Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

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Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:28 am

In Galatians 5:23, we read:
κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων οὐκ ἔστιν νόμος.
M̷y̷ ̷q̷u̷e̷s̷t̷i̷o̷n̷ ̷i̷s̷ ̷w̷i̷t̷h̷ ̷r̷e̷f̷e̷r̷e̷n̷c̷e̷ ̷t̷o̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷D̷.̷J̷.̷ ̷M̷a̷s̷t̷r̷o̷n̷a̷r̷d̷e̷'̷s̷ ̷f̷o̷r̷m̷u̷l̷a̷t̷i̷o̷n̷ ̷o̷f̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷r̷u̷l̷e̷ ̷o̷f̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷e̷m̷p̷h̷a̷t̷i̷c̷ ̷ἔ̷σ̷τ̷ι̷ν̷ ̷t̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷i̷n̷c̷l̷u̷d̷e̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷p̷r̷o̷v̷i̷s̷i̷o̷n̷ ̷t̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷e̷m̷p̷h̷a̷t̷i̷c̷ ̷ἔ̷σ̷τ̷ι̷ν̷,̷ ̷e̷v̷e̷n̷ ̷w̷h̷e̷n̷ ̷n̷e̷g̷a̷t̷e̷d̷,̷ ̷m̷u̷s̷t̷ ̷t̷a̷k̷e̷ ̷f̷i̷r̷s̷t̷ ̷p̷o̷s̷i̷t̷i̷o̷n̷ ̷i̷n̷ ̷a̷ ̷s̷e̷n̷t̷e̷n̷c̷e̷.̷ ̷W̷e̷ ̷d̷i̷s̷c̷u̷s̷s̷e̷d̷ ̷t̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷r̷u̷l̷e̷ ̷a̷t̷ ̷s̷o̷m̷e̷ ̷l̷e̷n̷g̷t̷h̷ ̷i̷n̷ ̷a̷n̷o̷t̷h̷e̷r̷ ̷t̷h̷r̷e̷a̷d̷..̷ ̷I̷ ̷t̷h̷i̷n̷k̷ ̷t̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷s̷t̷i̷p̷u̷l̷a̷t̷i̷o̷n̷ ̷t̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷e̷m̷p̷h̷a̷t̷i̷c̷ ̷ἔ̷σ̷τ̷ι̷ν̷ ̷(̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷e̷x̷i̷s̷t̷e̷n̷t̷i̷a̷l̷ ̷v̷e̷r̷b̷)̷ ̷m̷u̷s̷t̷ ̷b̷e̷ ̷i̷n̷ ̷s̷e̷n̷t̷e̷n̷c̷e̷ ̷i̷n̷i̷t̷i̷a̷l̷ ̷p̷o̷s̷i̷t̷i̷o̷n̷ ̷f̷a̷l̷l̷s̷ ̷d̷o̷w̷n̷ ̷a̷f̷t̷e̷r̷ ̷a̷ ̷f̷e̷w̷ ̷m̷i̷n̷u̷t̷e̷s̷ ̷o̷f̷ ̷l̷o̷o̷k̷i̷n̷g̷ ̷a̷t̷ ̷a̷c̷t̷u̷a̷l̷ ̷e̷x̷a̷m̷p̷l̷e̷s̷ ̷f̷r̷o̷m̷ ̷G̷r̷e̷e̷k̷ ̷l̷i̷t̷e̷r̷a̷t̷u̷r̷e̷.̷ ̷

If it is allowable to take non-initial οὐκ ἔστιν as emphatic (in the terminology of D.J. Mastronarde) / as the existential verb (in the terminology of LSJ), rather than automatically reading all non-initial occurrences of οὐκ ἔστιν as unemphatic (in the terminology of D.J. Mastronarde) / as the copula (in the terminology of LSJ), is there a significance in our understanding of this phrase of the verse?

