Re: Eph 4: 22-24

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Mar 31 2000 - 11:16:50 EST

I would concur altogether with what Harold has said here, adding just a
couple points:

(1) the addition of the pronoun to the infinitive when the infinitive is
functioning as a stand-in for the imperative should not be surprising:
since the infinitive has no pronominal ending, the pronoun serves to
indicate the subject so as to leave in no doubt who it is who is to carry
out the command indicated by the infinitive; and

(2) the participle TON FQEIROMENON which is attached to TON PALAION
ANQRWPON is not, properly speaking, appositional (although it amounts
practically to the same thing) but attributive. Nor should the aspect of
this participle be troubling inasmuch as it characterizes hO PALAIOS
ANQRWPOS in terms of the same descriptive language as is used in 1 Cor
ENDUSASQAI AQANASIAN. I really do NOT want to get into a discussion of
eschatology per se here, although I would note that my own observation of
Paul's usage is that he alternates between "actualized" and "realized"
eschatological description of what has happened already as opposed to whata
will happen hereafter to believers: they live on a life in the flesh in
perishing bodies, yet they have already put on the imperishable spirit--and
ultimately they will put off the perishable body completely and put on the
imperishable one. I said previously that I thought the language of this
passage is fundamentally to be understood as baptismal--as descriptive of
the initiatory rite and the understanding of the meaning of that initiatory
rite of baptism as it has been taught in the community.

I offer this is a further explanation rather than as an alteration of what
I said in my earlier post on this passage on Wednesday, and I would
reiterate also that I am in fundamental agreement with what Harold has just
written on this matter.

At 9:21 AM -0600 3/31/00, Harold R. Holmyard III wrote:
>Dear Jurg,
> Thank you for your involved thinking on these verses. Regarding the
>aorist verb APOQESQAI in Eph 4:22 I spoke of "the decision to put off" the
>old man, but of course the aorist refers only to the action. The aorist may
>look at the action as a whole. Paul is saying that believers were taught to
>put off the old man (a single action, compared to putting off clothes), and
>to put on the new man (another similar action). The Christian is to be done
>with the kind of person he was before conversion. He is to put off the
>behaviors and thoughts associated with sin. He is to do this completely,
>replacing them with the new behaviors and thoughts which Christ inspires.
>While the mind's renewing should be a continuing reality (present
>infinitive), the aorist infinitives can describe entire outcomes. Paul
>envisions changes of life that may take time, but they need accomplishment,
>however long they take.
> You mention that in verse 22 the infinitive with the accusative
>pronoun (APOQESQAI hUMAS) is unexpected. The structure may derive from
>verse 17, where the entire instruction originates. Paul tells the Ephesians
>no longer to walk in a certain way: MHKETI hUMAS PERIPATEIN. Verses 18-19
>detail the way they are not to walk. Verse 20 reminds them that they did
>not learn thus learn Christ. Verses 21-24 state how they did learn Christ,
>but they also give the positive contrast to the negative infinitive in
>verse 17. So verses 22-24 can carry the imperatival tone of the infinitive
>PERIPATEIN in verse 17. They are no longer to walk as they did, but they
>are to put off the old man and put on the new. So APOQESQAI hUMAS in verse
>22 seems a bit parallel to hUMAS PERIPATEIN in verse 17. This fact could
>explain the presence of the accusative pronoun hUMAS after APOQESQAI.
> Also, if the infinitives in verses 22-24 are imperatival, or at least
>describe action by believers, the pronoun hUMAS after APOQESQAI can
>emphasize the action as something which they themselves need to take. Paul
>is reminding them of a responsiblity which they may not have fully
>undertaken. If Paul tells them no longer to walk as they did before
>conversion (v. 17), they apparently have not put off the old man entirely.
>Insofar as this is true, the old man is perceptibly being corrupted (TON
>FQEIROMENON). If DE in verse 23 is a mark of contrast, then the two main
>actions in verses 22-24, putting off and putting on, each have subsidiary
>aspects. What is being put off is continually being corrupted; what is to
>be put on should continually be renewed. These ongoing realities both
>concern the inner life, for the corruption involves deceitful lusts, and
>the renewing concerns the mind.


Carl W. Conrad Department of Classics/Washington University One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018 Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649

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