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The Gates of Hell
Samplings From The Old Mormon Echo

 

 

  Msg#: 63                                           Date: 05-22-93  10:55
  From: James White                                  Read: No     Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Nibley Article #1


To All Participants:

Since Elden Watson wishes to dispute some of my statements in an
article that appeared in Pros Apologian, our theological journal, I
am here providing the text of the article in question.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims to be the
only true Church on earth today.  All other churches are apostate,
and do not have the proper "authority" to do the works of
God.  Obviously, such a belief necessitates some explanation of how
the Christian Church ceased to exist, why, and how it was re-established
under Joseph Smith 1700 years after it supposedly vanished.  Furthermore,
the LDS belief requires some very heavy re-interpretation of key biblical
texts that plainly declare the continuation of the Christian Church
until the second coming of Christ.

The Mormon belief lays heavy emphasis upon the doctrine of the
priesthood.  According to Mormonism, Jesus Christ ordained His
apostles to the Melchizedek priesthood, and this priesthood was lost
to the Church by the end of the second century.  Supposedly, this
priesthood was restored to the earth in 1829 when Peter, James, and
John gave it to Joseph Smith.  We cannot here address the highly
anti-biblical nature of this teaching regarding the Melchizedek
priesthood (we invite our readers to write and request our tract,
What is Your Authority? for further information).   Instead, we wish
to focus upon how the LDS Church has undertaken to defend this belief
regarding a vanishing and then reappearing Christian Church. When
faced with the concept of a universal apostacy, Christians often
quote relevant passages of Scripture that would contradict the LDS
position.  For example, Paul wrote to the Ephesians and spoke much
about the Church.(1)  In the third chapter he wrote:

        Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we
        ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within
        us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus
        throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Amen.(2)

It seems quite plain that Paul believed that the Father would be
glorified "in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
generations."  If the Church failed in its mission, and ceased to
exist for 1700 years, it is difficult to understand how the Father
would be glorified in the church throughout all generations. But the
passage that probably comes to mind first for most believers is
Matthew 16:18:

        And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will
        build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.

Surely if the Church ceased to exist for 1700 years, it could be said
with truthfulness that the "gates of Hades" did indeed overcome the
Church.

Recently, when speaking with some LDS individuals on a national
computer conference,(3)  the subject of Matthew 16:18 came up.  One
participant, who has served as a "doctrinal specialist" for the LDS
Church, Elden Watson, in responding to my citation of the passage,
asserted that the passage did not say that the gates of hell (the
King James rendering) would not overcome the church, for the Greek
indicated that that which is not to be overcome is something other
than the Church.  I found Mr. Watson's claim to be in error, and
stated so.  A few days later I received a message from the Moderator
of the echo, Malin Jacobs, that the interpretation put forward by Mr.
Watson was actually that of Dr. Hugh Nibley, Mormonism's leading
scholar, as first published in a series of articles on baptism for
the dead in The Improvement Era beginning in 1948, and now to be
found in the book _Mormonism and Early Christianity_.(4)  While great
benefit could be derived from an in-depth critique of this
article(5), we must limit our attention to the following section,
entitled "The Gates of Hell":

        To the Jews "the gates of hell" meant something very
        specific.  Both Jews and Christians thought of the world of
        the dead as a prison-- carcer, phylake, phroura--in which the
        dead were detained but not necessarily made to suffer any
        other discomfort.  In the Jewish tradition the righteous dead
        are described as sitting impatiently in their place of
        detention awaiting their final release and reunion with their
        resurrected bodies and asking, "How much longer must we stay
        here?"  The Christians talked of "the prison of death" to
        which baptism held the key of release--a significant
        thought, as we shall see.(6)
        It is the proper function of a gate to shut creatures in or
        out of a place; when a gate "prevails," it succeeds in this
        purpose; when it does not "prevail," someone succeeds in
        getting past it.  But prevail is a rather free English
        rendering of the far more specific Greek katischyo, meaning
        to overpower in the sense of holding back, holding down,
        detaining, suppressing, etc.  Moreover, the things which is
        held back, is not the church, for the object is not in the
        accusative but in the partitive genitive: it is "hers," part
        of her, that which belongs to her, that the gates will not be
        able to contain.  Since all have fallen, all are confined in
        death which it is the Savior's mission to overcome; their
        release is to be accomplished through the work of the church,
        to which the Lord promises at some future time he will give
        the apostles the keys.(7)

Nibley goes on to say that the key to open this prison is baptism for
the dead, which no church claimed to hold until the Mormon Church in
the nineteenth century.

It is plain to see that Nibley's primary purpose is to make Matthew
16:18 and the discussion of the "keys" found in this passage relevant
to the Mormon concept of priesthood authority, which is absolutely
necessary for the performance of ordinances for the dead.  Yet, it is
being used by those LDS who attempt to defend their faith as a means
of removing Matthew 16:18 from the discussion of the perpetuity of
the Church.  And the means by which this is done is by asserting that
the phrase "and the gates of Hades shall not overcome it" is not
referring to the Church, but to something else.  It is this claim,
and the means that Dr. Nibley uses to present it, that we wish to
examine.

It must first be noted that Nibley's interpretation of the passage is
not to be found in any stream of scholarly interpretation, whether
Protestant, or Catholic.  We are not aware of a single scholar who
attempts to say that the final phrase of Matthew 16:18 is referring
to anything other than the Church; that is, that the "it" found in
the phrase does not refer back to the term "church" mentioned
immediately before.  If Nibley is correct, it is amazing that
exegetes over the centuries have missed what only he has discovered.
Mormons are, by and large, in awe of Hugh Nibley's linguistic
abilities.  When Dr. Nibley says that the term "it" in Matthew 16:18
is "in the partitive genitive," that must be the case.  Yet, is it?
And why would literally thousands of scholars of the Greek language
have missed such a simple thing, leaving Dr. Nibley to discover it?
And what of all those translations of the Bible that do not catch
this, seemingly, basic thing?

The reason is very obvious to the person who has studied the Greek of
the New Testament, but it may not be as clear to those who have not
had that opportunity.  To explain this, we provide the following
information.

[Please note: I have kept the ascii transliterations in this text, so
that if anyone wishes to use a word-processor that can display in
Greek, they may do so in reading this text]

The Greek language is highly expressive.  Greek nouns can be found in
any one of eight(8) cases: nominative (subject), genitive
(description), ablative (separation), locative (location),
instrumental (means), dative (indirect object), accusative (direct
object), and vocative (direct address).  Dr. Nibley mentions two of
these, the accusative case, which is the normal case of the direct
object, and the genitive, which is normally the case of description
or ownership.  The accusative and genitive forms in the Greek
language differ from one another.  For example, the term "man" in
Greek, in the nominative, is "anqrwpoV" (anthropos).  In the
genitive, it is "anqrwpou" (anthropou), and in the accusative it is
"anqrwpon" (anthropon).  The -ou ending indicates the genitive, the
-on ending the accusative.

The next relevant piece of information has to do with pronouns.  The
pronouns in Greek also take the case forms mentioned above.  It is
always important to be able to determine a pronoun's antecedent, that
to which it refers.  Greek pronouns agree with their antecedents in
gender (masculine, feminine, or neuter) and number (singular or
plural).  _A pronoun does not have to agree with its antecedent in
case._  In other words, a pronoun may take a different case than its
antecedent due to how it is used in a clause.  As this is important
to Dr. Nibley's comments, we provide the following from _The
Beginner's Grammar of the Greek New Testament_ by William Hersey
Davis:

        _146._  1.  The substantive to which a pronoun refers is
        called its antecedent:

        "ginwskomen ton didaskalon kai legomen autw", we know
        the teacher and speak to him.

        A pronoun agrees with its antecedent in gender and number.
        Cf. "didaskalon" (masc. gender, sing. number) and "autw"
        (masc. gender, sing. number).(9)

How to identify an antecedent is one of the first skills required in
reading the Greek of the New Testament. Let us now look at Matthew
16:18 and see if we can understand Dr. Nibley's claim in light of the
preceding information.  Matthew 16:18 reads as follows:

        And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this
        rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not
        prevail against it.  (KJV)

According to Dr. Nibley, the "it" of the final clause (the gates of
hell shall not prevail against _it_) cannot be referring to the
Church that Jesus promised to build in the previous clause.  And why
is this?  Dr. Nibley says, "Moreover, the things which is held back,
is not the church, for the object is not in the accusative but in the
partitive genitive: it is `hers,' part of her, that which belongs to
her, that the gates will not be able to contain."  The only way we
can understand this is that Dr. Nibley is asserting that since
"church" ("ekklesian") is in the accusative case, and the term "it"
("authV") is in the genitive, that "it" cannot be referring to
"church."  Further, Dr. Nibley asserts that the term "it" is in the
"partitive genitive," and as a result produces the unusual
interpretation that it is "hers, part of her, that which belongs to
her, that the gates will not be able to contain."  From this he
deduces a passage referring to baptism for the dead.

What can be said about Dr. Nibley's comments?  First, it is apparent
that Dr. Nibley is in error regarding how the antecedent of a Greek
pronoun is determined.(10)  He says that "it" cannot refer to
"church" because there is a difference in cases, "church" being in
the accusative, and "it" being in the genitive.  Yet, as we saw
before, pronouns agree with their antecedents in gender and number,
not necessarily in case.  The term "church" is feminine in gender and
singular in number; the term "it" is feminine in gender and singular
in number.  Hence, Dr. Nibley's case is built upon a misunderstanding
of a rule that is introduced in the first semester of a beginning
Greek course.  The "it" of the final clause can indeed refer to
"church" as all translations and commentaries indicate.

Can more be said about Dr. Nibley's claims?  Most certainly.  Dr.
Nibley asserts that "it" is in the "partitive genitive."  What is
this?  First, we note that there is no specific "partitive genitive"
form in the Greek language.  The term "partitive" refers to a
syntactical category not to a specific grammatical form.  The term is
merely in the genitive; whether it is a partitive genitive,
attributive genitive, possessive genitive, or any of the 12 or more
categories of "kinds" of genitives that grammarians have identified
is an interpretive call.  Such is not determined by the actual form
of the text.

Syntactical categories are determined by the context in which a term
is found.  For example, when a genitive is used simply to describe
something it is "syntaxed" as an attributive genitive.  For example:
"John came preaching a baptism of repentance" (Mark 1:4).  The term
"repentance" ("metanoiaV") is in the genitive; it is describing the
term "baptism," and hence would be "syntaxed" as an attributive (or
descriptive) genitive.

Dr. Nibley claims that the use of the genitive we have at Matthew
16:18 is the "partitive genitive."  What does this mean?  We provide
the following definition from the grammar of Dana and Mantey:

        The Partitive Genitive  A noun may be defined by indicating
        in the genitive the whole of which it is a part.  The sense
        of attribution is remote here, but nevertheless present.  If
        it is said, "o PetroV hn eiV twn apostolwn", Peter was one of
        the apostles, Peter is thereby defined by attributing to him
        a relation to a group.  Hence we have in this construction
        the typical genitive function.(11)

Vaughn and Gideon elaborate:

        Partitive.--A word in the genitive sometimes indicates the
        whole of which the word modified is a part.  This is
        ordinarily called a partitive genitive, though some
        grammarians speak of it as the "genitive of the whole."
        Examples:  "ekastw *hmwn* edoqh h cariV," "To each of us
        grace was given" (Eph. 4:7)  "oude Solomwn...periebaleto wV
        en *toutwn*," "Not even Solomon...clothed himself as one of
        these" (Matt. 6:29).  "eteron twn *apostolwn* ouk eidon",
        "Other of the apostles I saw not" (Gal. 1:19).(12)

Most often, a number of different categories are possible in
determining the syntactical usage of a term in the Greek language.
However, one of the uses, normally, suggests itself as superior to
the others. One other use of the genitive is the "genitive of direct
object."  Most of the time the Greek language uses the accusative as
the case for the direct object of a verb.  However, other cases may
be used, depending upon the verb itself.  Vaughn and Gideon note:

        Direct object.--Some verbs--those, for example, which express
        sensation or perception ("akouw", hear; "geuomai", taste;
        "aptomai", touch; etc.); emotion and concern
        ("splaggnizomai", pity; "epiqumew", desire; "katafronew",
        despise; etc.); ruling ("arcw", rule; "kurieuw", be master
        of, etc.); and so on--have a meaning which is related to the
        root idea of the genitive case.  Such verbs may take their
        direct object in the genitive rather than the accusative
        case.  Example:  "thV *ekklhsiaV* tou qeou katafroneite"; "Do
        you despise the church of God?" (I Cor. 11:22).(13)

With this information at hand, can any conclusions be drawn
concerning Dr. Nibley's claim that we are working with a partitive
genitive in Matthew 16:18?  Most certainly.  First, we note that the
passage bears none of the marks of a partitive genitive.  There is no
idea of "it" being the whole of which some assumed "thing" or
"things" is a part.(14)  The "it" is obviously referring back to the
Church, as we have already seen.  Why, then, is the term "it" in the
genitive?

It seems that Dr. Nibley simply did not do his homework in
identifying this as a partitive genitive.  Why do we say this?  A
quick glance at any decent lexicon of the Greek language would have
provided him with the answer to the question, "What is the
syntactical function of "authV" at Matthew 16:18?"  The verb (which
Nibley specifically mentioned), "katiscuw" (katischuo) is the key to
the problem.  The following is the definition provided by Bauer,
Arndt, Gingrich and Danker:

        "katiscuw"...1. abs. be dominant, prevail (Polyb. 11, 13, 3;
        Ex 17; 11l En. 104, 6) "katiscuon ai fwnai autwn" their
        voices prevailed Lk 23:23 (Antig. Car. 152 "katiscuken h
        fhmh"). W. inf. foll. be able, be in a position 21:36.
        2.  used w. gen win a victory over (Dio Chrys. 12[13], 4 al.;
        Aelian, H.A. 5, 19; Wsd 7:30; Jer 15:18; Jos., Bell. 2, 464
        "katiscusaV pleionwn"=`conqueror of a superior force'; Test.
        Reub. 4:11) "pulai adou ou katiscusousin authV" (i.e., "thV
        ekklesiaV") Mt 16:18 (s. on "pulh" 1) "pashV ponhriaV" Hv 2,
        3, 2, "k. twn ergwn tou diabolou" win the victory over the
        works of the devil Hm 12, 6, 4.(15)

While the above may look like some secret code to most, to the
scholar (which Dr. Nibley claims to be), the above is quite
significant.  First, note that the lexicon specifically identifies a
use of the verb with the genitive, and places Matthew 16:18 in this
category.  If Dr. Nibley had taken the time to examine the lexical
sources, he would have discovered that "katiscuw" takes its direct
object in the genitive!  And this is exactly what we have at Matthew
16:18: the gates of Hades will not overcome ("katiscuw") it ("authV",
genitive singular, referring back to "church").  Hence, we clearly
have here the proper syntactical category for "it" at Matthew 16:18:
genitive of direct object.

When this author first translated, and then syntaxed, this passage,
he identified the use of "authV" as the genitive of direct object in
opposition to Dr. Nibley's claim.  In the writing of this article,
this identification was confirmed from the writings of the greatest
Greek scholar America has ever produced, Dr. A. T. Robertson.  In his
mammoth work, _A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of
Historical Research_, under the topic of the genitive used with
verbs, section 6, "Verbs of Ruling,"(16) we read,

        These verbs all have a distinct substantive-affinity like `be
        ruler of,' etc.  See further Lu. 22:25 for "kuriew" and
        "exousiazw", Mt. 16:18 for "katiscuw".

Here Robertson identifies the use of "katiscuw" at Matthew 16:18
under the heading of the genitive with verbs (i.e., genitive of
direct object), confirming our own identification provided above.

The preceding discussion may seem very complex to those who have not
had the opportunity to learn the Greek language themselves.  And
surely even the best scholar will make an occasional mistake now and
then.  Indeed, we could hope that Dr. Nibley would admit this error
and instruct that changes be made in future editions of his works to
reflect a proper understanding of the passage.  Until that time,
those LDS who trust in his scholarship, and on the basis of this have
dismissed Matthew 16:18 from their thinking regarding the nature of
the Church, should be encouraged to re-think the wonderful promise
that Christ's Church would not cease to exist, but would enjoy His
presence throughout all ages (Matthew 28:20).

James White, B.A., M.A.

Notes:

1) Indeed, LDS often cite passages from Ephesians 2:20 regarding the
necessity of apostles in the Church, not realizing, it seems, that
the passage says that the Apostles are part of the foundation of the
Church, and one lays a foundation only once, and then begins to build
the house upon it.  The Apostles continue to function today, through
their witness in Scripture, in a foundational way.
2)All quotations are taken from the New International Version, unless
otherwise noted.
3) The National MORMON Echo, moderated by Malin Jacobs, is gated into
the FidoNet Network.  Those who access FidoNet can request that this
echo be brought into their BBS, or you can read the echo by
requesting access on Pros Apologian, 1:114/105, (602) 973-3739,
14,400/9600/2400 BAUD.
4) _The Collected Works of Hugh Nibley: Volume 4.  Mormonism and
Early Christianity_ edited by Todd Compton and Stephen Ricks (Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book Company and Foundation for Ancient Research
and Mormon Studies, 1987).
5)  Nibley's ability to turn the early Fathers into proto-Mormons, if
it were not used to maintain the errors of Mormonism, would be an
enlightening, and at times humorous, lesson in anachronistic
interpretation.
6) At this point Nibley provides a footnote which reads, "Tertullian,
On the Soul 55, in PL 2:790: `From the prison of death, thy blood is
the key of admission to all paradise.'  He is speaking of the blood
of the martyrs, with which they are baptized.  It has been common at
all periods of the church to speak of baptism as `the gate.'"  Migne
is giving the Latin; we can only assume that Nibley is translating
it.  Yet Peter Holmes' translation, found in volume III of the
_Ante-Nicene Fathers_ (Eerdman's edition), page 231, says, "Observe,
then, the difference between a heathen and a Christian in their
death: if you have to lay down your life for God, as the Comforter
counsels, it is not in gentle fevers and on soft beds, but in the
sharp pains of martyrdom: you must take up the cross and bear it
after your Master, as He has Himself instructed you.  The sole key to
unlock Paradise is your own life's blood.  You have a treatise by us,
(on Paradise), in which we have established the position that every
soul is detained in safe keeping in Hades until the day of the Lord."
The way in which Nibley is able to take this statement, wherein
Tertullian indicates that martyrs are taken directly into Paradise,
and turn it into a reference to the necessity of baptism, connecting
this into his entire concept of baptism for the dead, is highly
instructive.  We are reminded of a recent incident in which a
Christian man, Lonnie Sparks, contacted Nibley regarding his
quotation of another scholar, Dr. Dietrich Wildung.  Mr. Sparks had
contacted Dr. Wildung, and discovered that Nibley's comments
regarding a particular aspect of Egyptian religion, based upon
Wildung, were completely out of context.  When Mr. Sparks asked Dr.
Nibley about this, the reply he received was quite interesting.
Quoting a letter written by Dr. Nibley to Mr. Sparks, dated March 25,
1991:  "I have not corresponded with Dr. Wildung.  Egyptologists are
the most frankly speculative of people, and everyone is free to go
his way.  My only concern is to have quoted him correctly--any reader
is free to interpret the quotations as he pleases.  I quote literally
thousands of sources, not considering myself an authority on
anything, and see no need to consult with the writers."  Such a
cavalier attitude toward the original context of the sources Dr.
Nibley cites should be a red flag to anyone using his materials as a
guide to religious study.
7) Nibley, _Mormonism and Early Christianity_ pp. 105-106.
8) Some grammars use a five-case system, others an eight-case system.
There are only five different forms in the language.
9) p. 67.
10) Given that Dr. Nibley is not extremely clear at this point, we
note the possibility that he is simply asserting that authV"
is functioning in a different syntactical arrangment rather than
making an error about how to identify the antecedent.  However, Dr.
Nibley's specific comments seem to indicate otherwise.
11) H. E. Dana and Julius R. Mantey, _A Manual Grammar of the Greek
New Testament_ (New York: The Macmillan Company), 1927, p. 79.
12) Curtis Vaughn and Virtus Gideon, _A Greek Grammar of the New
Testament_ (Nashville: Broadman Press, 1979), p. 33).
13) Ibid., p. 36.
14) Remember Nibley's attempted translation as "part of her" and
"that which belongs to her."  There is no "that which" in the text.
15) Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, _A Greek-English Lexicon of the New
Testament and Other Early Christian Literature_ (University of
Chicago Press, 1979), p. 424.
16) p. 510.



Area: Mormon
  Msg#: 853                                          Date: 06-08-93  13:12
  From: James White                                  Read: No     Replied: No 
    To: All                                          Mark:                     
  Subj: Article Review #1


A Reply to Elden Watson's Review of

   "Hugh Nibley, the Universal Apostasy, and the Gates of Hades"

            as it appeared in the Spring, 1993 issue of

                          Pros Apologian


        It seems some people take things personally, especially when
one's heros or idols are under discussion.  Right now in Phoenix, for
example, on the eve of the beginning of the NBA Finals, it would not
be good to speak out against Charles Barkley, Kevin Johnson, or the
Phoenix Suns in general.  Even folks in my own tradition, the
Reformed, sometimes lose their cool when someone attacks, normally
out of ignorance, John Calvin, or Jonathan Edwards.  Such is the
human nature.