I̷n̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷P̷a̷u̷l̷i̷n̷e̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷o̷l̷o̷g̷i̷c̷a̷l̷ ̷c̷o̷n̷t̷e̷x̷t̷,̷ ̷d̷o̷e̷s̷ ̷a̷p̷p̷l̷y̷i̷n̷g̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷n̷a̷r̷r̷o̷w̷ ̷p̷o̷s̷i̷t̷i̷o̷n̷a̷l̷ ̷c̷o̷n̷s̷t̷r̷a̷i̷n̷s̷ ̷o̷n̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷e̷m̷p̷h̷a̷t̷i̷c̷ ̷ἔ̷σ̷τ̷ι̷ν̷ ̷(̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷e̷x̷i̷s̷t̷e̷n̷t̷i̷a̷l̷ ̷v̷e̷r̷b̷)̷ ̷w̷h̷e̷n̷ ̷u̷n̷d̷e̷r̷s̷t̷a̷n̷d̷i̷n̷g̷ ̷P̷a̷u̷l̷'̷s̷ ̷s̷t̷a̷t̷e̷m̷e̷n̷t̷ ̷a̷f̷f̷e̷c̷t̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷o̷l̷o̷g̷i̷c̷a̷l̷ ̷u̷n̷d̷e̷r̷s̷t̷a̷n̷d̷i̷n̷g̷ ̷o̷f̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷v̷e̷r̷s̷e̷?̷

It seems to me that a̷l̷l̷o̷w̷i̷n̷g̷ reading this as the emphatic ἔστιν (existential verb) t̷o̷ ̷o̷c̷c̷u̷r̷ ̷n̷o̷n̷-̷i̷n̷i̷t̷i̷a̷l̷l̷y̷ allows for the interpretation that any (human) law is not against the virtues (ie "There is no law (in any legal system) that is contrary to (virtues) such as these"), but n̷e̷c̷e̷s̷s̷a̷r̷i̷l̷y̷ ̷c̷a̷t̷e̷g̷o̷r̷i̷s̷i̷n̷g̷ if one were to read this as non-emphatic (the copula) b̷y̷ ̷a̷p̷p̷l̷y̷i̷n̷g̷ ̷t̷h̷e̷ ̷n̷a̷r̷r̷o̷w̷ ̷i̷n̷i̷t̷i̷a̷l̷)̷ ̷p̷o̷s̷i̷t̷i̷o̷n̷a̷l̷ ̷s̷y̷n̷t̷a̷c̷t̷i̷c̷a̷l̷ ̷l̷a̷w̷ ̷t̷h̷a̷t̷ ̷M̷a̷s̷t̷r̷o̷n̷a̷r̷d̷e̷ ̷f̷o̷r̷m̷u̷l̷a̷t̷e̷s̷ then that allows for the understanding that νόμος in that verse (only?) refers to the Jewish law (ie "The Torah is not contrary to (virtues) such as those").

Are my interpretations reasonable? Are they significant?
Last edited by ἑκηβόλος on Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by seneca2008 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:48 pm

My question is with reference to the D.J. Mastronarde's formulation of the rule of the emphatic ἔστιν that include the provision that the emphatic ἔστιν, even when negated, must take first position in a sentence.
Is it really worth pursuing what is said in a beginner’s Greek textbook in this way? Mastronarde emphasises that Greek word order is very flexible (p49) see also p65 “Because ancient Greek is so highly inflected, the word order is not rigid. ” and p 61 “Inflection and concord clarify most grammatical relationships in Greek, with the result that, in general, word order in Greek is freer than in less inflected languages.” Also on p 49 he says that “Futher discussion of word order is provided among the online supplements.” I don’t think a careful reader is likely to be misled.

Even Dickey in her more advanced introduction to Greek Prose Composition says in capital letters in large bold print on its own page “important note. Almost every rule presented in this book has exceptions, most of which are not mentioned”. Perhaps this is the best way to approach all text books?

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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Sun Apr 14, 2019 4:39 pm

seneca2008 wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 2:48 pm
Is it really worth pursuing what is said in a beginner’s Greek textbook in this way?
No problem. I have rephrased the question in terms without reference to Mastronarde's rule.

