[B-Greek] question regarding 1 Tim 6:10

yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
Sat Apr 3 02:53:53 EDT 2010


I share your concern for the immediate context, and I appreciate your thought process of elimination. I would not be so quick to discard Wallace's assessment of the definiteness of hRIZA. Why does he dwell on that and hesitate? Of course we are free to ignore Greek usage and the cultural context in which Paul wrote and make sense, but it will only commend our views to the ignorant. I suggest a look at a good critical commentary (Debelius in Hermenia, Marshall with ICC, or Towner in NICNT). Verse 10 concludes the discourse on modest living and the dangers of greed by reciting a traditional maxim of common wisdom and sowhing that what has happened to some opponents who have not paid attention to such common sense. 
It is simply a matter of common knowledge that the maxim, which occurs frequently, that linked "all kind/every kind of evil" to the "love of money" was widely repeated in various forms by ancient philosophers. Of course the word "root" (as in the teaching of Jesus) was used figuratively in a wide range as a depiction of the source from which either good or evil springs. In the version of the saying tha Paul quotes, "root" hRIZA is placed in the emphatic position, i.e., it is "fronted," the first in the sentence, well in advance of the equative/copulative verb. Several translations, namely, TNIV/NIV; NRSV; GNB translate "The love of money is a root of all [kinds of] evil"  apparently to keep Paul from assigning too much blame for evildoing to greed or money. Towner suggests a grammatical and a rhetorical reason for the bolder translation "the emphatic position of the noun" and "the rhetorical needs of the situation." He says, aptly, "It is the strongest sense which lends the argument the force required to drive home the point that avarice produces devastating results." It is an apt place for an overstatement. But, there are stronger reasons to translate boldly. Greek usage. E.g. in the anthology of Stobaeus, Ecl. 3 (p. 417, Hense): “Bion the Sophist used to say that love of money is the mother-city of all evil.” (Βίων ὁ σοφιστὴς τὴν φιλαργυρίαν μητρόπολιν ἔλεγε πάσης κακίας εἶναι BIWN hHO SOFISTHS THN FILARGURIAN MHTROPOLIN ELEGE PASHS KAKIAS EINAI, where you have the characteristic Ø article definiteness in a noun that occurs before a copulative verb in a gnomic statement. Wallace's terminology for this usage, I suppose, would be gnomic, i.e., the lack of definite article with a definite classifier noun in a well-known saying but Ø article definiteness is more broadly used, as other NT examples show, including the much bedeviled John 1:1c. Paul is using a traditional concept or maxim. But, not to worry, the ancient epistolary handbooks as well as those who taught rhetoric recommended the use of maxims for their persuasive effect, and Paul used them elsewhere. “The love of money” is itself a desire ὄρεξις OREXIS so ὀρεγόμενοι OREGOMENOI is appropriate. The disparity between the first and second halves of the verse—mixing the metaphors "wandering, piercing" gives a fairly rough transition to the next clause. If Paul were just composing without quoting one might expect him to follow up "root" with some sort of connected metaphor.Thus some interpreters refer the relative pronoun (“by such”) to the “money” (ἀργύριον) in the composite noun “love of money” (φιλαργυρία): “in the desire of which (i.e. of the money), but "from which desire some desiring" is more likely the connection. Polycarp, Philippians 4.1 quotes the same common maxim: “But the beginning of all evils is the love of money” (ἀρχὴ δὲ πάντων χαλεπῶν φιλαργυρία). Again, the same Ø-article definiteness, i.e., of an anarthrous definite classifier noun before the copulative verb. 

Rob said:
> Second, hRIZA is anarthrous and therefore you need 
> to have a good reason for placing the article in the English 
> translation if you do. I see no good reason for doing so.
YWS: Can you think of ANY case where you would "see [a] good reason for doing so"? I'm curious. But, this is not the way one handles articles from one language to another. For example, in Spanish 
Rob said:
> As you know, I personally think that scripture is it's best 
> commentary and therefore I can eliminate the first three 
> possibilities.

YWS: I don't follow your reasoning here. I may not like several of the options Wallace lists here. But, how do you adjudicate which one is best? How does your opinion that scripture is it's best commentary lead to the elimination of the first three. I would assume that you would want to use a grammatical principle. If you are using a grammatical-historical process here, it would seem that you would want to take account of the way Greek speakers said similar things.

