Wallace and Burer state, "The parallels include (a) people as the referent of the adjective."
Here are four translations of this line from Psalms of Solomon 2:6.
- "the sons and the daughters in painful captivity, their neck in a seal, in (a place) visible among the Gentiles" (Brenton translation).
"The sons and daughters (were) in harsh captivity, their neck in a seal, a spectacle among the gentiles." Psalms of Solomon by R. B. Wright in J. H. Charlesworth, ed., The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (London: Darton, Longman, and Todd: 1985), vol. 2, p. 652
“Sealed (?) (was) their neck, branded (?) (was it) among the nations.” R. H. Charles, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913), vol. 2, p. 632: “in the sight of” as an alternative translation.
The sons and daughters were in harsh captivity, their neck in a seal, with a mark among the nations. New English Translation of the Septuagint. Kenneth Atkinson in A New English Translation of the Septuagint by Albert Pietersma Benjamin G. Wright, OUP 2007
- a [place] visible
- a spectacle
- branded (ie with a brand)
- in the sight of
- with a mark
a) an adjective qualifying an elided (omitted) noun topos (place)- 1 translation
b) idiomatic (based on an adjective with elided noun) - 2 translations
c) a noun - 2 translations
I argued for option c) that episemo is a noun in this case. Wallace and Burer argue that episemo is an adjective refering back to the Jewish captives. This in impossible since episemo is in the dative singular and the Jewish captives, "the sons and the daughters," in the nominative plural. They have to match and they don't. Episemo, in this passage cannot refer to the Jewish captives, or to people at all.
My comment, that episemo is a noun, is possible and is used in the most recent and very literal translation of the Septuagint, the NETS. My comment on, Adrian's blog, mentioning this translation, was deleted.
In their article, Wallace and Burer did not cite any translation of the Septuagint, making it impossible for me to verify the origin of their translation of this phrase.
They also state that, "it is followed by the dative plural referring to people" that is ethnesin - the "nations," which are according to them, are people, and explicitly not places. Later, in his blog post, Burer elaborates,
- But that more literal translation still supports our understanding of Rom. 16:7 as “well-known to the apostles,” for in Ps. Sol. 2:6 the place was “visible” or even “well-known” to the Gentiles. (The text does not say, “in (a place) visible among other places” or something like that, which would be parallel to “outstanding among the apostles.”)
In fact, we have no occurrence in Greek literature of en episemo meaning "visible to" other than the English translations for this one verse, that we see above. We cannot argue from these translations if we do not know if they are accurate.
Wallace and Burer cannot cite even one case where en episemo unambiguously means "visible to." Since none exist, then it is encumbant on the authors of this article to demonstrate that their prefered translation for Psalms of Solomon is correct, or at least, possible.
Wallace and Burer stated that episemo was
1) an adjective refering to the Jewish captives, (no)
2) was followed by en plus dative plural (yes)
3) and the dative plural referred to people, that is "gentiles" and specifically NOT places (no)
It is not as if this has any relation to Romans 16:7 anyway, because Romans 16:7 does not contain the alleged idiom en episemo. In fact, Wallace and Burer, in their original article did not mention en episemo as an idiom at all.
It is possible that this is because there is no record that the idiom en episemo ever existed. What did exist was an idiom tois episemois tou nomou topois - "the prominent places of the region." That is as close as it gets. The other instance, which, once again Burer calls a parallel, omits topos and the editor of the manuscript has commented that that "its omission was a mistake on the part of the original author of the papyrus." Burer cites this here.
So, let me recap. The so-called idiom, in which episemo is an adjective modifying an elided noun, is not verified to have ever existed, apart from the one time it is thought to be accidental. Apart from the English translations that we see of this phrase in Psalm of Solomon 2:6 and in 17:30, we have no evidence that the expression en episemo, with an elided noun, actually exists. The recently published NETS translation treats each occurrence of episemo as a noun, and not an adjective qualifying an elided noun.
If en episemo with an elided noun does not exist as an idiom, then episemo cannot be an adjective, and must be a noun. That is what I said. (It is technically possible then that Bible Works is wrong in this case.)
At this point, I note that the Wallace and Burer article
- did not mention the phrase en episemo but only episemo
- did not provide evidence that the expresson en episemo with an omitted noun (in which episemo can be an adjective) actually exists
- did not provide a literal translation for episemo
- did not reference the translation which they did use
- did not correctly note the case agreement of episemo
- did not provide evidence that the idiom en episemo existed
Their further comment that the use of en plus the dative indicates that the first group of people are not members of the second group of people, cannot be proven to be true in NT Greek. Many times en plus dative is used to indicate the members of a group - ὁ μείζων ἐν ὑμῖν Luke 22:26 (en plus dative) "the greatest among you."
When Wallace and Burer mention "collocation with words of perception" there is another difficulty, since there is no word of perception in the Greek. Episemos, as an adjective, means "to be marked."
My comment, that in Psalm of Solomon episemo is a noun, rather than an adjective, agrees with all the evidence concerning this verse and with the recent NETS translation. The only reason that two or three of the translations have used an idiomatic expression like "spectacle" and "visible" is because Psalm of Solomon is translation Greek, thought to be based on a Hebrew original and contains many phrases that are difficult to translate. This is one of them.
If, in fact, this work is a translation of the Hebrew, then it is even more unlikely that an idiom, not actually attested to elsewhere, would be used. Likely this is an over literal translation of an underlying Hebrew meaning "with a mark or brand" and stands in parallel to the words "captivity," "seal" and "yoke" in Pss. of Solomon 2:6 and 17:30. Branding slaves was not uncommon.
I did say that "It is very painful for me to constantly have to watch people make simple grammar mistakes." Yes, I stand by that statement.
PS. I don't expect anyone, except perhaps Mike Aubrey, to read these posts. The question is whether it is possible to clearly refute Wallace and Burer's article, or is it still such a muddle that it is basically his word against Linda Belleville, myself and a few others.