Eph 3:1: Does Τούτου χάριν point backward or forward?

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klitwak
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Eph 3:1: Does Τούτου χάριν point backward or forward?

Post by klitwak » October 1st, 2014, 2:33 am

I'm not sure where this question belongs best. I might think it's a beginner's question because Wallace, BDF, BDAG, and the commentaries I checked don't speak to this issue. Eph 3:1 begins,
Τούτου χάριν ἐγὼ Παῦλος ὁ δέσμιος τοῦ Χριστοῦ
Τούτου χάριν does point backwards to some portion of Ephesians 2, at least vv. 11-22. What my question means is, Do these two words connect syntactically only with what precedes them, or also with what follows, so that the genitive prepositional phrase is actually acting like a nominative subject and connecting to I, Paul?

The commentaries I checked made no comment on the issue of the relation of the first two words, prep. with genitive, to the nominative ἐγὼ Παῦλος
However, while
ESV, NASB have For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ
and NET has For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ (a slight variation)
NRSV has This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ
and CEB has This is why I, Paul, am a prisoner of Christ for you Gentiles.

I would never look at all these English translations for a Greek syntax question. I was "alerted" to the issue when I was grading a student paper that used the NRSV, and I didn't know anyone had taken the grammar this alternative way.

Is there any grammatical rule I don't know that would point make the likelihood of one or the other of these more representative of the text's intent? I know this is not a forum for English translations, but after looking in Wallace, the Baylor Handbook on Ephesians, BDF, BDAG, and some other items, it seemed like this must be something obvious. Yet, it isn't, at least if the NRSV and NASB translators went totally different directions. Is there a basis to decide between the two? Everything I found simply seemed to assume the NASB/ESV/NET understanding of the Greek, but I'm not prepared to assume that the NRSV translators goofed. There must be some flexibility here I gather.

Any input on this?
Kenneth D. Litwak, Ph.D.
Reference and Instruction Librarian
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
Mill Valley, CA 94941
kennethlitwak@ggbts.edu
Adjunct Professor of New Testament in ExL
Asbury Theological Seminary
Wilmore, KY

cwconrad
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Re: Eph 3:1: Does Τούτου χάριν point backward or forward?

Post by cwconrad » October 1st, 2014, 7:22 am

klitwak wrote:I'm not sure where this question belongs best. I might think it's a beginner's question because Wallace, BDF, BDAG, and the commentaries I checked don't speak to this issue. Eph 3:1 begins,
Τούτου χάριν ἐγὼ Παῦλος ὁ δέσμιος τοῦ Χριστοῦ
Τούτου χάριν does point backwards to some portion of Ephesians 2, at least vv. 11-22. What my question means is, Do these two words connect syntactically only with what precedes them, or also with what follows, so that the genitive prepositional phrase is actually acting like a nominative subject and connecting to I, Paul?

The commentaries I checked made no comment on the issue of the relation of the first two words, prep. with genitive, to the nominative ἐγὼ Παῦλος
However, while
ESV, NASB have For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ
and NET has For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ (a slight variation)
NRSV has This is the reason that I Paul am a prisoner for Christ
and CEB has This is why I, Paul, am a prisoner of Christ for you Gentiles.

I would never look at all these English translations for a Greek syntax question. I was "alerted" to the issue when I was grading a student paper that used the NRSV, and I didn't know anyone had taken the grammar this alternative way.

Is there any grammatical rule I don't know that would point make the likelihood of one or the other of these more representative of the text's intent? I know this is not a forum for English translations, but after looking in Wallace, the Baylor Handbook on Ephesians, BDF, BDAG, and some other items, it seemed like this must be something obvious. Yet, it isn't, at least if the NRSV and NASB translators went totally different directions. Is there a basis to decide between the two? Everything I found simply seemed to assume the NASB/ESV/NET understanding of the Greek, but I'm not prepared to assume that the NRSV translators goofed. There must be some flexibility here I gather.

Any input on this?
Ken, I'm not sure that my comments will be helpful toward resolving your question; I'm somewhat doubtful that it can be resolved satisfactorily. But I'll say my say, for what it's worth.

I agree that the versions are not in any ways keys to grasping the syntax of the Greek. They do, however, indicate how some interpreters have understood the problematic construction, rightly or wrongly. For that reason, I would note one version that you haven't mentioned:
Peterson's [i]The Message[/i] wrote:Eph 3:1   This is why I, Paul, am in jail for Christ, having taken up the cause of you outsiders, so-called.
That seems to be the same interpretation that you've found in CEB.
For my part, I would say that ESB, NASB, NRSV, and NET have all understood τούτου χάριν in the same way, while CEB and Peterson have interpreted differently.
Furthermore, for my part, I think that the looser interpretation of τούτου χάριν is better suited here, for the reason that this author (and I confess I do not think Paul wrote this) is very loose (I might almost say "cavalier") in use of connectives. I've repeated ad nauseam my frustration with the awkward concatenation of clauses and phrases in Eph 1:3-14 (and elsewhere in the letter also). I think that the τούτου χάριν may be used here in much the same manner as an English writer who uses "And so ... " to move on to a new topic. I don't think there's any grammatical rule that's helpful here and I doubt that the phrase bears as much significance as might seem on the surface.
οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

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

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Eph 3:1: Does Τούτου χάριν point backward or forward?

Post by Stephen Hughes » October 1st, 2014, 9:36 am

cwconrad wrote:I'm not sure that my comments will be helpful toward resolving your question; I'm somewhat doubtful that it can be resolved satisfactorily. But I'll say my say, for what it's worth.
...
I think that the τούτου χάριν may be used here in much the same manner as an English writer who uses "And so ... " to move on to a new topic. I don't think there's any grammatical rule that's helpful here and I doubt that the phrase bears as much significance as might seem on the surface.
If we're folding our hands and sharing our for-what-it's-worths, so early in the game, without putting substantial justifications on the table, then let me add that I'm holding cards of a different suit.

I take Τούτου χάριν as "to give you a better idea where I'm coming from on this, let me just say..."
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

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