New Testament • Re: 1 Cor 7:36 καὶ οὕτως ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι

1 Corinthians 7:36

I appreciate what you're trying to do, but my questions about this clause are not really about its pragmatics but just the low-level stuff of figuring out subjects, antecedents, referents, etc. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — December 27th, 2016, 8:58 am
 
Stephen Carlson wrote: I don't buy the idea of deliberate vagueness, though there is indeed a certain amount of euphemism going on here.
I realise that this is a different river that I'm stepping into now and not only have the ripples (also κῦμα for those of you who translate everything you read into Greek), have calmed down, but et me comment on the social context of the letter. This is a letter that was expected to be publically read, in the presence of the (now not so) young people, their families and thise who would like to gossip about them. There are other occasions where people are named and shamed, or named and praised, but if this is an intensely pastoral moment in the letter, rather than him setting down a general principle, it could be conceivably be avoiding being very precise. Verse 1 makes the low context nature of the phrasing quite logical, with Περὶ δὲ ὧν ἐγράψατέ μοι "Let me address for a moment the things that you wrote to me about". Just how much Paul would have needed to include in a reply, to adequately present an answer for public consumption is something I don't have an opinion on. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 27th, 2016, 5:16 am
 
Tony Pope wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:I'm playing with the idea that καὶ οὕτως ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι is actually the apodosis, as if: "If anyone thinks he is behaving inappropriately with his virgin, if at the sexual peak, then it ought to happen this way: let him do what he wants (i.e. go through the marriage), he does not sin, let them marry." If this clause is part of the protasis, as usually taken, then I think it's referring to some (social) obligation to marry. I don't buy the idea of deliberate vagueness, though there is indeed a certain amount of euphemism going on here.
I found a reference to the apodosis option in a footnote in Meyer's commentary 1:229. https://archive.org/stream/criticalhandbook01meyeuoft#page/n245/mode/2up His negative evaluation of that option is approved by Alford, 2:533-34: https://archive.org/stream/greektestamentwiptsl02alfo#page/532/mode/2up What do you think of their argument?
Thanks for those references. Very help. Nice to have Theophylact on my side. I like Meyer because I often find him addressing the same exegetical questions I have (though not always resolving them the way I like), while modern exegetes don't even seem interested in them. For example, Gordon Fee discusses every clause in this verse but the one I'm interested in! As for Meyer's argument, I don't find it redundant because it is discourse regulatory. I think the καί takes the sense of "then" in the apodosis, so that's a problem. Neither is the obligatoriness of ὀφείλει: the way one ought to follow has an element of choice. Alford doesn't read ὀφείλει as deontic but epistemic (I think); I'm not convinced (yet) that the verb has that sense and there are better ways of expressing it. In fact, what attracts to me about reading the close as an apodosis is that I have a hard time seeing the obligation in the protasis, as Paul's personal preference is for celibacy (cf. v.37). Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — December 22nd, 2016, 5:50 am
 
Stephen Carlson wrote: I'm playing with the idea that καὶ οὕτως ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι is actually the apodosis, as if: "If anyone thinks he is behaving inappropriately with his virgin, if at the sexual peak, then it ought to happen this way: let him do what he wants (i.e. go through the marriage), he does not sin, let them marry." If this clause is part of the protasis, as usually taken, then I think it's referring to some (social) obligation to marry. I don't buy the idea of deliberate vagueness, though there is indeed a certain amount of euphemism going on here.
I found a reference to the apodosis option in a footnote in Meyer's commentary 1:229. https://archive.org/stream/criticalhandbook01meyeuoft#page/n245/mode/2up His negative evaluation of that option is approved by Alford, 2:533-34: https://archive.org/stream/greektestamentwiptsl02alfo#page/532/mode/2up What do you think of their argument? Statistics: Posted by Tony Pope — December 22nd, 2016, 5:17 am
 
Tony Pope wrote: Have you looked at Ciampa and Rosner's commentary? I don't have access to it right now, but they do inter alia discuss Winter's views.
Thanks for the cite. It is not my library, but I can pull up the relevant page on Google Books. They take the subject of ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι to be marrying the young woman as promised, and state that Winter misunderstood the entry on ὀφείλω in LSJ. That's sort of how I was reading it too, except that I'm playing with the idea that καὶ οὕτως ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι is actually the apodosis, as if: "If anyone thinks he is behaving inappropriately with his virgin, if at the sexual peak, then it ought to happen this way: let him do what he wants (i.e. go through the marriage), he does not sin, let them marry." If this clause is part of the protasis, as usually taken, then I think it's referring to some (social) obligation to marry. I don't buy the idea of deliberate vagueness, though there is indeed a certain amount of euphemism going on here. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — December 21st, 2016, 10:07 pm
Have you looked at Ciampa and Rosner's commentary? I don't have access to it right now, but they do inter alia discuss Winter's views. Statistics: Posted by Tony Pope — December 21st, 2016, 5:39 pm
 
