Re: Gramcord notes on the article

From: Paul S. Dixon (
Date: Fri Jan 02 1998 - 13:48:16 EST

On Thu, 01 Jan 1998 23:43:43 -0800 "Dale M. Wheeler"
<> writes:
>Paul S. Dixon wrote:
>>>Second, they make the claim that there are no undisputed examples of
>>>indefinite anarthrous pre-copulative predicate nominative
>>>Here is the quote:
>>>Uses of the Anarthrous Pre-Copulative Predicate Nominative
>>>B1) Predicate Nominative is DEFINITE: Matt 27:42; John 1:49; Rom 1:16;

>>>1Cor 1:18; Heb 1:10
>>>B2) Predicate Nominative is QUALITATIVE: Normally: John 1:14; John
>>>1John 4:8
>>>B3) Predicate Nominative is INDEFINITE: No undisputed examples in
>the NT
>>>Can anybody think of an example to dispute that?
>>Thanks for bringing this up. No, not the last question so much, to
>>I have no answer, but the first one above (B1). Apparently John 1:49,
>>Cor 1:18, and Heb 1:10 are regarded by Gramcord as undisputed examples
>>definite anarthrous precopulative predicate nominatives (whew!). I
>>like to dispute each of these.
>>John 1:49 is disputed simply because the text is uncertain. It is very
>>significant that aleph, P66, and the majority of manuscripts have the
>>definite article in the text (EI hO BASILEUS).
>While its true that there is a textual problem, the text as it stands
>now in NA/UBS has no article, and seems pretty clearly to be about as
>definite as possible (Par Excellence use of definiteness).
Yes, but, accepting the UBS reading, then arguing from it as a Par
Excellence example of definiteness is begging the question. If we accept
the viable alternative articular reading (which does have significant
support), then one could argue equally that definiteness is denoted by
the article.

>>In 1 Cor 1:18 DUNAMIS is set in contrasting parallelism to MWRIA which
>>certainly qualitative. The LOGOS of the cross to those who are
>>is foolishness, but to those who are being saved it is power, power of
>This is an invalid example, since its Apollonius' Canon (I tried to
>catch all of those, but I guess I missed this one).
>>Is ERGA TWN CEIRWN definite? Are the heavens the complete works of
>>God which seems to be implication if the phrase is definite, or are the
>>heavens works of His hands? I think all the author is saying is that
>>heavens were made by God, but I don't think he wants to communicate
>>is all God made.
>I think you may be pushing the concept of definiteness a bit too hard
>here; all definiteness does is point to individual identity (as opposed
>to class membership). Saying that ERGA is definite doesn't imply that
>that is all there is, just that the heavens are clearly identifiable
>works of God. I can't see how ERGA could be qualitative, though I
>can certainly see how some might argue (I have a sense this is really
>an English argument) that the heavens are "some of the works" (ie.,
>plural indefinite idea), but I suspect Greek would have written EK TWN
>ERGWN for that.
>>One of the tests for definiteness for an anarthrous predicate
>>seems to be the convertability of the subject and predicate, such as we
>>find in the articular subject + copula + articular predicate nominative
>>construct. In other words, if the anarthrous predicate nominative is
>>definite, then it is being equated to the subject, as in definitions.
>>we cannot reverse them, then the predicate cannot be definite.
>Paul, is this something recent you're proposing, or is this something
>that goes back to Colwell or Harner ?? I see the logic of what you
>are proposing, but its based on the assumption that there is just one
>of definiteness, and that both nouns must possess that same degree of
>definiteness, and thus the are equatible. My sense is that that
>presupposition is incorrect, as evidence, for example, by the fact
>that there are several different subcategories for the use of the
>article with nouns, each having different nuances. This raises the
>question of overlap brought up by Wes and Rolf, and I want to interact
>with what they said on the topic later, so I'll quit for now...

Dale, I'd surely be interested in hearing you out on this idea of
"different subcategories for the use of the article with nouns, each
having different nuances."

You asked if this is something new I am proposing. Well, perhaps. No, I
did not get it from Colwell or Harner, nor did I consciously consider it
when doing my Th.M. thesis. It has been evolving in my thinking. When I
penned it on my last email I thought this might be something new. Maybe
not. Please interact with me on it. If I'm blown out of the water, so
be it. The truth, Watson. That's what we pursue.

Jonathan asked if there were any rules for determining definiteness.
This might be one, at least as it pertains to the predicate nominative.
Let me try to state the rule (call it Dixon's rule, if you like and for
simplicity): a predicate nominative will be definite if and only if it
can be interchanged with the subject without losing any meaning. Boy,
am I going out on a limb on this one, or what? Saw away.

Paul Dixon

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