Lesson 48: Nominal Word Clusters/Complex


Complex Clusters with a Noun as Head Term

695.1 The second type of nominal word cluster (§685.2) incorporates at least two subclusters, the syntactical relationship between or among which is usually signaled by a difference in case (gender, number).

695.2 The predominant type of modification structure consists of a nominal word or cluster (with all terms in agreement), to which the syntactical relationship of a second nominal word or cluster is signaled by the genitive case. For example,

(1) ἡ μαρτυρία / τοῦ Ἰωάννου Jn 1:19
the testimony of John

contains two subclusters, ἡ μαρτυρία and τοῦ Ἰωάννου. The first is the head cluster. The second "modifies" or "qualifies" the first (in grammatical parlance, an attributive). The way in which the second modifies the first is indicated by the genitive case. Broadly speaking, the genitive is the of case: The testimony of John, in this instance, the testimony that John gave. The range of meanings signaled by the genitive case is indicated in §§0888-890.

The terms of each subcluster are in agreement. Each subcluster therefore represents the first type of nominal cluster (§§686ff.). This means that, theoretically, any cluster of the first type may appear in either first or second position.

695.3 The nominal cluster given as (1) may be represented schematically as t-n/t-n6, where t-n stands for any article and noun in agreement, and t-n6 represents any article and noun in the genitive case; the slash (/) represents a cut between the head cluster and the attributive genitive cluster.

695.4 A head cluster t-n may be modified by a word group initiated by a preposition:

(2) οἱ ἱερεῖς / ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ Mt 12:5
the priests in the temple

A difference in case between the head and attributive cluster is also involved here. In this instance a locative dative is specified by the preposition ἐν. This cluster may be schematically represented as t-n/p-t-n5.

695.5 Another type of modification structure involves the simple dative:

(3) εἰς μαρτύριον / αὐτοῖς Mk 1:44
for a witness to them

The dative with the noun corresponds to the dative with the verb: μαρτυρέω τινι, bear witness to someone. This structure may be schematically represented as p-n4/d5.

695.6 Examples (1)-(3) are n-clusters: The head term (3) or the head term of the head cluster (1), (2) is a noun (n). In each case, in addition, there is a modifying word or word group, the modification structure of which is signaled by a difference in case.

There are thus at least three types of modification structure involving n+ clusters:

(a) With an attributive genitive
(b) With an attributive p-cluster
(c) With an attributive dative

695.7 The (a) type of modification structure calls for further subdivision. The attributive genitive in example (1) is a cluster headed by a noun (n), and is therefore also an n+ group. The attributive genitive, however, is more commonly the genitive of a personal pronoun (b). In addition, there is a small category combining a genitive n-cluster and a genitive personal pronoun. The last contains three subclusters rather than two, of which the third (syntactically, not necessarily the third in order) modifies the second, and the second modifies the first. The three categories may be schematically sketched as follows:

(a.1) t-n/b6
(a.2) t-n/t-n6
(a. 3) t-n <- t-n6 <- b6

The patterns of modification structure involving n+ clusters or nouns as heads and a difference in case may now be illustrated in detail.

(a) Noun Clusters with an Attributive Genitive

696. The cluster t-n/b6 is illustrated by:

(2) ὁ πατὴρ / ἡμῶν Jn 8:39
our father

where it appears as the subject of S-II. The head subcluster is therefore in the nominative case. The head subcluster may, however, appear in other cases:

(3) τὸν πατέρα / μου Jn 8:19
my father
(4) τοῖς ὀφειλέταις / ἡμῶν Mt 6:12
our debtors

Including those governed by a preposition:

(5) εἰς τὸν οἶκον / αὐτοῦ Lk 18:14
into his house
(6) ἐν τῇ ἁμαρτία / ὑμῶν Jn 8:21
in your sin
(7) περὶ τοῦ καθαρισμοῦ / σου Lk 5:14
for your cleansing

696.1 Notice that in (7) the case of the head cluster is genitive also. The identical cases need not lead to confusion, however, since σου is a pronoun (not an adjective), and thus not designed to agree with a nominal head in gender, number, and case (§§012.2, 255.1). Of more immediate significance is the structural model offered by examples (1)-(6): The reader will seize (7) as a cluster with the same structure as the preceding examples, in spite of the identity in case. The cluster t-n/b6 is exceedingly common.

