2Timothy 2:16

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Terry Cook
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2Timothy 2:16

Post by Terry Cook » June 18th, 2011, 10:46 am

My question is about the prepositional phrase "ἐπὶ πλεῖον.... ἀσεβείας" EPI PLEION.... hASEBEIAS


If the noun object of EPI is PLEION isn't Paul using the "wrong" preposition? EPI with an accusative usually emphasizes motion or direction on, upon, to, up to, against - not in or into. Or is the object ASEBIAS (which seems highly unlikely)? OR, has he used the WRONG case here?

Terry Cook
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cwconrad
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Re: 2Timothy 2:16

Post by cwconrad » June 18th, 2011, 1:20 pm

Terry Cook wrote:My question is about the prepositional phrase "ἐπὶ πλεῖον.... ἀσεβείας" EPI PLEION.... hASEBEIAS


If the noun object of EPI is PLEION isn't Paul using the "wrong" preposition? EPI with an accusative usually emphasizes motion or direction on, upon, to, up to, against - not in or into. Or is the object ASEBIAS (which seems highly unlikely)? OR, has he used the WRONG case here?

Terry Cook
sDg
You seem to have ignored forum rules asking you to quote the text which you are discussing:
2 Timothy 2:16 τὰς δὲ βεβήλους κενοφωνίας περιΐστασο· ἐπὶ πλεῖον γὰρ προκόψουσιν ἀσεβείας ...

πλεῖον is not really a noun but a n. acc. sg. comparative adjective here used substantivally, something like "a greater degree"; ἀσεβείας is gen. sg., not accusative.

Prepositions like ἐπί cannot be characterized so simply in terms of what they "usually emphasize." One will do best to scrutinize the entirety of the lexical entry for a preposition found in such a broad range of contextual usages. In this instance, one finds what is relevant in BDAG s.v. ἐπί 13:
13. marker of number or measure, w. acc. (Hdt. et. al.; LXX; GrBar 3:6) ἐ. τρίς (CIG 1122, 9; PHolm α18) three times Ac 10:16; 11:10. So also ἐ. πολύ more than once Hm 4, 1, 8. ἐ. πολύ (also written ἐπιπολύ) in a different sense to a great extent, carefully (Hdt., Thu. et al.; Lucian, D. Deor. 6, 2; 25, 2; 3 Macc 5:17; Jos., Ant. 17, 107) B 4:1. ἐ. πλεῖον to a greater extent, further (Hdt., Thu. et al.; Diod. S. 11, 60, 5 al.; prob. 2 Macc 12:36; TestGad 7:2; Ar. 4, 3; Ath. 7, 1 ἐ. το πλεῖστον) 2 Ti 3:9; 1 Cl 18:3 (Ps 50:4). ἐ. τὸ χεῖρον 2 Ti 3:13. ἐφ᾿ ὅσον to the degree that, in so far as (Diod. S. 1, 93, 2; Maximus Tyr. 11, 3c ἐφ᾿ ὅσον δύναται; Hierocles 14 p. 451) Mt 25:40, 45; B 4:11; 17:1; Ro 11:13.
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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)

Terry Cook
Posts: 2
Joined: June 3rd, 2011, 9:18 am

Re: 2Timothy 2:16

Post by Terry Cook » June 18th, 2011, 9:21 pm

cwconrad wrote:
Terry Cook wrote:My question is about the prepositional phrase "ἐπὶ πλεῖον.... ἀσεβείας" EPI PLEION.... hASEBEIAS


If the noun object of EPI is PLEION isn't Paul using the "wrong" preposition? EPI with an accusative usually emphasizes motion or direction on, upon, to, up to, against - not in or into. Or is the object ASEBIAS (which seems highly unlikely)? OR, has he used the WRONG case here?

Terry Cook
sDg
You seem to have ignored forum rules asking you to quote the text which you are discussing:
2 Timothy 2:16 τὰς δὲ βεβήλους κενοφωνίας περιΐστασο· ἐπὶ πλεῖον γὰρ προκόψουσιν ἀσεβείας ...

πλεῖον is not really a noun but a n. acc. sg. comparative adjective here used substantivally, something like "a greater degree"; ἀσεβείας is gen. sg., not accusative.

