Hebrews 10:14

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue Oct 23 07:23:20 EDT 2001

At 10:35 PM -0400 10/22/01, Tom Belt wrote:
>Hi all-
>I'm on the road with none of my reference materials with me. I'm looking at
>Hebrews 10:14 (RSV): "For by a single offering he has perfected for all
>time those who are sanctified." The NIV (with NAB and NLT) makes clear the
>present participal TOUS hAGIAZOMENOUS as "those being made holy" whereas
>the RSV (with others) renders it as a perfect ("those who are sanctified").
>Without materials to check on, I can't check into:
>a) if there's a variant reading of the participal in a tense other than the
>present, or
>b) if not, whether the present tense of the participal (being a participal)
>is insignificant, i.e., coordinate with the preceding perfect TETELEIWKEN
>("made perfect"), and ought to be understood as completed action.
>Any comments?

The participle hAGIAZOMENOUS is indeed present; the only variant I'm aware
of is ANASWZOMENOUS in p46, but it too is present tense. I would understand
the tenses of the indicative TETELEIWKEN and of the participle
hAGIAZOMENOUS thus: the perfect tense underscores the the completeness of
the High Priest's single and efficacious offering, while the present tense
of the participle indicates that the process of sanctification is still
going on within the lives of believers--or else that it is a process that
is repeated undergone by believers throughout time.

I'm not sure why the RSV translators chose to convey TOUS hAGIAZOMENOUS as
"those who ARE sanctified"; but the English construction is ambiguous in
that it uses the same participle with the form of the verb "to be" (1) as a
predicate adjective and (2) as part of a compound verb with "be" as an
auxiliary. Whether this is confusing depends upon the verb: "They are
heard" is pretty clearly a present passive 3d pl. of "hear"; but in "They
are sanctified" the participle "sanctified" could be understood EITHER as
part of a passive verb OR as adjectival indicating a state. The other
versions you cite have avoided that problem by conveying hAGIAZOMENOUS as a
progressive passive, leaving no possibility of misunderstanding.

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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