Re: Grammatical query

From: Micheal Palmer (
Date: Sat Mar 01 1997 - 23:37:01 EST

At 12:48 AM -0600 3/1/97, Ronald Ross wrote:
>Infinitives with accusative subjects are common enough in a lot of
>languages (even in English). But today I came across the following in
>Acts 4.13:
>Here the accusative subject AUTOUS is construed with the FINITE verb
>Is this a hybrid construction, a sort of 'lapsus' on the part of the
>writer in which he starts with one construction in mind and then
>switches to another in midstream?

AUTOUS is accusative because of its relationship to EPEGINWSKON. This may
seem a little odd because of a difference between the Greek verb EPIGINWSKW
and the English verbs "to know" and "to [come to] understand".

If we say "I know you" (with "you" as direct object), we mean "I know who
you are," or "I have met you before." I Greek, however, an object can be
stated for EPIGINWSKW with a quite different implication. It can be much
more like "I know [something] ABOUT YOU" or "I know [something] CONCERNING
YOU." The SOMETHING may be expressed by an OTI clause as it is in Acts 4:13.

Acts 4:13 uses AUTOUS in relation to EPEGINWSKON in just this way:

        They came to know CONCERNING THEM, that they were with Jesus.

While we do use "they" as the subject of "were" in our English
translations, we should not construe AUTOUS as the subject of HSAN in Greek.

Micheal W. Palmer
Religion & Philosophy
Meredith College

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