The comments I made two posts up in this thread about Mastronarde's rule are not some Galatea that I've brought into this thread to fawn over. I only used the reference to the to the discussion of ἔστιν in Mastronarde as an introduction for the current question, to contextualise discussion with a terminological framework, so readers of that post who were not aware that there was an emphatic ἔστιν, or that it could be negated, would have somewhere to go to read up on it a little.
τί δὲ ἀγαθὸν τῇ πομφόλυγι συνεστώσῃ ἢ κακὸν διαλυθείσῃ;

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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by Callisper » Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:46 pm

In the other thread after seneca2008 showed that Mastronarde's description does name the existential ἔστι 'emphatic' - before which I assumed Lukas was just using that wording himself - I let it go because it seemed better to preserve a beginner's faith in his textbook. In reality this is very poor choice of phrase as such a subjective force as 'emphasis' is neither here nor there when it comes to ἔστι (see my list of its uses in that thread: nothing subjective about it) and ought to be saved for where we actually need it (ἐστί, which I guess Mastronarde doesn't touch on, and where 'emphasis' neatly sums up a category of usage which would otherwise postulate a long paper to detail). So let's ditch the wording of 'emphasis' here.

The other thing that (I think - though cf my comments below) is essentially irrelevant to the discussion at hand is the word-order i.e. position of οὐκ ἔστιν. So let's also ditch mentioning 'initial,' 'non-initial' and the like.

Your question is valid, I think, taken in terms of my subjoined comment on the other thread:

"Do you perhaps mean to ask whether "οὐk ἔστι" must go at the beginning of the sentence/phrase if ἔστι has the sense of 'existence'? In fact my feeling is this would be pretty rare and you will very rarely see "οὐk ἔστι" meaning this (therefore its position is a moot point) (except when followed by a relative particle, a case which I already covered): and that an ancient Greek writer would have chosen a different verb to signify existence in this negation. (As always I welcome counter-examples.)"

It is very possible that I was mistaken and that you have found a counter-example. (I believe that, in so far as the collocation "οὐk ἔστι" will be found to mean "there does not exist", the position of the phrase would not be likely to condition this. To be sure would require a careful corpus search. But let's worry about that if my claim above becomes disproven.) But isn't it likelier that the law in question is the ὁ Νόμος of Galatians 5:14-15? I'm not yet convinced I should consider my statement counter-exampled.

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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:28 am

Callisper wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:46 pm
But isn't it likelier that the law in question is the ὁ Νόμος of Galatians 5:14-15?
Well, if you're going to bring up that sort of contextual argument, we ought to mention another feature of Greek construction that I refrained from introducing in Lukas' ἔστι thread for reasons of simplicity.

Lukas made a statement along the lines, "There is ..." is translated by the (what you feel more comfortable calling) existential verb, and "He is ... " is translated by the copula. That type of one-to-one equivalency between the languages falls down in practice because of the different ways of constructing a discourse between them.

English starts with a single statement of existence, followed by various details about actions or attributes. Taking the example of Captain John from the 1951 film, The River, we might say, "In this film, there was an American war veteran. His name was John. He was young. He went to India to visit his uncle." As English speakers, we will be expecting that one character of a description will have one starting point marked by a statement of existence followed by a number of things said about them, following on from that existence.

Greek does not follow the same conventions of discourse construction. For an English speaker, the matter is simple - they might say, if it is the existential verb, ie it is translated "There is no law", then it must not refer to the Torah, because it was already introduced (as you say) in verse 14. But in the context of the Greek, there can be other existential statements after the first one that refer to the same original subject.

