Re: predicate adjectives

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 04 1997 - 08:35:15 EST

At 7:27 PM -0600 2/3/97, Paul F. Evans wrote:
>I feel like a minnow taunting a bass.
>Your understanding of the statement 2 Timothy 3:16 seems to hinge upon your
>perception of historical setting. It would seem to almost involve some
>circular reasoning. Probably the best that can be said about the grammar
>is that it may be ambiguous. However, please explain what you mean by the
>KAI being emphatic and why it is so. Also, as it bears on this text, what
>is evidence for such a late date of this epistle?

I really ought to let Edgar speak for himself, but it seems to me that by
declaring the date to which he assigns the work he has layed his cards
pretty clearly on the table, indicating that he accepts historical-critical
views of 2 Tim, according to which it is not authentically Pauline in
authorship and its concerns for right doctrine and institutional authority
"clearly" express concerns that belong to an era considerably later than
Paul was writing. Those concerns and stylistic differences are the primary
reasons for the late dating. Of course, those who believe the letter
authentically Pauline don't find those arguments convincing. However, IF
one goes with the early dating and authentic Pauline authorship, THEN
"scripture" in this passage can hardly refer to NT documents, inasmuch as
even the beginnings of a consensus on what is canonical for the NT comes
much later; the later dating DOES assume that "scripture" in this verse
refers to NT documents, even though what-all that includes has by no means
been resolved completely by that point.

As for the KAI being emphatic, the view Edgar espouses is evidently that
there is an implicit ESTI, that QEOPNEUSTOS is attributive with GRAFH, and
that KAI WFELIMOS PROS DIDASKALIAN KTL. is predicative; if one construes
the elements that way, then KAI is adverbial with the predicate of the
sentence: "All scripture (that is) divinely-inspired (is) also useful for
instruction etc." If, however, one reads QEOPNEUSTOS as predicative, then
KAI WFELIMOS KTL. will be additional to the predicate, and we read: "All
scripture (is) divinely-inspired and useful for ..." There's nothing in
the Greek text that points unambiguously in favor of either of these two
readings; since the ESTI is implied rather than expressed, there's no way
to be sure that one of those adjectives is attributive while the other is
predicative or that both adjectives are predicative.

In sum, I think it has to be admitted that this is one passage where one's
theological presuppositions are likely to govern one's preference regarding
construction of the words in the clause.

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

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