        We can see this quite clearly in the review of my article
refuting Dr. Hugh Nibley's comments on Matthew 16.19 that was posted
on the National Mormon Echo by Elden Watson.  It seems Mr. Watson
has an inordinately high regard for the redoubtable Dr. Nibley, and
his review of my article seems based more upon indignation that
anyone would dare disagree with Nibley as it is upon any factual
evidence.  Mr. Watson's normally clear thinking has been severely
muddled by this emotional attachment to Dr. Nibley, as we shall see.

        Before getting to the review itself, I feel it is *vitally*
important to remind the reader of what the original article was
about.  It was not about the LDS doctrine that there was a
*universal* apostasy in the Christian Church, though it mentions that
as part of its background.  It was not about the subject of the
priesthood, though again, it mentions this in providing background
for the reader.  It was about one thing: Hugh Nibley's comments on
Matthew 16.19, specifically regarding the genitive "autes" that
functions as the direct object of the Greek verb "katischuo," i.e.,
"the gates of hades will not overcome (katischuo) it (autes)."  That
is what the article was about.  That was its thrust.  I alleged that
Dr. Nibley was simply in error to syntax the genitive autes as a
partitive genitive, and demonstrated that the proper syntactical
identification would be the genitive of direct object.  I supported
this from scholarly sources.  For Mr. Watson's review to be relevant,
it would have to provide argumentation against the main point of the
article.  As anyone can see by reading the review, it utterly fails
to do that very thing, preferring instead to attack anything and
everything *around* the central thesis, while leaving the true error
of Dr. Nibley unrefuted.

        Mr. Watson seemingly felt it was necessary to "take the
gloves off" so to speak in his review.  He was none to kind in many
of his remarks, preferring, it seems, the ad hominem method of
argumentation to a scholarly one.  It is possible, of course, that
since Mr. Watson has no graduate training in Greek (to my knowledge),
he had to resort to this argumentation, as he is unequipped to engage
the finer points of the argument.  Sadly, this inability shows up
often in his review, normally couched in an attack upon *my*
abilities at things that he himself has not studied.

        One final thing before we begin.  There are many ways of
defending a lost position.  Our current political administration in
Washington is very good at this very thing.  One means is to fill
pages and pages with written text, citations, etc., none of which is
actually relevant to the question at hand.  Indeed, Dr. Salmon put it
quite well in his book, _The Infallibility of the Church_:

        It is a common rhetorical artifice with a man who has to
        commend a false conclusion deduced from a syllogism of which
        one premiss is true, and the other false, to spend an
        immensity of time in proving the premise which nobody denies.
        If he devotes a sufficient amount of argument and declamation
        to this topic, the chances are that his hearers will never
        ask for the proof of the other premiss (p. 63).

Such a mechanism is, I honestly feel, responsible for the immense
amount of writing that has issued from Hugh Nibley's pen regarding
the Book of Abraham, that still leaves the reader, if he survived the
labyrinth of rabbit-trails created by Nibley's books, to ask, "But,
did Joseph translate the papyri correctly?"  It is sufficient for
many to simply know that "Dr. Nibley addressed that in a book...I
didn't understand it at all...but as long as he wrote on it, there
must be an answer to the question."  Such use of scholarship is
certainly not limited to the LDS Church, but it is offensive wherever
it might be found.  Mr. Watson, I feel, has learned well at the feet
of Dr. Nibley, and has filled his review with a great deal of fluff,
but tremendously little substance.  Having made such a statement, I
will proceed, unlike Mr. Watson, to demonstrate my point.

        Half of Mr. Watson's review is taken up with issues *other
than* the point of my article.  I hesitated even to reply to these
sections, as I have found that normally the side-issues end up
obscuring the main point to such an extent as to accomplish that
which the reviewer wishes.  However, I knew that if I did not reply
to those sections, I would be accused of ducking substantive
criticisms, so I shall do that very thing.  However, rather than
replying to Mr. Watson's posts in consecutive order, I will instead
bring the main issues back to the fore, and reply to them first, and
then "wrap up" the later accusations and charges.  In fact, I wish to
begin with a very pleasant surprise, that being Dr. Nibley's short
note to Mr. Watson.

                      The Letter from Dr. Nibley

 EW> When this topic first arose, I wrote to Dr. Nibley and asked
 EW> whether he felt the translation of autes in Mt 16:18 as "hers" in the
 EW> partative genitive was a viable interpretation, or whether he could
 EW> have made an error.   I received the following reply:

I am very thankful that Mr. Watson wrote to Dr. Nibley, as I do not
have any idea if I would have been able to get as quick a response,
and I certainly doubt it would have been as revealing!  Here is the
text of the letter:

    Dear Brother Watson,
    When ministers start making Greek the argument, it is time to
    adjourn.  I have always found their training to be extremely
    superficial, usually applying to one book only in the most massive
    of ancient literatures, and read with a translation and dictionary
    at the student's elbow.  There is no scarcity of instances in
    which the genitive is used in the same sense given in Matthew
    16:18.  _Katechousi_, used with gates cannot possibly mean
    anything but "hold back."  Hold back what?  Again the object
    cannot possibly be anything but an accusative.  Yet for some
    strange reason here in all manuscripts, it is in the genitive or
    possessive.  Why?  Smythe's Grammar, Sects. 1341, 1345, 1352 gives
    a number of examples in which a genitive is so used as an object
    to indicate things belonging to a larger category or body.
    Is there anything more fantastic than pinning one's salvation
    on pedantic interpretations of an ancient language which has
    always given rise to endless hair-splitting and controversy?
    Yours truly,

    (Signed)  Hugh Nibley

Anyone who has read much of Dr. Nibley's books surely recognizes the
inimitable style found here as well.  Dr. Nibley surely views himself
highly, that is for certain, and his superiority comes across clearly
in the words he writes.  Let's look closely at what he says:

    When ministers start making Greek the argument, it is time to
    adjourn.  I have always found their training to be extremely
    superficial, usually applying to one book only in the most massive
    of ancient literatures, and read with a translation and dictionary
    at the student's elbow.

One is very tempted to comment upon why Dr. Nibley would have such a
pedantic view of Christian ministers, but such topics are not for our
present review.  Suffice it to say that obviously Mr. Watson provided
Dr. Nibley with more than just a question, but also the background of
the question as well (how else would he have known a "minister" had
provided the challenge?).  We recognize that Dr. Nibley does not feel
that anyone outside of Zion is nearly as capable as himself (surely
that is what the above suggests to me), but I would like to suggest
that it would be far better to let the facts speak for themselves.
If it is found that Dr. Nibley can defend his position, that will
speak well for his scholarship.  If we find him avoiding the duty of
defending his position, we can decide that his comments are without
merit.

    There is no scarcity of instances in which the genitive is used in
    the same sense given in Matthew 16:18.

As I pointed out, when faced with a difficulty, affirm that about
which there is no doubt.  The issue is not "can the genitive be used
in a partitive sense?"  No one has denied such a statement.  The
question is, "Is `autes' at Matthew 16.19 functioning as a
partitive?"

     _Katechousi_, used with gates cannot possibly mean anything
     but "hold back."

I believe it is VERY important to note this statement on Nibley's
part.  Unlike Mr. Watson's far less strident statements in his
review, Nibley is straightforward in asserting that "katechousi"
"cannot possibly mean anything but `hold back.'"  Even Mr. Watson
noted that when the term is used intransitively it means "be strong,
powerful, gain the ascendancy," and that "when used with the object
in the genitive, the meaning shifts slightly to "win a victory over."
Mr. Watson was commenting on the definition in Bauer.  Yet, here Dr.
Nibley states that it CANNOT POSSIBLY MEAN ANYTHING BUT HOLD BACK.
Yet, this is obviously untrue, as all lexical sources show.  Thayer's
(p. 341) does not support Nibley, nor does Bauer.  Moulton gives
"prevail, gain mastery over" (p. 338).  Abbott-Smith gives "to
overpower, prevail against, prevail" (p. 241).  The new Louw-Nida
lexicon says:

        to prevail over something or some person so as to be able to
        defeat, with the implication that the successful participant
        has greater strength -- `to defeat, to prevail over'...`on
        this rock I will build my church and not even death will be
        able to defeat it' Mt 16.18 (p. 501).

Why does Nibley assert that it MUST mean "hold back"?  Because his
entire interpretation is based upon it, that's why.  He is ignoring,
for theological, not linguistic or textual reasons, the fact that
"gates of hades" is not referring to a particular place, or even the
entrance and exit of hades itself.  Mr. Watson also ignores a large
part of the scholarly material on this subject as well, despite the
fact that he has often cited from Kittel's TDNT, and yet it is the
TDNT that does such a good job summarizing the information on this
very topic!  But I am getting ahead of myself, as I shall demonstrate
this fully when replying to Mr. Watson's specific charges.

    Hold back what?  Again the object cannot possibly be anything but
    an accusative.  Yet for some strange reason here in all manuscripts,
    it is in the genitive or possessive.  Why?

We here again see how much error can be created by producing an
interpretation, and then forcing that interpretation upon the text!
First he begins by insisting that the term must mean "hold back,"
when the lexical sources indicate that it means to "overcome" or
"prevail against."  And why does it mean this?  Because of the use of
the genitive direct object!  Rather than being taught by the text,
Dr. Nibley has a goal, and is now working through the text backwards
to arrive at his goal!  By ignoring the use of the genitive with
"katischuo," and insisting upon another meaning for the word, he now
goes back to ask why "autes" is in the genitive.  And his answer?

    Smythe's Grammar, Sects. 1341, 1345, 1352 gives
    a number of examples in which a genitive is so used as an object
    to indicate things belonging to a larger category or body.

Yes, so?  Again, by providing a statement that no one has denied, Dr.
Nibley thinks to have answered the question.  Yet, it is
transparently obvious that he has not answered anything at all!  Of
course the genitive can be used as an object to indicate things
belonging to a larger category or body.  That is not the issue!  Does
Smythe's Grammar list Matthew 16.19 as an example of this?  Does it
address the use of "katischuo" with the genitive of direct object?
Dr. Nibley does not say.

I honestly feel that Dr. Nibley's response is a tacit admission of
his own unwillingness to admit error.  Nowhere in this material does
he provide a single piece of information that is supportive of his
thesis!  He does not address the fact that "katischuo" can take its
object in the genitive, and in fact regularly does.  He does not
support his unwarranted assertion that the term MUST mean "hold back"
rather than "overcome" as the sources indicate when used with the
genitive.  He does not support his identification of "autes" as a
partitive by merely mentioning that partitives exist--everyone knows
that.  Such argumentation is indicative of a person who is not able
to substantiate a long leap in exegesis, which is exactly what we
have in his comments on Matthew 16.19.

    Is there anything more fantastic than pinning one's salvation
    on pedantic interpretations of an ancient language which has
    always given rise to endless hair-splitting and controversy?

Such a question is more properly addressed to he who pins his
salvation upon the truthfulness of one Joseph Smith Jr., and *his*
"pedantic interpretations."

With Dr. Nibley's remarks clear in our thinking, let us go to Mr.
Watson's actual comments on Matthew 16.19 and my refutation of
Nibley's error.

 EW> As I see it, and as I believe Dr. Nibley intended, the proper
 EW> interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is that the trailing "it" would be
 EW> more properly translated "hers," and refers to a portion of the members
 EW> of the church of Christ.  They are hers, because as members of the
 EW> church, they belong to her (the church).  Those referenced here
 EW> constitute only a portion of the members of the church of Christ
 EW> because not all of the members of the church of Christ are in Hades.

As we shall see later, NONE of the Church of Christ is in hades, nor
is that the point of the discussion at all.  But Mr. Watson's
interpretation of Nibley is correct, and is in fact what I myself had
indicated in my article.

 EW> In order to properly understand the connotation, it must be realized
 EW> that gates are not an offensive weapon.  A fierce warrior does not ride
 EW> out on a white horse brandishing a gate and proceed to hit someone over
 EW> the head with it.

And just here enters the problem, both for Nibley as well as Watson.
By taking "gates of hades" as literally referring to gates, he misses
the entire point, a point made in one of his own favorite sources,
the TDNT:

        With this concept "pulai hadou" is a pars-pro-toto term...for
        the ungodly powers of the underworld which assail the rock.
        This interpretation is supported by the linguistic
        consideration that "katischuein" when followed by a genitive
        is always active ("to vanquish") in Jewish Greek.  Hence the
        "pulai hadou" are the agressors.

The gates of hades, then, refer to the powers of death itself.  This
is very consistent with Biblical usage.  Note Isaiah 38:10:

Is 38.10 I said, "In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of
death (pulais hadou) and be robbed of the rest of my years?"

Extra-Biblical Jewish sources use the term in the same way, as
Jeremias noted in TDNT above.  Calvin correctly said:

        The pronoun it (autes) may refer either to faith or to the
        Church; but the latter meaning is more appropriate.  Against
        all the power of Satan the firmness of the Church will prove
        to be invincible, because the truth of God, on which the
        faith of the Church rests, will ever remain unshaken.  And
        to this statement corrsponds that saying of John, "This is
        the victory which overcometh the world, your faith" (1 John
        v.4).  It is a promise which eminently deserves our
        observation, that all who are united to Christ, and
        acknowledge him to be Christ and Mediator, will remain to the
        end safe from all danger; for what is said of the body of the
        Church belongs to each of its members, since they are one in
        Christ.  Yet this passage also instructs us, that so long as
        the Church shall continue to be a pilgrim on the earth, she
        will never enjoy rest, but will be exposed to many attacks;
        for, when it is declared that Satan will not conquer, this
        implies that he will be her constant enemy.  While,
        therefore, we rely on this promise of Christ, feel ourselves
        at liberty to boast against Satan, and already triumph by
        faith over all his forces; let us learn, on the other hand,
        that this promise is, as it were, the sound of a trumpet,
        calling us to be always ready and prepared for battle.  By
        the word gates ("pulai") is unquestionably meant every kind
        of power and of weapons of war.

D.A. Carson noted:

        But "gates of Hades" or very similar expressions are found in
        canonical Jewish literature...and pagan literature..., and
        seem to refer to death and dying.  Hence RSV: "The powers of
        death shall not prevail against it."  Because the church is
        the assembly of people Jesus Messiah is building, it cannot
        die.

The position taken by Nibley and Watson falls upon the simple fact of
the meaning of katischuo when taking its object in the genitive.  It
does not simply mean "hold back" as Nibley declares, and the "gates
of hades" are in fact the aggressors, for they represent the very
powers of death itself, which shall not overcome the Church founded
by the Lord Jesus Christ, Hugh Nibly, Joseph Smith, or Elden Watson,
not withstanding.

 EW> Gates are a defensive weapon, and are utilized solely
 EW> to either keep someone or something in a place, or to keep someone or
 EW> something out of a place.  Since the place to which we are referring is
 EW> Hades, I shall presume at this point that the someone or something is
 EW> inside of Hades, wanting to get out.  (It seems irresponsible to
 EW> consider the case in which someone or something is outside of Hades
 EW> wanting to get in.)  In Dr. Nibley's interpretation of Mt 16:18 then,
 EW> some of the members of the church of Christ are in Hades, and want to
 EW> get out, but the gates of Hades oppose them and try to keep them in. 
 EW> Christ declares that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against hers,
 EW> and hence those individuals shall be freed from Hades.  In the original
 EW> context, Dr. Nibley is relating this to those who become members of the
 EW> church while they are in Hades, by vicarious baptism.

That is indeed Nibley's position.  It is a position fraught with
problems, as we have seen.

 EW> One additional point deserves consideration in preparation for what
 EW> follows.  As we have seen above, something is in Hades and wants to
 EW> get out.

Please note that Mr. Watson says, "As we have seen above."  Actually,
all we saw "above" was his assertion, "I shall presume at this point
that the someone or something is inside of Hades, wanting to get
out."  Mr. Watson takes an unsupported presumption, and then uses
this as the basis of his following comments.

 EW> If the gates of Hades were to prevail, then that something
 EW> would not be able to pass by the gates, and would be consigned to
 EW> remain in Hades.  Christ has decreed that the gates of hades will not
 EW> prevail, but that whatever it is that is in Hades will be able to
 EW> prevail against the gates and extricate itself.

We note again that there is nothing in the text whatsoever that
speaks of people in Hades, wishes or desires to go in or out, or
extrications thereof.  This is pure eisogesis, based upon
presumption, depending upon rejection of clear grammatical and
lexical information.

 EW> The something that is
 EW> in Hades wanting to get out is the "it" of Matthew 16:18.  According to
 EW> Mr. White's interpretation, it is the church itself that is in Hades
 EW> and wants to get out.

< chuckle >  It will be instructive to read Mr. Watson accusing *me*
of misrepresenting others, when he can come up with such a fanciful
statement as this!  The Church is not in Hades, and I have certainly
never given the slightest indication that this was my position.

 EW> In Dr. Nibley's interpretation, it is some of
 EW> the members of the church who are in Hades and want to get out.  Of the
 EW> two interpretations, I prefer that of Dr. Nibley, and would ask Mr.
 EW> White how it is that the church finds itself in Hades in the first
 EW> place.

Since the passage is not discussing where anyone is, but is instead
asserting that the gates of hades will not *overcome* the Church,
that is, defeat the Church, Mr. Watson's question is irrelevant, and
his confusion, based upon his seeming unquestioning following of
Dr. Nibley, is understandable.  That Mr. Watson is clearly unfamiliar
with the interpretive history of this passage, and, it seems, has not
availed himself of the ready information on this topic, can be seen
from reading the following section from my article, and Mr. Watson's
reply:

 >      It must first be noted that Nibley's interpretation of the
 >   passage is not to be found in any stream of scholarly
 >   interpretation, whether Protestant, or Catholic.  We are not aware
 >   of a single scholar who attempts to say that the final phrase of
 >   Matthew 16:18 is referring to anything other than the Church; that
 >   is, that the "it" found in the phrase does not refer back to the
 >   term "church" mentioned immediately before.  If Nibley is correct,
 >   it is amazing that exegetes over the centuries have missed what
 >   only he has discovered.
 >      Mormons are, by and large, in awe of Hugh Nibley's linguistic
 >   abilities.  When Dr. Nibley says that the term "it" in Matthew
 >   16:18 is "in the partitive genitive," that _must_ be the case.
 >   Yet, is it?  And why would literally thousands of scholars of the
 >   Greek language have missed such a simple thing, leaving Dr. Nibley
 >   to discover it?  And what of all those translations of the Bible
 >   that do not catch this, seemingly, basic thing?

 EW> It is indeed a little surprising that commentators have not
 EW> recognized that the standard interpretation actually requires that the
 EW> church of Christ be in hell.

I must conclude, then, that Mr. Watson is fully unaware of what the
"standard interpretation" is, for him to make such a statement!  Did
it not occur to him that maybe Christians over the years *have* given
serious consideration to this passage, and hence that it is rather
unlikely that one man in Utah, whose expertise seems to be
historical, rather than linguistic, would come up with a new and
startling viewpoint, unthought of before, to answer such an obvious
problem as the Church being in hades?

Now, Mr. Watson then attempts to create a problem that does not
exist.  In reviewing Nibley's statements, I noted that he himself
said,

 >      Moreover, the thing which is held back, is not
 >      the church, for the object is not in the accusative but in
 >      the partitive genitive: it is "hers," part of her, that
 >      which belongs to her, that the gates will not be able to
 >      contain.

Mr. Watson replied:

 EW> First, Dr. Nibley nowhere says that the word "it" cannot refer to
 EW> the church.  It is Mr. White who makes the unwarranted claim that Dr.
 EW> Nibley has said that "it" *cannot* be referring to the church.  Dr.
 EW> Nibley only asserts that it does not.

I must honestly say that this is double-talk.  Nibley is not sitting
down in an ecumenical meeting with others and saying "this MIGHT be a
way to understand it."  Indeed, his letter to Mr. Watson made it
plain that there was NO WAY to understand katischuo as meaning
anything other than "hold back," and hence it is hardly "Niblian" to
be simply *suggesting* an "alternative" understanding.  He says that
that which is held back is not the church "for the object is not in
the accusative but in the partitive genitive."  I think saying what I
did is perfectly understandable, and proper, in the context of
Nibley's own statements.

 EW> The genitive is the case of
 EW> possession, or description.  There are a lot of ways in which things
 EW> can be described, and hence there are a lot of reasons for which the
 EW> genitive may be used. Understanding the reason for the use of the
 EW> genitive case in particular situations can strongly influence specifics
 EW> of a translation.  Scholars frequently discuss different possible
 EW> meanings of a passage depending upon why the genitive was used. 
 EW> Sometimes the distinction in meaning is minimal, and sometimes it is
 EW> significant.

