Re: Ephesians 3:14-21 - the adventure continues ;->

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 11 1997 - 09:44:46 EST

At 9:19 AM -0600 2/10/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>I'm still reading Ephesians, and still coming up with plenty of
>'s today's installment:
>Ephe 3:15 (GNT) ex hou pasa patria en ouranois kai epi ghs onomazetai
>1. Is EX used in the sense of naming someone after somebody else? In Luke
>1:59, EPI is used to indicate that they wanted to name John after his father.

Yes, although the concern, I think, is not so much with eponymous
relationships as with a sort of metaphysical claim about the etymology of
all words based upon the stem PATR-. Here I'd turn EX into English,
"deriving from which ..."

>2. I had always assumed fathers on earth meant people like me who have
>children. Now I see that this passage also refers to "fathers in heaven" -
>what on earth could that mean? Does this affect the meaning of "fathers on

Let's not go ape over the Platonic idea of fathers here, although the
Platonic doctrine may well have influenced the idea expressed here: there's
only ONE heavenly father; the writer is arguing that every natural kinship
group on earth deriving from a father has the paternal function of God in
heaven as its source. So far as "fathers on earth" are concerned, he's not
really talking about them as such, but he's implying that, but for the
paternal function of God in heaven, there would be no earthly fathers. And
yes, it would be fair to say that he is developing on the analogy of
earthly fathers' beneficent concern for their families and the paradigm of
that in the heavenly father's beneficent concern for his children.

>Ephe 3:16 (GNT) hina dw humin kata to ploutos ths doxhs autou dunamei
>krataiwqhnai dia tou pneumatos autou *eis* ton esw anqrwpon
>3. Zerwick says that EIS is sometimes used for EN, but never in Pauline
>epistles, except perhaps here. Zerwick is not inclined to make this the one
>exception, but I suspect Carl and Edward will be less inclined to accept
>Paul's style as an argument here.
>As I understand it, translating with EN gives you "strengthened in the inner
>man" (which can be made gender neutral as "in the inner being" or "in the
>inner self"). Translating with EIS would mean "strengthened in order to
>produce the inner man".
>Is my understanding correct? Is there a reason to prefer one interpretation
>over the other?

Well, my suspicion is that Zerwick is right here and that this is one more
little item bearing on the question of authorship of Ephesians, but that's
a secondary issue. I would say of this EIS that it deliberately underscores
by graphic language the notion INFUSION of the Holy Spirit INTO the inner
selfhood of a human being. EN with a locative dative would simply indicate
where that incoming spirit is to be found; EIS with accusative produces a
powerful image of the infusion (if I may illustrate the grand with the
gross) of air into a basketball or football. For the idea here I would
point to a couple texts in John's gospel: (1) Jn 20:22 KAI TOUTO EIPWN
the word ENEFUSHSEN that extends the simple notion of "breathing on them"
into the vivid metaphor of insufflation, pointing back simultaneously to
Genesis 2:7 and to Jn 3, the discussion between Jesus and Nicodemus over
PNEUMA meaning "wind" and PNEUMA meaning Holy Spirit; (2) the other
Johannine passage bearing on this is Jn 1:18 QEON OUDEIS hEWRAKEN PWPOTE:
fantastic phrase is hO WN EIS TON KOLPON TOU PATROS: EIS + acc. used with
the intransitive participle WN: how do you translate it? You would have
expected hO WN EN TWi KOLPWi TOU PATROS, which would only express location,
but here EIS TON KOLPON seems to want to underscore that the existence of
the LOGOS who is the hUIOS is "deep within the Father's bosom"--an
expression similar to that used for the beloved disciple in Jn 13:23 HN
IHSOUS. There it is EN TWi KOLPWi, not nearly so intimate as EIS TON
KOLPON, but nevertheless suggestive of intimacy. Personally I have always
felt that the "beloved disciple" in John's gospel, even if he IS a real
person, is also a figurative person, a paradigm for all who are ever to
have a personal intimacy with Jesus in the spirit. Okay, there's my
exegesis for the day.

Whether or not this writer really is Paul, he does have a lot to say to us,
which is reason enough for Ephesians to be in the canon.

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

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