No. That’s clever though – funny in a malaproper way. Anaphoric means “a word or phrase that takes its reference from another word or phrase and especially from a preceding word or phrase”. Compare that to “cataphoric”, which means “a word or phrase (as a pronoun) that takes its reference from a following word or phrase”.
“Yes, I’m sure this is interesting to grammarians and all kinds of language nerds, cent,” some are you are responding, “but what do I care? This is a blog, and I came here to be either amused or enriched. Your wonkery is leaving me bored. ... next blog …”
Well, it has something to do with what Antonio DeRosa has called what “any student of the Greek New Testament” can see for himself in the book of James. That would be “any student who is not using his textbooks”, I imagine, because when I cracked open my Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (hereafter GGBB) by Daniel B. Wallace (you spell his last name in Greek ending with the “second sigma” for those who haven’t already e-mailed me that fact – find the second sigma in the Symbol font for me, our build one in Illustrator outline, and I’ll fix the t-shirts) and I went to the Scripture reference in the back, I found that Dr. Wallace has dedicated a half-page to discussing the construction of James 2:14-26 under the heading of “Anaphoric (illustrations)”.
Here’s the way Dr. Wallace defines the “Anaphoric” use:
The anaphoric article is the article denoting previous reference. (It derives its name from the Greek verb ‘anapherein’, “to bring back, to bring up”) The first mention of the substantive is usually anarthrous because it is merely being introduced. But subsequent mentions of it use the article, for the article is now pointing back to the substantive previously mentioned. The anaphoric article has, by nature, then, a pointing force to it, reminding the reader of who or what was mentioned previously. It is the most common use of the article and the easiest usage to identify. [GGBB, 217-218]The underline is my added emphasis (as will be the case in the rest of this post), but all other italics are in the original.
Which would be fine, I guess, as a rogue fact in the universe of competitive theologies – except that one of the 7 specific examples Dr. Wallace gives of this matter happens to be James 2:14-26 – James 2:14 specifically. He offers his own translation of the passage:
What is the benefit, my brothers, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? This [kind of] faith is not able to save him, is it?and says this:
The author introduces his topic: faith and works. He then follows it with a question, asking whether or not this kind of faith is able to save. The use of the article both points back to a certain kind of faith as defined by the author and is used to particularize an abstract noun.[GGBB, 219]And this is an interesting point because in the first half of 2:14, when James writes, “if someone says he has faith,” the faith is question is in the accusative case, the object of the verb “to have” – and when he mentions faith a second time, it has that pesky article in front of it.
Gosh, that smarts. But wait – there’s more, and you’ll like this:
Against the vast bulk of commentators, Hodges argues that the article is not anaphoric, since otherwise the articular ‘pistis’ in the following verses would also have to refer back to such a worthless faith (Hodges, The Gospel Under Seige, 23). He translates the text, “Faith cannot save him, can it?” (Hodges, 21) Although it may be true that the article with ‘pistis’ in vv 17, 18, 20, 22, and 26 is anaphoric, the antecedent needs to be examined in its own immediate context. In particular, the author examines two kinds of faith in 2:14-26, defining non-working faith as a non-saving faith and a productive faith as one that saves. Both James and Paul would agree, I believe, with the statement: “Faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is not alone.”[GGBB, 219]You know, the subtitle of GGBB is “the exegetical syntax of the New Testament.” Maybe that should mean something, but I’ll bet it gets fouled up somehow in translation.