[B-Greek] Hebrews 3:16 - prove it's a question

rey jacobs reyjacobs at yahoo.com
Fri Jul 27 16:52:54 EDT 2007

I'm not really as interested in proving my point as you think I am.  Rather, I am more interested in you proving your point.  But you say that you have no point, "I did not actually propose any specific theories or interpretations of the text" while at the same time maintaining "If you are interested in actually discussing/thinking about this with the possibility that you may end up changing your mind or shifting your point of view, I would be glad to engage in a conversation" but why would you care whether I changed my mind or not if you truly are completely agnostic on the verse and have no point either way?

Now, if we were to assume for the sake of the argument that it was beyond question that tines was an interrogative pronoun as opposed to an indefinite pronoun (although I am not conceding this), wouldn't it still be possible to understand only the first clause as a question? "For who having heard provoked? Certainly not all who came out of Egypt by Moses."  Why then would anyone make the second clause a question? They wouldn't unless they desired to produce a contradiction in the text.

Now, you give my position as consisting of the following points:

"(1) That the 'reformation' Bibles/commentaries are not the minority that the UBS handbook claims, or that they are more correct than the last few centuries of textual critical scholarship and understanding of the Greek language (especially rhetorical analysis); "

They are not the minority as the UBS claims, because the UBS did not take many of them into account.  They just singled the KJV out as a buzzword, an easy target because most people today think the KJV is no good, so they say "the KJV is in the minority" but they themselves are apparently unaware of Beza's Latin, Calvin's Latin, and so on and so forth.  They are pretending these other reformation era translations do not exist, and therefore, their count is skewed.  And yes, in my opinion, anyone who differs from the reformation era punctuation and accenting of the Greek text or whose translation significantly differs from those of that era should be forced to provide their reasons--the burden of proof is always on the newfanglers and they generally do not like it, because their reasons are scanty.

"(2) That the phrase TINES GAR must necessarily begin a statement (instead of a question), regardless of its context (both within the text itself and across texts);"

I did not say regardless of context.  But it is certainly not common for a question to begin with "tines gar," especially in the New Testament where the phrase "tines gar" appears a whopping total of 3 times, all of them rendered as statements in decent translations, and the last one as a question in sub-par translations.

"(3) That all these modern translators/commentators that take Heb. 3:16 as a question rather than a statement have a 'theological axe to grind, wanting the New Testament to contradict the Old Testament and wanting Paul to claim everyone who came out of Egypt by Moses provoked'"

Absolutely.  there is no question that it does create a contradiction, and they have a brain as well as I, and know full well: (1) what the traditional rendering has been, and (2) that in departing from it they create a contradiction, and (3) that they have no reason to depart from it save their own theological bias against the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.

"(also, you seem to assume that Hebrews was written by Paul, which  was debated long before the Reformers)."

If you don't agree just substitute "the author of the book of Hebrews" everywhere where I say Paul.  This is really off topic isn't it?  What does it have to do with Greek, other than that many manuscripts do read the title as Paulou tou apostolou h pros ebraious epistolh?

If there were some magic rule that tines is always an interogative pronoun, I would be forced to half-way agree with you, but it can also be an indefinite pronoun, so there is not reason to agree with you.  Yet some manuscripts accent it as an interogative pronoun--so also some manuscripts accent it as an indefinite pronoun.  And then there are the uncials that don't have accents, and we know the autographs were uncials!!!  What we are left with is that context and common sense guided by the Holy Spirit and the principle of Biblical inerrancy is the only way to determine whether it be a question or statement.  Those who deny inerrancy and have not the Spirit will render it as a question undoubtedly, but the others will render as a statement.  But, oh no! This list only about Greek, not God, even though it's Biblical Greek that is the discussion.
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