This is another example of majoring on what is not at issue.  No one
has denied the function of the genitive.  I have challenged Nibley's
use of the genitive, and his identification of "autes" as a
partitive.

 EW> In this example, the Greek words do not vary, but their interpretation
 EW> varies depending upon the reason the genitive was used.  Mr. White
 EW> attempts to give the (incorrect) impression that there can only be one
 EW> reason for the use of the genitive in Matthew 16:18, and that Dr.
 EW> Nibley is wrong in offering another interpretation.

Dr. Nibley is not merely "offering another interpretation" as his
letter clearly demonstrated.  I was replying to Nibley's assertion
that this is a partitive genitive, and demonstrating that such is not
the case, nothing more.  What Mr. Watson confuses as my attempt to
give an "impression" that there can only be one reason for the use of
the genitive is in reality my rebuttal of Dr. Nibley's unwarranted
identification of the use of "autes."

 EW> Also, it is obvious from Mr. White's comments in the above
 EW> paragraph that despite the simplicity of Dr. Nibley's argument, Mr.
 EW> White does not understand it.

I believe any semi-unbiased reader will be able to determine the
accuracy of Mr. Watson's statements.

 EW> This will become even more apparent in
 EW> his next paragraph.  Dr. Nibley is not suggesting that "church" and
 EW> "it" should be in the same case at all.

I believe the logical outcome of his remarks would be that *if* Jesus
were indicating that the *church* is that which is not overcome by
the gates of hades, that it *would* have to be in the accusative.
Indeed, this is well supported by his own statement in his letter to
Mr. Watson:

        Hold back what?  Again the object cannot possibly be anything
        but an accusative.

Using terms like "cannot possibly be anything but" is rather clear to
me.

 EW> As I understand Dr. Nibley, he
 EW> is simply stating that in the phrase "the gates of hell shall not
 EW> prevail against it." the word "it" is the direct object of "prevail
 EW> against," and as such should normally be in the accusative case.  The
 EW> accusative is the case of the direct object as Mr. White has pointed
 EW> out above.  If one were to say "the gates of hell shall not prevail
 EW> against the church," the words "the church" should be placed in the
 EW> accusative case, simply because it is the direct object.  But in
 EW> Matthew 16:18, the direct object ("it") is not in the accusative, but
 EW> in the genitive case, which means that the author is trying to tell us
 EW> something different. 

Or, as I pointed out, that the verb "katischuo" takes its object most
often in the genitive, and hence means "overcome" rather than "hold
back," all contra Nibley.

As Mr. Watson will accuse me of having "no idea" what Dr. Nibley is
saying, I will produce the quotation of my own article:

 >      What can be said about Dr. Nibley's comments?  First, it is
 >   apparent that Dr. Nibley is in error regarding how the antecedent
 >   of a Greek pronoun is determined. /Footnote 10/  He says that "it"
 >   cannot refer to "church" because there is a difference in cases,
 >   "church" being in the accusative, and "it" being in the genitive.
 >   Yet, as we saw before, pronouns agree with their antecedents in
 >   gender and number, _not necessarily in case_.  The term "church"
 >   is feminine in gender and singular in number; the term; "it" is
 >   feminine in gender and singular in number.  Hence, Dr. Nibley's
 >   case is built upon a misunderstanding of a rule that is introduced
 >   in the first semester of a beginning Greek course.  The "it" of
 >   the final clause can indeed refer to "church" as all translations
 >   and commentaries indicate.
 >
 >   /Footnote 10/  Given that Dr. Nibley is not extremely clear at
 >   this point, we note the possibility that he is simply asserting
 >   that [autos] is functioning in a different syntactical arrangement
 >   rather than making an error about how to identify the antecedent.
 >   However, Dr. Nibley's specific comments seem to indicate
 >   otherwise.

 EW> The more Mr. White discusses Dr. Nibley's interpretation, the more
 EW> clear it becomes that he has no idea what Dr. Nibley is saying.  He
 EW> therefore makes a series of errors relating to Dr. Nibley's argument.
 EW> First: Dr. Nibley is not in error regarding how the antecedent of a
 EW> Greek pronoun is determined, he even utilizes the fact that "it"
 EW> refers indirectly to the church (i.e. members of the church).

Please note the fact that while Dr. Nibley's comments are not clear,
I felt it fair to provide footnote 10, reproduced up above, that
admits the fact that Nibley *might* be indicating something other
than the idea that "autes" cannot be referring back to "ekklesia."
However, I still believe that Dr. Nibley was indicating that
"ekklesia" is NOT the antecedent of "autes," and that part of his
argument was, at the time, that there is a case difference, a
difference that is not relevant to the determination of the
antecedent.

 EW> Second:  Dr. Nibley nowhere says that "it" cannot refer to the
 EW> church.  That is totally Mr. White's assertion.  Dr. Nibley states
 EW> that "it" relates indirectly to the church rather than directly.

Actually, since Mr. Watson wishes to be so specific, Dr. Nibley
nowhere states that it refers "indirectly" to the church, either.

 EW> Third:  Dr. Nibley's case is not based on a misunderstanding of any
 EW> Greek rule, rather Mr. White's comment is based on a complete
 EW> misunderstanding of Dr. Nibley' case.

Again, the semi-impartial reader will be able to determine if this is
the case or not.

 >      Direct object.--Some verbs--those, for example, which
 >      express sensation or perception ([akouo], hear; [geuomai],
 >      taste; [aptomai], touch; etc); emotion and concern
 >      ([splaggnizomai], pity; [epithumeo], desire; [kataphroneo],
 >      despise; etc); ruling ([archo], rule; [kurieuo], be master
 >      of, etc.); and so on--have a meaning which is related to
 >      the root idea of the genitive case.  Such verbs may take
 >      their direct object in the genitive rather than the
 >      accusative case.  Example:  [tes _ekklisias_ tou theou
 >      kataphroveite]; "Do you despise the church of God?" (1Cor.
 >      11:22). /Footnote 13/
 >
 >   /Footnote 13/  Ibid., p. 36.

 EW> For a proper understanding of the subject at hand it should be
 EW> pointed out here that all transitive Greek verbs, and many
 EW> intransitive Greek verbs can and do take a direct object in the
 EW> accusative.  Some verbs, such as the ones Mr. White has listed above,
 EW> can also be used with the genitive, in which case the meaning is
 EW> somewhat modified.  Mr. White's explanation would tend to make one
 EW> believe that such a verb must take a genitive object, which is
 EW> incorrect.

Please note that Mr. Watson's "feelings" about what my explanation
would "tend" to make one believe are irrelevant to the accuracy of
said explanations, which were taken from recognized scholarly
sources.

Next Mr. Watson attempts to venture into the field of syntactical
constructions of a language that, to my knowledge, he has not studied
in a professional setting.  Given that he will make comments based
upon my own, I again provide the relevant portion of my article:

 >      With this information at hand, can any conclusions be drawn
 >   concerning Dr. Nibley's claim that we are working with a partitive
 >   genitive in Matthew 16:18?  Most certainly.  First, we note that
 >   the passage bears none of the marks of a partitive genitive.
 >   There is no idea of "it" being the whole of which some assumed
 >   "thing" or "things" is a part. /Footnote 14/  The "it" obviously
 >   referring back to the Church, as we have already seen.  Why, then,
 >   is the term "it" in the genitive?
 >
 >   /Footnote 14/ Remember nibley's attempted translation as "_part_
 >   of her" and "_that which_ belongs to her."  There is no "_that
 >   which_" in the text.

 EW> If we now compare Dr. Nibley's interpretation with Mr. White's
 EW> comments in the above paragraph, we find that the passage in question
 EW> does in fact bear all of the marks of the partitive genitive.

I am truly forced to "call Mr. Watson's hand," and ask quite
honestly how we can take seriously his assertions, when we have no
reason to believe that he is trained to recognize the signs of a
partitive genitive?  Indeed, this portion of my article was discussed
at length with a professor of New Testament whose field of specialty
is New Testament Greek itself.  This was his primary criticism of
Nibley's statement: that there is nothing in the passage that would
lead one to syntax "autes" as a partitive genitive; that is, the
"signs" of the partitive are missing.  And now Mr. Watson would like
to tell us that they are there, when I personally have no reason to
believe that he knows what to look for in the first place!

 EW> "Hers"
 EW> is the whole membership of the church, of which those being opposed by
 EW> the gates of Hades are a part.

Excuse me?  Where is "hers" in the text?  Where is "the whole
membership of the church" in the text?  Where is a membership
mentioned at all?  This is not exegesis and scholarly syntactical
study, this is amateur theologizing at its best.  If the "it" is a
partitive genitive, there must be some way of seeing this from the
text itself.  Where is the relative pronoun "that which" in the text?
It is not there.  How can we assume it?  We can't.  There is no
reason to.  Nothing in the text *forces* us to.  Hence, as I said,
there are no signs of a partitive genitive, and Mr. Watson's comments
only demonstrate the truth of the old saying, especially when applied
to Greek, "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing."

 EW> As for Mr. White's footnote,
 EW> commenting that there is no "_that which_" in the text, it hardly needs
 EW> comment. The word "hers" means, in English, "that which belongs to
 EW> her."  The fact that Mr. White finds nothing in the Greek text which
 EW> can be translated "that which" demonstrates graphically that Mr. White
 EW> is so engrossed in trapping Dr. Nibly in an error that he has neglected
 EW> to consider the meaning of the very words he is translating.

An amazing statement, but one that is utterly without merit.  Mr.
Watson has failed to demonstrate any scholarship in this review, and
this is one of the plainest examples.  "Autes" does not mean "hers"
in the English sense of "that which belongs to her."  This simple
error, made often by beginning students of languages, is glaring,
especially since Mr. Watson placed it in the context of ad hominem.
For "autes" to be translated as a possessive is the entire point: the
serious exegete must have a *reason* for such a translation, and the
lack of that reason is what is being discussed.  Mr. Watson's
inability to follow the discussion does not amount to an error on my
part.  "Autes" is the object of "katischuo."  "Katischuo" takes its
object in the genitive, and hence means "overcome."  There is no
reason to take "autes" as a possessive.

 >      It seems that Dr. Nibley simply did not do his homework in
 >   identifying this as a partitive genitive.  Why do we say this?
 >   A quick glance at any decent lexicon of the Greek language would
 >   have provided him with the answer to the question, "What is the
 >   syntactical function of [autes] at Matthew 16:18?"  The verb
 >   (which Nibley specifically mentioned), [katischuo] (katischuo)
 >   is the key to the problem.  The following is the definition
 >   provided by Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich and Danker:
 >
 >      [katischuo] ... 1. abs _be dominant, prevail_ (Polyb. 11,
 >      13, 3; Ex 17:11; En. 104,6) [katischuon ai phonai auton]
 >      _their voices prevailed Lk 23:23 (Antig. Car. 152
 >      [katischuken a pheme]).  W. inf. fol. _be able, be in a
 >      position_ 21:36.
 >      2. used w. gen _win a victory over_ (Dio Chrys. 12[13], 4 al.;
 >      Aelian, H.A. 5, 19; Wsd 7:30; Jer 15:18; Jos., Bell. 2, 464
 >      [katischusas pleionon] = 'conqueror of a superior force'; Test.
 >      Reub. 4:11) [pulai adou ou katischusousin autas] (i.e., [tes
 >      ekklesias) Mt 16:18 (s. on [pule] 1) [pases ponarias] Hv 2,3,2,
 >      [k. ton ergon tou diabolou] _win the victory over the works of
 >      the devil_ Hm 12,6,4. /Footnote 15/
 >
 >   /Footnote 15/  Bauer, Arndt and Gingrich, *A Greek-English Lexicon
 >   of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature*
 >   (University of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 424.

 EW> Mr White is again so concerned with the grammatical and syntactical
 EW> functions of the Greek that he pays little attention to the meaning of
 EW> the sentence he is translating.

Or, as we have seen, Mr. Watson is so concerned about defending Dr.
Nibley's error, that he cannot see that the meaning of the sentence
cannot be separated from grammar and syntax.  The meaning of any
sentence is derived from grammar and syntax, and since the grammar
and syntax tells us that the passage is providing us a genitive of
direct object, hence making "katischuo" translated as "overcome," Dr.
Nibley's position is shown to be without foundation, and hence in
error.

 EW> We call attention to the fact that
 EW> the deleted portion of the definition above identifies katischuo as an
 EW> intransitive verb with the basic meaning "_be strong_, _powerful_,
 EW> _gain the ascendancy_".  When used with an object in the genitive, the
 EW> meaning shifts slightly to "win a victory over."

And I call attention to the fact that Dr. Nibley contradicts this
very statement in the letter Mr. Watson provided later, though Mr.
Watson allows this contradiction to pass without comment.  We are
tempted to wonder if Mr. Watson believes Dr. Nibley a greater expert
on lexical matters than those who produced the Bauer/Arndt/Gingrich/
Danker lexicon.

 >   While the above may look like some secret code to most, to the
 >   scholar (which Dr. Nibley claims to be), the above is quite
 >   significant.  First, note that the lexicon specifically identifies
 >   a use of the verb _with the genitive_, and places Matthew 16:18
 >   in this category.  If Dr. Nibley had taken the time to examine the
 >   lexical sources, he would have discovered that [katischuo] takes
 >   its direct object in the genitive!  And this is exactly what we
 >   have at Matthew 16:18:  the gates of Hades will not overcome
 >   ([katischuo]) it ([autes, genitive singular, referring back to
 >   "church").  Hence, we clearly have here the proper syntactical
 >   category for "it" at Matthew 16:18: genitive of direct object.

 EW> Mr. White makes it sound as though katischuo must in every instance
 EW> take an object in the genitive, which is incorrect.

Please note the misrepresentation.  I said, "First, note that the
lexicon specifically identifies A USE OF THE VERB (emphasis mine)
_with the genitive_".

 EW> He also makes it
 EW> sound as though there is only one possible interpretation of the
 EW> genitive, which is also incorrect.

Mr. Watson's inability to read scholarly material on the subject
should not translate into my supposedly trying to make things
"sound" this way or that.

 EW> The proof of the translation is in
 EW> the meaning, and I personally find little satisfaction in a
 EW> translation which requires the church of Christ to be in Hades.

We note yet once again that rather than providing any linguistic
rebuttal of the information presented in the article, Mr. Watson is
forced to fall back upon a theological misunderstanding that is
purely his own to provide a basis for rejecting the clear syntactical
form of the text.  This is the mark of the untrained person venturing
into ground that is unfamiliar.  This is particularly reprehensible
in light of the arrogance displayed by Mr. Watson immediately
following:

 >      When this author first translated, and then syntaxed, this
 >   passage, he identified the use of [autes] as the genitive of direct
 >   object in opposition to Dr. Nibley's claim.  In the writing of this
 >   article, this identification was confirmed from the writings of the
 >   greatest Greek scholar America has ever produced, Dr. A. T.
 >   Robertson.  In his mammoth work, *A Grammar of the Greek New
 >   Testament in the Light of Historical Research*, under the topic of
 >   the genitive used with verbs, section 6, "_Verbs of Ruling_,"
 >   /Footnote 16/ we read,
 >
 >      These verbs all have a distinct substantive-affinity like 'be
 >      ruler of,' etc.  See further Lu. 22:25 for [kurieo] and
 >      [exousiazo], Mt. 16:18 for [katischuo].
 >
 >   Here Robertson identifies the use of [katischuo] at Matthew 16:18
 >   under the heading of the genitive with verbs (i.e., genitive of
 >   direct object), confirming our own identification provided above.

 EW> Well done Dr. Robertson.  It's certainly a good thing you agreed
 EW> with Mr. White and didn't try to examine any possible alternative
 EW> interpretations.

I seriously doubt that Mr. Watson has read even a small portion of
Dr. Robertson's works.  He is speaking of things about which he knows
little, and that with a *tremendous* amount of confidence.  How does
Mr. Watson know that Dr. Robertson "didn't try to examine any
possible alternative interpretations"?  Why does Mr. Watson have so
much trouble accepting the fact that "katischuo" is used with the
genitive as a direct object to refer to overcoming and prevailing?  I
think the answer is simple: he has thrown in his lot with Dr. Nibley,
and is dedicated to defending an error, and that to the last!

 EW> Mr. White disallows alternative possibilities, even
 EW> when it is apparent that he has not the slightest idea what you are
 EW> talking about.

When one is outside of one's area of expertise, and totally without a
substantive reply, always accuse the other person of being clueless.
Sadly, this is all that is left to Mr. Watson.

 EW> He might very likely have misquoted you and made it
 EW> appear that you said that your alternative interpretation is the only
 EW> possible interpretation; accused you of making a grammatical error on
 EW> something so simple that it is taught in first semester Greek classes;
 EW> pointed out that you had not done your homework; given you a lesson in
 EW> Greek grammar; and recommended that you admit your error and make
 EW> changes in your mammoth work on the New Testament.  You would be lucky
 EW> if he didn't make a few slurs (totally unrelated to the topic of
 EW> discussion) at your character in a footnote or two along the way.

Further "fluff" filler, and without any relevance to the fact that it
seems Mr. Watson is hoping that no one noticed that he could not
support Nibley's assertion from the text, or from lexical or
grammatical sources.


             To conclude the central review of the debate:

Dr. Nibley erred in asserting that "autes" is a partitive genitive.
It is instead the genitive of direct object, used with "katischuo," a
term that we have seen from many independent scholarly sources takes
a direct object in the genitive, and hence means "to overcome" or "to
prevail against."

Dr. Nibley erred in asserting that "katischuo" MUST mean "hold back."
The lexical sources prove this to be the case.

Dr. Nibley erred in saying that this passage, then, refers to members
of the Church who are in hades, who wish to get out, and can do so
only through baptism for the dead.

Mr. Watson erred in even attempting to engage a topic that requires
training and scholarship that he has not yet obtained.

I shall now turn to the secondary issues that Mr. Watson raised in
his review.

 EW> When James White writes articles against the LDS Church, it would
 EW> be easier for all concerned if he would get his definitions straight.

Here begins Mr. Watson's ad hominem campaign.  As we shall see, it is
1) central to his attempt to save Dr. Nibley, and 2) without merit.

 >      *The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints* claims to be
 >   the only true Church on earth today.  All other churches are
 >   apostate, and do not have the proper "authority" to do the works
 >   of God.  Obviously, such a belief necessitates some explanation
 >   of how the Christian Church ceased to exist, why, and how it was
 >   re-established under Joseph Smith 1700 years after it supposedly
 >   vanished.  Furthermore, the LDS belief requires some very heavy
 >   re-interpretation of key biblical texts that plainly declare the
 >   continuation of the Christian Church until the second coming of
 >   Christ.

 EW> I have heard the essence of Mr. White's first sentence frequently
 EW> expressed among Latter-day Saints, although the intended meaning and
 EW> more accurate rendition is that The Church of Jesus Christ of
 EW> Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church upon the whole
 EW> earth, with which the Lord is well pleased (see D&C 1:30).

In point of fact, I had D&C 1:30 in mind when I wrote the first
sentence.  I simply did not take the time to cite the passage.

 EW> After that
 EW> point, Mr. White's introductory paragraph goes to hell in a handbasket.

Hardly, as we shall see.

 EW> Since he is claiming to state what the LDS Church believes, he really
 EW> should use the words the way the LDS use them, or at least express the
 EW> LDS ideas in his own words.  To a member of the LDS Church an apostate
 EW> is an individual who has once received the true gospel through the
 EW> acceptance of its ordinances, and then later rejected and turned to
 EW> oppose it.  In a related sense, an apostate church is one which has
 EW> been organized by apostates, falsely feigning the ordinances and the
 EW> authority to perform them, as a counterfeit, for the purpose of
 EW> opposing the true church and legitimate authority.  The Church of Jesus
 EW> Christ of Latter-day Saints believes and teaches that there was a
 EW> universal apostasy, which was complete by approximately the end of the
 EW> third century A.D., in which all authority to perform ordinances in the
 EW> name of God was lost.

Which, of course, is all I was saying in my opening paragraph.  I
simply wished to provide background for the non-LDS who would be
reading the article, and I reject any assertion that I was
purposefully, or accidentally, misrepresenting the LDS position.

 EW> None of today's Christian churches claim to
 EW> possess apostolic authority, consequently, none of the churches which
 EW> are designated mainstream Christianity today are or can be called
 EW> apostate churches.

This statement is amazing for two reasons.  First, it is hard to
believe that anyone even marginally familiar with Christian Churches
could write (for public consumption no less!) the words, "None of
today's Christian churches claim to possess apostolic authority."  I
can only gather that Mr. Watson has not spoken with any Roman
Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, or Anglicans of late!  Indeed, even
other Protestant groups would claim apostolic authority via the
writings of the Apostles themselves.  Seemingly Mr. Watson thinks
that "apostolic authority" refers to having apostles, in which case,
he might wish to take his own advice, and "use terms" as we ourselves
use them.