Prepositions like ἐπί cannot be characterized so simply in terms of what they "usually emphasize." One will do best to scrutinize the entirety of the lexical entry for a preposition found in such a broad range of contextual usages. In this instance, one finds what is relevant in BDAG s.v. ἐπί 13:
13. marker of number or measure, w. acc. (Hdt. et. al.; LXX; GrBar 3:6) ἐ. τρίς (CIG 1122, 9; PHolm α18) three times Ac 10:16; 11:10. So also ἐ. πολύ more than once Hm 4, 1, 8. ἐ. πολύ (also written ἐπιπολύ) in a different sense to a great extent, carefully (Hdt., Thu. et al.; Lucian, D. Deor. 6, 2; 25, 2; 3 Macc 5:17; Jos., Ant. 17, 107) B 4:1. ἐ. πλεῖον to a greater extent, further (Hdt., Thu. et al.; Diod. S. 11, 60, 5 al.; prob. 2 Macc 12:36; TestGad 7:2; Ar. 4, 3; Ath. 7, 1 ἐ. το πλεῖστον) 2 Ti 3:9; 1 Cl 18:3 (Ps 50:4). ἐ. τὸ χεῖρον 2 Ti 3:13. ἐφ᾿ ὅσον to the degree that, in so far as (Diod. S. 1, 93, 2; Maximus Tyr. 11, 3c ἐφ᾿ ὅσον δύναται; Hierocles 14 p. 451) Mt 25:40, 45; B 4:11; 17:1; Ro 11:13.
?? Your response seems unnecessarily harsh, I DID quote the text - I was asking only about the prep phrase, which I quoted.
I realize that I incorrectly attributed PLEION as a noun, but that doesn't change the thrust of my question which was the menaing of the use of the preposition and its object (be it noun or comparative adjective).
OK, so the quote from BDAG points to a number of different senses of the preposition. A number of the grammars point to the preposition EPI with an accusative object as having a more narrowed meaning. The NIV, ESV, NRSV translate EPI in the passage in queston as "into" which is a meaning none of the grammars I consulted had nor does the quote from BDAG seem to have.
Terry Cook
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: 2Timothy 2:16

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 19th, 2011, 2:20 am

Terry, I think Carl has given you an excellent answer here. Let me add one encouragement – as readers of a "synchronically frozen language" :D we start out with the strong assumption that our ancient authors knew what they were doing better than we ever shall. For them, the language was a living, flexible means of communication. Now, there are some texts, like a few verses in Revelation, or non-literary texts, where there are solecisms that educated ancients of the time would themselves have considered errors, but, those are few and far between. If an author such as Paul does something with the language we don't expect, we need to check our understanding, not question Paul's use of the Greek.

Remember, beginning grammars are selective, giving essentially the basics needed to start learning the language – they are the beginning of wisdom, not its conclusion. And grammars are descriptive, not prescriptive...
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

cwconrad
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Re: 2Timothy 2:16

Post by cwconrad » June 19th, 2011, 6:39 am

Terry Cook wrote:
cwconrad wrote:
Terry Cook wrote:My question is about the prepositional phrase "ἐπὶ πλεῖον.... ἀσεβείας" EPI PLEION.... hASEBEIAS


If the noun object of EPI is PLEION isn't Paul using the "wrong" preposition? EPI with an accusative usually emphasizes motion or direction on, upon, to, up to, against - not in or into. Or is the object ASEBIAS (which seems highly unlikely)? OR, has he used the WRONG case here?

Terry Cook
sDg
You seem to have ignored forum rules asking you to quote the text which you are discussing:
2 Timothy 2:16 τὰς δὲ βεβήλους κενοφωνίας περιΐστασο· ἐπὶ πλεῖον γὰρ προκόψουσιν ἀσεβείας ...

πλεῖον is not really a noun but a n. acc. sg. comparative adjective here used substantivally, something like "a greater degree"; ἀσεβείας is gen. sg., not accusative.

