[B-Greek] Ephesians 2:8

Steven Lo Vullo themelios at charter.net
Mon Jul 4 21:11:33 EDT 2005


On Jun 17, 2005, at 9:16 PM, Eddie Mishoe wrote:

Sorry I am so late getting into the fray on this topic. I somehow got 
behind by about 400 e-mails. I have been knocking off a few at a time, 
mainly from the end of the list, but have finally gotten around to 
reading them all.

> I would say that it does NOT include "faith." In fact,
> I would go so far as to say that the neuter TOUTO
> avoids reference to "faith" (and grace!). The neuter
> pronoun references the conceptual level of the
> SUBJECT, not the subordinate elements. TOUTO
> references the SUBJECT "salvation." The concept of
> salvation does not originate from man. TOUTO makes no
> statement regarding "grace" or "faith." The
> relationship between faith (and/or grace) and
> salvation is unaddressed in this passage.

Hi Eddie:

I think this answer evidences an undue dependence on a rather 
subjective and overly complicated linguistic assumption. You say that 
the neuter TOUTO actually **avoids** reference to "faith." This seems 
to imply that Paul's use of the neuter rather than the feminine pronoun 
is purposely designed to avoid reference to faith. Would you similarly 
claim that TA TRIA TAUTA in 1 Cor 13.13 **avoids** reference to PISTIS, 
ELPIS, AGAPH? Here we have the same demonstrative pronoun in the 
**neuter** plural with three **feminine** antecedents. It seems that 
abstract concepts like faith, hope, and love can indeed be thought of 
as "things." If faith can be thought of as a "thing" in 1 Cor 13.13, 
why can it not be thought of in the same way in Ep 2.8?

I have actually seen this phenomenon several times. What still comes to 
my mind is Anabasis 1.5.10, not because it is the only example I have 
seen, but because it was the first I have seen outside the NT:

EPI TOUTWN DIEBAINON KAI ELAMBANON TA EPITHDEIA, OINON TE EK THS 
BALANOU PEPOIHMENON THS APO TOU FOINIKOS KAI SITON MELINHS; TOUTO GAR 
HN EN THi CWRAi PLEISTON.

"on these [rafts] they would cross and get provisions--wine made from 
the date of the palm tree and bread made of millet, for this was very 
abundant in the country."

Here the antecedent of TOUTO (neuter) seems clearly to be MELINHS 
(feminine). The GAR clause offers background information for why the 
bread was made of millet--millet was abundant in the country. Though 
the gender is feminine, millet is thought of as a thing and so it is 
proper to use the neuter demonstrative.

Some may argue that the antecedent of TOUTO is SITON and that SITON is 
in fact neuter singular. One should remember, though, that Xenophon 
uses the neuter only in the plural (e.g., Anabasis 2.3.27; 7.3.10), not 
in the singular (e.g., Anabasis 1.5.6; 2.3.14; 2.4.27; 3.4.18; 5.4.27; 
6.5.20; 6.6.37; 7.4.5). Other works of Xenophon seem to follow this 
same convention.
============

Steven Lo Vullo
Madison, WI
MAR student
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School



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