Re: PRAXEIS 13:1

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Apr 13 1999 - 09:24:54 EDT

At 11:27 PM -0300 4/12/99, Antonio Eduardo Costa Pereira wrote:
>By the way, I had an argumentation (friendly argumentation, of course)
>with Dr. Costa about PRAXEIS 13:1. It states (I will use the accents,
>because I cannot get used to Greek without accents):
>I think that this line says clearly that there was only one congregation in
>A)NTIOXEI/A| . Here is how I would translate it: Prophets and
>teachers were in the chapter of the Church that is in Antioch...
>Prophets and teachers were in the local congregation of Antioch...
>Or else: Prophets and teachers were in the congregation that is in Antioch...

This is exactly as I would understand it. My own literal version would be:
"And there were in Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and

The exact parallel construction is the one used by Paul in 1 Cor 1:2 in his
salutation: THi EKKLHSIAi TOU QEOU THi OUSHi EN KORINQWi ... This is, of
course, another clear instance of the attributive epithet with the article
enclosing the epithet. The only difference between the two is that the
construction in Acts 13:1 has the participle between the article and
substantive, whereas the construction in 1 Cor 1:2 has the variant with
added article introducing the epithet,

>Dr. Costa doesn't agree with me. He says that the Greek article
>(unlike English article, but like Portuguese and Spanish
>article) has a generalizing force. His translation
>sounds something like: Prophets and teachers were present at
>the Assembly that happens to be in Antioch...
>His interpretation is based on the well know Attic construction,
>where the verb TUGXA/NW is droped if the expression is used
>in E)PIRH/MATI. I will try to explain this. In Attic, you may have a
>sentence like: hH E)KKLHSI/A TUGXA/NEI OU)=SA E)N A)NTIOXEI/A| .
>If you want to put this sentence under the preposition KATA/,
>you drop TUGXA/NEI and put the rest under KATA/
>The meaning is the same as the sentence with TUGXA/NEI, i.e.,
>"the congregation that happens to be in Antioch". That explanation would be
>fine, if we were talking about Attic Greek. However, I cannot
>remember many instances of TUGXA/NW + METOXH/ (is there any?) in GNT.
>Dr. Costa says that, even if TUGXA/NW + METOXH/ is not
>usual in GNT , the construction with a
>solitary METOXH/ was kept, with the same meaning...

I would think this needs to be demonstrated, if true. But it seems to me
that the participle of the verb EINAI is regularly used in both Attic and
in Koine without any need to understand an implicit TUGCANW or any other
auxiliary. One might use the TUGCANW where there is some contingency, but
here it's a simple existential use of the verb EINAI. Again, I think that
the phrasing of 1 Cor 1:2 is exactly parallel, and I can't imagine that
being read, even implicitly, as "to the assembly of God that happens to

>My interpretation: There was only one congregation in Antioch (in
>Uberlandia there are... 453 congregations... :)
>Dr. Costa's interpretation: The text doesn't tell about how many
>congregations there were in Antioch. It is possible that there was
>only one, but nobody can tell this from the text. However, the
>congregation about which the text is talking, happens to be in Antioch.
>It is quite far fetched, isn't it?

Perhaps it's not far-fetched if one supposed a later era wherein there are
indeed many congregations in one city. But the account in Acts surely does
seem to be talking about one congregation in Antioch, always the same one.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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