Secondly, I am truly left to wonder as to why Mr. Watson would claim
that the LDS Church does not identify modern Christian churches as
"apostate."  Bruce R. McConkie said of apostasy:

        Apostasy consists in the abandonment and forsaking of these
        true principles, and all those who do not believe and conform
        to them are in a apostate condition, whether they are the
        ones who departed from the truth or whether they inherited
        their false concepts from their apostate fathers (MD, p. 43).

And Mr. Watson accuses ME of not using terms as LDS use them?
Obviously my use of "apostate" was EXACTLY as used by a Mormon
apostle above!  But that is not all.  Allow me to provide quotations
supportive of what I said from Joseph Fielding Smith (_Doctrines of
Salvation_) and the current prophet, Ezra Taft Benson:

 p2 Moreover, there have been times when it has been necessary for
 covenants to be withdrawn, and man has been left to grope in
 spiritual darkness without the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and
 without the saving grace of the ordinances and covenants of the
 gospel. Such was the case in Israel preceding the coming of John the
 Baptist and Jesus Christ. The long dark day of apostasy, preceding
 the middle ages and continuing until the restoration of the gospel
 through Joseph Smith, was another benighted period of this
 kind.155-11

 p1 WHY THE RESTORATION. The everlasting covenant had been broken;
 the correct understanding of gospel principles had disappeared
 through apostasy; the right to officiate in the ordinances of the
 gospel had ceased among men. It became necessary that all this might
 be restored, and that faith might increase among the people through
 an opening of the heavens and a restoration of the gospel.167-2

 p4 WORK OF JOSEPH SMITH COMPARED TO REFORMERS. The fact, so
 conclusively proved, that there has been an apostasy, shows the
 necessity of a restoration of the gospel. It is a remarkable fact
 that Martin Luther, John Knox, John Calvin, the Wesleys, and the
 other reformers who attempted to correct the evils of the Catholic
 church, did not think of this great truth. It was left for Joseph
 Smith to make the wonderful discovery.

 p2 CHURCH AND KINGDOM RESTORED. The Lord taught Joseph Smith and his
 associates that it is due to apostasy that these officers with their
 authority were taken away; and when the Church of Jesus Christ of
 Latter-day Saints was restored, it was by divine command that
 apostles, high priests, seventies and elders, were again ordained
 and with authority sent forth to proclaim the message of salvation
 to the nations of the earth.240-28

 p2 At various times during the history of the world the opportunity
for mankind to receive the blessings of the gospel has been denied
them. For instance, during the time of the apostasy, following the
ministry of our Savior and his apostles down to the time of the
restoration, the opportunity for men to receive the remission of
their sins by baptism and partake of the other ordinances essential
to exaltation was impossible. The Church with its authorized
ministers was not on the earth. It is true that sim ilar conditions
have existed at other and more remote periods of time.

 p4 NO MODERN AUTHORITY WITHOUT RESTORATION. Following the apostasy
from the doctrine and practices of the Church of Jesus Christ of
former-day saints, it became necessary that there be an opening of
the heavens, and for the Lord to speak again, and by his own mouth
and the mouth of his ancient disciples again to restore the truth
which had been lost. In the apostasy, the authority to act in the
name of the Lord had been taken |P88away from the earth, and as John
saw in his revelation, the priesthood was ta ken back to God while
the Church of Jesus Christ had been driven into the wilderness.

 p2 RESTORATION IN THE MERIDIAN OF TIME. According to this assignment
and the instructions given to Moses, the priests (i.e. sons of Aaron)
and Levites officiated from the day of their appointment to the days
of the coming of Jesus Christ. When our Savior came, he restored to
the Church all that had been taken away, and once again the fulness
of the priesthood with all of its blessings was given to men. As
Peter said, there existed again a "chosen generation, a royal
priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar p eople," but this condition
did not continue long before apostasy once more destroyed it
all.114-39

 p2 No event should have been heralded among the people with greater
effectiveness and received with greater evidence of joy and
satisfaction. The nations should have rejoiced and welcomed it with
gladness of heart, for with it came the establishment of divine truth
in the earth--the gospel of Jesus Christ, which is the power of God
unto salvation unto all who believe.255-51 The world had been
without this gospel for many hundreds of years, ever since the great
apostasy and turning away from the truth whic h had been established
by the primitive Church.

 p4 Then once more came a departure from the Lord, and when the time
came for the appearance of the Son of God, they rejected him and
crucified him, but he again established his Church with a few who
were willing to follow him and sent them forth into all the world to
declare his gospel. Again, following the death of his apostles,
apostasy once more set in, and again the saving principles and
ordinances of the gospel were changed to suit the conveniences and
notions of the people. Doctrines were corrupted, authority lost, and
a false order of religion took the place of the gospel of Jesus
Christ, just as it had been the case in former dispensations, and the
people were left in spiritual darkness.266-4

 P267APOSTASY FOLLOWING MERIDIAN OF TIME. It is within the power of
 every intelligent man to know that following the days of the ancient
 apostles there came a falling away, or an apostasy, from the
 doctrines and practices in the primitive Church. History shows that
 the priesthood which was organized by our Savior was corrupted, and
 offices were created that were unknown in the days of the apostles
 and which are foreign to the true Church of Jesus Christ.

 P268UNIVERSAL NATURE OF APOSTASY. All the men holding the priesthood
should have a thorough understanding of the development of false
doctrine and the gradual change which took place, after the death of
the apostles, which transformed the Church of Jesus Christ into a
system as far removed from the primitive Church as are the poles of
our hemispheres. Nothing by way of ordinance and very little by way
of doctrine, given by revelation in the days of our Savior and during
the lives of the apostles, was left remaining. . . .

 p2 SOME TRUTH IN ALL CHURCHES. All churches teach some truth,
 whether they profess belief in Confucius, Buddha, the Greek and
 Roman gods, or anything else; otherwise their churches would not
 endure a month. The fact that they teach some truth does not make
 them the Church of God. There is but one Church of God.271-17

 p3 DOCTRINE OF APOSTASY PROVED BY FIRST VISION. Joseph Smith
 declared that in the year 1820 the Lord revealed to him that all the
 "Christian" churches were in error, teaching for commandments the
 doctrines of men.283-46 The religious teachers taught that they
 were in the way of light and truth, notwithstanding their many
 conflicting creeds.

*****************************

From Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson:

 p7 So the world entered that long night of apostasy, the Dark Ages.
 The church, no longer sanctioned by God, exercised an oppressive
 tyranny on the minds of men and shackled them with chains of false
 traditions. Truth was turned to superstition, joy to despair, and
 worship to ritual. (This Nation Shall Endure, pp. 115-16.)

 p2 Not only by history, which is quite conclusive, but through
 prophecy also we have been informed definitely that there was and
 there would be a complete apostasy from the truth.

 p6 Following the great apostasy from the principles and laws of
 Christ, the world became enslaved in a cloak of darkness. This long
 night of Christian apostasy placed an oppressive tyranny on |P109|p1
 the minds of men, which were shackled by chains of false priestly
 tradition.

 P111|p1 Joseph was to learn that Christ established the Church in
 former days when He was here on earth. Its members were called
 Saints, but because of the wickedness of men the prophets were taken
 away from the people and so revelation ceased, the scripture ended,
 and the doctrines and creeds of uninspired men prevailed. As
 predicted in the scriptures, there was an apostasy.

 p2 Our missionaries go out into the world to proclaim that there has
 been an apostasy from the truth, but that through the goodness of
 God the heavens have again been opened and the gospel revealed unto
 man through Joseph Smith, the Prophet.

I believe the above is plain in its import, and that what I said in
my article is perfectly in line with what was said by these leaders
of the LDS Church.

 EW> Nor are they considered or thought of as apostate
 EW> churches by adherents of the LDS faith.  Now, Mr. White may be able to
 EW> find a few isolated instances that seem to contradict what I have said,
 EW> nevertheless, the above statement is the overwhelming expression of
 EW> both the church leadership and its members, both in the past and in the
 EW> present.

I think the overwhelming expression of the quotations prior to this
is plain enough evidence of Mr. Watson's error.

 EW> Considering that Mr. White claims to have spoken with
 EW> thousands of Mormons and to have read many LDS books by prominent and
 EW> recognized LDS authors, I find it difficult to believe that he did not
 EW> already understand our use of the word "apostasy" and hence I must
 EW> conclude that his inaccurate description was intended to incense an
 EW> ill-informed protestant public rather than to clarify the LDS viewpoint
 EW> on the subject.

Such is far from the truth, as any semi-impartial reader can see.

 EW> Moving right along, the rest of Mr. White's second sentence is also
 EW> an absurd mis-representation.  The LDS church does not, nor has it
 EW> ever taught that authority is necessary to do the works of God.  Good
 EW> works are independent of race, creed, gender, education, age or even
 EW> disposition.

Please note the incredible double standard used here by Mr. Watson to
attack me.  First he says that I need to use terms as LDS use them.
Then, when I do that, he turns around and attacks me for that!  The
term "works" as I used it is PLAINLY about works that require the
authority of God!  I was speaking exactly as Joseph Fielding Smith,
quoted above:

        In the apostasy, the authority to act in the name of the Lord
        had been taken away from the earth,

I would think that any Mormon looking merely to understand what I am
saying would surely understand my words and not be so easily thrown
into a tizzy!

 EW> We do believe that authority is necessary, but not for
 EW> doing good works, which is the impression Mr. White wants to induce in
 EW> his readers with the words "to do the works of God."

I deny, plainly, that this was my intention.  Why Mr. Watson must so
badly misread my words, especially in light of the fact that we have
corresponded in the past about these same subjects, is truly beyond
me!

 EW> Mr. White's statement is therefore strongly misleading at best,
 EW> and simply wrong at worst.  Again, with Mr. White's study of the LDS
 EW> church, it is inconceivable that he did not understand this concept.

It is inconceivable to me that Mr. Watson could so badly misread my
words.

 EW> Having misled his readers about some of the basic teachings of the
 EW> apostasy and the purpose of authority in the LDS church, Mr. White now
 EW> leads them further awry by misrepresenting the basic nature of the
 EW> apostasy.

Please note that Mr. Watson, having started out on the ad hominem
track, has little choice but to continue down that road.  I misled no
one to begin with; I accurately represented the LDS position.  And
now I deny having misrepresented the basic nature of the alleged
apostasy as well.

 EW> He speaks of a requirement necessitated by the LDS belief,
 EW> to explain how "the Christian Church ceased to exist," knowing that in
 EW> the minds of his Protestant readers this will mean the abolishment of
 EW> every Christian organization, doctrine, tradition, teaching, writing,
 EW> belief and even concept.

Mr. Watson's abilities as a mind reader are no better than anyone
else's I know.  Mormon leaders say the Christian Church ceased to
exist.  If Mr. Watson wants to expand that out to absurd lengths, and
then accuse me of something, I can't stop him, but it is just a
little above absurd.

 EW> That such did not happen is obvious to even
 EW> the most casual observer.  Mr. White never bothers to inform his
 EW> readers that the LDS understanding of the apostasy is based upon the
 EW> loss of authority, not doctrines, teachings or beliefs.

Mr. Watson and I have discussed this in the past, so he is well aware
that I am familiar with the issue.  However, I feel a review of the
citations I provided above demonstrate that in LDS thinking, the
apostasy in doctrines, teachings, and beliefs was directly related to
the loss of authority.

 EW> Once the early
 EW> church lost the special authority to perform valid baptisms, then the
 EW> apostasy was complete.  Mr. White does briefly address our belief in
 EW> authority in his next paragraph, but he disassociates it completely
 EW> from the topic of the apostasy, where it specifically belongs.

What Mr. Watson calls a "disassociation" I call a paragraph break.
I also call this entire section of his review "nit-picking."

 >      The Mormon belief lays heavy emphasis upon the doctrine of the
 >   priesthood.  According to Mormonism, Jesus Christ ordained His
 >   apostles to the Melchizedek priesthood, and this priesthood was
 >   lost to the Church by the end of the second century.  Supposedly,
 >   this priesthood was restored to the earth in 1829 when Peter,
 >   James, and John gave it to Joseph Smith.  We cannot here address
 >   the highly anti-biblical nature of this teaching regarding the
 >   Melchizedek priesthood (we invite our readers to write and request
 >   our tract, *What is Your Authority?* for further information).
 >   Instead, we wish to focus upon how the LDS Church has undertaken
 >   to defend this belief regarding a vanishing and then reappearing
 >   Christian Church.

 EW> I find it highly amusing that Mr. White has chosen to ignore the
 EW> topic of the loss and restoration of priesthood authority (which
 EW> constitutes the universal apostasy and subsequent restoration)
 EW> preferring to focus instead upon the vanishing and then reappearing
 EW> Christian Church, which, in the sense in Mr. White is using the words,
 EW> has never been taught nor believed by the LDS Church.

I do not think it is particularly amusing that Mr. Watson wishes to
focus attention on non-issues.  I have not chosen to "ignore"
anything, as I have debated Mr. Watson on these issues on the MORMON
echo before, and hence his accusation has no merit, again.  I am not
sure why Mr. Watson feels he has editorial control over what I write,
and that I should somehow work outside of space constraints just to
meet his whims and desires.  But the fact remains that what I said
regarding the vanishing and re-appearing Christian Church is exactly
in line with what Joseph Fielding Smith said, for without the gospel,
you do not have the Church, and Joseph Fielding Smith said:

        The world had been without this gospel for many hundreds of
        years, ever since the great apostasy and turning away from
        the truth which had been established

 EW> Mr. White
 EW> now proposes to ignore the apostasy itself and examine instead some of
 EW> its results, apparently intending to show that since not all vestiges
 EW> of spirituality, belief and doctrinal comprehension vanished, there was
 EW> no apostasy.

It is beyond me how anyone can expect to be taken seriously when they
write such obvious foolishness as this.  Anyone who read my article
knows that this is pure rhetoric, nothing else.

 EW> Mr. White expresses his opinion that the LDS doctrine of priesthood
 EW> authority is anti-biblical, a point with which I most thoroughly
 EW> disagree.  That discussion will of necessity wait for another time and
 EW> place.  I must remark however, before continuing with the present
 EW> article, that if Mr. White's advertised tract *What is Your
 EW> Authority?* (which I have never seen) is as accurate and informative as
 EW> the article presently under review has been thus far, I would be very
 EW> hesitant to rely upon any of it's claims.

Given that we have found Mr. Watson to be dealing with
misrepresentation on a grand scale all through this review, I can
only conclude that "What Is Your Authority?" must be well worth the
reading.

 >      When faced with the concept of a universal apostacy [sic],
 >   Christians often quote relevant passages of Scripture that would
 >   contradict the LDS position.  For example, Paul wrote to the
 >   Ephesians and spoke much about the Church.  /Footnote 1/  In the
 >   third chapter he wrote:
 >
 >         Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all
 >      we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work
 >      within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ
 >      Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
 >      /Footnote 2/
 >
 >      It seems quite plain that Paul believed that the Father would
 >   be glorified "in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
 >   generations."  If the Church failed in its mission, and ceased to
 >   exist for 1700 years, it is difficult to understand how the Father
 >   would be glorified in the church *throughout* all generations.
 >
 >   /Footnote 1/  Indeed, LDS often cite passages from Ephesians 2:20
 >   regarding the necessity of apostles in the Church, not realizing it
 >   seems, that the passage says that the Apostles are part of the
 >   *foundation* of the Church, and one lays a foundation only once, and
 >   then begins to build the house upon it.  The Apostles continue to
 >   function today, through their witness in Scripture, in a
 >   foundational way.
 >
 >   /Footnote 2/  All quotations are taken from the *New International
 >   Version,* unless otherwise noted.

 EW> I don't get the same thing out of Paul's doxology in Ephesians 3:20
 EW> that Mr. White does.  The purpose of Paul's statement is to praise
 EW> God, in this instance in the form of a prayer or a blessing.  Paul is
 EW> essentially saying "May God be glorified through the church and
 EW> through Jesus Christ forever, Amen."  When you tell a bride and groom
 EW> "May you have a long, happy and prosperous life together," you are not
 EW> prophesying that they will never be divorced, you are expressing to
 EW> them your sincere hopes that they may not.  This verse is therefore
 EW> inapplicable in the sense in which Mr. White is attempting to use it.

We have here a truly great example of LDS re-interpretation of
Biblical passages.  The text is plain for all to read:

Eph 3.20-21
20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or
imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all
generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

This is surely a doxology....and yet some of the greatest theology in
the Word comes from just such doxologies.  This is no mere "wish" for
a bride and groom!  Here Paul speaks of the great resurrection power
of Jesus Christ that is at work in believers, and hence in the
Church!  To the Father, Paul says, be glory in the Church and in
Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever!  Now, I
simply ask:  is the Father glorified in Jesus Christ throughout all
generations?  Of course!  Is there any possibility that the Father
would NOT be glorified in Jesus Christ throughout all generations?
OF COURSE NOT!  Therefore, will not the Father be glorified in the
Church throughout all generations?  Of course!  Is there any chance
of the Father NOT being glorified in the Church throughout all
generations?  OF COURSE NOT!  There is no need to twist the inspired
words around to attack the perpetuity of the Church.

 EW> It is not a prophecy that the church will continue to exist throughout
 EW> all generations.  That an apostasy of the church must occur before the
 EW> second coming of the Savior is abundantly clear from several
 EW> scriptures, one of the more clear being 2Thes 2:3:

 EW> Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not
 EW> come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin
 EW> be revealed, the son of perdition;

Two things make Mr. Watson's interpretation in error:  1) Who is the
man of sin, and when was he revealed?  2)  An apostasy does not equal
a TOTAL apostasy.  Indeed, the fact that apostasy was already a
present reality in the Church at the time of Paul shows that apostasy
can exist without it being UNIVERSAL.

 EW> Mr. White brings up a by-the-way point in his first footnote which
 EW> should be addressed, that of a foundation only being laid once, and
 EW> then the house being built upon it.  Mr. White is stretching Paul's
 EW> metaphor beyond its applicability.

On the contrary, this is quite in line with Paul's own use of the
term "foundation":

1Cor 3.10-11
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert
builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be
careful how he builds.
11 For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid,
which is Jesus Christ. (NIV)

Obviously, the foundation of which Paul speaks has *already been
laid,* and is not going to be laid again and again and again.  Hence,
the usage I made of the passage is fully in line with Paul.

Next we see something that is so very sad.  It is a common action of
the enemies of the Christian faith, for when they are pressed about
their errors, they inevitably attack the Word of God which convicts
them of their sin.  And so Mr. Watson does the same thing.  Listen as
he describes the Scriptures:

 EW> It was not built upon a few of the collected extant
 EW> writings of four of the apostles, supplemented by some additional
 EW> writings about them by various and sundry interested persons, as Mr.
 EW> White would have us believe.

He is referring to my citation of the following passage:

Eph 2.19-20
19 Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow
citizens with God's people and members of God's household,
20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ
Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. (NIV)

It is so sad to read someone referring to the foundation of the
apostles and prophets in the way Mr. Watson does!  And does he not
see that we are *built* (aorist passive participle) upon the
foundation of apostles and prophets?  The foundation has been laid,
and the house is now being built.  Again, perfectly consistent with
Paul's own usage.

 EW> It would have been difficult to build the
 EW> church on a foundation of some documents that were not written until
 EW> long after the church was already established.

Some documents?  Oh, Mr. Watson is referring to God-breathed
Scripture, which had been the possession of God's people since the
days of Moses!  Maybe he forgot that 75% of the Bible existed when
Jesus was laid in the manger?

 EW> If the foundation were
 EW> to have been "only once" laid, then there would have been no reason to
 EW> have replaced any of the apostles.

That is assuming, of course, that the foundation is a group, not the
truth itself of the Gospel.

 EW> Again, if it were true that the
 EW> foundation of the apostles and prophets must be first laid "only once"
 EW> and then the church built upon it, as Mr. White's statement would
 EW> require, then I would be interested in knowing how any of the New
 EW> Testament writings, which were all written long after the church was
 EW> established, could be considered to contain any "foundational"
 EW> material.

Mr. Watson again shows his deep ignorance of historic Christian
theology on this subject as well.

 >      Surely if the Church ceased to exist for 1700 years, it could
 >   be said with truthfulness that the "gates of Hades" did indeed
 >   overcome the Church.

 EW> But after the 1700 years Mr. White speaks of, the battle was not
 EW> yet over.  That the saints were "overcome" was a planned temporary
 EW> setback: planned, because it was predicted and prepared for.  In the
 EW> 13th chapter of Revelation, we find the following:

 EW> 7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to
 EW> overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and
 EW> tongues, and nations.

The book of Revelation has provided fertile ground for various cult
groups throughout the ages.  Mr. Watson provides us with no
contextual reason to think that this passage has anything to do with
the destruction of the entire church, nor that this event, if it is
even a prophecy, is a past event!

 EW> All kindreds, and tongues, and nations I consider to be general.

General, yes; universal, no.

 EW> And
 EW> then in the following chapter (chapter 14) we read how the temporary
 EW> setback was to be overcome and righteousness prevail in the end:

 EW> 6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the
 EW> everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and
 EW> to every nation, and kindred, and tongue and people,

 EW> Rev. 13:7 demonstrates that the apostasy was universal, and extended
 EW> over every kindred, tongue and nation.

