Acts 1:2-3: Attraction of relative pronouns

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klitwak
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Acts 1:2-3: Attraction of relative pronouns

Post by klitwak » December 23rd, 2014, 3:01 am

In Acts 1:2-3,
ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας ἐντειλάμενος τοῖς ἀποστόλοις διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου οὓς ἐξελέξατο ἀνελήμφθη.
3 οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις, δι᾽ ἡμερῶν τεσσεράκοντα ὀπτανόμενος αὐτοῖς καὶ λέγων τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ·

Attraction of relative pronouns does not happen all the time, but this passage seems to me like it would be the natural choice for οὓς. This relative pronoun refers back to the apostles, which is dative, and has the same antecedent as οἷς in 1:3. Although the accusative is the correct case for the direct object of ἐξελέξατο, I'm wondering if attraction or non-attraction is evidenced in the majority of cases (no pun intended)..

Ken Litwak
APU
Azusa, CA
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Kenneth D. Litwak, Ph.D.
Reference and Instruction Librarian
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
Mill Valley, CA 94941
kennethlitwak@ggbts.edu
Adjunct Professor of New Testament in ExL
Asbury Theological Seminary
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cwconrad
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Re: Acts 1:2-3: Attraction of relative pronouns

Post by cwconrad » December 23rd, 2014, 7:33 am

klitwak wrote:In Acts 1:2-3,
ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας ἐντειλάμενος τοῖς ἀποστόλοις διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου οὓς ἐξελέξατο ἀνελήμφθη.
3 οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις, δι᾽ ἡμερῶν τεσσεράκοντα ὀπτανόμενος αὐτοῖς καὶ λέγων τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ·

Attraction of relative pronouns does not happen all the time, but this passage seems to me like it would be the natural choice for οὓς. This relative pronoun refers back to the apostles, which is dative, and has the same antecedent as οἷς in 1:3. Although the accusative is the correct case for the direct object of ἐξελέξατο, I'm wondering if attraction or non-attraction is evidenced in the majority of cases (no pun intended)..
Ken, it's not clear (to me at least) what you're asking. We do see the standard type of attraction in ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας ... ἀνελήμφθη, but we don't see it in the other relative clauses, τοῖς ἀποστόλοις ... οὓς ἐξελέξατο and [τοῖς ἀποστόλοις] ... οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις ...

The meaning of this text is clear; there is no question of the antecedent of any of these relative pronouns nor of the case-usage of any of them. You seem to be asking how the author might alternatively have formulated these relative pronouns: could he have made them agree in case with the antecedent? In the past I've sometimes pondered how an author might alternatively have phrased something, but I've come to think that's a perilous and questionable pursuit. In this instance we have a carefully-constructed rhetorical period that sets the scene for the ensuing narrative; everything is laid out neatly and intelligibly. There's not the haste and somewhat reckless or haphazard composition that we more often see in casual conversation or in letter-writing, where we often change our minds about what we mean to say or how we mean to say it halfway through a sentence. Those are the kinds of situation where I think we might more commonly see attraction of the relative pronoun to the case of the antecedent. For what it's worth, here's BDF §294 on attraction:
294. Attraction of the relative. The simple relative ὅς, ἥ, ὅ (not ὅστις) is assimilated to the case of its antecedent even though it should take another case, usually the acc., in conformity with its use in the relative clause (attraction or assimilation). The NT, especially Lk, like the LXX (also the papyri, Radermacher, WSt 31, 7f.), conforms fully with classical usage in this peculiarity of the Greek language. (1) Exceptions are permissible, as in classical (Thuc. 2.70.5), if the relative clause is more clearly separated from its antecedent by additional nominal modifiers and the importance of its own content: H 8:2 τῆς σκηνῆς τῆς ἀληθινῆς, ἣν ἔπηξεν ὁ κύριος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπος. (2) In addition to the acc. object, attraction can take place not only in the case of the so-called acc. of content (§§153f.), but also occasionally in the case of the dat.: A 1:22 ἄχρι τῆς ἡμέρας ἧς ἀνελήμφθη (cf. Lk 1:20 D, LXX Lev 23:15, 25:50, Bar 1:19). Lk 5:9 ἐπὶ τῇ ἄγρᾳ τῶν ἰχθύων ὧν (BDX, ἣν Θ, ᾗ SC R pl.) συνέλαβον. (3) The repetition of a preposition before the relative can be dispensed with (classical): A 1:21 ἐν παντὶ χρόνῳ (scil. ἐν) ᾧ. (4) Also corresponding to classical usage is the relative, which includes the demonstrative (unlike German and English), assimilated to the case of the omitted demonstrative: Lk 9:36 οὐδὲν ὧν = οὐδὲν τούτων ἅ. (5) The occasional incorporation of the antecedent in the relative clause, in which case the article going with the noun must be omitted and the noun itself then attracted to the case of the relative, stems from literary usage; the noun does not immediately follow the relative: Lk 19:37 πασῶν ὧν εἶδον δυνάμεων, exceptin (ἐφʼ) ὅσον χρόνον (§455(3)) and with ἡμέρα: Lk 1:20 ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας γένηται ταῦτα = ἄ. τῆς ἡμ. (ἐν) ᾗ (cf. supra (2)); also in scattered instances otherwise. Mayser II 3, 98ff.—For attraction with the relative adverb s. §437.—Mayser II 3, 101ff.; Moule 130f.; Rob. 714–17, 719–21.

Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (pp. 153–154). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
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οὔτοι ἀπ’ ἀρχῆς πάντα θεοὶ θνητοῖς ὑπέδειξαν,
ἀλλὰ χρόνῳ ζητέοντες ἐφευρίσκουσιν ἄμεινον. (Xenophanes, Fragment 16)

Carl W. Conrad
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Stephen Hughes
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Re: Acts 1:2-3: Attraction of relative pronouns

Post by Stephen Hughes » December 23rd, 2014, 8:46 am

klitwak wrote:In Acts 1:2-3,
ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας ἐντειλάμενος τοῖς ἀποστόλοις διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου οὓς ἐξελέξατο ἀνελήμφθη.
3 οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις, δι᾽ ἡμερῶν τεσσεράκοντα ὀπτανόμενος αὐτοῖς καὶ λέγων τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ·

Attraction of relative pronouns does not happen all the time, but this passage seems to me like it would be the natural choice for οὓς. This relative pronoun refers back to the apostles, which is dative, and has the same antecedent as οἷς in 1:3. Although the accusative is the correct case for the direct object of ἐξελέξατο, I'm wondering if attraction or non-attraction is evidenced in the majority of cases (no pun intended)..
It does happen, yes (but not in this case). So far as I remember, I haven't come across an instance of attraction of the relative that has caused confusion. It is not as if there are tricky involved syntactic constructions in relative phrases - they themselves are one of the elements that make sentences a little convoluted.
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Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Acts 1:2-3: Attraction of relative pronouns

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » December 23rd, 2014, 8:55 am

klitwak wrote:In Acts 1:2-3,
ἄχρι ἧς ἡμέρας ἐντειλάμενος τοῖς ἀποστόλοις διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου οὓς ἐξελέξατο ἀνελήμφθη.
3 οἷς καὶ παρέστησεν ἑαυτὸν ζῶντα μετὰ τὸ παθεῖν αὐτὸν ἐν πολλοῖς τεκμηρίοις, δι᾽ ἡμερῶν τεσσεράκοντα ὀπτανόμενος αὐτοῖς καὶ λέγων τὰ περὶ τῆς βασιλείας τοῦ θεοῦ·

Attraction of relative pronouns does not happen all the time, but this passage seems to me like it would be the natural choice for οὓς. This relative pronoun refers back to the apostles, which is dative, and has the same antecedent as οἷς in 1:3. Although the accusative is the correct case for the direct object of ἐξελέξατο, I'm wondering if attraction or non-attraction is evidenced in the majority of cases (no pun intended)..

