[B-Greek] ASQENESTERWi SKEUEI in 1 Peter 3:7 (was "Re: Gal 4.4"
iver_larsen at sil.org
Sun Jul 26 04:06:39 EDT 2009
----- Original Message -----
From: "Carl Conrad" <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
> "I took this "root" idea of "vulnerability" and applied it to a woman.
> It seems obvious to me that vulnerable can be both viewed negatively
> or positively. I took the positive aspect and applied it to the wife
> of which Peter speaks.
> "'Give honor to the wife, who is the more vulnerable partner.'
> "I don't think Peter is saying that we ought to give honor to the wife
> because we can lift a bigger rock than she can. Rather, I think he is
> referring to a feminine, godly vulnerability that is so attractive to
> the male. It's that beautiful quality of a wife that the husband is
> graced to protect."
> The text in question is 1 Peter 3:7:
> Οἱ ἄνδρες ὁμοίως, συνοικοῦντες κατὰ
> γνῶσιν ὡς ἀσθενεστέρῳ σκεύει τῷ
> γυναικείῳ, ἀπονέμοντες τιμὴν ὡς
> καὶ συγκληρονόμοις χάριτος ζωῆς εἰς
> τὸ μὴ ἐγκόπτεσθαι τὰς προσευχὰς
> [hOI ANDRES hOMOIWS, SUNOIKOUNTES KATA GNWSIN hWS ASQENESTERWi SKEUEI
> TWi GUNAIKEIWi, APONEMONTES TIMHN hWS SUGKLHRONOMOIS CARITOS ZWHS EIS TO MH
> EGKOPTESQAI TAS PROSEUCAS hUMWN.]
> I would understand hWS ASQENESTERWi SKEUEI TWi GUNAIKEIWi as
> construing with hOMOIWS, SUNOIKOUNTES, and APONEMONTES TIMHN as
> construing with hWS SUGKLHRONOMOIS ZWHS. On that understanding honor
> is not given because of the "greater infirmity/weakness" but because
> wives are "co-heirs of life."
In a recent post CC added:
> GUNAIKEIWi is not a noun meaning "woman"
> but an adjective meaning "womanly" or "wifely" or "feminine". Ordinarily an
> adjective that agrees with a noun (here SKEUEI) and that is preceded by an
> article is deemed attributive to the noun.
I am not sure about the term attributive here, since SKEUEI has no article.
SUNOIKEIN needs an object in the dative because of SUN, and it seems natural to
take that object as TWi GUNAIKEIWi - the 'feminine person', i.e. in this context
of ANDRES and SUNOIKEIN, the wife. The subordinate clause hWS ASQENESTERWi
SKEUEI then gives part of the reason for needing to live with the wife KATA
GNWSIN. The woman is the more "vulnerable/weaker vessel". I agree with Carl that
in the ancient culture, women would be looked at as weaker, of lesser status and
also in need of protection. Vulnerability was probably not a positive trait, at
least not in Peter's mainly Hebrew culture. I am not sure about Greek and Latin
culture (errare humanum est), but Carl knows better than me.
It is quite possible that Peter is trying to tell a Christian man NOT to follow
common culture, but in contrast to that culture to "value and honour" -
APONEMONTES TIMHN - the weaker vessel, his wife, because she too has joined the
life of grace - χάριτος ζωῆς.
I am wondering whether the Western, positive concept of vulnerability is not a
result of Christian influence as we live a life of grace, and therefore we
cannot always be sure that Paul is following the common culture. I have lived
for 3 decades in a culture where the wife traditionally has been seen as an
instrument to be used for cooking, work and getting children rather than
honoured and valued for her own sake, but the Christians are in the process of
changing that culture. In this particular culture, Christianity was practically
unknown 50 years ago.
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