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Friday, July 23, 2010

some thoughts on 1Peter 1:10-12

The text:
1Pet. 1:9 κομιζόμενοι τὸ τέλος τῆς πίστεως [ὑμῶν] σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν. 10 περὶ ἧς σωτηρίας ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηραύνησαν προφῆται οἱ περὶ τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος προφητεύσαντες, 11 ἐραυνῶντες εἰς τίνα ἢ ποῖον καιρὸν ἐδήλου τὸ ἐν αὐτοῖς πνεῦμα Χριστοῦ προμαρτυρόμενον τὰ εἰς Χριστὸν παθήματα καὶ τὰς μετὰ ταῦτα δόξας. 12 οἷς ἀπεκαλύφθη ὅτι οὐχ ἑαυτοῖς ὑμῖν δὲ διηκόνουν αὐτά, ἃ νῦν ἀνηγγέλη ὑμῖν διὰ τῶν εὐαγγελισαμένων ὑμᾶς [ἐν] πνεύματι ἁγίῳ ἀποσταλέντι ἀπ᾿ οὐρανοῦ, εἰς ἃ ἐπιθυμοῦσιν ἄγγελοι παρακύψαι. 13 Διὸ ἀναζωσάμενοι τὰς ὀσφύας τῆς διανοίας ὑμῶν νήφοντες τελείως ἐλπίσατε ἐπὶ τὴν φερομένην ὑμῖν χάριν ἐν ἀποκαλύψει Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

In v10 we see two verbs joined with a conjunction ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηραύνησαν where one verb would have done the job. What is the difference between the two verbs? If Peter used two words, then there must be some subtle point he is trying to make by the addition of the second verb, some sort of contrast to the first verb; Right? Probably not. The combination of two compound verbs starting with the same preposition with the same morphological form looks good on the page and more importantly it sounds good. At the beginning of v11 we see ἐραυνῶντες a participle of the second verb minus the preposition. Does this verb mean something different than the compound form? Probably not.

The word (constituent) order of v10-11 is noteworthy. The sentence begins with an adverbial prepositional phrase περὶ ἧς σωτηρίας which has an embedded relative pronoun ἧς with the antecedent σωτηρίας following the pronoun, coreferential with σωτηρίαν in v9. This prepositional phrase functions as a discourse link to the preceding co-text, anchoring the sentence with the two finite verbs ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηραύνησαν to the preceding sentence ending with σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν. The subject προφῆται which follows the two verbs is qualified by a participle clause οἱ περὶ τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος προφητεύσαντες where the article οἱ is separated from the participle προφητεύσαντες by an adverbial prepositional phrase περὶ τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος with an embedded second prepositional phrase εἰς ὑμᾶς. One might be tempted to say something at this point about the style. Let’s just say that the author here is demonstrating some skill.

more thoughts later.

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