[b-greek] Re: What To Do With PNEUMATIKOS

From: Iver Larsen (iver_larsen@sil.org)
Date: Tue Oct 09 2001 - 16:20:47 EDT

From Iver to Frank Gee who said to me:

> My third purpose in writing is to scratch a couple of itches induced by
> Iver Larsen's interesting response to my posting of 3.10.2001,
> which he made in his posting of 4/10/01 6.59am:

> What principle of linguistic analysis could offer us grounds for giving
> special preference to any word, just because it happens to occur FIRST in
> some unit we have isolated for attention? This seems to me quite
> arbitrary.

It is not arbitrary, but it may be better to respond off-list since it
involves discourse theories and literary analysis that may go beyond this
Briefly, in the beginning of a discourse section, there is often a setting
introducing time, location, participants and theme. In narratives you
normally have both time, place and people, and usually also a theme. In
expository text, you often have only a theme. The theme is often only hinted
at and the reader is expected to be patient and wait for the details to be
explained more fully later. This is a common Hebrew literaray strategy.

> Now if we were following what I think you have called a "Western, linear"
> thread of text patterning, it's just possible that such an approach might
> have validity. We'd still be obliged to demonstrate by close analysis of
> textual features within the various units that the chosen words do indeed
> have thematic prominence, indicating our working principles as we did so.
> But this is not what you claim to be doing. If we want to analyse what I
> think you have called a Hebrew-style, circular development of the
> argument,
> then I believe what we should look for in each unit (or circle of
> context?),
> such as verses 2 to 3 and then 4 to 6, and so on, is the semantic CENTRE
> of that unit, with proper attention to its structural exposition via
> observable syntactic patterning.

I am not sure what you mean by semantic centre. One of the types of Hebrew
chiasms do have the key point in the middle, but that is only one and a very
special form. The more common form is to have the theme hinted at in the
very beginning and then developed through the body of the section with a
final climax (for narratives) or a summary (for expositions.)
> In this case as it happens, when one displays the relevant substantive
> PHRASES IN FULL, in verses 4 to 6, (as I have done above in my answer to
> David Thiele - qv), rather than isolating a single word, the coordinating
> function of the parallelism in those verses just about leaps off the page
> to show how strongly Paul's language is grouping these three
> items together,
> and giving them similar focal status.
> (I'm referring to the three noun-phrases each beginning with the word

The way I look at it, the word in v. 1 PNEUMATIKWN hints at the theme to be
developed in the whole chapter and even to the end of chapter 14. Verses 2-3
are somewhat of an aside.

Then 4-6 introduce three related topics which might all be subsumed under
PNEUMATIKA. All of these are being developed further in v. 7 onwards. So, I
see 4-6 as theme statements about what is to be discussed in more detail
later. However, Paul is responding to a specific misuse of one of the
spiritual gifts, the tongues, and it is therefore understandable if the main
topic will be spiritual gifts, even if they are put into a wider setting of
diversity and unity as well as building up the body of Christ in love. That
wider setting is needed for perspective.

The three themes are

The following section from 7-31 do not separate these three into neat boxes.
The first one CARISMATA seems to be the main focus of 7-11 which starts out
with a concept that is common to all of these socalled CARISMATA PNEUMATIKA,
namely that they deal with FANERWSIS TOU PNEUMATOS. The second word
ENERGHMATA only occurs twice in the NT, and the second time is in 12:10:
ENERGHMATA DUNAMEWN "workings of miracles" in the NRSV. Because of this
structure where a hint is first given and then details are filled out later,
it seems reasonable to understand ENERGHMATA in v. 6 in the context of the
fuller expression ENERGHMATA DUNAMEWN in v. 10. In 12:29 - which is in the
summary section - the word DUNAMEIS occurs alone, referring to the same
concept: Do all work miracles? (NRSV)
Is it a coincidence that Paul seems to sometimes use one word or the other
for a concept that needs two words to be fully expressed?:


Paul does not discuss DIAKONIAI much in chapter 12. In this context, I think
he is referring to the kind of ministries we find described in Eph 4:11-12
and Rom 12. Some of them are mentioned in 1 Cor 12:28-29: apostles,
prophets, teachers, leadership. The common terminology for this in
charismatic circles is "ministry gifts". Peter Wagner subsumes everything
under "spiritual gifts" so there are different traditions for what exactly
"spiritual gifts" are.


> NUNI DE PERI TWN PNEUMATIKWN, ADELFE, - this time in 14:1! May I
> shake my little sword once more in your direction?
> As this posting is already approaching the over-long, I only here issue
> notice of combat, challenging you to defend your disinclination to
> reconsider the interpretation/translation of TA PNEUMATIKA in 14:1. The
> battle itself will be joined in another missive, if you are
> willing to do me the honour.

In 14:1 almost all translations, even KJV, suggest "spiritual gifts" so you
are the one who is up against the odds and need to defend your heresy if you
suggest anything different. -:)

Anyway, 14:1 says:


The addition, "but especially that you may prophesy" brings us back into
the theme of spiritual manifestations/gifts discussed in 12:7-11. The rest
of the chapter deals with sub themes under the theme of spiritual gifts,
especially tongues, interpretation of tongues and prophecy. There are very
principled, non-arbitrary reasons to suggest that PNEUMATIKA at this place
and in this context refers to spiritual gifts.

What else would PNEUMATIKA refer to in 14:1 if it does not refer to
spiritual gifts?

Best wishes,
Iver Larsen

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