[b-greek] Re: 1 Pet 3:7

From: Steven R. Lo Vullo (doulos@appleisp.net)
Date: Fri Aug 31 2001 - 01:27:32 EDT

on 8/30/01 3:50 PM, Bill and Stephanie Black at bnsblack@yimesgin.org wrote:

Hi Stephanie:

I realize you don't have the time to continue with this thread, but I just
wanted to clarify something I said and briefly respond to a few of your

> Let me say I've always been a bit intrigued by this question about whether
> Peter was talking about believing or non-believing wives. Since I'm not a
> husband, it isn't directed to my situation particularly so I don't have an
> underlying agenda, "politically correct" or otherwise--that is, it doesn't
> make much difference to me personally whether they're believers or not.

I apologize if my comment about "political correctness" seemed directed to
you personally or to your comments specifically. I didn't mean to come
across like that; I was speaking in general terms.

> There are several reasons to question whether this is the same construction.
> First, in Jn 1:18 the article with the participle WN helps makes it clear
> that the participle is substantive rather than adverbial. Since that
> distinction is not at issue with an adjective like GUNAIKEIWi in 1 Pet 3:7,
> the article may not be filling quite the same function in the two phrases.
> Second, many interpreters prefer to take MONOGENHS as a substantive here
> rather than an adjective, perhaps to avoid the potential theological
> pitfalls of a rendering like "the only begotten God" (QEOS having much
> better textual support than hUIOS). They generally prefer to go with
> something like "God, the one and only". The third issue is that some mss,
> including p75, have another hO before MONOGENHS, making the parallel here
> just a bit less certain. Yes, some parallel constructions would be helpful,
> but this is probably not the one we need.

I'm not sure why you say the article with WN in John 1.18 makes it clear
that it is substantival rather than adjectival, since an article with a
participle doesn't automatically make it substantival. The NT is full of
examples of adjectival participles with the article, and, as I mentioned in
my last post, adjectives in the third attributive position are rare in the
NT, while adjectival participles in this position are more common. Wallace
makes this point in his discussion of the third-position attributive
adjective (p. 307), and uses John 1.18 as an example of a participle
functioning adjectivally in the third attributive position. Under John 1.18
he says: "More frequent than the adj. in third attributive positions is the
participle. When a participle is used, the article should normally be
translated like a relative pronoun." This fits John 1.18 perfectly (which is
why Wallace used it as an example). The other examples he gives are Luke
EGEIRANTOS). As far as whether QEOS or hUIOS is the original reading, that
is not relevant to the discussion at hand. And taking MONOGENHS as a
substantive seems, as you apparently allow above, more theologically
motivated than anything else.

> Steve wrote:
>> As for ASQENESTERWi referring to the wife being weaker "spiritually, as an
>> unbeliever," I find this more than a little odd (and forced)...
>> He is simply pointing out the obvious fact that
>> the female is weaker physically than the male.
> Quite possibly. But now how does this help us with the
> believing/unbelieving wives question, as either one could be physically
> weaker?

It obviously helps us greatly, when viewed in the context of our discussion.
You contended that ASQENESTERWi perhaps means "weaker" in the sense of
"unbelieving" (a non-attested meaning or connotation for the word). Clearly,
if this is the case, the ballgame is over, since if ASQENESTERWi here means
or connotes "unbelieving" that would *preclude* the wife from being a
believer--argument over. On the other hand, if it means weaker physically (a
well-attested meaning of the word), then we are not obligated on the basis
of the meaning or connotation of ASQENESTERWi to accept the proposition that
the wife is an unbeliever.

And as far as the possibility of either the husband or the wife being weaker
physically, *of course* either one *could* be physically weaker. In the
first century it would be possible, if the husband suffered from some sort
of disease, or if his wife were quite larger than he, etc., for her to be
stronger physically. But since it was not common, as it is today, for women
to participate in strength training, this would be true in a tiny minority
of cases. The author isn't trying to deal with every possible exception;
he's only commenting on the general state of things, what is common. To
suggest that he would not describe wives as being physically weaker than
their husbands because there may be some exceptions to the general rule I
think is unreasonable.

