Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Stephen Hughes
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Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 23rd, 2015, 8:16 pm

Ephesians 2:8 wrote:τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως
ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι is a periphrastic passive, and I believe the periphrasis is due to the tense, not the voice, so I'm assuming the dative is the impersonal agent by which we are saved. I'm wondering why it is not constructed with the ἐν? (Rule of thumb: the passive verb goes with ἐν +dat. with impersonal, ὑπό +gen. for persons - though there is some cross-over at times).
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cwconrad
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Re: Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by cwconrad » February 23rd, 2015, 8:25 pm

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Ephesians 2:8 wrote:τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως
ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι is a periphrastic passive, and I believe the periphrasis is due to the tense, not the voice, so I'm assuming the dative is the impersonal agent by which we are saved. I'm wondering why it is not constructed with the ἐν? (Rule of thumb: the passive verb goes with ἐν +dat. with impersonal, ὑπό +gen. for persons - though there is some cross-over at times).
I re-read this several times and suddenly realized that what jarred me was the phrase "impersonal agent"; we ordinarily speak of personal agent and impersonal instrument/means -- that's just a matter of terminology. On the other hand, is it really true that an instrumental dative is regularly used with ἐν in Koine? I'd always thought that the dative with ἐν was an alternative becoming more frequent in the Koine but not yet the preferred usage. I'm ready to be corrected if that's wrong.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by Barry Hofstetter » February 24th, 2015, 6:32 am

cwconrad wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:
Ephesians 2:8 wrote:τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ τῆς πίστεως
ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι is a periphrastic passive, and I believe the periphrasis is due to the tense, not the voice, so I'm assuming the dative is the impersonal agent by which we are saved. I'm wondering why it is not constructed with the ἐν? (Rule of thumb: the passive verb goes with ἐν +dat. with impersonal, ὑπό +gen. for persons - though there is some cross-over at times).
I re-read this several times and suddenly realized that what jarred me was the phrase "impersonal agent"; we ordinarily speak of personal agent and impersonal instrument/means -- that's just a matter of terminology. On the other hand, is it really true that an instrumental dative is regularly used with ἐν in Koine? I'd always thought that the dative with ἐν was an alternative becoming more frequent in the Koine but not yet the preferred usage. I'm ready to be corrected if that's wrong.
Right. This is simply a dative of means, regularly used without a preposition in the GNT, occasionally used with ἐν.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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wcombs
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Re: Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by wcombs » February 24th, 2015, 9:45 pm

Wallace, I believe, takes this as a dative of cause. We are saved "because of grace." The means is "through faith."
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 27th, 2015, 3:36 am

wcombs wrote:Wallace, I believe, takes this as a dative of cause. We are saved "because of grace." The means is "through faith."

Is it a grammatical category created for this verse, or are there other examples?
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wcombs
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Re: Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by wcombs » February 27th, 2015, 12:20 pm

→ 6. Dative of Cause [because of]

a. Definition

The dative substantive indicates the cause or basis of the action of the verb. This usage is fairly common.

b. Key to Identification

Before the dative insert the phrase because of or on the basis of.

c. Clarification

This use of the dative is similar to but not the same as the dative of means. (At times, however, it is impossible to distinguish the two.)79 The dative of means indicates the how; the dative of cause indicates the why; the dative of means indicates the method; the dative of cause indicates the basis. Also, it is not always best to translate the dative of cause as “because of.” This is due to the fact that in English, “because” may express cause or motive. The two ideas are similar, but not identical. Thus, occasionally it is best to translate the dative of cause with “by “ or “on the basis of.” In Eph 2:8, for example (τῇ γὰρ χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ πίστεως), τῇ χάριτι is the cause of our salvation (and διὰ πίστεως
[p. 168] expresses the means). However, it would be better to translate it as “by grace” or “on the basis of grace” instead of “because of grace,” since this last phrase might be construed as indicating only God’s motive, but not the basis of our salvation.

d. Illustrations

Luke 15:17 Πόσοι μίσθιοι τοῦ πατρός μου περισσεύονται ἄρτων, ἐγὼ δὲ λιμῷ ὧδε ἀπόλλυμαι;

How many of my father’s hirelings are overflowing in bread, but I am perishing here because of a famine?

Rom 4:20 οὐ διεκρίθη τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ

he did not waver because of unbelief

Gal 6:12 μόνον ἵνα τῷ σταυρῷ τοῦ Χριστοῦ μὴ διώκωνται

only that they might not be persecuted because of the cross of Christ

Phil 1:14 . . . τοὺς πλείονας τῶν ἀδελφῶν ἐν κυρίῳ πεποιθότας τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου

. . . most of the brothers having become confident in the Lord because of my bonds