The way I think of that, (which is probably if no use to anybody else but myself but nevertheless I will mention it), is by imagining rivers (hence the choice of film). The English structure is like a river that we raft down, it rises with the introduction of something, then expands with the confluence of different characters, places or things - trubutaries that join the river. Each of those tributaries introduce a new element - a previously unmentioned person, place or thing to the already existing story, description, argument, etc. That is to say, that for an English speaker, another "There is ... " leads them to believe that there is a new player sitting down at the table. Greek on the other hand, allows for a number of existential/ (if you don't like "emphatic" we could say stronger than merely following on from what came before statements about an already introduced person place or thing. That to me is like as if we walk down the bank of a river, and at each tributary we need to walk to its head to be able to cross. We see them as a connected body of water - one and the same river - with multiple sources, with the emphasis on headwaters, rather than confluence. Anyway, I did mention that it would probably be of no use for others.

Point being that we are able to discuss the possibility that the νόμος in verse 23 is the same as the νόμος in 14, even if verse 23 is an existential verb, because using an existential verb in Greek is not necessarily a discourse marker signalling that a new person, place or thing is being introduced.
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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by Callisper » Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:55 am

I'm not bringing up any 'sort of contextual argument.' I am stating how that line from Galatians might be interpreted, leaving my hypothesis intact.

I remain tentative because of my lack of experience with Biblical Greek, as a result of which (or for any other reason) I am unaware of any evidence which might sway the more-learned reader to believe that e)/sti there is existential meaning "there is." And also because that hypothesis of mine isn't one I am too certain about, just a feeling I had when I made the post on Lukas' thread.

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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Mon Apr 15, 2019 8:51 am

Callisper wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 4:55 am
ἑκηβόλος wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:28 am
Well, if you're going to bring up that sort of contextual argument, we ought to mention another feature of Greek construction that I refrained from introducing in Lukas' ἔστι thread for reasons of simplicity.
I'm not bringing up any 'sort of contextual argument.' I am stating how that line from Galatians might be interpreted, leaving my hypothesis intact.
Don't worry about that discourse structure stuff then. It's probably going to get in the way of of your idea. Just skip over that last post, it's boring and badly written anyway.
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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:02 pm

I've always read the anarthrous usages of the law in this passage (vs. 18 and 23) as the law in abstract without specific reference to the ὁ νόμος of vs. 14, inclusive of the Torah but not restricted to it. To my knowledge, the history of interpretation pretty consistently, but not universally, sees it this way. In the "for what it's worth" category, most translations take it this way and use an "existential" rendering:

...against such things there is no law. (ESV)

...against such things there is no law. (NAS)

Against such things there is no law. (NIV)

...against such there is no law. (KJV).
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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by jeidsath » Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:44 pm

Out of the four translations just quoted, only one was translated by people sensitive enough to the Greek to notice something like this one way or the other. Callisper's interpretation makes a lot of sense and doesn't seem to be precluded by the grammar. Look at verse 18: εἰ δὲ πνεύματι ἄγεσθε, οὐκ ἐστὲ ὑπὸ νόμον. There, Paul obviously means the religious law specifically.

Apparently some early commentators that τῶν τοιοὐτων referred to individuals, not "such things". However, I haven't looked this up in the TLG to confirm.
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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:29 pm

jeidsath wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:44 pm
Out of the four translations just quoted, only one was translated by people sensitive enough to the Greek to notice something like this one way or the other. Callisper's interpretation makes a lot of sense and doesn't seem to be precluded by the grammar. Look at verse 18: εἰ δὲ πνεύματι ἄγεσθε, οὐκ ἐστὲ ὑπὸ νόμον. There, Paul obviously means the religious law specifically.

