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2 Corinthians 1:11 - Middle semantics?

Posted: January 2nd, 2019, 2:09 pm
by Matthew Longhorn
Hi all, taking my second attempt at reading through 2 Corinthians (just Revelation to go after this) and am taking a very familiar beating from it. My question relates to the hina clause as a whole and in part the meaning of ὐχαριστηθῇ. Basically I am thoroughly confused and my attempts to think my way out of it and reading commentaries isn't helping!

ὃς ἐκ ⸂τηλικούτου θανάτου⸃ ἐρρύσατο ἡμᾶς ⸄καὶ ῥύσεται⸅, εἰς ὃν ἠλπίκαμεν [ὅτι] καὶ ἔτι⸃ ῥύσεται, 11 συνυπουργούντων καὶ ὑμῶν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν τῇ δεήσει, ἵνα ⸂ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων⸃ τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα διὰ πολλῶν εὐχαριστηθῇ ὑπὲρ ⸀ἡμῶν.

I have seen some writers stating that ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων is preposed and relates τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα. This would suggest that διὰ πολλῶν is also preposed? so that a restructuring would be ἵνα τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα ⸂ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων⸃ εὐχαριστηθῇ διὰ πολλῶν ὑπὲρ ⸀ἡμῶν. with προσώπων meaning people. A result reading of the hina clause kind of makes sense on this reading
I am wondering whether, on the first reading the "passive" form εὐχαριστηθῇ could correspond to the speech act category of middle semantics with thanksgiving being made by many - thinking of Rachel Aubrey's work in the Greek Verb revisited here (not recently read so apologies if I am making a daft error). If a passive it seems to suggest that the gift would be thanked which doesn't make sense to me.


The alternative reading I have seen is that ἵνα ⸂ἐκ πολλῶν προσώπων relates to the origin of the prayers as a presupposed object here, with τὸ εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα διὰ πολλῶν εὐχαριστηθῇ being a prepositional phrase governed by διὰ with τὸ converting εἰς ἡμᾶς χάρισμα into a subject?

On the issue of whether this is a result clause or not I am undecided (work by Margaret Sim and others causing uncertainty as to the validity of the category).

So, as you can see - in a muddle - can't really think my way through it and in need of help

Re: 2 Corinthians 1:11 - Middle semantics?

Posted: January 3rd, 2019, 1:24 pm
by Barry Hofstetter
People always talk about Hebrews being the most difficult in the NT, but I also always found 2 Corinthians even more challenging, and you are struggling here with a sentence that is truly difficult. I've always read it a little differently from many of our translations, seeing χάρισμα as an accusative of respect, εὐχαριστηθῇ as an impersonal usage, and διὰ πολλῶν as a simple prepositional phrase used adverbially, but with no specific referent for πολλῶν. That gives us something like:

...that from many people many thanks might arise on behalf of us for the gift given to us."

Re: 2 Corinthians 1:11 - Middle semantics?

Posted: January 3rd, 2019, 1:30 pm
by Matthew Longhorn
Thanks Barry, good to know that it isn't just me failing at something that should be simple.

I am up to chapter five now and there have been a couple of items that caused me to pause for some time, this being one of them. Hebrews was a doddle compared to this.

Can you clarify what you mean by an impersonal usage of εὐχαριστηθῇ?

Re: 2 Corinthians 1:11 - Middle semantics?

Posted: January 3rd, 2019, 8:13 pm
by timothy_p_mcmahon
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 1:24 pm
People always talk about Hebrews being the most difficult in the NT, but I also always found 2 Corinthians even more challenging
You're not alone.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 1:24 pm
seeing χάρισμα as an accusative of respect, εὐχαριστηθῇ as an impersonal usage, and διὰ πολλῶν as a simple prepositional phrase used adverbially, but with no specific referent for πολλῶν
Best explanation I've ever encountered. Thanks!

Re: 2 Corinthians 1:11 - Middle semantics?

Posted: January 4th, 2019, 11:29 am
by Barry Hofstetter
Matthew Longhorn wrote:
January 3rd, 2019, 1:30 pm
Thanks Barry, good to know that it isn't just me failing at something that should be simple.

I am up to chapter five now and there have been a couple of items that caused me to pause for some time, this being one of them. Hebrews was a doddle compared to this.

Can you clarify what you mean by an impersonal usage of εὐχαριστηθῇ?
Impersonal in the sense that there is no real subject for the verb, lit. "it may be thanked..."

Re: 2 Corinthians 1:11 - Middle semantics?

Posted: January 4th, 2019, 12:08 pm
by Matthew Longhorn
I guess that that is where I was partially struggling - the thought of an impersonal thing being thanked.
Thanks for all the input on this, I think things are clearer in my mind now (until I next read it no doubt!)

Re: 2 Corinthians 1:11 - Middle semantics?

Posted: January 4th, 2019, 3:31 pm
by Tony Pope
Another, apparently simpler, possibility for the construction is suggested, for example in BDF §312.2 small print.

In Shepherd of Hermas Similitudes 7.5 εὐχαριστεῖν is used in the active with an accusative object:
καὶ τοῦτο εὐχαρίστει τῷ κυρίῳ [And give the Lord thanks for this], where τοῦτο refers to an affliction.
https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dl ... /page/n189

2 Cor 1.11 would correspondingly in the passive construction have the item being thanked for (τὸ χάρισμα) as subject.

Barrett notes that the verb is used by Justin in the passive, in his First Apology 65.5 and 66.2. It seems to me these examples might also be relevant.

65.5 μεταλαβεῖν ἀπὸ τοῦ εὐχαριστηθέντος ἄρτου καὶ οἴνου καὶ ὕδατος
[to partake of the bread, wine and water which has been thanked for]

66.2 τὴν δι' εὐχῆς λόγου τοῦ παρ' αὐτοῦ εὐχαριστηθεῖσαν τροφήν
[the food which has been thanked for by the prayer of His word] (my translations, attempting to show the meaning regardless of good English style, corrections welcome!)

https://archive.org/details/apologiesof ... st/page/98

Re: 2 Corinthians 1:11 - Middle semantics?

Posted: January 4th, 2019, 3:34 pm
by Matthew Longhorn
Thanks Tony, that is also very helpful. I need to read more outside the New Testament. Started to go through the Didache but got sidetracked