De Trinitate Translation – Objective Genitive

While I was working on my translation I ran across “Didymus” quoting Romans 3:22. The text is as follows (I hope the Greek comes through):

Ῥωμ[αίοις δέ·] „δικαιοσύνη δὲ θεοῦ διὰ πίστεως ⌊Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς πάντας τοὺς⌋ πιστεύοντας“.

There is no textual variants from what is in our modern GNT. As I was going along translating, I wondered how I would translated the genitive. Is it “the righteousness of God through the faith of Jesus Christ” (subjective genitive) or “through faith in Jesus Christ” (objective). For anyone who has taken first year Greek or is minutely involved with the NPP, the issue is immediately apparent. Having only delved into the issue a little bit myself, I was stuck. How should I translate this verse? Prior to the 20th century, I would have followed Luther, et al. and affirmed the objective enitive (i.e., faith in Christ). The choice would have been easy. But now, there is so much fire (probably more light than heat) surrounding this issue, I wanted to get it right.

Then, to my amazement, I realized that “Didymus” offered an interpretation immediately following this verse.

(10.)  διὰ τῆς εἰς τὸν υἱὸν φησὶ [πίστεως δικαιοῦται] ὑπὸ θεοῦ ἕκαστος.

Which I translate as:

“He means through faith in the Son each one is justified by God.”

Whatever Paul might have actually meant by the phrase, it’s obvious that Didymus took it as an objective genitive. But of course, what could the Early Church ever teach us Christians today about Christian doctrine?


9 thoughts on “De Trinitate Translation – Objective Genitive

  1. This is one more reason why I prefer Latin over Greek: no objective genatives. We do have about 14 different uses of the ablative, but at least the genative is fairly straightforward and recognisable.

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