1 Pet 3:21 EPERWTHMA
Carl W. Conrad
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Sun Mar 31 16:32:17 EST 2002
At 11:11 AM +0200 3/31/02, Iver Larsen wrote:
>Mike Sangrey has helped me to see why we didn't understand one another very
>well. The reason is that what in English is called an "issue" is in Danish
>called a "question". So, I was using the English word "question" to denote
>what you would call an issue. However, even these words do not match
>exactly. The English word "issue" has an element of problem or dispute in
>it. When I need to translate issue into Danish I have two choices:
>"spørgsmål" (question) or "problem". Sometimes "spørgsmål" is closer to
>> >> >Baptism is contrasted to an ordinary bath which is a question
>> of removing dirt from the body, but baptism is different, although it can
>> be compared with a bath in a certain sense.
>> >> >Can it be understood as "but (baptism) is a question of
>> >> (having/gaining?) a good conscience towards God"?
>> >> In any case, "question" is
>> >> not the right sense here, inasmuch as the context is not interrogatory.
>> >I don't follow you here. The context involves a contentious issue and
>> >implies the asking of many questions as well as giving various
>> answers and explanations.
>> Sorry, but I don't really follow you here either, Iver.
>In order to see what Greek word might correspond to English "issue" I looked
>to see when an interlinear had used the gloss "issue". It occurred only in
>Acts for the word ZHTHMA.
>It looks like ZHTHMA relates to ZHTEW as EPERWTHMA relates to EPERWTAW.
>What is the difference between these two related pairs of words?
>As far as I can tell the difference is that ZHTEW and ZHTHMA involve a
>dispute or word-fight, the desire to be right or to win the argument. That
>is why the Danish literal version consistently translates by
>"stridsspørgsmål" in Acts, which means "contentious issue" in English.
>The other two words relate to questioning in an honest attempt to seek an
>answer. That is, one strives to unearth the facts in an objective way and
>hopefully get an answer. Sometimes the questions are asked of a god. For
>this meaning we would say "spørgsmål" in Danish and that corresponds
>somewhat to "uncontentious issue". So, re-reading my own post, I would like
>to withdraw my suggestion that this was a contentious issue. I had not at
>that time realized that ZHTHMA would be the word to use for that sense. It
>seems more to be an honest question some people had: "What is the meaning of
>I believe we agree that EPERWTHSIS would refer to the "act of questioning"
>just as ZHTHSIS involves the "act of investigating or discussing a
>contentious issue". In the same way EPERWTHMA would refer to the "matter
>under questioning" just as ZHTHMA would be the "matter under dispute".
>In a Pet 3:21, I and many others find the "appeal" option very unlikely and
>unfitting for the context. The "pledge" option is based on scanty papyrus
>evidence in legal contexts, and it is questionable, even contentious,
>although not impossible. That the obvious choice of taking the word
>EPERWTHMA in its normal sense of "question" or "matter under discussion"
>(not necessarily dispute) has had little support in the English speaking
>world, maybe because you would want to say "issue" instead?
I'm sorry, Iver; I think that I have understood what you meant originally
when you wanted to use English "question" for EPERWTHMA, and your
clarification that perhaps a better English word for what you want to say
might be "issue" does not really alter my objection; I'll grant that
EPERWTHMA may conceivably mean "the thing being asked about," "the matter
in question," "worum es sich handelt," "ce dont il s'agit"--but my problem
remains that I think the antithesis involved here is not "water bath for
cleansing from dirt" vs. "matter in question" but rather an antithesis
between two conceptions of baptism: (a) a material cleansing to rid the
body of soil, and (b) a spiritual request put to God for [or 'from' as some
prefer to understand the genitive SUNEIDHSEWS) a good conscience.
Text: hO KAI hUMAS ANTITUPON NUN SWiZEI BAPTISMA, OU SARKOS APOQESIS hRUPOU
ALLA SUNEIDHSEWS AGAQHS EPERWTHMA EIS QEON, DI' ANASTASEWS IHSOU CRISTOU.
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
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