1 Corinthians 7:15

Clwinbery at aol.com Clwinbery at aol.com
Sun Jan 6 21:26:06 EST 2002

In a message dated 1/6/02 6:15:32 PM, Polycarp66 at aol.com writes:

>In a message dated 1/6/2002 6:13:57 PM Eastern Standard Time, 
>fconley at airmail.net writes:
>> However, I understand CHWRIZESQW to be a third person singular present
>> passive imperative. Three questions for the grammarians: (1) Isn't it
>> misleading for translations to imply that this is a second person when
>> is
>> not? (2) Would it not be more in harmony with the grammar to render
>> something like: "Divorce it must be"; or, "it is permitted." See: "They
>> separate"(JB); "it is permitted"(LB); or, as I think Moulton in his
>> Prolegomena implies, p. 172, "If the partner insists on divorce, divorce
>> must be." (3) Is this possibly a case of the divine passive?
>I think the problem here is trying to understand the grammar from the 
>perspective of the English language (perhaps others as well).  In English
>associate the imperative with a command, "Do this." We don't understand
>this be done" as an imperative.  Moreover, as you indicated "you" is 
>understood as the subject of such a construction. I would say, however
>such constructions as "divorce it must be" are awkward and unEnglish at
> In Latin I believe the statement, "let him . . . " would  be considered
>jussive (my Latin is extremely rusty, perhaps someone more knowledgeable
>speak to this).  I think this is about the best we can do in English.

I think that when you look at the whole sentence, the understanding of the 
imperative as permissive is as close to what the writer intended as we can 
get in English. I certainly do not think that Paul had in mind to command the 
unbeliever to depart (divorce). Hence, "But if the unbeliever separates, then 
let him go." We should not think that everytime the 3rd person imperative is 
used that it has to be permission. I think it often adds a strong sense of 
oughtness, what the person should do. But, the context here, I think, indica
tes permission.

Carlton Winbery
Louisiana College

More information about the B-Greek mailing list