[B-Greek] You want that Paul is not Jewish? (was Rm. 13:3b: "QELEIS..." WHY is it a question?

Mark Lightman lightmanmark at yahoo.com
Sat May 30 09:35:10 EDT 2009


Carl wrote:
 
  <...is it enough to  establish that
 "QELEIS X" is a standard idiom?>
 
"QELEIS X? equals X" is an established idiom
in Yiddish, which may have been influenced
by upper Baltic Byzantine Greek.  Thus
"Oedipus Shmoedipus! You want that a
boy shouldn't love his mother?" equals
"Maternal affection is preeminent despite
any tragic consequences." 
 
You want that Paul is not Jewish?
 
Mark L. 
 

--- On Sat, 5/30/09, Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com> wrote:


From: Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Rm. 13:3b: "QELEIS..." WHY is it a question?
To: "A. J. Birch" <AJB1212 at ono.com>
Cc: "B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Date: Saturday, May 30, 2009, 5:34 AM



On May 29, 2009, at 2:15 AM, A. J. Birch wrote:

> οἱ γὰρ ἄρχοντες οὐκ εἰσὶν φόβος  
> τῷ ἀγαθῷ ἔργῳ ἀλλὰ τῷ κακῷ.  
> θέλεις δὲ μὴ φοβεῖσθαι τὴν  
> ἐξουσίαν· τὸ ἀγαθὸν ποίει, καὶ  
> ἕξεις ἔπαινον ἐξ αὐτῆς·  (Romans 13:3)
>
> "hOI GAR ARCONTES OUK EISIN FOBOS TWi AGAQWi ERGWi ALLA TWi KAKWi.  
> QELEIS DE MH FOBEISQAI THN EXOUSIAN· TO AGAQON POIEI, KAI hEXEIS  
> EPAINON EX AUTHS·" (Romans 13:3)
>
> My question is about the phrase, "QELEIS DE MH FOBEISQAI THN  
> EXOUSIAN·": all the Bible-versions I've consulted treat this phrase  
> as a question, but my Greek text punctuates it as a statement; is  
> there any GRAMMATICAL basis for either of these 'readings'?

Upon reviewing the question and the responses from list-members that  
have been offered, it occurs to me that nobody has yet really offered  
an answer to A.J. Birch's question. Everybody has accepted the  
proposition that the clauses in question must be a question, but  
nobody has (adequately) explained WHY it must be interpreted as a  
question.

Mark Lightman: "Of course, the minority view can be correct.  But  
QELEIS X? meaning X seems to be an established idiom in rhetoric.  Cf.  
James 2:20"
A parallel instance is certainly helpful, but is it enough to  
establish that "QELEIS X" is a standard idiom?

Carl Conrad: "I think that's right on target. Here the rhetorical  
question functions   as the equivalent of the protasis of a  
conditional sentence of the   format, EAN DE QELHiS MH FOBEISQAI THN  
EXOUSIAN, TO AGAQON POIEI, KAI   hEXEIS EPAINON EX AUTHS.(ἐάν δε  
θελῃς μὴ   φοβεῖσθαι τὴν εξουσίαν, τὸ  
ἀγαθὸν   ποίει, καὶ ἕξεις ἔπαινον ἐξ  
αὐτῆς)."
Upon reflection, however, I wonder why we must assume this is in fact  
a rhetorical question.

Iver Larsen: "NA 25 has it as a question with a note saying that B.  
Weiss did not mark a  question. Why NA27 changed is difficult to know,  
since it was a poor decision."
It may in fact have been a poor decision, but why it is hasn't been  
explained, and Mark rightly cautioned: "Of course, the minority view  
can be correct."

Nikolaos Adamou: "Tischendorf 8th Ed as well as Greek Orthodox are  
with a question mark BUT not Westcott/Hort in http://www.biblos.com/romans/13-3.htm 
  The question mark is an interpretation of the text. Mark is right!"
Yes, it is the editor(s) that has/have interpreted the text as a  
question -- or as NOT a question. We still have no explanation of WHY  
either interpretation should be accepted (other than the citation of a  
single more-or-less comparable instance.

Richard Ghilardi: "So apparently the pre-Aland Nestle used a question  
mark. What I'm wondering about is the period from 1952 to the mid  
'60's when Aland first came on board as editor. Can anyone answer this  
for me?"
Not I.

So we have an "almost but not quite" consensus that the clause in  
question should be interpreted as a question. Almost everyone thinks  
that it should, but nobody has yet adduced an adequate reason why it  
should be so interpreted beyond the not very satisfactory, "Everybody  
ELSE thinks so!"

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



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