[B-Greek] Theologically motivated translation, at times

Rod Rogers rngrogers at embarqmail.com
Mon Jun 29 00:53:51 EDT 2009

> Cut

> The Greek genitive case can be used in
dozens of ways, and to leave
> it as simply an 'of' idea is often very
misleading. For example, the
> genitive case is used with the comparative
adjective for the idea of
> comparison. We would translate this
something like, "His car is
> better THAN her car." The 'than' is the
genitive word 'of.' But to
> translate it as 'his car is better OF her
car' doesn't make any sense.

>>But the "genitive of comparison" is not an
adnominal genitive; it is
>>essentially an ablatival genitive. I agree
that the preferable English
>>is "better THAN ... " but the more
"literal" English would be "better
>>OF ... " but rather "better FROM ... "

To me this does not take into consideration
the fact that the Genitive - Ablative first
of all is the case of "marking off" the
boundaries. The Genitive - Ablative not only
marks off the boundaries and limits the
context which is dealt with but can also
relate to that which is marked off. The
possessive aspect of the Genitive - Ablative
deals with that which is between the marked
off boundaries. While this is the most often
aspect of the Genitive - Ablative, it is not
the only one we find. In 2 Peter 3:9 we find,
believe THS EPAGGELIAS is referring to
boundaries in which the EPAGGELIAS is found
not referring to the EPAGGELIAS itself.
Therefore in 2 Peter 3:9 it reads, "The Lord
is not tardy regarding the promise". I
believe we find the same Genitive in 2 Peter
3:9 as in Mark 11:22.

> In Mark 11:22, although there are a couple
of valid ways to
> translate the text, when one is dealing
with God as the object, it's
> difficult to think of more than one. So,
yes, theology does play a
> part in translation, but necessarily so.
There are some groups that
> want to translate this passage as 'Have the
faith that God has' but
> such an idea is unparalleled anywhere else
in the Bible and doesn't
> fit the context. 'Have faith in God' is the
preferred translation
> and meaning.
> [End of paragraph]
> Is that really true that the translation
"of God" is perhaps
> expected, but for theological reasons, "in
God" is substituted? It
> seems strange to me to suggest that
deviations from the translation
> "of xyz" for the Genitive may result from
theological motives,
> especially in a "theological" book!

>>It might be best to have the text before
our eyes: Mark 11:22 καὶ
>>ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς·
>>ἔχετε πίστιν θεοῦ. [KAI APOKRIQEIS hO

>>For my part I really don't think that
theology plays any role in the
>>preference of "faith IN God"; we
interpreted the Greek phrase PISTIN
>>QEOU as what is traditionally termed an
"objective" genitive", that is
>>to say, from the context we can surmise
>>equivalent to PISTEUETE TWi QEWi: "Be
faithful to God" or "Trust God."
>>BUT we would use "in" even if we were
speaking/writing in English
>>about a human being: "Have faith IN the
governor" or "Have faith IN
>>Mr. Jones" = "Trust Mr. Jones." In other
words, the verbal phrase in
>>English, "have faith" -- when that faith is
directed towards a person
>>-- is ordinarily completed with a
prepositional phrase, "in X." So
>>this isn't rally a "theologically"
motivated translation at all, so
>>far as I can see.

>>Carl W. Conrad
>>Department of Classics, Washington
University (Retired)

I think Mark Lightman hit the theological
nail on the head. As I said above, I don't
think the text, ECETE PISTIN QEOU, is dealing
with faith in a possessive way as much as it
is in marking off what that faith is. It is a
faith which is in regards to God. The whole
passage from v12 through 26 is dealing with
faith. It wasn't that the Jews did not
"believe" in God. It was that their faith did
not affect how they worshiped God in a
positive way. That is why Jesus drove out
those whose motives (and faith) where not
right. Then Jesus moves to the cursing the
fig tree and tells his disciples that if they
have faith "as within the framework of God"
or "regarding God", that is, "that their
faith reflected the character and
faithfulness of God", then they could move
mountains. It wasn't that the disciples had
no faith in God nor was Jesus saying that the
object of their faith was to be in God. I
believe what Jesus was saying was to have
faith in a Godly context, manner.That is what
the Jews lacked miserably.

rod rogers
bargersville, in

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