Transitional 'εις’ and Acts 2:38

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NuGrkStu
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Transitional 'εις’ and Acts 2:38

Post by NuGrkStu » Fri Mar 31, 2017 3:47 pm

There are many theological debates regarding the proper translation of 'εις’ in Acts 2:38. One theologian (I believe it was Mantey?) even said the grammar will not tell you the theology either way. It is therefore up to your theological bent.

Anywho, would like to pose these two verses to my greek friends and ask from a greek perspective shouldn't 'εις' be translated exactly the same between these two verses?

Matt 26:28 τοῦτο γάρ ἐστιν τὸ αἷμά μου τῆς διαθήκης τὸ περὶ πολλῶν ἐκχυννόμενον εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.
́́́(For this is the blood of me of the covenant that which for many is being shed for forgiveness of sins."
Jesus blood is being shed 'for the forgiveness of sins'.

Acts 2:38 καὶ βαπτισθήτω ἕκαστος ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν
́(be baptized each of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of the sins of you . . .)
Be baptized 'for the forgiveness of your sins.'

I'm not interested in your theology, but from the greek perspective these phrases are identical and should be interpreted identically. Yes?

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jeidsath
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Re: Transitional 'εις’ and Acts 2:38

Post by jeidsath » Fri Mar 31, 2017 4:42 pm

ἐκχύννομαι and εβαπτισθην seem like very different verbs to me, and their action is what is modified by the prepositional phrase. It's quite possible that Matthew and Luke have slightly different ideas in mind here.
Joel Eidsath -- jeidsath@gmail.com

C. S. Bartholomew
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Re: Transitional 'εις’ and Acts 2:38

Post by C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Mar 31, 2017 8:28 pm

This reminds me a comment Bruce Waltke made about Biblical Hebrew prepositions. I don't have the exact quote handy but essentially he was denying that prepositions were semantic "wild cards" in Biblical Hebrew. While I agree with Waltke on that issue, not others, the semantic contribution of the preposition is relatively minor. I would lean toward the semantic minimalists when it comes to prepositions. The co-text, context, scenario ... provides provides the semantic substance, the preposition contributes very little, just enough to be above zero. Don't fuss about εις. That is the wrong place to search for meaning.
C. Stirling Bartholomew

mwh
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Re: Transitional 'εις’ and Acts 2:38

Post by mwh » Fri Mar 31, 2017 9:52 pm

Despite Stirling’s exaggeration, both he and jeidsath are making effectively the same point—basically, that Context Matters. In drawing attention to the different verb, jeidsath identifies what is arguably the most significant item of “co-text, context, scenario ...” that Stirling rightly insists contributes to meaning.

So yes, NuGrkStu, the phrases in question are very close to being identical, and yes they should be translated the same way, if the context in which they’re used is sufficiently close. Is that a big “if”? Probably not. But whenever it comes to translation, theologians and non-theologians alike should decide on the meaning of the Greek before deciding how best to translate it. There’s no single “proper” translation, and debates should primarily be about what it means and only secondarily about how best to translate it.

The advantage of learning Greek, of course, is that you no longer need to bother with translations at all (you can Throw the translations away! as Stirling might say), and that if you do bother with them you can recognize their inevitable deficiencies. :)

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