It says nothing of the kind, nor does it in fact even speak of an
apostasy at all!  Contextually, to the persecuted Church, the warfare
against the saints would more likely be external, not internal in the
loss of some supposed "authority" that the book of Revelation knows
nothing of.

 EW> Rev. 14:6 demonstrates that
 EW> the everlasting gospel was to be restored by an angel to every nation,
 EW> kindred, tongue and people.  Why the necessity for an angel to restore
 EW> the everlasting gospel to the earth if it were already here?

As if John were speaking of Moroni!  Again, I find this voyage into
wild interpretation of Revelation as interesting as the Jehovah's
Witnesses confident assertions, and equally as compelling.

 EW> Remember, "It ain't over 'till the fat lady sings."  It was not only
 EW> prophesied that the church would fall into apostasy, it was also
 EW> prophesied that there would be a restoration:

 EW> And he shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto
 EW> you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution
 EW> of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy
 EW> prophets since the world began.  (Acts 3:20-21)

Given that the holy prophets since the world began did not know of
the Church, as Paul himself taught, the supposed "restoration"
thereof certainly could not have been included in their prophecies.
Furthermore, this passage is in reference to the second coming of
Christ, which has not yet taken place.

While it would be highly instructive to point out Mr. Watson's use of
ad hominem to avoid points (such as his "Fortunately, most people
find criticisms by someone less than a tithe of their stature hardly
worth noticing" so as to avoid a substantive criticism of Nibley's
highly questionable historical statements) and his lightly brushing
off Nibley's penchant for ignoring original contexts, I will close
with only this last statement on his part:

 EW>  I would only point out that Dr. Nibley was publishing articles
 EW>  in Greek before Mr. White cut his first tooth....

That may very well be true.  Of course, the New World Translation of
Jehovah's Witnesses was published before I was a gleam in my daddy's
eye, and that has absolutely positively nothing at all to do with the
fact that I am fully capable of criticizing its many errors.  Dr.
Nibley is certainly my senior.  But unlike Mr. Watson, I prefer to
allow one's scholarship to speak for itself.  Dr. Nibley had an
opportunity to admit his error and retract it.  Instead, he has
decided to "go down with the ship" so to speak.  That's his choice,
and it is Mr. Watson's choice to sink with him, if he wishes.  But
claims of "seniority" have little to do with truth, as I'm sure that
Mr. Watson is aware.  Dr. Nibley erred, and no amount of insults, ad
hominems, or smokescreens can obscure that simple fact.

James White
6/8/93


Area: Mormon
  Msg#: 1642                                         Date: 06-25-93  07:54
  From: James White                                  Read: No     Replied: No 
    To: Elden Watson                                 Mark:                     
  Subj: Article Review #1


-=> Elden was saying to James back on 24 Jun 93  05:45:00 -=> 

 JW>It [the original article] was about one thing: Hugh Nibley's
 >comments on Matthew 16.19, specifically regarding the genitive
 >"autes" that functions as the direct object of the Greek verb
 >"katischuo," i.e., "the gates of hades will not overcome
 >(katischuo) it (autes)."  That is what the article was about.  That
 >was its thrust.  I alleged that Dr. Nibley was simply in error to
 >syntax the genitive autes as a partitive genitive, and demonstrated
 >that the proper syntactical identification would be the genitive of
 >direct object.  I supported this from scholarly sources.
 
 JW>  For Mr. Watson's review to be relevant, it would have to
 >provide argumentation against the main point of the article.  As
 >anyone can see by reading the review, it utterly fails to do that
 >very thing,

 EW> As I said in a previous post, James, you have difficulty with
 EW> relevancy.  You tend to treat Greek like a mathematical science.  To
 EW> you a sentence can only be syntaxed in one way and can only have one
 EW> meaning.

Your inability to engage the topic at a scholarly level is evident,
Elden, in your comments yet once again.  I do not treat Greek like a
mathematical science, and I have never once stated, nor intimated,
that a sentence can be syntaxed in only one way and can only have one
meaning.  Such is utter foolishness and gross misrepresentation,
nothing more.  I have stated, however, that there are correct ways of
syntaxing terms and phrases, and incorrect ways.  The partitive
genitive requires certain conditions that are not fulfilled in
Matthew 16.18; furthermore, evidence is plainly available in the
lexical sources that explain the use of the genitive as the direct
object of the verb.  Given this information, the syntaxing provided
by Dr. Nibley is incorrect, and is obviously theologically motivated.
If you have no problems translating Greek according to one's
theology, they you'll have no problems with Dr. Nibley's comments.
I, personally, have problems with theological translation rather than
grammatical and syntactical translation, hence my objection.

If you would like to say that I insist that words, phrases, or
sentences, can only be syntaxed in "one way" and can only ahve "one
meaning," please provide evidence for your statement from my
writings, for from my lectures on the Greek language delivered at
Grand Canyon University or Fuller Theological Seminary's extension in
Phoenix.  Thank you.

 EW> Fortunately, however, language (and especially Greek) is
 EW> an art, and is full of nuances and variations.  The purpose of
 EW> translation is to identify what the originator of a phrase intended
 EW> it to convey, not what a graduate student can syntax it out to mean.

Indeed, and forcing a modern Mormon meaning on Matthew 16, when there
is no reason 1) grammatically, 2) syntactically, 3) lexically, or 4)
historically, is just the error of Nibley's position.

 EW> JW... preferring instead to attack anything and everything
 >*around* the central thesis, while leaving the true error of Dr.
 >Nibley unrefuted.

 EW> The concept that Dr. Nibley made an error was thoroughly refuted,
 EW> James.  It's all there, in my review.  I must presume that you just
 EW> havn't been able to figure it out yet.

An empty assertion that is devoid of evidence, Elden.  My assertion
was demonstrated by my review of your comments.

 JW>  Mr. Watson seemingly felt it was necessary to "take the gloves
 >off" so to speak in his review.  He was none to kind in many of his
 >remarks, preferring, it seems, the ad hominem method of
 >argumentation to a scholarly one.  It is possible, of course, that
 >since Mr. Watson has no graduate training in Greek (to my
 >knowledge), he had to resort to this argumentation, as he is
 >unequipped to engage the finer points of the argument.  Sadly, this
 >inability shows up often in his review, normally couched in an
 >attack upon *my* abilities at things that he himself has not
 >studied.

 EW> You accuse me of ad hominem in the same breath in which you claim I
 EW> am unequipped to engage in the finer points of the argument because
 EW> I have had no graduate training in Greek.

Possibly you are unaware of the nature of ad hominem, Elden?  Ad
hominem is an argument that avoids the issue by attacking the person.
Examples abound in your article.  For example, when attempting to
defend Dr. Nibley's statements about Greek, you say that Dr. Nibley
was writing about Greek before I cut my first tooth.  The argument is
irrelevant to the facts of the matter, for while Dr. Nibley may be 50
years older than I, age is not a guarantee of correctness on any
particular issue at hand.  Hence, Dr. Nibley's age is not relevant to
the correctness of his claims regarding the Greek language, nor is my
youth relevant, either.  This kind of argument avoids the point by
substituting an illogical statement in its place.

In distinction from this we have my statement above, that you seem
unequipped to engage in the finer points of the argument because of
your unfamiliarity with the issue.  This is not an argument, it is an
observation.  I am not attempting to deflect any assertion on your
part by pointing out your lack of training in a technical subject.  I
am simply pointing out a fact and how that fact might explain some
aspects of your attempted review of my article.  Hence, this is not
ad hominem at all, as anyone reading this can see.

 EW> And you later deride me
 EW> because I agree with Dr. Nibley who I would say has a fairly
 EW> adequate background in Greek.  You have lit the candle at both ends,
 EW> James, and are liable to get burned before you can drop it.
 EW> Claiming that one needs to have had graduate studies in Greek to
 EW> understand the finer points of your argument is like claiming you
 EW> must have an advanced degree in auto mechanics to be able to tell
 EW> the difference between a carburetor and a muffler.  I believe you
 EW> will find my Greek quite adequate for the task at hand.

I have found your Greek quite inadequate for the task at hand, Elden.
I would not engage in a technical discussion of quantum mechanics
or high-level mathematics, for I am not trained to do so.  I am
trained, however, in koine Greek, and hence do not shrink from
refuting statements made by a man that are contradictory to
everything that has ever been said by any scholar on the particular
passage under discussion.  Nibley stands alone, and the facts are
plainly on my side.

 JW> Mr. Watson, I feel, has learned well at the feet of Dr. Nibley,
 >and has filled his review with a great deal of fluff, but
 >tremendously little substance.  Having made such a statement, I
 >will proceed, unlike Mr. Watson, to demonstrate my point.

 EW> And as you so courteously have pointed out, your point is that Dr.
 EW> Nibley supposedly made an error in his translation of Mt 16:18 in
 EW> declaring autes to be in the partitive genitive.  The astute reader
 EW> will note how little of your following arguments apply to your
 EW> declared point.

The astute reader will note how the vast MAJORITY of my following
arguments were about just that, Elden.

 JW>Anyone who has read much of Dr. Nibley's books surely recognizes
 >the inimitable style found here as well.  Dr. Nibley surely views
 >himself highly, that is for certain, and his superiority comes
 >across clearly in the words he writes.  Let's look closely at what
 >he says:
 
 HN>  When ministers start making Greek the argument, it is time to
 >  adjourn.  I have always found their training to be extremely
 >  superficial, usually applying to one book only in the most
 >  massive of ancient literatures, and read with a translation and
 >  dictionary at the student's elbow.
 
 JW>One is very tempted to comment upon why Dr. Nibley would have
 >such a pedantic view of Christian ministers, but such topics are
 >not for our present review.

 EW> Perhaps it is only because Christian ministers are typically so
 EW> pedantic.

One is very tempted to comment upon why Elden Watson would have such
a pedantic view of Christian ministers, but such topics are not for
our present review.

 EW> His description typifies you so well it is humorous.  I
 EW> don't believe you quoted from any book in your entire article which
 EW> did not have an "of the New Testament" somewhere in the title.

Hmm, I do believe that we were discussing a passage from the NEW
TESTAMENT, were we not, Elden?  Citing commentaries on Plato would
not exactly address the function of the partitive genitive in koine
Greek, would it?

 JW> Suffice it to say that obviously Mr. Watson provided Dr. Nibley
 >with more than just a question, but also the background of the
 >question as well (how else would he have known a "minister" had
 >provided the challenge?).  We recognize that Dr. Nibley does not
 >feel that anyone outside of Zion is nearly as capable as himself
 >(surely that is what the above suggests to me), but I would like to
 >suggest that it would be far better to let the facts speak for
 >themselves.

 EW> They do, James, quite loudly.  I have found Dr. Nibley to be quite
 EW> humble about his personal accomplishments.  I have never seen him
 EW> flaunt having taken graduate classes in Greek.

He doesn't need to, as he has many followers, such as yourself, to do
that for him.

 EW> He would certainly
 EW> never stoop so low as to state that anyone without graduate studies
 EW> in Greek would be unable to understand the finer points of his
 EW> arguments.

No, he would just say that if it is a Christian minister raising the
issue, "its time to adjourn."

 JW> If it is found that Dr. Nibley can defend his position, that
 >will speak well for his scholarship.  If we find him avoiding the
 >duty of defending his position, we can decide that his comments
 >are without merit.

 EW> Dr. Nibley's scholarship is already sufficiently established, thank
 EW> you.  It is not Dr. Nibley who appears to have nothing better to do
 EW> than debate the meaning of the word "it" in a particular bible
 EW> verse.

< chuckle >  It was Dr. Nibley who made the false claim, and you who
introduced it on this echo, Elden.  I am simply pointing out, for
everyone's edification, that the text does not support the assertions
made by Nibley.  The fact that you have had to go to such lengths to
defend the infallibility of your leading scholar speaks volumes to
me, and to others who are following The Saga of the Mis-syntaxed
Pronoun.

 EW> As for his "duty of defending his position," he no more has
 EW> any such duty than you have of defending any particular one of the
 EW> seven different meanings attributable to "I didn't say he stole the
 EW> apples."

Of course, your statement is illogical.  Nibley has presented a
position, in a published paper, which is contrary to 99.9999% of all
scholarly writing on the subject; no known translation supports his
perspective; no commentary that I have ever seen adopts his view.
His comments strike at the perpetuity of the Christian Church, and as
such, *I* certainly feel he has a duty to defend his comments.
Anything less is irresponsible.

 EW> What you want to see as avoiding his duty, I would see
 EW> more as "go away little boy, you bother me."

Thank you for clearly demonstrating your true views of scholarship,
and how you, seemingly, would think Dr. Nibley would respond to a
challenge from myself.  I could not have expressed the truthfulness
of my original sentiments about Nibley's article any plainer than
that.  Thank you.

 HN>  There is no scarcity of instances in which the genitive is used
 HN> in the same sense given in Matthew 16:18.
 
 JW>As I pointed out, when faced with a difficulty, affirm that about
 >which there is no doubt.  The issue is not "can the genitive be
 >used in a partitive sense?"  No one has denied such a statement.
 >The question is, "Is `autes' at Matthew 16.19 functioning as a
 >partitive?"

 EW> And since both constructions are grammatically permissible, it
 EW> follows that the meaning must be determined by context and not by
 EW> syntax.

Thank you again, Elden, for demonstrating your level of study of the
subject.  The above sentence fully vindicates my statements
concerning the wisdom of your attempting to engage this topic without
the training to do so.  In the above sentence you say, "it follows
that the meaning must be determined by context and not by syntax."
Anyone who has done original work in syntax in the Greek New
Testament is surely chuckling at such a statement, for syntax is
fully and completely contextual in nature; syntax refers to the
function of a term or phrase IN CONTEXT.  To separate the two is to
show a deep ignorance of the entire subject at hand.

 HN>   _Katechousi_, used with gates cannot possibly mean anything
 >   but "hold back."
 
 JW>I believe it is VERY important to note this statement on Nibley's
 >part.  Unlike Mr. Watson's far less strident statements in his
 >review, Nibley is straightforward in asserting that "katechousi"
 >"cannot possibly mean anything but `hold back.'"  Even Mr. Watson
 >noted that when the term is used intransitively it means "be
 >strong, powerful, gain the ascendancy," and that "when used with
 >the object in the genitive, the meaning shifts slightly to "win a
 >victory over." Mr. Watson was commenting on the definition in
 >Bauer.  Yet, here Dr. Nibley states that it CANNOT POSSIBLY MEAN
 >ANYTHING BUT HOLD BACK. Yet, this is obviously untrue, as all
 >lexical sources show.

 EW> Is this one of the finer points of your argument, James?  You remove
 EW> Dr. Nibley's comment from its context and then state that is
 EW> obviously untrue.  Nonsense.  Look above at the sentence fragment as
 EW> Dr. Nibley stated it.  You deleted "used with gates."

No, I did not "delete" anything, Elden; in fact, I quoted Dr.
Nibley's letter, fully, twice, without deleting anything.  I assume
the reader can remember his statements for more than 30 seconds, and
hence do not need to quote every single word over and over again when
referring to this statements.

 EW> A most
 EW> important omission.  None of your brilliantly quoted lexical sources
 EW> have anything to say about katechousi when used in conjunction with
 EW> the word "gates."  The only way a gate can be strong, powerful, or
 EW> gain the ascendancy is if it succeeds in holding someone or
 EW> something back, which is precisely what Dr. Nibley stated.

Not at all, Elden, as any and all commentaries would point out, and
as one of the lexical sources I quoted DID specifically mention (Louw
and Nida).  Nibley is ignoring the meaning of "gates of Hades" in
Jewish and Christian belief, and forcing a foreign concept upon the
text.  The verb, when used with the genitive, as you yourself noted,
means "to overcome, overpower, prevail against."  The Church is that
which the gates of Hades will not prevail.

 JW>  Thayer's (p. 341) does not support Nibley, nor does Bauer.
 >Moulton gives "prevail, gain mastery over" (p. 338).  Abbott-Smith
 >gives "to overpower, prevail against, prevail" (p. 241).  The new
 >Louw-Nida lexicon says:
 >
 >      to prevail over something or some person so as to be able to
 >      defeat, with the implication that the successful participant
 >      has greater strength -- `to defeat, to prevail over'...`on
 >      this rock I will build my church and not even death will be
 >      able to defeat it' Mt 16.18 (p. 501).

 EW> Quite contrary to your statement, these all support Dr. Nibley's
 EW> comment, as you might have realized had you given a moment's thought
 EW> to what he said before triumphantly (and foolishly) declaring him
 EW> wrong.

< chuckle >  A moments reflection on your statement will surely make
many wonder, Elden.  Nibley says that the term CANNOT POSSIBLY MEAN
ANYTHING BUT HOLD BACK in this passage.  Yet, where is his evidence?
The lexical sources demonstrate another meaning with the genitive,
which is what we have here in Matthew 16.  Now isn't it rather
humorous, Elden, that you started out misrepresenting me as saying
that a term or sentence can only have ONE syntactical identification,
and ONE meaning, when in fact it is your own hero, Dr. Nibley, who
has stated that in this passage the verb can mean only ONE thing,
when in fact the lexical sources indicate otherwise?  The irony is
certainly not lost on me, anyway....

 JW>Why does Nibley assert that it MUST mean "hold back"?

 EW> Because Dr. Nibley is looking at the meaning of the word in
 EW> the context in which it appears, rather than selecting
 EW> choices without context from a list of dictionary
 EW> definitions. People who are fluent in Greek can do that.

< chuckle >  Nibley's statement, as it has no lexical basis, plainly
derives from his theology, not from the text.  Can you find any
lexical sources, Elden, that support Nibley's statement?  I have
provided many that contradict Nibley's statement.  I can point to
dozens and dozens of translations that contradict Nibley's statement.
Are you seriously suggesting to us all, Elden, that Hugh Nibley,
historian, is in fact the greatest expert on the Greek language that
has ever lived in the history of man, and hence can overthrow all
other scholars with a mere statement, without even having to
demonstrate the correctness of his statements from the sources
themselves?  As I pointed out, and as you yourself stated in citing
Bauer, the verb, when taking the genitive direct object, as it
does here, means "overcome, prevail against."  That is the meaning of
the verb.  If Nibley were attempting merely to exegete the passage,
he would start here, and then look at "gates of Hades" and examine
its background and discover that it is not referring to physical, or
spiritual, "gates" at all, but to the powers of death, and would, on
that basis, see that the powers of death will not overcome the
Church.  But Nibley is not *exegeting* the passage at all, but is
simply trying to *use* the passage to support a pre-existing
theology.  Hence his false statement about the meaning of the verb
remains false.  He is not deriving his meaning from the context, as
you assert, but is forcing a foreign meaning upon it.

 JW> Because his entire interpretation is based upon it, that's why.

 EW> True.  His interpretation is based upon the meaning of the
 EW> word in the context in which it appears.

No, it is not.  His interpretation ignores the meaning of the word
*in context.*  The context, Elden, is that of the genitive being used
as the direct object of the verb; this verb means "overcome, prevail
against" when using the genitive direct object.  If Nibley were
dealing with context, he would say this.  He doesn't, because he is
ignoring the meaning of the verb by insisting on only ONE possible
meaning for "gates of Hades."  That is is ERROR as has been plainly
brought out already.

 JW> He is ignoring, for theological, not linguistic or
 >textual reasons, the fact that "gates of hades" is not
 >referring to a particular place, or even the entrance and
 >exit of hades itself.

 EW> Dr. Nibley is no more ignoring the fact that the gates of
 EW> hades are not real gates than Christ was ignoring the fact
 EW> that Peter was not a real rock.  The phrase "gates of hades"
 EW> means death, which is the entrance to hades

Then his statement about the verb HAVING to mean "hold back" is left
without the slighest foundation.
 
 JW> But I am getting ahead of myself, as I shall demonstrate
 >this fully when replying to Mr. Watson's specific charges.

 EW> I can hardly wait .

The reaction of a person not serious about the subject, Elden.  I
have received a number of posts from those watching this exchange who
have seen very clearly the lost causes that you are willing to
defend.
 
 HN>  Hold back what?  Again the object cannot possibly be
 >    anything but an accusative.  Yet for some strange
 >    reason here in all manuscripts, it is in the genitive
 >    or possessive.  Why?
 
 JW> We here again see how much error can be created by
 >producing an interpretation, and then forcing that
 >interpretation upon the text!

 EW> Let's see if I can explain this simply, by an example,
 EW> James.  When you look up the word "tree" in the dictionary,
 EW> It gives a brief description of a generic tree, but does not
 EW> specify a type of tree such as "apple tree."  The word
 EW> "tree" may, however be applied to an apple tree.  If someone
 EW> now says a peach tree is also a tree, it is not legitimate
 EW> to say "No, a peach tree cannot be a tree because an apple
 EW> tree is a tree."

Thank you for that tremendous example.  Getting back to the subject
at hand, however, I repeat the plain meaning of my statement: Dr.
Nibley, ignoring the lexical evidence and use of the verb that he is
looking at, forces a foreign meaning upon the text.  Your example, of
course, fails to even begin to address the issue at thand.

