Grammatical question about Barnabas 4:9.

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PhillipLebsack
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Grammatical question about Barnabas 4:9.

Post by PhillipLebsack » April 14th, 2018, 12:02 am

I have a question about "ο μελας" in Barnabas 4:9.

...ἵνα μὴ σχῇ παρείσδυσιν ὁ μέλας.

Should it be translated as the "black one" or as "blackness"?

Megas is an adjective, and I suppose the definite article would make it function substantively, but does the definite article limit it to only that? Could the definite article just be serving its purpose to refer to a specific "black one" or "blackness" instead?

Would like to hear your thoughts on this.
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timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: Grammatical question about Barnabas 4:9.

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » April 14th, 2018, 12:56 am

Hard to tell without context, but normally the use of an adjective for an abstract concept is in the neuter. Could 'black one' in context refer to Satan?
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PhillipLebsack
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Re: Grammatical question about Barnabas 4:9.

Post by PhillipLebsack » April 14th, 2018, 6:39 am

Correction: Melas, not megas...

4:9 But I, wanting to be writing much (not as a teacher, but instead as it is
being-proper for one who is loving to not be leaving in the dust anything from
the things which we have), made-every-effort to be writing to you as an
offscouring of you. For-this-reason, may we be paying attention in the last
days. For the entire time of our life and faith will profit us nothing, unless now
in the lawless season, we might also stand-against the impediments which are
going to be coming, as is being-proper for sons of a god, in order that the Black One
might not have an unnoticed creeping in.


I believe based on the context that it could be referring to satan. But that's exactly my question. If it should be translated as "black one", I'm 90% certain it is referring to satan. If it should be translated as "blackness" then it isn't necessarily referring to satan, but instead is similar to the concept of "darkness" in the NT.
Last edited by PhillipLebsack on April 14th, 2018, 6:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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PhillipLebsack
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Re: Grammatical question about Barnabas 4:9.

Post by PhillipLebsack » April 14th, 2018, 6:41 am

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:
April 14th, 2018, 12:56 am
normally the use of an adjective for an abstract concept is in the neuter.
In that case, this is nominative, so, I guess it's likely referring to a black entity and not the mere quality of being black (blackness).
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Seumas Macdonald
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Re: Grammatical question about Barnabas 4:9.

Post by Seumas Macdonald » April 14th, 2018, 7:58 am

Any article will suffice for using an adjective substantivally. A neuter will either make it a definite 'black thing', or the abstracted quality, 'blackness'. But a gendered pronoun will almost certainly make it personal, and that's what's going on in Barnabas 4:9, ὁ μέλας - the Black One.
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