[B-Greek] genitives in Gal 3:2

Carl W.Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Mon Jun 26 04:42:38 EDT 2006

On Jun 25, 2006, at 6:05 PM, kgraham0938 at comcast.net wrote:

> If you had to catagories EX ERGWN NOMOU what type of genitive would  


> I think PISTEWS is objective, but not sure about NOMOU.

All genitives of nouns that qualify another noun are essentially  
alike in Greek: they function like adjectives explaining "what kind"  
of X (the head noun): the categorization doesn't really have much to  
do with usage in the Greek as with options for conversion of the  
sense of the Greek into a target language.  So what we are dealing  
with is a second genitive somehow characterizing the first: in EX  
ERGWN NOMOU it is "from law-works" or "from works of a law kind"; in  
EX AKOHS PISTEWS it is "from faith-hearing" or "from hearing of a  
faith kind."

This is a difficult passage in that it is particularly difficult to  
pin down which of the two genitives in EX AKOHS PISTEWS is the head  
noun. If it is AKOHS, then PISTEWS must indicate what is heard; if it  
is PISTEWS then AKOHS must be that to which belief is given. I think  
the latter is more probable: BDAG lists both possibilities, the first  
("hearing of faith") in the definition of AKOH 2: "hearing of faith  
(= that 'hearing ' which Christians call faith), the second in  
definition 4b: "EX AKOHS PISTEWS as the result of a message  
(proclamation) which elicited (only) faith." Although the former  
seems to be reflected in many traditional versions. But if PISTEWS  
tells us the nature of the "hearing," how does it characterize it?  
Not, I think, by way of definitiion or apposition (hearing that is  
faith) but by way of delimiting the AKOH (what is heard) as the kind  
of message/proclamation that produces belief.

The only way that PISTEWS could be an "objective" genitive is as an  
indicator of what is heard: "hearing faith." I don't think that makes  
much sense. It would make MORE sense, it seems to me to understand  
AKOHS PISTEWS as 'believing what is heard." But I don't think that  
analysis of the phrase in terms of the so-called subcategories of the  
adnominal genitive is really very helpful. What is needed is an  
accurate determination of the sense of each noun in the phrase and  
then posing of the question, "What kind of HEARING/THING-HEARD is  
characterized or described by FAITH?"

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
WWW: http://www.ioa.com/~cwconrad/

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