Gal 5:6 τι ἰσχύει

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monte.mackey
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Joined: November 21st, 2015, 12:35 am

Gal 5:6 τι ἰσχύει

Post by monte.mackey » November 21st, 2015, 8:48 pm

Greetings – I’m wondering if this is a legitimate.

Gal 5:6 ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ οὔτε περιτομή τι ἰσχύει οὔτε ἀκροβυστία, ἀλλὰ πίστις δι' ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη

Gal 5:6 In the Anointed One, Jesus, there is neither circumcision (although it has a certain serviceability) nor uncircumcision but faith working effectually thru love.

According to Donald Guthrie (Galatians or The Pastoral Epistles – not sure which) ἰσχύω when used of things means “to be serviceable.”

So I treat it as a concessive present. Others translators don’t see it this way. However, I think it could be legitimate and the other translations don’t quite fit the text. I think Paul could be alluding to a Jewish idea that circumcision had some medical / health benefit other than strictly religious. Similar to the modern day debate, “The Medical Benefits of Male Circumcision.”

Thoughts…
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Gal 5:6 τι ἰσχύει

Post by Barry Hofstetter » November 22nd, 2015, 8:55 am

monte.mackey wrote:Greetings – I’m wondering if this is a legitimate.

Gal 5:6 ἐν γὰρ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ οὔτε περιτομή τι ἰσχύει οὔτε ἀκροβυστία, ἀλλὰ πίστις δι' ἀγάπης ἐνεργουμένη

Gal 5:6 In the Anointed One, Jesus, there is neither circumcision (although it has a certain serviceability) nor uncircumcision but faith working effectually thru love.

According to Donald Guthrie (Galatians or The Pastoral Epistles – not sure which) ἰσχύω when used of things means “to be serviceable.”

So I treat it as a concessive present. Others translators don’t see it this way. However, I think it could be legitimate and the other translations don’t quite fit the text. I think Paul could be alluding to a Jewish idea that circumcision had some medical / health benefit other than strictly religious. Similar to the modern day debate, “The Medical Benefits of Male Circumcision.”

Thoughts…
Here is the relevant part of the BDAG entry on ἰσχύω:
④ have meaning, be valid, be in force, esp. as legal t.t. (Diod S 2, 33, 1; Aelian, VH 2, 38 νόμον ἰσχύειν; SIG 888, 59; 151 ἴσχυσεν τὰ προστάγματα; PTebt 286, 7 νομὴ ἄδικος οὐδὲν εἰσχύει; Ath. 2, 2) of a will μήποτε ἰσχύει ὅτε ζῇ ὁ διαθέμενος Hb 9:17. οὔτε περιτομή τι ἰσχύει, οὔτε ἀκροβυστία neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything Gal 5:6.—Have the value of (IGR IV, 915a, 12 ἡ δραχμὴ ἰσχύει ἀσσάρια δέκα; Jos., Ant. 14, 106) ὅλον ἐνιαυτὸν ἰσχύει ἡ ἡμέρα the day is equal to a whole year Hs 6, 4, 4.—DELG s.v. ἰσχύς. M-M. TW.
What is a concessive present? You have simple indicative verb modified by a negative.If you want to express a concessive with a finite verb, you need to supply a concessive marker such as καίπερ or the equivalent. An adverbial participle or genitive absolute is often used to express a concessive force without such a marker, but not a finite verb.

Also, I would very much like to see Guthrie's arguments in support of his rather odd gloss for ἰσχύω, if he actually supplies an argument instead of merely asserting it. It sounds like it's supposed to be a pragmatic or contextual rendering, but the context doesn't appear to support it at all.

Additionally, to make your translation work, you have to supply some form of the verb "to be" and make ἰσχύει subordinate, with absolutely no justification to do so. This in turn forces you to alter the sense of τι... So, no, this translation is not legitimate at all.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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monte.mackey
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Joined: November 21st, 2015, 12:35 am

Re: Gal 5:6 τι ἰσχύει

Post by monte.mackey » November 22nd, 2015, 9:22 am

Very good - excellent reply. I was concerned I might be off the reservation.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to Guthrie's usage. Thanks!
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