[b-greek] Re: Rom.1:5: hUPAKOH PISTEWS

From: James S. Murray (jsmurray@execpc.com)
Date: Tue Sep 12 2000 - 21:45:40 EDT

Dennis Hukel wrote:

> Dear Jim,
> Since you asked, I do not believe PISTIS, PISTEWS is a "verbal noun" or "noun of action". I did a lot of research for
> an article I had published about this word. It is basically "belief". What one believes without empiracle proof is
> "faith". Faith is an abstract mental state (not action) which is the result of having become convinced or pursuaded
> that something is true.
> On a rare occasion, PISTIS will refer to the action or potential action one does based on their faith (but the focus is
> not on the action, but the underlying faith by which the action is a natural result), where the English rendering
> "faithfulness" is best used. But PISTIS does not mean the same thing as PISTEUWN ("believing", which means you are in
> the process of being persuaded something is true).
> I have seen countless books misusing PISTIS as if it were a noun of action, which it is not. The only reason they do
> this is because they vainly imagine that having "faith in Christ" is something each individual must "do" for
> acceptance, rather than what is truly the case that God through various means convinces people of the truth. God is
> the One who imparts faith, and He imparts it to the degree He wishes. A person cannot by sheer force of will decide
> what he believes or disbelieves (if he is has been convinced something is true and there is no convincing evidence that
> it is untrue, he cannot simply disbelieve it), many people are convinced of the truth, but by their nature they act
> unfaithfully.
> I hope this brief summary will encourage you to research it for yourself. There have been several articles in the
> Journal of Biblical Literature about this in the last 20 years. N.B. This is a big break with traditional
> interpretation. If PISTIS is not a noun of action, it CANNOT be followed by a subjective or objective genitive, another
> case function is involved!


You seem to be saying that because PISTIS is an abstract state (not action), it cannot be a 'verbal noun'. Is a 'verbal
noun' necessarily a 'noun of action?' Wouldn't PHOBOS be a similar noun describing an 'abstract state' and not an
action? I'm reminded of a first year Greek text (copyrighted in 1896!) I picked up that cited, as an example of the
subjective genitive, 'hO TWN BARBARWN PHOBOS' (the fear of the barbarians, i.e. the fear which they felt). For the
objective genitive, they gave 'hO TWN hELLHNWN PHOBOS' (the fear of the Greeks, i.e. the fear which they inspire).
Clearly, a verbal idea is in mind, isn't it?.

It seems to me that one would need to investigate the occurances of PISTIS in a genitive construction and conclude that, in
each case, a better alternative exists than the objective or subjective genitive. Perhaps your study has done that.
However, I'm failing to see how this relates to the issue of the source of one's faith.

Jim Murray
Racine, Wi

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