Re: Adjectival AUTOS (was Rom 2:3)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Sep 28 1996 - 14:52:43 EDT

At 12:59 PM -0500 9/28/96, Dale M. Wheeler wrote:

>. . . but I do find the
>discussions in BAGD, sv, "AUTOS," 1.h. and 2.
>interesting in this regard, for they indicate that it
>is possible to translate the pronomial use of AUTOS as
>"same" when it takes on a demonstrative force, though
>I still can't find any examples when it fits the
>criteria above.
>On a related topic, how do you all feel about Luke's
>anarthrous use of AUTOS modifying an articular noun
>and apparently necessitating the translation "same"
>(Luke 2:38; 10:7, 21; 12:12; 13:31; 20:19; 23:12;
>24:13, 33; Acts 16:18; 22:13). L&S (sv, "AUTON" I.11.)
>seems to think that they are adjectival, just, as
>they put it, a substitution of AUTOS for hO AUTOS.
>However BDF #288(2) and BAGD (sv, "AUTON"," 1.h., 2)
>classify theses are normal examples of the Pronoun
>taking on the anaphoric sense of hOUTOS or AUTOS hOUTOS,
>with the resultant meaning of "very" or "this/that very",
>which in English could be rendered by "the same..."

I don't understand this at all; in fact, I don't understand referring to
AUTOS/AUTH/AUTO as an adjective in any instance whatsoever. Maybe I'm just
too much inclined to the historical perspective, but when a neuter nom. &
acc. has the -O termination, I'd say it's a pronoun rather than an
adjective--and I'd say that for the article as well, which is a weak
pronoun in origin and which continues to function as a pronoun in the
common resumptive function in Koine (hO DE ...).

These usages all seem to me to fall under the general rule normally taught
regarding AUTOS in Attic Greek. I learned them and I teach them--even to
students not knowing Latin--as AUTOS "Ipse," AUTOS "Idem," and AUTOS
"Is"--the first being the intensive pronoun always used in a predicative
position, the second being equative and always used in an attributive
position, and the third being the 3rd person pronoun, used in Attic only in
cases other than the nominative but in later Greek also in the nominative.
After checking each of the above instances of AUTHi THi WRAi and AUTHi THi
hHMERAi in the above passages in Luke and Acts, I don't see anything
exceptional about any of them (at least from the standpoint of classical
Attic grammar); each of them is adequately translated "at the very hour" or
"on the very day," although one might prefer to say "at that very hour" or
"on that very day"--IPSA HORA, IPSO DIE--or EA IPSA HORA, EO IPSO DIE.
More awkward would be "at the selfsame hour," "on the selfsame day." But
these instances all seem to me to be straightforward examples of the
intensive sense of AUTOS--what I'd call AUTOS "Ipse." But maybe I'm missing
something from the statement of the problem.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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