1 Cor 6:4

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Jonathan Robie
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1 Cor 6:4

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 12th, 2018, 4:31 pm

I hadn't noticed this before, but some editions end 1 Cor 6:4 with a question mark, others with a period - and perhaps a degree of sarcasm (or not), and translations take significantly different views on who τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους refers to and what level of contempt is involved.

Can someone help me sort through the possible interpretations of 1 Cor 6:4 and help me understand which is most likely?
1 Cor 6 wrote:Τολμᾷ τις ὑμῶν πρᾶγμα ἔχων πρὸς τὸν ἕτερον κρίνεσθαι ἐπὶ τῶν ἀδίκων, καὶ οὐχὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἁγίων; 2 ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἅγιοι τὸν κόσμον κρινοῦσιν; καὶ εἰ ἐν ὑμῖν κρίνεται ὁ κόσμος, ἀνάξιοί ἐστε κριτηρίων ἐλαχίστων; 3 οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι ἀγγέλους κρινοῦμεν, μήτιγε βιωτικά; 4 βιωτικὰ μὲν οὖν κριτήρια ἐὰν ἔχητε, τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, τούτους καθίζετε; 5 πρὸς ἐντροπὴν ὑμῖν λέγω. οὕτως οὐκ ἔνι ἐν ὑμῖν οὐδεὶς σοφὸς ὃς δυνήσεται διακρῖναι ἀνὰ μέσον τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ, 6 ἀλλὰ ἀδελφὸς μετὰ ἀδελφοῦ κρίνεται, καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ ἀπίστων; 7 ἤδη μὲν οὖν ὅλως ἥττημα ὑμῖν ἐστιν ὅτι κρίματα ἔχετε μεθ’ ἑαυτῶν· διὰ τί οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἀδικεῖσθε; διὰ τί οὐχὶ μᾶλλον ἀποστερεῖσθε; 8 ἀλλὰ ὑμεῖς ἀδικεῖτε καὶ ἀποστερεῖτε, καὶ τοῦτο ἀδελφούς.
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: 1 Cor 6:4

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 13th, 2018, 6:07 am

Personally I'm having a hard time seeing that it could be anything other than a question. It might be helpful to list which interpretations you'd like to consider in more detail (a good critical commentary like the ICC should do this).

Punctuating Paul is one of the most challenging parts of understanding him. I'm sure it was easier in person where you can hear the tone of voice.
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John Kendall
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Re: 1 Cor 6:4

Post by John Kendall » February 13th, 2018, 6:37 am

Jonathan,

Here's an online source that covers many of the key issues, though it doesn't fully discuss the interesting constituent order. Perhaps Stephen could offer some comments on this.

See: http://www.tyndalehouse.com/TynBul/Libr ... Judges.pdf

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Jonathan Robie
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Re: 1 Cor 6:4

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 13th, 2018, 11:05 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 6:07 am
Personally I'm having a hard time seeing that it could be anything other than a question. It might be helpful to list which interpretations you'd like to consider in more detail (a good critical commentary like the ICC should do this).
Sure - I think there are two basic questions (see Meyer, Expositor's Greek, ICC and perhaps this set of translations)
  1. Is τούτους καθίζετε a statement, a question, or a command? I think the likely options depend a great deal on the answer to the next question.
  2. Who are οἱ ἐξουθενημένοι ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, and who is despising or rejecting whom?
For the second question, a lot depends on the degree of contempt / rejection you associate with the term, and who you think is doing the rejecting. For instance, you could imagine it referring to the poor who are despised by this world, as in 2 Maccabees:
2 Macc 1:27 wrote:ἐπισυνάγαγε τὴν διασπορὰν ἡμῶν, ἐλευθέρωσον τοὺς δουλεύοντας ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους καὶ βδελυκτοὺς ἔπιδε, καὶ γνώτωσαν τὰ ἔθνη ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ θεὸς ἡμῶν.
Or perhaps it refers to heathen judges whose authority is rejected by the church. Or perhaps it even refers to those whom you would despise and reject so much that you take them to court before secular authorities.

