Re: hWN in Acts 1:1

Randy Leedy (
Wed, 30 Oct 1996 17:01:52 -0500

I think this subject is about played out. I agree with everything
Carl has said. Although I see where Carlton Winbery is coming from,
too, I can't bring myself to accept his understanding as
grammatically superior.

The one point that bugs me about Carl's last (I think) post is
something that came up a number of months ago: he refers in passing
to the idea that a relative pronoun can be attracted from the
nominative to an oblique case. To discuss this point is to veer off
on a tangent, but I'd like to do it and see what kind of responses it
generates. For one thing, the very thought of such a sentence gives
me the heebie jeebies. If this is possible, then I'm going to have to
admit that I don't come even close to thinking in Greek. (And I was
hoping that perhaps I WAS coming close, because in a Windows program
menu listing both LOGOS and WORD I was forever choosing the wrong one
until I finally realized what was happening and renamed WORD so that
it reads MS WORD!)

The following simple sentence illustrates my point. THN BASILEIAN
(God gave the kingom to His Son, Who died for our sins.) Here the
relative functioning as subject (which would therefore ordinarily be
nominative) has been attracted to the dative, in order to agree with
its antecedent. The effect of this sentence on my grammatical
sensibilities is similar to the effect on my ears of fingernails
dragged across a chalkboard.

I've checked Goodwin's Classical grammar, and he says nothing about
attraction from the nominative, and I've seen no suggestion of such a
phenomenon in either NT grammars or the NT itself. As I've always
understood attraction, both direct and indirect, it can happen only
when both cases involved are oblique (i.e., not nominative or
vocative). Can anyone cite an actual instance of attraction involving
both an oblique and a non-oblique case?

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