De Moor V:9: Eternal Generation Defended against the Remonstrants, Part 2

δ. The Apostle supposes the divine Filiation of Christ in the Mediatorial Office, and expressly distinguishes it from the same, Hebrews 5:8, καίπερ ὢν υἱός, ἔμαθεν, etc., thou he were a Son, yet learned He, etc. For καίπερ is not able to be translated because; but it ought to be translated although, granting that, with it not hindering that, as the Most Illustrious ROSSAL[1] teaches in the following Epistle concerning the signification of this particle, written to the Most Illustrious DRIESSEN.[2]

“To the Most Celebrated ANTONIUS DRIESSEN, Doctor of Sacred Theology, and Most Illustrious Professor, greetings from MICHAEL ROSSAL.


Antonius Driessen

“Not long ago, you asked from me, as a Respected Colleague, whether the καίπερ of the Greeks, which is wont to be translated although, or granting that, might also sometimes signify because. You said that you had particular regard to Hebrews 5:8. Receive, Most Celebrated Man, what came into my mind concerning this particle.


“I. First, it is to be observed that καίπερ consists of two words, καὶ/and and περ/thoroughly, whence they are more often separated: HOMER, Odyssey δ, verse 549,

Ὣς ἔφατ᾽· αὐτάρ ἐμοὶ κραδίη καὶ θυμὸς ἀγήνωρ

Αὖτις ἐνὶ στήθεσσι, καὶ ἀχνυμένῳ περ, ἰάνθη.

So he spoke: but my manly heart and spirit were warmed

again in my breast, despite my grief.

And again in verse 553,

—Ἐθέλω δὲ, καὶ ἀχνύμενός περ, ἀκοῦσας

But I would hear, despite my grief.

“In those and similar cases, the καὶ/and and περ/thoroughly, although separated by some word, nevertheless signify the same thing as when they are conjoined in καίπερ.


“II. Second, it is to be observed that those particles are not only found either conjoined, or separated by some word, but sometimes also completely separated from each other and alone. Concerning the καὶ that would be useless to bring to notice; wherefore, it will be sufficient to bring to notice some example whereby it is evident that the περ is used alone. But the same book supplies that, verse 104,

Τῶν πάντων οὐ τόσσον ὀδύρομαι, ἀχνύμενός περ,

Ὡς ἐνὸς ὅστε μοὶ ὕπνον ἀπεχθαίρει καὶ ἐδωδὴν

Μνωομένῳ· ἐπεὶ οὔ τις Ἀχαιῶν τόσσ᾽ ἐμόγησεν,

Ὅσσ᾽ Ὀδυσεὺς ἐμόγησε καὶ ᾔρατο.

Yet for them all I mourn not so much, despite my grief,

as for one only, who makes me to loathe both sleep and food,

when I think of him; for no one of the Achaeans toiled so

much as Odysseus toiled and endured.

“III. As it has now been shown that, not only is the conjoined καίπερ used, but also the separated καὶ and περ, even indeed that each is used alone and separately, another observation follows, which few consider, and which scarcely those few sufficiently understand, although advised, who have only a tenuous and slight acquaintance with the Greek language: that is, expletive conjunctions are not empty sounds, that only fill the ears, and continue the speech, but they have a true, certain, and definite signification. Since this holds concerning all the others, the same obtains in that expletive conjunction concerning which we here dispute. APOLLONIUS, an Alexandrian Grammarian, who flourished in the second Christian century, while Marcus Antonius was reigning,[3] expressly taught each of these things. But since perhaps, Most Illustrious Man, thou art without that book, I will here insert the words of APOLLONIUS from book 3 de Syntaxe, page 264, οὐ γὰρ ἀληθές ἐστιν, ὥς τινες ὑπέλαβον, μόνους αὐτοὺς ἀναπληροῦν τὸ κεχῃνὸς τῆς ἑρμηνείας, καὶ διὰ τοῦτο εἰρῆσθαι παραπληρωματικούς. Ὅτι γὰρ ἕκαστος αὐτῶν ἔχει τινὰ δύναμιν, παρεστήσαμεν ἐν τῷ περὶ συνδέσμων. οὐ γὰρ ταὐτό ἐστι τὸ, τοῦτό μοι χάρισαι, τῷ, τοῦτό γέ μοι χάρισαι. οὐδὲ τὸ, ἀγαθὸς ὢν, τῷ, ἀγαθός περ ἐών. οὐδὲ τὸ αὐτὸ ἐμφαίνει τὸ, οἱ μὲν παρ᾽ ὄχεσφι, τῷ, οἱ μὲν δὴ παρ᾽ ὄχεσφι, that is, For that which some suppose is false, that those alone fill a gap of speech, and are for this reason called expletive (Nota Bene: That μόνους/ alone is suspect to me; I think that it is to be read μόνον/only, so that the sentence might proceed correctly; the thought will be that that expletive particles not only fill a gap of speech, because in addition the individual expletive particles have a particular signification, as it soon follows): For, that each of these has a particular force, we proved in the book concerning Conjunctions: For, τοῦτό μοι χάρισαι, to grant this to me, is not the same thing as τοῦτό γέ μοι χάρισαι, to grant this at least to me; neither is ἀγαθὸς ὢν, he is brave, the same as ἀγαθός περ ἐών, however brave he be; nor οἱ μὲν παρ᾽ ὄχεσφι, those near the carriages, as οἱ μὲν δὴ παρ᾽ ὄχεσφι, those quite near the carriages.


