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

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Mon Nov 12 2001 - 06:23:43 EST

I'm omitting much of the previous exchange and focusing on the latter part:

At 8:50 PM -0700 11/11/01, Wayne Leman wrote:
>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.

Yes, that's clearer; I've just looked at NET for Gal 4:13-14, which strikes
me as admirable:
4:13 But you know it was because of a physical illness that I first
proclaimed the gospel to you, 4:14 and though my physical condition put you
to the test, you did not despise or reject me.18

and note 18: tn Grk "your trial in my flesh you did not despise or reject."
The Greek of that phrase in 4:14 is: KAI TON PEIRASMON hUMWN EN THi SARKI

I like the way NET understands TON PEIRASMON hUMWN with hUMWN as an
objective genitive: "my illness was an ordeal for you" or something like
that. What it reminds me of is the dire wound suffered by Philoctetes after
being bitten by a snake; it festered and stank so badly that the Greeks
left him on an island and went on and fought in vain for ten years at Troy,
only to be told by an oracle that they could not take Troy without his
help--this is the basis of the plot of Sophocles' Philoctetes, but the
important thing is that Philoctetes was, because of his wound, sickening to
those around him, but in order to benefit from his abilities, they had to
put up with the stench of his wound. Now this is still speculation--we
don't know what the infirmity of Paul was, but he certainly writes as if it
must have been an annoying thing to the Galatians to whom he was
proclaiming the gospel. So that's my take on the problem of DI' ASQENEIAN
here; we don't need to know--can't know, in fact, what the ASQENEIA was,
but it would appear that the Galatians gave him an object-lesson in AGAPH
as Paul himself describes AGAPH in 1 Cor 13. Does that make sense?

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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