Re: Genitive phrase in 2 Peter 1:3...

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Mon Jun 14 1999 - 06:46:46 EDT

At 11:34 PM -0400 6/13/99, Alan Crim wrote:
>I have a question about the genitive phrase THS QEIAS DUNAMEWS AUTOU. Why
>is this phrase translated as the subject of the sentence in all the
>translations I have read? They say "His divine power has given us
>everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of Him who
>called us by His own glory and goodness." Could someone explain this use of
>the genitive to me? I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to greek, but am
>trying to learn more through personal study.
>To my (very) limited greek knowledge, it seems the verse could be
>"He has given to us all things [we need?] for life and godliness by means
>of His divine power..." [adverbial genitive of means?]
>"He has given to us all things for life and godliness from His divine
>power..." [genitive of source?]
>Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

DEDWRHMENHS is the predicate of THS QEIAS DUNAMEWS AUTOU and the basic
construction here is a genitive absolute; in this instance there's a
rhetorical play that seems a bit strange to those not familiar with it in
ancient literature: "his divine power" = "mighty God": it's a periphrasis
for "God"--but since DUNAMEWS, a feminine noun is the key one in the
phrase, the participle that agrees with it must be feminine genitive
singular: "... the mighty God having bestowed on us ..."

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

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