[B-Greek] strange "men" construction 1 Cor 2:15

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Sat Aug 28 02:12:18 EDT 2010


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "N.E. Barry" <nebarry at verizon.net>
To: "Iver Larsen" <iver_larsen at sil.org>; "hoshi411" <hoshi411 at gmail.com>; 
<b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: 27. august 2010 15:25
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] strange "men" construction 1 Cor 2:15


>
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Iver Larsen" <iver_larsen at sil.org>
> To: "hoshi411" <hoshi411 at gmail.com>; <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
> Sent: Friday, August 27, 2010 1:21 AM
> Subject: Re: [B-Greek] strange "men" construction 1 Cor 2:15
>
>
>> This is a good way to revise one's assumptions. For MEN when used in tandem 
>> with a following DE, the two things that are correlated are more important 
>> than where the MEN actually occurs in the overall sentence. While DE looks 
>> back, MEN looks forward.
>>
>> The first DE in hO DE PNEUMATIKOS looks back and contrasts with v. 14:
>>
>> ψυχικὸς δὲ ἄνθρωπος οὐ δέχεται τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ θεοῦ
>> YUCIKOS DE ANQRWPOS OU DECETAI TA TOU PNEUMATOS TOU QEOU
>>
>> a soulish/unspiritual person cannot take in the things that come from the 
>> Spirit of God...
>>
>> This unspiritual person is then contrasted with the fronted phrase in v. 15:
>>
>> hO DE PNEUMATIKOS but for the spiritual [person] (the following applies:)
>>
>> ANAKRINEI MEN PANTA, AUTOS DE hUP OUDENOS ANAKRINETAI
>>
>> while he can judge/evaluate/examine all things, he himself can be judged by 
>> no one else (who is soulish/unspiritual)
>>
>> MEN is positioned after the main word that is correlated, whether noun, 
>> pronoun or verb.
>
> Iver, while this is a very good explanation and defense of how MEN could be 
> used here, it strikes me, allowing that this is a subjective opinion based on 
> a limited text, that this is not a stylistic choice the writer to the Hebrews 
> would make, if we examine how carefully -- and unambiguously -- his other uses 
> of MEN are.  Of course, if we follow the N-A here, it's not a problem...  :)
>
> N.E. Barry Hofstetter

Well, you got me confused by talking about the writer to the Hebrews when we 
were discussing MEN in 1 Corinthians.

My point is that MEN is not like DE in terms of position. It does not have to 
occupy the second or third slot in its sentence.

Let me cite a couple of other instances from 1 Cor where the MEN is far from 
this assumed position:

1 Cor 1:18 Ὁ λόγος γὰρ ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ τοῖς μὲν ἀπολλυμένοις μωρία ἐστίν, τοῖς δὲ 
σῳζομένοις ἡμῖν δύναμις θεοῦ ἐστιν.
hO LOGOS GAR hO TOU STAUROU TOIS MEN APOLLUMENOIS MWRIA ESTIN, TOIS DE 
SWiZOMENOIS hUMIN DUNAMIS QEOU ESTIN

After all, the message of the cross while it is nonsense to those who are being 
lost, it shows the power of God to those who are being saved.

Notice how the contrast is between those being lost on one hand and those being 
saved on the other. That is why MEN is placed at the first pair of the contrast.

9:24 Οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἐν σταδίῳ τρέχοντες πάντες μὲν τρέχουσιν, εἷς δὲ λαμβάνει 
τὸ βραβεῖον;
OUK OIDATE hOTI hOI EN STADIWi TRECONTES PANTES MEN TREQOUSIN, hEIS DE LAMBANEI 
TO BRABEION?

Don't you-all know that (for) those running on the racecourse (it applies that:) 
while ALL are running only ONE receives the winning-prize?

Of course, this can be Englished in different ways, e.g.

Don't you-all know that while all those running in the race are indeed 
competing, only one will get the prize?

My point is that MEN is placed at the first pair of the two contrasted items, 
and that may or may not be near the beginning of the sentence.

Because of a recent discussion of DE and now in Hebrews 11:1, let me close with 
one other citation from 1 Cor:

12:20 νῦν δὲ πολλὰ μὲν μέλη, ἓν δὲ σῶμα.
NUN DE POLLA MEN MELH, hEN DE SWMA

Now, however, while there are MANY members, there is only ONE body. The many and 
the one are contrasted.

The MEN is usually left untranslated in English versions, which I think is a 
pity. But then, it becomes an incentive to read the text in Greek.

Iver Larsen




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