Anomalous relative pronoun in Rom 9:5

cjab

Well-known member
The clause is translated as “God, the one who is above all, be blessed forever, Amen.”
I agree. The force of attraction between ὁ and θεὸς (and everything in between) is overwhelming, at least by the judgement of the grammarians of old. So ὁ ὢν could only refer to Christ if θεὸς wasn't present.

In effect the Trinitarian translation renders θεὸς an adjective to break the force of attraction between ὁ and θεὸς. In any case ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων would still not necessarily refer to Christ, even if θεὸς wasn't present. It would only necessarily refer to Christ if, as I suggested, ὢν were deleted to read ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων.

So it is the presence of θεὸς, that Trinitarians seek to capitalize on, which renders the sense unambiguously non-trinitarian.

Also ἐπὶ πάντων is only ever used by Paul of the Father, albeit Christ uses ἐπάνω πάντων (twice) of himself in Jhn 3:31 although obviously not so as to exclude God his Father.

So there isn't any theological objection to Christ being ἐπὶ πάντων, or to the Father being ἐπὶ πάντων.

Context is what determines it. In the Pauline epistles, Paul was speaking to Gentiles who weren't familiar with Jewish monotheism, and needed to be taught God's supremacy from the ground up, which is why it is the Father aloneis ἐπὶ πάντων, and not Christ. The Jews would have understood that Christ wasn't referring to himself being above him Father when he used ἐπάνω πάντων.
 
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cjab

Well-known member
(above - rather): "The Jews would have understood that Christ wasn't referring to himself being above "his" Father when he used ἐπάνω πάντων (of himself)."

Alford concedes that if, per my suggestion for what the text could have said had the Trinitarian sense been intended, the text had read ""ἐξ ὧν ὁ χρ. τὸ κατὰ σάρκα, ὁ ἐπὶ πάντων θεὸς ...." the text would have countenanced the Noetian or Sabellian view of confusing the identity of the Father with the Son."

Here is Beet's Discussion, which is interesting if only because he makes the point that τὸ κατὰ σάρκα is of itself quite sufficient to acknowledge Christ's divine origin here .....
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Two RENDERINGS of Romans 9:5 b are grammatically admissible and worthy of consideration.

(1) ο ων επι παντων θεος may be in apposition to ο χριστος, asserting that He who sprang from Israel is over all God blessed forever: cp. 2 Corinthians 11:31; John 1:18; John 3:13. So Irenaeus (quoted on p. 6) and Origen, (both preserved in Latin translations only,) Tertullian, Cyprian, very many early Christian writers, and a large majority of the writers of all ages.

(2) ο ων επι παντων θεος may be the subject, and ευλογητος εις τους αιωνας the predicate, of a new sentence. This exposition is not found in any early Christian writer; but is adopted in the Alex., Ephraim, and Clermont MSS., where we find stops marking off the words in question as a doxology to the Father and spaces proving that the stops are from the first hand. In the Vat. MS. is a stop apparently from a later hand.

The general and uncontradicted agreement of early Christian writers has much less weight in reference to exposition than to doctrine; and against it, as supporting exposition (1), must be set the punctuation of some early manuscripts. Certainly this agreement cannot be accepted as decisive. The correct interpretation of the passage before us can be determined only by the methods of modern exegesis.

I shall endeavour to show that (2) is in thorough accord with the structure of the passage, with the context, and with the thought of Paul; and that (1), though grammatically correct and making good sense, is made unlikely by the very ambiguity of the passage.

It is objected that ευλογητος, in the four other doxologies of the N.T. in which it is found, and in many doxologies in the O.T., is always (except Psalms 68:19) put before the name of God. So Luke 1:68; 2 Corinthians 1:3; Ephesians 1:3; 1 Peter 1:3; Genesis 9:26; 1 Samuel 25:32-33; 1 Samuel 25:39, etc. But no one can say that grammar requires the predicate, even where the copula is suppressed, to stand first. For the contrary, see Romans 11:16; Romans 12:9; Hebrews 13:4; Luke 10:2. Of all languages, the Greek would be the last to forbid a man to say God be blessed in deviation from the common order blessed be God. The objection is simply an appeal to the usage of Paul and of the Bible. What this is, we will consider.

