Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » July 18th, 2012, 10:38 am

cwconrad wrote:
Jason Hare wrote:
George F Somsel wrote:Both prepositional phrases are locative indicating where he sat (BDAG, sv ἐν #1)—"at the right hand of of majesty" and "in the heights", but ἐν ὑψηλοῖς does NOT modify τῆς μεγαλωσύνης but indicates the location of the sitting. It is correct to say that μεγαλωσύνης is a reference to God. Note Re 4.1-8 where the one seated on the throne references God.


Is there a reason why you would not take ἡ μεγαλωσύνη ἐν ὑψηλοῖς as a phrase of its own, as similar to either ἡ ἐν ὑψηλοῖς μεγαλωσύνη or ἡ μεγαλωσύνη ἡ ἐν ὑψηλοῖς?

Perhaps it is because of the quality of the Greek in the book of Hebrews?


I'm troubled about the principle stated here, namely, the (attributive) adjectival usage of prepositional phrases to qualify a noun. I would like to see a discussion of it or references in the NT grammars on it. Maybe this needs to be moved to the "Syntax and Grammar" subforum. I'm inclined to agree with George here.and affirm that ἐν ὑψηλοῖς is adverbial and should construe with ἐκάθισεν. David has asked for examples of such anarthrous attributive prepositional phrases in Biblical Koine, and I'd like to see them too. I know that it's been argued that in Rom 1:17 the cited text ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται, the phrase ἐκ πίστεως, as Paul is reading it, must construe with ὁ δίκαιος. I do think that the ensuing argumentation set forth by Paul makes that seem likely -- and I was at one time persuaded of this by Edward Hobbs -- but it still troubles me. I still think that "Our Father in Heaven" is good English but bad Greek, while "Our Father who art in Heaven" is good (Jacobean) English and good Greek. I'm open to persuasion here, but i'd like to see the evidence.


Carl,

I thought we might start a thread on this, as you suggested.

What do you think of this passage?

Ephesians 3:8-11
Ἐμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις αὕτη, τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαι τὸ ἀνεξιχνίαστον πλοῦτος τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ φωτίσαι πάντας τίς ἡ οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων ἐν τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι, ἵνα γνωρισθῇ νῦν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ, κατὰ πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων ἣν ἐποίησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν...

Do you not take ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις as being a single noun phrase? That is, the prep phrase ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις modifies the rulers and authorities, telling us that these are not earthly authorities but rather authorities in the heavenly places. Do you understand this otherwise?

I would not take this as adverbial modifying γνωρισθῇ. If that were the case, it would make better sense to be written after the verb rather than after the indirect object.

* ἵνα γνωρισθῇ [passive verb] ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις [adverbial] ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις [compound indirect object]... ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ [subject]...

I know that the standard Attic formula is to include the repeated article before such an adjectival use (or to insert the preposition between the article and noun being modified), but I have the impression that this is not necessarily standard in the Koine. I don't remember specific references, but I am sure that I've read loads of such examples – or that is at least how I've always understood the texts in which I've found them. Maybe I've always understood them incorrectly.

I hope others can provide more examples that will help us piece this together and come to a conclusion about whether or not I've been reading this wrong all these years!

Regards,
Jason
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » July 18th, 2012, 10:51 am

I've always taken this as equivalent to ταῖς ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἀρχαῖς καὶ ἐξουσίαις (which structure is covered in Smyth §1019 as an equivalent to an adjective). I don't see what might be preventing it from being understood this way.

It's repeated again in Ephesians 6:12: ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις.

Do you not take these as an adjectival prepositional phrase?
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 18th, 2012, 10:58 am

Jason Hare wrote:I thought we might start a thread on this, as you suggested.


I'm glad you started a new thread. This is a topic I want to get a better handle on.

Jason Hare wrote:What do you think of this passage?

Ephesians 3:8-11
Ἐμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις αὕτη, τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαι τὸ ἀνεξιχνίαστον πλοῦτος τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ φωτίσαι πάντας τίς ἡ οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων ἐν τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι, ἵνα γνωρισθῇ νῦν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ, κατὰ πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων ἣν ἐποίησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν...

Do you not take ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις as being a single noun phrase? That is, the prep phrase ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις modifies the rulers and authorities, telling us that these are not earthly authorities but rather authorities in the heavenly places. Do you understand this otherwise?