 JW> First he begins by insisting that the term must mean
 >"hold back," when the lexical sources indicate that it means
 >to "overcome" or "prevail against."  And why does it mean
 >this?  Because of the use of the genitive direct object!

 EW> See what I mean.  Thank you for proving my point.

An irrelevant comment, Elden.  Should I take this as a confession on
your part that you are unable to defend Nibley's statement?
 
 JW> Rather than being taught by the text, Dr. Nibley has a
 >goal, and is now working through the text backwards to
 >arrive at his goal!

 EW> You are suffering from your old malady, "beam in the eye"
 EW> itis, James.

I know that I, and others, are really tiring of your smokescreens,
Elden.  If you are way beyond your capacity to respond, just admit it
and we can go from there.  Please don't make such silly statements
and expect to receive a scholarly reply.

 EW> It is you who has determined theologically that
 EW> "autes" in Mt 16:18 must refer to the church, and you are
 EW> willing to steamroll backwards over any and all other
 EW> legitimate lexical and grammatical interpretations with a
 EW> complete disregard for what the original author may have
 EW> intended.

Given that I have provided the lexical sources supportive of my
statements regarding the meaning of the verb with the genitive direct
object, and have provided numerous other citations supportive of my
statements, and you have provided absolutely positively NOTHING other
than Nibley's pontifications, the reality of who is translating
theologically, and who is translating the text itself, can be easily
determined by anyone who has read this correspondence.

 JW> By ignoring the use of the genitive with "katischuo,"
 >and insisting upon another meaning for the word, he now
 >goes back to ask why "autes" is in the genitive.

 EW> Dr. Nibley does not ignore the use of the genitive with
 EW> katischuo, but merely recognizes that the genitive can have
 EW> more than one cause.

He ignores that katischuo, when taking the genitive direct object,
does NOT mean "hold back" but rather "prevail, overcome."

 EW> Katischuo appears in ancient Greek,
 EW> LXX, Egyptian papyri and modern Greek with the meaning of
 EW> gaining the mastery over, but virtually always with the
 EW> accusative.  Dr. Nibley is pointing out that when it appears
 EW> here in the genitive, it may be because the author is trying
 EW> to tell us something different.
 
The sources indicate the reason for the genitive direct object, and
that has to do with the meaning of katischuo when it has the genitive
direct object; Nibley ignores this, and instead comes up with a
"partitive genitive."  His ignoring the meaning of the term with the
genitive direct object, and his identification of the genitive as a
partitive, are *both* errors.

 HN>  Smythe's Grammar, Sects. 1341, 1345, 1352 gives
 >    a number of examples in which a genitive is so used as
 >    an object to indicate things belonging to a larger
 >    category or body.
 
 JW> Yes, so?  Again, by providing a statement that no one has
 >denied, Dr. Nibley thinks to have answered the question.
 >Yet, it is transparently obvious that he has not answered
 >anything at all!  Of course the genitive can be used as an
 >object to indicate things belonging to a larger category or
 >body.  That is not the issue!

 EW> It is most certainly *an* issue, because that is the only
 EW> reason you could have to reject Dr. Nibley's translation on
 EW> grammatical or lexical rather than contextual grounds.

< sigh >  No, Elden, and your ability to say that seems to indicate
that you are *completely* lost regarding the discussion.  Let's point
it out again:  Nibley says that a genitive can be used as an object
to indicate things belonging to a larger category of body.  So?  No
one denied this...it is not an issue.  The issue, however, is whether
autes is functioning in this way at Matthew 16.18.  It is not.
 
 JW> Does Smythe's Grammar list Matthew 16.19 as an example
 >of this? Does it address the use of "katischuo" with the
 >genitive of direct object?  Dr. Nibley does not say.

 EW> I can tell you, James.  It does not refer to Mt 16:18 in
 EW> this context.  The reason it does not is because it is a
 EW> Greek grammar, not a "New Testament" grammar.  Was your
 EW> English grammar in college replete with examples from the
 EW> Bible?  This again demonstrates your inadequacy at being
 EW> able to deal with Greek outside the narrow confines of the
 EW> New Testament.

< chuckle >  Well, Elden, we *are* talking about the NT, right?
Hence, we need to focus upon the koine of the NT.  As to my
inadequacy, I'll take my ability at NT Greek over your inability in
all forms of Greek any day when discussing a topic such as this.

 JW>I honestly feel that Dr. Nibley's response is a tacit
 >admission of his own unwillingness to admit error.

 EW> Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!  Obviously a painful attack of "beam in
 EW> the eye" itis.  Take two aspirin every four hours, drink lots
 EW> of liquids and get plenty of bed rest.  If symptoms persist,
 EW> consult your analyst.

I despair of any serious, scholarly, or meaningful dialogue from you
on this, Elden.  I have noticed that when you are defeated in a
debate, you resort to this kind of posting, which does nothing but
waste hd space.  I, personally, will be glad to reply to any
meaningful comments you might have, but to date, you have made very
few such comments.

 JW> Nowhere in this material does he provide a single piece
 EW> of information that is supportive of his thesis!

 EW> That's because it was intended to be a friendly letter to
 EW> me, not one side of a debate.

Seems very strange that even a "friendly letter" would fail to
address any of the issue, doesn't it, Elden?

 JW> He does not address the fact that "katischuo" can take
 EW> its object in the genitive, and in fact regularly does.

 EW> That is because in actual fact it regularly does *not.*

Another error on your part, Elden.  In the NT, it does.

 JW> He does not support his unwarranted assertion that the
 >term MUST mean "hold back" rather than "overcome" as the
 >sources indicate when used with the genitive.

 EW> That is because gates do not overcome or gain ascendancy
 EW> over; they hold back.  (Think about it).

Again you mistranslate and mis-syntax, and that all because you can't
see "gates of Hades" as anything but literal gates, rather than the
Biblical usage, referring to the powers of death, which DO overcom
and gain ascendancy over.

 JW> He does not support his identification of "autes" as a
 >partitive by merely mentioning that partitives
 >exist--everyone knows that.

 EW> Gee, that must be because everyone except me has had graduate
 EW> classes in Greek.  I had to look it up.

No doubt, but I was speaking in a scholarly setting, Elden.
 
 JW> Such argumentation is indicative of a person who is not
 >able to substantiate a long leap in exegesis, which is
 >exactly what we have in his comments on Matthew 16.19.

 EW> It is possible that a small enough person could perceive a
 EW> single step as a long leap, but I suspect that you are
 EW> overstating your inability to make the connection.  It is
 EW> not that difficult.

It is quite difficult, since it has been proven impossible, and
documented to be an error.  Nibley provided no support to his
statements, and you have provided none, either.
 
 HN> Is there anything more fantastic than pinning one's
 >   salvation on pedantic interpretations of an ancient
 >   language which has always given rise to endless
 >   hair-splitting and controversy?
 
 JW> Such a question is more properly addressed to he who
 >pins his salvation upon the truthfulness of one Joseph Smith
 >Jr., and *his* "pedantic interpretations."

 EW> Is this the same James White who just recently complained
 EW> about ad homonym attacks and irrelevant derogatory remarks
 EW> which have nothing to do with the topic at hand?  James, I'm
 EW> surprised that you could even say such a thing  sarcasm>.

Nibley's statement, coming as it did after not even beginning to
substantiate his statements, was obviously pedantic.
 
 EW> As I see it, and as I believe Dr. Nibley intended, the
 >proper interpretation of Matthew 16:18 is that the trailing
 >"it" would be more properly translated "hers," and refers
 >to a portion of the members of the church of Christ.  They
 >are hers, because as members of the church, they belong to
 >her (the church).  Those referenced here constitute only a
 >portion of the members of the church of Christ because not
 >all of the members of the church of Christ are in Hades.
 
 JW>As we shall see later, NONE of the Church of Christ is in
 >hades,...

 EW> That should be good, since hades is the realm of the dead.
 EW> Are you trying to say that none of the members of the church
 EW> ever died?

The gates of Hades refer to the power of death.  The power of death
has been broken for those who are in Christ, Elden.

 JW>.. nor is that the point of the discussion at all.

 EW> Now let me get this straight.  The point of the discussion
 EW> is to demonstrate that Dr. Nibley's interpretation is wrong,
 EW> but the contextual reason for his interpretation is not to
 EW> be included?

You are engaging in little more than obfuscation, Elden.  Please
stick to the issue.
 
 JW>But Mr. Watson's interpretation of Nibley is correct, and
 >is in fact what I myself had indicated in my article.

 EW> Isn't it amazing how someone who has never had graduate
 EW> classes in Greek can arrive at the same understanding as you
 EW> did?

Waste of hd space.
 
 JW> a point made in one of his own favorite sources, the
 >TDNT:
 
 JW>  With this concept "pulai hadou" is a pars-pro-toto
 >    term...for the ungodly powers of the underworld which
 >    assail the rock.  This interpretation is supported by
 >    the linguistic consideration that "katischuein" when
 >    followed by a genitive is always active ("to vanquish")
 >    in Jewish Greek.  Hence the "pulai hadou" are the
 >    agressors.

 EW> You have conveniently modified your quote to make it appear
 EW> to support your argument, James.  That's not nice.  The
 EW> actual quote does not say "With this concept..."  it says
 EW> "Within this concept..." and the concept it is within is
 EW> defined in the 2nd paragraph above as "and the gates of hell
 EW> will not overcome it (the rock or the Church)." [TDNT 6:927]

No modification, Elden; simply a typo that has nothing to do with the
point at hand.  Please try to stick to the topic.  Please rebut the
assertion that pulai hadou is a pars-pro-toto term for the ungodly
powers of the underworld with ASSAIL the rock.  Also, please rebut
the statement of the TDNT that the verb, when followed by a genitive,
is ALWAYS active, meaning "to vanquish," in Jewish Greek.  Please
rebut that this means that "pulai hadou" are the agressors.  Please
fit this in with Nibley's statement that the verb MUST mean "hold
back."

 EW> That is to say that if we assume your interpretation as a
 EW> starting point, then the conclusions we arrive at support
 EW> your interpretation.  I'm really not surprised.

I note you have no substantive reply to the material I quoted, as
usual.
 
 JW>The gates of hades, then, refer to the powers of death
 >itself.

 EW> Only as a forced conclusion if we begin with what you are
 EW> attempting to demonstrate.

Hardly.  This is the plain meaning of Isaiah 38:10, as cited below.
It is also perfectly in line with the use of katischuo with the
genitive, meaning "overcome."

 EW> More importantly, it also
 EW> requires the gates of hades to be the active aggressors
 EW> against the church, which in turn forces them to have the
 EW> attribute of some active force or power which they do not
 EW> possess.

Surely the powers of death have active force or power, Elden.

 EW> This is likely one of the factors which led Dr.
 EW> Nibley to look for an alternative interpretation.  Actually
 EW> the gates of hades represents death itself, which is the
 EW> means through which people enter hades, and hence is
 EW> compared to gates.

The gates of Hades will not overcome the Church.  Such is the plain
meaning of the text, as has been demonstrated.  Merely repeating your
already made assertions is not relevant to the topic any longer.

 JW> This is very consistent with Biblical usage.  Note Isaiah 38:10:
 
 JW>Is 38.10 I said, "In the prime of my life must I go
 >through the gates of death (pulais hadou) and be robbed of
 >the rest of my years?"

 EW> This verse does not support your view, James.  This does not
 EW> intimate that any powers of the underworld actively assail
 EW> him, it just means that he must die.

You miss the point yet once again, Elden.  The gates of death (as
translated by the NIV, and hence providing another scholarly source
opposed to the Niblian viewpoint) are used in Jewish thought, not of
structures that keep people in the hold of death, but of the power
and state of death itself.  The point of the citation is that "gates
of Hades" does NOT have to have the very limited meaning that Nibley
and yourself insist upon, but in fact in Jewish thinking has a
different meaning, one that fully allows the gates of Hades to attack
the Church.  The fact that in Isaiah 38.10 there is no attack upon
the man by the powers of death is not the least bit relevant to the
context in which I cited the passage.  Again, please attempt to deal
with statements in their original context, thank you.

 JW>Extra-Biblical Jewish sources use the term in the same
 >way, as Jeremias noted in TDNT above.

 EW> Agreed, and like Jeremiah, they use it to represent death, not "powers
 EW> of death."

The point, as I think everyone has been able to see, Elden, is that
"gates of Hades" refers to death; Nibley and yourself are putting
undue emphasis upon "gates," even to the point of insisting that
because the term "gates" is present, that the verb MUST mean "hold
back."  And why?  Because gates can't be "offensive weapons" as you
have said.  However, when we see that "gates of hades" is not
referring to standing gates at all, the entire "offensive weapons"
issue disappears.  When we see that what the Lord is referring to is
death (and I do not see that there is some huge difference between
being dead, and under the power of death, hence the similarity
between those who speak of it as death, and as the powers of death),
we can understand the use of the genitive direct object, and the
proper translation of the verb as "overcome, prevail against."  The
references I have cited have demonstrated that Nibley's insistance
that "gates must hold back something" is incorrect.

 EW> It's true I do not have an overabundance of references,
 EW> but for the seven I have, they are all simply referring to death. 
 EW> Define for me "powers of death," James.  Do you mean the powers which
 EW> are possessed by people after they have died, or do you mean those
 EW> powers and things which can cause people to die?  Calvin seems to imply
 EW> the latter, though if that's the case I wonder why he excludes such
 EW> obvious things as accidents and illnesses.

The powers of death, Elden, in this passage, would simply refer to
all those powers that would seek to overcome the Church of Jesus
Christ.  Over against the Lord of life, who gives life and light to
men, are arrayed the powers of death, which seek to keep men bound in
darkness and night.

 EW> OK, James.  I admit that I have no great faith in Calvin or his
 EW> teachings,

Nothing personal, Elden, but I have the strong feeling that you
probably have read more of Calvin's own words in my posts than in any
other sources, correct?

 EW> but this paragraph leaves me confused. Perhaps you could
 EW> help me understand it.  Here are some of my problems:  He says that
 EW> "what is said of the body of the Church belongs to each of its
 EW> members," and this seems to be in the immediate context of the gates of
 EW> hades not prevailing against the church.  He therefore seems to me to
 EW> be saying that the gates of hades [i.e. death] will not prevail against
 EW> any of those who are "united to Christ."  He also says they will
 EW> "remain to the end safe from all danger"  obviously not referring to
 EW> physical danger, because I have never heard of any protestant who
 EW> anticipates that they will never die physically.  Yet the gates of
 EW> hades specifically refers to physical death.  A mass of confusion to
 EW> me.  I hope you can make it a little more clear.
 
Possibly you are not aware of the fact that Christians are not, even
at death, under the power of death itself.  Remember Paul's words?

        Romans 8:2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit
        of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
                ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

        1 Cor 15:56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin
        is the law.

Since we have been redeemed from sin, the sting of death is no longer
a threat to us.  So that Paul can go on to say:

        1 Cor 15:57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory
        through our Lord Jesus Christ.

And this is so plainly taught in Paul's letter to Timothy:

        2 Tim 1:9 who has saved us and called us to a holy life-- not
        because of anything we have done but because of his own
        purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus
        before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed
        through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has
        destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light
        through the gospel.

The Lord Jesus "destroyed death" and has brought, in its place, life
and immortality to light through the gospel.  Hence, even when I die
physically, I do so in life, for when I am absent from the body, I am
at home with the Lord.  I die, not under the "powers of death,"
overcome and vanquished by them, but in the glorious grace of Christ.

 JW>   Yet this passage also instructs us, that so long as
 >      the Church shall continue to be a pilgrim on the
 >      earth, she will never enjoy rest, but will be
 >      exposed to many attacks; for, when it is declared
 >      that Satan will not conquer, this implies that he
 >      will be her constant enemy.  While, therefore, we
 >      rely on this promise of Christ, feel ourselves at
 >      liberty to boast against Satan, and already triumph
 >      by faith over all his forces; let us learn, on the
 >      other hand, that this promise is, as it were, the
 >      sound of a trumpet, calling us to be always ready
 >      and prepared for battle.  By the word gates
 >      ("pulai") is unquestionably meant every kind of
 >      power and of weapons of war.

 EW> Of the seven quotes I have examined which make use of the phrase
 EW> "gates of hades" or its like, none of them discuss or mention any power
 EW> or weapons of war.  They are all simply referring to death.  Calvin's
 EW> explanations give me no confidence at all in your interpretation of Mt
 EW> 16:18.  And isn't this the same fellow who said we are all following a
 EW> predetermined script, from which we cannot deviate?  What does it mean
 EW> then to heed the sound of the trumpet calling us to be ready and
 EW> prepared for battle?

Your prejudice against Calvin, most probably based solely upon
second-hand information, has obscured the meaning of his words.  The
point is, yet once again, that the passage is referring to the powers
of death that stand in opposition to the Church of Jesus Christ.
These powers do attempt to overcome the Church, but fail in their
effort.

 JW>D.A. Carson noted:
 
 JW>But "gates of Hades" or very similar expressions are
 >found in canonical Jewish literature...and pagan
 >literature..., and seem to refer to death and dying...

 EW> Which coincides precisely with my own observations.

If so, then I will hardly expect to see you repeating Nibley's "the
term MUST mean `hold back,'" again due to the concept of a literal
gate, rather than the much broader concept of death and dying.
 
 JW>Hence RSV: "The powers of death shall not prevail
 >against it."  Because the church is the assembly of people
 >Jesus Messiah is building, it cannot die.

 EW> Obviously a faulty statement, for two reasons:  1. Jesus Messiah was
 EW> God himself, and he died.  Death did not prevail against him, but not
 EW> because he never died, but because he was restored to life.

No, yours is the faulty statement, Elden, for death *never* prevailed
against the Lord Jesus.  His life was not taken away from Him, Elden,
He gave it over voluntarily.  It was His to give, and His to take
back.  Death never had authority over Him, for He did not sin:

John 10.17-18
17 The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life-- only to
take it up again.
18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have
authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command
I received from my Father."

 EW> Is the
 EW> creation of God (the church) greater than God?  We loudly proclaim 
 EW> No! The church he created died, and then in similitude of himself, was
 EW> restored to life.

The Lord Jesus died voluntarily so as to bring about the redemption
of His people.  His Church did not die, as He promised, and there
would be no reason for such a death.  There is no parallel, and
certainly such a teaching is as far removed from Christianity as the
idea that God was once a man who lived on another planet.

 EW> 2. In speaking of things which must shortly come to
 EW> pass, John the Revelator saw that the horn was given power to make war
 EW> with the saints "and to overcome them."  Regardless of when the saints
 EW> were to be overcome, it was after Christ organized his church.  The
 EW> question then becomes not "can it die," but "when did it (or when will
 EW> it) die?"

Your interpretation of Revelation is interesting, but hardly
compelling, for it directly contradicts the plain teaching of
Ephesians 3, Elden.  How do you know that the saints referred to
means ALL saints in ALL places?

 JW>The position taken by Nibley and Watson falls upon the
 >simple fact of the meaning of katischuo when taking its
 >object in the genitive.

 EW> My position has no problem with katischuo being known to occasionally
 EW> take its object in the genitive.  Your position, however, seems to
 EW> require that it must, a decidedly untenable position, since it usually
 EW> takes an object in the accusative.

No, again, this is untrue.  Possibly you have had trouble following
the scholarly citations I have provided?  Let me try to explain them
to you.  You referred to Bauer's entry.  Let's look at it again.
First the lexicon refers to an intransitive use, meaning "be strong,
powerful, gain the ascendancy."  What does intransitive mean, Elden?
Note that no NT uses are cited, for it is not used in the NT in this
particular way.  Next we have the "absolute" usage, meaning "be
dominant, prevail," and two NT references are given: Luke 23.23,
katischuon hai phonai autwn, "their voices prevailed," (no accusative
direct object) and one in which the verb is followed by an infinitive
(Luke 21.36), giving the meaning "to be able, be in a position."
Finally we have the use with the genitive, as in Matthew 16.18,
meaning "win a victory over."  Hence, in the three instances in the
NT, once the verb is used absolutely with no direct object; once with
an infinitive, and once with the genitive direct object.  Hence,
speaking about the NT usage, the verb does not "regularly" take its
direct object in the accusative; the only time it takes a regular
direct object it does so in the genitive.

Further, by examining the extra-Biblical references, you will note
that more than ten references are given for the use of the genitive
direct object; only seven for the absolute use.

You will note further problems for Nibley's dogmatic "MUST MEAN"
statement in Moulton-Milligan, as referred to in Bauer.  Here two
usages of the accusative are noted, yet both have the same meaning as
the use with the genitive in Matthew, NOT "hold back" but "prevail,
gain the mastery over."

Hence, in Biblical literature, and in the time-period of the NT, the
regular usage uses the genitive.  If you wish to engage in
anachronism, Elden, and go to classical usage, feel free to do so,
for such would only point out that the primary source materials do
not support your position.

