Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

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Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby AMSpencer » November 28th, 2012, 9:47 am

In Romans 2:21-23, Paul addresses the Jew who condemns others for their sin and yet practices the same basic things in his own life. Here are the verses:

ὁ οὖν διδάσκων ἕτερον σεαυτὸν οὐ διδάσκεις; ὁ κηρύσσων μὴ κλέπτειν κλέπτεις; ὁ λέγων μὴ μοιχεύειν μοιχεύεις; ὁ βδελυσσόμενος τὰ εἴδωλα ἱεροσυλεῖς; ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι, διὰ τῆς παραβάσεως τοῦ νόμου τὸν θεὸν ἀτιμάζεις· (Romans 2:21–23)

You will note that the first four addresses in these verses take the form of the article with participle: ὁ διδάσκων, ὁ κηρύσσων, ὁ λέγων, ὁ βδελυσσόμενος.
Then, in the last address, the form changes to a relative pronoun and finite verb: ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι.

What, if anything, is the difference in these two constructions? What is the significance of the fact that Paul changed his construction for the final assertion?
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby cwconrad » November 28th, 2012, 10:49 am

AMSpencer wrote:In Romans 2:21-23, Paul addresses the Jew who condemns others for their sin and yet practices the same basic things in his own life. Here are the verses:

ὁ οὖν διδάσκων ἕτερον σεαυτὸν οὐ διδάσκεις; ὁ κηρύσσων μὴ κλέπτειν κλέπτεις; ὁ λέγων μὴ μοιχεύειν μοιχεύεις; ὁ βδελυσσόμενος τὰ εἴδωλα ἱεροσυλεῖς; ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι, διὰ τῆς παραβάσεως τοῦ νόμου τὸν θεὸν ἀτιμάζεις· (Romans 2:21–23)

You will note that the first four addresses in these verses take the form of the article with participle: ὁ διδάσκων, ὁ κηρύσσων, ὁ λέγων, ὁ βδελυσσόμενος.
Then, in the last address, the form changes to a relative pronoun and finite verb: ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι.

What, if anything, is the difference in these two constructions? What is the significance of the fact that Paul changed his construction for the final assertion?


The editor has marked the four prior instances as questions, but the construction with the relative clause as a statement -- a positive assertion. Of course, the punctuation here is the editor's interpretation, but it seems to me to be a reasonable way of understanding the sequence: four questions regarding observance of the Torah followed by an assertion that the addressee does not really revere the Torah.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby David Lim » November 28th, 2012, 10:06 pm

AMSpencer wrote:In Romans 2:21-23, Paul addresses the Jew who condemns others for their sin and yet practices the same basic things in his own life. Here are the verses:

ὁ οὖν διδάσκων ἕτερον σεαυτὸν οὐ διδάσκεις; ὁ κηρύσσων μὴ κλέπτειν κλέπτεις; ὁ λέγων μὴ μοιχεύειν μοιχεύεις; ὁ βδελυσσόμενος τὰ εἴδωλα ἱεροσυλεῖς; ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι, διὰ τῆς παραβάσεως τοῦ νόμου τὸν θεὸν ἀτιμάζεις· (Romans 2:21–23)

You will note that the first four addresses in these verses take the form of the article with participle: ὁ διδάσκων, ὁ κηρύσσων, ὁ λέγων, ὁ βδελυσσόμενος.
Then, in the last address, the form changes to a relative pronoun and finite verb: ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι.

What, if anything, is the difference in these two constructions? What is the significance of the fact that Paul changed his construction for the final assertion?


I think "ὃς" is a bit more appropriate for the final phrase, because it is more generic: "Whoever boasts in law, do you dishonour God through the transgression of the law?", whereas the earlier questions are more directed to the relevant groups of persons among the audience: "O you who teach another, do you not teach yourself? O you who proclaim not to steal, do you steal? O you who say not to commit adultery, do you commit adultery? O you who loath idols, do you rob temples?". I also tend to think it is reasonable to consider the last phrase to be a question rather than a statement, because it just seems odd to me for a statement to use both an indefinite relative and a second person construction, whereas questions can have such change in focus. In any case, the positive assertion or rhetorical question does not need an answer, so it would mean essentially the same thing.
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 29th, 2012, 2:15 am

David Lim wrote:I think "ὃς" is a bit more appropriate for the final phrase, because it is more generic: "Whoever boasts in law, do you dishonour God through the transgression of the law?


