Rom 4:19: The main idea in the participle?

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Fri Jan 3 12:06:02 EST 2003


> Douglas Moo in his commentary translated Rom 4:19 as follows:
>
> KAI MH ASQENHSAS TH PISTEI KATENOHSEN TO hEAUTOU SWMA [HDH] VEVEKRWMENON,
> hEKATONTAETHS POU hUPARCWN, KAI THN VEKRWSIN THS MHTRAS SARRAS.
>
> Abraham did not weaken in faith even when he considered his own body,
> as good as dead- for he was about a hundred years old - and the
> barrenness of the mother, Sarah.
>
> He explains his decision as follows:
>
>  But Greek does allow for a reversal of these roles, with the
>  finite verb expressing the subordinate thought, and his makes
>  good sense in the present case [ See Zerwick, Biblical Greek,
>  section 263, 376).
>
> Are there any good evidences for Moo's argument?

Well, I don't have a copy of Zerwick so cannot check what he says.
I am skeptical about the claimed reversal, but the translation above catches
the intended meaning fairly well anyway. Are there other examples of such
reversal?

Maybe it is the negative participle and context that gives the sense of
"even". A more literal version may be: "And not having become weak in the
faith, he was able to observe his own body being as good as dead, being
about 100 years, and the barrenness of Sarah..."

Often the negative participle is best rendered in English by "without", so:
"without losing faith he was able to observe his own and Sarah's 'deadness'"

Iver Larsen




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