“So you see that, in Apollonius, both the other expletive Conjunctions, and that of which we treat, namely, the περ, have the same force and power. What that δύναμις/force is, by definitely showing its signification the same Writer teaches on the following page, οὐ μὴν τοῖς παραπληρωματικοῖς ταὐτὸ συνηκολούθει; Σχεδὸν γὰρ ἕκαστος αὐτῶν ἴδιόν τι ἐπηγγέλλετο. Μείωσιν μὲν ὁ γὲ, ἐν τῷ, τοῦτό γε μοι χάρισαι. περιγραφὴν λόγου ὁ δὴ. Ἐναντιότητα ὁ Πὲρ, μετ᾽ αὐξήσεως ἐμφαντικῆς, Does not the same thing happen to expletive conjunctions? Namely, that they have μίαν δύναμιν, one force, one definite signification, as it is necessary to repeat out of what precedes. For the individual expletives generally manifest individual significations: like γὲ, diminution: δὴ, a paraphrasis of speech: πὲρ, an opposite force with amplification having signification. I follow here the interpretation of Franciscus Portus,[4] whose understanding is this, that the conjunction πὲρ has an opposite signification with the relation of intensification; or rather, that it is an adversative conjunction with an open, express, and evident strengthening of expression.


“From these things it is evident just how mistaken are those Grammarians that think that these Conjunctions have no signification at all, and teach that these are mere superfluities of speech; they are certainly untrustworthy teachers of the Greek language. But exceedingly few are so elevated in learning that they perceive the force of the Greek particles in any manner, still less understand them more perfectly; and that is not able to be obtained except by long use.


Bernard de Montfaucon

“IV. Thus, with the adversative signification of this Conjunction indicated, with the expressed augment, and that demonstrated above with examples, it remains to be seen whether any light arises to us from the interpretation of others. The Vulgate translates this, even indeed. Labbeus’ Glossarium:[5] καίπερ, although. Father Montfaucon’s Lexicon Græcum ad Hexapla: καίπερ τοι, even indeed. Theophylact, explaining that καίπερ ὢν υἱός in other words, says, καίτοιγε ὄντα καὶ υἱὸν, although He were a Son: for, that the καίτοιγε, which is the same as the καίπερ, or καίπερτοι, must be translated in this way, is proven even by this one example, ÆSCHINES’[6] Socratic Dialogues III, section 2, ἀνιαρῶστε φέρει τὴν τελευτὴν, καίτοιγε τὸν πρόσθεν χρόνον διαχλευάζων τοὺς μορμολυττομένους τὸν θάνατον, καὶ πρᾴως ἐπιτωθάζων, he bears death with grief, although in a former time he criticized, and mildly derided, those that were fearing death.


“V. Finally, unless I am mistaken, O Illustrious Man, from the things that I have hitherto argued, it is manifestly proven what that καίπερ in Hebrews 5:8 is. Whether the καίπερ be taken as an aggregate, composed of those two Conjunctions, to which we would attribute an adversative sense μετ᾽ αὐξήσεως ἐμφαντικῆς, with an emphatic amplification, as it is taken today; or we divide those Conjunctions, as the Vulgate appears to have done, which interprets this καίπερ as and indeed. In either way we have contrarity; we have an intensification of the sense expressed manifestly and significatively, ἐμφαντικῶς/emphatically. Those things appeared contrary and adverse, to be a Son, and yet to suffer those things, whether you translate it quamvis, in spite of the fact, with Beza; or quanquam/although out of the Glossarium; or licet/although; or et quidem, even indeed, according to Montfaucon and with the Vulgate, even indeed while being a Son, He learned obedience by the things which He suffered: in such a way that even by this interpretation some intensification of Speech is expressed. For on this point Beza incorrectly says, the Vulgate expresses it altogether ineptly as, even indeed. But thise was the habit of Beza, to carp at Erasmus, or Jerome, or the Vulgate, and to find fault with those things that were better than his own. Experience daily teaches me that what BOCHART said, Hierozoico, Part 2, Book 2, chapter 31, page 345, is altogether true, that out of the multitude of interpretations the most ancient is to be preferred, unless there be the very weightiest reasons why we should recede from it.


“These are the things, O Most Illustrious Man, that I thought necessary to be said for the understanding of this particle. If these thing should furnish for you an occasion of increasing the knowledge of godliness, by the true sense of the divine sentence, more certainly understood by the help of the Grammatical art, I will rejoice with sincere joy, and give thanks to God, who gave the Grammatical art to man, which, although it is by no means the knowledge of godliness, yet bestows something to the knowledge of the truth, which is according to godliness. Farewell, Most Illustrious Man; let us labor ἐν ἀγάπῃ, in love.


“At Groningen, June, 1719.”

[1] Michael Rossal (1674-1744) served as the librarian of the University of Groningen from 1727 to 1744. [2] Antonius Driessen (1648-1748) was a Dutch Reformed theologian. He served as Professor of Theology at Groningen (1714-1748). [3] Apollonius of Dyscolos (second century AD) was a Greek grammarian of considerable ability and of lasting influence. He lived and worked in Alexandria, Egypt. Marcus Aurelius Antonius reigned from 161 to 180. [4] Franciscus Portus (1511-1581) was a Greco-Italian classical scholar. His adherence to Reformed Christianity forced him to leave Venice for Ferrara, where he might enjoy the protection of Renee, Duchess of Ferrara. Eventually he took the Chair of Greek at Geneva, where he taught Isaac Casaubon. Portus produced an annotated edition of Apollonius’ Syntax. [5] Charles Labbe (1582-1657) was a classical and legal scholar, interested in the study of glossaries. [6] Æschines (c. 425-c. 350 BC) was a friend and follower of Socrates.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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