Re: THi ELEUQERIAi in Gal 5:1 Dative of Advantage or Purpose?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Jun 01 1999 - 09:42:12 EDT

<x-rich>At 4:35 PM -0400 5/31/99, Joseph Brian Tucker wrote:






>Gal 5.1 begins with no transition and it seems a peculiar use of the

>case. Is it better to see it as advantage or purpose? My concern is
how to

>understand THi ELEUQERIAi as a limitation of the verb HLEUQERWSEN.

This is a good question, and your phrasing of it is interesting. I
can't say that I recognize any authentic "dative of purpose" in Greek
(unless one wants to consider EPI + Dative phrases, perhaps) although
it is one of the most common of all LATIN datives (which is more grist
for my intended study of Latin influence on Koine Greek). And a dative
of advantage normally is found with the name of a person. Although Paul
has just talked about the free woman (hH ELEUQERA) and the servant
woman (hH PAIDISKH), I don't think we'd want to say that ELEUQERIAi
here involves personification of 'Freedom'. I think therefore that it
would probably be best to understand ELEUQERIAi as an instrumental
dative, perhaps causal--and maybe that comes to being practically
equivalent to a purpose: "By reason of freedom has Christ set us

As for transition, note that USB4 makes 5:1 the conclusion of an
integral section inclusive of 4:21-5:1; there's a sharper break between
5:1 and 5:2. But 5:1 appears to be the "moral" of the allegorical
presentation of Isaac and Ishmael, Sarah and Hagar.

[One other thought occurs to me that I am rather reluctant to suggest,
because I don't think of Paul's Greek as normally reflective of Semitic
idiom; yet ELEUQERIAi ELEUQERWSEN is in fact the sort of "cognate"
Greek verbal expression that is commonly used in the LXX to translate
the emphatic Hebrew "construct-infinitives." I suppose it is at least
conceivable that this is what we actually have here; if that were so
(and I rather doubt it), then the clause should probably be understood:
"Christ has 'freedom-freed' us."]

>Second, Does STHKETE require one to break the sentence or is it

>grammatically connected with 5:1a?

My text (USB4/NA27) punctuates this verse with a raised dot after
HLEUQERWSEN; I don't know if it has affected your understanding, but
you did omit a vital MH in your transcription above; it should read
sequence of imperatives as grounded in the assertion of the opening
clause (THi ELEUQERIAi ... HLEUQERWSEN). So I see no problem in the
logical sequence.

>Third, is ENECESQE with the dative case seem abnormal?

Louw & Nida: <color><param>0000,7777,0000</param>37.4 ENECOMAI: to be
under the control of or to be subject to someone or something - 'to be
subject to, to be under the control of.' MH PALIN ZUGWi DOULEIAS
ENECESQE 'do not be subject again to the yoke of slavery' Ga 5:1.

It seems to me that one could understand this dative either as locative
or as instrumental: that wherein one is held or that whereby one lets
oneself be held. And I think that instrumental sense of the dative is
more appropriate here.

</color>>Fourth, to what does PALIN relate? It seems to point back to
the Jewish


As I understand Paul's meaning, those to whom he writes, whether
formerly Jews or formerly Gentiles, had been "in bondage" prior to
their conversion to faith in Christ. Therefore, it seems to me that
when he says, "Don't let yourselves again be held fast in the yoke of
bondage," he expresses his anxiety lest they revert to that condition
in which they stood prior to conversion.

Carl W. Conrad

Department of Classics, Washington University

Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243



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