What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

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Bill Ross
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What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Bill Ross » August 13th, 2020, 1:31 pm

What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Gal 3:12 MGNT - ὁ δὲ νόμος οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ πίστεως ἀλλ᾽ ὁ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῖς

He's obviously quoting the OT:

Lev 18:5 LXX - καὶ φυλάξεσθε πάντα τὰ προστάγματά μου καὶ πάντα τὰ κρίματά μου καὶ ποιήσετε αὐτά ἃ ποιήσας ἄνθρωπος ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῗς ἐγὼ κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὑμῶν

Neh 9:29 LXX - καὶ ἐπεμαρτύρω αὐτοῗς ἐπιστρέψαι αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν νόμον σου καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν ἀλλὰ ἐν ταῗς ἐντολαῗς σου καὶ ἐν τοῗς κρίμασί σου ἡμάρτοσαν ἃ ποιήσας αὐτὰ ἄνθρωπος ζήσεται ἐν αὐτοῗς καὶ ἔδωκαν νῶτον ἀπειθοῦντα καὶ τράχηλον αὐτῶν ἐσκλήρυναν καὶ οὐκ ἤκουσαν
Most/many English translations seem to render it as "shall live in them".

That sounds sort of like "shall practice them" but that seems redundant. "Shall live because of them" sounds (to me) like an unnatural use of ἐν, but is it? Is it a septuagintism?

Ironically, this is the inverse of my previous question about ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται:

Rom 1:17 MGNT - δικαιοσύνη γὰρ θεοῦ ἐν αὐτῷ ἀποκαλύπτεται ἐκ πίστεως εἰς πίστιν καθὼς γέγραπται ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται

I have heard it said that it is impossible to overthink Paul's use of prepositions...
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 13th, 2020, 1:54 pm

The first time I read that, I thought "by". I went and looked at translations, and several of them seem to translate this as "by". By obedience to the laws, he shall live.
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Bill Ross
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Bill Ross » August 13th, 2020, 2:25 pm

Okay, so "live according to their guidance"? Or " by means of obeying them, gain life"?

What does "by" suggest in that context?

Thanks.
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 13th, 2020, 5:14 pm

Bill Ross wrote:
August 13th, 2020, 2:25 pm
What does "by" suggest in that context?
Probably better to ask what ἐν means in that context. Greek prepositions do not map cleanly onto English prepositions. How do you understand ἐν in these verses?
Matthew 5:13 wrote:Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τὸ ἅλας τῆς γῆς· ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας μωρανθῇ, ἐν τίνι ἁλισθήσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.
Matthew 13:10 wrote: Καὶ προσελθόντες οἱ μαθηταὶ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, Διὰ τί ἐν παραβολαῖς λαλεῖς αὐτοῖς;
Mark 9:29 wrote: καὶ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Τοῦτο τὸ γένος ἐν οὐδενὶ δύναται ἐξελθεῖν εἰ μὴ ἐν προσευχῇ.
Luke 10:27 wrote: Ἀγαπήσεις κύριον τὸν θεόν σου ἐξ ὅλης [τῆς] καρδίας σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ψυχῇ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ ἰσχύϊ σου καὶ ἐν ὅλῃ τῇ διανοίᾳ σου, καὶ τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν.
Luke 20:2 wrote: καὶ εἶπαν λέγοντες πρὸς αὐτόν, Εἰπὸν ἡμῖν ἐν ποίᾳ ἐξουσίᾳ ταῦτα ποιεῖς, ἢ τίς ἐστιν ὁ δούς σοι τὴν ἐξουσίαν ταύτην;
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

Bill Ross
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Bill Ross » August 13th, 2020, 5:56 pm

Okay, I see it. So it is "shall live by/because of/on account of [doing?] them".
Mat 4:4 MGNT - ὁ δὲ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν γέγραπται οὐκ ἐπ᾽ ἄρτῳ μόνῳ ζήσεται ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ παντὶ ῥήματι ἐκπορευομένῳ διὰ στόματος θεοῦ
Thanks Jonathon; makes sense.
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by MAubrey » August 14th, 2020, 7:39 am

Just translate it 'in'.
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Bill Ross
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Bill Ross » August 14th, 2020, 7:57 am

MAubrey wrote:
August 14th, 2020, 7:39 am
Just translate it 'in'.
When I read it as "in" it does not communicate any meaning to me, at least not an unambiguous meaning. What does "in" communicate to you in this context?

By the way, I find it fascinating that Matthew 4:4 uses yet another preposition to link with ζήσεται !
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by MAubrey » August 17th, 2020, 9:32 pm

Bill Ross wrote:
August 14th, 2020, 7:57 am
MAubrey wrote:
August 14th, 2020, 7:39 am
Just translate it 'in'.
When I read it as "in" it does not communicate any meaning to me, at least not an unambiguous meaning. What does "in" communicate to you in this context?
That the things a person are the domain metaphorical container *in which* they live.

You live differently if you live in a house vs. if you live in a tent. What you live in changes the nature of your live.

If you live in the domain of the law, you live one way.
If you live in the domain of faith, you live another way.
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Bill Ross
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Bill Ross » August 17th, 2020, 9:38 pm

So you are not taking ζήσεται as "[gain/retain] the state of being alive" but rather as "conduct"?
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by nathaniel j. erickson » August 18th, 2020, 9:22 am

So you are not taking ζήσεται as "[gain/retain] the state of being alive" but rather as "conduct"?
Not answering for Mike, but it certainly doesn't follow that reading with a cognitive-spatial "in" means you can't understand ζήσεται as "[gain/retain] the state of being alive." You can gain/regain a state of life within a certain cognitive space, just as well as you can "conduct your life" in a certain cognitive space. The immediate example, highly relevant for the New Testament, is the notion of life in Christ.

On that note, I would pose the question have you considered how this passage in question may be relating to the pervasive phrase ἐν Χριστῷ (13x in Galatians, and certainly a hugely important phrase in understanding any of Paul's writings)? While ἐν Χριστῷ is not necessarily or obviously referring to "cognitive space" in all instances, the idea of being "in the cognitive space of Christ" is certainly important in Paul. The ἐν αὐτοῖς here is parallel to ἐν νόμω from v. 11 (or ὁ νόμος from first half of the verse), which is possible to understand in terms of cognitive space. V. 13 follows up with a spatial metaphor of "Christ ransomed us out from the curse of the law" (Χριστὸς ἡμᾶς ἐξηγόρασεν ἐκ τῆς κατάρας τοῦ νόμου). The line of argument could be understood as "living in the law is living under a curse and Christ ransoms people out of the curse to live in him. I'm just saying, the idea that this is meant to be understood as a cognitive space "living in the law" is appealing at the level of the immediate Greek context and certainly as a way to try to make the larger argument of this book cohere, not to mention the rest of Paul's writings.
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