Tag Archives: Jude

Greek Wednesday: A Question

Didache 2:7 is an interesting sentence, and it’s puzzling me quite a bit. Here’s the Greek, followed by a published translation and then my own:

οὐ μισήσεις πάντα ἄνθρωπον, ἀλλὰ οὓς μὲν ἐλέγξεις, περὶ δὲ ὧν προσεύξῃ, οὓς δὲ ἀγαπήσεις ὑπὲρ τὴν ψυχήν σου

You shall not hate any one; instead you shall reprove some, and pray for some, and some you shall love more than your own life.

Do not hate any person. Instead: on the one hand, reprove them, and on the other hand, pray for them and love them more than you love your own soul.

I’m pretty sure that the translator, in talking about three different groups, is trying to convey the force of the μὲν . . .  δὲ . . . δὲ (“on the one hand . . . on the other hand . . . and on the other hand”) with the plural pronouns, with the plural pronouns being distinct from the singular ἄνθρωπον (anthrōpon; “man,” “person”). I think it might make better sense to take the plural relative pronouns as depending on the plural πάντα (panta; “all”); in that case, the three pronouns would be referring to the same group, which is “all people.”

Jude 22-23 has a nearly identical construction. Here’s the Greek, followed by the ESV, then my translation:

22 Καὶ οὓς μὲν ἐλεᾶτε διακρινομένους,  23 οὓς δὲ σῴζετε ἐκ πυρὸς ἁρπάζοντες, οὓς δὲ ἐλεᾶτε ἐν φόβῳ μισοῦντες καὶ τὸν ἀπὸ τῆς σαρκὸς ἐσπιλωμένον χιτῶνα.

22 And have mercy on those who doubt;  23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.

22 On the one hand, have mercy on those who are in doubt, 23 and on the other hand, deliver them by snatching them from the fire, and have mercy on them with fear, by hating even the garment that has been stained by the flesh.

I looked around this afternoon, and I couldn’t find anything in any grammars (Wallace, Robertson, BDF, Funk, or Smyth) about this construction referring to different groups. I suppose it could be one of those things that’s just generally known, but that’s not a very satisfying category.

What do you think? Do you have an insight into this sort of construction? Do you know where I could read more about it, if someone has written about it?

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