Re: genitive

From: Carl William Conrad (
Date: Tue Feb 10 1998 - 09:41:45 EST

On Tue, 10 Feb 1998, John Kendall wrote:

> On Mon, 9 Feb 1998 14:06:24 -0600 (CST) Carl Conrad wrote <snipped>:
> >Maybe that's not the problem, however. I think that
> >Glen is right on target here: TUPOS is simply not the sort of verbal noun
> >that would take either a subjective or objective genitive.
> I hesitate to ask, Carl, but in that TUPOS has a cognate verb (TUPOW - to form,
> to model), are you sure about this? I'd always assumed that Titus 2:7's TUPON
> KALWN ERGWN was an example of an objective genitive (also Rom 5:14).
> I must confess that for a little while I've tied myself up in knots thinking
> about the genitives with TUPOS in 1 Cor 10:6; 1 Tim 4:12 and 1 Pet 5:3. This
> has partly been due to the influence of Robertson (Grammar p. 500) and number
> of older commentators like Ellicott who identify these as objective genitives.
> In that Titus 2:7 typfies the semantic relation I'd expect of an objective
> genitive with TUPOS, to make sense of Robertson, I've had to assume that the
> category also covered some sort of 'indirect' objective genitive relationship
> (ie 'patterns for us' - 1 Cor 10:6).
> Am I making any kind of sense here, or is this way out of line? Can someone
> clarify the way these scholars understood the category?
Well, you put the question in an interesting way, and I think this is a
question on which one ought not to be dogmatic and on which one also
perhaps ought to make a distinction between particular instances of TUPOS.

On the initial question of the cognate verb, I think it is fairly safe to
say that TUPOW is not the source of TUPOS but rather the derivative: it's
quite clearly a denominative verb formed on the O-stem noun. The verb to
which TUPOS is more directly related is TUPTW, "strike," "smite." As I
noted yesterday the regular Hellenistic (actually even Plato uses it)
sense of TUPOS derives from its original sense as the dye-stamp placed
upon a glob of silver or gold or bronze which is struck by a hammer to
imprint the CARAKTHR and so produce a coin--and CARAKTHR comes to have
much the same sense of "distinctive image" as does TUPOS. Now perhaps if
one were to translate TUPOS as "stamp" one could say that "X bears the
very stamp of Y." Yet I think that in such an instance "of Y" would still
more likely be a possessive/pertinentive genitive than either subjective
or objective.

It would seem to me that with relationship to TUPOW a subjective or
objective genitive ought to depend upon a real verbal noun derived from
TUPOW, as TUPWSIS ("stamping") or an agent noun like TUPWTHS (I see one
instance of this in LSJG attested from an Orphic Hymn) or an adjective

As for the examples you've cited: yes, there is the genitive hHMWN
attached to TUPOI in 1 Cor 10:6, and one is tempted to understand this as
"types for us" which on the surface would seem like "love for us"--until
one thinks about it and realizes that the love is directed at us and is
genuinely verbal, while the "types" are not really verbal; I think rather
that they "belong" to us, they are ours to use--but it is we who use them
to shape our behavior through our active emulation rather than they who
somehow stamp themselves upon us. Does that make sense?

Titus 2:7 is more interesting, I think. ... SEAUTON PARECOMENOS TUPON
KALWN ERGWN ... Do we want to say that the KALA ERGA are actually produced
by the TUPOS? Or is it rather that when we show ourselves performing KALA
ERGA, we display that TUPOS or CARAKTHR? I'm still inclined to think that
it is not really an objective genitive.

Now let me turn around and state emphatically that I don't really think
that "subjective genitive" and "objective genitive" have some kind of a
metaphysical (or even linguistic) existence setting themselves apart from
the chief category of pertinentive/possessive genitive. So far as these
categories of genitive are concerned, I'm a "nominalist." The "subjective"
and "objective" genitive are what we define them to be; I can't legislate
the definition others want to use, but I think that I want to restrict the
use of the terms to instances where the noun really does stand for a
verbal action for which the genitive serves to designate either the
subject or the object.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR

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