From: Randy Leedy (Rleedy@bju.edu)
Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 10:57:00 EST
Oh so long ago (I'm just catching up on the digests from the weekend),
Wayne Leaman wrote:
> There are occasions, nevertheless, where the context is so
to allow 2 meanings.
But how do we know whether or not the original author intended 2
Usually, when humans communicate, if double meanings are intended,
some communicative clues given by the speaker sufficiently strong
that he feels his audience will catch them. I am an incurable
people don't "get" my puns (which, of course, I think are so very
will scrape my throat or do other things within the speech context to
ensure that that get my double meanings.
My question has to do with whether *possible* ambiguity is
ambiguity and if there is objective evidence that can help us decide.
should be sufficient contextual clues that strongly tilt us toward
multivalence (Dan Wallace's term) if that was intended, otherwise,
default for human communication is single meaning intent.
So, what in this passage gives us sufficient evidence to state with
certainty that Dan does that there is a plenary genitive here?
Personally, I'm no champion for the cause of winning a place in a
grammar book for a special category of genitive usage for a few
instances where double meaning may be intended. Better, in my opinion,
to keep the categories simpler and then to entertain the notion that a
writer may have intended a phrase to be interpreted with similtaneous
meanings associated with two different categories.
The only way I would know to evaluate such a suggestion for a
particular passage is simply a slight variant on how I would evaluate
any suggested interpretation: analyze its merits contextually.
Language being redundant, ideas intended by an author quite regularly
show up explicitly or implicitly more than once. The question in this
passage, then, is whether the context contains reflections of both a
subjective and an objective meaning in Paul's mind as he wrote.
The remainder of the sentence seems to me to point first to Christ's
love for us ("one died for all") and subsequently to our love for him
(not living for self but for Him). Did Paul intend his phrase "love of
Christ" to carry both meanings? I'm not sure, and I don't expect ever
to become sure until I have a chance to ask him. What I am sure about
is that in this passage Paul does intend to say something about both
Christ's love for me as the beginning point and about my in-kind
response to loving Him back by living for Him rather than for myself.
So the sentence articulates both concepts, whether or not Paul
intended the phrase referring clearly to Christ's love, at least, (I
could not accept an interpretation that excludes the subjective
genitive) to convey to the reader a hint of the objective meaning as
I probably haven't expressed myself as clearly as I could have hoped,
but the clock forbids me to give any more time at this point. Can't
even proof-read; chapel starts in 4 minutes.
Blessings! (Acts 3:26)
Bob Jones University
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