2 Cor 1:9 ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ... ἐσχήκαμεν

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Re: 2 Cor 1:9 ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ... ἐσχήκαμεν

Postby Iver Larsen » May 26th, 2013, 7:41 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
2 Cor 1:9 wrote:ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου ἐσχήκαμεν, ἵνα μὴ πεποιθότες ὦμεν ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ ἐγείροντι τοὺς νεκρούς ·
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (NRSV)
indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; (NASB)

Many translations, such as the NRSV and NASB quoted above, suggest that Paul's death sentence (or the feeling of it) was entirely in the past, but is this really the best understanding of the perfect ἔσχήκαμεν?

Also, is there some idiom with ἔχω ἐν ἑαυτῷ?


In the previous verse Paul refers to all the troubles he and his group had in Asia. This must refer to Acts 19, the uproar in Ephesos. They were being accused and were close to being killed. In the following verse, Paul mentions how they were rescued from death at that time, but the danger is not over. Wherever they go they are in danger of being killed.

NLT gives a good rendering of the overall meaning of the text in these verses:
"8 We think you ought to know, dear brothers and sisters, about the trouble we went through in the province of Asia. We were crushed and overwhelmed beyond our ability to endure, and we thought we would never live through it. 9 In fact, we expected to die. But as a result, we stopped relying on ourselves and learned to rely only on God, who raises the dead. 10 And he did rescue us from mortal danger, and he will rescue us again. We have placed our confidence in him, and he will continue to rescue us.

So, IMO this is not metaphorical, but real death, or rather death threats and being in mortal danger. On the other hand, it is not (yet) an official Roman death sentence that has been delivered in a court case. It was the verdict/response (ἀπόκριμα) of the crowd.

The perfect is quite appropriate for this stative verb. In aorist it normally means "acquire, get, take ownership of". They did get a virtual death sentence in Ephesos, but escaped alive, but they still live expecting to be killed any time. So, they do have a death threat hanging over their heads.

I am not sure what to do with ἐν ἑαυτοῖς. One option is that it means they had "taken it to heart". They had accepted the gravity of the situation and the threats. They took it seriously. Another option is the recognition that left to themselves, they would have been dead, but God rescued them, and the next sentence does have a contrast between trusting in their own efforts and abilitites to save themselves up against trusting in God's abilitity to save them. I think I prefer the second option, based on context.
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Re: 2 Cor 1:9 ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ... ἐσχήκαμεν

Postby David Lim » May 27th, 2013, 5:04 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
2 Cor 1:9 wrote:ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου ἐσχήκαμεν, ἵνα μὴ πεποιθότες ὦμεν ἐφ’ ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλ’ ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ ἐγείροντι τοὺς νεκρούς ·
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death so that we would rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. (NRSV)
indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; (NASB)

Many translations, such as the NRSV and NASB quoted above, suggest that Paul's death sentence (or the feeling of it) was entirely in the past, but is this really the best understanding of the perfect ἔσχήκαμεν?

Also, is there some idiom with ἔχω ἐν ἑαυτῷ?

Just my interpretation: "τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου" is what Paul feels like he is going through, given what he has gone through, and thus he uses "ἐν ἑαυτοῖς" to describe that inward feeling. Similarly in the examples Mike kindly provided for us:

[Matt 13:21] οὐκ ἔχει δὲ ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτῷ ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιρός ἐστιν
"but he does not have root inwardly but is for a moment."

[Mark 4:17] καὶ οὐκ ἔχουσιν ῥίζαν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλὰ πρόσκαιροί εἰσιν
"and they do not have root inwardly but are for a moment."

[Mark 9:50] Καλὸν τὸ ἅλας ἐὰν δὲ τὸ ἅλας ἄναλον γένηται ἐν τίνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἅλα καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις
"good is the salt, but if the salt becomes unsalty, with what will you season it? Have salt inwardly and be at peace with one another."

[John 5:26] ὥσπερ γὰρ ὁ πατὴρ ἔχει ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτῷ οὕτως καὶ τῷ υἱῷ ἔδωκεν ζωὴν ἔχειν ἐν ἑαυτῷ
"for even as the father has life by his own self, in this way also he enabled the son to have life by his own self."

[John 5:42] ἀλλὰ ἔγνωκα ὑμᾶς ὅτι τὴν ἀγάπην τοῦ θεοῦ οὐκ ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς
"but I know you, that you do not have the love of God inwardly."

[John 6:53] εἶπεν οὖν αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς Ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ἐὰν μὴ φάγητε τὴν σάρκα τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου καὶ πίητε αὐτοῦ τὸ αἷμα οὐκ ἔχετε ζωὴν ἐν ἑαυτοῖς
"therefore Jesus said to them, truly, truly, I say to you, if you do not eat the flesh of the son of man and drink his blood, you do not have life inwardly."

[2 Cor 1:9] ἀλλὰ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου ἐσχήκαμεν
"but we ourselves have inwardly had the sentence of death."

[1 John 5:10] ὁ πιστεύων εἰς τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ θεοῦ ἔχει τὴν μαρτυρίαν ἐν ἑαυτῷ
"the one who entrusts himself to the son of God has the witness inwardly."
δαυιδ λιμ
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Re: 2 Cor 1:9 ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ... ἐσχήκαμεν

Postby Stephen Carlson » May 27th, 2013, 7:33 am

Iver Larsen wrote:So, IMO this is not metaphorical, but real death, or rather death threats and being in mortal danger. On the other hand, it is not (yet) an official Roman death sentence that has been delivered in a court case. It was the verdict/response (ἀπόκριμα) of the crowd.

