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

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 18th, 2020, 12:11 pm

I agree with Bill on this one -- in doesn't quite make the best sense out of ἐν in the English context. "By" is the best English gloss. For ζάω not so much conduct one's life or retain one's live, as simply to live = be alive = have life. There is more than one way to express each of the previous concepts, but Paul uses none of that type of language here. This is Paul, and think realized eschatology, if we need to supply something from his broader conceptual context.

Nathaniel, cognitive spaces? I have to admit that registers a zero equivalency to me. I don't live in the cognitive space of the law or the cognitive space of Christ, I live by the law (the law as a means of obtaining life) or I live in Christ (united with Christ). I do like your connection to the broader Pauline context and particularly your hints on the way he uses this type of language elsewhere.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » August 18th, 2020, 2:02 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
August 18th, 2020, 12:11 pm
For ζάω not so much conduct one's life or retain one's live, as simply to live = be alive = have life.
Could we say "stays alive"? I.e. as long as one is "in" the law.
That the things a person are the domain metaphorical container *in which* they live.
I don't understand MAubrey's syntax, but probably he means a metaphor we live by.

Sorry for the linguistic pun.
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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 18th, 2020, 3:08 pm

Eeli Kaikkonen wrote:
August 18th, 2020, 2:02 pm
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
August 18th, 2020, 12:11 pm
For ζάω not so much conduct one's life or retain one's live, as simply to live = be alive = have life.
Could we say "stays alive"? I.e. as long as one is "in" the law.
That the things a person are the domain metaphorical container *in which* they live.
I don't understand MAubrey's syntax, but probably he means a metaphor we live by.

Sorry for the linguistic pun.
I certainly see a lot of examples where "survive" appears to be the sense.

https://biblehub.com/hebrew/strongs_2425.htm


In 3:21 he pairs ἐκ with νόμου (genitive as opposed to the en + dative for Torah). Significant, or simply mixing it up for variety?:

[Gal 3:21 MGNT] (21) ὁ οὖν νόμος κατὰ τῶν ἐπαγγελιῶν τοῦ θεοῦ μὴ γένοιτο εἰ γὰρ ἐδόθη νόμος ὁ δυνάμενος ζῳοποιῆσαι ὄντως ἐκ νόμου ἂν ἦν ἡ δικαιοσύνη
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nathaniel j. erickson
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by nathaniel j. erickson » August 19th, 2020, 9:41 am

Nathaniel, cognitive spaces? I have to admit that registers a zero equivalency to me. I don't live in the cognitive space of the law or the cognitive space of Christ, I live by the law (the law as a means of obtaining life) or I live in Christ (united with Christ)
Sorry for the confusing expression. Couldn't think of anything better at the time so I just borrowed the phrase from someone else that I am using in other research. All I meant to convey is the distinction apparent in the following two phrases:
1. I live in a house.
2. I live in hope.

In number 1 "in a house" is something that is happening in "physical space." In number 2 living "in hope" is happening in what I called "cognitive space." I'm just referring to the pervasive phenomenon of talking about the world of abstractions as though they are discrete entities that exist in a 3D space and stand in the same sort of relationships to one another as we do to physical entities in space and time. We say that arguments "progress", I live "under the authority of the law," and so forth. Perhaps "cognitive space" is not the best term to convey that idea; or at least I should have explained my expression. So to say I live in "the cognitive space of Christ" was a hopelessly pedantic way of saying what is obvious when we say "I live in Christ."

The aim of the hopelessly pedantic expression is to point out that spatial metaphors for human relationship to God, and to the Law, are pervasive in Scripture. Given the broader theological usage of spatial metaphors and what I would argue is Paul's particular affinity to the spatial ἐν Χριστῷ, it is worth considering a spatial notion of the phrase ἐν νόμῳ here. I'm not devoted to a translation "in" as opposed to "by" here. But am more recognizing that a translation "by [the law]" will predispose the reader to miss part of what I believe to be an important contrast Paul is developing in Galatians: ἐν Χριστῷ v. ἐν νόμῳ. At this point, the discussion has more to do with possible shades of meaning as driven by the broader theological context than with construing the Greek as such. Though, of course, the two are inextricably intertwined.
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Nathaniel J. Erickson
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Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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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 19th, 2020, 10:06 am

Thanks for the explanation, Nathaniel.

What about the question of whether you meant "be alive" vs "have conduct"?
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Eeli Kaikkonen
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Eeli Kaikkonen » August 19th, 2020, 11:22 am

nathaniel j. erickson wrote:
August 19th, 2020, 9:41 am
1. I live in a house.
2. I live in hope.
So this is the same what MAubrey said earlier, "metaphorical container".

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conceptual_metaphor
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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 22nd, 2020, 8:34 am

nathaniel j. erickson wrote:
August 18th, 2020, 9:22 am
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.
That's a really good point. The spatial metaphor is key to the line of argument. If this also has an instrumental meaning - and I think it does - that's good evidence that instrumental ἐν still follows this spatial metaphor. Or do you think I am wrong about the instrumental meaning?

I'm not sure that English has an equivalent to instrumental ἐν, which makes this a difficult translation issue.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: What is the function of ἐν in Galatians 3:12?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 23rd, 2020, 9:16 pm

Nathaniel, thanks for explanation. I now see much better what you are getting at.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
καὶ σὺ τὸ σὸν ποιήσεις κἀγὼ τὸ ἐμόν. ἆρον τὸ σὸν καὶ ὕπαγε.

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