Re: Article-Article-Noun-Noun

Paul Zellmer (
Fri, 13 Dec 1996 01:29:06 -0800 wrote:
> I'm curious if anyone has some information or references on the construction
> in Greek in which a genitive article and noun is sandwiched between another
> article and noun.
> An example of this would be the righteousness of God in Rom 10:3
> thn tou qeou dikaiosunhv
> Thanks,
> Kevin Grenier


Quoting Machen, _New Testament Greek for Beginners_ (not to say you are
one <grin>), para 376-8:

"Prepositional phrases are frequently treated as attributive adjectives,
being placed after the article.

THi POLEI, *the in-that-city disciples*, or (by a free translation) *the
disciples who are* [or, if the leading verb is past, *were*] *in that
city*. Here the prepositional phrase takes the exact place of an
attributive adjective. It will be remembered that hOI AGAQOI MAQHTAI or
hOI MAQHTAI hOI AGAQOI means *the good disciples*. <SKIP>

"Like other attributive adjectives, these prepositional phrases can be
used substantively.

"Example: As hOI AGAQOI means *the good men*, so hOI EN THi POLEI means
*the in-the-city men*, or *the men who are* (or *were*) *in the city*.

"A noun in the genitive case can be used in this same way.

"Example: As hOI AGAQOI means *the good men*, so hOI TOU IHSOU means
*the of-Jesus men*, *the belonging-to-Jesus men*, {*the ones, the men,
those} who belong to Jesus*."

I quoted this to help guide you to the section in the grammar in your
library which applies. In the Rom 10:3 example, the modified noun is
expressed instead of implied, as was the case in Machen's example of
the genitive used as an attributive adjective.

Just to stick my neck out a bit, I get the sense that the placing of the
modifier/limiter (the genitive) between the definite article and noun
head emphasizes the modifier just a tiny bit more than it would if the
order were THN DIKAISUNHN THN TOU QEOU, which, in English, would
translate the same way.

Hope this helps,

Paul Zellmer
Southern Methodist Missions