Greek expert replies to DHK on 'the perfect' in I Corinthians 13

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Link, Jun 28, 2006.

  1. Link

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    May 30, 2004
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    I sent the following quote from this forum in a message to a retired Greek professor I know.
    Here is the response:

    1. The text that you sent me by some presenter or other contains many faulty assumptions and assertions from start to finish, and yet it is not untypical of conservative, protestant churchdom. The presenter correctly stated, "I don't know Greek." The individual in question perpetrates a completely erroneous concept sometimes heard among very rigorous groups

    2. The to teleiov = to teleion is a neuter adjective with an article, not a pronoun.

    3. Neuter adjectives with articles often prove equivalent to a corresponding abstract noun.

    4. In the scriptures 'word of G_d' can never be shown to be a synonym for any collection of scripture documents. It has several senses, but that is not one of them. For example, it would be true to say that the Word became flesh, but not manuscript or printed matter. The interlocutor uses typical cornfed, ignorant protestant 'basics'.

    5. Several Greek nouns translatable as 'word' do often have the sense of what the L_rd had to say, or did say, on a given occasion. (When the Spirit led men in the Acts to proclaim 'the word' it does not make any specific reference to whether they used the scriptures or not. It only means that they communicated what the Spirit wanted communicated.)

    6.Two of the foremost Greek nouns used of divine statements were logoc = logos and phma = rhema, each of the two often representing in the LXX the selfsame Hebrew noun dabhar. The former exhibits masculine gender and the latter neuter gender.

    7. The neuter noun phma = rhema may refer to some particular statement of prophetic or messianic truth, as e.g. in 1st Peter 01,25, but it never was and never would be used to identify any specific set of scripture documents, like what protestant custom terms 'the canon of scripture' (something never formally recognized by the entire church anyway, except insofar as being led by the Spirit leads one to them -- which may result in your accepting Baruch, as I do).

    8. An adjective in the neuter with an article may, and often does, function as the corresponding abstract noun. To xphctov = to chreston in Romans 02,04 means refers to the Father's 'kindness'. In 08,03 to aduvatov = to adynaton means 'powerlessness' and in 09,22 to duvatov = to dynaton means 'power', simply. To mwpov = to moron and to ac0evec = to asthenes in 1st Corinthians 01,25 mean 'foolishness' and 'weakness'. We could go on and on.

    9. If someone infers that such a construction refers to a specific neuter noun that does not appear at close hand in its setting, there would normally be a hint in the wording that would make the supplying of a requisite noun almost unavoidable. For example, 'cup of cold [water]' would make the mental supplying of udatos = hydatos almost inevitable. No such suggestive verbiage can be found in the setting of 1st Corinthians 13,10, and all indications point the other way.

    10. Paul said that his knowledge was partial and that he would know fully, when the perfection he mentioned arrived. It would never occur to me to assert that, because we can apply our brains to 27 documents, in addition to a 'standard' Hebrew collection, that our knowledge might be much less partial than Paul's.

    11. Besides, if by his expression Paul meant a 'complete canon of scripture', he would have had a bizarre way of speaking of it, because he would have been producing, that is, writing, part of what he was supposedly referring to, at the time that he said it. But he speaks of it as something to arrive later, out in the future.

    12. Therefore 1st Corinthians 13,10 should not be regarded as an ellipsis. (This really refers to mentally leaving something in. Even many relatively competent readers of the language wrongly understand 'ellipsis', as if it referred most specifically to something left out. Indeed, even though the net result may have been that a specific expression has been omitted, the term originally and properly referred to leaving something in, that is, mentally.) In this case, there has been no expression stated in the context to be mentally left in. Paul simply meant 'perfection'.
  2. genesis12

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    Dec 26, 2005
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    Sure glad we got that straightened out.

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