This proposal needs to take fuller account of the fact that καυχᾶσαι is second person singular and had the same referent as the preceding participles.
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby Stephen Carlson » November 29th, 2012, 3:14 am

AMSpencer wrote:ὁ οὖν διδάσκων ἕτερον σεαυτὸν οὐ διδάσκεις; ὁ κηρύσσων μὴ κλέπτειν κλέπτεις; ὁ λέγων μὴ μοιχεύειν μοιχεύεις; ὁ βδελυσσόμενος τὰ εἴδωλα ἱεροσυλεῖς; ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι, διὰ τῆς παραβάσεως τοῦ νόμου τὸν θεὸν ἀτιμάζεις· (Romans 2:21–23)

You will note that the first four addresses in these verses take the form of the article with participle: ὁ διδάσκων, ὁ κηρύσσων, ὁ λέγων, ὁ βδελυσσόμενος.
Then, in the last address, the form changes to a relative pronoun and finite verb: ὃς ἐν νόμῳ καυχᾶσαι.

What, if anything, is the difference in these two constructions? What is the significance of the fact that Paul changed his construction for the final assertion?


Although there isn't much different in meaning between the two constructions, there is a difference in cadence. The participles are more closely integrated with the main clause, while the self-headed relative clause with ὅς is separated from the main clause by a pause (or intonation break), as correctly indicated by the comma in the critical text. This has the effect of starting off with a barrage of rhetorical questions fired in quick succession, and then slowing down at the concluding point/punch.
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby David Lim » December 2nd, 2012, 5:38 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:I think "ὃς" is a bit more appropriate for the final phrase, because it is more generic: "Whoever boasts in law, do you dishonour God through the transgression of the law?


This proposal needs to take fuller account of the fact that καυχᾶσαι is second person singular and had the same referent as the preceding participles.

Hmm why does it have the same referent as the previous participles? In each clause, the question is directly related to the description of the relevant group of persons, and they all have second person constructions, which is why we read them as questions. Must the last clause be different? Do you prefer: "Any one of you who boasts in law, do you dishonour God ...?"?
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby Stephen Carlson » December 2nd, 2012, 9:37 am

David Lim wrote:Hmm why does it have the same referent as the previous participles? In each clause, the question is directly related to the description of the relevant group of persons, and they all have second person constructions, which is why we read them as questions. Must the last clause be different? Do you prefer: "Any one of you who boasts in law, do you dishonour God ...?"?


I'm not sure where you're getting "group of persons" (plural) from. All the (finite) verbs are second-person singular, and this section is a diatribe, which is addressed to and against a (possibly hypothetical) person.
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby David Lim » December 3rd, 2012, 12:39 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:Hmm why does it have the same referent as the previous participles? In each clause, the question is directly related to the description of the relevant group of persons, and they all have second person constructions, which is why we read them as questions. Must the last clause be different? Do you prefer: "Any one of you who boasts in law, do you dishonour God ...?"?


I'm not sure where you're getting "group of persons" (plural) from. All the (finite) verbs are second-person singular, and this section is a diatribe, which is addressed to and against a (possibly hypothetical) person.

Oh I am getting that from the context, which does is not addressed to a single person. I know that it is grammatically singular in that section, but it clearly conveys groups of people, even as verse 24 implies with its explicit "υμας".
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby Stephen Carlson » December 3rd, 2012, 7:04 am

David Lim wrote:Oh I am getting that from the context, which does is not addressed to a single person. I know that it is grammatically singular in that section, but it clearly conveys groups of people, even as verse 24 implies with its explicit "υμας".


Well, I think it's clear that you recognize what Paul is saying ("I know that it is grammatically singular in that section"), but that you just don't agree with what he says. There's not much I can do about that.
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Re: Romans 2:21-23, Change from article to relative pronoun

Postby David Lim » December 4th, 2012, 5:57 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
David Lim wrote:Oh I am getting that from the context, which does is not addressed to a single person. I know that it is grammatically singular in that section, but it clearly conveys groups of people, even as verse 24 implies with its explicit "υμας".


Well, I think it's clear that you recognize what Paul is saying ("I know that it is grammatically singular in that section"), but that you just don't agree with what he says. There's not much I can do about that.

I don't know what you mean. Why do you think he is referring to a single person? Rom 2:24 says "τὸ γὰρ ὄνομα τοῦ θεοῦ δι’ ὑμᾶς βλασφημεῖται ..." Are you saying that the plural pronoun in Rom 2:24 is not referring to the same as Rom 2:7-23?
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