696.2 One may alter the composition of the head subcluster without affecting the structure of the whole cluster:

(8) μαθηταί / μου Jn 8:31
my disciples
(9) σὺν παντὶ τῷ οἴκῳ / αὐτοῦ Acts 10:2
with all his household

696.3 One may alter the order of the subclusters (and the composition of the head subcluster) without affecting the structure of the whole:

(10) αὐτοῦ / τὸν λόγον 1 Jn 2:5
his word
(11) τοῖς / ἐκείνου / γράμμασιν Jn 5:47
his writings
(12) αὐτοῦ / λόγου Lk 20:20
his word
(13) ὁ πατὴρ / ὑμῶν / ὁ οὐράνιος Mt 6:14
your heavenly father
(14) ἐν τῷ θνητῷ / ὑμῶν / σώματι Rom 6:12
in your mortal body

696.4 Examples (10)-(14) show that the genitive pronoun may come before or appear in the midst of the head subcluster. The alteration in word order does not alter the structure, except that, perhaps, in certain instances, a modest shift in emphasis is indicated (Bl-D §284).

697. What was sketched in §696 regarding the cluster t-n/b6 can be virtually repeated for the cluster t-n/t-n6, except that one must also reckon with the modification of the second (dependent) subcluster also.

697.1 The cluster t-n/t-n6 is illustrated by:

(15) ὁ λόγος / τοῦ θεοῦ 1 Jn 2:14
the word of God
(16) τὸν υἱὸν / τοῦ ἀνθρώπου Jn 8:28
the son of man
(17) τοῦ ῥήματος / τοῦ κυρίου Acts 11:16
the Word of the lord
(18) ἐν τῇ σοφίᾳ / τοῦ θεοῦ 1 Cor 1:21
in the wisdom of God

697.2 One may modify the composition of the first and/or second subcluster without affecting the structure of the whole:

(19) τέκνα / τοῦ Ἀβραάμ Jn 8:39
children of Abraham

Note: Ἀβραάμ is indeclinable, but its case is signaled by τοῦ.

(20) ἐκ τῆς πόλεως / Ἀνδρέου καὶ Πέτρου Jn 1:44
out of the city of Andrew and Peter
(21) ἐν καινότητι / ζωῆς Rom 6:4
in newness of life

697.3 One may alter the order of the subclusters (and their composition) without affecting the structure of the whole:

(22) τὸν / Στεφανᾶ / οἶκον 1 Cor 1:16
the household of Stephanas

Note: For the declension of Στεφανᾶς, s. §133.

(23) Χριστοῦ / δοῦλος Gal 1:10
a servant of Christ

697.4 That the second subcluster (in the genitive) stands in an attributive relation to the first may be indicated by the repetition of the article, on the analogy of t-n-t-a (§687.5):

(24) ὁ λόγος [γὰρ] / ὁ τοῦ σταυροῦ 1 Cor 1:18
the word of the cross

697.5 The order t-n/t-n6 (with variations in the composition of the component parts) is by far the most common. The order t-/t-n6/n appears occasionally. The other variations on order are rare. Cf. Bl-D §271.

698. A nominal word cluster with two attributive genitives, one of the personal pronoun (b6), the other of the type t-n6, is found occasionally:

(25) τὰ ἔργα / τοῦ πατρὸς / ὑμῶν Jn 8:41
the works of your father
(26) ἐκ κουλίας / μητρός / μου Gal 1:15
out of the womb of my mother

The order may of course be varied:

(27) αὐτοῦ / τὸν ἱμάντα / τοῦ ὑποδήματος Jn 1:27
the thong of his sandal
(28) τὸν / τῆς παροικίας / ὑμῶν / χρόνον 1 Pt 1:17
the time of your exile

In these clusters, b6 modifies t-n6, while t-n6 modifies the head cluster.

6980. The complex cluster with an attributive p-cluster, referred to in §695.4 and analyzed in §699, will be frequently represented in any Greek text of length, and in a variety of grammatical -functions in the sentence. As indicated, the stock structures are t-n/b6 and t-n/t-n6, with variations in composition and occasionally in order. The student should learn to seize clusters such as those represented by (1) and (2) as wholes and at a glance. The ability to "read off" such structures without deliberate analysis will greatly increase reading speed and comprehension.