Let me try arguing for several interpretations that might be plausible, let's see how far plausibility can stretch here.
  1. οἱ ἐξουθενημένοι refers to the secular judges, who are called unrighteous and compared to the holy ones whose authority the church accepts (Τολμᾷ τις ὑμῶν πρᾶγμα ἔχων πρὸς τὸν ἕτερον κρίνεσθαι ἐπὶ τῶν ἀδίκων, καὶ οὐχὶ ἐπὶ τῶν ἁγίων;) After all, we will judge these same unrighteous judges over the things that really matter, and they will be found wanting (ἢ οὐκ οἴδατε ὅτι οἱ ἅγιοι τὸν κόσμον κρινοῦσιν;), so how can we accept their authority to judge us over these minor matters? Under this interpretation, it becomes a question: βιωτικὰ μὲν οὖν κριτήρια ἐὰν ἔχητε, τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, τούτους καθίζετε;
  2. οἱ ἐξουθενημένοι refers to those in the church who are rejected and despised by the world, as in 2 Macc 1:27, but treasured in the Kingdom. This understanding makes the argument in the Tyndale bulletin plausible: lawsuits would presumably be among people of means and power, if people are going to fight over that kind of thing and bring each other to secular courts, how much better to let these matters be decided by those of humble means who do not spend their time fighting each other in court! Under this interpretation, it becomes a command: βιωτικὰ μὲν οὖν κριτήρια ἐὰν ἔχητε, τοὺς ἐξουθενημένους ἐν τῇ ἐκκλησίᾳ, τούτους καθίζετε!
  3. οἱ ἐξουθενημένοι refers to those in the church who are being hauled into court by other believers who reject and despise them so much they actually take them to be judged by heathens. Under this interpretation, καθίζετε refers to seating people in church. Here's how LEB renders it: "Therefore, if you have courts with regard to ordinary matters, do you seat these despised people in the church?"
Are there good reasons to rule any of these interpretations out? Are there equally plausible interpretations that I am missing?
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Re: 1 Cor 6:4

Post by Stephen Carlson » February 15th, 2018, 5:30 am

John Kendall wrote:
February 13th, 2018, 6:37 am
Here's an online source that covers many of the key issues, though it doesn't fully discuss the interesting constituent order. Perhaps Stephen could offer some comments on this.
That is a really helpful paper in laying out the issues. I'm too flat out right now to get into the nitty-gritty, but here's something that may be worth looking into (within the ambit of this forum):
Kinman 1997:349 wrote: Within the Pauline corpus, we may note that the imperative is the final element in the sentence at Romans 12:14; 1 Corinthians 4:16; 7:21; 10:31; 11:33; 14:20; 16:1,13; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 5:11; Philippians 4:4; Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1 Timothy 4:11; 5:22; 6:2; and Philemon 18.
I suppose we look for patterns in what kinds of elements (topics, focus, etc.) precede the imperative and compare them to 1 Cor 6:4.
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Tony Pope
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Re: 1 Cor 6:4

Post by Tony Pope » February 15th, 2018, 11:02 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:
February 15th, 2018, 5:30 am
Kinman 1997:349 wrote: Within the Pauline corpus, we may note that the imperative is the final element in the sentence at Romans 12:14; 1 Corinthians 4:16; 7:21; 10:31; 11:33; 14:20; 16:1,13; Galatians 5:1; Ephesians 5:11; Philippians 4:4; Colossians 3:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:22; 1 Timothy 4:11; 5:22; 6:2; and Philemon 18.
I suppose we look for patterns in what kinds of elements (topics, focus, etc.) precede the imperative and compare them to 1 Cor 6:4.
Although some of these references are irrelevant in that there is no other position the imperative could have been placed in, others are comparable. Anyway Kinman explains in his next paragraph that on the imperative hypothesis the verb comes after its object when the object is in focus (he calls it emphasis), and he illustrates this from Phil 4.8 (which he had not included in his list above). As in 1 Cor 6.4, Phil 4.8 uses a resumptive demonstrative:
ὅσα ἐστὶν ἀληθῆ, ὅσα σεμνά, ὅσα δίκαια, ὅσα ἁγνά, ὅσα προσφιλῆ, ὅσα εὔφημα, εἴ τις ἀρετὴ καὶ εἴ τις ἔπαινος, ταῦτα λογίζεσθε·

