Strange article in Ephesians 1:7

How do I work out the meaning of a Greek text? How can I best understand the forms and vocabulary in this particular text?
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Re: Strange article in Ephesians 1:7

Postby Shirley Rollinson » May 10th, 2013, 6:52 pm

Jesse Goulet wrote:The construction I'm dumbfounded over is underlined in bold:
Ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν ἀπολύτρωσιν διὰ τοῦ αἵματος αὐτοῦ, τὴν ἄφεσιν τῶν παραπτωμάτων, κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς χάριτος αὐτοῦ


At first I thought nothing of this construction until I remembered that πλοῦτος is masculine and should have a masculine article, and I'm stuck trying to figure out what the neuter article's purpose and meaning is here.

I was wondering if Paul might have merely switched this article to the other side of κατὰ, where the article would be functioning like a relative pronoun (τὸ κατὰ πλοῦτος = "which is according to the richness...). But the previous clause has two parallel but distinct ideas that the article could be referring to, it doesn't make sense for the article to be referring to only one of the ideas, yet the article is singular. But as seems to often be the case with the neuter gender, could a singular neuter article (functioning as a relative pronoun) have a plural antecedent?

If the article isn't referring to a clause or train of thought, the only neuter antecedent I see is τοῦ αἵματος, but that seems like an odd antecedent giving the context to me.

Zerwick and Grosvenor give πλοῦτος as belonging to their "group 8" - neuter nouns ending in -ος
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Re: Strange article in Ephesians 1:7

Postby Louis L Sorenson » May 10th, 2013, 11:23 pm

The initial response of a person taught by the G-T method is to peg the ending -ος to a 2nd declension nominative ending. But the form -ος
can be one of several endings:

(a) Nominative Masculine of 2nd declension nouns: λόγος, λίθος, οἶνος
(b) Nominative/Accusative Neuter of 3rd declension nouns: τὸ πλοῦτος, τὸ ἔθνος, τὸ ἔθος,
(c) Genitive of 3rd declension nouns: πατρός, ὀνόματος, ἀσπίδος
(d) Nominative Neuter ending of 3rd declension participles: (mf) λελυκώς, (n) λελυκός

Once you internalize that the ending -ος can have multiple morphological origins, you will progress more rapidly. Listening to audio definitely helps in this regard.
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Re: Strange article in Ephesians 1:7

Postby cwconrad » May 11th, 2013, 7:15 am

Louis L Sorenson wrote:The initial response of a person taught by the G-T method is to peg the ending -ος to a 2nd declension nominative ending. But the form -ος
can be one of several endings:

(a) Nominative Masculine of 2nd declension nouns: λόγος, λίθος, οἶνος
(b) Nominative/Accusative Neuter of 3rd declension nouns: τὸ πλοῦτος, τὸ ἔθνος, τὸ ἔθος,
(c) Genitive of 3rd declension nouns: πατρός, ὀνόματος, ἀσπίδος
(d) Nominative Neuter ending of 3rd declension participles: (mf) λελυκώς, (n) λελυκός

Once you internalize that the ending -ος can have multiple morphological origins, you will progress more rapidly. Listening to audio definitely helps in this regard.


I'm not sure this is something tied to the G-T method. I learned Greek "the old-fashioned way" myself -- although I don't think we ever made such a fetish of converting every snippet of Greek into an English version. But I remember from my first year assimilating such items as the feminine -ος nouns such as ὁδός, νόσος, νῆσος and plant and tree names, variants such as υἱός and υἱεύς. Language learning involves an investment in internalizing the idiosyncrasies and irregularities as well as what's ordinary and regular.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
ἄτοπον, ἔφη, λέγεις εἰκόνα καὶ δεσμώτας ἀτόπους.
ὁμοίους ἡμῖν, ἦν δʼ ἐγώ. Plato, Rep. 7 (515a)
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