Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

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Stephen Hughes
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Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 19th, 2016, 5:27 am

I think the basic distinction of a beginners' question is one where the person asking has no idea what the answer might be. That is the case here.

I am having trouble understanding the composition of the phrase διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας in the following verse;
Ephesians 4:16 wrote:ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας, κατ’ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους, τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ.
What goes with what in the genitives?
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(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by cwconrad » August 19th, 2016, 10:24 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:I think the basic distinction of a beginners' question is one where the person asking has no idea what the answer might be. That is the case here.

I am having trouble understanding the composition of the phrase διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας in the following verse;
Ephesians 4:16 wrote:ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας, κατ’ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους, τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ.
What goes with what in the genitives?
I am more than a bit intrigued that you pose what you deem a "beginner's question" about this particular text. I have often wondered about this text as well as about others in this document (notably the long, unwieldy sentence in Eph 1). I have great difficulty acknowledging Pauline authorship of this "letter" for the reason that, as here, the author seems to want to be clear but seems to achieve a complex sort of obscurity. It's sort of like stringing together a number of nouns in English linked only by hyphens.
0 x
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.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 19th, 2016, 2:16 pm

cwconrad wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I think the basic distinction of a beginners' question is one where the person asking has no idea what the answer might be. That is the case here.
I am more than a bit intrigued that you pose what you deem a "beginner's question" about this particular text.
Application of theoretical knowledge of form and function to a phrase without a return of any coherent meaning at all.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 19th, 2016, 2:39 pm

Colossians also has a similar passage, which I also don't understand.
Colossians 2:19 wrote:καὶ οὐ κρατῶν τὴν κεφαλήν, ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα, διὰ τῶν ἁφῶν καὶ συνδέσμων ἐπιχορηγούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον, αὔξει τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ θεοῦ.
The meaning of "supply" or "subsidise" really doesn't work.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Stephen Hughes
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Re: Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 20th, 2016, 1:22 pm

Without another direction to take, I would say that ἐπιχορηγία means "coordination" ("non-clumsiness"), and ἐπιχορηγούμενος means "coordinated" ("moving together a a whole to carry out tasks").

That requires, as a presupposition, an understanding that when rich benefactors make donations, they don't just sit back and let other people spend the money, but they may want to take a greater or lesser interested in the overalls and the specifics of what their contributions are enabling.

If that is the sense of ἐπιχορηγία, then it would be an adjectival genitive. The meaning conveyed by the verses would be "the whole body working together and holding together" for πᾶν τὸ σῶμα ... ἐπιχορηγούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον for the Colossians verse, and the Ephesians verse would also contain the sense of both structure and coordinated movement.

Alternatively, the ligaments that are "supplied" contribute to the structure.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 20th, 2016, 11:40 pm

cwconrad wrote:
Stephen Hughes wrote:I think the basic distinction of a beginners' question is one where the person asking has no idea what the answer might be. That is the case here.

I am having trouble understanding the composition of the phrase διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας in the following verse;
Ephesians 4:16 wrote:ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας, κατ’ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους, τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ.
What goes with what in the genitives?
I am more than a bit intrigued that you pose what you deem a "beginner's question" about this particular text. I have often wondered about this text as well as about others in this document (notably the long, unwieldy sentence in Eph 1). I have great difficulty acknowledging Pauline authorship of this "letter" for the reason that, as here, the author seems to want to be clear but seems to achieve a complex sort of obscurity. It's sort of like stringing together a number of nouns in English linked only by hyphens.
If I try to analyze this sentence, I end up with more categories than a chapter of Wallace. If I just read through it, the overall sense becomes clear. It's difficult because of the use of lots of abstract terms in prepositional phrases. It's essentially It's essentially a medical/exercise analogy. When the individual parts are working together and properly, they provide what is necessary for the growth of the body.
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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cwconrad
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Re: Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by cwconrad » August 21st, 2016, 5:25 am

Stephen Hughes wrote:I think the basic distinction of a beginners' question is one where the person asking has no idea what the answer might be. That is the case here.