Cf. also Rom 11:30-32; 2 Cor 2:7; Eph 2:8 (discussed above ); 1 Pet 4:12.
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by Stephen Hughes » February 27th, 2015, 8:56 pm

wcombs wrote:→ 6. Dative of Cause [because of]
...
d. Illustrations
  • Luke 15:17 λιμῷ ... ἀπόλλυμαι; -- I am perishing ... because of a famine
  • Rom 4:20 οὐ διεκρίθη τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ -- he did not waver because of unbelief
  • Gal 6:12 ἵνα τῷ σταυρῷ ... μὴ διώκωνται -- that they might not be persecuted because of the cross
  • Phil 1:14 ... πεποιθότας τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου -- having become confident ... because of my bonds
    ...
  • Rom 11:30-32 [ἠλεήθητε τῇ τούτων ἀπειθείᾳ -- you have obtained hope because of their disobedience]
  • 2 Cor 2:7 [μήπως τῇ περισσοτέρᾳ λύπῃ καταποθῇ ὁ τοιοῦτος -- so that such a person would not be swallowed up because of excessive sorrow]
  • Eph 2:8 [quoted from above] τῇ ... χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ πίστεως ... τῇ χάριτι is the cause of our salvation ;
  • 1 Pet 4:12 [μὴ ξενίζεσθε τῇ ... πυρώσει -- don’t be astonished because of the fiery trial]
Thank you, Bill, for requoting that from Wallace. - It's appreciated because I don't have access to my copy at present. I have taken the liberty to reformat, and clip and add bits from and to your quotation to show more clearly the point that ALL of the verbs that the Dative of Cause (???only???) goes with are mediopassive in form. That would perhaps clearly place it among the voice-level dependent syntactic constructions, rather than a word-level one.

Does anyone know of a readily available list of "deponent actives" (is that the term for words like πάσχειν discussed earlier?) that could be worked through to further test how this construction interacts with the verb.
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George F Somsel
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Re: Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by George F Somsel » February 28th, 2015, 7:05 am

Your quotation of Wallace illustrates one of my chief complaints regarding his book.
b. Key to Identification

Before the dative insert the phrase because of or on the basis of.
The way he tells the story, you have to translate it to know what the usage happens to be. I can translate something a number of different ways in some cases so I see no reason to suppose that my usage of a phrase is precisely the same as that of the author. I consider that to be a poor method of determining the usage of some term or phrase. When you translate something you have ALREADY DETERMINED the way in which you think it is used.
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Re: Passive verbs + instrumental datives without ἐν

Post by cwconrad » February 28th, 2015, 9:03 am

George F Somsel wrote:Your quotation of Wallace illustrates one of my chief complaints regarding his book.
b. Key to Identification

Before the dative insert the phrase because of or on the basis of.
The way he tells the story, you have to translate it to know what the usage happens to be. I can translate something a number of different ways in some cases so I see no reason to suppose that my usage of a phrase is precisely the same as that of the author. I consider that to be a poor method of determining the usage of some term or phrase. When you translate something you have ALREADY DETERMINED the way in which you think it is used.
Yes, I think we've noted before that this is not so much an intermedite grammar intended to help students understand how the Greek works as it an ancillary instrument to conversion of the Greek text into intelligible English. The problem for those who want to understand the Greek construction is that the account offered here seems designed to interpret the Greek construction in terms of English grammar -- "if this text were English, this is how we would understand it." That's probably unfair regarding the intent, but that's the way it seems.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

cwconrad
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Re: "Deponent actives"

Post by cwconrad » February 28th, 2015, 9:28 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:
wcombs wrote:→ 6. Dative of Cause [because of]
...
d. Illustrations
  • Luke 15:17 λιμῷ ... ἀπόλλυμαι; -- I am perishing ... because of a famine
  • Rom 4:20 οὐ διεκρίθη τῇ ἀπιστίᾳ -- he did not waver because of unbelief
  • Gal 6:12 ἵνα τῷ σταυρῷ ... μὴ διώκωνται -- that they might not be persecuted because of the cross
  • Phil 1:14 ... πεποιθότας τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου -- having become confident ... because of my bonds
    ...
  • Rom 11:30-32 [ἠλεήθητε τῇ τούτων ἀπειθείᾳ -- you have obtained hope because of their disobedience]
  • 2 Cor 2:7 [μήπως τῇ περισσοτέρᾳ λύπῃ καταποθῇ ὁ τοιοῦτος -- so that such a person would not be swallowed up because of excessive sorrow]
  • Eph 2:8 [quoted from above] τῇ ... χάριτί ἐστε σεσῳσμένοι διὰ πίστεως ... τῇ χάριτι is the cause of our salvation ;
  • 1 Pet 4:12 [μὴ ξενίζεσθε τῇ ... πυρώσει -- don’t be astonished because of the fiery trial]
Thank you, Bill, for requoting that from Wallace. - It's appreciated because I don't have access to my copy at present. I have taken the liberty to reformat, and clip and add bits from and to your quotation to show more clearly the point that ALL of the verbs that the Dative of Cause (???only???) goes with are mediopassive in form. That would perhaps clearly place it among the voice-level dependent syntactic constructions, rather than a word-level one.

Does anyone know of a readily available list of "deponent actives" (is that the term for words like πάσχειν discussed earlier?) that could be worked through to further test how this construction interacts with the verb.
Stephen's phrasing here -- "deponent actives" -- aptly points to what has been the major stumbling-block in the way of understanding how ancient Greek voice works.
- "deponent" is used in a way to suggest that this verb is out of its proper voice category, i.e., it ought to be in the middle-voice. It would be more accurate to say, this is -- indeed -- a subject-affected verb;
- "active" on the other hand, is an ambivalent word that we use to refer to the voice-form -- as I think Stephen meant to use it here -- and for the semantic value, subject-affectedness.

What's hard to grasp, evidently, is that "active" inflection is a "default" category of verbs that are unarmked for subject-affectedness. A host of verbs with "active" inflection are indeed transitive and take direct objects and so are semanically active. On the other hand, there are quite a few verbs inflected as "actives" that are intransitive, some impersonal, some subject-affected. The subject-affected verbs that appear with "active" inflection may bear "middle" inflection in other tenses. "Active" inflection indicates simply that these verbs are UNMARKED for subject-affectedness.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)

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