[B-Greek] 2 Thess. 2:6-7--two proposals

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sat Mar 3 09:26:44 EST 2007

----- Original Message ----- 

Webb said:
> Unless something specific in the context informs me
> differently, I'm going to assume that he's going to "voluntarily" get out of
> the way.

The interpretation of any text involves a number of assumptions. As context I would include verses 
2:1-5 so that this section revolves around hHMWN EPISUNAGWGH EP' AUTON (our gathering together 
with/to him) as well as events before and after.
The audience was concerned that somehow this gathering of the believers had already happened, so 
Paul says no, it hasn't.
Paul says in v. 6 that the readers know the identity of TO KATECON, but we don't know for sure, 
since Paul is not clearly identifying the referent of either TO KATECON or hO KATECWN. Our 
assumptions about these referents is what underly our interpretation of the passage. Since you don't 
want to go down the road I am taking, it looks like we have different theological/eschatological 

> I still am laboring under the assumption that GINOMAI can quite naturally be
> used when the subject is, in Iver's terminology, the implied ACTOR. For
> examples of GINOMAI being used where people are commanded to become
> something, see Mt. 10:16; 18:3 (ambiguous); 24:44; Lk. 6:36; 12:40; Jn
> 20:27; 1 Cor. 4:16; 10:32; 11:1; 15:58; Gal. 4:12; Eph. 4:32; 5:1; Phil.
> 3:17; Col. 3:15; Jas 1:22; 3:1; 1 Pet. 1:15; Rev. 2:10; 3:2.

Sometimes a grammatical subject may correspond to more than one semantic role. This is quite common 
with Greek middle verbs, almost a defining characteristic. In a verb like "rise up" the subject may 
be both Agent and Patient at the same time, although the Patient role is more in focus than the 
Agent. The subject is definitely the Patient, and it may or may not be the Agent also. For GINOMAI, 
I still prefer to describe the semantic frame as having a Patient as the primary and basic role. The 
focus is on the new state that the subject enters into, not on how that state was or will be 
achieved. In some cases, especially with imperatives, it is understood that the subject is in some 
way involved in achieving this new state.

> For examples of GINOMAI being used where people are said to come, or not to
> come, into such and such a state, for which change of state they themselves
> would implicitly have been responsible, see Mk 1:4; Luke 13:2, 4; 16:11, 12;
> Acts 7:52; Eph. 2:13 (ambiguous); Col. 4:11; 1 Thess. 1:5, 6; 2:5, 7, 10, 14
> (ambiguous); Jas 2:4.

They may be implicitly responsible, but not necessarily solely or primarily responsible. The focus 
is still on something coming into being rather than who caused it to come into being. In that 
respect GINOMAI is different from verbs for coming and going.
Mk 1:4 talks about John "appearing" in the desert. (The RSV and TEV "appear" catches the nuance 
better than NIV's "came"). Probably God and the Holy Spirit are considered primarily responsible.
In Luke 13:2,4 the focus is on these people being described as sinners, not whether they themselves 
were responsible for that state. This applies to all the citations. The focus is on describing a 
state or a change of state.

Therefore, the only thing we can deduce from the grammar of 2 Th 2:7 and the semantics of GINOMAI is 
that some time in the future hO KATECWN will be out of the way. How this is going to happen and 
whether or not the subject is responsible for this change of state or not goes into pragmatics and 
inferences made on the basis of the assumed reference of hO KATECWN and TO KATECON.

Iver Larsen

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