Re: Mark 4-3- a sower/the s

From: James H. Vellenga (
Date: Thu Jun 19 1997 - 09:10:08 EDT

At 6:16 PM +0100 6/16/97,
> In Mark 4:3 (parr) it says:
> Question: how can I be sure this has to be translated by "a sower went out to
> sow" (RSV). What about: "the sower went out to sow"?
> If the second possibility is incorrect I would like to know in which way I
> can put that into Greek.

Allow me to offer yet another sugggestion. In response to my
suggestion that SESWSMENOI in Ephesians 2:8 be regarded as a
participle used as a noun, Carl Conrad responded on 20 May 1997:

> While I think there's a Semitist(?) usage of an anarthrous participle as a
> noun (e.g. FWNH BOWNTOS EN THi ERHMWi), I'd be somewhat leery of
> understanding SESWMENOI substantivally without its being hOI SESWSMENOI;
> <... etc. clipped>

This caused me to do a (less than thorough) search for anarthrous
participles used as nouns, and at this point, I think Carl is right
-- they do not ordinarily occur in KOINE Greek.

Since SPEIRWN is a participle, then, in order to use it as a noun,
it appears that the KOINE speakers needed to add hO as a peg to
hang the participle on.

If they had omitted hO:


it would then have meant something like

  "he went out scattering to scatter" (but missing antecedent for "he")

rather than

  one who scatters went out to scatter

SPEIRWN occurs as a the first person active present participle from
8 to 12 times in the NT (I didn't note the exact count), and in
every case it is immediately preceded by hO.

I would distinguish this usage from the usage of hO to distinguish
one group from another, as noted by Carlton Winbery on Jun 17:

> I would say that the article is used here to distinguish one group from
> another, eg., Lk.10:7 "A laborer (hO ERGATHS) is worthy of his hire." The
> article denotes a group. In this situation, it is not always necessary to
> use the indefinite article in English, eg. Mt. 18:17 "Let him be to you
> like Gentiles (hO ETHNIKOS [sg]) and tax collectors (hO TELWNHS [sg]). The
> two groups are indicated even by the singular article.

I agree that hO is used to indicate a representative of a group in
the texts that Carlton cited, but I don't think that that's what's
going on here.

Jim V.

James H. Vellenga |
Viewlogic Systems, Inc. __|__ 508-303-5491
293 Boston Post Road West | FAX: 508-460-8213
Marlboro, MA 01752-4615 |

"We all work with partial information."

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:19 EDT