Re: Ephesians 5:17

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Mar 27 1996 - 19:34:06 EST

On 3/27/96, Stephen Clock wrote:

> Hi folks:
> Translating through Ephesians 5:17 we came upon another puzzler re which I
> would welcome anyone's comments. [BTW, you folks have been *great* at
> answering my questions! Much appreciated.]
> The Nestle's text reads ...ALLA SUNIETE TI TO ThELHMA TOU KURIOU. We were
> trying to classify all the nouns, and got stumped on TI and TO. Being
> neuters both, they can obviously be Nominatives or Accusatives. If SUNIETE
> is the correct reading, it seems that TI would have to be accusative, direct
> object to the verb. The problem is that the statement requires ESTIN to make
> sense. That being so, TI TO ThELHMA would then be a predicate Nominative
> construction, wouldn't it? Or am I completely missing the point? I've never
> heard of accusatives joined by EIMI of GINOMAI etc. The best I can do with
> this is to see TI TO ThELHMA etc a predicate nominative statement-by form,
> but an objective clause- by function, (to SUNIETE).

This (TI TO QELHMA TOU KURIOU) is actually a relatively simple Indirect
Question clause with the not uncommon ellipsis of ESTIN, the whole
noun/substantive clause functioning as the direct object of SUNIETE: ". . .
understand what the will of the Lord is."

> SUNIENTES being a participle expands the responsibility of the readers
> stated in the finite verb MH GINESThE... But this reading leaves us with
> the same dilemna in trying to classify TI and TO ThELHMA.

The construction of the clause, TI TO QELHMA TOU KURIOU is, of course, the
same, whether it be viewed as object of the imperative SUNIETE or object of
the participle SUNIENTES.

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

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