Blessed by the Spirit

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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 26th, 2016, 3:32 pm

Thomas Dolhanty wrote: The instrumental (means) dative should not be a surprise here. There is no need in Koine to use ὑπό in such a context. The dative will do the job just fine. For example:

… ἐν ᾧ καὶ πιστεύσαντες ἐσφραγίσθητε τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ, Eph.1:13

I would make τῷ πνεύματι here a dative of means. Note also the passive voice and the unexpected (to me at least) placement of τῷ ἁγίῳ.
The more I think about this, the more I think that the suggestion that a verb such as μακαρίζω would be needed to makes this sense clear. I don't have the time to check examples now, but I just don't think μακάριος can be used in this way, as though it is a substitute for a passive verb. The adjective is not truly a passive idea, though we used a passive form "blessed" as one of the English renderings. Also, throughout the passage, μαρκάριος is a predicate adjective with the implied verb εἶναι. This is followed by the reason for the blessing. Your rendering messes with the structure and especially the parallelism of the statements, "the poor are blessed by the Spirit because theirs is the kingdom of heaven" just doesn't follow what each of the other couplets are saying. I don't think Eph 1:13 is truly parallel because the dative is placed to limit the expressed verb, whereas in Matt 1:3 it is placed in a very convenient spot to limit πτωχοί. Note also BDAG on πτωχός:

③ lacking in spiritual worth, fig. ext. of 1 (Tat. 6, 2 of humans ὁ μὲν πτωχός [in contrast to God]) οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι Mt 5:3 (cp. 1QM 14:7 עַנְוֵי רוּחַ; s. πνεῦμα 3b and Goodsp., Probs. 16f;; EBest, NTS 7, ’60/61, 255–58; SLégasse, NTS 8, ’61/62, 336–45 (Qumran); HBraun, Qumran u. d. NT I, ’66, 13; LKeck, The Poor among the Saints in Jewish Christianity and Qumran, ZNW 57, ’66, 54–78; add. lit. Betz, SM 111). The ‘messenger’ of the church at Laodicea, who says of himself πλούσιός εἰμι καὶ πεπλούτηκα, is termed πτωχός Rv 3:17. In 1 Cl 15:6, Ps 11:6 is quoted w. ref. to the situation in the Corinthian church.

Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., & Bauer, W. (2000). A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 896). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Also, see vs. 8:

8  μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται.

I don't think anyone would read this as "the pure are blessed by the heart..."
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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Thomas Dolhanty
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Thomas Dolhanty » January 26th, 2016, 4:19 pm

Barry Hofstetter wrote: … Also, throughout the passage, μαρκάριος is a predicate adjective with the implied verb εἶναι. This is followed by the reason for the blessing. Your rendering messes with the structure and especially the parallelism of the statements, "the poor are blessed by the Spirit because theirs is the kingdom of heaven" just doesn't follow what each of the other couplets are saying. I don't think Eph 1:13 is truly parallel because the dative is placed to limit the expressed verb, whereas in Matt 1:3 it is placed in a very convenient spot to limit πτωχοί. Note also BDAG on πτωχός:
….
Also, see vs. 8:

8 μακάριοι οἱ καθαροὶ τῇ καρδίᾳ,
ὅτι αὐτοὶ τὸν θεὸν ὄψονται.

I don't think anyone would read this as "the pure are blessed by the heart..."
No, nobody would read that passage that way. Nor would I argue that the context of Matthew 5 supports “The poor are blessed by the Spirit”. I agree with your comments in that regard. That’s why I prefaced my original comment as follows:
Thomas Dolhanty wrote: Assuming no other context except these 5 words …
As to whether the adjective μακάριος can be used in this way, I think it can. I will see if I can find an example or two, though I also am pressed for time so it might take me a couple of days.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 26th, 2016, 4:45 pm

Thomas Dolhanty wrote: No, nobody would read that passage that way. Nor would I argue that the context of Matthew 5 supports “The poor are blessed by the Spirit”. I agree with your comments in that regard. That’s why I prefaced my original comment as follows:
Thomas Dolhanty wrote: Assuming no other context except these 5 words …
As to whether the adjective μακάριος can be used in this way, I think it can. I will see if I can find an example or two, though I also am pressed for time so it might take me a couple of days.
That would be great. I'm pressed for time as well, which is why I haven't done it myself. I get to lecture on Homeric poetry tomorrow... :o
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » January 26th, 2016, 6:11 pm

I agree with Thomas. Taken in isolation is the critical condtion. The positon of πνεύματι is not a problem for the hypothetical reading. The context rules it out. The citation below uses a clause final πνεύματι μάργῳ as an agent or instrument with the middle-passive φέρομαι.