Stephen Carlson wrote: Good questions. Is it necessary to answer them first?
Answer? No. Recognising that pronouns have not been written (ie. genders have not been explicated) is to ackowledge that we are reading with a large degree of uncertainty (ie. that this is a low context text). Having come to that understanding, we need to understand or translate appropriately. To put that another way, momentarily relinquish our claims on this passage that because we are Christians then it needs to speak to us. Let's just imagine that we were evesdropping on this conversation about a very delicate and personal matter. I brought up Brown and Levinson's (1987) politeness theory, and I think that a possibly shameful situation is being discussed here in a politeness style suitable for the situation and the subject matter - very laconic. Nobody is explicitly named, clear indications of who is who are being avoided. Even mentioning the gender of the parties of those involved is lost in the obscurant style I don't think it is necessary to answer my question, but it is useful to recognise that the answers to them are not there in the text. Recourse to Politeness theory (starting with Brown and Levinson in 1987 and expanded since then), might save us from understanding (and in some people's cases translating) this passage as an explicitly written text. Of course Paul knew who he was talking about, and the readers of this passage knew he was talking about, because they shared the same cultural values as each other. In our English habits of politeness, we might be a bit less evasive (say or infer things more clearly), because of the relative lack of shame in our individualist society, but here it is not. I don't mean to guide your conclusions, but, when you ask, "What does the question does οὕτως refer to exactly?" , then you are sort of recognising that it's not clear, and the next step in that reasoning is to consider what it is about the Greek, that makes the οὕτως unclear. The obvious answer is that the impersonal (just to make it clear, I am saying that I still think it is impersonal, not events as you suggest), accompanied by a rather unspecified infinitive is a way of avoiding saying things directly. You and I, with our English communicative styles are left asking these questions. Whether the issue is not putting the handbrake on while parking, or a woman reaching her used by date, they are both potentially socially shameful situations, which need to be spoken in whispers, or in a text, using inuendos. If we look at for example, the imperitival infinitives, it is likely that there is a degree of politeness or impoliteness there in the choice if that type of imperative. Polish uses the infinitive as imperative as a rudeness strategy, and English uses it couched within other impersonal phrases (eg. "It might be a good idea to ...") as a politeness strategy. I haven't yet formed an opinion on whether the imperitival infinitive is polite or not in Greek, but I suspect that the Paul is doing something like that here with the indicative in his Greek, and I assume that that is part of normal Greek style - a recognisable politeness strategy. A literal translation of θέλει ποιείτω might be, "Hehem [cough] should abide by the wishes of Hehem [cough]". Back to the idea of evesdropping, if this dialogue statement was changed into a narrative / description statement, what would someone who heard this θέλει ποιείτω actually be able to say? Perhaps, "Somebody ought to do what somebody wanted." No details could be elicited by a stranger from overhearing it. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 21st, 2016, 3:51 am
 
Stephen Hughes wrote: So, 8 different options? The man (either of two), the virgin, or an impersonal?
Well, not so much impersonal, but events.
Stephen Hughes wrote: What gender do you take these verbs? θέλει ποιείτω "He can do what he wants.", "She can do what he wants", "he can do what she wants" or "she can do what she wants"?
Good questions. Is it necessary to answer them first? Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — December 20th, 2016, 8:22 pm
So, 8 different options? The man (either of two), the virgin, or an impersonal? What gender do you take these verbs? θέλει ποιείτω "He can do what he wants.", "She can do what he wants", "he can do what she wants" or "she can do what she wants"? Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 20th, 2016, 7:42 pm
 
Stephen Hughes wrote: What others are you considering?
The ones I mentioned in the OP:
What is the subject of ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι? Does it look forward to the marriage? Or back to the action of behaving shamefully (ἀσχημονεῖν), as Winter proposes? Similarly, is οὕτως cataphoric (explained later) or anaphoric (explained earlier)?
Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — December 20th, 2016, 6:57 pm
 
