[B-Greek] 1 Pt 4.2

Randall Buth randallbuth at gmail.com
Tue Sep 18 13:04:49 EDT 2007

This question deals with word order:


I realize Greeks have flexibility in word order, but
I'm assuming even then there is some reason for the
order. Does EIS TO go with BIWSAI? And if so, why is
BIWSAI between SARKI and CRONON? I can't make sense
out of it reading it in English.>

* * *
Mitch, this is a nice question and it looks like you're already halfway there.
It helps to read phrases like this, sense unit by sense unit, and to
consider the relative rank of the pieces in relation to each other. In
that way the text will open itself up to the reader.

EIS TO     this opens up the construction, which is typically a
purpose/future-result clause in KOINE

MHKETI ANQRWPWN EPIQUMIAIS   this phrase is fronted relative to the
infinitive, is marked, and seems to restate a result of 'having ceased
of sin' from the previous context. While some might call this Focus,
the following marked phrase appears to carry a heightened importance,
outranking this Contextualization. That is, this phrase serves as a
contextualizing starting point for the main point to follow. (With the
phrase itself ANQRWPWN is fronted to the head noun as a subordinated

ALLA QELHMATI QEOY   this, too, is fronted relative to the infinitive
and provides a contrastive heightening with the first fronting. I
would read it as Focus.  The two phrases MHKETI ... and ALLA function
as a joint fronted pairing, and the whole pair might be said to
function as a Focus. And ..., we haven't reached the infinitive yet.

TON EPILOIPON EN SARKI ... 'the remaining (time) in flesh' is also
fronted before the infinitive and needs a 'relative' saliency reading.
This relates to the 'flesh' and 'cease' mentioned in the previous
verse. I read it as a Contextualization to BIWSAI. Two items attract
attention for the grammarian and reader. a. The overall Focus of the
paired items comes before this marked Contextualization. This
(Focus--then Contextualization) is allowed in Greek but is not the
more universal presentation of pragmatic ordering that goes from
Contextualization to Focus. Hebrew, for example, does not use such
orderings (besides abhorring a triple fronting). b. It is specifically
the time 'in flesh, in the body' that is the link to the previous
verse and is marked by fronting. The head noun XRONON 'time' was left
in its unmarked position after the infinitive so that the
contextualizing link thru SARKI would be clear.

BIWSAI XRONON  finally the structure is closed off.

Anyway, this is real Greek, as they say.


Randall Buth, PhD
χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη
שלום לכם וברכות
ybitan at mscc.huji.ac.il
randallbuth at gmail.com

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