Translation of Scripture Debate - Windsor v. Hofstetter

Round 3b

Cross Examination Round

Answers to Questions from Scott Windsor

Barry Hofstetter

1. As I alluded to in my response to your question #3, if we went with the typical Protestant rendering of Luke 1:28 of simply “favored” or “found God’s favor,” can you provide us with the reason Mary would be so astounded by the angel’s greeting, not accepting it as a greeting any believer would?

I will address this issue in even more detail in my opening comments in Round 4.  In a word, it’s context, and particularly the miraculous and unexpected circumstances and content of the announcement by the angel.  An unknown person stands before her, and pronounces a greeting that is admittedly unusual. Even in ancient times, people did not walk up to one another and say, “Greetings, favored one!” any more than they do so today.  If some stranger came up to you and said, “Hello, you lucky guy!” you’d wonder what he was about and what he was selling.  In Mary’s case this is compounded by the fact that this is not any ordinary messenger, but the angel Gabriel.  The typical response to meeting an angel throughout the Bible is fear, cf. Judges 13:20.  The verb that Luke uses to describe Mary’s emotional state is diatarassô, “to be perplexed, distressed.”  When Gabriel resumes his announcement after Luke’s description of Mary’s feeling, his words are “Do not be afraid,” an accurate assessment of what a young lady’s response might be to an angelic stranger bringing an unexpected message.  These circumstances are sufficient to explain her response without imposing a meaning on the verb kecharitômené that it doesn’t bear.

2. You appear to have contradicted yourself when you said:

Please understand that charitoõ and kecharitômenê are the same word with precisely the same range of meaning. Using the perfect stem does not change the meaning of the word to mean “full of grace.” It changes the meaning of the word to “having received grace.”

After rereading this, would you agree that you have stated that kecharitomene “changes the meaning” so kecharitomene and charitoo do not have “precisely the same range of meaning?”

No, I would not so agree, and there is no contradiction.  Linguistically speaking, these are morphemic changes, not changes in semantic content.  I have already given you both a Latin example and an English example to illustrate this.  The morphemic markers (the reduplication at the beginning of the word, the change in form at the end of the word) change the syntactical use of the word in its context, but do not alter the range of meaning that the word has.  I do apologize for being casual with my vocabulary in my previous response.  I was attempting to keep it simple for the non-specialist by avoiding technical terminology.

3. You seemed to be downplaying that charitoo has the meaning of “grace” included when you posted your first rebuttal, which you also appear to contradict in what I quoted above from your Round 2 Counter Response. Question, would you agree that charitos (which you used in your first rebuttal) and charitoo both come from the same Greek root of “charis” - which means “grace?” Here’s a few resources for you:

This Is essentially what linguists call “the root fallacy,” that the root of the word is the same meaning as its derivatives.  As it is, I have no problem with the verb being translated “to show favor/grace.”  While your online resources can be helpful to a limited extent, what is needed is a true lexicon, such as Bauer, the standard scholarly NT lexicon, or the LSJ (Liddell-Scott-Jones) the standard classical lexicon, especially since these illustrate the usages from primary source literature.

χαριτόω (χάρις) 1 aor. ἐχαρίτωσα; pf. pass. ptc. κεχαριτωμένος (Sir 18:17; Ps 17:26 Sym.; EpArist 225; TestJos 1:6; BGU 1026, XXIII, 24 [IV a.d.]; Cat. Cod. Astr. XII 162, 14; Rhet. Gr. I 429, 31; Achmes 2, 18)to cause to be the recipient of a benefit, bestow favor on, favor highly, bless, in our lit. only w. ref. to the divine χάρις (but Did., Gen. 162, 8 of Noah διὰ τῶν τῆς ἀρετῆς ἔργων χαριτώσας ἑαυτόν):  ὁ κύριοςἐχαρίτωσεν αὐτοὺς ἐν πάσῃ πράξει αὐτῶν Hs 9, 24, 3. τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ (=τοῦ θεοῦ), ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶςἐν τῷ ἠγαπημένῳ God’s great favor, with which he favored us through his beloved (Son) Eph 1:6. Pass. (Libanius, Progymn. 12, 30, 12 vol. VIII p. 544, 10 F. χαριτούμενος=favored; cp. Geminus [I b.c.], Elem. Astronomiae [Manitius 1898] 8, 9 κεχαρισμένον εἶναι τοῖς θεοῖς) in the angel’s greeting to Mary κεχαριτωμένηone who has been favored (by God) Lk 1:28 (SLyonnet, Biblica 20, ’39, 131–41; MCambe, RB 70, ’63, 193–207; JNolland, Luke’s Use of χάρις: NTS 32, ’86, 614–20); GJs 11:1.—DELG s.v. χάρις. M-M. TW.[1]

A. show grace to any one, “τῆς χάριτος ἧς ἐχαρίτωσεν ἡμᾶςEp.Eph.1.6:—Med. χαριτώσομαι I will bestow favour upon thee, BGU 1026 xxiii 24 (iv A. D.):—Pass., to have grace shown one, to be highly favoured, LXX Si.18.17,Ev.Luc.1.28; πρὸς πάντας ἀνθρώπους Aristeas 225, cf. Heph.Astr.1.1; ὄμμαστροφαῖς -ούμενον prob. in Lib.Descr.30.12.[2]

To translate as “shown grace” or “highly favored” simply does not mean the same thing as “full of grace” with all the theological content imposed on it by Catholic piety.