I am having trouble understanding the composition of the phrase διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας in the following verse;
Ephesians 4:16 wrote:ἐξ οὗ πᾶν τὸ σῶμα συναρμολογούμενον καὶ συμβιβαζόμενον διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας, κατ’ ἐνέργειαν ἐν μέτρῳ ἑνὸς ἑκάστου μέρους, τὴν αὔξησιν τοῦ σώματος ποιεῖται εἰς οἰκοδομὴν ἑαυτοῦ ἐν ἀγάπῃ.
What goes with what in the genitives?
cwconrad wrote:I am more than a bit intrigued that you pose what you deem a "beginner's question" about this particular text. I have often wondered about this text as well as about others in this document (notably the long, unwieldy sentence in Eph 1). I have great difficulty acknowledging Pauline authorship of this "letter" for the reason that, as here, the author seems to want to be clear but seems to achieve a complex sort of obscurity. It's sort of like stringing together a number of nouns in English linked only by hyphens.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:If I try to analyze this sentence, I end up with more categories than a chapter of Wallace. If I just read through it, the overall sense becomes clear. It's difficult because of the use of lots of abstract terms in prepositional phrases. It's essentially It's essentially a medical/exercise analogy. When the individual parts are working together and properly, they provide what is necessary for the growth of the body.
Should we conjecture that the author may have aspired to emulate the style of social-science writing? I think I'd agree with you, Barry, that this is (a little) easier to read if we don't try to parse it, but, on the other hand, I think those who write with a deliberate intent to be understood write texts that are generally not difficult to parse.
0 x
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: Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by Barry Hofstetter » August 21st, 2016, 4:30 pm

cwconrad wrote: Should we conjecture that the author may have aspired to emulate the style of social-science writing? I think I'd agree with you, Barry, that this is (a little) easier to read if we don't try to parse it, but, on the other hand, I think those who write with a deliberate intent to be understood write texts that are generally not difficult to parse.
That's a good observation. Does any writer write with intention to obfuscate or to communicate? I doubt the author here or at Ephesians 1 thought he was unclear. But maybe this is what the author of 2nd Peter had in mind when he said "ἔστιν [ἐν τοῖς τοῦ Παύλου γράμμασιν] δυσνόητά τινα
0 x
N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by Stephen Hughes » August 21st, 2016, 11:14 pm

The only way that scripture has of looking at a body that I feel is close to my own understanding of how one is structured is Ezekial 37 - the dry bones. I find that both of the other ways of conceptualising a human body need to be understood analytically, viz. the references in the Gospels - with reversed order of the possesive and the name of the body part in the genitive - suggest that the person is the entirity, and these examples in Paul about a body being composed of individual parts that have to work together.

When versions translate literally, or creatively or fall back on their "in the tradition of the xxx version" clause to merely copy a previous version, then there is a possible indication that our knowledge of the Greek may need supplementing.

I assume (at the risk of ass-u-me-ing) that when you gentlemen suggest that loosening the reigns of grammar gives a clear enough sense of the passage you are referring to the word order. That, at least for me, makes things so a lot clearer. Allowing the horse's head to look backwards - effectively the reversal of πάσης ἁφῆς and ἐπιχορηγίας we achieve the sense of "what each joint supplies", which is readily comprehensible.

The obvious question that needs to be asked is where in the spectrum of the English word "supply" does ἐπιχορηγία fit?

One of my lines of thinking is that the difference between χορηγία and ἐπιχορηγία is that the first is "supply" and the second is "supply the difference of what is lacking", or at least "supplement some thing more". The examples in second Peter may makes that distinction. In the phrase εἴ τις διακονεῖ, ὡς ἐξ ἰσχύος ὡς χορηγεῖ ὁ θεός· (4:11), God supplies the strength from scratch. In chapter one, however, there are already some things and something else is added. In Καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο δέ, σπουδὴν πᾶσαν παρεισενέγκαντες, ἐπιχορηγήσατε ἐν τῇ πίστει ὑμῶν τὴν ἀρετήν, ἐν δὲ τῇ ἀρετῇ τὴν γνῶσιν, (1:5) there is already faith, and they add moral virtue, then the next step of growth in their Christian life is a deeper theological education. Things are added. Leaving the examples, my thinking is that if there was only one joint in a body, then it might be χορηγία, but since each one is contributing, and no one of them is supplying all, then each one contributes a little bit to what is already been contributed by the others so its contribution is supplementary or additional, only partially supplying what us needed to attain what is needed for the functioning of the whole body, so ἐπιχορηγία is used. But that still doesn't explain the word order.

