Marion Fox's posts

Randy Leedy (
Tue, 14 May 1996 14:10:16 -0400

I see we are finally getting down to the bottom of Marion Fox's
posts about the case of an elliptical subject, etc. Carlton Winbery's
response regarding the agreement of pronoun and antecedent is, of
course, correct. But I think a bit of elaboration is in order, since
this is a point that inexperienced Greek students frequently

Somehow the mention of agreement tends to prompt a knee-jerk
expansion of the idea to include gender, number, and case. I think
this is due to the fact that early in one's Greek studies he learns
that adjectives agree with the nouns they modify in gender, number
and case. Somehow many students fail to grasp that it's a different
story with pronouns--that gender and number agreement are (for the
most part) required while case agreement most emphatically is not. As
Carlton stated, the case of each word is determined by its use in its
own clause.

We are not merely saying that a writer can violate the language's
tendency toward case agreement in this situation; we are saying that
in this situation, for all practical purposes, THERE IS NO SUCH
TENDENCY. If anything, we should EXPECT a pronoun to be in a case
different from that of its antecedent (I avoid the word "disagree"
because it suggests that agreement is expected). To require case
agreement between pronoun and antecedent would turn an inflected
language into chaos. For example, in English, we could not say "John
says his foot hurts." We would have to say either "John's says his
foot hurts" (both in genitive) or "John says he foot hurts" (both in

Case "agreement" between pronoun and antecedent results only from
coincidence (the usage of both substantives happens to require the
same case) or from attraction (one or the other gets shifted from the
case demanded by its own usage so that it agrees with the other). But
be careful with attraction: it is not as common a phenomenon as some
students seem to wish. For the most part it affects only relative
pronouns used as direct objects; the pronoun may be placed in case
agreement with its antecedent or, less commonly, vice-versa.

Marion, what you have in this verse in Romans 8 is perfectly
ordinary Greek syntax, and grammar will not help you identify the
understood subject. You're twisting things (unintentionally, I'm
sure) to the extent that your comments and questions are nearly
unintelligible to a Greek grammarian. You want to figure out what the
verse says? It says quite simply, "he/she/it makes intercession." The
grammar allows no greater specificity. Your exegesis can proceed
further only on subjective considerations.

Hope this is some help.

In Love to God and Neighbor,
Randy Leedy
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC