Re: Romans 16:7

From: Mary L B Pendergraft (
Date: Mon Aug 10 1998 - 11:19:22 EDT

At 09:43 PM 8/9/98 -0600, Larry Swain wrote:
>On Sun, 9 Aug 1998, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>> Here's Robertson's comments from Word Pictures:
>> "Among the apostles (en tois apostolois). Naturally this means that they
>> counted among the apostles in the general sense true of Barnabas, James,
>> the brother of Christ, Silas, and others. But it can mean simply that they
>> were famous in the circle of the apostles in the technical sense."
>> I agree with both the substance and the tone of this - to me, the most
>> natural reading is that they were among the apostles in the same way that
>> these others were. You have to stretch it a little to read it the second
>> way.
>I'm curious Jonathan, why you would make such a remark? Is there
>something grammatically that leads you to say this that I've missed? It
>seems to me that the two constructions one would expect would be this one
>or a partitive genitive, but my impression (which I do reserve the right
>to be wrong-Carl? Edward? Mary?) is that in Koine EN + Dative is as
>common. So I'm curious.
>Larry Swain

The more I think about it, the more it seems to me that EN + dative is
pretty much as hard to pin down as "among" in English--either, "in the
number of" or "in the presence/view of." I checked the exx. in LSJ, both
because it covers so much ground chronologically and because it's what I
have with me at home; some exx are pretty clear: a hero fights among the
best warriors: he's one of them--but an orator delivers a speech in the
presence of the jury: they're his audience. As far as I can tell, this
ex. isn't unambiguously either one. If we had had a superlative adjective
and then a partitive genitive, we could say that they were the most notable
of the apostles.


Mary Pendergraft
Associate Professor of Classical Languages
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem NC 27109-7343
336-758-5331 (NOTE: this is a new number)

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