[b-greek] Re: Acts 13:32-33 the Prophet

From: Alex / Ali (alexali@surf.net.au)
Date: Thu Nov 08 2001 - 06:07:09 EST

Just in case it may be of some help, Iver, I'll offer a couple more thoughts
on the Acts 13:32-33 passage (and maybe Brian might get some amusement in
the continuing thread - greetings! - and thanks for joining in.) In my
reply to your original post I mentioned that hHMIN can be taken as
appositional to TOIS TEKNOIS rather as working closely than with TOIS
TEKNOIS, and that the raising from the dead is suggested but not
conclusively proven from verses 34 and 35. In your response you said

>Yes, I am aware of how most translations have interpreted it, and the main
>reason for my post is to disagree with this common notion.

My understanding from this is that your own mind is leaning quite firmly in
favour of the words in the passage having the sense of sending forth a
prophet, so I imagine what you're after is just some feedback from us as to
how we would view the 'common notion' now, in the light of your suggestion
which you back up with other citations and argument. (It might be worth
mentioning that the view I put was simply according to my understanding from
my reading of the text and wasn't based on any 'common notion'; I did
afterwards look at the NIV and saw that it has taken the sense as I did, but
neither that translation nor 'common notion' was the basis of my note.)

>But as I have said earlier, Paul like others with a Semitic background
>naturally goes in circles, so there is no problem in seeing v. 32-33 as
>having a different topic from the resurrection.

I don't see a problem in there being a different topic in the different
verses, either; it's a question of whether there is. The reference to Pau's
Semitic circles takes me back to my doctoral days working in Euripidean
drama, and what may legitimately be assumed about the meaning of a text
based on assumptions about the author. It's a hermeneutical question rather
than a translational one; in general I tend to be perhaps a little more
wary of allowing such factors weight than your comment suggests to me.

>It is the fronted hHMIN together with the use of ANISTHMI that makes me
>towards the interpretation I have suggested, in view of the parallels.

Well, I suppose hHMIN is fronted if we take it in relation to ANASTHSAS, but
it isn't fronted if taken with TOIS TEKNOIS. I tend to think of Greek word
order as being a fairly nebulous beast which is resistant to efforts to pin
it down, so I don't see the word order being determinative here.

>ANISTHMI is a common Greek verb and not a technical term for resurrection,


>so it needs a phrase like EK NEKRWN to take this specific sense.

Haven't looked into this, Iver; have you checked that ANISTHMI when used
elsewhere in the sense of resurrection from death is used in conjunction
with EK NEKRWN or the like? If that's so, that would be more persuasive for
me than the former two arguments.

>If hHMIN were to be in apposition to TOIS TEKNOIS AUTWN it should have
preceded it, not
>followed it.

I myself wouldn't use the word 'should' but my expectation tends to be as
you say (though, as mentioned above, I wouldn't put a great deal of weight
on this).

Some last points.

When I'm teaching students, I sometimes tell them that a knowledge of the
Greek often enough doesn't enable us to be certain of the exact meaning of a
passage but it does allows us to discern the boundaries within which the
meaning lies, so that in these instances we can determine what is a
reasonable interpretation and what is not, though we may not be able to be
certain of one interpretation to the exclusion of all others. (I have had
students who start with the impression that a knowledge of Greek will lay to
rest each and every question of interpretation they've ever had, and it's
interesting to watch them begin to realise that this isn't so.) I have
certainly profited from your raising this text for discussion, though I'm
not yet convinced of your understanding to the exclusion of the common
notion. (You may, as it were, be forced to make a call if you're working on
the passage for the translation you mentioned to us some weeks ago; perhaps
mine is a luxury in not having to be definitive one way or another.)

When I read the Acts 13:32-35 passage another Biblical passage came to mind,
NEKRWN, IHSOU CRISTOU TOU KURIOU hHMWN KTL (Romans 1:3-4). The declaration
of Jesus as Son of God is on the basis of his resurrection from the dead,
which may parallel the citation of hUIOS MOU EI SU, EGW SHMERON GEGENNHKA
SE in the context of the resurrection at Acts 13:33-34. I am not saying
that the Acts passage should be read in the light of the Romans, just
confessing an inclination to eisegesis on my own part!

For an interpretation of these verses consistent with Iver's, see FFBruce ad
loc. (I'm not sure if you've seen his remarks, Iver, but he cites some of
the texts you adduce in support of your understanding.)

I see that Carl has had a look at ANISTHMI/ANISTAMAI and thinks now 'that
Iver is quite right
in understanding ANESTHSAS here of "raising up" in the sense of raising up a
leader rather than of resurrection' (in a post received as I've been writing

I feel my leaning shifting ... But isn't that the beauty of BGreek?!

With thanks and best wishes,

Alex Hopkins
Melbourne, Australia

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