[B-Greek] Eph 4:22: time of "being corrupted"

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Fri May 9 08:09:41 EDT 2008


On May 9, 2008, at 6:57 AM, Harold Holmyard wrote:

> Hi, Iver,
>>>
>>> Almost every English translation in Eph 4:22 takes TON FQEIROMENON  
>>> as
>>> something like "which is being corrupted." However, my  
>>> understanding is
>>> that the temporal force of a participle is governed by the time of  
>>> the
>>> main verb. Here is an online statement of that principle from a  
>>> website
>>> teaching NT Greek:
>>> http://www.ntgreek.net/lesson31.htm
>>>
>>> To the extent that the tense of a participle indicates time, it will
>>> indicate time only relative to the main verb. Present tense  
>>> participles
>>> usually indicate action coincident with the time of the main verb.
>>
>> If I understand it correctly, this applies to the case where a
>> participle is the head of a
>> subordinated clause which is then modifying the verb in the main
>> clause. In Eph 4:22 we have a different grammatical construction  
>> where
>> the participle modifies and is part of a noun phrase in the same was
>> as an adjective or rankshifted relative clause modifies the head  
>> noun.
>> Therefore, I wouldn't look for a main verb to attach it to.
>
>
> HH: I was aware of the distinction you are making, but since the  
> rule is
> expressed so generally, I assumed that it must encompass even the time
> of attributive participles. I admit that I felt uncertain in this  
> regard
> precisely because of this distinction you note. But a participle seems
> to need to get its time signal from somewhere.
>
>
>>> hUMEIS DE OUC hOUTWS EMAQETE TON CRISTON, EI GE AUTON HKOUSATE KAI  
>>> EN
>>> AUTWi EDIDACQHTE, KAQWS ESTIN ALHQEIA EN TWi INSOU, APOQESQAI  
>>> hUMAS KATA
>>> THN PROTERAN ANASTROFHN TON PALAION ANQRWPON TON FQEIROMENON KATA  
>>> TAS
>>> EPIQUMIAS THS APATHS, ANANEOUSQAI DE TWi PNEUMATI TOU NOOS hUMWN
>>>
>>> But you did not thus learn Christ, if indeed you heard about him  
>>> and in
>>> him were taught, just as truth is in Jesus, that you should put off,
>>> according to the former conduct, the old man which was being  
>>> corrupted
>>> according to the lusts of deceit, and be renewed in the spirit of
>>> your mind.
>>
>> Paul is describing "the old person" in various ways. One aspect is
>> that it is following the former way of life. Another aspect is that  
>> it
>> is decaying or on the way to destruction. A third aspect is that it
>> follows the "deceptive lusts/selfish desires".
>
>
> HH: I am having a problem saying that the old man "is" doing this or
> that because Paul says that the old man was crucified with Christ:
>
> Rom. 6:6 For we know that our old man was crucified with him so that  
> the
> body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be  
> slaves
> to sin —
>
>>
>> Present participles are often used to describe a general
>> characteristic without any aspect of time or at least without focus  
>> on
>> it.
>>
>> So, translation is more of matter of context and theology. I see the
>> teaching as past, the putting aside as present, but the description  
>> of
>> their former life as past. In our Danish version we said:
>> "Derfor skal I aflægge den gamle livsstil, som I havde før i tiden,  
>> da
>> I blev bedraget af jeres
>> begær og var på vej mod fortabelsen."
>> (That is why you should put aside the old way of life, which you used
>> to have/lead, when you were
>> deceived by your selfish desires and on the way to lostness.)
>
> HH: The problem I have with this is that Colossians says that we have
> put off the old man with his practices:
>
> Col. 3:9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old  
> man
> with its practices
>
> Col 3:9 MH YEUDESQE EIS ALLHLOUS, APEKDUSAMENOI TON PALAION ANQRWPON  
> SUN
> TAIS PRAXESIN

But if we think through what's being said here, isn't there an  
implicit hint that the claim to have stripped away hO PALAIOS ANQRWPOS  
is a bit(?) premature; doesn't this seem to say:

"Don't play false with each other, as if you haven't successfully  
sloughed your old selfhood." (because, if you really had, then I  
wouldn't have to exhort you like this.)

> Iver, I have a few related thoughts that I will address to Carl's  
> post.

I shall wait upon them.


Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)






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