Re: pronoun/antecedent agreement

From: Stephen C Carlson (
Date: Wed Jun 05 1996 - 17:09:37 EDT


I went back through the archives to see what the discussion was. You
apparently had felt that in Romans 8:27, the Holy Spirit cannot be the
subject of the verb ENTUGXANEI, because the words TOU PNEUMATOS, also
in the verse, are in the genitive, and a genitive is not the subject of
a finite verb.

The problem with your analysis is that hOTI KATA QEON ENTUGXANEI hUPER
hAGIWN is in its own clause, so the case of any word outside of the clause
is completely irrelevant. Case marks the usage of a noun/substantive/
adjective/etc. *within* a clause. Since TOU PNEUMATOS is not found in
the clause of which ENTUGXANEI is the verb, its case is irrelevant to
any grammatical analysis of ENTUGXANEI and its subject.

What does grammar tells us about the subject of ENTUGXANEI? Only that
its subject is third person singular. If a subject was expressed
in that clause, it must be in the nominative, but no word in that clause
qualifies. Therefore, the subject is not expressed, but implicit. So
according to the rules of grammar, the only restriction is that its
antecedent must be singular (and even then this restriction has its
exceptions). For reasons already given, the Holy Spirit (as a
referent) is the implicit subject of the verb, ENTUGXANEI. The fact
that a genitive form of it appears in an other clause (even though in
the same verse) is completely irrelevant, just as the fact that the
Holy Spirit is genitive in Mt1:20 irrelevant to what the subject of
ENTUGXANEI in Rm8:27 is.

So, to answer your questions from a while ago: The fact that TOU
PNEUMATA is in the genitive in *another, distinct clause* is absolutely
irrelevant to the question whether the Holy Spirit is the subject of
the verb ENTUGXANEI in Rm8:27.

Stephen Carlson

Stephen C. Carlson, George Mason University School of Law, Patent Track, 4LE              : Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs     : chant the words.  -- Shujing 2.35

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