Yancy Smith, PhD
yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
yancy at wbtc.com
5636 Wedgworth Road
Fort Worth, TX 76133
817-361-7565






On Apr 3, 2010, at 12:04 AM, Rod Rogers wrote:

> Yancy, if I understand you correctly here, we may have to 
> disagree agreeably. When I come to a clause such as the first 
> clause in 1 Tim 6:10, hRIZA GAR PANTWN TWN KATWN ESTIN hH 
> FILARGURIA, I do so after having read verses 1-9 and especially 
> 6-9. I'm not trying to be a smart-aleck here but I'm sure you 
> have read comments on this list and it was obvious that they had 
> not considered the context in which the verse is in found. When 
> someone asks a question about how to translate a verse, in this 
> case 1 Tim 6:10, it is easy to stare at the tree and miss the 
> obvious forest.
> 
> Wallace has stated that he sees six possibilities in translating 
> the first clause of this verse.
> 
> (1) “the love of money is a root of all evils,”
> (2) “the love of money is the root of all evils,”
> (3) “the love of money motivates all evils,”
> (4) “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils,”
> (5) “the love of money is the root of all kinds of evils,”
> (6) “the love of money motivates all kinds of evils.”
> 
> As you know, I personally think that scripture is it's best 
> commentary and therefore I can eliminate the first three 
> possibilities. Second, hRIZA is anarthrous and therefore you need 
> to have a good reason for placing the article in the English 
> translation if you do. I see no good reason for doing so. That 
> leaves the possibility of #4 and #6. While I don't see a 
> significant difference between "root" and "cause" I would chose 
> #4 because of the predicate nominative construction and the 
> equative verb.
> 
> That is how I would go about exegeting this clause but that is 
> not enough. Is my conclusion consistent with the context and then 
> consistent with scripture at large. That is the final question I 
> would ask. In verse 10 Paul gives another "possibly perplexing" 
> command, "flee these things". What things? Foolish and hurtful 
> lusts, the "all kinds of evils". So, here again, I don't think 
> that this clause is that demanding. I have no problem dismissing 
> that which scripture has already rejected as an option.
> 
> rod rogers
> bargersville, in
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
> To: "greek B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Friday, April 02, 2010 9:47 AM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] question regarding 1 Tim 6:10
> 
> 
> No offense taken. Hope my dense and insubstantial comments don't 
> continue to cause irritation.
> I think we are probably in agreement with Wallace that hRIZA 
> PANTWN is most likely definite. But, independent of the question 
> of the definiteness of hRIZA, the textual meaning represents an 
> exaggeration which the audience were warranted to read as such. 
> That is why I think Wallace is warranted to give the "idea" 
> represented by the text (as distinct from the textual meaning). 
> His discussion is not helpful as to why the mismatch between 
> meaning and form. That is a general weakness of a formalist 
> approach.
> 
> Skewing of verbal form and speaker meaning is particularly a 
> feature of quoted, proverbial speech. And so is the definite use 
> of  article preverbal nouns (anarthrous, preverbal nouns). 
> Summaries or general statements, or resumptive statementsall of 
> which can be seen as a form of self-quotation or Michael Aubrey's 
> redundancy, also feature definite -article nouns. The 
> definite -article preverbal noun is often confusing to new 
> readers. -article definiteness is also found in Spanish in 
> similar instances.
> I simply assumed this in my previous posts, but here are other 
> examples:
> 
> Heb 9:15 DIAQHKHS KAINHS MESITIHS ESTIN
> Eph. 5:23 ANHR ESTIN KEFALH THS GUNAIKOS
> 1 Cor 11:3 KEFALH DE GUNAIKOS O ANHR
> John 3:29 O ECWN THN NUMFHN NUMFIOS ESTIN
> Mark 2:28 KURIOS ESTIN O UIOS TOU ANQRWPOU KAI TOU SABBATOU
> 
> I'm sure we could find others. All this shows that, while article 
> use/non-use in KOINH Greek share features with English, we should 
> guard against thinking that use/non use of the definite article 
> has the same meaning accross languages.
> 
> Yancy Smith, PhD
> yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net
> Y.W.Smith at tcu.edu
> yancy at wbtc.com
> 5636 Wedgworth Road
> Fort Worth, TX 76133
> 817-361-7565
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> On Apr 1, 2010, at 10:39 PM, Rod Rogers wrote:
> 
>> I'm afraid I was overly rash in my comments to Yancy. I should
>> not have said to "pay attention". I'm sure Yancy is better than 
>> I
>> at concentrating. I also realize that the thread took of on a
>> different aspect than what I had originally commented on. What 
>> I
>> said I believe to be true I only should learn to be more kind 
>> in
>> my responses. Sorry if this causes any problems for you. I 
>> guess
>> I touchd myself.
>> 
>> 
>> rod rogers
>> bargersville, in
>> 
>> 
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