Re: hO in 1 John 1:1

From: Benjamin Raymond (
Date: Tue Feb 03 1998 - 18:12:03 EST

At 04:43 PM 2/3/98 -0600, Carl Conrad wrote:
>At 4:21 PM -0600 2/3/98, Benjamin Raymond wrote:
>>Hi all,
>>I'm not satisfied with an answer I got in class today, and I'm hoping for
>>some direction.
>>1 John 1:1 begins with a predicate nominative hO, then repeats the hO three
>>more times. There is no way to distinguish between nominative and
>>accusative case here (as far as I can tell), apart from syntax.
>That first is NOT a predicate nominative but a neuter relative pronoun with
>its antecedent implicit within itself = "that which."

Ah! Interesting. I've been misled again. I got the relative pronoun ok,
but what would you call the HN construction? hO (nominative) is being
compared to (I hesitate to say "equals") AP ARCHS, as best as I can figure.
 Is the AP ARCHS some sort of substantive? I took it that way... and so
ended up with predicate nominative (even though [AP] ARCHS is not nominative).

>>I see the latter three relative pronouns as accusative, being the objects
>>I brought this up in class (a change in case for hO), and was told that hO
>>should be taken as nominative in each segment, as there can be a compound
>>subject (?).
>>Now I've never heard of this. I see no way around accusative unless it
>>falls under a special category of nominative with which I'm not familiar.
>>Logos parses the first as nominative, and the latter three as accusative.
>>Wallace gives examples and a definition which would lead me to conclude
>>that they are accusative by their function as objects of active verbs (and
>>QEAOMAI being deponent), with the possible exception of hO in John 4:22, of
>>which Wallace does not seem to identify the case (Doh!).
>>Any ideas on how to pin the case down? It's not particularly a huge
>>problem in this passage, but I can see where it could be.
>If you were told that all of these are nominative, you either misunderstood
>what you were told or you were told wrong.

I definitely did not misunderstand. He takes them all as nominative.

>Each instance of hO is a
>relative pronoun: the first is nominative and the subject of HN, then
>second is accusative and the object of hEWRAKAMEN, the third an accusative
>object of AKHKOAMEN, and the last an accusative object of EQEASAMEQA.

Thank you! Nice to know I'm not crazy :-)

>There is no way to distinguish morphologically between the accusative and
>the nominative of any pronoun or noun; the likely linguistic reason for
>this is that the accusative form serves as a nominative in the case of a
>neuter, but it's beside the point why the forms are identical. Only the
>context will clarify for you what the neuter form must be in any particular
>case--accusative or nominative. So here, the first must be the subject of
>HN and the others must be the objects of those 1st person plural verbs.


I'm wondering why my prof would say they latter three are nominative.
Perhaps he sees it as having something to do with the flow of the passage
(i.e., "that which is this... and that... and so on" being the "subject" of
the first few verses) as best it can be rendered in English? It seems
rather awkward in English to me... more like the referee of a heavyweight
bout announcing a champion than the standard subject-verb-object construct.

At any rate, can I put to bed this "compound subject" idea?

Benjamin Raymond
senior, Harding University School of Biblical Studies
HU Box 11871, 900 E Center
Searcy, AR 72149-0001

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