James 3:7

John 3:7

Jam 3:7 πᾶσα γὰρ φύσις θηρίων τε καὶ πετεινῶν ἑρπετῶν τε καὶ ἐναλίων δαμάζεται καὶ δεδάμασται τῇ φύσει τῇ ἀνθρωπίνῃ:


The sense of this verse is quite simple. However, what sense the word FUSIS in this verse carries? I like to see what it means by saying ‘PASA FUSIS’ (?all nature of such creatures) and ‘TH FUSEI THi ANQRWPINHi’ (? by those partaking the nature of man’). It would be much easier for me if I find the Greek text with this FUSIS, e.g. by simply saying ‘the creatures’ and ‘by man’ (e.g. hUPO~).

Thank you for your help.

Oun Kwon

8 thoughts on “John 3:7”

  1. It isn’t necessary, or particularly desirable, to understand φύσις FUSIS to have the same significance in each usage.  We don’t do this in English, and I rather suspect that almost no language always uses a word in the same sense.  In the first instance I would suggest that it be understood in the sense of “species” — “for every species of animal” (list).  In the second case, probably “disposition” would be a better choice.

     george gfsomsel

    … search for truth, hear truth, learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, defend the truth till death.

    – Jan Hus

  2. I can understand the first instance as it is ‘the nature (of the creatures) be tamed’. I get stumbled on the second instance ‘?? tamed by the nature belonging to man’.

    Oun Kwon.

  3. You are still attempting to understand φύσις FUSIS in the same sense in each instance. 

    “When you see a fork in the road, take it.”  What does fork mean here (obviously some context would be needed). “Bear left at the fork when you see a truck bearing hay but watch out for the bear.” (homophones)

     george gfsomsel

    … search for truth, hear truth, learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, defend the truth till death.

    – Jan Hus

  4. Not quite. Not about the meaning of FUSIS, but the dative phrase of TH FUSEI THi ANQRWPINHi. As most renders as ‘by man’, is it instrumental? Then, how does ‘FUSIS’ come into play?

    Oun Kwon.

  5. ANQRWPINHi seems to refer to the agent for the preceding two passive verbs for taming. ἀνθρώπινος ANQRWPINOS is an adjective that modifies the head noun. The whole sentence highlights the power of humans over beasts in the sense of their ability to tame all kinds of animals. I don’t see a problem with understanding both instances of FUSIS here as “species”. The human species is taming and has tamed all animal species.

    Thank you Iver, I hear you well. Now the sentence comes clear to me. BDAG had more details on the lexicographic level. Taking both as ‘species’ makes the English rendering understandable. I found several which rendered it as ‘nature’ – DRB and those based on Peshitta (Rotherham, Etheridge, Murdock).

    Since The human being as a species has not, in fact, ‘tamed every species’ (or ‘every kind’ – KJV) of animal kingdom, should I take the expression ‘every’ as rhetorical hyperbole?

    David Stein’s Jewish New Testament seems to succeed to give a best English-like one to bring what the author is trying to tell about the problem of taming the tongue.

    “For people have tamed and continue to tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures;”

    Oun Kwon.

  6. This verse is part of a series of echoes and allusions to the creation and re-creation (flood) narratives in Genesis. The verse in question here parallels Genesis 1:26 and 9:2-3, in which God gave the animals into the hands of humanity. The apparent redundancy of the present and perfect tenses of DAMAZW “tame” reflects those two events in Genesis. In this light, I would not understand the taming of animals in James 3 as hyperbole.

    Rather than indicating humanity’s general dominion over the animal kingdom in the past and present, the present and perfect tenses of DAMAZW denotes the present process of taming animals by humans and the fact that this order was already established at creation. Since James has already alluded repeatedly to the account of Noah in this passage, the submission of animals in the renewed world after the flood is likely in view as well as their submission in the original creation of Gen. 1-2. Humanity occupies the highest place in the creation order recorded in Genesis. Yet, James suggests that the wild nature of the tongue (and the human heart) is disparate from the nature of all other “species” of God’s creation. No one among humanity is able to tame it. Thus, while I believe it is a fair translation of FUSIS to use “species” for both the animals and the human species that tames them in 3:7, what James is really talking about within the larger context here is the “nature” of humanity and our inability to tame the tongue.

    And–in order to not stray too far from the purposes of the B-Greek list here–let me point out that the key word in 3:8 is ANQRWPWN. As Steve Runge was pointing out about the bracketed text in the current discussion of Rev 21:3, here in Jas. 3:8 it is ANQRWPWN that is a right dislocation. This, however, is not a right dislocation of a whole noun phrase, but of the genitive modifier ANQRWPWN, modifying OUDEIS, which lies on the other side of the verb. The addition of ANQRWPWN here at the end of the clause should not be understood simply as an idiomatic way of saying “no one”. It is truly adding new salient information. It is not that no one is able to tame the tongue, but no one of humanity. It should remind us of Jesus’ saying that PARA ANTHRWPOIS TOUTO ADUNATON ESTIN, PARA DE THEW PANTA DUNATA (Mt. 19:26). And it is only because it is new and salient that James can go on to decry the pattern of duplicitous speech in the community. Otherwise, how could James expect the impossible of his audience?

    I have written a thesis on the allusions to Noah in James 3:1-12, if anyone would like to receive a PDF of that.

    Benjamin Pehrson

    Trainer in Advanced Biblical Studies

    Ukarumpa Training Center

    Papua New Guinea

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