One more point about ASQENESTERWi: I don't think you have accounted for how,
in taking ASQENESTERWi as "unbelieving," a comparative can denote an
*absence* of some quality, characteristic, or trait. If we take the
comparative degree seriously, and associate faith with this degree, we would
have to posit a "less-believing" wife rather than an "unbelieving" wife, or
a "less-spiritual" wife rather than an "unspiritual" wife. This would seem
to demand a believing wife, albeit one who had a weaker faith.

> Steve wrote:
>> Actually, none of the above texts prove your point. In fact, they tend to
>> disprove it. First of all, in 1 Cor 7.7 it is crucial to note that Paul is
>> expressing a desire (QELW). His desire is not that all other people would
>> NOT be like him, but that they would be "just like he is"...
>> As for 1 Cor 9.5, Paul asks a rhetorical question, the point of which is
>> certainly not that he and the other apostles are "mutually exclusive" and
>> do NOT have the same "right" (EXOUSIAN). On the contrary, he is an apostle
>> just like they are and he and Barnabas have the right to bring along a
>> believing wife "just like they do," or more literally, "as also the other
>> apostles" (hWS KAI hOI LOIPOI APOSTOLOI). The fact that he speaks of the
>> "*other* apostles" (hOI LOIPOI APOSTOLOI) clearly implies that he was one of
>> them. Otherwise he could not claim the same "right" (EXOUSIAN). And the whole
>> point of the rhetorical question is that, YES, he has the same right they
>> do! ...

>> [ In Heb 13.3] The recipients were to remember those who were being
>> mistreated SINCE ALSO they themselves were in the body and should be able

>> to sympathize with those experiencing bodily pain...

> You may be making my point for me here. In each case, the desire is that
> people who are not the same people share a common quality/right/empathy. In
> 1 Pet 3:7 the desire is that the wives and the fellow heirs, although they
> are different people, receive the same treatment.

I fail to see how I was making your point when I was stating the exact
opposite of what you were saying! You were arguing mutual exclusivity, I was
arguing shared experience/status.

First of all, not all three passages express a desire, only 1 Cor 9.5.
Furthermore, in every case only two parties are involved, the party that
shares/potentially shares the experience/status, and the party with which
the experience/status is shared/potentially shared. And the two parties
sharing the respective experience/status in question are clearly
identifiable in each respective text. What you are positing for 1 Pet 3.7 is
quite different: three parties, the first which is to treat the second *as
if* the second shares the same status as the first and the third! In
addition, unlike the other examples, this requires that we import a third
party into the text that was otherwise not in view. It is the husbands and
wives who are in view.

> I (Stephanie) wrote:
>>> 3. The section including this household code begins in 1 Pet 2:11-12
> with
>>> Peter's exhortation that as 'aliens' and 'exiles' these Christians
> should live
>>> good lives 'among the ETHNOI' (Gentiles, pagans, unbelievers)...
> Steve wrote:
>> ...Next, it must be pointed out emphatically that women are NOT "assumed"
> to be
>> dealing with at least some husbands who do not believe the word, simply
>> because of the presence of the first class condition with EI [in 1 Pet
> 3:1]. That is a
>> traditional understanding of the first class condition that has no basis
> in
>> fact. When Jesus says in Matt 12.28 EI EGW EN BEELZEBOUL EKBALLW TA
>> DAIMONIA, he is certainaly not saying "since I cast out demons by
>> Beelzebul," as if he assumed that to be true. The examples that defy this
>> understanding of the first class condition are abundant.
> Both Matt. 12:27 and 12:28 are first class conditionals in which the
> protasis is assumed to be true for the sake of argument. In 12:27 (your
> example) Jesus is making a rhetorical point about the implications for his
> adversaries if they claim he casts out demons by Beelzebub. Wallace deals
> specifically with this instance in his intermediate grammar.

