Re: Acts 1:1 - WN: what kind of genitive?

Carlton L. Winbery (
Mon, 28 Oct 1996 18:22:19 +0400

Carl Conrad replied to an earlier post by me;
>>I first thought of the relative attracted to its antecendent, but since
>>PANTWN is an adj. and is frequently used with the relative in the NT
>>(especially Luke), I considered that Luke simply had let the vocative
>>intrude stylisticly here.
>>See Luke 3:19 PERI PANTWN hWN, Acts 3:21, Acts 10:39, Acts 13:38 APO
>>PANTWN hWN, Acts 22:10 PERI PANTWN hWN, Acts 26:2 PERI PANTWN hWN,
>>Gal. 4:1.
>I guess I really am having trouble with the term "adverbial genitive of
>reference;" I've never heard of such an animal or of a genitive that can't
>be explained (at least in so far as it really is a genitive used in a
>function derived from its traditional genitive usages, be it true genitive
>(pertinentive),ablative, or partitive). In the passages you've cited,

The emphasis is on "reference." Without the preposition most of these
would be what Robertson refers to as genitives used with adjectives and
adverbs such as KAKWN in James 1:13 or METANOIAS in Matt. 3:8. However,
there are uses with the prepositions, especially PERI where the substantive
in the genitive clearly is indicating reference, "about", "concerning."
See for instance I Cor. 7:1 PERI hWN EGRAYATE, "That concerning which you
wrote . . ." The relative there is clearly used as part of the relative
clause to modify the verbal idea, hence adverbal genitive. Now clearly the
relative also refers directly to that which they wrote but the construction
with the preposition makes more sense to me to treat it as indicating


I must concede here that A.T. Robertson agrees with you completely on this
one on page 512 #10. In fact this is his eg. of a relative attracted to
its antecendent (a phenomenon which is common in Luke). I tend to treat
this the same way that I think you have to treat I Cor. 7:1 except that you
have an adjective modifying the relative pronoun.

As always it is dangerous to disagree with Carl, but you can always learn
from it. I want to reply to a couple other points in his post after I eat.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Fax (318) 442-4996
Phone (318) 487-7241