re: Rom. 8:27

Carlton L. Winbery (
Wed, 15 May 1996 12:08:29 -0500

Let me just talk about the grammar not the theology.
>>The object of OIDEN is the entire clause TI TO FRONHMA TOU PNEUMATOS.
>>Within the clause TI is the subject of the understood verb (ESTIN) and TO
>>FRONHMA is the predicate nominative, thus in the nominative case.
>Marion here: How do you know that TI is in the nominative case? How do
>you know that TO FRONHMA is in the nominative case (the predicate
>nominative)? Does not the verse flow more smoothly if TI TO FRONHMA is
>the direct object of the finite verb OIDEN? I am not saying "Does not the
>verse agree with someone's theological bias?" but I am saying does not the
>verse flow more smoothly? Does the verb OIDEN need an object? Is it
>theological presuppositions that cause us to interpret TI TO FRONHMA as
>being in the nominative case? Now we return to my original post:

We know that OIDEN "needs" a direct object because it has one in the form
of a relative clause showing indirect speech, i.e., what is known. There's
no other way to treat TI TO FRONHMA TOU PNEUMATOS other than as a clause.
Would you translate it "he knows a certain mind . . ."? TI is either an
indefinite pronoun used with TO FRONHMA which won't work here or it is used
as a relative introducing a relative clause. The latter is the only one
that makes sense. This has nothing to do with theology.

>>With regard to the personal endings of the active voice, primary tenses,
>>William H. Davis states: "The personal endings are remnants of personal
>>pronouns (page 26)."
>Probably. This certainly makes sense.
>>Davis, William Hersey. (1923) Beginner's Grammar of the Greek New
>>Testament. New York: Harper & Row Pub. ISBN 0-06-061710-1
>>Do these personal endings continue to function as pronouns? If so, do
>>these pronouns have to take their antecedent in the nominative case? This
>>has been my understanding of the rule of grammar/syntax. Where could I
>>document this?
>The rule on pronouns is that the pronoun agrees with its antecedent in
>gender and number but its case is determined by its function in the clause.
>However, on occasion the pronoun is also attracted to the case of the
>antecedent. So the answer would be no, they do not. Hence PNEUMATOS the
>genitive could be the the antecent of the subject of ENTUGXANEI.
>Marion here again: It seems to be a tautology to say what Davis says
>without the pronoun needing to take its antecedent in the nominative case.
>Could someone explain what Davis means?
What Davis says makes perfect sense if you understand what pronouns are.
They are words that are substituted for other substantives. If the
personal endings serve as pronouns, they are automatically considered in
the nominative because they serve as subjects of the verb. However, if
they stand for another noun elsewhere that noun does not have to be in the
nominative only agree with the "pronoun" in gender and number. Its case
will be determined by its function in the sentence. Hence, TOU PNEUMATOS
can be the antecedent of the "he" or "it" that is the subject of the verb
and still be in the genitive case because it describes TO FRONHMA. That's
not only good Greek, but also good English.

Carlton Winbery
Fogleman Prof. Religion
Louisiana College