[b-greek] Re: EN + dative

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Fri Jun 23 2000 - 06:55:26 EDT

At 7:29 PM +0000 6/22/00, Mark Wilson wrote:
>I would like some clarification on this comment I found in my Grammar book.
>In the verse of Eph. 5:18, where EN PNEUMATI can be translated "be filled
>[with, by, in] the Spirit," the following conclusion is reached:
>"Believers are to be filled BY Christ, BY MEANS OF the Spirit,
>WITH the content of the fullness of God."
>Christ is said to be the "agent" of filling. The "fullness of God" is said
>to be the contents of this filling, and the Spirit is the MEANS BY which
>this is done.
>How does "agent" and "means" function?
>Christ is the "agent." The agent of what?
>The Spirit is the "means." The means of what?
>Can anyone perhaps use an analogy that is very basic so I can "visualize"
>these concepts?
>At this point I have the following image: Christ hands the fullness of God
>to the Spirit, and then the Spirit places this fullness in the believer.


I don't know what grammar book you're using, but the interpretation you're
citing goes considerably beyond what the text of 5:18 says.

(a) EN + Dative most often has a locative sense of place-in-which or
time-at-which, but sometimes even in classical Attic and quite frequently
in the Koine it has the instrumental sense of "that-by-means-of-which", a
usage most readily conveyed into English with the preposition "with" or
"by"; but "by" in the sense of "by means of" rather that "by such-and-such
an agent." Agent is ordinarily expressed in Greek by hUPO + Genitive (of
the name of a person).

(b) Nothing whatsoever is said or implied (so far as I can see) in Eph 5:18
about an AGENT involved in the "filling"; any conception of the "filler"
must derive from some other Biblical text.

(c) Insofar as the Spirit is "means," it is the "means" of filling; if you
want an image, I think probably the best analogy is the physical one; you
could say to a group of athletes (or non-athletes) doing aerobic exercises,
PLHROUSQE TOUS PNEUMONAS PNEUMATI: "Fill up your lungs with air." Here
PNEUMA, "air" is the "means" whereby the lungs become full.

(d) One could argue about MEQUSKESQE (which has an instrumental dative
OINWi indicating the "means" whereby one gets drunk) and PLHROUSQE;the two
verbs are parallel and could be understood as MIDDLE or PASSIVE; (1) IF one
understands them as PASSIVE in the full sense, then one must assume there's
an efficient cause of the getting drunk and the being filled, and in that
case one could conceive of the efficient cause either as the instrument
(OINOS, PNEUMA) or as an agent (the bartender, the one supplying the
PNEUMA); but (2) I would personally far prefer to understand MEQUSKESQE and
PLHROUSQE as MIDDLE: "get yourself drunk with wine" and "get yourself
filled with spirit." The congregation addressed here is being exhorted how
not to act and how to act; that PLHROUSQE should be understood as Middle
voice seems to me to be made more explicit in verse 19 which suggests
activities whereby the congregation may "get itself filled with Spirit."


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek
You are currently subscribed to b-greek as: [jwrobie@mindspring.com]
To unsubscribe, forward this message to leave-b-greek-327Q@franklin.oit.unc.edu
To subscribe, send a message to subscribe-b-greek@franklin.oit.unc.edu

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:36:30 EDT