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Mistake in Understanding the Bible Commentary


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#1 Julie Falling

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 08:47 AM

This is not an Accordance problem.  This is a commentator problem, reported here hoping it might prove useful to someone else.

 

In Rom 8:3, the verse begins with a rather clumsy clause which is grammatically independent from the rest of the sentence (see the Diagram) — To\ ga»r aÓdu/naton touv no/mou e˙n wˆ— hjsqe÷nei dia» thvß sarko/ß (the inability of the law, in which it was being weak because of the flesh).  The Understanding the Bible Commentary says the beginning of the verse lacks a verb.  hjsqe÷nei is a verb!

 

By the way, in my digging to try to figure out what is going on grammatically, I found this in Robertson:  "we have either the nominativus pendens, the accusative in apposition with the object of the sentence, the accusative of general reference or an instance of anacoluthon."  In Accordance, aÓdu/naton is parsed as an accusative.  I vote for the accusative of reference, not because of the Accordance parsing, but because it seems to fit the context best.


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#2 Ken Simpson

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 06:26 PM

Hi Julie, the issue is I think that the hjsqe÷nei is actually in a relative clause and so bears no direct relationship to the  to\ aÓdu/naton so it's hard to know what verb to associate the neuter with. We tend to mangle the grammar in English a bit, but the relative clause should just add descriptive (in the broadest sense) information to the thing it relates to, so try dropping the entire relative clause and translating without it and you will see the issue I think.

 

As you have rightly pointed out to\ aÓdu/naton could be either nom or acc, and Accordance has gone with accusative, and Marco has syntaxed it as a casus pendens which seems to me to be the most likely.

 

(Just for the record...'Casus Pendens. (Hanging case). Referring to a noun phrase standing outside a clause and replaced in the clause by a resumptive pronoun. eg. "The God of the Hebrews, he has created the world."' - from http://www.lectionar...syntaxgram.html - interestingly I could not find casus pendens as a term using search all in Accordance)


Edited by Ken Simpson, 10 April 2014 - 06:26 PM.

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#3 Daniel Semler

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Posted 10 April 2014 - 11:00 PM

Really interesting case.

Wallace's description of the Pendent Accusative is very interesting here. p198. (I could find casus pendens as English content in a few tools, which led me to Pendent Nom/Acc.).

The pendent case doesn't really survive into the English in ESVS, NET, NASB etc.

 

Wallace above comments on similarity between pend. acc. and acc of ref.

 

The other thing I find interesting is that an accusative is used. If you translate as "For the weakness/inability of the law..." you end up with the verb in the following clause being translated almost as a passive, which is interesting because its active form. Although if the verb is taken to be stative I guess that's not an issue really.

 

Matt 21:42 is interesting in contrast having an explicit verb. One more or less seems to need to be assumed here in Rom. And actually English trans put in another subject "what" in a forward reference to the condemnation of sin, obliterating the pendent acc. in the process it seems.

 

But very interesting.

 

Thx

D


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#4 Ken Simpson

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 03:29 AM

Now of course it is finding it! Sigh...my bad I am sure


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#5 Julie Falling

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 07:03 AM

I found the diagramming very helpful.  Looking just at the text, that first clause seemed to be grammatically independent from the rest.  It is diagrammed as such (which encouraged me!).  [Love those diagrams – thank you, Marco.]  If we translate the clause, "With respect to the inability of the law, which is weak because of the flesh — ," then go on to the rest of the verse, it makes sense.  However, I think the way the verse is handled in the NASB, HCSB, ESV, NET, etc., is very good and very clear.  This is certainly one of those places where clinging rigidly to formal equivalency would probably yield kinda clunky English.

 

EDIT – You're right, of course, Ken, that the verb is in a relative clause.  My mistake.  Thanks.  Very interesting verse.  I need to take more Greek!


Edited by Julie Falling, 11 April 2014 - 07:06 AM.

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#6 Helen Brown

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 09:28 AM

Marco is responsible for the Syntax tree. The diagrams are from Rex Koivisto and Steve LoVullo.


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#7 Enoch

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 09:56 AM

τὸ γὰρ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου ἐν ᾧ ἠσθένει διὰ τῆς σαρκός, ὁ θεὸς … κατέκρινεν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν …
 
I see  ὁ θεὸς … κατέκρινεν τὴν ἁμαρτίαν as the main clause:  God condemned sin in the flesh [to impotence], a thing impossible for the law -- and I see the two parts as in apposition.
 
By taking τὸ ἀδύνατον as accusative, methinks the interpreter is saying that one supplies ὁ θεὸς and some verb meaning "did" to make τὸ ἀδύνατον its direct object.  Thus the meaning would be that God did τὸ ἀδύνατον.  Otherwise, I would see the τὸ ἀδύνατον phrase as in apposition with the "God condemned sin" clause.  I have never seen a diagram to express such an appositional relationship.  Myself, I would put it in a big parenthesis to the right of the diagram of the "God condemned" clause.
 
