Rom 8:7 - εχθρα εις θεον

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David Lim
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Rom 8:7 - εχθρα εις θεον

Post by David Lim » August 3rd, 2011, 2:59 am

[Rom 8] [7] διοτι το φρονημα της σαρκος εχθρα εις θεον τω γαρ νομω του θεου ουχ υποτασσεται ουδε γαρ δυναται
What does "εχθρα εις θεον" mean? If it means "enmity against God", why is "επι θεον" or "κατα θεου" not used instead? Or does it means "enmity towards God" ("εχθρα προς θεον") or "enmity to God" ("εχθρα θεω")? What are the differences between these if any?
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cwconrad
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Re: Rom 8:7 - εχθρα εις θεον

Post by cwconrad » August 3rd, 2011, 8:29 am

David Lim wrote:
[Rom 8] [7] διοτι το φρονημα της σαρκος εχθρα εις θεον τω γαρ νομω του θεου ουχ υποτασσεται ουδε γαρ δυναται
What does "εχθρα εις θεον" mean? If it means "enmity against God", why is "επι θεον" or "κατα θεου" not used instead? Or does it means "enmity towards God" ("εχθρα προς θεον") or "enmity to God" ("εχθρα θεω")? What are the differences between these if any?
Somebody can probably answer this more precisely (i.e. less impressionistically than I). Two or three thoughts come to my mind as I think over this question. For one thing, qualification of a noun (ἔχθρα) by an anarthrous prepositional phrase (εἰς θεόν) is found more frequently in Koine than in older Greek, but it's still not really standard to think of a prepositional phrase functioning as an adjective. What makes it more acceptable is that ἔχθρα is a verbal noun and the prepositional phrase functions almost adverbially with the verbal noun here: "being hostile toward God." Secondly, with respect to the alternatives, ἐπὶ θεόν and κατὰ θεοῦ, the former strikes me as more suggestive of a physical attack upon a physical foe ("spite directed at Jesperson") while the latter strikes me as more suggestive of a forensic context ("the action of State vs. Jordan"). But that's guesswork on my part, and I fear it's too subjective. The other thought I had is that in Hellenistic Greek εἰς is becoming ever more the standard preposition of directionality. To be sure πρὸς remains very common, but εἰς is used with personal objects much more commonly when we might have expected a dative of the person: cf. πιστεύω τῷ θεῷ as opposed to πιστεύω εἰς θεόν. I'm away from home and reference tools at the moment, but my guess is that πιστεύω with a dative of the person is less frequent in the GNT. Again, I'm guessing, and I apologize for the imprecision here. But I do think you've raised an interesting question.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

timothy_p_mcmahon
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Re: Rom 8:7 - εχθρα εις θεον

Post by timothy_p_mcmahon » August 3rd, 2011, 11:04 pm

Is it possible that the sense of εχθρα εις θεον is 'enmity towards God' but because of the meaning of the word εχθρα/enmity it's more natural to English it as 'enmity against God'?
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David Lim
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Re: Rom 8:7 - εχθρα εις θεον

Post by David Lim » August 3rd, 2011, 11:46 pm

timothy_p_mcmahon wrote:Is it possible that the sense of εχθρα εις θεον is 'enmity towards God' but because of the meaning of the word εχθρα/enmity it's more natural to English it as 'enmity against God'?
Hello Timothy! I was not asking about English renderings but about the nuance of the Greek text, which I felt was no different from "εχθρα θεω" = "enmity to God". But anyway, "enmity towards someone" and "enmity against someone" are both very natural in English, and the first implies directed enmity while the second simply specifies the reason for enmity.
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