In 2 Corinthians 5:1 might αἰώνιον be about the location?

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Bill Ross
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In 2 Corinthians 5:1 might αἰώνιον be about the location?

Post by Bill Ross » June 5th, 2019, 7:14 am

I was presented with an interpretation of 2 Corinthians 5:1 that took αἰώνιον to read "a building... eternally in the heavens" rather than "an everlasting building... in the heavens".

2 Corinthians 5:1 οἴδαμεν γὰρ ὅτι ἐὰν ἡ ἐπίγειος ἡμῶν οἰκία τοῦ σκήνους καταλυθῇ οἰκοδομὴν ἐκ θεοῦ ἔχομεν οἰκίαν ἀχειροποίητον αἰώνιον ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς

This is interpreted as saying that the building will forever remain in the heavens.

I don't think this is what it actually says but I am reluctant to comment on the Greek on my own say-so.
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Daniel Semler
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Re: In 2 Corinthians 5:1 might αἰώνιον be about the location?

Post by Daniel Semler » June 5th, 2019, 10:19 am

Well ... that would be to treat the adjective as an adverb. Not the worst thing for sure, changes of part of speech occur frequently enough in translation but there is no call for it here really. And semantically here not a great difference :
If the building is eternal and it's in the heavens the effect will be much the same as a building eternally in the heavens, just as a practical matter. Unless you want to posit something about the longevity of the heavens, or whether the building might move out of heaven - both of which go beyond the text.
But I don't see any support for adverbial handling in the translations I have either.

What I do see is that there are a number of translations that handle the "eternal" as "a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens" or something like that, which could be where the suggestion comes from.

Incidentally, I don't see "an everlasting building ..." either, but rather "house".

Thx
D
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Bill Ross
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Re: In 2 Corinthians 5:1 might αἰώνιον be about the location?

Post by Bill Ross » June 5th, 2019, 10:34 am

Daniel Semler wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 10:19 am
Well ... that would be to treat the adjective as an adverb. Not the worst thing for sure, changes of part of speech occur frequently enough in translation but there is no call for it here really. And semantically here not a great difference :
If the building is eternal and it's in the heavens the effect will be much the same as a building eternally in the heavens, just as a practical matter. Unless you want to posit something about the longevity of the heavens, or whether the building might move out of heaven - both of which go beyond the text.
But I don't see any support for adverbial handling in the translations I have either.

What I do see is that there are a number of translations that handle the "eternal" as "a house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens" or something like that, which could be where the suggestion comes from.

Incidentally, I don't see "an everlasting building ..." either, but rather "house".

Thx
D
If I'm understanding you correctly you are saying that the grammar doesn't insist either way, yes?

The question arises from the mention in Revelation of the new Jerusalem "descending to the land".
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Daniel Semler
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Re: In 2 Corinthians 5:1 might αἰώνιον be about the location?

Post by Daniel Semler » June 5th, 2019, 10:52 am

I probably rambled a little much - I tend to write out as I think and that can leave unhelpful detritus in the way. I wouldn't translate it that way. The grammar is clear enough - it's an adjectival (and appositional) construction not an adverbial one.

Thx
D
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: In 2 Corinthians 5:1 might αἰώνιον be about the location?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 5th, 2019, 2:25 pm

I think the main issue here is whether αἰώνιον is attributive or predicate (sometimes difficult to tell when the nouns are anarthrous). If the former, "an eternal house in the heavens..." and if the latter "a house, eternal in the heavens." The preference in English is to use adverbs rather than adjectives in this kind of construction, so that "eternally in the heavens" would be a perfectly correct rendering.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Bill Ross
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Re: In 2 Corinthians 5:1 might αἰώνιον be about the location?

Post by Bill Ross » June 5th, 2019, 2:56 pm

Sooo... ambiguous?

What about τὸ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ in the next verse? Does that imply that it comes "out of the heavens"?:

2 Cor 5:2 καὶ γὰρ ἐν τούτῳ στενάζομεν τὸ οἰκητήριον ἡμῶν τὸ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐπενδύσασθαι ἐπιποθοῦντες
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: In 2 Corinthians 5:1 might αἰώνιον be about the location?

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 5th, 2019, 4:17 pm

Bill Ross wrote:
June 5th, 2019, 2:56 pm

Sooo... ambiguous?
Somewhat, but it doesn't make that much difference to the overall interpretation of the verse and its use in context.
What about τὸ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ in the next verse? Does that imply that it comes "out of the heavens"?:

2 Cor 5:2 καὶ γὰρ ἐν τούτῳ στενάζομεν τὸ οἰκητήριον ἡμῶν τὸ ἐξ οὐρανοῦ ἐπενδύσασθαι ἐπιποθοῦντες
There is no doubt that ἐξ οὐρανοῦ is attributive since it follows the repeated article τό, "the dwelling from heaven." Yes, I would say the prepositional phrase is used of source here.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

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