Rom. 4:1 "What then will we say?"

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refe
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Rom. 4:1 "What then will we say?"

Post by refe » June 5th, 2011, 9:02 pm

Here's the text:

Rom. 4:1 Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν εὑρηκέναι Ἀβραὰμ τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν κατὰ σάρκα; (SBL)

The usual translation is something like "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?"

NT Wright (along with Richard B. Hays and a few others) takes it to mean, "What then shall we say? Have we found Abraham to be our forefather according to the flesh?"

My question is whether or not the rendering of Wright and Hays stretches the infinitive to far? Can the perfect active infinitive of εὑρίσκω be unpacked to ask the question, "have we found"? Is there any precedent for this inside or outside of the NT?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Rom. 4:1 "What then will we say?"

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 5th, 2011, 10:34 pm

refe wrote:Here's the text:

Rom. 4:1 Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν εὑρηκέναι Ἀβραὰμ τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν κατὰ σάρκα; (SBL)

The usual translation is something like "What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, has found?"

NT Wright (along with Richard B. Hays and a few others) takes it to mean, "What then shall we say? Have we found Abraham to be our forefather according to the flesh?"

My question is whether or not the rendering of Wright and Hays stretches the infinitive to far? Can the perfect active infinitive of εὑρίσκω be unpacked to ask the question, "have we found"? Is there any precedent for this inside or outside of the NT?
Do they supply any grammatical argumentation to support their claim? As it is, I just have a great deal of trouble justifying this rendering.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Rom. 4:1 "What then will we say?"

Post by Stephen Carlson » June 5th, 2011, 10:57 pm

refe wrote:Rom. 4:1 Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν εὑρηκέναι Ἀβραὰμ τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν κατὰ σάρκα; (SBL)

My question is whether or not the rendering of Wright and Hays stretches the infinitive to far? Can the perfect active infinitive of εὑρίσκω be unpacked to ask the question, "have we found"? Is there any precedent for this inside or outside of the NT?
If I recall correctly, Hays takes the infinitive clause εὑρηκέναι Ἀβραὰμ τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν κατὰ σάρκα to be basically in apposition to τί, construes εὑρηκέναι in a double-accusative construction with (1) Ἀβραὰμ as the first object and (2) τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν κατὰ σάρκα as the second object for a complement, and supplies "we" as the subject of the infinitive from its governing finite verb ἐροῦμεν. He then supports this interpretation based on its context in Paul's argumentation.

There are good precedents for all three of his exegetical moves, but, taken together in combination, your mileage may vary.

Stephen
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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refe
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Location: Kansas City

Re: Rom. 4:1 "What then will we say?"

Post by refe » June 6th, 2011, 11:03 am

Thanks Stephen, I didn't have access to the Hays so it was helpful to hear a summary of his exegesis. Wright does not give any grammatical support, although his argument from context was compelling enough to make me want to understand how his conclusions were supported in the text.

εὑρίσκω often takes a double accusative, so it makes sense that Ἀβραὰμ would be the object and τὸν προπάτορα ἡμῶν κατὰ σάρκα it's compliment. Perhaps Τί οὖν ἐροῦμεν should be taken as introducing indirect discourse which would make the verse read something like, "What then will we say? To have found Abraham to be our forefather according to the flesh?" Or in better English, "That we have found Abraham to be our forefather...."
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