Re: Accusative absolute

From: Dale M. Wheeler (
Date: Mon Jan 20 1997 - 19:05:56 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 ..."
>>Dale M. Wheeler wrote:
>>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.
>Carl Conrad wrote:
>To "beat a dead horse," I don't quite see the cogency of this understanding
>of what I agree is a perfect participle. I don't think the TIME of
>illuminating the eyes in relationship to DWHi is relevant; the sense of
>PEFWTISMENOUS is "light-filled" as a present state. What would you say of a
>ALHQEIAi? That the people to whom the speaker comes must have reach a
>standing position prior to his seeing them? Of course, the writer of
>Ephesians could have written FWTIZHi hO QEOS TOUS OFQALMOOUS THS KARDIAS
>hUMWN, but I think that what he is really praying for is that they may be
>graced with eyes fully illuminated for discernment.

I agree that your suggested sentence with hESTHKOTAS doesn't imply any
previous movement/sitting, but that has to do with the peculiar nature of
hISTHMI in the Perfect; in fact BAGD has a separate entry for the
"intransitive" use (as they call it) which includes only the Aor2, Pf, PlPf
act; Fut M/P (=II) and within that article you can see both movement ideas
and non-movement ideas. I just don't think hISTHMI is comparable to FWTIZW,
and thus the tense of the participle seems to me to be relevant with
respect to it "occurrence" relationship to the main aorist verb. IMHO, both
of our decisions are based on what we think FWTIZW/FWS means in Eph; and as
I stated in the previous post, I think it refers to the new birth
experience, not a subsequent "enlightening," just like "rooted and
grounded" (Pf Ptcs) refer to the new birth experience which becomes the
foundation of their ability to understand... (3:17b-18; that they go with
the hINA clause is held by many interpreters).

We may just have to agree to disagree...

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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