This raises a question for me. What is the meaning of ἀπόκριμα? The glosses in BDAG, official report, decision, are not very clear but indicate something official. The LSJ glosses, judicial sentence, condemnation, also imply such a certain officialness that I would consider Iver's explanation about death threats and being in mortal danger as metaphorical language. But if it is something official, wouldn't κατάκριμα be the more apt word?
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Re: 2 Cor 1:9 ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ... ἐσχήκαμεν

Postby Tony Pope » May 28th, 2013, 5:58 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:This raises a question for me. What is the meaning of ἀπόκριμα? The glosses in BDAG, official report, decision, are not very clear but indicate something official. The LSJ glosses, judicial sentence, condemnation, also imply such a certain officialness that I would consider Iver's explanation about death threats and being in mortal danger as metaphorical language. But if it is something official, wouldn't κατάκριμα be the more apt word?


FWIW
Colin J Hemer, 'A Note on 2 Corinthians 1:9' Tyndale Bulletin Vol 23 1972 103-07 discusses ἀπόκριμα. This article is online at the Tyndale House website http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/index.php?page=full-text-of-past-issues
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Re: 2 Cor 1:9 ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ... ἐσχήκαμεν

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 1st, 2013, 3:56 am

Tony Pope wrote:FWIW
Colin J Hemer, 'A Note on 2 Corinthians 1:9' Tyndale Bulletin Vol 23 1972 103-07 discusses ἀπόκριμα. This article is online at the Tyndale House website http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/index.php?page=full-text-of-past-issues

Thanks for that, Tony. It is a nice article in that it brings forth much evidence to the effect that ἀπόκριμα is term for some kind of official, though not juristic, answer. Hemer's application of this research 2 Cor 1:9 doesn't cohere to me (I don't get what God sending Paul an "answer of death" instead of life is supposed to mean. I mean, Paul's still alive, right?).

Anyway I think that the evidence points away from any official kind of death sentence. What Paul meant by an "answer of death" is still not really clear to me, but as far as the perfect is concerned, I think a good case to be made that this state is still continuing, whereas that would not be true for an actual death sentence. Perhaps those interpreters and translators who interested this phrase as a death sentence naturally were led to interpreting the perfect as an existential anterior.
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Re: 2 Cor 1:9 ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ... ἐσχήκαμεν

Postby Tony Pope » June 4th, 2013, 5:46 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Tony Pope wrote:FWIW
Colin J Hemer, 'A Note on 2 Corinthians 1:9' Tyndale Bulletin Vol 23 1972 103-07 discusses ἀπόκριμα. This article is online at the Tyndale House website http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/index.php?page=full-text-of-past-issues

Thanks for that, Tony. It is a nice article in that it brings forth much evidence to the effect that ἀπόκριμα is term for some kind of official, though not juristic, answer. Hemer's application of this research 2 Cor 1:9 doesn't cohere to me (I don't get what God sending Paul an "answer of death" instead of life is supposed to mean. I mean, Paul's still alive, right?).

Anyway I think that the evidence points away from any official kind of death sentence. What Paul meant by an "answer of death" is still not really clear to me, but as far as the perfect is concerned, I think a good case to be made that this state is still continuing, whereas that would not be true for an actual death sentence. Perhaps those interpreters and translators who interested this phrase as a death sentence naturally were led to interpreting the perfect as an existential anterior.


I drew attention to Colin Hemer's article because of the data on ἀπόκριμα showing that it need not refer to a death sentence. However, personally I am not at all convinced that the perfect ἐσχήκαμεν here refers to a state continuing when Paul wrote. I suggest the perfect is chosen to represent the state that Paul felt at the time and that he is now recalling, overwhelming as it was (verse 8), but as he writes it is now history (verse 10).

Whether the state that the perfect expresses still continues at the time of writing or is something from the past that is being recalled is to be determined from the context. In this case we have verse 9 beginning with ἀλλά and so giving a kind of amplification of the virtual negative statement of verse 8, i.e. (paraphrasing) "we thought we would not survive, rather we expected to die". Thus context forces the interpretation that the perfect operates in the same time frame as that of verse 8. It is the "dreadful memory" (Robertson, 897) that is continuing for Paul, not the state itself.

N.B. I would not call this an "aoristic perfect" because even though the time reference is past the effect is different from that of an aorist.

Stephen Carlson wrote:Note that the Vulgate translates the ἐσχήκαμεν of Rom 5:2 with the present habemus but it renders the same verb form in 2 Cor 1:9 with the "perfect" (= past perfective / anterior) habuimus, so it's not just English translators.

The Vulgate supports the view that the time reference is past relative to time of writing.
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Re: 2 Cor 1:9 ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ... ἐσχήκαμεν

Postby Stephen Carlson » June 4th, 2013, 6:18 am

Thanks, I agree that context is important. But sometimes the context is not clear, at least until certain terms are clarified first. For example, I don't normally think of ἀλλά as an amplification, but rather as a correction. But it's hard to see how getting an "answer of death" is a correction to dispairing of even living (v.8).

Maybe (thinking aloud)... the ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου is an answer (to his near experience) of death, and the ἵνα-clause gives the content of the answer, i.e., don't be self-confident but trust in the God who raises from the dead. In other words, death wasn't answer but the question. (I don't know if the genitive with ἀπόκριμα can be taken this way, though.) If this is the case, Paul should still have this answer, right?
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