[B-Greek] hAGNIZOMAI with the genitive in I Tr 13:3

Carl Conrad cwconrad2 at mac.com
Wed May 27 12:28:01 EDT 2009

Many thanks to Richard Ghilardi for unearthing (although I doubt not  
that it was at his fingertips on a library shelf all the time!) and  
citing in such detail what Lightfoot has to say about these passages  
and the problem of the genitive used directly with the verb  
hAGNIZOMAI. For the first time since Mark Lightman originally raised  
the question three days ago, I think I may be understanding what's  
involved here in this and the related I Eph 8:1 text and even have an  
idea about the genitive (the genitive WITHOUT a preposition). For one  
thing, pace Nikolaos Adamou (to whose most recent response I shall  
reply anon), the problem was never really with the meaning of  
ἁγνίζεται [hAGNIZETAI] but rather with how ὑμῶν [hUMWN]  
should relate syntactically to it.

On May 26, 2009, at 3:08 PM, Richard Ghilardi wrote:

> Hello Folks,
> The entry for BDAG here is somewhat misleading. It represents  
> ὑπέρ hYPER as solid text in both IEph 8:1 and in ITr 13:3,  
> whereas it's merely conjecture (Zahn's originally):
> 3. mid. (w. pass. aor.) to set oneself apart in dedication, to  
> dedicate oneself i.e. give oneself up as a propitiation ὑπὲρ  
> ὑμῶν for you IEph 8:1. ἁγνίζεται ὑπὲρ  
> ὑμῶν τὸ εμὸν πνεῦμα my spirit dedicates itself  
> for you ITr 13:3.—DELG s.v. ἅζομαι. M-M.

Agreed. BDAG doesn't cite the text as originally given. For my part, I  
don't find fault with "dedicates," because I really don't find the  
usage of the word here alien from the sense, "makes itself holy" =  
"offers itself up sacrificially." One thing I find curious and  
interesting about the BDAG entry is that the lemma is given as the  
active ἁγνίζω [hAGNIZW], but in fact the GNT usages are all  
either reflexive or 'direct-reflexive' middle. One may sanctify one's  
self, one's spirit, one's heart.

> The texts:
> ITr 13:3
> ἁγνίζεται ὑμῶν τὸ εμόν πνεῦμα, ου  
> μόνον νῦν αλλά καί ὅταν θεοῦ  
> επιτύχω.
> IEph 8:1
> περίψημα ὑμῶν καί ἁγνίζομαι ὑμῶν  
> Εφεσίων εκκλησίας τῆς διαβοήτου  
> τοῖς αιῶσιν.
> What Lightfoot has to say about these two texts is very instructive.
> First ITr 13:3
> << ἁγνίζεται ὑμῶν hAGNIZETAI hYMWN] i.e.,  
> ἅγνισμα γίγνεται ὑμῶν hAGNISMA GIGNETAI hYMWN,  
> where ἅγνισμα hAGNISMA, 'a piacular offering,' like  
> περίψημα PERIPSHMA, περικάθαρμα PERIKAQARMA,  
> etc., denotes entire devotion to and self-sacrifice for another:  
> comp. IEph 8 περίψημα ὑμῶν καί  
> (with the note). >>
> RG: I essentially agree with this except that I would retain  
> ἁγνίζεται hAGNIZETAI and view ἅγνισμα hAGNISMA as  
> a cognate acc. absent by ellipsis,
> thus: [ἅγνισμα] ἁγνίζεται ὑμῶν τὸ  

That seems rather superfluous to me; it suggests that the verb is  
regularly used with a cognate accusative hAGNISMA, and I haven't seen  
any evidence whatsoever for that.
Lightfoot's periphrasis is hAGNISMA GIGNETAI hUMWN, "becomes/makes- 
itself a thing sanctified of/for you."

> Either way ὑμῶν hYMWN is directly dependent on ἅγνισμα  
> hAGNISMAand NOT on ἁγνίζεται hAGNIZETAI.


> But Lightfoot takes quite a different tack with regard to IEph 8:1.
> << ἁγνίζομαι κ.τ.λ. hAGNIZOMAI K.T.L.] 'I am devoted to  
> your Church'; comp. ITr 13 ἁγνίζεται [ἁγνίζετε  
> MS] ὑμῶν τὸ εμόν πνεῦμα hAGNIZETAI [hAGNIZETE  
> ms] hYMWN TO EMON PNEUMA. It appears to mean literally 'I make  
> myself a ἅγνισμα hAGNISMA, a piacular offering, for your  
> Church.' The verb ἁγνίζειν sometimes
> means 'to sacrifice,' 'to devote' (see esp. εφαγνίζειν,  
> καθαγνίζειν EFAGNIZEIN, KAQAGNIZEIN); and ἅγνισμα  
> hAGNISMA is 'an expiatory victim,' e.g. Aesch. Eum. 315.

Here's the focal point:

> Of the genitive case after ἁγνίζομαι hAGNIZOMAI I can find  
> no other instance: but it might fall under the category of verbs of  
> admiration, affection, and the like; and, as τρύχεσθαι  
> TRYXESQAI, επιτύφεσθαι EPITYFESQAI, etc., are found with  
> this case (see Kuhner II. p.324), it can hardly be considered out of  
> place after ἁγνίζεσθαι hAGNIZESQAI,when this secondary  
> sense predominates. Several corrections have been suggested; e.g.  
> the substitution of ἅγνισμα hAGNISMA for ἁγνίζομαι  
> hAGNIZOMAI, or the insertion of ὑφ' hUF' or of ὑπέρ hYPER  
> before ὑμῶν hYMWN. But as ITr 13 (already quoted) agrees in the  
> same expression, it is highly improbable that the scribes should  
> have made the same error and introduced the same difficulty in both  
> passages. A much more easy change than any hitherto proposed would  
> be αγάζομαι AGAZOMAI for ἁγνίζομαι hAGNIZOMAI;  
> but no correction seems to be required. εκκλησιας EKKLHSIAS]  
> governs ὑμῶν hYMWN, and does not stand in apposition with it,  
> as the article before διαβοήτου DIABOHTOU shows. >>
> RG: I agree completely with this interpretation.

The verbs of admiration, affection, and the like may take a genitive  
of the same sort as verbs of sensation and desire, AISQANOMAI, ERAW/ 
ERAMAI, hAPTOMAI; these may be partitive in origin; I've associated  
them with the genitive with verbs like hAMARTANW and TUGCANW as  
"genitive of the target" -- a genitive indicating what the verbal  
action "aims at." But I'm skeptical about that as the syntctic  
relation in play in our passages I Tr 13:3 and I Eph 8:1. I'm  
wondering whether the more likely explanation is that these are  
"possessive" genitives: "I make myself a holy thing belonging to you."  
In later Greek -- in Modern Greek, certainly, the dative case becomes  
obsolete and the indirect object function is subsumed in the genitive.  
I'm wondering -- not making any positive affirmation -- whether the  
genitive forms in these two passages of Ignatiius may just possibly  
point to closely-relataed senses "belonging to you" and "for you."

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

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