From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jun 02 1999 - 14:45:36 EDT

My original response to this message--which nobody else but Moon-Ryul has
tackled--was ill-considered and sloppy, for which I must apologize. I
didn't even fully understand the sense of the question and made assumptions
about the soundness of the text which I had no business making. I will
refer back to some notions I suggested earlier but the problem is
considerably more complex than I had realized. And upon searching the
B-Greek archives, I don't find a single thread that has dealt with this
verse and these problems. Perhaps one of the "big Greeks" would like to
take a crack at this?

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 dative
>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.
>Second, Does STHKETE require one to break the sentence or is it
>grammatically connected with 5:1a?

Brian has set forth the text as it appears in UBS4/NA27, but without
punctuation. UBS4/NA27 prints this text with a raised dot after
HLEUQERWSEN, meaning that the editors understand THi ELEUQERIAi hHMAS
CRISTOS HLEUQERWSEN as an intelligible unit functioning as the ground for
the two imperatives that follow in the second half of the verse. The
problem is how to make sense of the dative THi ELEUQERIAi with which the
clause begins. Brian originally asked whether this is a Dative of Advantage
or a Dative of Purpose. I originally said that the noun in a Dative of
Advantage construction should normally refer to a person, but "Freedom"
doesn't seem to be personified here. As for a dative of purpose, as I said
in my original reply, although this is a very important function for the
Latin dative, I really don't know of a Dative of Purpose in ancient Greek,
and before I'm ready to accept that, I would really like to see some
convincing instances of it in Hellenistic or earlier Greek.

And yet, one common version of the clause thus structured is "For freedom
Christ has set us free." (RSV, NRSV, ASV) It would appear that the
translators must have conceived of THi ELEUQERIAi as a Dative of Purpose.
I'm really very dubious, and I am inclined to think that, had Paul meant to
say that, he might more likely have written, EIS ELEUQERIAN hHMAS CRISTOS

Another way of understanding THi ELEUQERIAi in the clause as printed in
UBS4/NA27 is as an instrumental dative (not, I would guess, locative
dative): Darby's "Christ has set us free in freedom." I really don't quite
know what that is supposed to mean.

Yesterday I made another suggestion that I admitted I deemed improbable:

> [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."]

Yet, if I read the Bible in Basic English rightly, ("Christ has truly made
us free.") that is the understanding adopted by at least one translator. I
am still dubious of it. And that may be the interpretation of TEV, which
renders 5:1 with a kind of abandon as: "Freedom is what we have--Christ has
set us free!"

KJV, NKJV, Webster, and Young are evidently reading a different version of
the Greek--one needs to look at the apparatus criticus--there are several
alternatives that append or prefix a relative pronoun hHi with (THi)
ELEUQERIAi as its antecedent and construe (THi) ELEUQERIAi with STHKETE
OUN, so KJV: "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath
made us free ..." (so also NKJV Webster, and Young)

That is perfectly intelligible, but the editors of UBS4/NA27 evidently
think that is a scribal emendation--one that yields acceptable sense--of a
text that probably did not originally have that relative pronoun. Metzger's
note: "Amid the variety of readings, that adopted for the text seems to
account best for the origin of the others. The apostle's abrupt
introduction of exhortations was softened by inserting the relative hHi
before or after ELEUQERIAi, or by transferring OUN to the preceding clause."

So ought we to consider the Dative of Purpose as an authentic grammatical
function for Koine Greek? Perhaps, but as I said above, I'd really like to
see some other instances of it in ancient Greek before going that route.
The alternative, if one accepts the text as printed in UBS4/NA27, is to
settle for one of the improbable interpretations or else to hold that the
text is incurably corrupt and obelize THi ELEUQERIAi. I know that one does
not do such a thing with the scriptural text, but I think the committee
might perhaps have settled for setting THi ELEUQERIAi in square brackets or
mark it "NON LIQUET."

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

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