James 1:5

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Sep 3 19:43:13 EDT 2001

At 6:27 PM -0500 9/3/01, Rob Matlack wrote:
>Thanks to all who responded to my question concerning James 1:3. If it would
>not be too much to ask another question, this time concerning word order in
>James 1:5...
>I would have expected TOU DIDONTOS to follow QEOU. Is there any significance
>to its location? And am I correct that it seems a bit awkward?

Some might argue that it's awkward, but my own sense is that it's more
awkward to the one thinking in terms of ordinary English sequence than it
is in the Greek. One might argue that QEOU is here appositional to the
essential substantival participial phrase, TOU DIDONTOS PASIN hAPLWS KAI

One way to convey the force of the word-order of the Greek into English
might be: "he should ask from the one who gives--God--to all simply and who
does not chide" -- or: "he should ask from the one who gives--i.e.
God--gives to all simply and who does not find fault." George Blaisdell
might even suggest (if I don't beat him to the punch) that the author did
this purposely so as to put QEOU between DIDONTOS and ONEIDIZONTOS.

I do think that the word-order is more obtrusive or disturbing to the
English-speaker than it might have been to a native Greek-speaker: TOU
DIDONTOS QEOU, I think, would hardly have given pause to a native
Greek-speaker even though the adverbial modifiers of DIDONTOS follow upon
QEOU. It's just that "giving" in the English phrase, "the giving God",
seems more adjectival, while a substantival "the one who gives" seems in
English to be awkwardly split from modifiers of DIDONTOS. I just rather
doubt this would have seemed so awkward to a Greek-speaker.

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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