[b-greek] Re: Eph. 2:8

From: B. Ward Powers (bwpowers@eagles.com.au)
Date: Fri Jul 14 2000 - 09:10:38 EDT

<x-flowed>At 07:13 PM 000713 -0700, Chris Core wrote:
>Could someone give me some help with Eph. 2:8
>I am being told that, " the pronoun "it" is neuter (or collective neuter
>to be more specific).

Chris, the pronoun to which you are referring is TOUTO, which is indeed
neuter singular (from hOUTOS), but its meaning is not so much "it" as
"this". ("It" is AUTO.) TOUTO can refer back to what has just been said, or
forward to something about to be said: context will indicate. In Eph 2:8,
clearly TOUTO refers back to what has just been said.

It now becomes a matter of interpretation as to its scope, that is, just
what it covers. My own conclusion is that there is almost an implied "all"
in TOUTO here, so that it refers to "all this", everything Paul has just
mentioned. This would include the CARIS, grace, and indeed the PISTIS,
faith: but I would go further and see it as including also the ESTE
SESWSMENOI, the being saved. That is: the grace, and the faith, and
everything that is involved in being saved, is God's gift. We cannot point
to any one of these and say that it is not God's gift but comes from ourselves.

> And if it only refers to one of the words, such
>as "grace", then it would have to agree in gender and be feminine.
>However, since it is neuter it is referring to both the feminine nouns,
>"grace" and "faith".", is this true for this text and what is a
>collective neuter? Thanks in advance for your help.
>in Christ -chris

I would not myself have thought to invoke a "collective neuter" here,
though I would not object to this way of looking at it. I would think of
the "this", TOUTO, simply as meaning "what I have just said", or "(all) the
thing(s) I have just mentioned", which would be conceptually neuter
irrespective of the gender of the constituent words referred to. That is, I
do not think that it is possible to argue from the gender of TOUTO to
arrive at the conclusion that it must be referring to more than just CARIS
or else it would be feminine.



Rev Dr B. Ward Powers Phone (International): 61-2-9799-7501
10 Grosvenor Crescent Phone (Australia): (02) 9799-7501
SUMMER HILL NSW 2130 email: bwpowers@eagles.bbs.net.au
AUSTRALIA. Director, Tyndale College

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