[b-greek] RE: Heb. 11:1

From: George Blaisdell (maqhth@hotmail.com)
Date: Sat Apr 14 2001 - 21:43:12 EDT


>From: "Iver Larsen"

>From Iver to George:

>George asked me off-list about how I understand the grammar of Heb 11:1
>because I mentioned in passing this verse. I don't have much of an answer,
>but I would like to hear from others, since it is an important verse,
>especially for a Bible translator like me.

In the US it is easy to understand faith as an affirmation of belief, and
this Pauline definition would seem to go beyond that. And the thing that
struck me when I first read it in Greek was the centrality of the term
pragmatwn. It is the third of five defining words for faith, and is thereby
a featured term in the definition, if I am understanding Greek word order
issues correctly, and seems to imply the pragmatic character of what it is
that faith is. I simply have not seen the centrality of pragmatwn in this
definition captured in any English translations I have come across.

>Grammatically I understand ELPIZOMENWN hUPOSTASIS as the first description
>of what PISTIS is with an implied "things". Then PRAGMATWN ELEGCOS OU
>BLEPOMENWN as the second, parallel description, in grammatical apposition
>to the first. There is a clear parallel between
"things we hope for" and "matters we do not see (yet)". ELEGCOS is used only
here in the NT, but related to the more common verb ELEGCW with a variety of
senses, such as show the reality of something, prove, prove guilty, rebuke.
I suppose "evidence" or "proof" would be a reasonable translation.

Now is there a reason you take PRAGMATWN only with ELEGKOS OU BLEPOMENWN?
It seem to me so far to make much more sense to take it as a specification
of hUPOSTASIS... With ELEGKOS OU BLEPOMENWN standing in apposition to
ELPIZOMENWN hUPOSTASIS, surrounding the featured [on this approach] and
central PRAGMATWN.

>hUPOSTASIS appears to be used twice by Paul in 2 Cor and in Heb 3:14 with
>the meaning "confidence, assurance". But in Heb 1:3 it is more like
>"essence, reality." For Heb 11:1 I would prefer to take it to imply that
>our hopes need to be based on or founded upon faith.

It does seem to have as well a narrow legal meaning that indicates the
documentation of ownership that is the proof of ownership of an estate,
which for legal purposes functions in court as the estate itself... So it
would seem to have a 'substance' dimension to it, and a 'reality' one as
well, all of which rise out of the idea of that which stands under, as a
basis or foundation [of something]. So faith is a basis of things hoped
for, and this basis is proof [of them] not seen... All of which does not
[yet] address the core term PRAGMATWN

>What do others say? What is the most common meaning of hUPOSTASIS in
>Hellenistic Greek?


Thank you, Iver...

George Blaisdell

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