Translation in Romans 1:4

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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Scott Lawson » April 18th, 2013, 11:30 pm

Bobby Garringer wrote:(If ἐν δυνάμει was sequenced immediately after τοῦ ὁρισθέντος, there would be no doubt that the former modifies the latter as an adverb. But it is not, therefore, some feel justified in relating it to υἱοῦ θεοῦ which stands just before it.


Bobby,

In the little reading of Greek that I have done I have noted a freeness of position for Greek adverbs. BTW, Greek prepositions were originally adverbs.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Bobby Garringer » April 19th, 2013, 12:00 am

When BDAG notes that the uses of ἐν in prepositional phrases are many and easily confused, how can you assert that ἐν δυνάμει should be taken "in the plain sense of it?"

If such prepositional phrases have a variety of meanings that can be confusing, there is not a "plain sense" in a given case.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Bobby Garringer » April 19th, 2013, 12:16 am

Scott Lawson wrote:
Bobby Garringer wrote:(If ἐν δυνάμει was sequenced immediately after τοῦ ὁρισθέντος, there would be no doubt that the former modifies the latter as an adverb. But it is not, therefore, some feel justified in relating it to υἱοῦ θεοῦ which stands just before it.


Notice, I only indicate that one arrangement would make an adverbial significance undeniable. The fact that this is not the arrangement found in Romans 1:4 does not guarantee that the adverbial sense should be abandoned. It simply opens the door for a different significance. And although prepositions may have originally been adverbs -- and the dative case usually indicates an adverbial use -- adjectival uses of such phrases as ἐν δυνάμει are possible.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Scott Lawson » April 19th, 2013, 12:22 am

@ Bobby

By "not being inconvenienced by grammatical or lexical debates". Does that seem too dismissive? Sorry if it does.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 19th, 2013, 1:43 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:Second question: what does τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει mean? Does it mean ὁρισθέντος ἐν δυνάμει, i.e. "powerfully declared"? Or υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει? To me, ὁρισθέντος ἐν δυνάμει seems more natural. But someone mentioned that BDAG goes with υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει, translating it "the powerful son of God". That surprised me.


For what it's worth, I take ἐν δυνάμει with the participle: as "powerfully designated," with the resurrection from the dead being that powerful event. A sort of dative of respect for ἐν δυνάμει as Son-of-God-in-power implies for me a contrast with and assumes the existence of a Son-of-God-without-power, and that doesn't make sense for me or my understanding of Paul.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Stephen Carlson » April 19th, 2013, 1:54 am

Bobby Garringer wrote:I understand why you regard Luke 1:35, in context, as irrelevant to grasping the meaning of Romans 1:4, in context.

My response to your statements is this: (1) Paul is also speaking of the Incarnation (In verse three, he speaks of τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα.) (2) Paul's reference to Christ's descent from David accompanies references to God's power and Spirit; and this three-fold connection seems to tie together the traditions behind both passages in a significant way, especially since he rarely speaks of Jesus being David's descendant. (3) Luke recounts a narrative and Paul gives a formal -- or perhaps hymnal -- recounting of essentially the same ideas, so exact verbal agreement is not necessary to a real connection between Luke and Paul as authors.


Though Paul does mention the incarnation in v.3, there is a structural contrast between v.3 and v.4. Paul's formulation associates the holy spirit with the latter, while Luke with the former. So its not "essentially the same ideas," but common elements put together in different ways, which makes it ... different. Context is important, and this claim of intertextually needs to respect the context.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Iver Larsen » April 19th, 2013, 5:59 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Bobby Garringer wrote:To be born (lit. to become, γενομένου) "of the seed of David according to the flesh" (ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα) would not be a pronouncement of weakness in verse 3. Instead this would make Jesus the heir of David, who was prophesied to rule forever. (Note the promises made to the fathers spoken of in verse 2.)

Then the phrase that contrasts with κατὰ σάρκα (verse 3) is κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης (verse 4), not ἐν δυνάμει which has no verbal similarity. So the distinction is not being made between weakness and power, but between Jesus' position -- a great position -- "according to the flesh" and his even greater position "according to the Spirit of holiness."


Yes, there's very strong parallelism here, but ἐν δυνάμει is not echoed in the first part of this:

τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ κατὰ σάρκα,
τοῦ ὁρισθέντος υἱοῦ θεοῦ ἐν δυνάμει κατὰ πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης ἐξ ἀναστάσεως νεκρῶν,
Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν <snip>


I would agree with Bobby and James Orr that there is a striking connection between the birth of Jesus as a holy child as a result of the power of God as indicated in Lk 1:35, but I would not see the connection in quite the same way. In the Bible there is often a connection between beginning and end. In Luke 1 we have the beginning of Jesus' life on earth and in Rom 1:4 we have the end of his life on earth. Both are connected to his being holy and the power of God manifestated in a supernatural event.

Rom 1:3 refers to the physical descent from David, since Mary was a descendant of David. κατὰ σάρκα does not refer to weakness or sinfulness, but simply to the physical aspect of his descent. But that alone does not make him the Son of God. His supernatural conception by the power of God is one pointer to his identity as Son of God.

Rom 1:4 is another pointer of his position as the Son of God, but now at a higher level of authority. The same verb ὁρίζω occurs in Acts 17:31 with an interesting parallel. RSV translates: "God ... has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." One of the pointers or proofs of his position of authority is that God in his power raised him from the dead.

As many have pointed out πνεῦμα ἁγιωσύνης is not the normal way to refer to the Holy Spirit, and it is therefore more likely that it refers to the holy and spiritual nature of Jesus in contrast or addition to his physical nature in v. 3.

It is not easy to decide how to connect ἐν δυνάμει to other parts of the sentence, but we met δύναμις ὑψίστου in Lk 1:35, so I think it is reasonable to think along the same lines here, that God in his power raised Jesus from the dead and by so doing he appointed him in accordance with his spiritual holiness into a higher postion as Son of God. That position is also a powerful one, but I still prefer to connect ἐν δυνάμει to the underlying clause: God resurrected Jesus from the dead.
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Re: Translation in Romans 1:4

Postby Bobby Garringer » April 19th, 2013, 9:57 am

Thanks for all the in-put on this matter.

Early on, Dr. Carlson indicated that ambiguity is the nature of successive prepositional phrases. With the variety of different ways of understanding Romans 1:3-4 (from Orr, BDAG, and the NET Bible to the suggestions given in this thread), I think he's right, and a certain, unbending conclusion about the details is not possible.

I am weighing the content of your latest posts, but will depart the discussion now.
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