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

From: Wayne Leman (wayne_leman@sil.org)
Date: Sun Nov 11 2001 - 22:50:41 EST

Carl responded to my response:

> You are indeed asking about something that lies outside the immediate
> 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.

That's exactly what I needed to know, Carl.

> What
> "fleshly infirmity" is meant here seems to me a relatively fruitless
> of speculation and I don't care to speculate where I don't have something
> to work with.

No, I wasn't concerned with the nature of that infirmity. I was concerned
about whether or not DIA + ACC. here is best translated as cause or as some
kind of circumstantial accompiment. I have found only 3 English versions
which choose the latter reading for DIA + ACC. And I wanted to know if their
interpretation could hold up to the most likely understanding of DIA + ACC.
given what we know of Greek syntax.

> 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
> 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
> 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
> 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
> go on. But we can't know that.

I should have been clearer in my original question: I'm not interested in
speculating about what the infirmity was. I don't think we can have any
clear idea of what that was. Instead, I wanted to know if a causal
interpretation was required by DIA + ACC. So, instead of "because," we have,
for instance, in the God's Word translation:

"You know that the first time I brought you the Good News I was ill."

and in the New Living Translation, we have:

"Surely you remember that I was sick when I first brought you the Good News
of Christ."

and J.B. Phillips rendered the verse as:

"You know how handicapped I was by illness when I first preached the gospel
to you."

The thematic idea, then, moving along in the context, would be along the
lines of:

"I had an infirmity when I first preached to you. But you didn't reject me
because of that. On the contrary, you fully welcome me."

If the causal sense is best supported by Greek syntax, then I'd like to know
what it was about his infirmity that caused him to preached to these people
the first time he was with them. I don't need to know what the actual
infirmity was but how any infirmity would be a cause for his preaching to
them the first time.

I hope I'm clearer now. Thanks for taking the time to help me with this.

Wayne Leman
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