Blessed by the Spirit

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Please quote the Greek text you are discussing directly in your post if it is reasonably short - do not ask people to look it up. This is not a beginner's forum, competence in Greek is assumed.
Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 27th, 2016, 4:38 pm

Rom. 8:13 εἰ γὰρ κατὰ σάρκα ζῆτε, μέλλετε ἀποθνῄσκειν· εἰ δὲ πνεύματι τὰς πράξεις τοῦ σώματος θανατοῦτε, ζήσεσθε. 14 ὅσοι γὰρ πνεύματι θεοῦ ἄγονται, οὗτοι υἱοὶ θεοῦ εἰσιν.

Porter (Idioms, 1992/1994 p. 99) suggests that the distinction between dative of instrument, agent, cause, means, manner is difficult to maintain. I think the distinctions are still useful as long as we recognize that they are essentially arbitrary. πνεύματι in Rom 8:14a ὅσοι γὰρ πνεύματι θεοῦ ἄγονται could be a dative of means or agency. This is an example of a passive verb with the agent specified by means of a dative πνεύματι.

I looked through Philo and Josephus for examples where πνεύματι with a passive verb was clearly an agent. Didn't find any clear examples.


Josephus AJ
4, 118,2
Καὶ ὁ μὲν τοιαῦτα ἐπεθείαζεν οὐκ ὢν ἐν ἑαυτῷ τῷ δὲ θείῳ
πνεύματι πρὸς αὐτὰ νενικημένος.

[118] Thus did Balaam speak by inspiration, as not being in his own power, but moved to say what he did by the Divine Spirit.

William Whiston, A.M., 1895
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stephen Carlson
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 27th, 2016, 4:45 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:Porter (Idioms, 1992/1994 p. 99) suggests that the distinction between dative of instrument, agent, cause, means, manner is difficult to maintain.
Porter's a lumper, not a splitter. He doesn't like to assert distinctions if there are exceptions, which leads him to large categories united by very vague (and potentially unfalsiable) core meanings. Wallace is the opposite. Unfortunately for the lumpers and splitters, language doesn't play by those rules. All grammars leak, yet language is still efficacious at communication.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
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James Cuénod
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by James Cuénod » January 27th, 2016, 5:03 pm

Wow, you leave a thread on the internet for one second... So this is where I am now - thanks all for your help!

a. I think the value of ignoring context is twofold. (1) I learn better what the Greek is demanding of me as opposed to what the context is demanding of me (those are different though closely related translation tools in my mind). (2) I get the chance to put away some of the bigger assumptions that I am bringing to the text.

b. I like the word order argument that connects τῷ πνεύματι to οἱ πτωχοὶ that makes sense even if it's not knock down I think it at least means I would have to justify my rearrangement.

c. I also like the argument that the passive sense that would suggest a dative of means is more apparent in the English than in the Greek where we are supplying the verb.

d. I don't understand Stephen's 3rd point but I would agree that the translation I suggested is not viable.
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Tim Evans
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Tim Evans » January 27th, 2016, 6:28 pm

Do these rules also apply for using ἐν for instrumental dative? i.e. Colossians 1:8 might be relevant to consider as well? When I first read this passage in greek I read it as "by the spirit".
καθὼς ἐμάθετε ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ συνδούλου ἡμῶν, ὅς ἐστιν πιστὸς ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν διάκονος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, 8 ὁ καὶ δηλώσας ἡμῖν τὴν ὑμῶν ἀγάπην ἐν πνεύματι.
just as you learned it from Epaphras, our bbeloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
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James Cuénod
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by James Cuénod » January 27th, 2016, 9:03 pm

Hey Tim,

I want to say "yes" to your initial question but the way I see it you're asking something different.

With or without ἐν the dative can be instrumental or locative (look at Wallace's Beyond the Basics he has a category called "Dative of Sphere" or something like that). The question I am asking is to do with where the dative belongs grammatically whereas yours is more about its function.

