Jn 1:1, Colwell's Rule, & Wallace's Grammar

Wed, 21 Aug 1996 11:20:56 -0700 (PDT)

I appreciate Paul Dixon's clarification on his view of QEOS in Jn 1:1, but
it also reminded me of the old argument by Dana & Mantey (et al.?) that the
arthrous use emphasizes definiteness, while the anarthrous emphasizes quality.
What is worng with this argument, in my experience, is the word "emphasizes".
("wrong", not "worng", which is a kind of being from Star Trek) It seems to
me that whether quality or definiteness is emphasized depends on how we would
*expect* a particular noun to be used normally (i.e. arthrous or anarthrous),
and that in turn depends on our experience with the noun or substantive. Thus,
if I can make a good case that QEOS is normally arthrous (as I would in refer-
ence to biblical terminology applied to God), then it is significant if the
word is anarthrous and one can argue that quality is emphasized. Some (e.g.
Murray Harris and Paul Dixon) have tried to decide such issues on the basis
of statistics, and while I have doubts about the real value of stats in such
cases (would professional statisticians accept that such approaches have a
large enough pool of data for a reasonable SD, for example?), stats may be the
best we have to work with in arguing a particular theory. Aside from all that,
the "emphasis" arguement breaks down if it ultimately implies that *every*
substantive has emphasis either on definiteness or quality. If everything is
emphatic in some way, then nothing is emphatic.

Don Wilkins
UC Riverside