Heb. 11:11a

Stephen C. Carlson scarlson at mindspring.com
Wed Sep 5 01:09:52 EDT 2001

At 12:04 AM 9/5/2001 -0400, Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
>I don't think so because a bare dative of accompaniment is used
>with verbs that already connote accompanying or following, otherwise
>a preposition such as META would be used.  See Smyth §§ 1521-
>1524 and BDF § 193.  In this case, the verb is ELABE and
>does not connote accompaniment.

Interestingly, now that I've read my grammars a little further,
Smyth § 1525 and BDF § 194 indicate that a dative of association
may be used with AUTOS, which is the case here.  In fact, BDF
§ 194(1) states that Westcott and Hort conjectured Heb. 11:11 to
be such a case.

The crux in this passage is that KATABOLH SPERMATOS refers to
the male role in procreation.  Sarah's role would have been
described as EIS hUPODOCHN.  Accordingly, it seems difficult
to construe Sarah as the subject of receiving the power to
impregnate.  See BDAG s.v. KATABOLH.

Matthew Black (1967: 86) condemned Westcott & Hort's suggestion
as "both clumsy and unnatural" and it is easy to see why.
There is already a dative in the clause (PISTEI, by faith),
and the person AUTHi SARRAi allegedly accompanies is implied
in ELABE's inflection.  Black prefers to view KAI AUTH SARRA
STEIRA as a paratactic circumstantial clause ("By faith, even
though Sarah herself was barren, he received ..."), which is a
Semitic construction attested in elsewhere in Hebrews, e.g.
at 1:5.  It may not be necessary to go the Semitic route,
though, the expression KAI AUTH SARRA STEIRA could function
as a parenthesis: "By faith (and Sarah herself was sterile)
he received the power to impregnate ..."

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                        mailto:scarlson at mindspring.com
Synoptic Problem Home Page   http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
"Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words."  Shujing 2.35

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