Another line of thinking is about the nature of "supply", or more precisely, what nature of things are supplied. It seems that intangible things are the usual object of this verb; spirit, strength or virtue. If it is taken back to benefaction in the Athenian political system, then that means money. In one way, money is an abstraction of man-power or resources - an intangible representation of past (and these days future) labour. "Supply" doesn't seem to mean supply of individual brick to a public building, or individual leather strips to cushion the wooden thole-pins on a vessel, it is supplying the intangible potentiality for the whole. That reasoning splits into two, however. Is it then that the little joints supply the working to the whole - that would revolutionise or democratise the concept of supply, or is it that the joints are procured from the supply, as bricks or strips of leather would have been from the benefactor's contribution? Both lend themselves to plausibility, so who or what supplies what is still not unequivocably settled by this line of reasoning, if ἐπιχορηγία means "supply".

I don't think one particular sense is more clearer than the other. "Joints which supply", or "joints which are there as part of (God's) supply of parts to the body" both sort of seem plausible.
0 x
Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

cwconrad
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Re: Eph.4:16 διὰ πάσης ἁφῆς τῆς ἐπιχορηγίας

Post by cwconrad » August 22nd, 2016, 8:44 am

Barry Hofstetter wrote:
cwconrad wrote: Should we conjecture that the author may have aspired to emulate the style of social-science writing? I think I'd agree with you, Barry, that this is (a little) easier to read if we don't try to parse it, but, on the other hand, I think those who write with a deliberate intent to be understood write texts that are generally not difficult to parse.
That's a good observation. Does any writer write with intention to obfuscate or to communicate? I doubt the author here or at Ephesians 1 thought he was unclear. But maybe this is what the author of 2nd Peter had in mind when he said "ἔστιν [ἐν τοῖς τοῦ Παύλου γράμμασιν] δυσνόητά τινα
I was of course being facetious in comparing this to social-science writing. At the same time I no doubt betrayed my own anxiety about reading, as an alien to the discipline in question, what social-science writers produce: texts fraught with technical terminology that may evince theoretical allegiances or consensual usage. On the other hand, I think it’s the case in antiquity too that writers less than fully competent in the ἐπιστήμη or τέχνη in question might emulate such writing with middling success. The extant literature of the Hellenistic era has both technical treatises in abundance (medical, biological, cosmological) and even didactic poetry offering verse expositions of theory (Aratus’ Φαινὸμενα, Lucretius’ De Rerum Natura, Vergil’s Georgica, Horace’s Ars Poetica). We should expect composition in these genres to be challenging and to be successful in varying degrees.
Stephen Hughes wrote:The only way that scripture has of looking at a body that I feel is close to my own understanding of how one is structured is Ezekial 37 - the dry bones. I find that both of the other ways of conceptualising a human body need to be understood analytically, viz. the references in the Gospels - with reversed order of the possesive and the name of the body part in the genitive - suggest that the person is the entirity, and these examples in Paul about a body being composed of individual parts that have to work together.
There are the authentic Pauline exempla in Rom 12:3-8 and 1 Cor 12:12-30 setting forth the notion of the community as an organism of mutually sustaining members. By comparison the formulation in Eph 4:16 is somewhat wanting in lucidity.
Stephen Hughes wrote:I assume (at the risk of ass-u-me-ing) that when you gentlemen suggest that loosening the reigns of grammar gives a clear enough sense of the passage you are referring to the word order. That, at least for me, makes things so a lot clearer. Allowing the horse's head to look backwards - effectively the reversal of πάσης ἁφῆς and ἐπιχορηγίας we achieve the sense of "what each joint supplies", which is readily comprehensible.
“Loosening the reigns of grammar” may be a typo or an intended pun. I’m not sure, however, that we’re talking about anything comparable to the solecisms of Revelation (ὁ ὦν καὶ ὁ ἦν …) or to the compositions of poets who defy grammatical norms and strain at intensity of expression. Rather, I think, what’s involved here is an intention to express a notion of intricate interdependent organic functioning. We get the idea — or we think we do — but we’re not quite sure how we got it. The better prose authors, in my opinion, take pains to set forth their intended meanings within the “reigns of grammar.”

I once had a graduate student who had written an essay that might have been brilliant, but the writing was somewhat tortured and his meaning was less than transparent. I urged him several times to rewrite it and aim at greater intelligibility; he tried a couple times but never quite achieved what I was hoping for. Maybe I was asking too much.

I do think that we sometimes seek to gain more clarity from some Biblical texts than they can yield. I don’t say that the effort to gain more clarity is wasted, but I do think that it’s just as well to be clear that we’re engaging in guesswork sometimes rather than resolving the problems.
0 x
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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