Re: Accusative absolute

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Mon Jan 20 1997 - 13:33:04 EST

Carl Conrad wrote:

>My own understanding of the basic phrase here, PEFWTISMENOUS
>TOUS OFQALMOUS, is that it is appositional to the primary object of the
>verb DWHi in vs. 17: "eyes of your heart(s) illuminated so that you know
>an alternative way of saying the same thing. So: "May God ... grant you a
>spirit (that is) wise and enlightened (by revelation) in understanding him,
>(that is) eyes of your heart (that are) illumined so that you know what is
>the hope ..."

Let me suggest that PEFWTISMENOUS is in fact an accusative absolute in
Eph 1:18. The two reasons I wouldn't construe this the way Carl has above
are: (1) the ptc is perfect, and my "feel" for this passage tells me that it
has to have happened BEFORE the time of the main verb DWHi, which is Aorist,
thus it cannot be another way of saying the same thing as "God grant you
a/the s/Spirit of wisdom..." My suspicion is that if they were to be
understood as the same thing, then the ptc would have been aorist as well
(cf., a similar situation in Eph 3:17-18, "rooted and grounded"); (2)
FWTIZW and FWS are in Ephesians terms used to describe the new birth (cf.,
5:8ff., cmp., 3:9; John 3:18ff) and thus the enlightenment of new birth
provides the foundation for Paul's subsequent request that they mature in
their spiritual understanding of God's plan.

As to the issue that Absolute participles must always be unrelated to the
Subject/Main Verb, I think we have enough examples in the NT to see that
breaking down in Koine--though Eph 1:18 does in fact fit the criteria,
since the subject of the pass ptc is the Eph and the subject of the main
verb is God.


Dale M. Wheeler, Th.D.
Research Professor in Biblical Languages Multnomah Bible College
8435 NE Glisan Street Portland, OR 97220
Voice: 503-251-6416 FAX:503-254-1268 E-Mail:

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