RE: Ephesians ~ Generic Dative and Periphrastic Pefect

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Apr 26 1999 - 12:37:22 EDT

<x-rich><color><param>0000,7777,0000</param>At 10:21 AM -0500 4/26/99, Bill
Ross wrote:

<excerpt>{Carl }

On the other hand, in the unquestionably authentic letters of Paul I've
found several good instances of the periphrastic perfect or pluperfect;
here are a few of them:

<underline>Rom</underline> 13:1, where Paul speaks of authorities to
which one must be subject. OU GAR ESTIN EXOUSIA EI MH hUPO QEOU, and
those that do exist (hAI DE OUSAI), he says, hUPO QEOU TETAGMENAI
EISIN. This is a periphrastic third-plural perfect passive.



Ironically, this is also an example of ESTIN as a "stand-alone" verb!
This is exactly how George wants to read this construction:


"Not ARE authorities except by God, and those that do exist, by God
having been established ARE." (or, "Are, having been established by


This would parallel George's reading: "In Grace you ARE, having been
saved by faith."


The irony escapes me--unless you're referring to the ESTIN in the first
clause of Rom 13:1, which is to be sure an "existential" (the standard
term for what you're calling a "stand-alone" verb. The form to which I
was referring was rather TETAGMENAI EISIN in the main clause. And the
reading of this as "by God having been established ARE" or
turned-around as "are, having been established by God" is, in my
judgment, just about as cogent.


>As to George's assertion that ESTE is a stand alone verb, in the sense
of "you exist," that is how I first read it, since the context has
Paul showing

in this passage that the Church is God's new creation:


>Eph 2:

>10 For we are his workmanship, **created** in Christ Jesus unto good
works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.



In Eph 2:10 AUTOU GAR ESMEN POIHMA. ESMEN is hardly a "stand-alone"
verb, it takes a predicate nominative, namely POIHMA AUTOU.



 I was not citing 2:10 to show ESMEN as a "stand-alone" verb, but to
show that the context of the passage was that the Church was a miracle
by God, not an accomplishment of men. The word I was calling attention


I'm sorry I misunderstood your intent. I certainly wouldn't disagree
with that view of the context of the passage; I just fail to see how it
impacts upon the GRAMMATICAL structure of 2:5.


I hope that I have shown that.



Thank you for your ever diligent, patient instruction. I don't believe
that you have proven that ESTE must of necessity be linked to
SESWiSMENOI, since it can stand alone, and you have proved that ESTE
can serve as a "stand-alone" verb as George holds. Further, it does
appear less frequent to put ESTE before the verb than after. Hence, I
don't see how the grammar, which supports both readings, can preclude
either one.


And both are true:


"By/In grace you have been saved through faith"




"By/In grace you are, having been saved through faith."


Did I miss anything that makes one conclusively incorrect??


By the way, one additional reason that I prefer the second reading is
that it does not have to be read as a parenthesis, and it contributes
to the thrust of the passage. I find the disjointed approach


What seems to me wholly left out of the account here is the distinction
between what is traditionally called the "existential" function of the
verb "be"/EINAI and what is traditionally called the "copulative"
function of this verb (whether the English or the Greek verb). Reading
ESTE as existential in function in Eph 2:5 may be comforting, but the
fact is that it is copulative, linking the subject to the participle in
a manner that has come to be the periphrastic perfect passive.

I am still inclined to believe that this argument is really driven by
the way you are reading the English translation rather than by an
understanding of the Greek grammar of the text in question.

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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