Re. The Relative Pronoun in Rom. 7:19!

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Re. The Relative Pronoun in Rom. 7:19!

Postby Paul Evans » October 18th, 2013, 1:57 pm

List,

I have not posted in years. I will try to follow the procedures. Forgive me if I am rusty at using B-Greek. My question is about Rom. 7:19 and the relative pronoun used twice, ὃ.

οὐ γὰρ ὃ θέλω ποιῶ ἀγαθόν, ἀλλὰ ὃ οὐ θέλω κακὸν τοῦτο πράσσω.

They are I presume, neuter plural accusative because in both cases they are the object of the verb θέλω. I am trying to clearly establish the antecedents in each case, which I also presume are ἀγαθόν & κακὸν respectively, but which seem to appear after the second verb, in each clause, ποιῶ, and πράσσω, respectively. Is this a simple case of accusative of object or attraction of the relative pronoun? The object of θέλω comes before the verb, and the object of ποιῶ, and πράσσω comes after the verb, as referents for the relative pronoun. Is that about right? I know I have not stated it in the technically correct language - forgive me that, please. I cannot conceivably see how the relative pronoun refers to any of the preceding nouns, unless we can argue that it picks up Paul's earlier use of the two synonyms that now appear behind the second verbs. Is this construction unusual in some way?

Like I said I am rusty right now - pastors shouldn't be messing with Greek!

Thanks for your comments and help... remember I am a newbie!

Paul Evans
Wilmington, NC

Holmes, M. W. (2010). The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition (Ro 7:19). Logos Bible Software.
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Re: Re. The Relative Pronoun in Rom. 7:19!

Postby timothy_p_mcmahon » October 18th, 2013, 9:51 pm

I think it would be easier to understand this text had it been written out a little more fully by Paul. Maybe something like:

το αγαθον ὃ θελω ποιειν, οὐ ποιω, αλλα το κακον ὃ οὐ θελω ποιειν, τουτο πρασσω.

The antecedent for the first ὃ would then be the good that Paul wants to do and the antecedent for the second ὃ would be the evil he wishes not to do.

(The form ὃ, by the way, is singular.)
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Re: Re. The Relative Pronoun in Rom. 7:19!

Postby Paul Evans » October 19th, 2013, 9:35 am

Timothy,

Thanks for he correction, you are right of course. You response highlights what I was trying to get at... namely are there a clear grammatical reasons for the way Paul constructs this passage or is do we have to rely more on logical inference for the antecedents? I am not sufficiently familiar with relative pronoun constructions to know if this is a typical structure. My observation for what its worth (very little probably) is that Paul has opted for a certain amount of rhetorical beauty and balance, a sort of aesthetic quality for effect, almost poetic! Obviously the over all context makes it clear what he means.

Paul Evans
Wilmington, NC
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Re: Re. The Relative Pronoun in Rom. 7:19!

Postby David Lim » October 21st, 2013, 8:24 am

Paul Evans wrote:Thanks for he correction, you are right of course. You response highlights what I was trying to get at... namely are there a clear grammatical reasons for the way Paul constructs this passage or is do we have to rely more on logical inference for the antecedents? I am not sufficiently familiar with relative pronoun constructions to know if this is a typical structure.

A relative pronoun that doesn't have an obvious antecedent is most naturally read as an indefinite relative. I took "ο θελω" to be in apposition with "αγαθον". This example could be rendered woodenly as:
Not that which I will, good, do I do, but that which I do not will, evil, this I do.

By the way, the relative pronoun "ο" is neuter singular, and accusative because it's the object of "θελω", not plural.
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