EPEI in Rom 3.6
alice-iver_larsen at wycliffe.org
Tue Dec 12 05:18:42 EST 2000
> On 12/10/00 8:05 PM, Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> > I'd add that it seems to me that EPEI frequently serves the same function
> > as a GAR, and that Rom 3:6 is a good instance of this. Couldn't we as
> > easily understand the sense if it were
> > <PWS GAR KRINEI= hO QEOS TON KOSMON?> ?
> That sounds right. I do have one more question, though. (Please bear with me
> in my penchant for "correct" terminology.) GAR can be a subordinating causal
> conjunction or a coordinating explanatory conjunction (using Gramcord tags).
> Am I correct to assume that it would be a coordinating explanatory
> conjunction in the above case?
Well, what Carl suggests does not sound right to me. The function of GAR is one
of my pet themes, so I have done some research on it over the years, not as a
classical scholar - which I am not - but as a linguist.
GAR and EPEI do not serve the same function anywhere and GAR could not be used
in Rom 3:6, although the two are not far apart in this context. GAR is not
really a causal conjunction as is the traditional understanding. It is an
explanatory conjunction. Of course, a cause is a kind of explanation, so in some
contexts it could appear as GAR is also causal, but it is a better linguistic
description to say that it is explanatory, and then let the context narrow down
the exact nature of the explanation. In narrative texts, it can introduce
background information which is needed at that point to explain what has just
been said or what has just happened. In the gospels it is often used to
introduce an explanation of an otherwise cryptic saying of Jesus or to introduce
an explanatory comment by the author. (For instance, the famous GAR in John 3:16
introduces John's comments on the speech of Jesus to Nicodemus.) In expository
texts like Romans, it introduces further support of a word or phrase in the
preceding sentence. By doing this, it picks up what has just been said and adds
a further logical point to the argument. It is not a completely new point, but
it further develops what has just been said. Broadly speaking, therefore, GAR is
explanatory. The causal idea came about in the process of transferring the
function into English, and English does not have anything like GAR, so the
causal idea was the closest approximation, and it works reasonably well in
certain contexts, even if it is inaccurate.
The terms subordinating and coordinating are fine when we talk about clauses
within a sentence, but they are not very useful, IMO, when it comes to sentence
connectors. And GAR is usually a sentence connector. If a conjunction by
definition has to be either coordinating, subordinating (or possibly
superordinating?), then it is better not to call GAR a conjunction, but to use
the term sentence connector from discourse linguistics.
EPEI has two rather distinct meanings. (Is EPEI derived from EPI and EI? The two
meanings of EPEI correlate with the two basic meanings of EI - since and if.)
One is the simple, subordinating causal meaning "since, because". This is the
meaning we find in the gospels. The other meaning is used by Paul in his
argumentative letters (Romans, 1 and 2 Cor) and a little in Hebrews. This second
meaning appears to require the filling in of an ellipsis as follows:
Since-if/supposing (that was - or was not - the case then).. This is why the
translation "otherwise" is commonly used in English. (I do have the New DBAG,
but Bauer 6.th edition suggests an ellipsis, too for EPEI.)
In Romans 3:6 the ellipsis, taken from 3:5, would be: supposing (God was unjust)
how could he judge the world. This works fine also for the other places where
Paul uses EPEI (in Romans at 11:6,22).
I am sorry, Steve, if this doesn't help your diagramming, but I am very
interested in the semantics of Biblical Greek as a prerequisite for my main
field, which is translation.
alice-iver_larsen at wycliffe.org
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