What's wrong with taking ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις as a locative adverbial stating where this disclosure would (eventually) take place?

Jason Hare wrote:I would not take this as adverbial modifying γνωρισθῇ. If that were the case, it would make better sense to be written after the verb rather than after the indirect object.

* ἵνα γνωρισθῇ [passive verb] ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις [adverbial] ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις [compound indirect object]... ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ [subject]...


My understanding, based on Steve Runge's work (and that of others), is that the post-verbal constituents are generally ordered by the principle of natural information flow (PNIF), where core constituents such as indirect objects generally precede peripheral constituents such as locative adjuncts. Departures from this PNIF are marked, and in this case the only departure is the fairly heavy subject. The adverbial phrases are right where they are expected.

Jason Hare wrote:I know that the standard Attic formula is to include the repeated article before such an adjectival use (or to insert the preposition between the article and noun being modified), but I have the impression that this is not necessarily standard in the Koine. I don't remember specific references, but I am sure that I've read loads of such examples – or that is at least how I've always understood the texts in which I've found them. Maybe I've always understood them incorrectly.


I feel like I'm in the same boat. I vaguely recall the existence of exceptions but I cannot at this moment recollect any of them.

Jason Hare wrote:I hope others can provide more examples that will help us piece this together and come to a conclusion about whether or not I've been reading this wrong all these years!


I recall that there was a recent article on Gal 2:16 probing this possibility for the construction in the first clause οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἐὰν μὴ κτλ.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » July 18th, 2012, 11:00 am

Stephen Carlson wrote:I recall that there was a recent article on Gal 2:16 probing this possibility for the construction in the first clause οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἐὰν μὴ κτλ.


But that seems rather clearly adverbial. What was the argument? :geek:
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » July 18th, 2012, 11:04 am

Jason Hare wrote:It's repeated again in Ephesians 6:12: ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις.


Regarding this, by the way, I would take τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας as an example of the standard Hebrew construct, whereby τῆς πονηρίας is not taken as a noun but as an adjective itself - "the evil spiritual things/powers". From there, I take ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, again, as adjectival, telling us where these spiritual powers are found.

I see the reference in chapter 3 and chapter 6 to be referring to the same powers/authorities. Am I reading this wrong? I've always understood it that way. It's kinda shifting my mind to think that I should have been reading this otherwise. This verse, I'm sure, influenced how I read chapter 3.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 18th, 2012, 11:12 am

Jason Hare wrote:
Jason Hare wrote:It's repeated again in Ephesians 6:12: ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις.


Regarding this, by the way, I would take τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας as an example of the standard Hebrew construct, whereby τῆς πονηρίας is not taken as a noun but as an adjective itself - "the evil spiritual things/powers". From there, I take ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, again, as adjectival, telling us where these spiritual powers are found.


If it's adverbial, it locates where we have our struggle (taking ἐστιν ἡμῖν = ἔχομεν).

Jason Hare wrote:I see the reference in chapter 3 and chapter 6 to be referring to the same powers/authorities. Am I reading this wrong? I've always understood it that way. It's kinda shifting my mind to think that I should have been reading this otherwise. This verse, I'm sure, influenced how I read chapter 3.


On either reading, there's no doubt to my mind that these powers and authorities are in the heavenlies. The adverbial readings locate certain actions in the heavenlies with them.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Stephen Carlson » July 18th, 2012, 11:26 am

Jason Hare wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:I recall that there was a recent article on Gal 2:16 probing this possibility for the construction in the first clause οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἐὰν μὴ κτλ.


But that seems rather clearly adverbial. What was the argument? :geek:


It's been a while and I don't have the article(s) at hand (and my books are being packed up), so I'll have to be brief and fairly vague. If there's interest further, it should be split into a separate thread. Obviously, we'll have to be very careful keeping the exegesis to the Greek because this verse lies at the very heart of the Reformation. The theological implications are hard, if not impossible, to avoid.