(b) Noun Clusters with an Attributive p-Cluster

699.1 Attributive p-clusters often appear in predicate position (§684.3):

(1) oἱ ἱερεῖς / ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ Mt 12:5
the priests in the temple
(2) ὁ λόγος / περὶ αὐτοῦ Lk 5:15
the report concerning him

699.2 The head may of course be anarthrous:

(3) ἀνὴρ / πλήρης λέπρας Lk 5:12
a man full of leprosy
(4) ἦχος / περὶ αὐτοῦ Lk 4:37
news about him

699.3 Attributive p-clusters also appear, though less often, in second attributive position (§684.2):

(5) τοὺς προφήτας / τοὺς πρὸ ὑμῶν Mt 5:12
the prophets before you

699.4 Attributive p-clusters appear occasionally in first attributive position (§684.2):

(6) πρὸς τοὺς / πρὸ ἐμοῦ / ἀποστόλους Gal 1:17
to the apostles before me

699.5 And occasionally in third attributive position (§684.2)

(7) Ἰησοῦν / τὸν ἀπὸ Ναζαρέθ Acts 10:38
Jesus, the (one) from Nazareth

699.6 Slightly more complex nominal word groups (n+ clusters) incorporating an attributive p-cluster are not unknown. The following illustrate the range of possibilities.

(8) τὴν δόξαν / τὴν παρὰ τοῦ μόνου θεοῦ Jn 5:44
the glory from the only God
(9) τὴν ἐμὴν ἀναστροφήν / ποτε / ἐν τῷ Ἰουδαϊσμῷ Gal 1:13
my former conduct in Judaism
(10) ὁ πατὴρ / ὑμῶν / ὁ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς Mk 11:25
your heavenly father
(11) ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις / τῆς Ἰουδαίας / ταῖς ἐν Χριστῷ Gal 1:22
to the churches of Judea in Christ
(12) τὸ θέλημα / τοῦ πατρός / μου / τοῦ ἐν τοῖς οὐρανοῖς Mt 7:21
the will of my father in heaven

Examples (8), (10), (11), (12) have attributive p-clusters in second attributive position. The modifying cluster in (8) follows the pattern (p-) t-a-n (§687.4). (10) and (11) have attributive genitives intervening between the head subcluster and the p-cluster (cf. §§696, 697); (12) has two attributive genitives intervening (cf. §698). (9) is comprised of a head subcluster with the pattern t-a-n, an attributive adverb, and a p-cluster in predicate position.

With three items (attributive adverb, p-cluster, genitive) in first attributive position, note:

(13) ταῖς / πρότερον / ἐν τῇ ἀγνοίᾳ / ὑμῶν / ἐπιθυμίαις 1 Pet 1:14
to the passions of your former ignorance

Structures like (13) are rare.

6990. Noun clusters with an attributive dative (§695.5) are relatively rare. They may be considered along with adjective clusters (a+) with an attributive dative (§703), which are more common.

Complex Clusters with an Adjective as Head Term

700. Complex adjective clusters may be considered next, owing to their overall similarity to noun clusters. To describe adjective clusters in full would be to repeat the description of noun clusters (§§695-6990), for the most part. We may therefore confine ourselves to illustration, elaborating only where adjective clusters call for special notice.

701. Adjective clusters with an attributive genitive follow the patterns of noun clusters.

701.1 With an attributive genitive of a personal pronoun:

(1) αὐτοῦ / ἡ λέπρα Mt 8:3
his leprosy

701.2 With an attributive genitive of an n+ group or single noun:

(2) τὰ τετράποδα / τῆς γῆς Acts 11:6
the fourfooted (animals) of the earth
(3) ἐν δεξιᾷ / τοῦ θεοῦ Col 3:1
at the right (hand) of God
(4) τὴν ὁδὸν / κυρίου Jn 1:23
the way of the lord
(5) ἐν μέσῳ / ἐκκλησίας Heb 2:12
in the midst of the congregation

701.3 With an attributive p-cluster in predicate position:

(6) σοφοὶ / κατὰ σάρκα 1 Cor 1:26
wise accordingly to the flesh (i.e., worldly standards)

In first attributive position:

(7) oἱ / ἐκ περιτομῆς / πιστοί Acts 10:45
The faithful among the circumcised

With both:

