From: Michael R. Finney (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Sat May 17 1997 - 03:44:25 EDT
> TO GAR ADUNATON TOU NOMOU, EN hWi HSQENEI DIA THS SARKOS,
> hO QEOS TON hEAUTOU hUION PEMYAS EN hOMOIWMATI SARKOS
> hAMARTIAS KAI PERI hAMARTIAS KATEKRINEN THN hAMARTIAN
> EN THi SARKI
> Wow! I'm really having trouble understanding the grammar of this
> verse. Perhaps if I jot down my thoughts it will all become clear,
> or someone will provide some helpful hints.
> TO ADUNATON can either be nominative or accusative. Commentators
> generally seem to take it as a nominative absolute, though Sanday
> and Headlam (ICC, ad loc.) take it as accusative. They adduce an
> interesting example from the Theaetetus:
> KAI EPI TOUTOIS TON KOLOFWNA,
> ANAGKAZW PROSBIBAZW THN XRUSHN SEIRAN
> hWS OUDEN ALLO H TON hHLION
> where TON KOLOFWNA is definitely accusative. I'm not sure whether
> the example of the masculine accusative logically governs the neuter
> or not. Supposing that it does, and that then "TO GAR ADUNATON TOU
> NOMOU" is accusative, then one of the following should hold: (a) it
> is cognate (or in apposition to an unexpressed cognate accusative),
> (b) it is in apposition with the object of the sentence, or (c) it
> is an accusative of general reference.
> (a) TO ADUNATON is cognate to ASQENEW, but this leaves me wondering
> what sense can be made of EN hWi, which would have to be a coordinating
> conjunction, "in which." BDF suggests that EN hWi should be rendered
> "because" (S. 219(2)). So does Zerwick (S. 119). It seems to me
> that if it is taken as "because" then it is more difficult to take TO
> ADUNATON as an accusative.
> (b) Supposedely, TO ADUNATON TOU NOMOU can be taken in apposition to
> the principal clause, "hO QEOS ... KATEKRINEN THN hAMARTIAN EN THi
> SARKI," but I'm not sure how to make sense of this idea.
> (c) If it must be taken as accusative, this makes the most sense to me.
> ASQENEW is intransitive, and so an adverbial accusative is at least
> possible. Still, it isn't very satisfying.
> ADUNATON, as a verbal adjective, can either have an active or a passive
> sense: either "weakness" or "impossibility". The NT usage seems to be
> unanimous in favor of the active sense. Also, I think that if ADUNATON
> was passive, it would rather be followed by the dative TWi NOMWi. So,
> I think that ADUNATON is active.
> Last, it seems to me that TO GAR ADUNATON TOU NOMOU is best seen as a
> nominative absolute. None of the ways to understand it as an accusative
> are persuasive, though I'm sure there is more to be said. Either way,
> it is a difficult verse.
This was superbly done, and you have helped me to better understand the
grammatical difficulties found in this verse.
BTW, do you have an exegetical interpretation for this verse?
P.S. How have you been my friend? :-)
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