Yes, I have read Wallace's comments on the first class condition. He is
careful to point out that the first class condition by itself does not
inherently assume reality. In your comment, you said that the women
addressed were "assumed" to be dealing with at least some unbelieving
husbands on the basis of the first class condition. My only point was that
the first class condition in itself doesn't warrant the assumption of
reality. In the case of 1 Pet 3.1, I don't think it is safe to conclude that
he "assumes" as a reality any such thing. This is the whole point of KAI EI
("even if," not "even though"). Since this letter is addressed to Christians
scattered throughout "Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1.1)
I don't think it is possible to maintain with any degree of certainty that
the writer was intimately involved with all the churches in every region
addressed. When he uses KAI EI, he certainly allows for the possibility that
"some" (TINES) of the husbands were disobedient, but doesn't assume this as
a reality in every church in every region. This fits well Wallace's
definition "for the sake of argument."

> Steve wrote:
>> Speaking of women being submissive to their husbands, what does Peter go
>> on to use as an example? None other than Sarah's relationship with Abraham
>> (3.5f.)! (These verses are curiously missing from your discussion above.)
> I left them out primarily because that part isn't a question of Greek syntax
> or lexis. How we understand the example of Sarah and Abraham depends on
> where we enter our hermeneutical circle. If we start by assuming that Sarah
> and Abraham are only relevant to couples who are both believers, we're
> likely to downgrade the significance of Peter's overarching statements about
> living good lives among the ETHNOI. If we start with the ETHNOI and put the
> focus more on Christians' relationships with unbelieving
> masters/husbands/wives, we'll try to find some way this illustration might
> be relevant to Christian women with unbelieving husbands--perhaps in the
> exhortation in v. 6 to do good and not to be afraid (even if your husband,
> like Sarah's, does something dangerous to you, like loaning you to someone
> else's harem?). The hermeneutical issues are probably not something we can
> pursue on b-greek. Besides, I thought this discussion was about whether the
> husbands in 1 Pet 3:7 were dealing with believing or unbelieving wives,
> rather than the question of wives submitting to husbands. You're not tipping
> your hand regarding an agenda of your own here, are you?

As I mentioned at the outset, I apologize if I seemed to be accusing you of
having an "agenda." I truly didn't mean to state or imply that.

The reason I brought up vv. 5f. is because there seems to be a development
in the text leading up to hOMOIWS in v. 7 that I think is significant. In v.
1 the author tells the wives to be submissive to their own husbands so that
"even if some" (KAI EI TINES) are disobedient to the word, they may be won
over without a word by the behavior of there wives. I think KAI EI TINES
("even if some") indicates, even at the beginning of this section, that the
author is addressing primarily wives of believers, otherwise why use TINES
rather than POLLOI or PLEISTOI? By the time he gets around to using an
example, he seems to have believing wives with believing husbands
exclusively in view. At the very least, the combination of KAI EI TINES in
v. 1 and the example of a believing couple in vv. 5f. does not rule out or
make it improbable that the author would then turn to the relationship of a
believing husband with his believing wife in v. 7. While it's *possible*
that Abraham is viewed as an example to believing wives with unbelieving
husbands of a man who endangered his wife, I think this is improbable in
light of the high esteem in which Abraham was held by early Christians.

> Anyway, I think we need to go back to hWS KAI for the key to whether the
> wives in 1 Pet. 3:7 are "fellow heirs of the grace of life" or not, at least
> from the standpoint of syntax. My main point is that the husbands'
> actions/attitudes toward two different entities (wives and "fellow heirs")
> are being related by means of hWS KAI, with the desire that these two be
> shown the same honor.

As I pointed out above, this is an unnatural way to read the text,
particularly in light of the other uses of hWS KAI. First of all, how can
hWS KAI possibly be construed as relating the husbands' attitude toward two
different parties at the same time, parties that do not share the same
status expressed in hWS KAI SUGKLHRONOMOIS? You seem to accept my view that
hWS KAI indicates shared experience/status rather than mutual exclusivity.
Yet the above suggestion actually uses one instance of hWS KAI in two
different, conflicting senses. On the one hand, the husbands share the
status of "fellow heir" with the third party ("as also"), and on the other
hand, they don't share this status with their wives, but are to treat them
only "as if" they were fellow heirs.

Steve Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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