[B-Greek] genitives in Gal 3:2
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:
> TOUTO MONON QELW MAQEIN AF hUMWN EX ERGWN NOMOU TO PNEUMA ELABETE H
> EX AKOHS PISTEWS
> If you had to catagories EX ERGWN NOMOU what type of genitive would
> NOMOU be? And PISTEWS?
> 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
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
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