So in Colossians 1:8 if we grant (which, especially given this discussion, I'm pretty confident we can) that ἐν πνεύματι belongs with ἀγάπην. Whether it is being used instrumentally or spherically(?) is another question but in this case I would ask what on earth it means to say "your love by the Spirit" (bearing in mind that this is not the passive idea of "your being loved by the spirit")?
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 28th, 2016, 8:25 am

Tim Evans wrote:Do these rules also apply for using ἐν for instrumental dative? i.e. Colossians 1:8 might be relevant to consider as well? When I first read this passage in greek I read it as "by the spirit".
καθὼς ἐμάθετε ἀπὸ Ἐπαφρᾶ τοῦ ἀγαπητοῦ συνδούλου ἡμῶν, ὅς ἐστιν πιστὸς ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν διάκονος τοῦ Χριστοῦ, 8 ὁ καὶ δηλώσας ἡμῖν τὴν ὑμῶν ἀγάπην ἐν πνεύματι.
just as you learned it from Epaphras, our bbeloved fellow bond-servant, who is a faithful servant of Christ on our behalf, 8 and he also informed us of your love in the Spirit.
Note that we don't have τῷ πνεύματι here, but ἐν πνεύματι. What you have to determine here is not the simple use of the dative, but how the preposition έν is used. Having made that pedantic :geek: distinction, let me also observe that the placement of the prepositional phrase strongly suggests that it modifies ἀγάπην adjectively.
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy
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Alan Patterson
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Alan Patterson » January 28th, 2016, 9:26 am

For what it is worth, concerning Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, I have seen it translated "Blessed are the spiritually destitute." :?:
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χαρις υμιν και ειρηνη,
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 28th, 2016, 9:29 am

Alan Patterson wrote:For what it is worth, concerning Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, I have seen it translated "Blessed are the spiritually destitute." :?:
Was that a question about the Greek text?
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Stephen Hughes » January 29th, 2016, 12:57 am

Jonathan Robie wrote:
Alan Patterson wrote:For what it is worth, concerning Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, I have seen it translated "Blessed are the spiritually destitute." :?:
Was that a question about the Greek text?
Prepositional phrases have an adverbial or adjectival quality if they need to.
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Γελᾷ δ' ὁ μωρός, κἄν τι μὴ γέλοιον ᾖ
(Menander, Γνῶμαι μονόστιχοι 108)

m_bauer
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by m_bauer » May 28th, 2018, 11:59 am

Hi Everybody,

The direct, direct translation (Dative object) should be still the best: "Blessed be the poor (given, sacrificed= done as such) to ghost!"

This is my first post. I got a different opinion on the first sentences, thus highly meaningful, radical and erosive, of a or the Christian base text, their is another thread about the same topic early and:
this is a little late to connect to this thread, maybe I should open a own post, with a reference to the questioner's thread.

Μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, ὅτι αὐτῶν ἐστιν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
is the sentence in question. I think we are mislead.



So ghost says: give me unvenality, that is when we leave -supposedly- as cut. Do not sell me, the thinking, as a ware for a profit, it does not matter, what a society tells. So that's all thievery of those, who want otherwise. One imagines, how deep was and is the conflict with societal practice.

They turned it around into being "humble" (well, to anything uncertain) which gets its contradiction from the word "splendid" twice in the same phrase,
- even though no reason to get rigid, as verse 5 "praeis" tells, how to really distract the profit of it, no?
Or even: "stupid" (which gets it contradiction by the warning against a μωρανθῇ, that is being made stupid, few sentences later). The questioner did not came without reason.

I am not the first one who detects this: Th. Adorno, member of the Frankfurt School, in Minima Moralia, Aphorism 127 Wishful Thinking. - Intelligenz ist eine moralische Kategorie. Die Trennung von Gefühl und Verstand, die es möglich macht, den Dummkopf frei und selig zu sprechen ...
He criticises, that it is found an ideology effort: to turn it some how as Greeks did: You are herd, we are the shepherds. Keep stupids but harmless.

We are not open to it, so we change meaning. That is what happens to us.
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