b-greek-digest V1 #47

b-greek-digest            Friday, 15 December 1995      Volume 01 : Number 047

In this issue:

        Re: English grammar help
        Re: Novel Interpretations {formerly Minor correction re: Bildad)
        Re: English grammar help


From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 19:20:09 -0600
Subject: Re: English grammar help

At 5:10 PM 12/14/95, Bruce Terry wrote:
>On Thu, 14 Dec 1995, James D. Ernest wrote:
>>I beg the indulgence of list members for a question of English grammar.
>>Which is correct (grammatically):
>>A:  The Son of Man is the Messiah whom Jesus claims to be.
>>                                  ^^^^
>>B:  The Son of Man is the Messiah who Jesus claims to be.
>>                                  ^^^
>>A:  Jesus claims to be him.
>>                       ^^^
>>B;  Jesus claims to be he.
>>>                       ^^
>The correct usage is whom and him.  The infinitive is a copula, which would
>usually take the subjective case, but the infinitive clause is filling an
>objective slot of the word claims, making it take the objective case.  This
>can clearly be seen in the example:
>   Peter claimed him to be the Messiah.
>One would not say in English:
>   *Peter claimed he to be the Messiah.

I am utterly at a loss to understand the argument here, which I thought was
about ENGLISH, not GREEK grammar. Are you arguing, Bruce, that the
structure of the subordinate clause in English sentence A is really "XXX
Jesus claims HIMSELF to be"? i.e., that the English usage of claims implies
a reflexive pronoun in the accusative? I submit that "He claimed to be a
king" is very different from "They claimed him to be a king." In the former
sentence 'a king' is a simple predicate nominative,in the latter it is a
predicate accusative--or that's the way I'd understand it, even though the
English doesn't distinguish the case forms of the noun phrase, 'a king.'

Would you say,

"Whom do you claim to be?"


"Who do you claim to be?"?

Or reverse it and make it more emphatic (with voice intonation): would you say,

"You claim to be WHOM?"


"You claim to be WHO?"

Personally, I'll take the second form in instance: "Who do you claim to
be?" and "You claim to be WHO?"

>Having said that, I must note that although him is not crumbling before he,
>whom is being replaced in informal, and now to a certain extent even in
>formal, English by who.  In two or three more decades, who will be both the
>subjective and objective forms and whom will be an archaic objective form.

This may be, but I am not ready to accept without a grimace what I hear
ever more frequently, nominative pronouns used as objects of a preposition:

"My son gave this present to I"
"Will you come with we to town?"

I've argued before and do believe that to some extent there is an
increasing expectation that the form of a pronoun to be expected AFTER a
verb is the accusative, regardless of whether the verb is a copula or a
transitive active verb. Thus, the established usage for some time now has

"Do you recognize me?" BUT ALSO: "Toys R Us."
"Who's that knocking on my door?" "It's me."

All of this is utterly independent of Greek usage or analogy. It is a
matter of current standard (spoken) English.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


From: "Edgar M. Krentz" <emkrentz@mcs.com>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 20:41:44 -0500
Subject: Re: Novel Interpretations {formerly Minor correction re: Bildad)

>At 10:21 PM 12/13/95, James D. Ernest wrote:
>>On Wed, 13 Dec 1995, Edgar M. Krentz wrote:
>>> referred to the "little flock." (2) I have admired the hWOLOGION in the
>>                                                         ^^^^^^^^^
>>> Roman agora in Athens as a major piece of Roman era architecture and
>>> technology. If Peter stood on this and was of an appropriate size, he was a
>>Few indeed have seen this remarkable instrument, which was
>>apparently used for measuring eggs.  Better Peter should have
>>egg on his feet than egg on his face.
>Perhaps James has caught the disease from that person named ARRIUS who,
>according to Catullus, called himself HARRIUS and was last heard of as
>writing back to Rome from the HIONIAN Sea. The WOLOGION suffered many
>indignities, to be sure, but to be aspirated for no good reason? Perhaps
>what Edgar had in mind originally was hWROLOGION? I think he should get a
>GNWMON, and I don't mean one of those little beardy men sitting on his
>Carl W. Conrad
>Department of Classics, Washington University
>One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
>(314) 935-4018
>cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
>WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

There is one good, almost serious point that comes out of this nonsense.
Note the learned discussion of a scribal error and how people react.
*hWOLOGION is that scribal error. Now James Ernst took a philological
approach, seeking to interpret this linguistic neologism, but missed the
spiritus asper, as Carl in his learned response pointed out. But an egg
counter or evaluator might be the kind of egg grader my father might have
liked in the middle of the depresion. But the technology of the ancient
Greeks had been lost!

