[b-greek] Re: Eph. 1:17 Function of EN

From: James S. Murray (jsmurray@execpc.com)
Date: Fri Feb 02 2001 - 22:00:51 EST

"Maurice A. O'Sullivan" wrote:

> At 04:23 31/01/01, you wrote:
> >
> >While a number of options seem possible to me (e.g. reference: "with
> >regards to knowing him", reason: "because you know him"), I was suprised
> >to find two translations that treat this as indicating purpose or
> >result.
> >
> >NIV: "so that you might know him better"
> >TEV: "so that you will know him"
> >
> >I was not aware that EN could indicate purpose or result. Is this
> >possible?
> James:
> The "purpose or result" is indicated by hINA. ( which is why the verb is in
> the subjunctive ). And the RSV translation expresses not only this, but
> also the purpose of EN
> " may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of
> him, "
> As to EN EPIGNWSEI, this phrase appears in Ro. 1:28, which is usually
> translated on the lines of " as they did not see fit to acknowledge God ".
> But as Fitzmyer points out:
> " lit: ' they did not see fit to keep God in mind ". And Fitzmyer goes on
> to point out that " Paul uses the comparative conjunction KATHWS in a
> causal sense " with a reference to BDF s.453.2
> At Col. 2:2 you will find EIS EPIGNWSIN, on which Louw-Nida comments:
> >>(an idiom, literally `to come into knowledge') to acquire information
> about something, with emphasis upon the process involved - `to learn about,
> to find out, to come to know<<
> Given the looseness of LXX and Koine usage where EN and EIS are concerned (
> they are not as rigidly distinguished as text-books might lead you to
> believe ) I suggest you just have to accept " an idiom " as an answer.<g>
> After all, as BDF points out:
> "Where between the two extremes do the NT documents belong, to the
> everyday idiom reflected in the papyrus letters, or to the Atticized
> literary monuments? By and large it may be said that _the language of the
> NT authors is nearer to the simple popular language_ ."
> Regards
> Maurice
> Maurice A. O'Sullivan [ Bray, Ireland ]
> mauros@iol.ie


Interesting approach. While I agree that by there is a blurring occurring between
EIS and EN beginning in the Hellenistic period, I thought that EIS was used more
frequently for EN than EN was used for EIS. Also, and I need to double check this,
but I seem to recall that when EN was used for EIS, it tended to be used with verbs
of motion. Also, as Iver noted, none of the uses of EN EPIGNWSEI in the NT reflect
result, so this would be the only occurrence. It sure would be nice if we could find
other examples of EN replacing EIS in this idiom. Therefore, this seems unlikely to
me for the moment. Iver's post makes more sense to me if result is intended.

The other factor which leads me away from result as the primary thought here, is that
I see the hINA clause in vs. 17 as indicating the content of an implied verb 'to
pray' and EIS + articular infinitive clause in vs 18 as indicating final purpose. In
other words, Paul prays...that God might give spiritual wisdom and revelation [the
content of Paul's prayer]...that they might know [the ultimate goal of Paul's prayer
and the reason why He gives spiritual wisdom and revelation]. Given this
understanding of the passage, giving another purpose for giving wisdom and revelation
seems awkward to me.

However, I do understand that it is possible to take the accusative PEPHWTISMENOUS
TOUS OPHQALMOUS (THS KARDIAS hUMWN) in vs. 18 as another predicate of the main verb,
instead of as an accusative absolute. In that case, it would make more sense to me
that Paul would express the reason he prays for spiritual wisdom and revelation, just
as he expresses the reason why the eyes of their hearts should be enlightened. In
that case, there would be a nice parallel construction. I notice that this is how
the NIV translates the passage.


Jim Murray
Racine, WI

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