Prepositions like ἐπί cannot be characterized so simply in terms of what they "usually emphasize." One will do best to scrutinize the entirety of the lexical entry for a preposition found in such a broad range of contextual usages. In this instance, one finds what is relevant in BDAG s.v. ἐπί 13:
13. marker of number or measure, w. acc. (Hdt. et. al.; LXX; GrBar 3:6) ἐ. τρίς (CIG 1122, 9; PHolm α18) three times Ac 10:16; 11:10. So also ἐ. πολύ more than once Hm 4, 1, 8. ἐ. πολύ (also written ἐπιπολύ) in a different sense to a great extent, carefully (Hdt., Thu. et al.; Lucian, D. Deor. 6, 2; 25, 2; 3 Macc 5:17; Jos., Ant. 17, 107) B 4:1. ἐ. πλεῖον to a greater extent, further (Hdt., Thu. et al.; Diod. S. 11, 60, 5 al.; prob. 2 Macc 12:36; TestGad 7:2; Ar. 4, 3; Ath. 7, 1 ἐ. το πλεῖστον) 2 Ti 3:9; 1 Cl 18:3 (Ps 50:4). ἐ. τὸ χεῖρον 2 Ti 3:13. ἐφ᾿ ὅσον to the degree that, in so far as (Diod. S. 1, 93, 2; Maximus Tyr. 11, 3c ἐφ᾿ ὅσον δύναται; Hierocles 14 p. 451) Mt 25:40, 45; B 4:11; 17:1; Ro 11:13.
?? Your response seems unnecessarily harsh, I DID quote the text - I was asking only about the prep phrase, which I quoted.
I realize that I incorrectly attributed PLEION as a noun, but that doesn't change the thrust of my question which was the meaning of the use of the preposition and its object (be it noun or comparative adjective).
OK, so the quote from BDAG points to a number of different senses of the preposition. A number of the grammars point to the preposition EPI with an accusative object as having a more narrowed meaning. The NIV, ESV, NRSV translate EPI in the passage in queston as "into" which is a meaning none of the grammars I consulted had nor does the quote from BDAG seem to have.
Terry Cook
sDg
(1) Yes, you cited the whole of the prepositional phrase; the problem is that we need the CONTEXT in which that phrase appears in the text -- the whole clause, in order to make sense of it.
(2) Translations should not be looked to as indicators of the meaning of individual Greek words; unless they are woodenly literal versions, the translations endeavor to convey the sense of larger units of meaning rather than individual Greek words. If you really want to explore the usage of particular words, your best resource is an unabridged lexicon rather than a textbook.
(3) I don't know whether this is the case with you, but some people scan a lengthy entry in an unabridged lexicon in search of a gloss that fits the particular word in a text that they don't understand; I don't think one can even find that sort of gloss without reading the whole article in the lexicon through carefully. The BDAG article on ἐπί is lengthy: that in itself is an indication that its usage is multifarious, that it doesn't fall into a few readily intelligible categories and subcategories. Lexical articles on prepositions commonly include some paragraphs toward the end of the article on special contextual combinations of the preposition with other types of expressions -- as in this instance, the section I quoted was near the end of the BDAG article and dealt specifically with quantitative expressions.
(4) One of the things I learned in graduate school is undeniably applicable to the study of Greek: it is not a plethora of FACTS that is the measure of successful advancement in a field of learning so much as it is acquisition of aptitude in using the major tools of research in the field of study. For Greek this means especially learning how to make the best use of reference tools: grammars and lexicons. Rod Decker has a review of BDAG intended to help his own Greek students make better use of it: http://ntresources.com/bdag.html (Rod has many other excellent resources listed and linked on his site also). I honestly think that if all one is looking for is a gloss to provide a "quicky" workable sense for a word in a text, other resources may work (even the wretched Barclay Newman glossary often bound with USB4), but if one really wants to understand the usage of a Biblical Greek word, one would do well to take to study the whole entry for an important Greek word with which one is currently struggling -- and often it's good to take a look at the LSJ article on the word also.
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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)

