Gal. 1:1, 3-Any Significance in One Preposition?
questioning1 at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 29 15:30:41 EST 1998
Your answer helped immensely and gave me more food for thought on this
---Trevor M Peterson <spedrson at juno.com> wrote:
>On Mon, 28 Dec 1998 15:47:11 -0800 (PST) Edgar Foster
>questioning1 at yahoo.com> writes:
>Gal. 1:1, 3 reads in part:
>ALLA DIA IHSOU XRISTOU KAI QEOU PATROS . . . XARIS hUMIN KAI EIRHNH
APO QEOU PATROS KAI KURIOU hHMWN IHSOU XRISTOU.<
>In both verses of this Pauline Epistle, there is one preposition
governing two substantives. Is this structure very common in the NT?
If so, is there any significance in this syntactical arrangement?<
>I can't comment right now on how common it is, but I did a little
investigation into this sort of construction in John 3:5. L.
Belleville, Born of Water and Spirit: John 3:5, Trinity Journal 1
(1980) 131, alludes to a difficulty in the physiological view based on
the construction of EN hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS as a preposition followed
by two anarthrous nouns, linked by the conjunction KAI.<
In his famed _Exegetical Fallacies_ DA Carson alludes to Belleville's
dissertation on John 3:5 and highly praises it (41-42). Her point
seems to be that "water and spirit" highlight two different aspects of
one Divine work. I tend to agree with her. Of course, others have
viewed the phrase hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS as epexegetical utilization of
KAI. The Alexandrian church father Origen wrote that hUDATOS and
PNEUMATOS did not differ in relation to substance: only in relation to
kind. Personally, I have no qualms about viewing "water and spirit" as
two aspects of one work (spiritual rebirth), but I tend to see them as
two distinct entities that differ in substance. GRB Muarray writes
that hUDATOS clearly refers to "baptism." Whether one agrees with
Muarray or not, I see no reason why we cannot make an ontological
distinction between hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS. That is where I'm going
with my question: is there any inherent ontic significance in one
preposition governing two anarthrous substantives?
>The conclusion I drew is that it is at least possible to infer a
closer association with a shared preposition than without, but I don't
know of any extensive evidence to that effect. I personally chose not
that notion as anything more than potential corroborative evidence of
what I concluded from other factors.<
One Scripture that has me really wondering about this notion is 1 John
DI' hUDATOS KAI hAIMATOS.
Surely there is an ontological dissimilarity between hUDATOS and
hAIMATOS. What is more, while one could argue for a close relationship
between water and blood in this account, it would be very difficult to
argue that the closeness of the two is dependent upon the use of the
preposition DIA. Cf. the rest of the verse and how the author uses EN
in 5:6. While wanting to avoid a hot Christological issue, I think
that this question merits consideration (maybe J. Gibson could
consider this in his upcoming commentary). Whether one believes that
the Father and the Son are consubstantially related or not, I'm not so
sure that the proof of this relationship should hang so prominently on
the use of Greek prepositions that govern anarthrous substantives.
This is not to say that the use of these prepositions are not
important, but I would expect more if the apostle wanted to highlight
an identity of substance.
Thanks for your input,
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