mass/count nouns and SARX

From: lakr (
Date: Mon Sep 08 1997 - 15:37:49 EDT

Dear B-Greekers,

I recently added the definition of mass and count (nouns) to the
long list of things respecting Koine Greek that I have never heard of
before. As a result I've been trying to get a grasp on this subject
and have uncovered yet another delightful tidbit that is new to me.
On Perseus, when looking at the different inflections of the verb they
list in addition to the normal singular and plural, a _dual_ category.

Now, I've heard of this in Hebrew, but did not know that this
also applied to Greek. Can someone explain what this means ?
The forms listed are SARK' and SARKE, but I could not find a single
example on Perseus used in context.

The process trying to understand what the difference between mass and
count nouns brought to my mind the verses I've been concentrating on
lately, John 1:1-18 and John 17:1-7.

It appears to me that when a plural number of beings of flesh and
blood are referenced (humans) the word used is ANTHRWPOS in the pl. as in
where it refers to men with the plural form of ANTHRWPOS.

In John 17:2 Jesus is given 'EXOUSIAN PASHS SARKOS', and SARKOS is
in the singular, yet it applies to 'all flesh'.

I was only able to find 'SARKOS' in the plural four times in the NT,
and even in those instances it did not give the meaning of more than
one individual that was part of a group, but rather even the
'fleshly parts' of an individual, although as Perseus brings out
Genesis 6:12 (LXX) in the plural refers to 'all flesh'. Yet it
seems that in neither the English or the Greek is is appropriate to
refer to 'two fleshes' or to a person as 'a flesh'.

In many of the examples on Perseus (Plato for example) appears to use
the sg. and pl. 'in much the same manner'. Is this type of
phenomenon to be expected in other words which can be classified as
'mass' nouns. ? I regret that my introductory grammar never taught
me this, and I have yet to purchase or pick an intermediate grammar.

Larry Kruper

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:38:28 EDT