[b-greek]Re: Heb. 12:28a

Glenn Blank glennblank at earthlink.net
Thu Sep 13 01:11:42 EDT 2001

>From: "Mark Wilson" <emory2oo2 at hotmail.com>
>To: Biblical Greek <b-greek at franklin.oit.unc.edu>
>Subject: [b-greek] Heb. 12:28a
>Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 01:13:28 +0000
>"So since we are receiving an unshakable kingdom,
>let us give thanks..." (NET Bible)
>What first occurs to me when reading ECWMEN is that the
>author is encouraging the readers to "have" or "possess"
>something. What is the justification for taking ECWMEN
>in the sense of "giving" something.
>Mark Wilson

ECW does not literally by itself mean "give," but nor does CARIN by itself
literally mean "thanks."  The two words together form an idiom for "giving
thanks."  Other references containing this expression -- Luke 17.9; 1 Tim
1.12; 2 Tim 1.3 (in these passages, with the dative of the person being
thanked); 2 Macc 3.33.

The meaning of an idiom is by definition not reducible to its component
parts, although one might speculate that the rationale for how ECEIN CARIN
gets to be "give thanks" follows these lines:  CARIN is "undeserved favor." 
One of the senses of ECEIN is to hold as an opinion, with both the object
being regarded and the opinion held of that object in the accusative (e.g.,
hWS PROFHTHN AUTON EICON "they were regarding him as a prophet.)

So a literal rendering of 1 Tim 1.12 CARIN EXW . . . CRISTWi might be "I
regard undeserved favor [with respect to] Christ"  or "I have something I
don't deserve."  
This recognition of having received something undeserved is the essence of
gratitude . . . you thank someone for a gift, not for something that you
earn.  Other Indo-European languages, and especially the romance languages,
use the same kind of idiom for gratitude today; e.g., "graci" in Italian
(literally "grace"), "gracias" in Spanish, "merci" in French.

But the idiom for gratitude in English is not to "*regard* grace," but "to
*give* thanks."   So "give thanks" is a translation of the entire idiom, not
a translation of each individual word.  (Actually, I guess we come close to
the same
kind of idiom in southern English when we say "I am obliged to you.")

glenn blank
Pensacola FL  

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