[b-greek] Re: Romans 2:9

From: Steven Lo Vullo (slovullo@mac.com)
Date: Thu Feb 21 2002 - 21:52:43 EST

on 2/21/02 4:34 PM, Mark Wilson at emory2oo2@hotmail.com wrote:

> What does PRWTON modify here?
> Is IOUDAIOU adjectival or adverbial?


As you have noticed, this passage provides something of an analogy to Rom
1.16, and it is clear that ANQRWPOU does not modify YUCHN adverbially. The
grammar and syntax of the above passage provides one of the reasons I
decided that, in order to make sense of PRWTON in 1.16, it is necessary to
think in terms of ellipses. Here, in the first ellipsis, the sentence is
repeated with IOUDAIOU replacing ANQRWPOU and PRWTON complementing the
implied verb "to be." In the second ellipsis, the sentence is repeated with
hELLHNOS replacing ANQRWPOU. Something similar (ISTM) must be understood to
make sense of PRWTON in 1.16. When the ellipses are understood, I think it
becomes clear that PRWTON complements ESTIN as understood from the explicit
clause. In this scenario, it is DUNAMIS, not SWTHRIAN (which with EIS
modifies DUNAMIS) which is "to the Jew first," although the modifying
prepositional phrase must be included to get the proper understanding: "the
gospel is in the first place the power of God unto salvation to the Jew."
IMO, PRWTON as a modifier of IOUDAIWi doesn't make sense because, in the
first place, I don't think IOUDAIWi is adverbial, and in the second place it
would seem to demand something like "first Jew" or "firstly Jew." I just
can't get my hands around it. I will, though, certainly not be dogmatic
about this.

I know some will object to this kind of "filling in" of ellipses, but
sometimes this is necessary in order to understand the implied grammatical
and syntactical relations when the "connections" have been severed for the
sake of concise, smooth expression. And when properly done, it may affect
interpretation greatly. Sometimes language is tremendously compact, and we
must "unpack" it.

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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