At any rate, I would call this a brachylogy.   I appreciate all levels of translation, from klunky literal to paraphrase. But for my basic translation, I want a translation that reflects the original.  If the original is klunky, I want the translation klunky.  If the original is ambiguous, I want the translation ambiguous.  If the original is hard to understand (Peter on Paul), let the translation be equally hard to understand.  Hooray for studied ambiguity!
 
Now here we are in the middle of a crucial passage, crucial vs the Slough of Despond in Romans 7, where one wants to know exactly what it means; accepting gratefully paraphrastic interpretations, but wanting to get at the precise significance of the original text.
 
I see it as a bit of hybris to say to Paul:  "Now Paul, old boy, you were a tad obtuse in your diction; now let me improve it for you."
 
As to τὸ γὰρ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου ἐν ᾧ ἠσθένει διὰ τῆς σαρκός, the ἐν ᾧ clause explains the  ἀδύνατον (substantivalized adjective), so I would take it as formally adjectival and modifying ἀδύνατον -- adjectival would be more obvious if it read τὸ γὰρ ἀδύνατον τοῦ νόμου τ ἐν ᾧ ἠσθένει διὰ τῆς σαρκός, but perhaps lacking the repeated article for not being a restrictive modification.  However, consistent with the fact that ἀδύνατοs  is a verbal adjective, bearing the -τοs suffix, perhaps one might take this subordinate clause as adverbial in significance, with some translation like:  "because . . . ."

#8 Julie Falling

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Posted 11 April 2014 - 12:40 PM

Marco is responsible for the Syntax tree. The diagrams are from Rex Koivisto and Steve LoVullo.

 

Many thanks to Drs. Koivisto and LoVullo!  I find the Diagrams more helpful at this point because that is what I had in grammar school.  I was one of those strange students who actually liked to diagram.  I do need to learn to better read and interpret the Syntax tree.  These helps are so very useful, especially to a non-scholar.  Thank you for all the work that has gone into them.

 

EDIT:  I think I might need a bigger monitor for the syntax tree!  A 27" Apple Display is on my wish list if Apple ever gets around to updating (MacRumors says to wait to buy).  Maybe for a combined birthday/Christmas present?


Edited by Julie Falling, 11 April 2014 - 12:54 PM.

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#9 Enoch

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Posted 12 April 2014 - 12:58 PM

 

Many thanks to Drs. Koivisto and LoVullo!  I find the Diagrams more helpful at this point because that is what I had in grammar school.  I was one of those strange students who actually liked to diagram.  I do need to learn to better read and interpret the Syntax tree.  These helps are so very useful, especially to a non-scholar.  Thank you for all the work that has gone into them.

 

EDIT:  I think I might need a bigger monitor for the syntax tree!  A 27" Apple Display is on my wish list if Apple ever gets around to updating (MacRumors says to wait to buy).  Maybe for a combined birthday/Christmas present?

Julie, I also was "raised" on diagramming since my 8th grade, Junior High School teacher, Mrs. Newton taught it to us, generally adding one new element each day, having us produce each new element say 20 times.  A traditional diagram to my mind presents a clear Gestalt as to what it's all about; whereas the tree diagrams, which I found being popularized when I was at the U of Minnesota (where studied linguistics and even the out-of-style philology) during the Vietnam War era, have always looked like a head of hair hanging down, upside down, like a bunch of grass without distinct Gestalt.   But obviously some are fond of the trees. -- So I say to use whatever helps you understand it.



#10 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 08:19 AM

It is hard to see both the syntactical trees and diagrams with a small monitor, especially if we have other zones open. Temporarily expanding the zone with either does provide a bit of relief, while you are waiting for that XL monitor to arrive.


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#11 Julie Falling

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Posted 14 April 2014 - 09:41 AM

I find my 24" external to be adequate for almost everything, but the combination of old eyes and the room needed to display a syntax tree really pushes the limits.  Additionally, the monitor is an Acer – the quality just isn't what we get from an Apple product – not crisp and clear.  Of course, it cost a fraction of what an Apple display costs.  When Apple announces new displays are, I'll lobby for one!  In the meantime, redesigning my workspace to maximize the Syntax pane or zone is the way to go.  Thanks, Dr J.


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#12 Enoch

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 09:50 AM

 

Many thanks to Drs. Koivisto and LoVullo!  I find the Diagrams more helpful at this point because that is what I had in grammar school.  I was one of those strange students who actually liked to diagram.  I do need to learn to better read and interpret the Syntax tree.  These helps are so very useful, especially to a non-scholar.  Thank you for all the work that has gone into them.

 

EDIT:  I think I might need a bigger monitor for the syntax tree!  A 27" Apple Display is on my wish list if Apple ever gets around to updating (MacRumors says to wait to buy).  Maybe for a combined birthday/Christmas present?

 

Julie, for monitor, I use a large Samsung TV set, 40-50 inch TV, I forget the exact inches.  And sometimes I sit in an easy chair, back from the screen with a wireless keyboard on my lap, like right now.  I put the Mac computer in clamshell mode (set it to mirror displays and shut its lid).






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