[B-Greek] 2 Peter 1:3 Subject?
Carl W. Conrad
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Thu Mar 9 07:24:29 EST 2006
I've read Yancy Smith's response to this query and don't take much
exception to it other than to note that the forms of DWREOMAI in the
perfect participle and perfect indicative are surely middle rather
than passive. I'd like to offer my own exploration of this entire
structure -- if it can honestly be called a structure!
On Mar 8, 2006, at 7:33 PM, Mitch Larramore wrote:
> CARIS hUMIN KAI EIRHNH PLHQUNQEIH EN EPIGNWSEI TOU
> QEOU KAI IHSOU TOU KURIOU hHMWN
> hWS PANTA hHMIN THS QEIAS DUNAMEWS AUTOU TA PROS ZWHN
> KAI EUSEBEIAN DEDWRHMENHS DIA THS EPIGNWSEWS TOU
> KALESANTOS hHMAS IDIAi DOXHi KAI ARETHi
> DI' hWN TA TIMIA KAI MEGISTA hHMIN EPAGGELMATA
> I hate to ask someone to talk about all of this but
> I'm trying to figure out how these verses fit
> Verse 3 has a Genitive Absolute (apparently). How does
> that fit into this section? What is the subject in
> verse 3? Am I right in trying to locate a finite verb
> and then tie verse 3 to that?
> One translation starts off "I pray..." but I think
> they are supplying that, but from where? Any help in
> as much of these 3 verses you can share would be appreciated.
It is the NET that starts off verse 2 with "I pray." The note also
rightly indicates that the punctuation in UBS4/NA27 is just simply
wrong: there must be a comma -- NOT a period -- following TOU KURIOUS
hHMWN, for the reason that the subject and main verb do, in fact,
reside in the first verse, and to be precise, in CARIS KAI EIRHNH
PLHQUNQEIH. It's a relatively rare optative (63x in the GNT): "May
grace and peace grow (exponentially?) in you ..." And that optative
is the source of NET's "I can pray this because ...."
The third verse does indeed offer a basis for the initial prayer for
the exponentially-growing efficacy of insight in the unspecified
believers to whom the letter is addressed. And it is indeed a
genitive absolute introduced by an explanatory hWS (BDAG §3.a.beta:
" ... hWS foll. by the gen. abs. 2 Pt 1:3"): "inasmuch as the Divine
Power has granted us, through the keen insight of the one who called
us by/for his own glory and goodness, all that bears upon life and
The fourth verse hangs on the third (rather precariously, just as
does the third on the second!); it is a relative clause evidently
recapitulating the substance of verse 3: " ... whereby he has granted
us precious and greatest promised things, so that through them you
may ..." Presumably the antecedent of hWN is IDIAi DOXHi KAI ARETHi;
perhaps that's enough to clarify the dative of those words as being
instrumental: "has granted us BY MEANS OF his own glory and goodness."
I think you are right to find this sequence (2 Pet 1:2-4) exceedingly
awkward. For the life of me I cannot understand why the editors would
place a period after verse 2. Several features of this sequence seem
(a) the subject of the genitive absolute: THS QEIAS DUNAMEWS: "the
divine power"; I suppose this is a periphrasis for "God omnipotent"
or the like; it reminds me of the curious Homeric phrases such as
BIH hHRAKLEIH "Herakles' might" for "mighty Herakles," or IS ODUSHOS,
"the strength of Odysseus" for "strong Odysseus." Is this intended as
a rhetorical flourish?
(b) What is the antecedent of the AUTOU hanging on THS QEIAS
DUNAMEWS? Is it TOU QEOU or is it IHSOU TOU KURIOU hHMWN, or are
they to be understood as one here in one of those Granville-Sharp
conjunctions? My guess is that it's TOU QEOU, but the phrasing seems
awkward (to me, at least). The NET translators think that the entire
phrase TOU QEOU KAI IHSOU TOU KURIOU hHMWN refer to Christ; I'm less
sure that's what is meant.
(c) It seems somewhat strange to me that EPIGNWSIS in verse 2 is a
faculty of the believers addressed in this salutation and it is
directed toward God and Christ, while in verse 3 it is the faculty of
God whereby believers have been called. The NET translators want to
use the phrase "rich knowledge" for EPIGNWSIS, for reasons one might
want to scrutinize in the NET notes. On the other hand, the
translators of CEV evidently understand EPIGNWSIS in verse 3 as the
faculty in believers with TOU KALESANTOS as an objective genitive:
"when we learned that he had invited us to share in his wonderful
goodness" I see that's the understanding in the Darby version too.
I had always thought that Ephesians 1:3-14 was probably the single
most awkward sequential Greek in the GNT inasmuch as its clauses are
articulated together precariously, their proper interrelationship far
from being clear. But after taking a close look at these verses, the
sequence in Ephesians seems somewhat more "tidy." It's certainly
interesting that translators must of necessity dismantle the
structure of of 2 Pet 1:2-4 in order to yield any intelligible sense
in a target language and that they don't demonstrate that much
consensus on how some elements are to be made sense of.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
1989 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad2 at mac.com
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