Romans 13:3b - Statement or question?

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AJBirch
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Joined: May 31st, 2011, 3:07 am

Romans 13:3b - Statement or question?

Post by AJBirch » May 31st, 2011, 3:37 am

"QELEIS DE MH FOBEISQAI THN EXOUSIAN·" (Romans 13:3b). This is punctuated as a statement. Is it more likely to be a statement or a question?
AJBirch
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Romans 13:3b - Statement or question?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » May 31st, 2011, 8:55 pm

AJBirch wrote:"QELEIS DE MH FOBEISQAI THN EXOUSIAN·" (Romans 13:3b). This is punctuated as a statement. Is it more likely to be a statement or a question?
AJBirch
οἱ γὰρ ἄρχοντες οὐκ εἰσὶν φόβος τῷ ἀγαθῷ ἔργῳ ἀλλὰ τῷ κακῷ. θέλεις δὲ μὴ φοβεῖσθαι τὴν ἐξουσίαν; τὸ ἀγαθὸν ποίει, καὶ ἕξεις ἔπαινον ἐξ αὐτῆς

Notice that this text punctuates as a question, so there is disagreement on it even among editors. The syntax, with the verb at the beginning of the clause (what do they call that these days, "fronting?"), makes me want to read it as a question even without the punctuation. Contextually, it also makes perfect sense as a question. I'm having trouble wondering how it fits if it's not a question (that's a way of figuring out the context). The only translation that I have found so far that makes an attempt to do so is the BBE:
Ro 13:3 For rulers are not a cause of fear to the good work but to the evil. If you would have no fear of the authority, do good and you will have praise...
They make it a conditional to make it fit. If we render, "Rulers are fearful not to the good but to the evil. You want to have no fear of authority, then do good and you will have praise from it," the conditional aspect is implied. However, I don't think this is too common in Greek, which has a healthy number of conditional conjunctions to set up a conditional clause, or it might use a participial expression. Therefore I think a question is the best fit.

N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

AJBirch
Posts: 3
Joined: May 31st, 2011, 3:07 am

Romans 13:3b - Statement or question?

Post by AJBirch » June 1st, 2011, 1:38 am

Thanks, Barry. I'm using USB4, which punctuates as a semi-colon.

I received this response from Iver Larsen via B-Greek e-mail:

"NA25 had a question mark and a note that Westcott preferred a comma. NA26 or
(N27) changed to follow Westcott, but why they did so is not clear to me. It
reads as a question. The function of the rhetorical question is equivalent to a
conditional clause (If you want not to fear the authority, then do the good
thing.)"

Iver Larsen


Andrew J. Birch
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