[B-Greek] Rm. 13:3b: "QELEIS..." WHY is it a question?

Richard Ghilardi qodeshlayhvh at juno.com
Sat May 30 13:22:20 EDT 2009


Hello Folks,

On Sat, 30 May 2009 07:34:55 -0400 Carl Conrad <cwconrad2 at mac.com>
writes:
> 
> On May 29, 2009, at 2:15 AM, A. J. Birch wrote:

> > "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.

RG: Rm 13:3 may be interpreted in the following two ways differing in
punctuation:

A) Rulers are no threat to those who do right, but to those who do wrong.
You want to live without fearing rulers.
Do what's right and they will praise you.

B) Rulers are no threat to those who do right, but to those who do wrong.
You want to live without fearing rulers, don't you?
Do what's right and they will praise you.

Both renderings seem acceptable to me. But as I read (A) over and over
again and especially as speak it out loud again and again I keep on
hearing a "don't you" after line 2. Is this just my experience or does
anyone else hear this? If I try mightily to shut out this voice that
keeps saying "don't you," I begin hearing  another that changes the
"want" of line 2 to "should want": "You should want to live without
fearing rulers." In other words line 2 begins to sound prescriptive to
me. And I can't believe Paul meant line 2 to be prescriptive.

The above, of course, is not an argument. It's simply my gut reaction to
reading and hearing interpretation (A) again and again.

Yours in His grace,

Richard Ghilardi - qodeshlayhvh at juno.com
West Haven, Connecticut USA
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