THi ELEUQERIAi in Gal 5:1 (Concluding Unscientific PS)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Jun 05 1999 - 10:39:25 EDT

I'm going to take one last go at this in view of the more recent questions
raised and the information that Daniel Riao has brought to light
concerning the question of the existence of a Dative of Purpose in
Classical or Koine Greek.

First, my own response (I've seen no other thus far) to Jonathan Ryder's

At 9:43 AM +0100 6/4/99, Jonathan Ryder wrote:
>No-one has yet considered dative of reference/respect - if there is such a
>thing (I'm going back a bit and not taking into account function in wider
>context of how it relates to 4:31 and 5:2ff), yielding:
>'With respect/reference to freedom, Christ has freed us. Stand firm then ...'
>(a) Taking into account what has preceded, the article may have demonstrative
>sense (ie anaphoric):
>'With respect to this/that freedom, Christ has freed us. Stand firm then ...'
>(b) Would it be too much to suggest: 'With respect to this freedom, it is
>Christ who has freed us.' (c) making Christ emphatic in some way (although I
>realise that if we make hHMAS CRISTOS HLEUQERWSEN its own phrase then hHMAS is
>emphatic: Christ has freed *us*.) or 'It was with respect to this freedom,
>Christ has freed us.'? (d)
>A question for those who know Greek better than I: would the fact that this
>sentence is asyndetic make an anaphoric THi less likely?
>If THi is anaphoric then 'for freedom, Christ has set us free' (ie purpose)
>would become 'for this freedom Christ has freed us.' (e) or 'it was for
>this freedom that Christ has freed us' (f)
>I'd be grateful if the big Greeks following this thread could comment for and
>against the above options.

In fact, AKM Adam raised this very possibility to me in an off-list
message. I trust that he will not mind my citing part of his messsage and
my response to him regarding reading THi ELEUQERIAi as Dative of Respect:

> At 3:03 PM -0500 6/2/99, A K M Adam wrote:
>>I haven't been paying close attention to this thread, but what about
>>what I was taught to call a Dative of Respect? "With respect to freedom (less
>>wooden-ly, "Regarding freedom"), Christ has set us free"? though I learned
>>the English RSV translation of Galatians 5:1, and so as an authoritative
>>representation of the Greek it just made sense to me that it be a Dative of
>>Advantage, I hadn't stopped to think about the "personal" character of that
>>usage, and (with respect to purpose) you must be right about EIS ELEUQERIAN
>>hHMAS CRISTOS HLEUQERWSEN. Instrumental usage doesn't make much sense to me,

To which I responded (Wed, 2 Jun 1999 15:19:50 -0400):
> Thanks for writing. Yes, I always thought I liked the RSV
> rendering--until today, when it suddenly appearead to me as a very
> dubious way to understand the Greek. I rather doubt that dative of
> respect really works here either. I think of a dative of respect rather
> as something other than a cognate to the verb: e.g., Smyth from Perseus:
> 1516. The dative of manner may denote the particular point of view from
> which a statement is made. This occurs chiefly with intransitive
> adjectives but also with intransitive verbs (Dative of Respect). (Cp.
> 1600.) anr hlikiai eti neos a man still young in years Thuc. 5.43, tois
> smasi to pleon ischu_ousa tois chrmasin a power stronger in men than
> in money 1. 121, asthens ti smati weak in body Dem. 21.165, ti
> phni tra_chus harsh of voice Xen. Anab. 2.6.9, phronsei diaphern
> distinguished in understanding Xen. Cyrop. 2.3.5, tn tote dunamei
> prouchn superior in power to the men of that time Thuc. 1.9, onomati
> spondai a truce so far as the name goes 6. 10.
>>I'll be interested to see if Carlton suggests something.
> But Carlton is on vacation right now and temporarily unsubscribed. If I
> remember, I'll send it to him for an opinion when he gets back.

As Smyth understands it, a Dative of Respect (and this IS an instrumental
dative) should be used with an intransitive verb to clarify precisely how
that verb is to be understood. But THi ELEUQERIAi with ELEUQERWSEN hHMAS
CRISTOS is not comparable, nor does Dative of Manner work (Christ didn't
liberate us 'freedom-like'). My gut feeling is that if Paul had meant to
say "With respect to that freedom Christ has freed us," he more likely

Further in response to Jonathan Ryder's suggestions:
(a) I'm rather dubious about the article THi used with ELEUQERIAi in 5:1
being 'anaphoric' or 'deictic' because, it seems to me, "THIS freedom"
ought to be differentiated in what precedes from some other kind of
freedom, whereas it is in fact differentiated from "slavery."
(b) IF the text printed in UBS4/NA27 is authentic, then THi ELEUQERIAi is
very emphatic indeed, and as Edgar Krentz reminded us, 5:1 begins very
awkwardly--abruptly--without the ordinary connective particle that one
would expect even in the opening sentence of a new paragraph. The text we
are offered is so abrupt and awkward that we look at it and scratch our
heads, wondering whether the text is really sound.

