[b-greek] Re: PRWTON in Rom 1.16

From: Iver Larsen (iver_larsen@sil.org)
Date: Fri Feb 22 2002 - 02:53:07 EST

> At 1:55 PM -0800 2/21/02, Alan B. Thomas wrote:
>Yielding this in some sense:
>It is the power of God
> resulting in salvation
> first, to the Jew
> and then the Gentile
>indeed, to all those who believe.

If we move the comma, I would happy with the sense:
It is the power of God
        resulting in salvation,
                first to the Jew
                and then to the Gentile
                (indeed), to all (those) who believe.
Carl said:
> In English we put the limiting adverbs "first" and "then" in advance of
> what they limit; but let's not be confused. The sense of the text is NOT:
> "resulting in salvation first, for both Jew and Gentile" --and
> "then" isn't in the Greek except by implication as a corollary of the

Granted, the comma should be moved. It is a very good observation that the
adverbs (and adjectives) are put first in English.

> I'm afraid that this misses the point that PRWTON functions to limit
> IOUDAIWi, not SWTHRIAN. And I never argued that IOUDAIWi was an adverb: it
> is a noun in the dative case--BUT: the function of the dative case here is
> adverbial (to SWTHRIAN, to be sure).

It seems that we agree that IOUDAIWi is an adjective used substantively,
since you say it is a noun in the dative case.
It is clear that PRWTON is not an *adjective* that modifies the substantive
IOUDAIWi, since that would give the sense "the first Jew".
We have a coordinated noun phrase IOUDAIWi TE ... KAI hELLHNI which is in
apposition to PANTI TWi
PISTEUONTI. The dative case indicates that the referents of these noun
phrases are recipients or beneficiaries of the event implied in SWTHRIAN.
One is a general description "all/anyone who believes", the other is a
comment on all/anyone.
Within the coordinated noun phrase IOUDAIWi TE ... KAI hELLHNI we have the
adverb PRWTON (or adjective used adverbially, if you like). If IOUDAIWi is
taken as a noun, PRWTON as an adverb can hardly modify a noun. How would one
describe the function of "first" in the English "first to the Jew"? It seems
to me that "first" limits an event that has two beneficiaries of which one
is first to receive, the other is second. I am not saying that it
grammatically modifies the noun SWTHRIAN, but it modifies the implied verb.
Is it not the same in the English translation above?

> Moreover, the version above seems to take "all those who believe"
> as a sort of summary appositive to IOUDAIWi TE PRWTON KAI hELLHNI, whereas
in fact
> this latter phrase must depend upon the grammatically prior PANTI TWi

This is true, of course, grammatically. It is common Hebrew structure to
start with the summary and then give the details. What Alan did was to
re-order to normal English structure with the details first and then the

Iver Larsen

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