Lesson 39: The Predicate/Variation on Constituent Elements



590. The predicate of a sentence type III was defined (§508) as a transitive verb taking a direct object in the accusa tive case; the subject and object of the verb refer to different persons or things. A further example is:

1n+ 4d 2
(1) ἡ ἀγάπη / . . . πάντα / πιστεύει 1 Cor 13:7
Love . . . believes all things

S-III is capable of a passive transformation in which the object of the active form becomes the subject in the passive:

2pass 1n+
(2) ὁτι ] ἐπιστεύθη / τὸ μαρτύριον ἡμῶν 2 Thess 1:10
because] our testimony was believed

The direct object in S-III was marked 4 as a symbol for the accusative case (§513.5), although it was noted that not all words and word groups in the predicate with the head term in the accusative case were direct objects in S-III (§514) . It may now be asked whether the direct object in S-III is always signaled by the accusative case.

Verbs Taking a Dative Object

591. πιστεύω, I believe (in) something; I believe (in), trust someone, is a common verb in the New Testament manifesting a wide range of constructions. It may be used illustratively to answer the question posed in §590. Consider the following sentences:

(i) Many believed him
(ii) The man believed the word
(iii) You believe that Jesus is the Christ

In (i) and (ii) him and the word are the direct objects of believe; in (iii) an included dependent sentence is the direct object of the same verb. We may now consider the forms the object with πιστεύω may take in Greek.

591.1 Example (1) indicates that πιστεύω may take an accusative object of the thing.

591.2 I

2 1n+ 5n+
(3) ἐπίστευσεν / ὁ ἄνθρωπος / τῷ λόγῳ Jn 4:50
The man believed the word

πιστεύω takes a dative object of the thing.

591.3 πιστεύω may also be followed by εἰς and the accusative object of the thing:

2-1 p4n+
(4) ὅτι] οὐ πεπίστευκεν / εἰς τὴν μαρτυρίαν 1 Jn 5:10
because] he has not believed the testimony

591.4 And by ἐν and the dative object of the thing:

2-1 p5n+
(5) πιστεύετε / ἐν τῷ ἐυαγγελίῳ Mk 1:15
believe in the gospel

591.5 πιστεύω is never followed by an accusative object of the person; when a person is object, the case is dative:

1n+ 1n+
(6) οἱ [δὲ] τελῶναι (καὶ) αἱ πόρναι /
2 5d
ἐπίστευσαν / αὐτῷ Mt 21:32
The tax collectors and prostitutes believed him

591.6 For this personal object may be substituted εἰς and the accusative (cf. §591.3):

1d 2 p4d
(7) πολλοί / ἐπίστευσαν / εἰς αὐτόν Jn 8:30
Many believed (in, on) him

That the last two constructions are really grammatically synonymous is proved by variation in the same context. Sentence (7) is followed immediately by

2-1               p4n+
(8) ἔλεγεν ... / πρὸς τοὺς πεπιστευκότας αὐτῷ Ἰουδαίους Jn 8:31
he said . . . to the Jews who believed him

in which the participles takes a dative object of the person.

591.7 And, of course, πιστεύω may be followed by an included dependent sentence as object:

2-1 s
(9) ἵνα] πιστεύσητε / ὅτι Ἰησούς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστὸς Jn 20:31
in order that] you may believe that Jesus is the Christ

The included dependent sentence is introduced by ὅτι (that), as in English.

5910. The predominant constructions with πιστεύω have been introduced in sentences (l)-(9). All are common except (5), ἐν with the dative. Other marginal constructions with πιστεύω are illustrated by the variant readings found at Jn 3:15:

ἵνα] πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων
ἐν αὐτῷ
ἐπ' αὐτῷ

εἰς αὐτὸν ἐπ'
ἔχῃ ζωὴν ἀιώνιοναὐτὸν
in order that] everyone believing in (on) him may have eternal life

On this passage, however, s. Bl-D §187 (6).

For πιστεύω in S-IV, s. §510.1.

592.1 Objects with πιστεύω may thus take the following forms (using the descriptive analytic scheme; omitting the marginal constructions):

1 / 2 / 4
1 / 2 / 5
1 / 2 / p4n+
1 / 2 / s

i.e. it may be followed by the simple accusative, the simple dative, a preposition with accusative, an included dependent sentence.

592.2 If the difference between person and thing may be ignored (note §591.5), these forms of the object with πιστεύω may be said to be grammatically equivalent. The sentences in which they appear can then be said to be agnate, i.e. different grammatical constructions are used to express the same grammatical relation (Gleason: 202ff., 209ff.).

