Reason No. 47: The Evidence of the Church Fathers – 100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive
Posted by NT Wrong on December 21, 2008
The following post is an abridged version of one of the 100 reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive included in my forthcoming book:
100 Reasons πίστις Χριστοῦ is an Objective Genitive
Reason No. 47: The Evidence of the Church Fathers
Harrisville’s survey of the Church Fathers (1994) shows that native Greek speakers Origen and Chrysostom interpreted πίστις Χριστοῦ in the objective genitive sense (cf. Silva 1988). Undoubtedly, Origen and Chrysostum also made statements about “the role of Christ in making faith available” in the wider context of their commentaries. But this does not alter the fact that the phrase πίστις Χριστοῦ was interpreted as an objective genitive (contra Hays 2002: il).
Moreover, Harrisville finds no examples of the subjective genitive interpretation in any commentaries of the Fathers.
Furthermore, he finds no discussion of the phrase’s possible ambiguity. Interpretation of the phrase is just not an issue.
It should be remembered that the Fathers’ interpretations follow a period of theological development after Paul, in different social contexts. But nevertheless, the complete absence of interpretational support amongst the early Church Fathers (including native Greek speakers), or even any recognition of its possible ambiguity, is a significant piece of evidence for the objective genitive interpretation.