Muddiman’s Translation of Ephesians 5:18ff.

18 καὶ μὴ μεθύσκεσθε οἴνῳ, ἐν ᾧ ἐστιν ἀσωτία, ἀλλὰ πληροῦσθε ἐν πνεύματι, 19 λαλοῦντες ἑαυτοῖς [ἐν] ψαλμοῖς καὶ ὕμνοις καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς, ᾄδοντες καὶ ψάλλοντες τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμῶν τῷ κυρίῳ, 20 εὐχαριστοῦντες πάντοτε ὑπὲρ πάντων ἐν ὀνόματι τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί. 21 Ὑποτασσόμενοι ἀλλήλοις ἐν φόβῳ Χριστοῦ, 22 αἱ γυναῖκες τοῖς ἰδίοις ἀνδράσιν ὡς τῷ κυρίῳ, 23 ὅτι ἀνήρ ἐστιν κεφαλὴ τῆς γυναικὸς ὡς καὶ ὁ Χριστὸς κεφαλὴ τῆς ἐκκλησίας, αὐτὸς σωτὴρ τοῦ σώματος· 24 ἀλλὰ ὡς ἡ ἐκκλησία ὑποτάσσεται τῷ Χριστῷ, οὕτως καὶ αἱ γυναῖκες τοῖς ἀνδράσιν ἐν παντί.

Barbara Aland et al., The Greek New Testament (4th ed.; Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies, 1993, c1979), 512.

(18) [A]nd do not get drunk on wine – that way ruin lies – but be filled with the Spirit, (19) speaking to each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and chanting in your hearts to the Lord, (20) always giving thanks for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to him who is God and Father. (21) Submit to each other out of reverence for Christ: (22) wives, to your own husbands as to the Lord, (23) because Man is the head of Woman as also Christ is the head of the Church, being himself the saviour of the Body. (24) But as the Church submits to Christ so also wives are to be to their husbands in everything.

John Muddiman, The Epistle to the Ephesians (BNTC 10; Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 2004) 243-344, 256.

Now I’m definitely not satisfied with Muddiman’s translation and do not care for his division between 20 & 21 in his commentary, but there are some definite strengths.

I’m curious what other think of his treatment of the ellipsis in verses 22 & 24 and how well you think it fits (or doesn’t fit) with the passage.

I’m cynical about the vocative. Its clear that extremely early interpreters who knew Greek (i.e. the scribes who introduced the 3rd plural imperative reading considered “wives” to be nominative: “Wives should submit to their own husbands…” I think that fits just as well without the verb: “…wives to their own husbands…”

Slowly, you’re getting more and more small pieces of my view of this passage.

3 thoughts on “Muddiman’s Translation of Ephesians 5:18ff.

Add yours

  1. I think the way he treated the ellipsis in v. 22 works but I do not prefer it. However, I simply do not care for his translation of the ellipsis in v. 24 when he adds to be in two instances. I don’t think it is necessary to include the comma after wives in v. 22 even if we keep the rather wooden translation. Furthermore, in keeping with the style from v. 22, I wonder why he didn’t translate v. 24 like this: but as the church submits to Christ, so also wives to their husbands in all things. The use of are to be seems to me a bit awkward and unnecessary.

    1. Inceptive is a term that refers to the initiation of an event. So first off, you need a verb that refers to something that happens, rather than merely state (hungry, tired, frozen, etc.). That’s the start. Beyond that, it might be the inherent meaning of the verb or it might be the context. It sort of depends.

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