As noticed above, Paul frequently turns suddenly away from the matter in hand to ascribe praise to God. In these cases, whenever the doxology takes the form of an exclamation, it begins with the name of God, and often with a solemn declaration of the divine attribute which prompted it. In this way the writer puts prominently before us the Great Being to whom our attention is suddenly directed. When a doxology occurs at the beginning of a subject, the word of praise comes first, making prominent the idea of praise. So Luke 1:68, etc. Just so, in Luke 2:14, when the angels take up their song, they put the word glory first: but when they turn from God on high to men on earth, they give emphasis to the transition by putting the words upon earth before the word peace. They thus deviate, in the latter case from the universal, in the former from the almost universal, usage of the New Testament: cp. Luke 10:5; John 20:19; John 20:21; John 20:26. But they deviate for a sufficient reason.

The peculiarity of the case before us is, not the position, but the presence, of the word blessed. Elsewhere it is found in the N.T. only in doxologies which begin a subject. All others, and they are frequent with Paul, take the form “to God be glory.” But surely the use here of the word blessed need not surprise us. And, if used, it must follow God over all. Otherwise Paul would deviate from his own unvarying use in doxologies at the end of a subject, which are so frequent with him, a use flowing naturally from the order of thought; and would direct our chief attention to the act of praise instead of the Object of praise.

On the other hand, although ευλογημενος is used of Christ in Matthew 21:9; Matthew 23:39, etc., ευλογητος never is. (For the distinction, see Genesis 14:19-20, LXX.) And elsewhere Paul uses the word God, never of the Son, but as a distinctive title of the Father, even to distinguish Him from the Son. So Romans 16:27; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Ephesians 4:6. But these objections to (1) are not decisive. For, as I hope to show in Diss. i., Paul looked upon Christ as sharing to the full the divine nature of the Father. There is therefore no reason why he should not deviate from his custom and speak of Christ, though it be only once, as ευλογητος and θσος, terms elsewhere reserved for the Father. Cp. John 20:28; John 1:1, and probably John 1:18. Interpret it as we may, this passage differs from the usage of Paul. Consequently, no argument can be based on the unusual order of the words.

According to exposition (1), the word ων is an emphatic assertion that Christ is over all, God, and blessed for ever. In (2) it asserts that over all there exists one who bears the title God and is blessed for ever. The words ων επι παντων are, as in Romans 1:7; 1 Corinthians 3:7, put for emphasis between the article and its substantive, according to constant Greek usage. The words over all recall Ephesians 4:6, where they refer to the Father.

The words ο ων ευλογητος εις τους αιωνας in 2 Corinthians 11:31 give no support to (1). For they cannot by themselves form a complete sentence; and must therefore be in apposition to the foregoing nominative. .... Had Paul wished to teach here that Christ is God, he might have done so, and put his meaning beyond doubt, by writing ος εστιν as in Romans 1:25.

The words according to flesh suggest another side of Christ’s nature which did not descend from Israel. But this suggestion is so clear that it does not need express assertion....

 

Steven Avery

Well-known member
Let's do a literal translation without any prejudicial punctuation:

"Of whom the fathers and from whom the Christ according to the flesh the one being over all God blessed forever, amen."

Notice how the AV excellently maintains the word order.

Romans 9:5
Whose are the fathers,
and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came,
who is over all,
God blessed for ever.
Amen.
 

Steven Avery

Well-known member
Notice that while the AV text does definitely say that Christ is "over all" (which is not accepted by some low Christology writers, who would prefer only God to be over all), the AV text really does not say that Christ is God.

However, it is common for Bible commentators to say that this AV text does interpret as "Christ is God", as with a bandwagon (fallacy) effect. They like to ssstreetttcchhh the English to match the doctrinal preference. In the Reformation era through the 1700s and later this "Christ is God" position was taken by dozens of "orthodox" writers.

All this is very analogous to the attempts on some Granville Sharp verses.

This "Christ is God" apposition would be true if there was a comma after God, as in some commentaries, and then you would have three different phrases attributed to Christ:

over all
God
blessed for ever

However, that is not the English text of the learned men of the AV, who were exceedingly strong in Greek and Latin.
 
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The Real John Milton

Well-known member
Notice that while the AV text does definitely say that Christ is "over all" (which is not accepted by some low Christology writers, who would prefer only God to be over all), the AV text really does not say that Christ is God.

However, it is common for Bible commentators to say that this AV text does interpret as "Christ is God", as with a bandwagon (fallacy) effect. They like to ssstreetttcchhh the English to match the doctrinal preference. In the Reformation era through the 1700s and later this "Christ is God" position was taken by dozens of "orthodox" writers.

All this is very analogous to the attempts on some Granville Sharp verses.

This "Christ is God" apposition would be true if there was a comma after God, as in some commentaries, and then you would have three different phrases attributed to Christ:

over all
God
blessed for ever

However, that is not the English text of the learned men of the AV, who were exceedingly strong in Greek and Latin.
Yeah, the Greek is quite impossible for calling Christ God here. We see that the apostle uses a relative clause each time to make clear which person / persons or thing he is talking about. But when he wants to start a new sentence, he uses a participle phrase:

ηὐχόμην γὰρ ἀνάθεμα εἶναι αὐτὸς ἐγὼ ἀπὸ τοῦ χριστοῦ ὑπὲρ τῶν ἀδελφῶν μου τῶν συγγενῶν μου κατὰ σάρκα, οἵτινές εἰσιν Ἰσραηλεῖται, ὧν ἡ υἱοθεσία καὶ ἡ δόξα καὶ αἱ διαθῆκαι καὶ ἡ νομοθεσία καὶ ἡ λατρεία καὶ αἱ ἐπαγγελίαι, ὧν οἱ πατέρες, καὶ ἐξ ὧν ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα. ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων Θεὸς εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.

No way you could take ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων as being in apposition to ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα without doing violence to the Greek : ὁ Χριστὸς τὸ κατὰ σάρκα, ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων, Θεὸς, εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν

What sort of convoluted Greek is this ?
 

cjab

Well-known member
However, that is not the English text of the learned men of the AV, who were exceedingly strong in Greek and Latin.
Too much Latin. The AV follows the latin of the Vulgate, not the Greek. The Latin of the Vulgate follows the "God the Word" brand of "church fathers," who were forever looking for textual ways to affirm their elevation of Christ to synonymity with the Father, as if Christ's elevation to ruling over heaven and earth were not enough for them.

ἐπὶ πάντων is used of the Father in Eph 4:6. For reasons of consistency alone, ἐπὶ πάντων applies to God (the Father), not Christ. The grammar is fully compatible with this thesis. For if it was Christ who was over all, there would have been no need for the participle, as in Eph 4:6 where it is left out.

The AV translation is actually spurious here.
 

Steven Avery

Well-known member
Too much Latin. The AV follows the latin of the Vulgate, not the Greek. The Latin of the Vulgate follows the "God the Word" brand of "church fathers," who were forever looking for textual ways to affirm their elevation of Christ to synonymity with the Father, as if Christ's elevation to ruling over heaven and earth were not enough for them. ... The AV translation is actually spurious here.

You are poorly informed on the AV history. E.g. the AV never made any Christ is God blunder on the Granville Sharp verses. Sharp’s book even says in its title that it wants to correct the AV. :) The NT in the AV has dual addressing in dozens of verses.

You are welcome to try to explain why you see the Romans 9:5 text, which follows the Greek word order, and does not match any Latin text, as “spurious”. Maybe you mistakenly see it as a Christ-God apposition text?

There are many high Christology verses in the New Testament, that are compatible with Christ being “over all”. If helpful, we can do that study.
 
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cjab

Well-known member
You are poorly informed on the AV history. E.g. the AV never made any Christ is God blunder on the Granville Sharp verses. Sharp’s book even says in its title that it wants to correct the AV. :)
It is hardly related to the passage in question, which isn't GS.

The NT in the AV has dual addressing in dozens of verses.

You are welcome to try to explain why you see the Romans 9:5 text, which follows the Greek word order, and does not match any Latin text, as “spurious”. Maybe you mistakenly see it as a Christ-God apposition text?
I have already explained this issue in context: it was unnecessary for there to be a participle to attribute ἐπὶ πάντων to Christ. "o ἐπὶ πάντων" would have made the association with Christ unequivocal in Greek (or else with ὅς ἐστι(ν)). Inserting a participle in front of ἐπὶ πάντων creates a new sentence, which is reflected in some ancient Greek manuscripts also by there being a break between κατὰ σάρκ and o ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων.

There are many high Christology verses in the New Testament, that are compatible with Christ being “over all”. If helpful, we can do that study.
As the title of this threat suggests, there is no relative pronoun in Greek. The Greek for "who is" ὅς ἐστι(ν) is found in the doxlogy in Rom 1:25 and many other places. The use of "who is" in English is taking a liberty with the Greek, given that ἐπὶ πάντων is associated unequivocally with the Father in Eph 4:6. Thus in Jhn 3:31, o ὢν cannot be translated "who is" without introducing a semantic contradiction: equally in Rom 9:5.

The context of Christ being above all, e.g. Jhn 3:31 (ἐπάνω πάντων ἐστίν) Eph 1:21 is always above all things on earth and heaven excepting the Father. When Paul talks about "above all" with no defined context except "o theos", he is including even the concept of God being above Christ. Given Eph 4:6 and 1 Cor 11:3 and John 10:29 the idea is hardly controversial.
 
