Re: Instrumental EN

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Mon Jun 01 1998 - 03:18:15 EDT

>At 1:16 AM -0400 6/01/98, Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>>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?
Eric Weiss
>>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.
Carl Conrad
>I don't think Eric meant to say that EN + instrumental dative was "the
>prevailing nuance" in NT usage of EN, but only that it was more common than
>Chamberlain seems willing to admit. The phrases that comes readily to mind
>as instrumental are EN hUDATI, EN PNEUMATI, and EN hAIMATI. I recall
>checking on EN in classical Attic once before when this question came up
>and discovering,to my surprise, that EN is occasionally used with
>instrumental dative even in Attic, although it's not at all common.
I would also disagree with Chamberlain's statement, "In the New Testament,
EN is used only with the locative case" (p. 118).

Even if one is using the eight case system, there are examples where the
function is clearly dative, egs. I Cor. 7:17 EN TAIS EKKLHSIAIS PASAIS
DIATASSOMAI I instructed all the churches. This could be argued, I
suppose, I gave instructions among all the churches, but clearly seems to
me to be dative.

Mk. 14.6 KALON ERGON HRGASATO EN EMOI. She has done a good work for me, is
surely a dativus commodi. And Matt 17.12 EPOIHSAN EN AUTWi hOSA HQELHSAN,
"They did to him whatever they wished" seems clearly to be dativus
ANQRWPWN, is either a dative of root idea (dir. obj.) or a dative of

While the instrumental use of EN + third inflected form is not more common
than location, it is clearly used in the NT & LXX more than a few times.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359

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