Re: hWN in Acts 1:1

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Oct 30 1996 - 00:10:38 EST

At 6:13 PM -0600 10/29/96, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>I'm still not sure, however, whether Carl sees this as a settled fact, based
>on his prior message. I seem to recall something about foxes sneaking in and
>spoiling the vineyards...

Well, that was while Carlton was explaining the construction in one way and
I was explaining it another. I don't really want to repeat all that
verbiage, but--assuming that Carlton is still reading this stuff--I want to
say to him that I will agree with what he says about the genitive case and
those prepositions, such as PERI PANTWN hWN--that one might understand
these genitives as "adverbial" in the sense that the phrase consisting of
prep. + genitive is adverbial. Where I think I am still at odds with him,
however, is any of those sentences he listed where he might still want to
understand the hWN as an object of the preposition rather than as a
relative pronoun functioning within the subordinate relative clause,
whether standing for an accusative or for a nominative, or for some other
type of complement to the subordinate predicate. There was one sentence
wherein the antecedent was "absorbed" into the relative pronoun and
appeared to be the object of PERI, but I think we ought to understand this
as an ellipsis of the antecedent, as in "I know what you mean"--the "what"
stands for "that which," and "that" is the object of "I know" while "which"
is the object of "I mean."

>> In summary, Jesus began what? To do and to teach. He did and taught
>> what? The things represented by hWN. It seems quite obvious that the
>> pronoun is the object of the infinitives, attracted from the
>> accusative to agree with the genitive antecedent. Why jump through
>> grammatical hoops when there is such a straightforward explanation?
>This is very clear and helpful. I've checked it off for now -- but I did
>it in
>pencil since I'm not sure to what extent Carl sees this as a settled issue.

I'm satisfied, for my part; I'm not sure that Carlton is yet. We gotta get
this vineyard back in shape!

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

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