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Gryllus Maior

Well-known member
Too much Latin. The AV follows the latin of the Vulgate, not the Greek. The Latin of the Vulgate follows the "God the Word" brand of "church fathers," who were forever looking for textual ways to affirm their elevation of Christ to synonymity with the Father, as if Christ's elevation to ruling over heaven and earth were not enough for them.

ἐπὶ πάντων is used of the Father in Eph 4:6. For reasons of consistency alone, ἐπὶ πάντων applies to God (the Father), not Christ. The grammar is fully compatible with this thesis. For if it was Christ who was over all, there would have been no need for the participle, as in Eph 4:6 where it is left out.

The AV translation is actually spurious here.
So says someone with little Greek and no Latin. Jerome's Latin is perfectly valid and captures the sense of the Greek in Latin, especially since there is no present participle of the verb to be in Latin, as there is in Greek. The KJV translation here is also a fine rendering of the Greek. Your stumbling around and trying to find reasons to explain it away are quite unconvincing. That the participle was left out in Eph 4:6 is simply that it would be understood from context, and that has no relevance to the inclusion of the participle in Rom 9:5. It's a stylistic choice.

But hopefully you will at some point engage in a systematic study of the language, since our theology starts at the lexical, grammatical and syntactical level. Then maybe you will begin to see why you are wrong on so many points.

By the way, Jerome read it the way I do:

unus Deus et Pater omnium qui super omnes et per omnia et in omnibus nobis

He uses the relative pronoun, and but omits est (the verb to be) just as Paul did not include the participle, but understood it from context, something which Latin also does in similar contexts.
 

cjab

Well-known member
So says someone with little Greek and no Latin.
I did latin at school from aged 8 up to 16 years old and gained a formal educational qualification at B grade.

Jerome's Latin is perfectly valid and captures the sense of the Greek in Latin, especially since there is no present participle of the verb to be in Latin, as there is in Greek. The KJV translation here is also a fine rendering of the Greek.
As to Rom 9:5, the English and the Latin are paraphrases of the Greek, not translation.

Your stumbling around and trying to find reasons to explain it away are quite unconvincing.
There is no relative pronoun in Greek. That is a very convincing ground.

That the participle was left out in Eph 4:6 is simply that it would be understood from context, and that has no relevance to the inclusion of the participle in Rom 9:5. It's a stylistic choice.
Leaving the participle out would have created a grammatical association between ἐπὶ πάντων and Christ, whereas with the participle, there could only have been a contextual association, not a grammatical one. The contextual association however is invalidated by Eph 4:6 and by Paul's theology and by the anomalous grammar, and by God never being used appositively to Christ by Paul, for reasons linked to 1 Cor 11:3 (which verse Trinitarians cannot stomach).

But hopefully you will at some point engage in a systematic study of the language, since our theology starts at the lexical, grammatical and syntactical level. Then maybe you will begin to see why you are wrong on so many points.
Why are my views echoed by so many leading scholars, including Joseph Agar Beet and Winer?

By the way, Jerome read it the way I do:

unus Deus et Pater omnium qui super omnes et per omnia et in omnibus nobis

He uses the relative pronoun, and but omits est (the verb to be) just as Paul did not include the participle, but understood it from context, something which Latin also does in similar contexts.
I had no problem in reading that Latin and I have no issue with it.
 
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Steven Avery

Well-known member
As if I didn't know this before. It is, however, proof that being famous is no guarantee of being right. Note that I gave you an argument based on the text itself, but you replied with an ad verecundiam (et populum).

Agreed. Here is a simple question for you. Do you believe that in the Greek text Christ and God are definitely in apposition? And the only correct translation would be one that says de facto "Christ is God".

Or would you say that this is a reasonable interpretation, but only somewhere between possibility and probability.

It seems like you are defending the basic apposition idea, which is popular in many modern translations, feel free to give your actual position.

Thanks!
 
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Steven Avery

Well-known member
It is hardly related to the passage in question, which isn't GS.

The key verses where the AV is criticized for not having a Christ is God text are Titus 2:13, 2 Peter 1:1 and Romans 9:5. So they are related in the sense of your faux criticisms of the AV texts.

Here is an example of your error.

As to Rom 9:5, the English and the Latin are paraphrases of the Greek, not translation.

The Authorized Version is a direct translation of the Greek, retaining the word order, so calling it a paraphrase is clearly false.
 
