Andrey Romanov, «Through One Lord Only: Theological Interpretation of the Meaning of 'dia', in 1 Cor 8,6», Vol. 96 (2015) 391-415
The present study attempts to clarify the theological meaning of dia, in 1 Cor 8,6. Traditionally the preposition is understood as an indication of a contrast between God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus' role is described as either instrumental or analogous to the role of Jewish Wisdom. The present study questions these interpretations on the basis of the analysis of the structure of the verse. In this author's opinion, dia, here indicates the unique functions of Jesus Christ which make him the co-worker of God the Father in both creation and salvation.
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in prepositional phrases here does not serve as an indication of an
opposition between the Father and the Son; he justifies this by the
reference to Rom 11,36. Basil opines that Rom 11,36 should be
read in light of v. 34 where Paul uses a quotation from Is 40,13
LXX (ti,j [ga.r] e;gnw nou/n kuri,ou). ku,rioj here, according to
Basil, designates God the Son (or God Logos), and therefore all
three prepositions in Rom 11,36 (including evk and eivj) are applied
to God the Son. If, nonetheless, Rom 11,36 refers to God the Father,
then it means (as Basil asserts) that “through whom” can be properly
used for God. In other words, according to Basil, all three preposi-
tions can be equally applied both to God the Father and to the Lord
Jesus Christ; all three prepositions (including dia,) delineate the single
divine act, and therefore dia, in both passages has the same meaning
regardless of whose (God’s or Jesus Christ’s) act it denotes.
What seems to make Basil’s assumption concerning Christ as
the referent in Rom 11,36 more plausible is the parallel between
Rom 11,34 and 1 Cor 2,16a where Paul uses the same quotation
from Is 40,13 52. In 1 Corinthians the quotation is followed by h`mei/j
de. nou/n Cristou/ e;comen, and therefore ku,rioj in v. 16a and Cristo,j
in v. 16b can be understood as either synonyms or as references to
different persons (namely to God the Father and to Christ). Each
of these possibilities has its supporters among scholars 53. In my
view, in 1 Cor 2,6-16 Paul builds his argument upon the contrapo-
sition of two groups (“spiritual” and “unspiritual”) and their oppo-
I am aware of the hypothesis according to which 1 Cor 2,2-16 is an in-
terpolation in Paul’s text. See M. WIDMANN, “1 Kor 2 6-16: Ein Einspruch
gegen Paulus”, ZNW 70 (1979) 44-53, and W.O. WALKER Jr., Interpolations
in the Pauline Letters (JSNTSup 213; London – New York 2001) 127-146.
The counter-arguments, however, seem to be more convincing to me (see J.
MURPHY-O’CONNOR, “Interpolations in 1 Corinthians,” CBQ 48  81-
94; FITZMYER, First Corinthians, 169-170).
For instance, Bultmann, Fee and R. Collins understand ku,rioj in 1 Cor
2,16 as Jesus Christ (R. BULTMANN, Theology of the New Testament [London
1970] I, 124; R. COLLINS, First Corinthians [Sacra Pagina 7; Collegeville,
MN 2000] 137; FEE, First Corinthians, 119, n. 87) while Barrett and Fitzmyer
as God (BARRETT, A Commentary, 78; FITZMYER, First Corinthians, 185;
Fitzmyer substantiates his position by referring to the text in Rom 11,34).
According to Jewett, “The function of this citation [from Is 40,13 in Rom
11,34] is […] quite different from Paul’s citation of the same verse in 1 Cor
2,16”: R. JEWETT, Romans. A Commentary (Hermeneia; Minneapolis, MN
2007) 719; but one can ask: does this difference consist in the referents only?