Re: Eph 4: 22-24

From: Harold R. Holmyard III (
Date: Wed Mar 29 2000 - 13:54:38 EST

Dear Jurg,
     You write about Eph 4:22-24:

Wouldn't someone reading this text for the first time, in the most natural
way have understood something like: "You have been taught ... 22 that you
have put off (AcI) ... the old man ...
23 (=kind of parenthesis) but you are being renewed ... 24 and you have put
on ... the new man..."

No, I do not think so. The entire context is one of instructing the
Ephesians to modify their behavior. The infinitive APOQESQAI has its
counterpart in verse 25 in the participle APOQEMENOI, where the idea is
active effort by the Ephesians. I assume that verses 22-24 reminds the
Ephesians what they were taught to do.
     You remember that infinitives, apart from the future infinitive, do
not have tense but only aspect. So if anything might be implied by the
change from aorist to present, it might be that the decisions to put off
the old man and put on the new man should have been decisive, unique ones,
while the renewal of the mind was a constant expectation.
     Since I do not have his commentary on Ephesians at hand, I am unsure
what Markus Barth meant when he said in his footnote (p. 506, fn. 38): "The
syntax of Eph 4:22-24 may well be that of an accusative with infinitive."
It may be that he considered two possibilities: 1) that hUMAS was subject
of the infinitive, and 2) that hUMAS was object of the infinitive. The
reason for even thinking of the second would be a supposed parallel with
the infinitive in verse 24. In verse 24 ENDUSASQAI TON KAINON ANQRWPON
might parallel APOQESQAI hUMAS in verse 22. Then in verse 22 KATA THN
PROTERAN ANASTROFHN would be explanatory, and TON PALAION ANQRWPON would be
in apposition to hUMAS. This idea would seem far less likely than the
normal construction where hUMAS is the subject of the infinitive.
     DE in verse 23 may suggest a contrast with the previous infinitive.

                                        Harold Holmyard

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