EN XRISTWi IHSOU-Phil. 4:7
Carl W. Conrad
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Tue Jul 13 07:13:34 EDT 1999
At 9:09 PM -0400 7/12/99, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>Edgar Foster said:
>> Dear Carl, Carlton, and Jim,
>> Thanks for your help with the "peace of God" phrase in Phil. 4:7. I
>> have one more question related to this passage. Could EN XRISTWi IHSOU
>> denote the means by which God gives His peace? Is it possible to
>> understand this clause as "by Christ Jesus" or "by means of Christ
>Could the dative be taken as pure dative? To quote Robertson,
>"Whenever the dative is used, the root idea is that of advantage or
>disadvantage." (Short grammar) If we then take EN to intensify the case
>relationship, the meaning of EN XRISTWi becomes something like "in (or to)
>the benefit of Christ." A translation similar to "the peace of God...will
>guard our hearts and our thoughts to the benefit of Christ" would follow.
My objection to this is that I don't believe there are any real instances
of a pure dative used with EN. I think rather that EN was originally used
only with a locative dative to indicate stationary position in space or
time and then was extended to use with an instrumental dative: I've seen
instances of EN with instrumental dative even in classical Attic, but it is
much more common in Koine, and I suspect that translating Hebrew
prepositional phrases with B' contributes to extension of the usagel
>Edgar Foster cited Matt. 12:24 and 2 Cor. 5:19 as possible examples of EN
>with the instrumental case. If we take those datives to be as I've said
>above, then we have the Pharisees accusing Jesus of casting out demons to
>the benefit of Beelzebub--that seems to fit. And, in the other verse,
>we have God reconciling the world to Himself for the benefit of Christ.
>I like that, too. Especially since Paul goes on to say hUPER XRISTOU in
>the very next verse, which readily has a similar meaning--"on behalf of".
>In my rather unknowledable opinion, hUPER XRISTOU follows very
>logically after QEOS HN EN XRISTWi KOSMON KATALLASSWN.
Personally I accept Edgar's examples of Mt 12:24 and 2 Cor 5:19 as
legitimate instrumentals with EN--and as I said above, I'm really very
dubious about EN being used with a pure dative. I think the sense of EN TWi
BEELZEBUL ARCONTI TWN DAIMONIWN in Mt 12:24 is "by the power of Beelzebul
ruler of demons," and in 2 Cor 5:19 I think the sense of EN CRISTWi MAY be
"through Christ" although "in Christ as his agent" might be a better way to
express the instrumental notion which I agree with Edgar is actually there
(I don't really think we can call this a locative usage).
>One last example, since I'm currently studying I John. Verse 1:10
>-- EAN EIPWMEN hOTI OUX hHMARTHKAMEN,...hO LOGOS OUK ESTIN EN hHMIN.
>hO LOGOS possibly referring back to what John is talking about in 1:1-2.
>In short, if we refuse to acknowledge our sinfulness, the message of eternal
>life will not benefit us. Now here is rather basic Christianity.
I don't think EN hHMIN is pure dative at all but rather an instance of the
locative: "the Logos does not reside within us."
Christian Naaktgeboren has shared with me off-list a couple other examples
of probable instrumental datives with EN:
> John 3.21: O DE POIWN THN ALHQEIAN ERCETAI PROS TO FWS INA
>FANERWQH AUTOU TA
>ERGA OTI EN QEW ESTIN EIRGASMENA.
> 1 John 5.20: ... KAI ESMEN EN TW ALHQINW EN TW UIW AUTOU IHSOU
>ESTIN O ALHQINOS QEOS KAI ZWH AIWNIOS.
> And if we admit that PONEROS is a person:
> 1 John 5.19: OIDAMEN OTI EK TOU QEOU ESMEN KAI O KOSMOS OLOS EN TW
Of these I think that John 3:21 is a legitimate EN + instrumental dative
usage: it can't really be locative but must have the sense "through God's
power." On the other hand I think that 1 John 5:10 and 5:19 are locative
(a) 1 John 5:20 ESMEN EN TWi hUIWi AUTOU IHSOU CRISTWi "we exist in his son
Jesus Christ, where I think the verb ESMEN is used much as the Johannine
diction regularly uses MENW, "abide," "live," "reside."
(b) 1 John 5:19 hO KOSMOS hOLOS EN TWi PONHRWi KEITAI "the whole world is
situated in the Evil One" = "resides within the power of." And even if the
power of the Evil One is referred to here, I still think the usage is
>Some EN XRISTOU phrases would be EN with the Locative Dative; but, I
>wonder (as I wander through Greek), how many should be taken as pure
Again, I would respectfully say I really doubt that there are any instances
of EN used with a pure dative.
And finally, I would reiterate with regard to Edgar's original question
regarding whether EN CRISTWi IHSOU in Phil 4:7 could be understood in an
instrumental sense, as the MEANS whereby the peace of God is to
keep/preserve believers. I grant now that I accept this as a legitimate
possible interpretation, although I continue to prefer personally to
understand EN CRISTWi IHSOU in this instance in what I believe is the more
common Pauline (locative) sense: "in corporate union with Christ."
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
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