It seems to me the following instances from Kinman's list where the imperative is the final element also follow a focused element
1 Cor 4.16 μιμηταί μου γίνεσθε
1 Cor 10.31 εἴτε οὖν ἐσθίετε, εἴτε πίνετε, εἴτε τι ποιεῖτε, πάντα εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ ποιεῖτε
1 Cor 11.33 ἀλλήλους ἐκδέχεσθε
1 Cor 14.20 μὴ παιδία γίνεσθε ταῖς φρεσὶν ἀλλὰ τῇ κακίᾳ νηπιάζετε, ταῖς δὲ φρεσὶν τέλειοι
γίνεσθε
Gal 5.1 μὴ πάλιν ζυγῷ δουλείας ἐνέχεσθε
Col 3.15 καὶ εὐχάριστοι γίνεσθε
1 Thess 5.22 ἀπὸ παντὸς εἴδους πονηροῦ ἀπέχεσθε
1 Tim 5.22 χεῖρας ταχέως μηδενὶ ἐπιτίθει, μηδὲ κοινώνει ἁμαρτίαις ἀλλοτρίαις· σεαυτὸν ἁγνὸν
τήρει
Philemon 18 εἰ δέ τι ἠδίκησέ σε ἢ ὀφείλει, τοῦτο ἐμοὶ ἐλλόγα

So I don't think the argument that the imperative in final position in the clause is odd holds up at all.

On a different point, καθίζω in a forensic context is attested in the sense "appoint (someone) as a judge" (see below), but I would like to have clear evidence that it can mean "take a case (to someone) to judge", as seems to be required on the common view that Paul reprimands the Corinthians for taking cases to the civil courts.

Polybius 38.18.3 εἰς δὲ τὴν ἐπαύριον καθίσαντες δικαστὰς τοῦ μὲν Σωσικράτους κατεδίκασαν
θάνατον [On the following day they appointed a tribunal and condemned Sosicrates to death]

Josephus Ant 20.200 ὁ Ἄνανος ... καθίζει συνέδριον κριτῶν [(The high priest) Ananus ... assembled the sanhedrim of judges].

Philostratus Her. 720 [§35.11] καὶ γὰρ τῶν Ἀχαιῶν ἀφεῖλε τὴν ἄδικον κρίσιν καὶ δικαστὰς ἐκάθισεν,
οὓς εἰκὸς ἦν καταψηφίσασθαι τοῦ Αἴαντος [Indeed, he took away from the Achaeans the unjust decision and
appointed judges who were likely to condemn Ajax]

Fee claims that the sense "to sit as judge" gets around this difficulty and cites
Josephus Ant 13.75 παρεκάλεσάν τε σὺν τοῖς φίλοις καθίσαντα τὸν βασιλέα τοὺς περὶ τούτων ἀκοῦσαι λόγους
[They desired therefore the king to sit with his friends, and hear the debates about these matters]

but Fee doesn't explain how this intransitive use is any help in 1 Cor 6.4.

Parry https://archive.org/stream/TheFirstEpis ... 1/mode/2up
claims that the use in Galen (cited by Wettstein) is relevant. Is there someone with time who can verify whether "appeal to (someone) as judge" is a fair reading in those contexts? Field (in a footnote) cites the first of these in support of the attested sense "appoint as judge". https://archive.org/stream/notesontrans ... 0/mode/2up

Galen Meth Med 1.2 μὴ τοὺς ὁμοτέχνους τῷ πατρί σου κριτὰς καθίσῃς ἰατρῶν, τολμηρότατε Θεσσαλέ ...
καὶ καθίζεις μὲν ἐν ταῖς ληρώδεσί σου βίβλοις δικαστὰς τοὺς Ἕλληνας ... ὥστ’ εἴπερ οἱ ἐκ τοῦ περιπάτου κριταὶ καθίσαιεν
http://cts.dh.uni-leipzig.de/text/urn:c ... assage/1.2
1.3 ἐπεὶ δὲ πάντας ἀνθρώπους καθίζει δικαστὰς
http://cts.dh.uni-leipzig.de/text/urn:c ... assage/1.3
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: 1 Cor 6:4

Post by Jonathan Robie » February 21st, 2018, 1:42 pm

What about the first part of this?

What do you think the difference is between βιωτικὰ μὲν οὖν κριτήρια ἐὰν ἔχητε and, say, ἐὰν βιωτικὰ κριτήρια ἔχητε?
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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