 JW>  It does not simply mean "hold back" as Nibley declares, and the
 >"gates of hades" are in fact the aggressors, for they represent the
 >very powers of death itself, ...

 EW> This is a good example of what bad exegesis can get you into, James.
 EW> Can you give me one example of where "gates of hades" means the
 EW> "powers of death?"

Matthew 16.18, Elden, for the powers of death will not *prevail*
(meaning of katischuo with the genitive according to all scholarly
sources, such as TDNT:  "katischuein when followed by a genitive is
always active ("to vanquish") in Jewish Greek") against the Church.
The same can be seen in Psalm 9:

Ps 9.13-14
13 O LORD, see how my enemies persecute me! Have mercy and lift me up
from the gates of death,
14 that I may declare your praises in the gates of the Daughter of Zion
and there rejoice in your salvation. (NIV)

Notice the persecution of the enemies resulting in the need to be
lifted up "from the gates of death."

 EW> I can give you seven, where they represent death.

Good...no more of this "MUST MEAN hold back" then.  I'm glad we are
past that hurdle.

 EW> Or, can you give me any indication from the scriptures that the gates
 EW> of hades are in any sense the aggressors.

Sure: katischuo means "overcome, gain the ascendancy over" when it
takes its object in the genitive, as it does in Matthew 16.18.
That's why TDNT can refer to the pulai hadou as "the ungodly powers
of the underworld which assail the rock....Hence the pulai hadou are
the aggressors."

 EW> This is an implication
 EW> derived from falsely supposing the genitive "autes" must be a genitive
 EW> of direct object, which in the Greek implies that the gates of hades
 EW> must be the aggressors - a supposition which falls flat on its face,
 EW> because gates cannot actively attack, which all leads us back to the
 EW> fact that when used with gates, katischuo means to hold back.
 
You are *really* stuck in a very tight circle, aren't you, Elden?
Here we see you saying that the conclusion of every single Greek
scholar on the face of God's green earth that has ever addressed this
issue is, in fact, in error to recognize that autes is the genitive
direct object of katischuo, and that DESPITE the fact that there are
many, many examples of just this very construction, as we have seen
from Bauer.  I'm glad you now realize that the Greek indicates that
the pulai hadou are the aggressors, and if we can just get you to
stop with this "pulai hadou means death, but it also means gates"
stuff, you'll be on the right track.  Gates cannot actively attack.
Very true.  But we are talking here about the pulai hadou, and we had
already concluded that pulai hadou refers to death, not to gates.
Hence, you are going from one meaning to another.  Now, you say that
"katischuo means to hold back" when used with gates.  Care to provide
a usage of katischuo from this time period with the term pulai,
Elden?  I look forward to examining this (these) reference(s).

 JW> which shall not overcome the Church founded by the Lord Jesus
 EW> Christ, Hugh Nibly, Joseph Smith, or Elden Watson, not withstanding.

 EW> And, you might as well add "the Lord Jesus Christ not withstanding,"
 EW> because if a partitive genitive was the Lord's intent here, then you
 EW> are fighting the Lord.

And if, as all sources indicate, this is the genitive direct object,
then YOU are fighting against the Lord, Elden, and against His
Church, which did not disappear, and hence did not need to be
restored.

It is ironic to note, however, that you who so vociferously defended
the Aramaic theory regarding this passage, have yet to bring it up,
for it is quite obvious that there is no way to create fictional
Aramaic "originals" for this passage.  Indeed, in Hebrew, and I would
imagine in Aramaic as well, any "partitive" concept is normally
associated with a preposition, and there is no sign of such in our
passage.  (I also just noted that the LDS edition of the KJV has a
footnote on this passage indicating the play on petros and petra.
Guess those footnotes aren't inerrant, are they?  (:  ).

 EW> Grammatically, the partitive genitive is
 EW> perfectly permissible in this sentence, and it does not invoke the mass
 EW> of more- than-dubious implications, such as either death or the gates
 EW> of hades actively attacking someone.

I honestly do not believe, Elden, that you are capable of syntaxing a
partitive genitive from a list of other kinds of genitives.  As I
have said, the identification of the genitive as a partitive requires
particular elements to be present, which are not present here;
furthermore, given the lexical information concerning the use of the
genitive direct object with the verb, the syntaxing of the genitive
is simply in error.  That you have been unable to defend that
assertion is now very, very PLAIN to anyone who has followed this
conversation.

 EW> (BTW, James, Nibley is spelled with an "e".)

Given that I have spelled the name correctly in each and every other
instance, Elden, it is obvious that I am well aware of the proper
spelling, and simply typed too quickly, nothing more.

 EW>Gates are a defensive weapon, and are utilized solely to either keep
 >someone or something in a place, or to keep someone or something out
 >of a place.  Since the place to which we are referring is Hades, I
 >shall presume at this point that the someone or something is inside of
 >Hades, wanting to get out.  (It seems irresponsible to consider the
 >case in which someone or something is outside of Hades wanting to get
 >in.)  In Dr. Nibley's interpretation of Mt 16:18 then, some of the
 >members of the church of Christ are in Hades, and want to get out, but
 >the gates of Hades oppose them and try to keep them in. Christ declares
 >that the gates of Hades shall not prevail against hers, and hence those
 >individuals shall be freed from Hades.  In the original context, Dr.
 >Nibley is relating this to those who become members of the church while
 >they are in Hades, by vicarious baptism.

 JW>That is indeed Nibley's position.  It is a position fraught with
 >problems, as we have seen.

 EW> I must have missed something.  I see no problems with Dr. Nibley's
 EW> interpretation except that you do not agree with it, and I can live
 EW> with that.

If you can see no other problems, given the wealth of scholarly
citations and sources already provided to you, Elden, then you are
admitting a depth of blindness beyond that which I have seen in
almost anyone else with whom I have ever spoken.  You are *well*
aware of the problems, and are simply ignoring them.

 EW> It is your interpretation which is fraught with problems.

A claim with no backing is little worthy of discussion, Elden.

 EW> The only two points you have presented that Dr. Nibley's interpretation
 EW> could be incorrect are:  1. It disagrees with your interpretation, and
 EW> 2. You claimed "there is no idea if 'it' being the whole of which some
 EW> assumed 'thing' or 'things' is a part."  I later explained that the
 EW> membership of the church is the whole, of which those who have died,
 EW> and are hence being "held back" by the gates of hades, are the part.

Your inability in the language once again keeps you from
intelligently discussing the topic, Elden.  First, you ignore the
entirety of the materials presented to you (or, possibly, are just
completely unaware of their significance, being unable to follow
their meaning), including the lexical information that has been
discussed.  Next, you insert "the membership of the church" into the
discussion.  Could you please show me the phrase "membership of the
church" in Matthew 16.18?  I see ekklesia, but I don't see
"membership of ekklesia" in my text.  Are you using another text?
Possibly one altered by supposedly inspired prophets from upstate New
York?  If you had to do original work in the text, you would know
that you have to be able to defend your syntactical decisions, that
is, to provide reasons *from the text* (not from your theology) for
making the decisions that you do.  To defend the identification of a
partitive, you would have to provide the whole of which some assumed
thing or things is a part.  Let me give you an example from Matthew's
gospel:

        Matthew 6.29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his
        splendor was dressed like one of these.

The term "these" is in the genitive case.  I would syntax it as a
partitive genitive.  The whole of which it is a part is plain from
the text:

        Matthew 6.28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the
        lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

The "whole" is the "lillies of the field" of verse 28, repeated by
the genitive "these" in verse 29.  The "part" is the "_one_" of these
in verse 29.  See how that works?  Here's the definition again: A
word in the genitive sometimes indicates the whole of which the word
modified is a part.  Here's another one:

        Gal 1.19 I saw none of the other apostles-- only James, the
        Lord's brother.

"Apostles" is in the genitive, modifying "heteron," "other."  The
whole is apostles, the part is the "other."  Hence, the syntactical
category of the genitive "apostles" at Gal 1.19 is a partitive
genitive (Eph 4.7 provides another example).

Now, lets see what we can do with Matt. 16.18.  For "autes" to be a
partitive genitive, Elden, it must indicate the whole, of which the
word modified, is a part.  Let's look at it (switching to "h" to
indicate the eta, rather than "e"):

kai epi tauth th petra oikodomhsw mou thn ekklhsian kai pulai hadou
ou katiscusousin auths

Hmm, what is auths modifying?  pulai hadou?  "The gates of hades of
her"?  Nope, that doesn't work.  ekklhsian?  "the church of her"?
Nope, that doesn't work either.  The simple fact of the matter is,
Elden, that the reason that translators for nearly two thousand years
have translated the passage in the same way is that it is plain that
auths is not modifying anything at all: it's a genitive direct
object, as its position, and function, clearly indicates.  You can't
provide a modified word that is a part of the whole, hence, you can't
support the partitive genitive identification.

 EW>One additional point deserves consideration in preparation for what
 >follows.  As we have seen above, something is in Hades and wants to get
 >out.
 
 JW>Please note that Mr. Watson says, "As we have seen above."  Actually,
 >all we saw "above" was his assertion, "I shall presume at this point
 >that the someone or something is inside of Hades, wanting to get out."
 >Mr. Watson takes an unsupported presumption, and then uses this as the
 >basis of his following comments.

 EW> A blatant misrepresentation of what I stated.

Not at all, Elden; I was simply pointing out that all you had
provided before was a bald assertion, and you now use that assertion
as something already proven.  Nothing misrepresentational about that
at all.

 EW> The gates are to either
 EW> prevent something from entering hades or to prevent something from
 EW> leaving (that's what gates do).

Yup, that's what gates do, but that's not relevant to pulai hadou,
since, as we have seen, they refer to something other than literal
gates.

 EW>If the gates of Hades were to prevail, then that something would not
 >be able to pass by the gates, and would be consigned to remain in
 >Hades.  Christ has decreed that the gates of hades will not prevail,
 >but that whatever it is that is in Hades will be able to prevail
 >against the gates and extricate itself.
 
 JW>We note again that there is nothing in the text whatsoever that
 >speaks of people in Hades, wishes or desires to go in or out, or
 >extrications thereof.  This is pure eisogesis, based upon presumption,
 >depending upon rejection of clear grammatical and lexical information.

 EW> This is a clear example of the difference between your usage of the
 EW> word lexical, and my usage of the word context.  The words you complain
 EW> are not in the text are inherent to the understanding of the whole
 EW> passage.

The understanding of the whole passage must come from the meaning of
the words that make up the passage, Elden.   You have a pre-existing
understanding that you MUST find in the words; hence, you ignore the
plain lexical evidence in favor of unknown meanings and improper
translations, all for the sake of the pre-existing theological
meaning.  I think that this is now plain to anyone who has been
following this series.

 EW> 1. People in hades - the text speaks of the gates of hades.  The
 EW> gates represent death.  When people die, they pass the gates and enter
 EW> hades, or the world of the dead.

There is no discussion of people dying, Elden.  pulai hadou is
nominative; as we have seen, the verb is active; the gates of hades
will not prevail against the Church.  There is not a single thing
about people *in* hades, for, as we had agreed at one point, the
pulai hadou refer to death, not simply to a location where dead
people are gathered.

 EW> 2. Wishes or desires to go in or out - The seven passages I have on
 EW> the gates of hades, gates of death etc, all give the distinct
 EW> impression that people would rather not pass them (ie they don't want
 EW> to die).

That's fine, but that has nothing to do with the pulai hadou not
overcoming the Church in Matthew 16.

 EW> 3. Extrications thereof - one of the most glorious messages
 EW> of the gospel is that God will not leave us in hades, but will remove
 EW> us from there through the resurrection.

That's wonderful, but it has nothing to do with what the Lord is
speaking of in this passage, the equally glorious truth that the
powers of death will never prevail against His Church.

 EW> All of these are pertinent to the text we are discussing (Mt 16:18)
 EW> and if you disregard any of these ideas it demonstrates loudly and
 EW> clearly that you have no concept whatever of what Christ is speaking of
 EW> in the verse you are supposedly trying to translate.

As we can now plainly see, Elden, it is you who have no concept
whatsoever of what Christ is speaking about, but you are very bold to
attempt to put into His mouth your completely foreign and
anti-biblical doctrines.

 EW> And you claim Dr.
 EW> Nibley's interpretation is wrong .

I not only claim it, I've proven it.

 EW> That smacks something of
 EW> a foreign student getting up after a lecture and declaring to the
 EW> professor "You mistaked.  You didn't said it right."

I realize you have little more than this kind of tactic to use,
Elden, but it truly seems demeaning to someone such as yourself.

 EW>The something that is in Hades wanting to get out is the "it" of
 >Matthew 16:18.  According to Mr. White's interpretation, it is the
 >church itself that is in Hades and wants to get out.
 
 JW>< chuckle >It will be instructive to read Mr. Watson accusing *me*
 >of misrepresenting others, when he can come up with such a fanciful
 >statement as this!  The Church is not in Hades, and I have certainly
 >never given the slightest indication that this was my position.

 EW> No, James, you have never even intimated that this was your position.
 EW> In reality you have never thought through your translation to see what
 EW> it implies or what the consequences of such an interpretation are.

Such arrogance, and that coming from a polytheist even!  Incredible!

 EW> It
 EW> is sufficient for you to know that you oppose our interpretation, and
 EW> you obviously don't understand the implications behind our position
 EW> any better than you do those behind your own.

Unworthy of reply.

 EW> Your definition of
 EW> "lexical" means that if you can't find it specified in your lexicon, it
 EW> can't possibly exist, regardless of context.

Sir, your arrogance, fed by ignorance, is growing to monumental
proportions.  One person in this conversation has provided the
lexical information to back up his position.  One person seemingly
can't even figure out what the lexical information indicates.  Please
keep your silly personal statements to yourself, as I have no need of
them.  You are doing nothing but clouding the scene with such
material, though that is certainly the best tactic for a defeated
army as it retreats from the field of battle.

 EW> What the original author
 EW> is attempting to convey has no bearing upon your translation, unless by
 EW> accident it happens to correspond.

Given that I have demonstrated, over and over again, that my position
takes into consideration the text itself, and does not force a
foreign interpretation upon it, while yours is dependent completely
upon pre-existing theological considerations that utterly overthrow
the grammar and syntax of the passage, I have to dismiss your words
as those of a desperate, and badly defeated foe.

 EW> And likewise I will continue my comments as I have the time.

Unless you can produce some kind of meaningful material, Mr. Watson,
I would suggest you simply engage in some small amount of damage
control and move on to other things.


Area: Mormon 
  Msg#: 14                                           Date: 06 Jul 93  17:58:31
  From: James White                                  
    To: Elden Watson                                 
  Subj: Article Review, Comm  1/2


-=> Elden was saying to James back on 05 Jul 93  16:50:01 -=> 

 EW> James, you try my patience by complaining that I do not address the
 EW> real issues, while at the same time you obfuscate all of what I
 EW> consider to be the main issues.

My patience has been tried extremely of late as well, Elden, since it
seems fairly plain, now, to me, that you are not aware of what the
main issues are, though you began your attack upon my article by
saying that *I* was the one without a clue.  As you have so far said
that you did not know what a partitive genitive was until this
conversation arose, and as you will below demonstrate that you
continue to not even know what the genitive of direct object is, it
seems you have decided to engage a topic far beyond your capacity to
discuss.  This necessitates the continued correction of basic errors
that would not be necessary in a scholarly discussion of this topic.
Unfortunately, this ends up making me sound "pedantic" as I continue
to attempt to explain these matters to you in the midst of your
confident assertions.

 JW>It [the article] was about one thing: Hugh Nibley's comments on
 >Matthew 16.19, specifically regarding the genitive "autes" that
 >functions as the direct object of the Greek verb "katischuo,"

 EW> I don't know what your grammars say, but Smythe says "An object may be
 EW> *direct* (in the accusative) or *indirect* (in the genitive or
 EW> dative)" [par 919].  With all due respect to Vaughn and Gideon, none of
 EW> the three grammars which I possess recognize a genitive of direct
 EW> object.  I believe it would therefore be more appropriate to state that
 EW> autes functions as the indirect object of katischuo.

< incredulous, frustrated stare >

Since you seem to have few resources at hand, and since you seem
completely untrained in the subject, you take it upon yourself not
only to dismiss an entire category that is fully delineated and
described in scholarly works, and that has appeared in your OWN
citations (Bauer, for example), but also to turn a clear direct object
into something that it most OBVIOUSLY is not, an indirect object!!
Elden, the dative is the normal case of the indirect object.  Are you
not familiar with what an indirect object is?  Can you not see that
the genitive autes is not functioning as an indirect, but as a
direct, object?

Please explain to us all, Elden, how Dr. Vaughn and Dr. Gideon
managed to make such a basic mistake in their grammar?  And please,
how did you, Elden Watson, discover that the greatest Greek scholar
America has ever produced, Dr. A.T. Robertson, had wasted his time on
a simple mistake in writing the entire section on "The Genitive with
Verbs" on pages 505 through 511, which even included the
identification of the verb at Matthew 16.18 on page 510?  How could
such a great scholar of the language have said that the use of the
genitive with the verb (i.e., as the direct object of said verb,
please see all the many, many examples in Robertson) was "very
common" when it doesn't exist as a syntactical category?  Pray tell,
how did Dana and Mantey end up noting it at the end of their section
on the genitive as well?  And what of Blass and Debrunner?

        177.  Genitive with verbs of ruling and surpassing.  `To
        rule, govern' usually with genitive: ...katischuein Mt.
        16:18...(p. 96).

And to add insult to injury, we find more wasted space in Moulton's
_Prolegomena_ (volume 1 of the 4 volume set) page 65, where, speaking
of the NORMAL use of the genitive with certain classes of verbs, he
writes:

        The third part of Krebs' work deals with compound verbs and
        their cases.  Here prosphonein c. acc may claim Lk 6.13, but
        it has the dat. four times; hupotrechein has acc. in its only
        occurrence; eperchesthai has only dat. or prepositional
        phrase; katabarein occurs once, c. acc; katalalein takes gen.
        in NT, but is once passive, as is kataponein in its two
        occurrences; while katischuein shows no sign of the acc.
        construction.

Katischuein shows no sign of the accusative construction?  That's
right, not in the NT.

I think it is plain, then, that 1) your sources are not sufficient
for the task at hand, and 2) the genitive as the direct object of
verbs in the Greek language is fully attested by scholarly sources.
Further, your seeming unfamiliarity with the language, resulting in
your changing a direct object into an indirect object (a completely
different grammatical function) due to the mere mention of the
general tendencies in Greek, continues to present almost
insurmountable difficulties in attempting to explain to you the error
made by Dr. Nibley.

 JW>... i.e., "the gates of hades will not overcome (katischuo) it
 >(autes)."  That is what the article was about.  That was its thrust.
 >I alleged that Dr. Nibley was simply in error to syntax the genitive
 >autes as a partitive genitive,...

 EW> With that minor correction, and terminating where I did, I believe we
 EW> have accurately described the topic of discussion.  Your task,
 EW> therefore, is to demonstrate that Dr. Nibley was wrong, which means to
 EW> demonstrate that autes can not be a partitive genitive.

You again miss the basic elements of the issue.  Dr. Nibley is the
one suggesting a radical, new understanding of the passage.  All
translations, and all commentaries, take the genitive as a direct
object.  Hence, it is up to Dr. Nibley not only to demonstrate the
partitive, but to explain why the obvious genitive direct object must
be rejected.

 EW> As I see it, there are only two ways that you could accomplish this:

 EW> 1. Grammatically:  Demonstrate that Greek grammar will inherently
 EW> not allow such a construction or that it results in something
 EW> totally devoid of meaning.
 EW> 2. Lexically (my usage please): Demonstrate that when autes is
 EW> interpreted as a partitive genitive, the resultant meaning of
 EW> the phrase is either incompatible with the context of the
 EW> statement, or is in contradiction to known truth.

I will use scholarly language, Mr. Watson, including the term
"lexical," in my replies.  In a recent reply I explained to you how
the partitive genitive is determined.  I *honestly* do not believe
that you understand this, so I repeat it yet once again for all who
are following this:

To defend the identification of a partitive, you would have to
provide the whole of which some assumed thing or things is a part.
Let me give you an example from Matthew's gospel:

        Matthew 6.29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his
        splendor was dressed like one of these.

The term "these" is in the genitive case.  I would syntax it as a
partitive genitive.  The whole of which it is a part is plain from
the text:

        Matthew 6.28 "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the
        lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.

The "whole" is the "lillies of the field" of verse 28, repeated by
the genitive "these" in verse 29.  The "part" is the "_one_" of these
in verse 29.  See how that works?  Here's the definition again: A
word in the genitive sometimes indicates the whole of which the word
modified is a part.  Here's another one:

        Gal 1.19 I saw none of the other apostles-- only James, the
        Lord's brother.

"Apostles" is in the genitive, modifying "heteron," "other."  The
whole is apostles, the part is the "other."  Hence, the syntactical
category of the genitive "apostles" at Gal 1.19 is a partitive
genitive (Eph 4.7 provides another example).

