From: Wes C. Williams (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 14 1996 - 01:01:05 EDT
I'm re-thinking why anarthrous predicate nominatives sometimes precede
copulative verbs and sometimes follow. The various suggestions over the years
1) Definite anarthrous nouns precede copulatives (mostly) and indefinite after
2) Qualitative anarthrous nouns precede copulatives (mostly) and indefinite
3) Style of the writer independent of 1 and 2 above
4) Emphasis that the writer wished to stress independent of 1 and 2 above
My question is: "Is not the anarthrous predicate nominative preceeding the
copulative largely due to emphasis? And the idea of definite/ indefinite/
For example, one JBL article author stated the following:
"... a predicate noun in Greek is anarthrous when it indicates the category or
class of which the subject is a particular example. Thus when Mark, for
instance, writes, hE de gunE En hellEnis (7:26) , he means that the particular
woman was a Greek, although other women would belong to this category. " Here
the predicate nominative hellEnis follows the verb.
On the other hand,
Matthew 2:23 - hoti NazOraios klEthEsetai "(a) Nazarene he will be called"
Acts 22:27 - su hROmaios ei; "are you (a) Roman?"
Here the anarthrous predicate nominatives precede the copulative verbs.
All three examples taken together, I do not see a primary issue of indefinite/
definite. Perhaps an argument can be put forth for qualitativeness, but it
would also need to include the woman of Mark 7:26, no?
As for Matthew 2:23, Jesus was not qualitatively Nazarene, although he may have
been considered such. But in the context, with Joseph moving around from Egypt
to Judea (almost) and finally to Galilee, wouldn't the writer now wish to
emphatically stress WHY he wound up in Galilee? (A) NAZARENE (emphasis) he will
be called. And Acts 22:27, the nervous army officer asks "Are you (a) ROMAN
(emphasis)?" Whereas Mark may have had need to mention that the woman was (a)
Greek, but no need to emphatically stress that point.
My bottom-line question is: "To what extent does greek support the idea of
emphasis for predicate nominatives preceeding the copulative verb? Could this
be perhaps the primary purpose of placing it before the copulative rather than
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