592.3 The analytical scheme employed in this grammar seeks to combine morphological description (the form of words) with syntactic analysis (the relations between and among words) insofar as possible (§512.2). The symbol 4 was used to designate the direct object (accusative case) in S-III (§513.5). However, not all 4's in the predicate, i.e. not all accusatives, signal direct objects. We must therefore distinguish the 4 that is not an object from those which are. In §514, (18) contains a 4 that is not a direct object but an adverbial accusative; since this accusative functions as an adverbial, it should be marked in a secondary fashion with the symbol for adverbs, i.e. A:

(18) 4aA 2-1 (18) ὀλίγον / ἀγαπᾷ Lk 7:47
he loves little

Similarly, the objects of πιστεύω not signaled by the simple accusative may be marked in a secondary fashion with a raised 4:

(3) 2 / 1n+ / 5n+4
(4) 2-1 / p4n+4
(5) 2-1 / p5n+4
(6) 1n+ / 1n+ / 2 / 5d4
(7) 1d / 2 / p4d4
(8) 2-1 / s4

Where morphological description and syntactic analysis coincide, no secondary marking is needed:

(1) 1n+ . . . 4d / 2

Note: This scheme assumes that the direct object in Greek is normally signaled by the accusative case. This assumption is doubtless correct, but it ignores a considerable number of verbs that customarily take objects in other cases. The conflation of symbols as suggested above is in the interests of the parsimony of symbols.

593. Verbs taking a dative object. In addition to πιστεύω, which may take an object in either the dative or accusative cases, with and without preposition, other verbs characteristically take an object in the dative case.

593.1 ἀκολουθέω, follow, obey.

2 5d4 1n+
(10) ἠκολούθησαν / αὐτῷ / ὄχλοι πολλοί Mt 4:25
Great crowds followed him

593.2 ὑπακούω, obey.

1n+ 1n+ 5d4 2
(11) οἱ ἄνεμοι (καὶ) ἡ θάλασσα / αὐτῷ / ὑπακούουσιν Mt 8:27
The winds and the sea obey him

593.3 πέποιθα (2. perf. and pluperf. act.), trust in, depend on.

3g 5n+4
(12) πεποιθώς / τῇ ὑπακουῇ σου . . . Philemon 21
Confident of your obedience

Note: πέποιθα is also followed by ἔv τινι, ἐπί τινι or τινα, εἴς τινα (s. Bl-D §187 (6)).

Verbs of following, obeying comprise only a small sample of verbs taking a dative object, sometimes in addition to an accusative object and/or an object introduced by a preposition. A fuller list and details will be found in Bl-D §§187, 188, 193.

Verbs Taking a Genitive Object

594. Just as some verbs take a dative object in type III sentences, some verbs may take an object in the genitive case. The genitive is often employed where only a part of the whole denoted by the object is involved, e.g. to touch someone or something (one touches a part of the whole), or where the object denotes the source, e.g., to hear someone (the speaker is the source of the words heard). In refined Greek the difference between an accusative and a genitive object provides the basis for fine nuances, e.g. to remember something (as a whole) requires an accusative of the object, but to remember something (about someone or something) takes the genitive. Such fine distinctions have been lost to a large extent in colloquial hellenistic Greek and the genitive (and dative) cases with certain verbs are retained to a certain extent as a habit of language.

595. ακούω, hear, listen to, is a common verb manifesting a wide range of constructions (cf. πιστεύω, §591).

595.1 ἀκούω may appear in a typical S-III with an accusative object of the thing:

2-1 4n+
(1) ἀκούσατε / τοὺς λόγους τούτους Acts 2:22
hear (imperative) these words!

Since ἀκούω is a transitive verb taking a direct object, it is subject to a passive transformation (IIIP; §508.3):

1n p5n 2pass
(2) φωνὴ / ἐν Ῥαμὰ / ἠκούσθη Mt 2:18
A voice was heard in Ramah

595.2 In accordance with good classical usage, ἀκούω takes a genitive object of the person (the source of what is heard):

1n+ 2 6d4 A
(3) ὁ πολὺς ὄχλος / ἤκουεν / αὐτοῦ / ἡδέως Mk 12:37
The great throng heard him gladly

595.3 Sentences (1) and (3) indicate that ἀκούω takes an accusative object of the thing but a genitive object of the person. However, ἀκούω — not always in accordance with classical usage (Bl-D §173) -- sometimes takes a genitive object of the thing:

1d 6b 2 6n+4
(4) εάν] τίς / μου / άκούσῃ / τῶν βημάτων Jn 12:47
If] any one hears my words

Note: 6b is a possessive pronoun going with the word group 6n+.

595.4 The accusative object of (1) and the genitive object of (3) may be combined in a single sentence:

4d 2-1 6b
(5) τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν . . .] ἣν / ἠκούσατέ / μου Acts 1:4
he promise . . .] which you heard from me

(5) shows that the gen. of person, when ἀκούω is strictly a verb of perception, is dependent upon a deleted object in the acc. case. For example, (3) may be interpreted to mean:

The great throng heard his (teaching) gladly

i.e. they listened to his words. This is confirmed by agnate (§592.2) constructions with preposition (§595.6). However, ακούω may be used in a slightly different sense in which the genitive appears to be the only and immediate object:

595.5 ἀκούω, listen to, obey

2-1 6d4
(6) ἀκούετε / αὐτοῦ Mt 17:5
Listen to him!

i.e. obey him.

In (6) ἀκούω is not a verb of perception.

