Romans 15:22-23

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Danny King
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Joined: May 22nd, 2015, 4:52 am

Romans 15:22-23

Post by Danny King » October 1st, 2015, 12:33 pm

Διὸ καὶ ἐνεκοπτόμην τὰ πολλὰ τοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς· νυνὶ δὲ μηκέτι τόπον ἔχων ἐν τοῖς κλίμασι τούτοις, ἐπιποθίαν δὲ ἔχων τοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ πολλῶν ἐτῶν,

Here's my crude translation:
Therefore I was also being prevented many times to come to you; but now no longer having a place in these regions, but having a longing to come to you for many years,

I have two questions that I hope some of you can help me with:

1) Twice τοῦ ἐλθεῖν is used. Why the genitive? Is it because the verb ἐγκόπτω takes its object in the genitive? But the second time τοῦ ἐλθεῖν is used, it is preceded by the noun ἐπιποθία and it's in the accusative.

2) The prepositional phrase ἀπὸ πολλῶν ἐτῶν uses ἀπό in a way I cannot understand. There is none of that normal sense of separation. "Away from many years" or "from many years" makes little sense. I have examined the meanings for ἀπό in Wallace and there's nothing that seems to apply. Strangely, though, Trenchard gives "for" as one of the glosses of ἀπό.
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cwconrad
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Re: Romans 15:22-23

Post by cwconrad » October 1st, 2015, 1:14 pm

Danny King wrote:Διὸ καὶ ἐνεκοπτόμην τὰ πολλὰ τοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς· νυνὶ δὲ μηκέτι τόπον ἔχων ἐν τοῖς κλίμασι τούτοις, ἐπιποθίαν δὲ ἔχων τοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἀπὸ πολλῶν ἐτῶν,

Here's my crude translation:
Therefore I was also being prevented many times to come to you; but now no longer having a place in these regions, but having a longing to come to you for many years,

I have two questions that I hope some of you can help me with:

1) Twice τοῦ ἐλθεῖν is used. Why the genitive? Is it because the verb ἐγκόπτω takes its object in the genitive? But the second time τοῦ ἐλθεῖν is used, it is preceded by the noun ἐπιποθία and it's in the accusative.
I think that the first instance of τοῦ ἐλθεῖν is best understood in association with a verb of hindering: "I was repeatedly deterred from coming ... "; the second instance seems natural enough with ἐπιποθίαν.Cf. BDF:
400. The genitive of the articular infinitive (not dependent on a preposition) has a wide range of usage in Paul and especially in Lk. Mt and Mk use it to a limited extent, but in the remaining books it appears either rarely or not at all. It belongs, in other words, to a higher stratum of Koine (often in the LXX, rare in the papyri, s. Mlt. 219f. [348f.]; M.–H. 448ff.; Mayser II 1, 321ff. Examples from Polyb., Diodor. etc. in Allen 32f.; Jannaris p. 578). In classical usage it is used either with a noun or a verb which governs the gen., or it is employed (from Thuc. on, but not very frequently; Rosenkranz, IF 48 [1930] 167) to denote purpose (equivalent to a final clause or an infinitive with ἕνεκα). Both constructions are found in the NT, but the usage has been extended to approximately the same degree as that of ἵνα. (1) With substantives like χρόνος, καιρός, ἐξουσία, ἐλπίς, χρεία. (2) Certain passages exhibit a very loose relationship between the substantive and infinitive and tend toward the consecutive sense: Lk 2:21 ἐπλήσθησαν ἡμέραι ὀκτὼ τοῦ περιτεμεῖν αὐτόν (approximately = ὥστε περιτεμεῖν, ἵνα περιτέμωσιν); the transition is complete in 1 C 10:13 τὴν ἔκβασιν, τοῦ δύνασθαι ὑπενεγκεῖν. (3) With an adjective, as in classical: ἄξιον τοῦ πορεύεσθαι 1 C 16:4; rarely also with verbs which in classical govern the gen.: ἐξαπορηθῆναι τοῦ ζῆν 2 C 1:8 (ἀπορεῖν τινος, also ἐξαπορεῖσθαί τινος [Dionys. Hal.]; on τὸ ζῆν s. §398). (4) The construction with verbs of hindering, ceasing etc. with τοῦ μή and the infinitive (Lk, but also the LXX) has classical precedent (Xen., An. 3.5.11 πᾶς ἀσκὸς δύʼ ἄνδρας ἕξει τοῦ μὴ καταδῦναι), but the usage is carried further and τοῦ μή clearly becomes ‘so that … not’ (cf. supra (2)) ...

Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (p. 206). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
2) The prepositional phrase ἀπὸ πολλῶν ἐτῶν uses ἀπό in a way I cannot understand. There is none of that normal sense of separation. "Away from many years" or "from many years" makes little sense. I have examined the meanings for ἀπό in Wallace and there's nothing that seems to apply. Strangely, though, Trenchard gives "for" as one of the glosses of ἀπό.
Here the sense is, I think, "for many years now" -- i.e., since many years. Cf. BDAG, s.v. ἀπό:
2. to indicate the point from which someth. begins, whether lit. or fig.
b. of time from . . . (on), since (POxy 523, 4; Mel., HE 4, 26, 8; s. Kuhring 54ff).
α. ἀ. τῶν ἡμερῶν Ἰωάννου from the days of John Mt 11:12. ἀ. τῆς ὥρας ἐκείνης 9:22. ἀπ᾿ ἐκείνης τ. ἡμέρας (Jos., Bell. 4, 318, Ant. 7, 382) Mt 22:46; J 11:53. ἔτη ἑπτὰ ἀ. τῆς παρθενίας αὐτῆς for seven years fr. the time she was a virgin Lk 2:36. ἀ. ἐτῶν δώδεκα for 12 years 8:43. ἀ. τρίτης ὥρας τῆς νυκτός Ac 23:23. ἀ. κτίσεως κόσμου Ro 1:20. ἀ. πέρυσι since last year, a year ago 2 Cor 8:10; 9:2.—ἀπ᾿ αἰῶνος, ἀπ᾿ ἀρχῆς, ἀπ᾿ ἄρτι (also ἀπαρτί and ἄρτι), ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, ἀπὸ τότε, ἀπὸ τοῦ νῦν; s. the pertinent entries.
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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)

Danny King
Posts: 35
Joined: May 22nd, 2015, 4:52 am

Re: Romans 15:22-23

Post by Danny King » October 2nd, 2015, 12:15 pm

Thank you, Carl, for the definitive answers. I especially like the way BDAG treats ἀπό. It gives me a way to "preserve" my understanding of the word and apply it to ἀπὸ πολλῶν ἐτῶν. Guess, sooner or later, I'll just have to buy this overpriced book. Just have to figure which bank to rob first. :twisted:

The quotation from BDF was much tougher for me to grasp. I had to read it through slowly 4 times and dig deeply into Wallace before I felt satisfied. The first instance of τοῦ ἐλθεῖν with a verb of hindering was explained simply and directly by BDF but I had to struggle with ἐπιποθίαν δὲ ἔχων τοῦ ἐλθεῖν πρὸς ὑμᾶς until I noticed that BDF said that such a construction denoted purpose. Wallace, I think, simplifies it for easier digestion by beginners by just noting that τοῦ + infinitive is a structural clue for adverbial infinitives of purpose (page 591), result (page 593) and rarely, cause (page 597). Anyway, this is good enough for me.
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