What does τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆσ mean?

In my senior religion seminar term paper I argued that all elements of Augustine’s ideas concerning the peccatum originale existed within the late ancient thought world. One New Testament text I turned to was Eph 2.3. In his commentary on Ephesians, John Muddiman writes that the phrase “children of wrath (τέκνα ὀργῆσ)” is the Greek equivalent to the Semitic phrase “sons of disobedience.” He says that this implies that they are “‘characterized by’ rather than literally ‘born from’ disobedience.”(1)

My question is – is φύσει a dative of cause? If so, I think Muddiman’s explanation isn’t right. Granted, there are all sorts of problems with understanding the word φύσις (fusis or ‘nature’, among other things), but I think if φύσει is a dative of cause, then I think one could argue that some sort of an ‘original sin’ is in Paul’s view.

(1)p 105


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3 responses to “What does τέκνα φύσει ὀργῆσ mean?

  1. I did a search in the B-Greek e-mail archive (http://www.ibiblio.org/bgreek/) and found a similar question from May, 2006:

    What kind of Dative is “FUSEI” as in Eph 2:3;
    sometimes the word is translated in a similar way “by nature” but not in the Dative as in Rom 11:24 “the olive tree which is wild ‘by nature’…”

    The following is the only answer:

    I would think this is an “adverbial dative” or dative of “manner”: “naturally” clarifying in what respect HMEQA TEKNA ORGHS: we were “born” that way and only a miracle could make us otherwise.

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

  2. Λάζαρος Καλαϊτζίδης

    Hi. In my opinion it’s a dative of manner (δοτική του τρόπου) and not of cause. It doesn’t answer tto “why” we are “τέκνα οργής”, but to “how” we became such, through a natural process (φύσει). In any case ancient greek is a very complex and in a way “compact” language, so tranlations can never be 100% accurate. Hope I helped.

  3. Joshua McManaway

    Prof. Conrad: Many thanks for your input!

    Λάζαρος – Thanks for your comment!

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