I'm looking for assistance with an exegetical question which depends on Greek grammar. I have Daniel B. Wallace's Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament and have dabbled in the basics of koine Greek but haven't yet completed even a first course in it. So I can use all the help I can get.
I am currently working on an exegesis of Jude's quotation from 1 Enoch in Jude 14-15. I'm responding to an interpretation which claims that nearly all English translations render this verse incorrectly, and that most commentators misinterpret Jude's point as a result.
Jude introduces the quotation from 1 Enoch 1:9-10 with the words "proepheteusen de kai toutois hebdomos apo adam enoch", literally (correct me if I'm wrong) "Prophesied and also to these the seventh from Adam, Enoch"
The key issue here is that the verb propheteuo is not modified by any preposition but only by the third person plural pronoun in the dative case (toutois).
Most English translations include the preposition "about" or "concerning", i.e. "It was also about these that Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied" (ESV).
However, my interlocutor argues as follows:
(I've noted that A.T. Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament supports the reading "to these".)"If Jude had wanted to say "prophesied ABOUT these men" (NIV) he would have written proepheteusen PERI touton (verb + preposition PERI + genitive case pronoun plural), but instead what Jude actually wrote was proepheteusen toutois (verb + dative case pronoun plural) "prophesied TO these men". The difference between these two constructions is always observed elsewhere in the New Testament. (See F. Blass, A. Debrunner, & R.W. Funk, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament, University of Chicago 1961, section 229 p.121).
The minor but important grammatical error in this verse appears to have originated with the Latin Bible (which reads "prophesied however concerning them" prophetavit autem de his), and unfortunately was then followed by Luther, Tyndale, the King James Bible and, it appears, the translators of every English version since."
Based on the above grammatical point, the following conclusion is reached:
These quotations are from the pamphlet "The Angels that Sinned: Slandering Celestial Beings" which can be accessed at http://www.christadelphia.org/pamphlet/p_sinned.htm.Here Jude makes it clear that this particular "Enoch" (i.e. the Book, not the Genesis patriarch) did not prophesy "concerning" these false teachers "to" Jude himself, nor "to" the faithful, but only prophesied "to" the false teachers. This is Jude's way of making it clear that the quote that follows is not from the real Enoch of Genesis, but from the Jewish author who styled himself "Enoch the Seventh from Adam" and who only prophesied to those that were taken in by his book.
I am skeptical of this interpretation, because Jude elsewhere appears to endorse material from 1 Enoch (e.g. the 'angels that left their first estate' in Jude 6), and also because, by attributing the quotation to "Enoch, the seventh from Adam" it appears to me that he thought it was genuinely the words of the Genesis patriarch. Furthermore, it appears that patristic writers -- even those with a very low view of 1 Enoch, like Augustine -- universally accepted that Jude viewed his quotation as authentic, divinely inspired prophecy.
Nevertheless, the grammatical argument from the propheteuo + dative construction seems fairly strong. The only other "propheteuo + dative" construction in the NT is in Matt. 26:68 where Jesus' enemies taunted him, "Prophesy to us, you Christ!" However, in the LXX there a number of instances in the book of Jeremiah where this construction is used: Jer. 14:14 LXX, 29:9 LXX, 36:31 LXX, 44:19 LXX, 34:10-16 LXX (remember that the versification in Jeremiah LXX does not match that of the MT/English Bible in the later chapters). In all of these instances, 'prophesy to' is used with reference to false prophecy. By contrast, when referring to authentic prophecy from Jeremiah or Uriah, a prepositional construction is used: propheteuo + preposition + genitive pronoun (Jer. 32:30 LXX; 33:11-12 LXX; 33:20 LXX). The preposition varies between epi, peri and kata. The same prepositional construction is used of authentic prophecy in Ezra 5:1 LXX, Ezek. 36:1 LXX, Ezek. 37:9 LXX and Amos 7:15 LXX. (I am not aware of any propheteuo + dative constructions in the LXX outside of Jeremiah.)
The lone exception I could find to this distinction is in Jer. 36:27 LXX. In the MT and English Bible of Jer. 29:27, it is the words of the false prophet Shemaiah (being quoted by God), who complains to the priests that they have not rebuked Jeremiah for prophesying 'to you' (propheteuo + dative). In Shemaiah's view Jeremiah's prophecy was false, so it fits our grammatical distinction. However, in Brenton's LXX text and translation, the words of Jer. 36:27 LXX are instead spoken by God to Shemaiah and made positive instead of negative: God complains to Shemaiah, "And now wherefore have ye reviled together Jeremias of Anathoth, who prophesied to you?" In this instance, the propheteuo + dative construction is used of genuine predictive prophecy.
However, as an additional twist, the New English Translation of the Septuagint follows the MT reading in which these words are spoken negatively by Shemaiah to the priests, not positively by God to Shemaiah. (I don't have access to a critical LXX text so I don't know the text-critical issues involved - perhaps this warrants a separate post in the textual criticism forum).
As you can see this is a pretty involved question, but I wanted to lay the facts out on the table. From Wallace's Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament p. 141ff, it seems to me that in Jude 14 we have either a "dative of indirect object" or a "dative of interest".
My underlying questions are these:
1) Is "concerning these" or "about these" a justifiable translation of the Greek, or is "to these" definitely preferable?
2) In light of the above evidence, is it fair to say there is a syntactical convention that "propheteuo + dative pronoun" refers to prophecy that is somehow inauthentic, while "propheteuo + preposition + genitive pronoun" refers to authentic, inspired prophecy?
I know the issues are quite technical but that's why I'm coming here for help. Any advice on this issue is greatly appreciated, as well as referrals to any literature which addresses this issue. I haven't found a commentary or monograph on Jude that discusses this specific syntactical issue in any detail.
Blessings in Christ,