Re: John 3:5 and the genetive

From: Adrian Popa (
Date: Sat Mar 15 1997 - 05:28:50 EST

Michael Palmer wrote:
> I apply the ambivalence to the whole phrase. Water birth represents
> the (1) first birth, (2) birth from below (each is the opposite of
> one of the senses of ANWQEN. Spirit birth represents the (1) second
> birth, (2) birth from above (each being one of the senses of ANWQEN.

We have started on this from the assumption that v. 3 parallels v. 5,
and that, therefore, ANWQEH corresponds to EX hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS.
You, however, understand this correspondece in the sense that
water-birth _is not_ ANWQEN while spirit-birth _is_ (i.e., EX hUDATOS is
the antonym of ANWQEN; [EX] PNEUMATOS is its synonym). But the
correspondence, in my view, doesn't work like that. I would submit
that the whole phrase EX hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS must be taken as
synonymous to ANWQEN, otherwise the only real connection is between
ANWQEN and [EX] PNEUMATOS. Why you take EX hUDATOS as the opposite of
ANWQEN is not very clear to me... But I shall insist no further on this

> This is a great example of a 'grammatical rule' developed to defend a
> particular interpretation of a number of texts. [I'm *not* saying that
> CARSON has done that, just that the supposed rule he appears to have
> cited is that kind of rule.] As far as I can tell, the supposed rule
> has no validity. Two anarthrous nouns governed by a single preposition
> do not have to refer to a single event/entity, although they sometimes
> do in fact refer to the same event/entity. What Carson MAY have in
> mind (I haven't read the work you refered to earlier) is the
> ARTICLE-NOUN-KAI-NOUN construction, to which Dan Wallace has devoted a
> considerable amount of research. Carson may think that
> REPOSITION-NOUN-KAI-NOUN should follow a similar logic. As far
> as I have been able to determine, there is no justification for this
> assumption.

I don't really know whether this is a "gramatical rule" or not. Nor, for
that matter, whether Carson held it -- or whether he rather had
Granville Sharp in mind. All I meant to say was that, if in their
repsective contexts, EX hUDATOS KAI PNEUMATOS can be shown to have the
sense of "one birth from two elements", and DI' hUDATOS KAI hAIMATOS the
sense of "one coming via two separate events", then the two may
legitimatey be compared.

Adrian Popa

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