Apparently some early commentators that τῶν τοιοὐτων referred to individuals, not "such things". However, I haven't looked this up in the TLG to confirm.
Quite delicious arrogance in your first paragraph above, but considering the general contempt for NT scholarship here, not surprising. I think that Paul makes these anarthrous precisely to broaden the usage. As for referring to individuals, some modern commentators so interpret, e.g.:
Cole wrote:But, in view of the personal nature of the reference in verse 21, hoi toiauta prassontes, ‘those who habitually behave thus’, it is better to translate personally here too, as ‘such people’, not ‘such things’. The phrase will then become ‘The law was never meant for (or “was never directed against”) people like this’. In either case, the main sense is the same, though NIV prefers ‘such things’.
Cole, R. A. (1989). Galatians: an introduction and commentary (Vol. 9, p. 222). Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:30 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:29 pm
jeidsath wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:44 pm
Out of the four translations just quoted, only one was translated by people sensitive enough to the Greek to notice something like this one way or the other. Callisper's interpretation makes a lot of sense and doesn't seem to be precluded by the grammar. ...
Quite delicious arrogance in your first paragraph above, but considering the general contempt for NT scholarship here, not surprising.
Ha ha. I think Joel has (inadvertently?) just complimented me for being sensitive enough to the Greek to raise such a question.
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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by ἑκηβόλος » Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:40 am

At the risk of mindlessly driveling all over the page here, let me ask a few questions about the prepositional phrase.
jeidsath wrote:
Mon Apr 15, 2019 2:44 pm
doesn't seem to be precluded by the grammar.
How do you (other members) understand the difference between a prepositional phrase as the predicate following a verb to be as copula, as compared to the way that you understand it with an adverbial propositional phrase together with the existential verb?

To start at the beginning, the unlearned might look at this phrase and say, "Count the elements! There're 3. There is a verb to be, there are two other elements, why not necessarily assign one as the subject and the other as a predicate?" Somebody with a little learning might say that the verb to be doesn't take adverbs as compliment, but rather adjectives. A reader with more experience might put aside grammar and say that grammar only goes so far and in this case the strict application of grammatical categories clouds rather than clears the waters.

Just looking at the examples in LSJ entry for εἰμί, (in a way that is unwise and for which LSJ was never intended, but still useful for a first and temporary glance), the question of adverbs is not really settled. The adverb ἔτι used a few times describes the relative (temporal) relation between the (temporal) extent (or timeframe context of action) of the existential verb and other events in the narrative (eg. the narrative present) - it is a discourses level adverb, not a phrase level one. The one example quoted in that entry of LSJ's with an adverbial prepositional phrase viz, τὸ ἐσόμενον ἐκ ... is too decontextualised in its quotation to indicate whether the (unfinished in quotation) prepositional phrase is constructed (adverbially) with another verb in the sentence, or (adjectivally) with with the existential verb ... but, wait a minute ... what am I talking about ... the existential verb by definition doesn't have a predicate.

Does the κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων tell us the quality of a law, ie does it (adjectivally) describe the attributes of the noun νόμος? If yes, then it is a predicate, and if it is a predicate, then if we continue to assert that this is the existential verb either we are beyond the reaches of grammar (where an experienced reader feels (over) confident enough to be subjective or an exegete feels free to translate unconstrained by the bridle of grammar), or (going back to the most basic observation that there are 3 parts to this phrase) this οὐκ ἔστιν is the negated copula, and all but 3 or 4 NT translations are grammatically unsound.

If κατὰ τῶν τοιούτων does not talk about a(n adjectival) quality of the law (whether divine or human) but rather about the circumstances of its existence, then οὐκ ἔστιν νόμος might be an example of the existential verb. How could that work though?

Personally, I have trouble imagining how this highly meaningful adverb(ial prepositional phrase) that invokes both the referent of the demonstrative, an extrapolation of the virtues referred to by the demonstrative and an implied verb ("has been put in place") could modify only certain aspectual parts of the grammatical component of οὐκ ἔστιν νόμος - those parts of grammar that make clear the relationship between the action of this verb and the action of other verbs within the narrative time frame, without modifying - tailoring or constraining - the verb's internal time grammar, or the lexicosemantic value of "law".
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Re: Gal 5:23 ἔστιν

Post by Barry Hofstetter » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:23 pm

Callisper wrote:
Sun Apr 14, 2019 10:46 pm

But isn't it likelier that the law in question is the ὁ Νόμος of Galatians 5:14-15? I'm not yet convinced I should consider my statement counter-exampled.
By using the anarthrous νόμος, Paul includes the Torah without excluding other types of law.
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