Basically, what's underlying this interpretation is Jimmy Dunn's claim that ἐὰν μή has its usual (i.e. everywhere else in Paul) meaning of "except" rather than "but" as most translations. Yet if Dunn is right about ἐὰν μή then an adverbial ἐξ ἔργων νόμου would then appear (to some) to violate sola fide. There have been a couple of responses to this objection, and one of them has been to construe ἐξ ἔργων νόμου adjectivally: "a person observing the Torah is not justified except through the Christ-faith."
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby Jason Hare » July 18th, 2012, 12:12 pm

Stephen Carlson wrote:
Jason Hare wrote:
Stephen Carlson wrote:I recall that there was a recent article on Gal 2:16 probing this possibility for the construction in the first clause οὐ δικαιοῦται ἄνθρωπος ἐξ ἔργων νόμου ἐὰν μὴ κτλ.


But that seems rather clearly adverbial. What was the argument? :geek:


It's been a while and I don't have the article(s) at hand (and my books are being packed up), so I'll have to be brief and fairly vague. If there's interest further, it should be split into a separate thread. Obviously, we'll have to be very careful keeping the exegesis to the Greek because this verse lies at the very heart of the Reformation. The theological implications are hard, if not impossible, to avoid.

Basically, what's underlying this interpretation is Jimmy Dunn's claim that ἐὰν μή has its usual (i.e. everywhere else in Paul) meaning of "except" rather than "but" as most translations. Yet if Dunn is right about ἐὰν μή then an adverbial ἐξ ἔργων νόμου would then appear (to some) to violate sola fide. There have been a couple of responses to this objection, and one of them has been to construe ἐξ ἔργων νόμου adjectivally: "a person observing the Torah is not justified except through the Christ-faith."


I don't know what the theological implications of this are (I'm not part of that discussion), but it would seem that ἐὰν μή in the case means "but rather," something similar to ἀλλά.

Are you saying that he argued that it should be understood as εἰ μὴ διά + acc (as in Smyth §2346.c), except that we should understand it as "except through" (genitive) instead of "except for" (accusative)?

"A man is not justified from works of the law, except through faith in Jesus Christ."

That's interesting. I never would have thought of that. Again - for another thread. But interesting. Thanks for the suggestion to munch on.
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby David Lim » July 18th, 2012, 11:00 pm

Jason Hare wrote:[...]

Carl,

I thought we might start a thread on this, as you suggested.

What do you think of this passage?

Ephesians 3:8-11
Ἐμοὶ τῷ ἐλαχιστοτέρῳ πάντων ἁγίων ἐδόθη ἡ χάρις αὕτη, τοῖς ἔθνεσιν εὐαγγελίσασθαι τὸ ἀνεξιχνίαστον πλοῦτος τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ φωτίσαι πάντας τίς ἡ οἰκονομία τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ ἀποκεκρυμμένου ἀπὸ τῶν αἰώνων ἐν τῷ θεῷ τῷ τὰ πάντα κτίσαντι, ἵνα γνωρισθῇ νῦν ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις διὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας ἡ πολυποίκιλος σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ, κατὰ πρόθεσιν τῶν αἰώνων ἣν ἐποίησεν ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν...

Do you not take ταῖς ἀρχαῖς καὶ ταῖς ἐξουσίαις ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις as being a single noun phrase? That is, the prep phrase ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις modifies the rulers and authorities, telling us that these are not earthly authorities but rather authorities in the heavenly places. Do you understand this otherwise?

I would not take this as adverbial modifying γνωρισθῇ. If that were the case, it would make better sense to be written after the verb rather than after the indirect object.

[...]


Hello Jason! I am not Carl but here is my take:
[Eph 3:10] ινα { γνωρισθη ( νυν ) ( { ταις αρχαις } και { ταις εξουσιαις } ) ( εν τοις επουρανιοις ) ( δια της εκκλησιας ) { η πολυποικιλος σοφια του θεου } }
I have marked out all adverbial phrases with round brackets. They are indeed all one long string one after another. I do not consider indirect objects of a verb differently from adverbs that modify the verb, and I believe I have seen many instances of different orderings of all complements of a verb, including direct objects as well. In this case we see adverbs describing, in order, when, to whom, where and through whom the many-faceted wisdom of God is made known.

Jason Hare wrote:I've always taken this as equivalent to ταῖς ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἀρχαῖς καὶ ἐξουσίαις (which structure is covered in Smyth §1019 as an equivalent to an adjective). I don't see what might be preventing it from being understood this way.


Yes when preceded by the article the prepositional phrase functions as an adjective, but the last time I checked Smyth never gave any exception for a prepositional phrase not preceded by an article to function as an adjective.

