[B-Greek] Help with Hebrews 4:2

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Sun May 3 09:05:51 EDT 2009


On May 3, 2009, at 2:39 AM, Alastair Haines wrote:

> ... ALL' OUK WFELHSEN hO LOGOS THS AKOHS EKEINOUS,
> MH SUGKEKERASMENOUS THi PISTEI TOIS AKOUSASIN.
>
> ... BUT it brought no profit, that word heard, for those not  
> blending (for
> themselves) with trust (and with) the things heard.
> (apologies for stilted translation to retain rhetoric of word order  
> and
> etymology)
>
> No profit = Hearing - Trust
>
> Stands in rhetorical relation to discourse structure.
> Pragmatically, the topic is HEARING the focus is TRUST.
> Now we have heard what do we do?
>
> Hearing + TRUST = Profit
>
> The committee imo chose the right reading (-ous): direct object of  
> WFELHSEN.
> SUGKEKERASMENOUS is *middle*: Conrad is out-thinking himself, he was  
> right
> the first time.
> Double dative because we blend water with wine and with spice and  
> with ...

So far as I am aware, the term "double dative" is not used in Greek  
grammar but refers to the very common Latin combination of a dative of  
reference with a dative of purpose, most commonly used with a form of  
the verb "be" (ESSE), as in the oft-cited Ciceronian phrase, "cui bono  
(est)?" "Whose advantage does it serve" -- or more literally, "To whom  
is it for benefit?"

Alastair says that I had gotten this right the first time (1998) and  
got it messed up in my second (admittedly still tentative) proposal  
for understanding it in 2003. If I may be allowed a third proposal (I  
have no fear that all parties will ever be completely satisfied by any  
proposed solution to the problems of this verse)? I'm thinking, as in  
fact some others have thought in the past, that THi PISTEI might  
perhaps better construe with TOIS AKOUSASIN than with  
SUGKEKERASMENOUS: " ... because they had not united with those who  
listened in faith." If that's the case, then TOIS AKOUSASIN will  
construe with SUGKEKRASMENOUS, while THi PISTEI will construe with  
TOIS AKOUSASIN.

However we may ultimately come to terms severally with this passage to  
our own satisfaction, it is certainly an awkward piece of writing.

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






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