Ken Litwak
APU
Azusa, CA
Ken,

Are you asking: Why isn't οὓς in the dative plural so that it agrees with τοῖς ἀποστόλοις? Or are you asking a statistical question: Is attraction to the case of antecedent more prevalent than the case form which represents the function of the relative in its own clause? My understanding is that attraction is an exception not a rule. It happens so we give it a name which shouldn't be confused with an explanation. Names like this that appear to be explanations are misleading. Not doubt others will disagree. I find BDF's comment "Exceptions are permissible" confusing, makes it sound as if we should expect attraction to happen but sometimes it does not. I think perhaps that is the point of your question.

In keeping with BDF, the separation of οὓς from τοῖς ἀποστόλοις by διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου accounts for the non-attraction.
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C. Stirling Bartholomew

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Acts 1:2-3: Attraction of relative pronouns

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » December 23rd, 2014, 11:39 am

Stirling Bartholomew wrote: My understanding is that attraction is an exception not a rule. It happens so we give it a name which shouldn't be confused with an explanation. Names like this that appear to be explanations are misleading. Not doubt others will disagree. I find BDF's comment "Exceptions are permissible" confusing, makes it sound as if we should expect attraction to happen but sometimes it does not. I think perhaps that is the point of your question.
On non-attraction as normal see Smyth §2524, ATR 714.5.a-715.

On the misuse of attraction as an explanation here is what G. Couper says about it:
Guy Cooper Attic Syntax Vol I, p. 5291.51.10.0 Cooper states: "A relative sentence functions in many ways as a syntactic complex equivalent to an adjective. Often such a relative sentence is thought of as being as a whole in agreement with a substantive, whether noun, pronoun or substantivization. The case of the relative then has, against the general rule, no regard for its function within its one (relative) sentence. ... At first glance it seems that the relative has been drawn into the case of its antecedent, and it is only upon reflection and with practiced stylist perception that it appears that the relative is agreeing with the syntactic function of its relative sentence as a whole, the phenomenon is often spoken of as attraction ... it is more accurate to speak of the relative as assimilating ... to the case function of its sentence."
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klitwak
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Re: Acts 1:2-3: Attraction of relative pronouns

Post by klitwak » December 24th, 2014, 1:00 am

Stirling,

Thanks for the information and the actual explanation.

Ken
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Kenneth D. Litwak, Ph.D.
Reference and Instruction Librarian
Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary
Mill Valley, CA 94941
kennethlitwak@ggbts.edu
Adjunct Professor of New Testament in ExL
Asbury Theological Seminary
Wilmore, KY

Stirling Bartholomew
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Re: Acts 1:2-3: Attraction of relative pronouns

Post by Stirling Bartholomew » December 24th, 2014, 4:28 pm

Guy Cooper Attic Syntax Vol I, p. 529, §51.10.0 Cooper states: "A relative sentence functions in many ways as a syntactic complex equivalent to an adjective. Often such a relative sentence is thought of as being as a whole in agreement with a substantive, whether noun, pronoun or substantivization. The case of the relative then has, against the general rule, no regard for its function within its own (relative) sentence. ... At first glance it seems that the relative has been drawn into the case of its antecedent, and it is only upon reflection and with practiced stylist perception that it appears that the relative is agreeing with the syntactic function of its relative sentence as a whole, the phenomenon is often spoken of as attraction ... it is more accurate to speak of the relative as assimilating ... to the case function of its sentence."
Reverse assimilation (aka inverse attraction) where the antecedent takes the case of the relative pronoun is difficult to account for according to Cooper's explanation. How can the antecedent be treated as if it were a constituent within the relative clause? This would appear to invert the logic of subordination where the relative clause serves as a constituent in the main sentence.
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