Now, lets see what we can do with Matt. 16.18.  For "autes" to be a
partitive genitive, Elden, it must indicate the whole, of which the
word modified, is a part.  Let's look at it (switching to "h" to
indicate the eta, rather than "e"):

kai epi tauth th petra oikodomhsw mou thn ekklhsian kai pulai hadou
ou katiscusousin auths

Hmm, what is auths modifying?  pulai hadou?  "The gates of hades of
her"?  Nope, that doesn't work.  ekklhsian?  "the church of her"?
Nope, that doesn't work either.  The simple fact of the matter is,
Elden, that the reason that translators for nearly two thousand years
have translated the passage in the same way is that it is plain that
auths is not modifying anything at all: it's a genitive direct
object, as its position, and function, clearly indicates.  You can't
provide a modified word that is a part of the whole, hence, you can't
support the partitive genitive identification.

Now, Elden, could you please provide the word being modified that is
the part of the whole?  If you cannot, and if Dr. Nibley cannot, then
it follows that the pronoun *cannot* be identified as a partitive
genitive.

 EW> There is a third alternative.  You also have the option of comparing
 EW> the two interpretations (yours and Dr. Nibley's) and demonstrating that
 EW> your interpretation is better than his.  This will not prove Dr. Nibley
 EW> wrong, but would undoubtedly give you some personal satisfaction.

That has already been done a number of times in this series, Elden.

 EW> But have you done any of these?  Not at all.  You have spent your time
 EW> demonstrating from all sorts of grammars and lexicons that katischuo
 EW> can take a genitive object, which was never in question in the first
 EW> place.

I have demonstrated, as all can now see, that katischuo takes the
genitive direct object regularly; that its meaning in such a
situation is "to overcome, to prevail against."  I have demonstrated
that this is the usage at Matthew 16.18, and have provided lexical,
and grammatical, citations supporting my position.  To date, I have
not seen a SINGLE citation on your part of a lexicon, or a grammar,
of koine Greek, that suggests that Matthew 16.18 is presenting to us
a partitive genitive.  Can you provide *any* such support for Dr.
Nibley's position, Mr. Watson?

 EW> You then loudly proclaim that you have proven that Dr. Nibley
 EW> was wrong, when all you have actually demonstrated is that you don't
 EW> believe him.

As anyone who has read this series knows, such is far from the truth.
I have demonstrated that Dr. Nibley's reasoning was incorrect, and
remains incorrect, in every way that such a demonstration could be
made.

 EW> To accomplish your stated goal, you have to demonstrate
 EW> that Dr. Nibley's interpretation is invalid, not merely that your
 EW> interpretation is acceptable.  In fact, it is impossible for you to
 EW> demonstrate that Dr. Nibley is wrong in his interpretation by merely
 EW> extolling the virtues of your own interpretation.  To prove Dr. Nibley
 EW> wrong, you have to break down and examine his interpretation.

As anyone reading this series knows, I have done just that, numerous
times.

 EW> On the other side, I have a somewhat similar task.  I should first
 EW> demonstrate that interpreting autes in this phrase as a partitive
 EW> genitive is grammatically viable.  I would also like to be able to
 EW> prove that you are wrong, but that option is denied me since we all
 EW> recognize that katischuo can take an object in the genitive, and the
 EW> resultant meaning of the phrase is both intelligible and somewhat
 EW> reasonable.

I'm glad to hear you say that, Elden.

 EW> Another observation:  You have taken the approach that the phrase we
 EW> are discussing is so simple, so straightforward, so clear, that there
 EW> can be no mistake.  There is simply no other way the phrase can be
 EW> interpreted - no alternative possibility.  Dr. Robertson does not
 EW> agree with you.  He says "*The gates of Hades (pulai haidou) shall not
 EW> prevail against it (ou katischusousin autes)*.  Each word here creates
 EW> difficulty."  (Robertson, Word Pictures 1:132)  The phrase is
 EW> therefore not so simple or straightforward as you would want us to
 EW> believe, and difficulties in translation is what alternative
 EW> interpretations are made of.

I have said that the issue at hand--the genitive direct object--is
plain and straightforward, and it is.  As anyone can note by reading
the citation you give, Robertson struggles not the least with autes;
he translates it as a plain direct object, does he not?  The
"difficulties" of which he speaks are regarding the meaning of other
terms, not autes, nor its syntactical function.  Robertson cited this
passage as one of those instances where a verb of ruling (katischuo)
takes the genitive as direct object in his grammar; hence, there is
no difficulty from his perspective on this issue.  I could easily
say, "Here we have a specific, widely recognized scholar in the Greek
language, versus Dr. Nibley, whose field of expertise is NOT the
Greek NT, nor is he widely recognized as a scholar of said field, and
that is sufficient for that."  But I don't need to stop there: the
facts are plain, and each passing message brings more and more
evidence to the fore to demonstrate this.

 EW> kai pulai hadou ou katischusousin autes

 EW> Which you interpret as "and [the] gates of hades shall not overcome it
 EW> (the church)," and Dr. Nibley interprets as "and [the] gates of hades
 EW> shall not restrain (hold back) hers (what belongs to the church)."  [I
 EW> hope I'm not mis-representing Dr. Nibley here.]

 EW> The object of katischuo in the above phrase should properly be in
 EW> the accusative, and it is almost always so used (despite your comments
 EW> to the contrary):

 EW> "The verb *katischuo* (literally have strength against, *ischuo*
 EW> from *ischus* and kat-) also appears in Luke 21:36 and 23:23.  It
 EW> appears in the ancient greek, the LXX, and in the papyri with the
 EW> accusative and is used in the modern Greek with the sense of gaining
 EW> the mastery over." [Robertson, Word Pictures 1:133]

 EW> Perhaps part of your problem is that katischuo is only used three
 EW> times in the New Testament, and only in one of these three (Mt 16:18)
 EW> is it used with the Genitive.

I do hope that everyone will note your use of the data, Mr. Watson.
I have already pointed out in my replies that the only times
katischuo even TAKES an object in the NT, Matt. 16.18, it does so in
the genitive.  I hope folks will note the "and only in one of these
three...is it used with the Genitive."  The other times it is used it
is used absolutely, and once with an infinitive.  Bauer's citation
would have shown you that.  As to your comments about the verb taking
its object in the accusative, you are, for at least the fourth time,
in error.  In the NT it's sole direct object is in the genitive; it
is listed as one that takes the genitive in every scholarly koine
grammar that I have access to, as cited above.

 EW> If our phrase were to have an accusative object (as it normally
 EW> would),

As it normally would not....

 EW> it would then read:

 EW> kai pulai hadou ou katischusousin auten

 EW> which would translate as "and the gates of hades will not prevail
 EW> against it (the church)."  Does this meaning look Familiar?  It does
 EW> seem strange to me that Christ would not make use of this more
 EW> normative accusative form if this were indeed the meaning he intended
 EW> to convey.

Of course, the fact is that the genitive form is both normative, and
it's meaning is obvious; to prevail against, to overcome, as all
translations, commentaries, lexicons, and grammars, indicate.

 EW> Placing the word autos in the genitive of indirect object
 EW> modifies the meaning of katischuo somewhat, and results in our original
 EW> phrase, but with a slightly modified meaning.  When used with the
 EW> genitive of indirect object,

There is no such thing, Elden.

 EW> the meaning should be "and the gates of
 EW> hell will not win a battle against her (the church)." (see AGB p 424)

It's BAGD, Elden, not AGB.  Further, BAGD does not give a translation
of the passage, it specifically says that ekklesia is the referent of
autes, and gives the meaning as "win a victory over," not "win a
battle against."

 EW> This is slightly different than the translation you have given us.

Given that it is your own translation, based upon a non-existant
syntactical category and a misreading of BAGD, I am not surprised.

 EW> Use
 EW> of autes as a genitive object also introduces the additional constraint
 EW> that the pulai hadou (gates of hades) be "active in sense," since "the
 EW> objective genitive is passive in sense" (Smythe, par 1330, 1331) -

< sigh >  Elden, the "objective genitive" is a COMPLETELY different
syntactical category than the genitive direct object.  The objective
genitive will be found under the category of the "genitive with nouns
of action" in your grammars.  There are two kinds of such genitives,
the objective genitive, and the subjective genitive.  If the noun in
the genitive *produces* an action, it is called subjective; if it
*receives* the action, it is the objective.  Obviously, if it
receives the action, it would be called "passive" as Smythe notes.
Your confusion of two COMPLETELY different categories demonstrates,
Elden, that you are very confused about the issue.

 EW> the
 EW> gates of hades, suddenly become the active aggressors, not merely a
 EW> passive restraint.  In my opinion this is severely detrimental to your
 EW> interpretation, and must be explained away by turning the passive
 EW> gates of hades into "the powers of death," (whatever that means) which
 EW> you must then claim are going to aggressively attack the church.

As we have seen, you do not know the difference between a genitive
direct object and an objective genitive; for that matter, you have
even created non-existant categories in the process.  Hence, your
objections are based merely upon your own ignorance of the subject,
not upon the scholarly information.  As for the "powers of death,"
this has been firmly established from numerous sources, not only by
me, but by others who have looked into the issue.  Your refusal to
accept plain facts, and your ability to go off on tangents based upon
faulty understandings, makes this conversation very difficult indeed.

 EW> The gates of hades, however, do not represent active powers, they
 EW> simply represent death, which is a passive restraint, as can be seen
 EW> from the following usages of the term.

Death is not a "passive restraint."

 EW> My soul drew nigh unto death, and my life to the nethermost
 EW> Sheol, and I turned about on every side, yet there was none to help
 EW> me, and I looked for one to uphold, but there was none.  Then did I
 EW> remember the loving kindness of Jahveh, and His mercies which have
 EW> been from old.  Who delivereth them that trust in Him.  And
 EW> redeemeth them from all evil.  And I lifted up my voice from the
 EW> earth, and cried out for help from the gates of Sheol.  Yea I cried:
 EW> O Jahweh, my father art thou, for thou art the hero of my
 EW> salvation; forsake me not in the day of trouble, in the days of
 EW> wasteness and desolation.  I will praise thy name continually, and
 EW> will sing thy praise in prayer. [Sirach 51:6-11]

Given that this man was not as yet dead, it is obvious that the
"gates of Sheol" are metaphorical, and he is crying for release from
the powers of death.  Thank you for citing this.

 EW> But thy sons not the very teeth of venomous dragons overcame,
 EW> for the mercy came to their help and healed them.  for they were
 EW> bitten, that they should remember thine oracles; and were quickly
 EW> saved, lest, falling into deep forgetfulness, they should be
 EW> irresponsive
 EW> to thy beneficence:  for of a truth neither herb nor mollifying
 EW> plaster restored them to health, but thy word, O Lord, which
 EW> healeth all things; for thou hast power over life and death, and
 EW> thou leadest down to the gates of Hades, and leadest up again.  But
 EW> though a man can slay by his wickedness, yet the spirit that is gone
 EW> forth he bringeth not back, neither giveth release to the soul that
 EW> Hades hath received. [Wisdom 16:10-14]

Thank you again for citing this, as it again supports the common
understanding, represented by commentary after commentary, that we
are speaking here of the powers of death, from which the writer is
giving thanks for deliverance.

 EW> When my soul slumbered (being afar) from the Lord, I had all but
 EW> slipped down to the pit, when (I was) far from God, my soul had
 EW> been will nigh poured out unto death.  (I had been) nigh unto the
 EW> gates of Sheol with the sinner, when my soul departed from the Lord
 EW> God of Israel - had not the Lord helped me with His everlasting
 EW> mercy. He pricked me, as a horse is pricked, that I might serve Him,
 EW> my savior and helper at all times saved me. [Psalm of Solomon
 EW> 16:1-4]

Again we see the metaphorical use of the term, and no idea whatsoever
of "constraint" or literality to the term "gates," something
absolutely essential to the support of Nibley's statement that the
phrase MUST mean "hold back."

 EW> And I saw all forefathers from all time with Adam and Eva, and I
 EW> sighed and broke into tears and said of the ruin of their
 EW> dishonour: Woe is me for my infirmity and for that of my
 EW> forefathers, and thought in my heart and said:  Blessed is the man
 EW> who has not been born and shall not sin before the Lord's face, that
 EW> he come not into this place, nor bring the yoke of this place
 EW> I saw the key holders and guards of the gates of hell standing
 EW> like great serpents, and their faces like extinguished lamps, and
 EW> their eyes of fire, their sharp teeth.  [Secrets of Enoch
 EW> 41:1-42:1] 

This takes us a tad far afield from the context of Matt. 16, does it
not?

 EW> The writing of Hezekiah king of Judah, when he had been sick,
 EW> and was recovered of his sickness:  I said in the cutting off of my
 EW> days, I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the
 EW> residue of my years. [Isaiah 38:9-10]

 EW> Have mercy upon me O Lord; consider my trouble which I suffer of
 EW> them that hate me, that thou liftest me up from the gates of death.
 EW> [Psalms 9:13]

Already cited.

 EW> This should be sufficient to support Dr. Nibley's views of the gates
 EW> of hades which he described thus:

 EW> To the Jews "the gates of hell" meant something very specific.
 EW> Both Jews and Christians thought of the world of the dead as a
 EW> prison -*carcer, phylake, phroura*- in which the dead were detained
 EW> but not necessarily made to suffer any other discomfort.  In the
 EW> Jewish tradition the righteous dead are described as sitting
 EW> impatiently in their place of detention awaiting their final release
 EW> and reunion with their resurrected bodies and asking "How much
 EW> longer must we stay here?" [Nibley, Collected Works, 4:105-106]

The passages cited, however, do NOT provide Nibley the needed element
of meaning, that which would support his statement that katischuo
MUST mean "hold back."

 EW> To return to our thought of the meaning of our phrase, let us now
 EW> place autos in the partitive genitive.  This is proper, because as
 EW> Smythe says:

 EW> The genitive may denote a whole, a part of which is denoted by
 EW> the noun it limits.  The genitive of the divided whole may be used
 EW> with any word that expresses or implies a part. [par 1306]

 EW> The noun being limited is the church, and so it is that portion of men
 EW> who are members of the church that will not be prevailed against by
 EW> death.  The phrase may therefore be interpreted "The gates of hades
 EW> will not prevail against them (of the church)" or said in another way,
 EW> "against hers (ie those who belong to the church)".  Death will not
 EW> prevail against them because of the keys which Christ will give to the
 EW> apostles, through the use of which, membership in the church may be
 EW> obtained (see verse 19).  The context is therefore completed and hence
 EW> the translation supported in the succeeding verse.

As Smythe notes, "The GENITIVE may denote a WHOLE, a part of which
is denoted by the NOUN it limits."  That means, Elden, that the WHOLE
must be in the genitive, and the genitive must modify a noun that
indicates the *part* under discussion.  You say that "church" is the
one being "limited," which means that "autes" is modifying "church"
according to you; in other words, it is "the church of her" or "the
church of hers."  But then you seemingly get a bit confused, because
you say that "it is that portion of men who are members of the
church that will not be prevailed against by death."  This would
necessitate the "whole" to be "all men," and that this would be the
genitive.  Yet, as anyone can see, there is no mention of "all men"
in the text; the genitive is "autes," which, for this to be a
partitive genitive, must be the WHOLE of which the Church is a PART.
Your "translation" would indicate that the Church is the WHOLE of
which "them" is a part, but, of course, as anyone can see, you have
grossly mistranslated "autes" as "them."  Such a "translation" would
require a plural, not the singular.  Your comments are a mass of
confusion and mistranslation.

To recap:

1)  You do not understand how to syntax a genitive; you do not know
the difference between an objective genitive, a partitive genitive,
and a genitive of direct object.  You have even made up new
categories, the "genitive of indirect object," all because you don't
understand the genitive of direct object.
2)  You have mistranslated the phrase, and obviously misunderstood
the form and function of the partitive genitive, all in a vain
attempt to substantiate Nibley's error.  You have, so to speak, "gone
down with the ship."

 EW> Could you converse with a child who has died when 5 years of
 EW> age, and ask him if he has lost anything by his death, he would say
 EW> "no." But, little child, are you not sorry you did not live on earth
 EW> longer to gain blessings you have not obtained through your early
 EW> death?" "I am not sorry," would be the reply, "because the Lord
 EW> Jesus Christ has provided that for me which I could have obtained if
 EW> I had lived on the earth to the full age of man." [Brigham Young, 19
 EW> Feb 1854, from Watson, Brigham Young Addresses, vol 2, 1850-1854,
 EW> date] 

All very interesting, but not relevant to the issue at hand.

 EW> I have now demonstrated that with Dr. Nibley's interpretation the
 EW> phrase in question is grammatically acceptable,

No, you have demonstrated that you are incapable of dealing with the
grammar and syntax of koine Greek, Elden.

 EW> that is has meaning,

No, you have not.

 EW> that the meaning fits within the context of what Christ was speaking
 EW> about,

No, you have not.

 EW> and that it is and has been a doctrine of the LDS church for a
 EW> long time.

You have talked about the doctrine of the LDS Church, but you have
utterly failed to make any connection between the teachings of Jesus
Christ and said doctrines.

 EW> I find Dr. Nibley's interpretation consistant, meaningful
 EW> and brilliant.

Obviously you do, for you have been willing to close your eyes
tightly against the overwhelming amount of facts arrayed against his
position, Mr. Watson.  You have provided myself, and others, with
probably the single most incredible instance of self-deception that I
have ever witnessed.  Everyone who has followed this series knows
that you are an intelligent man, capable of deep thought, and that
you are a good communicator.  That you have been able to go so far
into error simply to defend a basic, fundamental mistake on the part
of Hugh Nibley speaks VOLUMES concerning the matter of
self-deception.  You have been shown, over and over again, that you
are in error on many matters regarding the grammar, lexicography, and
syntax of the Greek language.  You seem invincibly ignorant,
unwilling to be corrected, or to learn.  You have dismissed the plain
meanings of words; you have confused syntactical categories, and
misused the same.  You have even denied the existence of well
documented categories, and substituted fantasy categories, made up by
you, simply to aid Nibley's error.  I am truly amazed at the depth of
the deception into which you have fallen, Mr. Watson.  Surely here is
plain evidence that it takes a supernatural act to free someone from
such bondage.

 EW> I do hope this post will induce you to get off your soap box and show
 EW> us something substantial about why you think Dr. Nibley is wrong
 EW> instead of just that you disagree with him, and you think you are
 EW> right. Elden

As anyone who has read this series knows, I have provided you with
more than convincing evidence of your errors.  The fact that you can
engage in the kind of smokescreen, error-filled posting as we have
just reviewed, and then say that *I* need to get off my soap box,
only shows that you have lost touch with reality, and are living in a
fantasy world, ruled by infallible LDS scholars.  I hope that those
who read these posts will pray for the deliverance of the LDS people
from such deception.

James>>>

Area Mormon, Msg#1585, Aug-07-93 09:03:02
   From: Elden Watson                         
     To: James White                          
Subject: Genitive Of Direct Object

James:

As you are so fond of pointing out, my command of Greek is not yet
all that I would want it to be.  Because of this circumstance I
decided that I should go to some third party in whom I had
confidence, and ask them about the possibility of autes in Mt 16:18
being a partitive genitive.  I sought out Professor Richard L.
Anderson of BYU last evening and had a somewhat lengthy discussion
with him on the circumstances of our disagreement.

I first asked about Dr. Nibley's expertise in Greek.  Professor
Anderson said that Dr. Nibley is indeed expert in Greek.  It was in
fact Dr. Nibley who taught Professor Anderson's first Greek class.
Dr. Nibley's specific expertise is in classical Greek, but Greek is
Greek, and there is probably less difference between classical Greek
and Koine Greek than there is between King James English and modern
English.

When asked about autes in Mt 16:18 being in the partitive genitive,
Professor Anderson was surprised that Dr. Nibley had made the
statement.  He said that there were sufficient unusual usages of the
partitive genitive, especially in the classical Greek, that Dr.
Nibley could probably make a pretty good case for it, but Professor
Anderson said he did not see the need.  Katischuo is a verb of
power, and verbs of power, along with verbs of emotion, typically
take the genitive in such a construction.  He said that in this
instance your interpretation seemed more reasonable than Dr.
Nibley's (and this without going into any of the arguments on either
side).

Professor Anderson indicated that since the members of the church,
as a whole, are often spoken of as the church, the resultant
difference in meaning of the two interpretations was insignificant,
and your translation was the more straightforward.  Therefore, with
his insight, I'll have to back off the issue and say your
interpretation of autes is correct.

If you thank me for this concession, I will merely respond, "Don't
mention it."  

By the way, I do understand precisely what a direct object is and
how it is used, and have since the 9th grade, but for some reason I
had a bad day.

I do have a question in this regard.  Why is it that (almost) none
of the experts will use the term "genitive of direct object?"  In
virtually every instance they shy away from saying it is a direct
object, and say "used with the genitive" or some similarly vague
statement.  Even Professor Anderson demonstrated this tendency until
I pinned him down and asked specifically if autes was the object of
the verb katischuo.

And now back to our regularly scheduled arguments. 
    Elden


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