a verb compounded from the root

My guess is that Robertson is more likely right: we can make pretty good
sense of the sentence if we supply a second HTE before APAGOMENOI. I would
understand the structure of the whole sentence in that case thus:

                        | |
                hOTE EQNH HTE |
                        hWS AN HGESQE

and I would understand it thus: "You know that, when you were
Gentiles/pagans, you were enraptured/carried-away, in whatsoever way you
were drawn toward speechless idols." Of course you could construe the
prepositional phrase, PROS TA EIDWLA TA AFWNA with either [HTE] APAGOMENOI
or with HGESQE or even with both--implicitly, I think, it has to be
understood with both. The meaning then becomes: "You know that when you
were unbelieving pagans you would be carried away in rapture ([HTE
APAGOMENOI) before/facing/confronting speechless idols (PROS TA EIDWLA TA
AFWNA), in whatsoever way you would let yourselves be drawn (hWS AN

I have always understood this verse as meaning that Paul concedes that
ecstatic religious experience as a psychic phenomenon did indeed
characterize pagan religious experience at least as much as it may
characterize Christian religious experience--and then he goes on, in the
immediately following verses, to differentiate the two modes of religious
experience NOT by "how it felt" but by the consequences in terms of one's
understanding: authentic Christian ecstasy cannot lead to a false
confessional statement about the identity of Christ, and must indeed lead
to an authentic confessional statement about the identity of Christ.

I've carried this somewhat beyond the direct question raised, not so much
for the sake of interpretation of the larger context as for clarifying how
my understanding of the syntax of 12:2 bears on the meaning I see implicit
in 12:2. I hope it may help.


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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