Re: Ephesians 3:1,2 - TOUTOU CARIN, EI GE

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Feb 02 1997 - 20:51:12 EST

At 6:49 PM -0600 2/2/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>CARIN was confusing to me - it seems that the accusative of the same word
>that means "grace" can also mean "for the sake of". BDR mentions this fact
>without explanation, and even Robertson doesn't waste many words on this. Is
>there an explanation, or should I just accept this as an oddity of the

Accept it! CARIN with a preceding genitive is termed a "postposition"--a
"preposition" that regularly FOLLOWS the genitive dependent upon it. It's
very old usage in Greek; in classical Greek, DIKHN is sometimes used the
same way. If you're curious about why the same word used for "grace" is
used this way, know that it was used this way BEFORE it was used for
"grace." The fundamental meaning of CARIS is something like "kindness/favor
that invites or responds to kindness/favor." No doubt those who don't like
etymological explanations for usage will pooh-pooh this, but even if nobody
writing Koine was ever conscious of this sense, the construction of
genitive + CARIN originally did mean something like "inviting gratitude
for" = "on behalf of." I seem to remember suggesting that this was probably
the word originally understood with those genitive articular infinitives in
Koine Greek.

>What is the exact meaning of EI GE in Ephesians 3:2?

GE is an enclitic, the force of which is always to underscore the preceding
word upon which it "hangs." Here the force of it might be conveyed by a
parenthetical phrase or clause: "if, as I assume, you have heard...," "if,
at any rate, you have heard ..."

>I think I understood the genitive chain in Ephesians 3:2, so I'll give
>myself 2 points for the day ;->

Okay, go forward 2 spaces and then back 2; you really didn't need a grammar
here but should have found both of these in a lexicon, s.v. XARIS and GE.

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

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