1Cor 15:8

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Aug 30 08:06:12 EDT 2001


At 10:47 AM +1000 8/30/01, George Athas wrote:
>The semantics of EKTRWMA are usefull in helping to define the ballpark we
>are in. However,
>if we want to pinpoint what Paul means by it (ie, why he uses it), then we
>must consider
>the context to find a more precise point in the ballpark. Paul is very
>concerned in this
>part of his letter to talk about the timing of Jesus' resurrection
>appearances. Hence, he
>lists the order in which people saw a risen Jesus. He places himself as
>the last on the
>list.
>
>Notice the parallelism in thought:
>
>ESCATION DE PANTWN
>hWSPEREI TWi EKTRWMATI
>
>The hWSPEREI forms the conjunctive link between the two parts and serves
>to highlight the
>unity of thought. Thus, EKTRWMA has something to do with traumatic
>expulsion at birth and
>in this instance, Paul uses the word to illustrate the untimeliness of his
>own witness to
>the resurrection. Paul's previous persecution of the church is evidenced
>by Paul for his
>unworthiness to be called an apostle. The EKTRWMA description of himself
>is not connected
>with this unworthiness aspect of his apostleship, but with the timing of his
>apostle-making experience. In the context, then, Paul uses the EKTRWMA
>analogy of the
>timing of his resurrection experience.

With all due respect, I don't see the logic of this argument.

The whole text with context:

8 ESCATION DE PANTWN hWSPEREI TWi EKTRWMATI WFQH K'AMOI. 9 EGW GAR EIMI hO
ELACISTOS TWN APOSTOLWN hOS OUK EIMI hIKANOS KALEISQAI APOSTOLOS, DIOTI
EDIWXA THN EKKLHSIAN TOU QEOU; 10 CARITI DE QEOU EIMI hO EIMI, KAI hH CARIS
AUTOU hH EIS EMH OU KENH EGENHQH, ALLA PERISSOTERON AUTWN PANTWN EKOPIASA,
OUK EGW DE ALL hH CARIS TOU QEOU [hH] SUN EMOI.

In the first place I don't see the particular parallelism in the two
phrases ESCATION DE PANTWN and hWSPEREI TWi EKTRWMATI claimed by George:
the first phrase ESCATION DE PANTWN is adverbial to WFQH, "appeared" and
sustains the numerical sequence of appearances of the risen Christ hitherto
cited; the second phrase hWSPEREI TWi EKTRWMATI is also adverbial, but this
one is parallel to the datives previous in the sequence to whom the risen
Christ appeared. The explanation then offered by Paul in verse 9ff (EGW GAR
...) underscores his own unworthiness to receive a vision in terms of his
behavior, then continues with an insistent assertion that, despite his
unworthiness, God's efficacious grace has made him what he is, a
passionately-laboring apostle.

If one is to look for a parallel to this assertion of the contrast between
self-valuation and God's utterly-incomprehensible bestowal of grace, one
might consider Phil 3:7ff. ALLA hATINA HN MOI KERDH, TAUTA hHGHMAI DIA TON
CRISTON ZHMIAN. ALLA MENOUNGE KAI hHGOUMAI PANTA ZHMIAN EINAI DIA TO
hUPERECON THS GNWSEWS CRISTOU IHSOU TOU KURIOU MOU, DI' hON TA PANTA
EZHMIWQHN, KAI hHGOUMAI SKUBALA, hINA CRISTON KERDHSW KAI hEUREQW EN AUTWi.
Here too we have his self-valuation expressed in bookkeeper's terms: all
his assets he considers debits--curious, isn't it, that the word for
"debit" in this Greek book-keeping language should be ZHMIA, which in so
many contexts means "penalization"; then in characteristic Pauline
rhetoric, he intensifies: not just ZHMIA but SKUBALA is what he deems his
assets worth in comparison with what he has gotten through God's grace. I
think that Paul's ZHMIA and SKUBALA of Phil 3:7ff are comparable to his
EKTRWMA of 1 Cor 15:8, terms expressive of the contemptuous status he
discerns as being his own: financial loss, dung, an aborted fetus.
-- 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/



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