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 τό 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 . . . ."