Attraction or Assimilation?, was Re: hWN in Acts 1:1

Stephen C. Carlson (
Wed, 30 Oct 1996 19:05:28 -0500

At 05:01 10/30/96 -0500, Randy Leedy wrote:
>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?

I think the reason you didn't find it in Goodwin's grammar is that
he distinguishes attraction from assimilation. For Goodwin, as I
understand it, attaction is a syntactical modification -- the word
order changes. Goodwin states "1037. The antecedent is often
*attracted* into the relative clause, and agrees with the relative.
[Example omitted due to length]"

The morphological modification under discussion, in which the case
is converted, is termed by Goodwin as "assimiliation." And he does
cite that "1033 .... [e]ven the nominative may be assimilated; as
BLAPTESQAI AF' hWN hHMIN PARESKEUASTAI, to be injured by what has
been prepared by us (for AP' EKEINWN hA), T[hucydides].7,67."

Attraction and assimilation may occur together: "1038 .... AMAQESTATOI
ESTE hWN EGW OIDA hELLHNWN, you are the most ignorant of the Greeks
whom I know (for TWN hELLHNWN hOUS OIDA), T.6,40 ...."

Smyth, however, calls this behavior "attraction" and at 2523 he cites
the very same passage from Thucydides as Goodwin. Read also the next
section (2524) for the circumstances under which attraction/assimilation
occurs and its force.

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson                   : Poetry speaks of aspirations,              : and songs chant the words. :               -- Shujing 2.35