The gen. obj. of (3) is therefore to be distinguished from the gen. obj. of (6). Strictly speaking, only the latter should be marked with a small, raised 4 (§592.3); the former may be so marked (when the ace. obj. is not expressed, cf. (5)), provided the distinction is kept in mind.

595.6 The genitive object of (5) — but not that of (6) — may be introduced by a preposition (παρά, ἀπό).

                              4d 2-1 p6n+
(7)   τὴν ἀλήθειαν . . . ] ἥν / ἥκουσα / παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ Jn 8:40
  The truth . . .] which I heard from God    
                     4d 2-1 p6n+  
(8)   ἡ ἀγγελία] ἥν / ἀκηκόαμεν / ἀπ' ἀυτοῦ 1 Jn 1:15
  The message] which we have heard from him

Note: ἔκ τινος is also found.

595.7 The genitive object of person (3) may be followed by a (genitive) participle of a verb of saying:

2 1n+ 6d              6g
(9) καὶ) ἤκουσαν / οἱ δύο μαθηταὶ / αὐτοῦ / λαλοῦντος Jn 1:37
And] the two disciples heard him speaking

See §584 for the supplementary participle with verbs of perception.

595.8 ἀκούω, like πιστεύω (§591.7), may take an included dependent sentence as object, which does not, of course, show case.

2 1n s4
(10) ἤκουεν / Ἰησοῦς / ὁτι ἐξέβαλον αὐτόν Jn 9:35
Jesus heard that they had cast him out

This form of S-III with ἀκούω is also subject to a passive transformation (cf. §595.1):

2pass 1s
(11) ἠκούσθη / ὅτι ἐν οἴκῳ ἐστίν Mk 2:1
It was heard that he was at home

Literally, that he is at home was heard.

595.9 (10) and (11) are examples of reported statements. They may be understood as reported directly: Jesus heard, "They have expelled him", or indirectly: Jesus heard that they had expelled him". Greek permits the retention of the original tense in indirect statements, where English requires that the tense of the indirect form follow the tense of the introductory verb (cf. the two forms above). If (10) and (11) are taken to be indirectly reported statements, then two other agnate (§592.2) constructions are possible with ἀκούω, i.e. different grammatical structures expressing the same grammatical relations.

The first is ἀκούω followed by a participle with its own subject in the accusative (§585.7):

3g 1n 4g 4n          6g
(12) ἀκούσας [δὲ] Ἰακὼβ / ὄντα / σιτία / εἰς xΑἴγυπτον ... Acts 7:12
When Jacob heard that there was grain in Egypt ...

The second is ἀκούω followed by an infinitive with its own subject in the accusative (s. §585):

2-1 4d 4d i                        4n+
(13) ἤκουσαν / τοῦτο / αὐτὸν / πεποιηκέναι / τὸ σημεῖον Jn 12:18
They heard that he had done this sign

Note: 4d (τοῦτο) + 4n+ is the object of i; 4d (αὐτόν) is the subject of i.

(12) and (13) are thus ways of reporting statements indirectly that differ structurally from (10) but express the same grammatical relationships.

596. The genitive object with verbs of sensation. Closely related to verbs of perception, like ἀκούω, are verbs of sensation (e.g. to touch) , and verbs meaning to eat of, remember, rule.

596.1 ἅπτομαι, touch, take hold of, with gen. object:

3g+ 2-1 6d4
(14) ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα / ἥψατο / αὐτοῦ Mt 8:3
Stretching out his hand he touched him

Compare ἐπιλαμβάνομαι, take hold of, grasp:

1n+ 3g+ 2                   6d4
(15) ὁ Ἰησοῦς / ἐκτείνας τὴν χεῖρα / ἐπελάβετο / αὐτοῦ Mt 14:31
Jesus stretched out his hand and caught him

Bl-D §170 for a full list and details.

596.2 γεύομαι, take, partake of, with gen. object:

  1d               2            6n+4  
(16) οὐδεὶς / . . . γεύσεται / μου τοῦ δείπνου Lk 14:24
  No one . . . shall have a taste of my banquet  

Bl-D §169.

596.3 μιμνῄσκομαι, remember, also with gen. object:

2-1 6n+4
(17) ἐμνήσθην [δὲ] / τοῦ ῥήματος τοῦ κυρίου Acts 11:16
I remembered the word of the Lord

Bl-D §175.

596.4 κυριεύω, rule, master someone, something (gen.):

1n 6d4 A 2
(18) θάνατος / αὐτοῦ / οὐκέτι / κυριεύει Rom 6:9
Death no longer has dominion over him

Bl-D §177.

Verbs taking the genitive are discussed in Bl-D §§169-181, although genitives other than the genitive of object are included indiscriminately.

597. Summary. The agnate constructions discussed and illustrated in §§591-596 reveal that the direct object in S-III may be signaled not only by the accusative case, but also by:

the dative case
the genitive case
an oblique case introduced by a preposition

The simple accusative case in the predicate more often than not will signal the direct object. Nevertheless, some verbs permit agnate constructions. The recognition of such agnate constructions depends upon acquaintance with the range of possibilities and specific verbs.