Translation in Romans 1:4

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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Bobby Garringer » April 17th, 2013, 11:21 am

As to whether "the translation by itself is...adequate to convey the translator's understanding of the Greek," I've already indicated that James Orr regards Romans 1:4 as parallel to Luke 1:35. He adds to his discussion of this parallel that he regards "Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness" (in Romans 1:4) to be a contrast that balances "of the seed of David according to the flesh" (in the previous verse).

He then notes that, in the angel's announcement to Mary in Luke 1, the child is to inherit the throne of "his father David" (verse 33), before stating that he will be conceived after the Holy Spirit comes upon Mary and the power of the highest overshadows her, with the result that the child will be called the Son of God. The terminology used in both Romans and Luke seems strongly related, according to Orr. (All this is found in in his book, The Virgin Birth of Christ, pp. 119-121.)

So there is no doubt about the intent of Orr's translation.

My only question is: can any objections be raised to its validity?

With my limited understanding of Greek, I see no reason why a prepositional phrase (κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης) should not be applied to the previous phrase (υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει) -- which immediately precedes it -- rather than with (ἐξ ἀναστάσεωςνεκρῶν νεκρῶν), the phrase that follows it.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Jonathan Robie » April 17th, 2013, 1:56 pm

Bobby Garringer wrote:James Orr has proposed translating Romans 1:4, "who was declared the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead..."

What grammatical objections might be raised to such a translation? And are they fatal to his translation?


Hi Bobby,

First off, I think you are new here, so let me introduce you to a little B-Greek culture, which is different from many places. We try to focus on the Greek text, not on translations, so we prefer to ask how the original text is to be understood, in terms of those features. Open questions like "what grammatical objections might be raised to this translation/theology/opinion" tend to be dismissed because of that, so let's focus on your more specific questions to this text:

τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει
κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης
ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν,
Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν,

Bobby Garringer wrote:JWith my limited understanding of Greek, I see no reason why a prepositional phrase (κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης) should not be applied to the previous phrase (υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει) -- which immediately precedes it -- rather than with (ἐξ ἀναστάσεωςνεκρῶν νεκρῶν), the phrase that follows it.


I'm not sure what you mean by "applied to" here. The phrase κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης is related to both the phrase before it and the phrase after it. Can you be more specific about your question?
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Jonathan Robie » April 17th, 2013, 1:58 pm

Bobby Garringer wrote:So there is no doubt about the intent of Orr's translation.


But we won't discuss the intent of Orr's translation here. We focus on specific questions about the Greek text.
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Scott Lawson » April 17th, 2013, 2:05 pm

John Brainard wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:By the way, my inclination is to read all three prepositional phrases with the participle ὁρισθέντος rather than the noun phrase υἱοῦ θεοῦ.


Interesting reply. I need to ask, "Do you of any translations that would disagree with your position on the three prepositions in verse 4"?



John,

In BDAG under the heading ὁρίζω, it gives the gloss, "who has been declared to be the powerful son of God" for the phrase τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ ἐν δυνάμει. Also,the NET hyphenates that phase to make it a title.

FWIW, I was surprised to see it rendered that way in BDAG, but there is still quite a lot that surprises me about Greek.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Bobby Garringer » April 17th, 2013, 2:29 pm

You ask what I mean by "applying" κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης to the previous phrase rather than to the phrase that follows.

All I mean is that James Orr takes κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης to be a further explanation of what it means to be "the Son of God with Power" [υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει], while other translators apply the Spirit-reference as a description of the means by which the Son of God was raised [ἐξ ἀναστάσεωςνεκρῶν νεκρῶν].

An example that seems to be compatible with Orr's explanation is the NET Bible's rendering that Jesus was appointed "the Son-of-God-in-power according to the Holy Spirit by the resurrection from the dead." But the New American Standard Bible indicates that Jesus was declared to be "the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the Spirit of holiness."
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby John Brainard » April 17th, 2013, 6:37 pm

Scott Lawson wrote:
John Brainard wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:By the way, my inclination is to read all three prepositional phrases with the participle ὁρισθέντος rather than the noun phrase υἱοῦ θεοῦ.


Interesting reply. I need to ask, "Do you of any translations that would disagree with your position on the three prepositions in verse 4"?



John,

In BDAG under the heading ὁρίζω, it gives the gloss, "who has been declared to be the powerful son of God" for the phrase τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ ἐν δυνάμει. Also,the NET hyphenates that phase to make it a title.