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John Milton

Well-known member
Or would you say that this is a reasonable interpretation, but only somewhere between possibility and probability.
I won't speak for Gryllus, but think this is a fair statement, not only for that specific claim but most (all?) of the others as well. It seems to me that most of the proposed interpretations of the text are possible, but many of the claims made in support of those understandings aren't. For instance, it's ridiculous to claim, as one poster seems to, that an author indicates new sentences by the use of a participial phrase or to suggest, as another seems to, that only one mode of expression can convey a particular thought.
 

cjab

Well-known member
The Authorized Version is a direct translation of the Greek, retaining the word order, so calling it a paraphrase is clearly false.
Will you please address the point. Where does "who is" (a relative pronoun) appear in the Greek text of Rom 9:5?

o ὢν doesn't translate to "who is." (Rather the "one who is"). "Who is" is a contextual interpretation or paraphrase only. It is not a grammatical rendition (see John 3:31 for an example of where "who is" would be wrong in every sense, even if correctly translated as "the one who is."). So in Rom 9:5, the grammatical translation is "The one being (i.e. the one who is) above all God blessed for ever".
 
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Gryllus Maior

Well-known member
I did latin at school from aged 8 up to 16 years old and gained a formal educational qualification at B grade.
I'm not sure what "B grade" is but I apologize for making an assumption. Plūs Latinae semper melius! As I stated earlier, I have an M.A. in classical languages, teach Latin, and am working on a Ph.D. in Latin literature and Roman Civilization at U of Fl Gainsville.

As to Rom 9:5, the English and the Latin are paraphrases of the Greek, not translation.

Actually, as I pointed out, Jerome couldn't use a participle, since a present participle for sum did not exist at that time (it was invented later by medieval philosophers interacting with Greek philosophy). It is, however, quite a proper translation in the Latin.

There is no relative pronoun in Greek. That is a very convincing ground.
Not really, not when often it is better to use a relative clause in English, since a literal "The one being" sounds really awkward.

Leaving the participle out would have created a grammatical association between ἐπὶ πάντων and Christ, whereas with the participle, there could only have been a contextual association, not a grammatical one. The contextual association however is invalidated by Eph 4:6 and by Paul's theology and by the anomalous grammar, and by God never being used appositively to Christ by Paul, for reasons linked to 1 Cor 11:3 (which verse Trinitarians cannot stomach).
As I stated earlier, I believe the string of nominatives all have the same referent, which is the first nominative. This is a natural way to read the text, but I agree that in the history of interpretation there have been opposing voices that don't see it that way.

Why are my views echoed by so many leading scholars, including Joseph Agar Beet and Winer?


I had no problem in reading that Latin and I have no issue with it.
Yes, glad to hear it! That's because their way of reading it is also valid from a strict syntactical point of view. I just happen to think it's wrong.
 
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Gryllus Maior

Well-known member
Agreed. Here is a simple question for you. Do you believe that in the Greek text Christ and God are definitely in apposition? And the only correct translation would be one that says de facto "Christ is God".

Or would you say that this is a reasonable interpretation, but only somewhere between possibility and probability.

It seems like you are defending the basic apposition idea, which is popular in many modern translations, feel free to give your actual position.

Thanks!
This is my position, though I'm willing in all academic honesty to admit that the other view is also possible.
 

John Milton

Well-known member
Will you please address the point. Where does "who is" (a relative pronoun) appear in the Greek text of Rom 9:5?

o ὢν doesn't translate to "who is." (Rather the "one who is"). "Who is" is a contextual interpretation or paraphrase only. It is not a grammatical rendition (see John 3:31 for an example of where "who is" would be wrong in every sense, even if correctly translated as "the one who is."). So in Rom 9:5, the grammatical translation is "The one being (i.e. the one who is) above all God blessed for ever".
It is a perfectly acceptable translation of the Greek. Winer uses such glosses himself.
Screenshot 2022-01-12 8.05.33 AM.png
 

cjab

Well-known member
Thanks!

And to call the supposed difference of “who is” and “one who is” a “paraphrase” is a total logic fail anyway :) .
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Christ according to the flesh who is over all. God blessed for ever &

Christ according to the flesh. The one (or He) who is over all God blessed for ever?

And Winer takes the break as between Christ according to the flesh and the one who is over all, so you can ignore the irrelevance from JM.
 
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Steven Avery

Well-known member
Christ according to the flesh who is over all. God blessed for ever &
Christ according to the flesh. The one (or He) who is over all God blessed for ever?

or
Christ according to the flesh who is the one over all. God blessed for ever &
 
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