(8) τοὺς / δι' αὐτοῦ / πιστοὺς / εἰς θεόν 1 Pet 1:21
the faithful to God on his account

702. The comparative degree of adjectives (§§240-2451) is sometimes followed by the genitive, which indicates the object of comparison:

(9) σοφώτερον / τῶν ἀνθρώπων
ἰσχυρότερον / τῶν ἀνθρώπων 1 Cor 1:25
(is) wiser than men
(is) stronger than men
(10) τοῦ ἰεροῦ / μεῖζον Mt 12:6
greater than the temple

To distinguish these genitives from the attributive genitives discussed in §701, the structure may be designated ac/t-n6 (the raised (c) indicates the comparative degree).

703. Adjective clusters with an attributive dative fall into a number of categories, depending on what the dative specifies. For convenience, noun clusters are also included here (§6990).

703.1 The dative may be a dative of respect (denoting the respect in which the attribution applies):

(11) oἱ πτωχοὶ / τῷ πνεύματι Mt 5:3
The poor in spirit (i.e., poor with respect to spirit)
(12) νεκροὺς [μὲν] / τῇ ἁμαρτίᾳ Rom 6:11
dead to sin (i.e., dead with respect to sin)

703.2 The dative may be analogous to the dative used with the corresponding verbs:

(13) εἰς μαρτύριον / αὐτοῖς (μαρτυρέω τινί) Mk 1:44
for a witness to them
(14) τὰ ἀρεστὰ / αὐτῷ (ἀρέσκω τινί) Jn 8:29
the (things) pleasing to him
(15) ὅμοιος / ὑμῖν (ὁμοιόω τινί) Jn 8:55
like you

Complex Clusters with a Pronominal Adjective as Head Term

704. Clusters with a pronominal adjective (determiner) as the head term of the head subcluster may be divided into two categories: the article functions as the grammatical head of a variety of clusters, some of which are peculiar to the article; other pronominal adjectives serve as heads of related clusters.

705. Clusters with the article as head.

705.1 The article with an attributive genitive:

(1) τὰ / τοῦ θεοῦ Mk 12:17
the (things) of God
(2) τὰ / Καίσαρος Mk 12:17
the (things) of Caesar

Note: It is often necessary to supply a generalized noun (e.g. thing) with a solitary article head when translating into English. In some cases a more particularized noun can be supplied.

705.2 The article with an attributive p-cluster:

(3) τὰ / ἐν τῷ κόσμῷ 1 Jn 2:15
the (things) Ίη the world
(4) τοῖς / μετ' αὐτοῦ Lk 6:4
to the (ones) with him
(5) oἱ / ἐκ περιτομῆς Acts 11:2
the (ones) out of the circumcision
(6) τὰ / ἐν αὐτῷ Rev 10:6
the (things) in it

705.3 The article with an attributive adverb:

(7) τοῖς / ἐκεῖ Mt 26:71
to the (ones) there
(8) τῇ / ἐπαύριον Jn 1:29
on the morrow
(9) ἐκ τῶν / κάτω Jn 8:23
from the nether (regions)

Note: Cf. §699 (9), (13) for clusters with attributive adverbs.

705.4 Some adverbs approach the status of an indeclinable noun when used with the article:

(10) εἰς τὸ πέραν Mk 4:35
to the other side
πέραν is an adv. of place: beyond, on the other side
(11) τὸν πλησίον σου Mt 5:43
your neighbor (lit., the one near you)

705.5 The article may itself be modified by another d-word:

(12) πᾶν τὸ / ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ 1 Jn 2:16
everything in the world

706. Clusters with a d-word other than the article as head.

706.1 Determiners with an attributive genitive, usually a partitive genitive (§888.3):

(13) ἕκαστος / ὑμῶν 1 Cor 1:12
each of you
(14) ἕτερον [δὲ] / τῶν ἀποστόλων Gal 1:19
another of the apostles
(15) ἐν μιᾷ / τῶν πόλεων Lk 5:12
in one of the cities

Cf. §685.2 (2) for an example with τινές

706.2 Determiners with an attributive p-cluster often correspond to d-words with a partitive genitive (§706.1):

(16) τίς / ἐξ ὑμῶν Jn 8:46
Who among you