Re: Instrumental EN

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Mon Jun 01 1998 - 01:16:02 EDT

On Sun, 31 May 1998 23:32:16 -0500 Eric Weiss <> writes:
>I acquired a used copy of Chamberlain's Exegetical Grammar of the Greek
>NT (c) 1957 (I think my Greek teacher had said it was good). Chamberlain
>states that "In the New Testament, EN is used only with the locative
>case" (p. 118), though he writes at the end of the section that "The
>instrumental idea is sometimes expressed" (p. 119). My reading of
>Blass-Debrunner-Funk (=A7195, =A7219) seems to indicate that EN is
>used in the intrumental sense much more frequently than Chamberlain's
>"sometimes." Having been taught the 5-case system, and only being a
>novice user of Blass-Debrunner-Funk, I may not be reading or
>understanding it correctly. But it seems to me that Chamberlain may be
>incorrect here. In my reading and translating I had so frequently
>regarded EN as meaning "with/by" (instrumental) that I'd almost
>forgotten at times to translate it as "in"! Am I overdoing
>instrumental EN?

Definitely. According to BAG the instrumental use of EN is listed third,
I. Place in, and II. of time. Moulton and Geden have five nuances, one
of which is the instrumental. Wallace has 10 nuances, of which
instrumental is one.

Just a cursory glance through the listings in Moulton and Geden shows the
instrumental is by far NOT the prevailing nuance.

Paul Dixon

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