From: Iver Larsen (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Feb 06 2001 - 10:04:47 EST
> The text of the part of 1:7 in question: DIA TO ECEIN ME EN THi KARDIAi hUMAS
> This is an instance of what's usually termed an "articular infinitive: the
> article TO substantivizes the entire unit ECEIN ME EN THi KARDIAi hUMAS
> (lit. "me to have you in the (= my) heart") allows the whole unit to
> function as a noun--as in this instance the whole unit is an object of the
> preposition DIA.
> ME is accusative because it is the subject of the infinitive ECEIN, while
> hUMAS is accusative because it is the object of the same infinitive.
> Finally, how can we determine which accusative pronoun is the subject and
> which the object? One cannot, in fact, always be absolutely sure: there are
> some striking instances of ambiguity, but normally the first of two
> accusatives in the vicinity of an infinitive that requires an accusative
> subject is in fact the subject of it while the later accusative is the
> object. This is actually a rather common construction in NT Greek.
> I hope that helps.
This is an interesting grammatical ambiguity. The NRSV has translated it
"because you hold me in your heart", taking hUMAS as the subject and ME as the
object for ECEIN EN THi KARDIAi.
Carl has suggested that since the ME is closer to the infinitive that hUMAS it
is most likely that ME stands for the subject. This is quite possible, but as a
translator I would like to put more weight on the context, and it seems to me
that the context favours the NRSV rendering.
If we did not have the infinitive I could imagine some of the possible sentences
1a) ECETE ME EN THi KARDIAi "You hold me in the heart"
1b) ME ECETE EN THi KARDIAi
1c) ME EN THi KARDIAi ECETE
2a) ECW HUMAS EN THi KARDIAi "I hold you in the heart"
2b) HUMAS ECW EN THi KARDIAi
2c) HUMAS EN THi KARDIAi ECW
I am not a Greek speaker, but my guess is that 1a) is the most likely if Paul
had meant "you hold me in the heart" and 2a) if he meant "I hold you in the
heart." Now, if these are transformed into the articular infinitive, they might
1d) TO ECEIN ME EN THi KARDIAi hUMAS and
2d) TO ECEIN HUMAS EN THi KARDIAi ME
By this I do not intend to "prove" that Paul meant sentence 1 rather than
sentence 2. I am only allowing the possibility from a grammatical point of view.
(I am relying somewhat on 'word order and prominence' feelings for this, but
cannot prove it.)
From a contextual point of view it seems that sentence 1 is more likely. Paul is
giving a number of different descriptions about the Ephesians, e.g. "you have
been with us in (preaching) the gospel", "You are worthy of my confidence", "God
will carry his work in you to completion to the day of Christ" (that is, I
expect you to stay with us till the end and not leave the faith in spite of
persecutions), "you are together with me in the 'grace' (ministry?) as I am in
prison and as I am defending the gospel in the midst of opposition." Since Paul
seems to be describing the Ephesians and not himself, I am inclined to think
that he meant to say that "you hold me in the heart", that is, you are thinking
of me in prison and praying for me. That is to your credit and that is why I can
have confidence that you will last till the end.
Among translations that is a minority position, but I think it is not only
possible, but likely.
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