Stephen Carlson wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I don't think that the clear contrast that you are trying to draw between the deontic and the epistemic can be made because of their interrelatedness. Personally, I think that ὀφείλειν is a socially contextualised word.
I think it depends on what you consider the subject of ὀφείλει is, which is not clear to me.
What possible subjects are you working with? The two I can think of are:
  • The statement ἐὰν ᾖ ὑπέρακμος, in a potential sense (something that will happen in the future) (ὑπέρακμος ἔσται) "she (or he) will on due course pass a socially acceptable biological prime" is the subject of "society expects that passage to happen"
  • If a man who's engaged to a girl finds he is inching or sneaking towards home base, and"if that's because he is full of passion" rather than for some surreptitious motive), then here is what according to society's expectation it ought to be done; he can go ahead with it, it is not sinful but let them go through the entire social recognition practice and get married.
What others are you considering? Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 20th, 2016, 10:57 am
 
Stephen Hughes wrote: I don't think that the clear contrast that you are trying to draw between the deontic and the epistemic can be made because of their interrelatedness. Personally, I think that ὀφείλειν is a socially contextualised word.
I think it depends on what you consider the subject of ὀφείλει is, which is not clear to me. Note: Winter argues that ὑπέρακμος applies to the male with the meaning "full of sexual passion." That's not something that ought to happen (deontic) (cf. v.37 of the male with control over his passions) but rather as he glosses it something that "bound to happen," which I read as epistemic. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — December 20th, 2016, 5:07 am
 
Stephen Carlson wrote: What is the sense of ὀφείλει? Deontic, what one is obligated (socially) to do? Epistemic, what is bound to happen? Bruce Winter 1998, Tyn Bull 49:71-89, translates it following the latter as "and thus is bound to happen," but he does not justify the epistemic reading of ὀφείλει if it even has one.
Social perceptions of nubility and fecundity to some extent have at least a quasi-biological basis to their reasoning. Significant hours on the biological clock may be different in different cultures, but for females, who survive long enough, they will reach social and biological monopause (exclusive grandmotherhood). If the socially acceptable terminus ante quem of nubility is for example, and anything after that prime (ἀκμαία οὖσα) is considered ὑπέρακμος, then there is a social perception of a biological eventuality. I don't think that the clear contrast that you are trying to draw between the deontic and the epistemic can be made because of their interrelatedness. Personally, I think that ὀφείλειν is a socially contextualised word. For ἀσχημονεῖν, deciding between intrinsity of the unseemliness vs. its social perception probably depends on the process that onle undergoes to νομίζειν something. If it is predominantly a process of introspection, then the male head of household could give into her wishes (ὃ θέλει ποιείτω), or engaged or betrothed husband to be could move get on with it, but if however, the νομίζειν primarily involves perception of what is going on around oneself then that would suggest ἀσχημονεῖν was more socially determined. In English, such a woman is referred to by extending the meaning of the profession "spinster", and here they are called 剩女 ("left over women"). Brown and Levinson's politeness theory (1987) contents itself with speech acts, but if we were to extend their for a moment to other forms of social interaction, it would be like saying that not allowing or carrying out a marriage is a negative face threatening act that would damage the "hearer", ie the one who the decision that marriage can't take place effects, ie the virgin. Continung that analogous thinking, a marriage of concession is like an apology. Speaking of punctuation, If you could put inverted commas into the Greek (and I'm not sure what the name of that categorisation of ᾖ would be), ἐὰν ᾖ ὑπέρακμος would mean something, "if she was in danger of being ridiculed for being a spinster", or the male equivalent, if their society had that category for males. Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 20th, 2016, 4:45 am
I am puzzling over this phrase in 1 Cor 7:36 Εἰ δέ τις ἀσχημονεῖν ἐπὶ τὴν παρθένον αὐτοῦ νομίζει, ἐὰν ᾖ ὑπέρακμος καὶ οὕτως ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι, ὃ θέλει ποιείτω, οὐχ ἁμαρτάνει, γαμείτωσαν. How does this clause relate structurally to the other clauses? The NA27 punctuates it as it is governed by ἐάν but the mood seems wrong for that. Is it another condition governed by the initial εἰ? Or, does the καί mark the apodosis, and it is a consequence of the conditions? What is the sense of ὀφείλει? Deontic, what one is obligated (socially) to do? Epistemic, what is bound to happen? Bruce Winter 1998, Tyn Bull 49:71-89, translates it following the latter as "and thus is bound to happen," but he does not justify the epistemic reading of ὀφείλει if it even has one. What is the subject of ὀφείλει γίνεσθαι? Does it look forward to the marriage? Or back to the action of behaving shamefully (ἀσχημονεῖν), as Winter proposes? Similarly, is οὕτως cataphoric (explained later) or anaphoric (explained earlier)? (These questions are just some of the ambiguities here: does ὑπέρακμος refer to the female or the male? Does the παρθένον refer to one's betrothed or one's daughter? etc.) Statistics: Posted by Stephen Carlson — December 19th, 2016, 7:51 pm