[B-Greek] Matt 5:13 Can GH be the passive subjectofhALISQHSETAI?

Paul Zellmer pzellmer at sc.rr.com
Wed Jul 25 23:53:22 EDT 2007


Note: I forgot to reply to all, and sent this to Webb directly by mistake.
My bad.

Webb,

The text I was using (UBS 4th) showed a raised dot.  UBS 3rd also has the
minor break.  Hence my transliterated punctuation, using, as transliteration
implies, target (in this case, English) equivalents of source (Greek)
characters.  I left my N-A with the translation team in the Philippines when
I took the position stateside, so I'm not sure what punctuation is there.
Could that be the text you are using?

Of course, even the Greek punctuation was added after the original text was
produced, correct?

Paul Zellmer

-----Original Message-----
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Webb
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 10:41 PM
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Matt 5:13 Can GH be the passive
subjectofhALISQHSETAI?

The English punctuation of the transliterated Greek below is possibly
ambiguous. I don't see any instructions on ibiblio.org about how to render
punctuation, so here is Matt. 5:13 with Greek punctuation:
hUMEIS ESTE TO hALAS THS GHS. (=period--semicolon would be a raised dot)
EAN DE TO hALAS MWRANQHi, EN TINI hALISQHSETAI; (=question mark)
Webb Mealy
-----Original Message-----
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Webb
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 7:04 PM
To: 'Paul Zellmer'; b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Matt 5:13 Can GH be the passive subject
ofhALISQHSETAI?

Interesting train of thought! I suspect that it's really context rather than
grammar that seals it--EIS OUDEN ISCUEI ETI clearly refers to salt, so that
retroactively clarifies that salt has to have been intended in the previous
question. I see that I have not used the "made salty again" interpretation
in my own translation, which simply follows the future indicative of hALIZW:
You're the salt of the earth. But if the salt itself has lost its flavor,
what's it going to be salted with? It isn't useful for anything anymore,
except to be thrown out for people to walk on.  
But suppose a form critic came along and claimed that an original saying by
Jesus was hUMEIS ESTE TO hALAS THS GHS; EAN DE TO hALAS MWRANQHi, EN TINI
hALISQHSETAI?
Separated from the final sentence (supposing for the sake of argument that
it was added later by a person who misunderstood the original saying), this
does seem to me to be capable of the interpretation you're asking about.
Others more knowledgeable may contradict me, however.

Webb Mealy
-----Original Message-----
From: b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:b-greek-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Paul Zellmer
Sent: Wednesday, July 25, 2007 6:47 PM
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [B-Greek] Matt 5:13 Can GH be the passive subject of hALISQHSETAI?

Matt 5:13  hUMEIS ESTE TO hALAS THS GHS; EAN DE TO hALAS MWRANQHi, EN TINI
hALISQHSETAI?  EIS OUDEN ISCUEI ETI EI MH BLHQEN EXW KATAPATEISQAI hUPO TWN
ANQRWPWN. 

Simple question: Can GH be the passive subject of hALISQHSETAI?

Background info:  My mind was wandering during a Bible study on the Sermon
on the Mount tonight, and I looked at Matt 5:13.  Knowing that most English
translations translate EN TINI hALISQHSETAI as "how shall it become salty
again," I was surprised to see no PALIN or ANA- or the like.  One possible
translation of the root, hALIZW, is "make something salty."  But it struck
me as possibly anticipating the desired result to extend this definition to
"make something salty again."

I looked again at the verse, and can see a *logical* possibility that the
one trying to be made "salty" could be the earth, since "you" are the salt
*of the earth*.  The question I have is whether this is a *grammatical*
possibility.

My gut feel is that it is not, because it would require the EAN DE clause to
have hALAS as its subject, the next phrase (the question) to have GH as its
subject, and then the next clauses to return to hALAS as the subject (unless
the world is going to be tossed out and trampled.)  But my gut, I fear, is
English-language based.  So I ask the rest of you if you can see my
hypothesis as being possibly true in the realm of KOINE grammar.

Thanks in advance,

Paul Zellmer

---
B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
B-Greek mailing list
B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek

---
B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
B-Greek mailing list
B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek

---
B-Greek home page: http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek
B-Greek mailing list
B-Greek at lists.ibiblio.org
http://lists.ibiblio.org/mailman/listinfo/b-greek




More information about the B-Greek mailing list