1Cor 16:3

Steven R. Lo Vullo doulos at appleisp.net
Sat Aug 25 15:29:15 EDT 2001

on 8/25/01 3:44 AM, Carl W. Conrad at cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu wrote:

> I've changed my opinion on this matter--not about the essential meaning of
> DIA, which I still think here must be understood with EPISTOLWN as "by
> means of letters"--but about the verse as a whole. Punctuation (which
> generally involves the interpretation of the editor{s}) and word-order
> combine to make this a bit tricky. USB4/NA27 print this with a comma after
> DOKIMASHTE and no break after DI' EPISTOLWN, indicating that the committee
> understood DI' EPISTOLWN to be construed with TOUTOUS PEMYW: "I will send
> them DI' EPISTOLWN." I think that contemporary English probably would say,
> "I'll send them WITH letters"--but I still think that the choice of DIA
> here means that the letters are instrumental to Paul's sending of the
> delegates. The letters must be letters of recommendation or letters of
> certification: letters whereby Paul introduces the delegates sent to the
> authorities in the Jerusalem community. We might best express this meaning
> by conveying the whole as, "Once I arrive, I'll dispatch whatever delegates
> you approve with letters certifying them." The phrase DI' EPISTOLWN is
> still essentially "instrumental" in function: the letters are not simply
> documents carried by the delegates but rather documents that will validate
> them for those who receive the delegates (and letters).


Yes, I think you are correct. The significance is not simply the *carrying*
of letters, but the function of the "letters of commendation" (2 Cor 3.1;
cf. Acts 9.2; 22.5) in introducing and authenticating the bearers and their
mission. They are the "means by which" the bearers and their mission are
introduced and certified. I think it is important in situations like this
that, even though the English *translation* may have to be somewhat lacking
in accuracy for the sake of style (in this case the translation "with"), we
not posit meanings for words that are otherwise unattested or rare just
because they seem to sound "natural" in the context. (I find this happening
more and more.) Sometimes it takes a little thought to work out the meaning,
but in the end it is rewarding.
Steve Lo Vullo
Madison, WI

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