Phil 1:21, CRISTOS subject?

dixonps at juno.com dixonps at juno.com
Sat Nov 27 12:01:16 EST 1999




On Fri, 26 Nov 1999 10:35:45 -0600 "Carl W. Conrad"
<cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu> writes:
> 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.

Yes, it does seem better to take it as you say, Carl.  I was just
wondering, however, if Calvin was on track when he said that
it was customary for the Greeks to supply PROS in similar
constructions, and if so, where it would be supplied and how
that would make TO APOQANEIN and TO ZHN epexegetical
to KERDOS.  Any thoughts?

Paul Dixon



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