[b-greek] Re: Eph 1.17-18: Sentence of the form S V IO DO Pred?

From: Dennis Kenaga (dkkenaga@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Mon Feb 19 2001 - 01:19:38 EST

The classification of TOUS OFQALMOUS in Eph 1:18 as a D.O. of DWJi, or
somewhat equivalently, as an apposition to PNEUMA, is a defensible
solution to the unusual N.T. construction. A difficulty with such a
classification that is generally appreciated is that the position of
PEFWTISMENOUS appears to be predicate rather than attributive, making it
not quite parallel to PNEUMA. Also, predicate perfect passive participles
are hardly to be found on D.O. in the N.T. (See EXHRAMMENHN in Mk 3:1 for
an exception.) The few other instances that appear to follow that
pattern, such as ANEWiGMENOUS in Acts 16:27 turn out to be indirect
discourse of verbs of perception. The predicate form of the phrase Eph
1:18 seems to resemble an assertion more than an object.

One alternative approach to the construction is to supply the equative
ellipsis would point the grammarian to several possible interesting
interpretations under the heading of infinitival clauses.

But first, is an implied EINAI possible or realistic? We do not want to
insert our own words into the Bible. We know that ESTIN and other finite
forms of EIMI are very often implicit in predicate adjective statements.
But what about the infinitive? Mark 1:17 has POIHSW hUMAS GENESQAI hALIES
ANQRWPWN. The otherwise exact Matthew parallel omits the equative
infinitive. The meanings are identical, but the grammarian will classify
them differently because one is infinitival while the other is not.
1Titus 1:2,3 is an instance of equivalent constructions with and without
the EINAI. And a number of other cases like this could be sited. For
example, in Rom 6:11, EINAI is omitted in some manuscripts, possibly
because it would be understood with the same meaning anyway.

Supplying EINAI in other instances of object complement or double
accusative constructions will sometimes make good sense. Greek speakers
may have had this option to make it implicit or explicit in some
constructions. An interesting observation is that there are surprisingly
no instances in the N.T. of a periphrastic perfect passive participle with
the infinitive EINAI, although it does occur with the participle WN. This
suggests that possibly the explicit EINAI periphrastic construction was
avoided because the perfect participle was felt to imply EINAI, when

Changing the classification of the Eph 1:18 phrase from participial to an
infinitival clause opens up wider possibilities because non-absolute
participial clauses cannot have independent subjects whereas infinitives
can. And independent infinitival "subjects" are accusative like TOUS
OFQALMOUS in Eph 1:18.

What would an example of the interpretation be with EINAI? Its internal
clause translation could be something like "that the eyes of your heart
might be enlightened."

How would this clause relate syntactically to the whole period? There are
a number of possibilities. It could still be taken as an object of
granting. Another way would be to consider it appositional to the whole
hINA clause of 1:17, rather than to its object only. Infinitival and hINA
clauses are sometimes parallel. Since the hINA clause in 1:17 appears to
be epexegetical to the antecedent PROSEUCWN, the proposed (EINAI) clause
could also be taken as an explanation/apposition/content of Paul's
prayers. The NASB translators apparently take it this way.

Such an interpretation would have the virtue of returning Eph 1:18 to a
familiar grammatical construction where we would prefer it. For example
KLHRONOMON AUTON EINAI KOSMOU "the promise to Abraham or to his
descendants that he would be heir of the world" has an equatival
infinitival clause used epexegetically/adjectivally/appositionally to
describe the content of the promise. Promise and prayers are parallel
verbal nouns of communication which may be completed by something like
infinitival indirect discourse with an accusative "subject."

The absolute accusative is a possible classification if the translation is
"the eyes of their heart having been illuminated". But since the category
is rare or doubted altogether in the N.T., it seems better to look for a
more familiar explanation first. The classification of anacolouthon is
also possible but seems unnecessarily defeatist in this instance. The idea
that Eph 1:18 might be adverbial (circumstantial,conditional, purpose,
result etc) seems problematic because non-absolute adverbial participles
are mostly nominative; and even if not, they do not have independent
subjects by definition.

And there do not seem to be any examples of passive perfect participles
serving as adverbs in the accusative just because they are adverbs. The
instance of TETRAUMATISMENOUS in Acts 19:16 could be considered adverbial,
but its accusative case is due to the fact that it refers to the "subject"
of the infinitive, not because it is adverbial. The instance is more
supportive of the implied EINAI proposal. If Eph 1:18 were a non-absolute
adverbial participle, what syntactical cause would make it accusative?
Simple accusatives like PRWTON and DWREAN are adverbial, but they are not
participial phrases.

The possibility that PEFWTISMENOUS (with its independent subject) might be
adverbial to EIDENAI on the other side of EIS TO runs into even more
serious objections. There do not appear to be any other cases of the EIS
TO clause extending back before the EIS TO in the N.T.

The possibility that TOUS OFQALMOUS might be an object of passive
PEFWTISMENOUS instead of its subject (as ENDEDUMENOS TRICAS in Mk 1:6) is
even harder to defend. There would be no cause to make them agree in
case, number and gender as they do. Intending it in this objective sense
against the obvious "subjective" sense suggested by agreement would
probably confuse the original readers. Even if FWTIZW is a double
accusative verb like DIDASKW, it is probably not capable of taking people
and their eyes both as objects as in "in order that, having been
illuminated as to your eyes, you might know."

The implied EINAI proposal does not explain why the participle is perfect
instead of present tense. But I think there are other parallels for that

Dennis Kenaga
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