Carl, on the other hand, looked for the scribal error in the light of the
context. Seeing the term GNWMON he he suggested the emendation hWROLOGION,
a known-Greek term. He did not go on to bring in the archaeological
investigation of the structure next to the Roman Agora in Athens, which was
a water clock and had a sundial on its external face; hence the GNWMON. And
I want Carl to know that I do own a GNOMON, (1) in the form of Bengel's
commentary [of course in the original Latin], and (2) in the form of an
LSJ, a useful GNOMON in seeking to emend those strange neologisms that
arise from scribal errors. Carl, as a classicist, is also more open to the
use of emendation than are NT scholars, who are embarrassed at times by a
massive amount of textual evidence.

I suppose the proper name for this scribal error is _lapsus digiti_, not
_lapsus memoriae_, since the scribe was indeed thinking hWROLOGION as he

It makes me think of the times I have used student errors on papers to
teach something of textual criticism.

And it shows that humor can be used to teach, provided it's not sarcasm, or
(best of all) provided it's at one's own expense. If Walt Whitman could
write "I celebrate myself," I can write "I laugh at myself" with you all.

Thanks for all who provided learned commentary, starting with Edward.

Edgar Krentz, New Testament
Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615
Tel.: 312-256-0752; (H) 312-947-8105


From: CPuskas@aol.com
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 22:37:25 -0500

Discussion of Biblical Greek Studies


From: "Carl W. Conrad" <cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 21:59:55 -0600
Subject: Re: English grammar help

At 6:01 PM 12/14/95, Ellen Adams wrote:

>Oops!! I was so excited to find an infinitive that appeared to be a
>linking verb that I assumed that it was followed by a nominative, and
>glancing very perfunctarily at my Friberg, misread the "N" to mean
>nominative rather than noun. (It was really early in the morning, you
>understand. And if one stands impetuously upon one's watch, one can end
>up with egg on one's face and glass in one's feet.)
>I do still wonder if einai might appear in the Greek text, and how a
>subsequent noun would be rendered. My Strongs isn't that Exhaustive,
>and not having the NT on computer, I can't do a search for that
>particular form....
>As to Liz's objection that the subject of an infinitive is always
>accusative, may I say first that English-speaking persons generally
>decline to object, rather than to accuse. (Very civilized, don't you
>Anyhow, an example of a subject of an infinitive would be as follows:
>Jesus claimed to be Messiah; the Pharisees thought "him" to be insane.

I just want to clarify one other little point here, with regard to which I
really don't think there's a difference between classical Attic and Koine:

it is NOT the case that the subject of an infinitive is always an
accusative, although more often than not it will turn out to be an

If the infinitive is referring back to the subject of the main sentence,
then its subject will be nominative:

Socrates says, somewhere early in the _Apology_ of Plato:

        DIKAIOS OUN EINAI MOI DOKW, "I think then that I am within my
rights ..."

And similarly he says EGW DE AUTOS EU OIDA OUDEN EIDWS, "But I know very
well that I myself know nothing." Here it is the participle that is in the
nominative, but the principle is precisely the same. Whereas LATIN while
require a reflexive pronoun in the accusative even when the speaker is
talking of himself, Greek will use the nominative in such a situation:

        NESCIVI ME HAEC FECISSE, "I didn't know I had done that."
        OUK EIDH TAUTA PEPRAXQAI, "I didn't know I had done that"

for what it's worth. not much.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu  OR cwc@oui.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/


End of b-greek-digest V1 #47


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