FWIW, I was surprised to see it rendered that way in BDAG, but there is still quite a lot that surprises me about Greek.


The exegetical question would be whether Romans 1:4 is concerning the Christ or His Position. Three prepositional phrases lead us to what conclusion?

Looking at verse 3 we read περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα

In verse 4 we see three prepositional phrases

1.) ἐν δυνάμει > in power > He was declared in power

2.) κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης according to the Holy Spirit

3.) ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν by the resurrection of the dead.

Could we say that he was declared by Power ? Here is my thinking.

Verse 3 seems to lead us to view the weakness of flesh. . περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα

Concerning the Son, He was born of the seed of David κατὰ σάρκα. The phrase "According to flesh" seems to imply weakness. Verse 4 Implies strength. ἐν δυνάμε.

The contrast here grammatically appears to be between "the weakness of flesh" and "the Power which is defined by the three prepositional phrases". And the conclusion would be that He was truly Son of God. υἱοῦ θεοῦ

One pay grade to high for me I think. Looking for some thoughts.

John
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Bobby Garringer » April 17th, 2013, 7:21 pm

John:

If I read you correctly, you seem to be rejecting BDAG's understanding of the significance of "power" in this verse.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby John Brainard » April 17th, 2013, 7:51 pm

Bobby Garringer wrote:John:

If I read you correctly, you seem to be rejecting BDAG's understanding of the significance of "power" in this verse.



I think that for the most part I do disagree with the BDAG. I am not a scholar by any means as many will attest here at B Greek but I do believe that Jesus was declared the Son of God by the power seen in the three preposition phrases in question.

John
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Scott Lawson » April 17th, 2013, 8:55 pm

John Brainard wrote:The exegetical question would be whether Romans 1:4 is concerning the Christ or His Position.


Sorry John, I didn't have any exegetical position in mind when reading the verse. I was surprised that ἐν δυνάμει was glossed in a way that seemed to make it adjectival. I took it as either instrumental or associative and had no thought that it could be adjectival. Doesn't this usage surprise you even a little bit? Upon looking at δύναμις in BDAG, I see it has another gloss for ἐν δυνάμει as "with power, powerful(ly)". I'm leaning toward it being associative and would need more explanation as to how ἐν δυνάμει might be understood adjectivally.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 18th, 2013, 3:46 am

A couple of points in this thread:

1. Sequences of prepositional phrases are notoriously ambiguous in what they modify. Asking whether a reading is "possible" is not a particularly helpful way of going about understanding the text. The difficulty is resolving the ambiguity, if it can be done.

2. Translations usually have the same problem. A simple constituent-by-constituent English translation can be just as ambiguous as the Greek source, and it does not indicate that the translator has resolved the ambiguity.

3. Luke 1:35 not particularly relevant to the resolving the ambiguity of the prepositional phrases in Rom 1:4. Indeed, Luke 1:35 does not have prepositional phrases following υἱὸς θεοῦ.

4. There is no grammatical or even an intertextual linkage between Rom 1:4 and Luke 1:35, so the only linkage left that appears to be left is doctrinal, and this takes us beyond the charter of this forum. There are other places on the web to argue theology, but B-Greek isn't one of them.

5. I find it interesting that NET goes for construing ἐν δυνάμει as adjectival. Here is how they justify it:
sn Appointed the Son-of-God-in-power. Most translations render the Greek participle ὁρισθέντος (Jorisqentos, from ὁρίζω, Jorizw) “declared” or “designated” in order to avoid the possible interpretation that Jesus was appointed the Son of God by the resurrection. However, the Greek term ὁρίζω is used eight times in the NT, and it always has the meaning “to determine, appoint.” Paul is not saying that Jesus was appointed the “Son of God by the resurrection” but “Son-of-God-in-power by the resurrection,” as indicated by the hyphenation. He was born in weakness in human flesh (with respect to the flesh, v. 3) and he was raised with power. This is similar to Matt 28:18 where Jesus told his disciples after the resurrection, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.”
This is not a Greek argument. It is a theological argument to avoid the idea that Jesus was appointed the Son of God at/by the resurrection (whatever that is supposed to mean). As far as the Greek is concerned, the note is self-contradictory. Though it understands ἐν δυνάμει as adjectival in the hyphenated rendering "Son-of-God-in-power," it then turns around and presents an adverbial understanding: "he was raised with power." On the Greek level, the argument is incoherent.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke, New Testament)
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