ἔξω δὲ δρόμου φέρομαι λύσσης
πνεύματι μάργῳ, γλώσσης ἀκρατ

Aeschylus Prometheus vinctus G Murray
Oxford 1955,
I am blown off course by the wild winds
of insanity, I cannot control my tongue,

Aeschylus Prometheus Bound 884-885
Alan H. Sommerstein LCL 2009
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 26th, 2016, 7:30 pm

Thomas Dolhanty wrote:The instrumental (means) dative should not be a surprise here. There is no need in Koine to use ὑπό in such a context. The dative will do the job just fine. For example:

… ἐν ᾧ καὶ πιστεύσαντες ἐσφραγίσθητε τῷ πνεύματι τῆς ἐπαγγελίας τῷ ἁγίῳ, Eph.1:13

I would make τῷ πνεύματι here a dative of means. Note also the passive voice and the unexpected (to me at least) placement of τῷ ἁγίῳ.
I do think that τῷ πνεύματι can be used as a dative of means.
Psalm 32:6 wrote:τῷ λόγῳ τοῦ κυρίου οἱ οὐρανοὶ ἐστερεώθησαν καὶ τῷ πνεύματι τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ πᾶσα ἡ δύναμις αὐτῶν
Psalm 33:19 wrote:ἐγγὺς κύριος τοῖς συντετριμμένοις τὴν καρδίαν καὶ τοὺς ταπεινοὺς τῷ πνεύματι σώσει
Romans 8:13-14 wrote:εἰ γὰρ κατὰ σάρκα ζῆτε μέλλετε ἀποθνῄσκειν, εἰ δὲ πνεύματι τὰς πράξεις τοῦ σώματος θανατοῦτε, ζήσεσθε. ὅσοι γὰρ πνεύματι θεοῦ ἄγονται, οὗτοι υἱοί εἰσιν θεοῦ.
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Jonathan Robie » January 26th, 2016, 7:42 pm

Stirling Bartholomew wrote:The position of πνεύματι is not a problem for the hypothetical reading.
That's still an open question for me. I haven't put much time into looking for examples like that, but in μακάριοι οἱ πτωχοὶ τῷ πνεύματι, I think that it is at least more likely that τῷ πνεύματι modifies οἱ πτωχοὶ because of the position. In μακάριοι τῷ πνεύματι οἱ πτωχοὶ, I think τῷ πνεύματι modifies μακάριοι.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:Also, throughout the passage, μαρκάριος is a predicate adjective with the implied verb εἶναι.
I just looked through 45 instances of μακάριοι in the LXX and GNT, and they all seem to fit the above pattern. To me, at least, none of them fits the sense proposed in the title.
Barry Hofstetter wrote:I don't think anyone would read this as "the pure are blessed by the heart..."
On the Internet, it's never safe to claim that nobody would adopt a silly reading ;->
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 27th, 2016, 12:35 am

I don't see the proposed interpretation as working for me at all. The lexis of μακάριοι is off, the syntax of the dative τῷ πνεύματι is off, and the word order is off. Perhaps an on-point parallel or two could help me reconsider, but at this point the proposal has three strikes against it.
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Tim Evans
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Tim Evans » January 27th, 2016, 5:13 am

Im not sure how far this grammar is going over my head, but ill chime in and see.

I assume here we are discussing "instrumental dative"? Duff, page 49, states that "An instrument is an inanimate object by means of which the action of the verb happens." (emphasis is Duff's)

Wouldn't this rule out this being an instrumental dative usage?
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Stephen Carlson » January 27th, 2016, 5:31 am

Tim Evans wrote:Im not sure how far this grammar is going over my head, but ill chime in and see.

I assume here we are discussing "instrumental dative"? Duff, page 49, states that "An instrument is an inanimate object by means of which the action of the verb happens." (emphasis is Duff's)

Wouldn't this rule out this being an instrumental dative usage?
Generally, yes. You can also get an animate dative of agent with perfect middles in the classical language. The complication is that Koine isn't the classical language, and it's not always clear whether the Spirit is regarded as animate or inanimate in particular contexts.
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Barry Hofstetter
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Re: Blessed by the Spirit

Post by Barry Hofstetter » January 27th, 2016, 7:00 am

Stephen Carlson wrote: Generally, yes. You can also get an animate dative of agent with perfect middles in the classical language. The complication is that Koine isn't the classical language, and it's not always clear whether the Spirit is regarded as animate or inanimate in particular contexts.
Excellent observation. I also recall that the dative of agent can be used of human beings in a military contexts, and by extension occasionally of one person accomplishing something through another, but I don't have the time to check references until later (but I thought I'd mention it if anyone wants to check it out further before I get to it).

It does go to show that we have grammars, and then we have the wild and woolly real linguistic world... :o
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N.E. Barry Hofstetter
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