[B-Greek] SOFIA SIRAX 19:4 - Hearts and Minds

kathleen.taylor at dpag.ox.ac.uk kathleen.taylor at dpag.ox.ac.uk
Sun Jul 29 05:16:09 EDT 2007


SOFIA SIRAX 19:4 (taken from my Rahlfs Septuagint) reads:

ο ταΧὐ ἐμπίστεύων κοῦΦος καρδίᾳ [hO TACU

The King James translates this as:

     He that is hasty to give credit is lightminded

And the New RSV as:

     One who trusts others too quickly has a shallow mind

As a beginner, I'm struggling with this, for three reasons, and would
really appreciate any guidance.

Firstly, I might have naively expected, from the English, that
καρδίᾳ [KARDIAi] would be in the genitive ('light of heart').
Please, what's going on here?

Secondly, I thought κοῦΦος [KOUFOS] meant 'light' or 'nimble',
which these days is complimentary when applied to minds and positive when
applied to hearts. But from the context this verse is obviously
pejorative. To me this suggests that ἐμπίστεύων [EMPISTEUWN] is
not one who believes in the cognitive sense of belief (e.g. I believe the
world is round), because being fast at that would presumably be a good
thing. Instead, it refers to a committed believer -- one who places faith,
or trust, in something -- and recommends (by implication) being wary about
what or whom you trust.

Thirdly, is it stretching it too far to read into the use of καρδίᾳ
[KARDIAi], rather than, say, some form of FRONIS or NOOS, a stronger, more
emotional or personally-important relationship between the believer and
the belief-object ('trust' rather than mere 'belief')?

Thank you!

Kathleen Taylor
Research scientist
Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics
Oxford University

PS: I am a neuroscientist (hence the limited Greek) but I am interested in
how the contrast between 'cognitive' and 'emotional' aspects of belief has
been understood in different eras (hence the query). If anyone can point
me to work on this topic I would be most grateful.


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