Jason Hare wrote:It's repeated again in Ephesians 6:12: ὅτι οὐκ ἔστιν ἡμῖν ἡ πάλη πρὸς αἷμα καὶ σάρκα ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὰς ἀρχάς, πρὸς τὰς ἐξουσίας, πρὸς τοὺς κοσμοκράτορας τοῦ σκότους τούτου, πρὸς τὰ πνευματικὰ τῆς πονηρίας ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις.

Do you not take these as an adjectival prepositional phrase?


[Eph 6:12] οτι { ουκ εστιν ( ημιν ) { η παλη ( προς αιμα και σαρκα ) αλλα ( προς τας αρχας ) ( προς τας εξουσιας ) ( προς τους κοσμοκρατορας του σκοτους τουτου ) ( προς τα πνευματικα της πονηριας ) ( εν τοις επουρανιοις ) }
Like in Eph 3:10, the adverbs are strung in succession. Based on the content of this sentence as well as its context, the contrast is between the wrestling on earth and the wrestling in the heavens. Thus it says, "not against blood and flesh but against the principalities, against the authorities, against the world-powers of this darkness, against the spirits of the evil, and in the heavenly [places]. It is not specifying the spirits of the evil alone as being in the heavenly places, as Stephen said, but it specifies the place where the wrestling is, for the principalities and authorities and world-powers of this darkness referred to are all there and are not blood and flesh on earth.

As for Gal 2:16 (the dashes are because forum wouldn't preserve my indentation):
{
--ειδοτες { οτι { { ου δικαιουται { ανθρωπος } ( εξ εργων νομου ) } εαν μη { [ δικαιουται ] ( δια πιστεως ιησου χριστου ) } } }
}
και
{
--{
----{ { ημεις } ( εις χριστον ιησουν ) επιστευσαμεν } ινα { δικαιωθωμεν ( εκ πιστεως χριστου και ουκ εξ εργων νομου ) }
--}
--διοτι
--{
----ου δικαιωθησεται ( εξ εργων νομου ) { πασα σαρξ }
--}
}
I believe it is clear from the structure that "εξ εργων νομου" is adverbial, and "εαν μη" implies "unless [also]". It does not say whether both are needed, but it says "X is not true unless Y is also true.", which is equivalent to "If Y is not true, X cannot be true either.", where X is "[a] man is justified out of works of [the] law" and Y is "he [is justified] through faith of Jesus Christ".
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Re: Adjectival Use of Prepositional Phrases

Postby cwconrad » July 19th, 2012, 9:01 am

Thus far, I don't think I have anything positive to contribute to this discussion, but I do have one or more comments on some of what's been brought into discussion thus far:

(1) As I've mentioned before (ad nauseam, I think), I personally believe that the Greek of Ephesians is weird. Perhaps that's not a very good descriptive adjective for it; I don't mean "weird" in the same sense that the Greek of Revelation is weird -- that's a matter of solecisms, serious departures from standard Greek expression. The author of Ephesians, it seems to me (I may well be in a tiny minority here), does not take pains to make his meaning clear to readers; I've spoken repeatedly of the difficulty of discerning a clear and unambiguous structure in Eph 1:3-14. One might speak of this author's βάθος (or ὕψος, if you prefer) ἀνεξιχνίαστον -- it just seems to me that he has some ideas that don't quite come to clear expression. I'm not sure about those phrases ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις, whether they are really adjectival or more likely adverbial. They may very well have been intended as adjectival, but I'm not so sure that word-order is a clear indicator of one or the other.

(2) With regard to Gal 2:16, what I find most disturbing is the possibility or likelihood that theological preferences may trip the balance in how one understands the syntax of the Greek text. But I've grown more cynical about that in my dotage, and I sometimes wonder whether I may not myself be as tempted as any other to let my theological preferences outweigh my grammatical judgment.

(3) I remain troubled about Rom 1:16, where Paul's subsequent argumentation seems to indicate that he is interpreting ὁ δὲ δίκαιος ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται. such that ἐκ πίστεως functions adjectivally with ὁ δίκαιος. So it may be so that in this instance we do have a case of adjectival usage of a prepositional phrase. But I'm still troubled by it.

(4) Jason speaks of this is a common Hebrew pattern, and I'm wondering whether the instances in NT Koine that have been pointed to are generally explicable as Semitisms. I don't know, but I wonder whether or not this has ever been investigated. My guess is that it probably has.
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