From: Randy Leedy (RLEEDY@wpo.bju.edu)
Date: Thu May 16 1996 - 10:18:00 EDT
Marion Fox wrote:
>Have I been wrong to look for a nominative case noun, pronoun, etc.
>as the subject of these verbs?
If I understand what YOU mean by "subject," Marion, the answer is,
Yes, you have been wrong. You seem to be using the word "subject"
differently from how grammarians use it. What you are calling the
subject is actually the antecedent of the understood subject.
In the case in point, the element that satisfies your search for
something nominative is the personal ending on the verb. Since that
ending does not precisely identify the intercessor, you must search
the context further. BUT YOU'RE NO LONGER LOOKING FOR THE SUBJECT.
NOW YOU'RE LOOKING FOR THE ANTECEDENT OF THE UNDERSTOOD SUBJECT
(pronominal verb ending, if you will), WHICH CAN BE IN ANY CASE
Rather than continuing to argue about the verse in question, where
grammar and theology are getting confused, I think I can make my
point best with another example. Please look at Matthew 1:18 (I
simply opened my Greek Testament and looked for the first example I
could find; it's in the very first verse of actual narrative). Find
the verb hEUREQH (transliteration possibly in error) - "She was
found." What's the subject? Grammatically, the subject is unspecified
except for the personal ending of the verb (just like the Romans
passage). Now in this context, there can be no doubt about the
identify of the subject, right? But Mary is in the genitive case, in
apposition to MHTROS. Marion, are you going to argue that someone
other than Mary was found with child, since MARIAS does not agree in
case with the understood subject of the verb? If I understand your
argument regarding the Romans passage, this is precisely the corner
you are backing yourself into.
It seems to me that you're confusing the grammatical subject and the
logical subject. Grammatically, the subject of "intercedes" is
unspecified; i.e., there is no nominative-case word identifying it.
The logical subject (i.e., the person doing the interceding) can
appear in the context in any case whatsoever; its case will depend on
its usage in its own clause, not on its relationship to a "pronoun"
in another clause.
This started out to be a short response. I hope the ideas that drew
out its length are sufficiently helpful to justify my having
While I'm at it, I'll throw in that I agree both with Carlton Winbery
that the object of OIDEN is a clause and with you, Marion, that TI TO
FRONHMA can be accusative. If we supply EINAI instead of ESTIN as the
copula, then we can take TO FRONHMA as accusative of general
reference as TI as predicate accusative. But this does not really
bear on the main point at issue.
In Love to God and Neighbor,
Bob Jones University
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