Re: Romans 1:20 apo ktisews kosmou tois poihmasin *nooumena* *kaqoratai*

From: Jonathan Robie (
Date: Sat Mar 01 1997 - 23:02:31 EST

H. Fred Nofer (
Sat, 01 Mar 1997 18:07:01 EST

> Jonathan, I understand your dilemma as the word order would seem somewhat
> convoluted and maybe the following observations may be a help: 1)
> NOOUMENA is a pres. part. neut. plural, as you surmized, and as a
> participle, would not have a subject; and 2) as Mr. Vincent indicated,
> neut. plurals may take singular verbs, i.e. the KAQORATAI.
> A possible translation might be: "For his invisible things from the
> creation of the world, being understood by the things which were made,
> are clearly seen." Because of the word order and word choice, the
> dramatic contrasts in concepts (the AORATA from A-ORAW, the A privitive
> negating that which is seen, with the KATA-ORAW, the KATA strengthening
> the seeing.) in the verse are emphasized.

I like this last comment, about A-ORAW and KATA-ORAW. I had missed that
entirely (forests and trees, you know).

But I'm still confused - since this is my native state, it no longer
bothers me, but I'll keep asking questions anyways-first off, Smyth's
Greek Grammar talks about participles agreeing with a subject, at
least if they are circumstantial participles, e.g.:

2056. The subject of the participle is identical with the noun or
pronoun subject or object of the leading verb, and agrees with it
in gender, number, and case.

Now NOOUMENA does not agree with TOIS POIHMASIN in case, but there
is a big fat nominative plural neuter at the front of all this:
TA AORATA. So I'm tempted to treat this as a circumstantial
participle, where the leading verb is KAQORATAI, in which case
both verbs would take TA AORATA as the subject, and NOOUMENA
would convey either cause or time ("when they are considered...").

So how about something like:

"The invisible things of God - since the creation of the world,
by means of the things created - when they are considered, are
clearly seen."

Or if I shuffle the clauses around a little:

"Ever since the beginning of the world, by means of the things
created, the invisible things of God are clearly seen when
they are considered: namely, his eternal power and divine

This would only work, though, if the following section from Smyth
applies to finite verbs, but not to participles:

958. A neuter plural subject is regarded as a collective (996), and has its
verb in the singular: KALA HN TA SFAGIA "the sacrifices were propitious"

Does anybody know if this applies to participles as well? I'm guessing
that a circumstantial participle for a neuter plural noun is plural,
but the leading verb is singular (although today someone told me
privately that not all writers make the leading verb singular).

Am I on the right track, or headed further into the bushes?


Jonathan Robie
POET Software, 3207 Gibson Road, Durham, N.C., 27703
Ph: 919.598.5728 Fax: 919.598.6728
email:, <--- shockwave enabled!

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:08 EDT