I am very grateful to Daniel Riao who has, in two successive posts (Thu, 3
Jun 1999 17:59:28 +0200 and Fri, 4 Jun 1999 18:31:41 +0200), brought us the
fruit of research in major grammatical authorities in Madrid; what he has
reported indicates that there is some significant evidence for the
existence of a Dative of Purpose even in older Greek as well as in
Hellenistic Greek, and he points to the anomaly of ancient Greek being
defective in this construction when it is found in cognata ancient IE
languages The DATIVUS FINALIS. If I understood rightly what he reports,
this "telic" dative is not instrumental or locative but a usage of the true
PIE Dative. I'm reminded of what must be an archaic phrase in Vergil which
he seems to have got from Ennius, the very first latin hexameter poet: IT
CLAMOR CAELO, "the shout goes skyward." But I'm also reminded of the
suggestion that one of the more important root infinitive endings in Greek,
-AI, is said to have originated as a dative case ending--and in fact some
do say that the infinitive was originally a verbal noun with a dative case
ending giving that verbal noun the same sense as that added by English "to"
or German "zu" to an infinitive. Upon looking at Daniel's cited examples,
it appears to me that these datives are regularly dependent upon a noun and
usually a verbal noun, but the examples cited are NOT construed with verbs
and don't seem therefore to me to be quite comparable to what we're
presented with in the text of Gal 5:1 as printed in UBS4/NA27.

In his first post, Daniel also noted, "I checked 8 different Spanish
translations of Gal.5.1 and all of them give a final translation like "para
la libertad nos ha liberado/libertado Cristo" except one giving a local
interpretation." My not very extensive check of English versions, on the
other hand, found the purpose interpretation in only three out of eight.
But of course, although it's interesting to see what the different versions
offer and even count the ones that accord with what one thinks preferable,
a majority vote can render a verdict that is true only in the courtroom. I
am ultimately not very impressed with the argument for THi ELEUQERIAi as a
Dative of Purpose. As I wrote back on Wednesday, I remain "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 HLEUQERWSEN."

In my post of Wednesday I also cited Metzger's comment on the committee
decision about the text of Gal 5:1: "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."

I have no authority nor inclination to quarrel with the UBS committee's
judgment that the text as printed in UBS4 is probably older than the
alternative readings (with hHi at some point linking the first clause to
the imperatives of the second, or with OUN moved up to the first clause).
In the last analysis what impresses me most about what the critical
apparatus discloses is that later scribes seem not to have been able to
make good sense of THi ELEUQERIAi hHMAS CRISTOS ELEUQERWSEN. That means, I
think, that they didn't understand THi ELEUQERIAi as a Dative of Purpose
and didn't really understand the clause at all--and so they emended it to
what they thought made better sense in Greek. My own final (currently
final, that is) judgment is that we ought to do as they did or else we
ought to mark the text as corrupt. My own preference would be to obelize or
set in square brackets the words THi ELEUQERIAi, and bid adieu to the
notion of understanding it as a dative of purpose.

Inasmuch as Brian Tucker initiated this thread or series of threads on
Monday (and I don't find any previous discussion of this problem anywhere
in the B-Greek archives going back all the way to 1995) I conclude with a
comment on Brian's message of Thursday:

At 3:52 PM -0400 6/3/99, Joseph Brian Tucker wrote:
>After reading the discussions today one area that I see as a possible
>solution is to understand THi ELEUQERIAi not as instrumental but as
>emphatic. This could account for the asyndetic structure. C.F.D. Moule
>points this out Idiom p. 44. this use occurs with the dative in Romans 8:24
>THi ELPIDI ESWQHMEN (for hope we are saved). This expression reflects back
>on Rom 8:20. The possibility of the purpose use might relate to Deissmann's
>discovery that THi ELEUQERIAi was used in the sacral manumission procedures
>of the day to emphasize purpose Light from the Ancient East, 326.

(a) I don't really think that Rom 8:24 is parallel to Gal 5:1 because I
don't think THi ELPIDI is a Dative of Purpose but rather an instrumental
Dative of Respect (see above my correspondence with AKM Adam; it's really
more like the parenthetical CARITI ESTE SESWiSMENOI in Eph 2:5 where I'd
understand CARITI as Instrumental Dative of Means. THi ELEUQERIAi
ELEUQERWSEN displays a cognate noun used to qualify the verb.

(b) Can anyone cite one or two of those manumission formulae from
Deissmann? I seem to remember such Latin phrases as IN LIBERTATEM DEDIT,
but does the phrase ELEUQERIAi ELEUQERWSEN actually appear in formulae
cited by Deissmann? I don't find ELEUQERIA cited that way in LSJ (but I
don't have Glare's Supplement at hand, and there just possibly could be
something there). Somehow EIS ELEUQERIAN still seems more probable to me,
but I could certainly be wrong.

Enough already!

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

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