[b-greek] Re: 1 Cor 15:12-13. ANASTATIS NEKRWN

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Sun Oct 01 2000 - 08:14:08 EDT

At 2:52 AM -0400 10/1/00, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>Dear members,
>I have some questions about interpreting 1 Cor 15:12-13.
>Let me quote what R. C. H Lenski wrote in his commentary.
>In the phrase EK NEKRWN, note the absence of the article,
>which absence stresses the quality of the noun: dead people,
>being dead, so that the sense is "from death".

I would think it's fair to say (a) that absence of the article with NEKROS
is far more common than presence of the article, (b) that when the article
appears it means reference is to a specific corpse or two or more specific
corpses, and (c) that the sense is more appropriately "corpse" than "dead
person"; although that involves some conceptualizing, it seems to me that
"personhood" is simply not something one thinks of as associated with

>He criticizes some commentators as follows:
>They take EK NEKRWN to mean: "from among", "out from among the dead".
>There is no article: "from THE dead" in the Greek. The idea
>contained in this phrase is not that when Christ arose, he left
>all the other dead behind.
>Christ came out of death and re-entered life.
>How reasonable is Lenski's interpretation?
>I am aware that some interpreters would like to take some meaning
>from the fact that the phrase is "rising from among the dead", not
>just "rising from death". Isn't there a better way to express
>"rising from death" in Greek?

I certainly can't see how a PARTITIVE notion is to be applied to EK
NEKRWN--and that is what "from among the dead" would seem to me to involve;
rather it's strictly ablatival, it seems to me.

As for whether there's a better way to express "rising from death" in
Greek, it should be understood that it's not a notion that is much to be
associated with ancient Greek thinking--certainly not the notion of revival
of a corpse. In so far as there is a conception of survival of "the dead"
it generally involves a separable spirit, a YUCH or PNEUMA. What appears to
be the original Judaeo-Christian notion of "resurrection of the body" is
fundamentally alien to the Greek cultural tradition (I don't mean to say
that it never appears, but that it is not, I think, the way an ancient
Greek would normally conceive of survival of death. The notion of "from the
realm of death" would, I think, be expressed with the phrase EX hAiDOU,
"from Hades' (house/realm)" where hAiDOU is a genitive that must be
understood with an implicit ablatival-genitive noun dependent directly upon

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
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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