Re: Instrumental EN

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Jun 01 1998 - 06:07:37 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?
>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.

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.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243 OR

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