[b-greek] Re: question about james 5:14

From: Steven R. Lo Vullo (doulos@chorus.net)
Date: Sun Nov 26 2000 - 22:56:04 EST

On 11/26/00 8:13 PM, Rob Somers wrote:

>> The word "suppose" expresses the semantic equivalent to a first class
>> condition, which would be introduced by the conditional conjunction EI.
>> Note that when James wishes to express this type of idea he in fact uses EI
>> with the present indicative followed by the imperative: EI DE TIS hUMWN
>> LEIPETAI SOFIAS, AITEITW, K.T.L. (1.5) We find the same in 3.14. TIS as an
>> indefinite pronoun with the indicative in 1.5 is very naturally preceded by
>> EI to express a supposition for the sake of argument (which, contrary to
>> popular belief, is really what the first class condition is all about), while
>> in 5.13-14 we have no such marker.

> Steve,
> Does this mean then that if 5:14 has no marker for a first class conditional
> sentence, then it would be inappropriate to use the EI in 5:14 altogether?
> (If EI is introduced, that would make this a first classs condition, would
> it not?) By the way, all of this is *totally* tweaking my brain to the
> limit! :)
Hi Rob,

No, it certainly would have been appropriate for James to use EI in 5.14 if
he had wished to express a first class condition. But that is just my point:
he didn't do so, which is one of the reasons (along with others I have
expressed) I think the clause is interrogative. James 1.5, where EI is used
with the present indicative in the protasis and the imperative in the
apodosis, could be translated something like this: "Supposing (just for the
sake of argument) one of you lacks wisdom, let him/her ask God." It is the
absence of EI in 5.14 that I think precludes us from taking it
(syntactically) as conditional. Of course, semantically speaking, asking the
question "Is anyone among you sick?" is conditional in the sense that James
doesn't assume by it that anyone *is* actually sick. The following
imperative is to be followed *if* someone is sick. Remember, the initial
question prompting our discussion was whether ASQENEI TIS EN hUMIN should be
punctuated with a question mark (;) or, as UBS has it, a comma. All I'm
saying is that I think the interrogative view is more compelling
syntactically, and that the more accurate translation (as found in most
versions) reflects this.


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