4. Sort of weaving the first three questions to ask this one... Since it is clear that kecharitomene is the perfect/completed past participle of charitoo (a point you’ve already agreed to and is quoted above), then why would it not be a viable translation to say that the grace which the Blessed Virgin Mary was given, at some point in the past, was “completely” or “fully” given to her - or in short, “full of grace?”

This question simply repeats your earlier assertion on the subject as though I have not already thoroughly dealt with it, complete with references from standard grammars and commentaries.  I will summarize here again for the sake of convenience: the completed aspect of the perfect has nothing to do with the “fullness” of the action – that must be determined from the semantic content of the word, a semantic content that is not a denotation of the word under discussion, as the above references suffice to show.  Luke and John both have occasion to describe someone as “full of grace,” and they do not use this verb, cf. Acts 6:8; John 1:14.

5. Since I would like to look at your sources and one of the rules of this debate which we both agreed to explicitly states, “All valid sources will have online links” - could you please provide me/us with the online sources you used for the MT, DSS which you stated both used the same word and is also supported by the LXX (Septuagint) [all within the same paragraph of your Round 2 Counter Response, under “Another Translation Issue”]?

I have already supplied a general link to the number of the Hebrew manuscripts.  As for scholarly resources, not all of them yet are online – many are under copyright, such as the BDAG lexicon, so that I have supplied the full entry with traditional footnote.  But to answer your question, the critical apparatus of the Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia, the standard critical Hebrew OT based on the Leningrad Codex contains no variants at all for Gen 3:15 – please note the scanned PDF page accompanying these answers.  A critical edition examines the vast majority of manuscripts and includes any significant variants in the text.  The references at the bottom of the page are the critical apparatus (marked on the pdf page) which list those variants.  Here is a link to the Leningrad Codex,

As for the DSS, see, I have to retract my statement.  According to Eugene Ulrich's The Biblical Qumran Scrolls (Leiden: Brill 2010) Gen 3:15 is not extant in any DSS manuscript.  I had a source which claimed there were two manuscripts in which it existed, but that source provided no documentation.  I also remembered something from a lecture by Bruce K. Waltke on the subject, but apparently my memory misled me.  I do want to qualify this, however.  Though we don’t have Gen 3:15 specifically the DSS in general substantially support the integrity of the MT, as I asserted and supported before, so this increases the probability that the reading would be the same (but of course, doesn’t prove it), and apparently Gen 3:14 is identical to the MT.  So far, no source that I have examined seems aware of the two alleged medieval manuscripts which are supposed to contain the feminine forms.

For the LXX in the original, see  The NETS translation of the LXX is a magnificent production, click on “Electronic Edition,” and then click on Genesis and find 3:15 – it’s all PDF files.

6. You challenge St. Jerome’s translation, almost as if you believe he did this in a vacuum, do you believe the Old Latin Vulgate was not, what we would call, “peer reviewed” by other Latin scholars of his day and especially by Vatican officials before it was accepted as the official canon and translation of the Catholic Church?

Actually, Jerome was perhaps the only Christian scholar of his time period who actually studied Hebrew. A true peer review, in the modern sense, would have to include scholars at the same level, and these simply didn’t exist.  Jerome was, in a quite literal, sense, without peer.  As far as I know, there is no documentary evidence of a review process.  Jerome was commissioned to produce the translation, and so he did.  People trusted him to do a good job – they had to do so, since they did not possess the qualifications to evaluate his work.  He did run into quite a bit of opposition (especially for using the Hebrew for the OT rather than the Greek), and had to justify his procedure as well as make certain adjustments, sometimes against his better judgment,  What we can say is that his translation at Gen 3:15 does not reflect the Hebrew Bible that we have in nearly all its manuscript iterations, nor does it reflect the LXX, as proven above.

7. In the rebuttal phase from your Question 1 you said: “The subject of the second clause is “you”, i.e., the serpent, and the direct object of the verb SUPh is “heel.” So that would be the serpent is the subject and the direct object of the verb “heel” - thus it is the serpent who lies in wait of the heel. Then in your rebuttal of your Question 8 you said: “Nowhere in the text is “heel” the subject of that verb...” While you did make a negative argument about "whose heel" do you see where it appears you’re dancing around the fact that you did make an argument for “whose heel did the crushing?”

I made no argument for any heel doing any crushing.  I pointed out instead that heel is the direct object of the verb.  “Heel” is not a verb, but a noun.  The subject is “you” (=the serpent), the verb is “crush” and the direct object is the noun “heel.”  There is no way you can assert even the appearance of such an argument on my part without totally misconstruing what I have said.

[1] Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed.) (1081). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.  While I have an electronic edition of this for which I paid, it is still under copyright, and so there is no free URL for the resource.

Attachment to original posting in CDF:   BHSGen3-15.pdf

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