Phil 1:21, CRISTOS subject?

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Fri Nov 26 11:35:45 EST 1999


At 10:20 AM -0800 11/26/99, dixonps at juno.com wrote:
>In Phil 1:21 Paul says:
>
>EMOI GAR TO ZHN CRISTOS KAI TO APOQANEIN KERDOS.
>
>John Calvin argues for taking CRISTOS as the subject of
>discourse in both clauses, so that Christ is being declared
>by Paul to be gain to him both in life and in death, rather than
>saying that Christ was life and death was gain.
>
>He argues it is customary with the Greeks to leave the word
>PROS to be understood and that the meaning is less forced,
>comporting better with the immediately preceding verses and
>containing more complete doctrine.  The idea is that Christ is
>gain whether Paul lives or dies.
>
>My main question pertains to Calvin's first point.  Was it indeed
>customary with the Greeks to supply PROS in such constructions?
>If so, how would that argue for Calvin's interpretation?

Well, it's an interesting question. I'd say that one could have the
articular infinitive like this as an accusative of specification,
particularly with an adjective, and I wouldn't say it's impossible to
understand both TO ZHN and TO APOQANEIN as expexegetic to KERDOS--

BUT, I think the word-order is awfully fishy for that to be the intended
sense. I would expect an article with CRISTOS if it is supposed to be the
subject and KERDOS is supposed to be the predicate word; I'd also expect
KERDOS as predicate word to come much sooner in the construction, and TO
ZHN and TO APQANEIN to be much more tightly associated, e.g. KERDOS GAR
EMOI hO CRISTOS KAI TO ZHN KAI TO APOQANEIN or KERDOS GAR EMOI hO CRISTOS
TO TE ZHN KAI TO APOQANEIN.

As the text stands, it seems much more natural to understand it as it
usually is understood, i.e. with TO ZHN as subject, CRISTOS as predicate
word and then a second clause also to be understood with EMOI: TO APOQANEIN
as subject and KERDOS as predicate word.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/



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