Php 2:6

From: Al Kidd (
Date: Tue Jun 25 1996 - 08:46:38 EDT

   Blass-Debrunner-Funk (BDF) in sec. 399 (pp. 205-6) points out the
semantic effect of anaphora for the articular infinitive at Php 2:6:

            399. The nominative and accusative of the
            substantivized infinitive (without preposition)
            . . . In general the anaphoric significance of
            the article, i.e., its reference to something
            previously mentioned or otherwise well known, is
            more or less evident. Without this anaphoric
            reference, an infinitive as subject or object is
            usually anarthrous.... [F]or concepts already
            discussed[, see] . . . Ph 2:6."

    BDF does not present us with Php 2:6 as an example of where we have a
certain kind of pairing of accusatives that does often occur elsewhere,
however, and which pairing we may refer to as '(1) an infinitive's
accusative of the subject and (2) its accusative of the object/predicate.'
Neither does Jeffrey T. Reed in his detailed analysis of 'infinitives with
two substantival accusatives' (see below).

    At Php 2:6, do we not find a syntax that matches the syntax in the Greek
that matches Paul's own at Ro 14:13? At Ro 4:13 we read:

        " . . . TOUTO KRINATE . . . TO ME TITHENAI
                this judge you the not to be putting

        PROSKOMMA TOi ADELPHOi . . . "
        striking to the brother

We may render this as follows: " . . . make this your decision, not to put
before a brother a stumbling block . . . " Thus we see the anaphoric
(epexegetic) significance of the articulated infinitive (TO ME TITHENAI)
in the following rendering:

". . . , [namely,] not to put before a brother a stumbling block."

     Php 2:6 is syntactically like Ro 14:13, is it not? Its syntax is not
like that informing 1 Ti 6:5--

                inferring a means of gain to be the

                revering well

This we may render as ". . . thinking that godly devotion is a means of
gain" (NWT), this so that the rendering reflects the double accusatives
of the anarthrous, copulative infinitive. But we see that the first-
occurring accusative is not the subject; therefore, we have at 1 Ti 6:5
a marked word-order for the double accusative construction. What does
that mean? It is the unmarked word-order for double accusatives that
has the subject occurring before the accusative of the object/predicate.
The accusative of the predicate, however, occurring at 1 Ti 6:5 occurs
ahead of the accusative of the subject. Linguists call such a word-
order marked.

    In analyzing the marked word-order for an infinitive having two
accusatives, Jeffrey T. Reed, "The Infinitive With Two Substantival
Accusatives," Novum Testamentum (vol. 33, 1; Leiden, The Netherlands:
E.J. Brill, 1991) 17 affirms the finding of Lane McGaughy's work (Toward
a Descriptive Analysis of EINAI), and he quotes McGaughy's finding
pertinent to the marked word-order for the kind of syntax under
consideration--that which we have at 1 Ti 6:5: ""The word or word cluster
determined by an article is the subject . . . If both words or word
clusters are determined by an article [or not determined by an article],
the first one is the subject.""

    At 1 Ti 6:5, the subject is articulated so as to give indication that
it is the subject, that there is no ambiguity as to which accusative is the
subject and which accusative is the predicate. Should not the majority
of translators for Php 2:6 (those who see in it a double accusative
construction) have expected to find a syntax at Php 2:6 like that of 1
Ti 6:5?

   So, concerning the predicate adverb ISA at Php 2:6, does it not tell us
that if it were true that we should consider that "on an equality with
God" is the subject and HARPAGMON the predicate, then we should have had
indication for a marked word-order? And would not such a marked word-order
have meant an absence of articulation for the infinitive EINAI but an
articulation of >>ISA THEOi<< instead?

   Then why does Paul articulate it (EINAI) in Php 2:6? Does it not allow
us to see in its articulation an indication that the infinitive clause
refers back to HARPAGMON as a definition of the contents of the
HARPAGMON (seizure)?

   Really, ought we not to conclude that analysis of the grammar at Php
2:6 rules out a double accusative construction of the sort that would give
us "an equality with God" as the accusative of the subject? Again, does
not such a rendering expose the author of that rendering to the criticism
that he has ignored the fact that we find articulation of the infinitive
instead of a syntax for Paul's vocabulary which we should have found were
Paul employing >>ISA THEOi<< for the thought that Jesus was equal to God--
that we should have found Paul's articulation of >>ISA THEOi<< were he
intending us to see in it an accusative of the subject for the infinitive
EINAI? (Such articulation of the word cluster would have given us a
marked word-order for indication that >>TA ISA THEOi<< was the subject--
had Paul actually made it the subject, right?) So, are we not safe in
saying that 'equality with God' is not the subject of the articulated,
'preposition-less' copulative infinitive TO EINAI at Php 2:6? (As the
anarthrous phrase >>ISA THEOi<< stands in the text, it functions as the
infinitive's predicate adjective.)

   Considering all the above, may we not translate Php 2:6 something like
the following: "he gave thought to no usurpation, namely that he should be
equal to God"?

N.B. Please overlook the possibility that in your bringing my file over
from b-greek it may no longer align in good order underneath my
transliteration of
the Greek.

Al Kidd

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