[b-greek] Re: Gal. 4:13 hOTI DI'

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Sun Nov 11 2001 - 21:20:58 EST

At 5:08 PM -0700 11/11/01, Wayne Leman wrote:
>> >> One of my coworkers is currently revising the translation of Galatians
>> >> asked me yesterday to help him determine the meaning of hOTI DI' in
>> >> 4:13. English versions are divided as to whether these particles
>> >> the cause of Paul's preaching to them the first time or a
>> >> condition of his preaching to them the first time. Do you all on this
>> >> feel there is any way that we can tell from the Greek here which of
>> >> semantic options is more likely?
>> >
>> >Wayne, I don't think hOTI and DI' should be construed together as a
>> >or an idiom. In light of the fact that the main verb is OIDATE, a verb of
>> >perception, I think it is better to take hOTI as a marker of indirect
>> >statement, i.e., introducing the content of the Galatians' knowledge. I
>> >think the most natural way to take the preposition DI' is in a causal
>> FWIW (i.e. one more vote when what's right on a matter like this can't be
>> determined by votes--even if translation committees decide probabilities
>> that way!), I think Steven is right on target.
>Thanks to both of you, Steven and Carl, for responding. Yes, I should not
>have included hOTI in my question. I really should only have asked about DI'
>(DIA). I've gotten your two votes for the causal sense. What causes each of
>you (and many others, as well) to choose the causal sense here instead of
>some other sense? Does DIA which heads a prepositional phrase like this more
>often encode a causal sense, or is there something in the semantics of the
>context that tilts us that direction? And if we do have a causal
>relationship here, do we have any idea what the implicit relationship is
>DIA to have the causal sense (i.e. what was there about Paul's ASQENEIAN THS
>SARKOS that made it a cause for the clause that follows). I realize I'm
>asking for another opinion about something which is outside the immediate
>text, but I'd like to have the causal option make more sense to me than it
>does simply on the face of things as stated in this verse.

You are indeed asking about something that lies outside the immediate text;
I really have nothing to offer beyond the fact that DIA + accusative, so
far as I can tell (and this seems to be what BDAG says too) does regularly
indicate the cause or reason for whatever is predicated in the clause. What
"fleshly infirmity" is meant here seems to me a relatively fruitless matter
of speculation and I don't care to speculate where I don't have something
to work with. Nevertheless, I just don't see any other way of taking DI'
ASQENEIAN SARKOS. It seems to me that often in Pauline letters we are
trying to read between the lines of what's being said to get at implicit
background information shared by writer and audience of these letters. If a
viable alternative to a causal sense for DI' ASQENEIAN THS SARKOS is
pressented, I'd consider it, but at this point I don't really see any
viable alternative. Perhaps it's a methodical, epistemological question for
me, but I simply would rather not speculate beyond what's evident in the
immediate context. What other sense for this phrase is being suggested? By
circumstantial condition, do you mean: (a) perhaps he stopped in Corinth
because he was ill, physically or otherwise? (b) perhaps he'd had an attack
of the notorious "thorn in the flesh"? Either of those strikes me as sheer
guesswork and not anything that helps with the current phrase. Perhaps he
tore a hamstring and had to stop in Corinth for a few weeks before he could
go on. But we can't know that.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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