Re: Rom 12:2

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Sun Mar 02 1997 - 23:56:49 EST

At 8:46 PM +0000 3/1/97, John M. Moe wrote:
>At Rom. 12:2 MATAMORFOUSQE THi ANAKAINWSEI TOU NOOS seems to be commonly
>regarded as an instrumental dative (e.g. "be transformed BY the renewing
>of your mind. NASV95). Moo, in his NICNT commentary (P. 756) seems to
>see it almost in the sense of agent. "'The renewing of your mind' is the
>means by shich this transformation takes place." To express that idea
>wouldn't hUPO with the gentive be more common?
> Couldn't this be something more like a dative of respect (i. e. "be
>transformed with reguard to the renewing of your mind.")?
> Any thoughts?

I do not have a copy of Moo's commentary, but assuming your quote
represents his view well, I would say that he IS taking the dative phrase
as instrumental. "Means" is one possible implication of the instrumental
use of the dative. Perhaps you could paraphrase what Moo is saying as "'The
renewing of your mind' is the means/instrument by which this transformation
takes place." This is distinct from an agent (in the normal sense of that
word) which implies a thinking, acting element. An agent is usually a
person or other thinking being (though some grammars do speak of an
*impersonal* agent--something which seems quite contradictory to me).

The quote you give from Moo, however, seems to me to represent a rather
frequent and natural reading of the dative.

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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