RE: EN + dative in Eph 5:18

From: Andrew Kulikovsky (
Date: Thu May 08 1997 - 00:02:34 EDT

Ken Litwak wrote:
> Andrew Kulikovsky wrote:
> >
> > Ken wrote:
> > > ----------
> > > From: kdlitwak
> > > Sent: Thursday, 8 May 1997 12:16 AM
> > > To: Carl W. Conrad
> > > Cc: Andrew Kulikovsky; 'Edgar Krentz'; ''
> > > Subject: Re: EN + dative in Eph 5:18
> > >
> > > Hmmm. I think I have some difficlty with arguing that an othewise
> > > unknown construction clearly has the force of X, particularly when
> it
> > > seems to me to break the context.
> > >
> > Does it really? I think you need to read the whole book of Ephesians
> > more closely.
> I'm afraid I find this a troubling argument. It says basically, "I'm
> a
> better reader than you are." The last thing you want to do is open
> the
> door to reader-response questions, or fight over who's a more
> competent
> reader. that's a lose-lose situation for all participants.
This is not what I meant. I meant that it is important to look at the
wider context ie. the whole book of Ephesians - and I'm sure you would
agree with this in principle.

> > > That is, Paul has said to not be
> > > drunk with wine. Certainly one can argue that OINWi has an
> > > instrumental
> > > force, but the parallel with the Spirit begs for what the drunk
> person
> > > is filled with. If OINWi is an instrument, with what is the drunk
> > > person full?
> > >
> > The verb here is MEQUSKESQE (be drunk) - it is not PLHROUSQE (be
> > filled/fulfilled) so the parallel (really its a contrast) is NOT
> between
> > being filled with wine and being filled with the Holy Spirit - that
> is
> > not what Paul is saying.
> Uh, let's see, just how does one get drunk with wine? By being
> filled with it, or at least consuming too much. Yes, it's a contrast,
> bu5t it's a contrast between similar processes: being filled with
> something which leads to something else.
I disagree. The context of Ephesians and in particular ch. 4 and 5
indicate that the contrast is between the *EFFECTS* (ie. the resulting
behaviour) of drunkeness and the *EFFECTS* (emphasis not shouting) of
being filled full by the Spirit.
> > > If one is filled by means of the Holy Spirit, with what is
> > > one filled? The implied reader is surely to undestand "Don't be
> > > filled
> > > with wine. Instead be filled with an unknown by means of the Holy
> > > Spirit." I'm afraid that doesn't make much sense contextually and
> I
> > > think it is necessary to see grammar inthe service of meaning, and
> > > the other way around. There needs to be something the believer is
> > > filled with. The obvious choice is the Holy Spirit (barring that,
> it
> > > could be virtually anything, since it's unstated), and if that's
> > > expressed with an otherwise unknown construction, I have a hard
> time
> > > thinking that it's not grammatically possible, based on analogies
> > > which
> > > may not apply. Not to be flippant, but after a semester of
> > > Thucydides,
> > > Lucain, Eupolemos and other classical writers, I'minclined to the
> > > opinion (for which I claim no expertise) that Greek writers, much
> as
> > > English writes, felt free to do pretty much what they wanted
> > > grammatically in the search for "a well-seasoned soup (Lucian)."
> > >
> > As I said before, you really have to read the whole of Ephesians.
> > Because you have started by drawing the wrong parallel you end in
> > problematic interpretation like the above.
> >
> > I believe the parallel (or rather, contrast) is between the apparent
> > effects and results of drunkuness (ie. being under the influence of
> > alcahol) and the apparent effects and results of being filled full
> BY
> > the Holy Spirit (ie. under the influence of the Holy Spirit). Being
> > drunk leads to debauchery but being filled full by the Spirit leads
> to
> > the joy and ecstacy of being one in Christ.
> You are arguing for an instrumental sense to the dative.
> Therefore,
> being "under the influence of the Holy Spirit" is not allowed
> grammatically because it's not instrumental. Instrumental means that
> the Holy Spirit is the jar that contains whatever we're supposed to be
> filled with, period. That's shat an instrumental is. You want it to
> do
> multiple duty, while denying that it does so.
As I said above what I am arguing for is a contrast in effects. This is
not inconsistent with the instrumental use I argue for:
1. We (the Ephesians) are commanded to be filled full BY
(instrumental) the Holy Spirit
2. The *EFFECTS* (again emphasis not shouting) of this filling is
contrasted with the *EFFECTS* of being drunk.

> > IN answer to the question, with what are we filled? We are filled
> with
> > the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) and the experience of Christ
> > (which is well discussed in Ephesian 3). It is by means of the
> Spirit
> > that Christ dwells in our hearts (Ephesians 3:16-19).
> You're interpreting Ephesians 5 from other texts that you do not
> have
> any basis for connecting to them, especially Gal. 5. You have to find
> the "content" of the filling in Eph 5. Otherwise, you are engaging in
> pure sepculation. It is reasonabvle to expect the "content" to be
> defined in the context. Your view disallows that, so you have to
> reach
> way outside the context to a distant cotext to explain an apparent gap
> in Paul's exhortation. Since you're a software engineer as I am, you
> probably know that what you do in function foo() has little relevance,
> if your code is correct, for what you do in another function. You
> still
> haven't pointed to anyting in Ephesians that says what Paul's readers
> are to be filled with. They didn't have Galatians to read, hence they
> would know nothing of Gal. 5. Why is it such a problem to think that
> Paul is speaking of the content of filling. If we're going to appeal
> to
> other letters, Paul does say "Be filled with the Spirit and you will
> not
> fulfill the lusts of the flesh."
Yes Galations 5 is an isolated context for the Ephesians but Paul did
write them both. The contrast between the lust of the flesh and the
fruit of the Spirit is somewhat similar.

However, Ephesians 3 is not an isolated context and in fact I think it
is intimately linked with Ephesians 5 (which is why I said you need to
read the whole of Ephesians) - remember the chapter breaks were added by
Stephen Langton and are not inspired or original....and I noticed that
you made no comment about the passage I referred to in Ephesians 3,
which is quite clear about the content of the filling.

> > ps. In regard to Edgars comment about the Dionysiac background of
> this
> > text, I noted that Gordon Fee in his book God's Empowering Presence
> > (under Eph. 5:18) indicates that this is inappropriate since they
> used
> > more than just wine for their ecstacy because wine is a depressant,
> and
> > doesn't produce ecstatic effects, therefore they must have used some
> > form of stimulating drug as well.
> I don't know what this has to do with how we understand the
> grammar.
> Whether a possible parallel may be drawn, and whether that parallel
> was
> in Paul's mind are both difficult questions to answer. The possible
> existence of something that sounds kinda like something in another
> text,
> may or may not be relevant. It depends, in part, upon whether you
> share
> Kristeva's notion of intertextuality.
> Ken Litwak

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