From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Jan 29 1997 - 10:10:54 EST

At 8:51 AM -0600 1/29/97, Jonathan Robie wrote:
>Somebody must have stuck EIRHNHN in here just to confuse little Greeks like
>me. If I leave the word out, I can parse the sentence just fine, but if I
>put it back in, I have no idea where it fits in with the rest of the sentence.
>"Who shall free me from this body of syntax?"

Is this a prayer to God or a cry of deep distress to the grammarian?
Come now, let us reason together. Though your gaffes be as scarlet, so
shall your very face turn red.

You are probably supposing that POIWN agrees with KAINON ANQRWPON, but of
course it can't: it's nominative, and EIRHNHN is its object. With what,
then, does POIWN construe? Why, of course, with the subject of the verb
KTISHi, which agrees with the subject of KATARGHSAS, which agrees with the
subject of LUSAS and POIHSAS, which ultimately goes back to AUTOS at the
beginning of vs. 14. And AUTOS, of course, goes back to CRISTOU (or
CRISTWi, either one will do) in vs. 13. If the sentence didn't go on for
another whole verse and several more participial phrases, it could be
argued that there's either a nice chiasmus in the argumentative sequence or
a strained bit of logic: "He himself is our peace ... making peace ... " It
is ultimately intelligible, of course, but the writer cannot be faulted
with writing lucid Greek.

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

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