Barry Hofstetter
Posts: 1577
Joined: May 6th, 2011, 1:48 pm

Re: 2Timothy 2:16

Post by Barry Hofstetter » June 19th, 2011, 10:33 am

cwconrad wrote:[
(1) Yes, you cited the whole of the prepositional phrase; the problem is that we need the CONTEXT in which that phrase appears in the text -- the whole clause, in order to make sense of it.
(2) Translations should not be looked to as indicators of the meaning of individual Greek words; unless they are woodenly literal versions, the translations endeavor to convey the sense of larger units of meaning rather than individual Greek words. If you really want to explore the usage of particular words, your best resource is an unabridged lexicon rather than a textbook.
(3) I don't know whether this is the case with you, but some people scan a lengthy entry in an unabridged lexicon in search of a gloss that fits the particular word in a text that they don't understand; I don't think one can even find that sort of gloss without reading the whole article in the lexicon through carefully. The BDAG article on ἐπί is lengthy: that in itself is an indication that its usage is multifarious, that it doesn't fall into a few readily intelligible categories and subcategories. Lexical articles on prepositions commonly include some paragraphs toward the end of the article on special contextual combinations of the preposition with other types of expressions -- as in this instance, the section I quoted was near the end of the BDAG article and dealt specifically with quantitative expressions.
(4) One of the things I learned in graduate school is undeniably applicable to the study of Greek: it is not a plethora of FACTS that is the measure of successful advancement in a field of learning so much as it is acquisition of aptitude in using the major tools of research in the field of study. For Greek this means especially learning how to make the best use of reference tools: grammars and lexicons. Rod Decker has a review of BDAG intended to help his own Greek students make better use of it: http://ntresources.com/bdag.html (Rod has many other excellent resources listed and linked on his site also). I honestly think that if all one is looking for is a gloss to provide a "quicky" workable sense for a word in a text, other resources may work (even the wretched Barclay Newman glossary often bound with USB4), but if one really wants to understand the usage of a Biblical Greek word, one would do well to take to study the whole entry for an important Greek word with which one is currently struggling -- and often it's good to take a look at the LSJ article on the word also.
More excellent advice. Let me add here another one of my favorite pet peeves (good little, peeve, you're a good boy, oh yes...) is read lots of Greek! And that means both biblical, near biblical (e.g.., apostolic fathers, LXX), and extra-biblical Greek. It's one thing to use your favorite reference tool and look up a usage – it's another thing to have seen that word in several hundred or more different contexts and then come to your conclusion about what it means in this context. To apply what Carl is saying above, the reference tools are best used by those who actually are experienced in the language.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
Instructor of Latin
Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
Χαίρετε ἐν κυρίῳ πάντοτε· πάλιν ἐρῶ, χαίρετε

Eddie Mishoe
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Joined: June 4th, 2011, 1:09 pm

Re: 2Timothy 2:16

Post by Eddie Mishoe » July 4th, 2011, 11:28 pm

Terry,

I came across this in my notes. A friend sent me this years ago; all I recall with a high degree of certitude is that he had not finished going through all the letters in the GNT. It was a work in progress then and I have no idea if the document has been finished. Hope this helps:

ἐπί preposition with a basic meaning on, but with a wide range of meanings according to the context; I. with the genitive often denotes contact; (1) in answer to "where?" on (LU 2.14); (2) with verbs of motion answering "to what place?” or “where?" on, in (HE 6.7); (3) expressing proximity at, by, near (JN 21.1); (4) in legal procedures in the presence of, before (an official court) (AC 25.10); (5) figuratively, related to rule and authority over (RO 9.5); (6) figuratively; (a) as giving a basis on the basis or evidence of (1T 5.19), with reference to (GA 3.16); (b) based on, in view of, in accordance with (MK 12.14); (7) to mark an (historical) era or time, in the era/time of, under (the rule of) (MK 2.26), during (RO 1.10); II. with the dative often denotes position; (1) of place on, in (MK 6.39); of proximity at, near, by (MT 24.33), over (LU 23.38), to, toward (2C 9.14); (2) marks hostility or opposition against (LU 12.52); (3) of time at, in, in the time of, during (HE 9.26); (4) of cause or occasion because, on account of, on the basis of, from (the fact that) (RO 5.12); (5) figuratively, of aim or purpose for (the purpose of) (EP 2.10); (6) figuratively, of power, authority, control over (LU 12.44); III. with the accusative often denotes motion or direction; (1) of place on (MT 14.29); over (also figuratively of authority, rule, power) (LU 9.1), across (MT 27.45); as far as, to, up to (MK 16.2), at (JN 8.7), in (the same [place]) (1C 11.20); (2) marks hostility or opposition against (MT 26.55); (3) figuratively, of goal or purpose for (MT 26.50); (4) figuratively, of making addition to something already present on, on top of (PH 2.27); (5) figuratively, in relation to feelings toward a person or thing: (believe) on (AC 9.42), (weep) for (LU 23.28), (have compassion) on, toward (MT 15.32); (6) of extension of time, answering "when?" or "for how long?" for, over a period of (LU 4.25); (7) to indicate number, in answering "how many times?" with ἐ. untranslated (AC 10.16); (8) to indicate degree or measure, in answering "how much?" ἐφ̓ ὅσον to the degree that, for as long as (GA 4.1), insofar as (MT 25.40); ἐ. τὸ χεῖρον to the worse, [from bad] to worse (2T 3.13); (9) with reference to, concerning, about (MK 9.12) ... TBC
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Eddie Mishoe

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