Re: Eph.4:19

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Mar 06 1996 - 07:42:19 EST

On 3/5/96, James H. Vellenga wrote:

> -------
> >From Gary Shogren:
> ERGASIAN I can see as a nice solid example of an
> action noun, making AKATHARSIAS an objective (or perchance subjective)
> genitive.
> -------
> >From Carlton Winbery:
> It is clear that AKAQARSIAS cannot be subjective genitive since those who
> are practicing (ERGASIAN) uncleanness are the ones who have given
> themselves over to wantonness. It is not the uncleanness that is doing it
> but the people about whom Paul is speaking. The objective genitive would
> be the object of the action implied by the noun (or noun substitute) which
> the word in the genitive modifies. The subjective genitive on the other
> hand would have to denote the agent of the action implied by the noun that
> it modifies. Take ERGASIAN and make it into a verb. AKAQARSIAS could be
> the object of such a verb but not the subject of it.
> -------
> My own thoughts:
> It seems to me that ERGASIA (in general) is not necessarily a noun of action.
> Consider Acts 19.24 ("Demetrius ... was providing no little ERGASIAN to the
> artisans") or Acts 16.19 ("her masters, seeing that the hope of their ERGASIAS
> had gone ..."). In these contexts, ERGASIA seems to mean "business,"
> "occupation," or "way of making a living."
> This interpretation seems strengthened by the phrase "EN PLEONEXIAi" ("by
> of acquisitiveness") at the end of the sentence here in Eph 4.19.
> So it seems more natural to me to interpret AKARQIAS as a descriptive
> and to read the phrase as something like "handed themselves over by means of
> acquisitiveness to the unbridled lust for a business [characterized by]
> of every [kind]."

I'll have to agree with Carlton on this one. While you are right, surely,
to insist that ERGASIA in several instances does have that sense of
"business," "occupation," "way of making a living," yet it can also be, as
I believe it is in Eph 4:19, a noun equivalent of the verb ERGAZESQAI,
wherefore I would take AKAQARSIAS PASHS exactly as did Carlton--as an
objective genitive--and I'd even translate the sentence using a verb for
ERGASIA, thus: "surrendered themselves licentiously (EN ASELGEIAi) to doing
greedily (EN PLENEXIAi) every (kind of) unclean act."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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