Re: concatenation of genitives

From: James P. Ware (
Date: Thu Feb 26 1998 - 20:50:53 EST

This post is from a self-confessed "lurker" (and a very inconsistent one
at that!). I am wondering if anyone can help me with some questions I
have been investigating. As we know, the occurence of multiple
genitives in noun phrases is common everywhere in ancient Greek,
especially in the hellenistic period and in the NT, whether pairs (e.g.
Philippians 1:25) or even longer chains (e.g. 2 Corinthians 4:6).

The natural question is: when multiple genitives occur in a noun phrase,
how do they relate to the governing noun(s) and to one another? I am not
aware of anything in the standard grammars on this point, and in NT
passages where multiple genitives occur, the commentaries seem to be
flying by the seat of their pants and often offer very conflicting
analyses of the phrases. My question then was: when there are multiple
genitives, is the placement of a genitive significant for how it relates
to the governing noun(s) and to the other genitives in the phrase? Is a
particular pattern significant for meaning? So I started investigating
this phenomenon in the NT and in other texts. From the research that I
have done thus far, the answer to my question appears to be a resounding
"yes". In fact, I believe I have discovered several patterns which
function to determine meaning.

This is where I would appreciate it if anyone could offer me assistance
with the following: 1) Does anyone know of any treatments of this
question in any of the standard grammars, classical or NT, that I may have
overlooked, or any other literature on the topic? I don't want to
reinvent the wheel. 2) Does anyone know of any treatments by linguists of
similar or allied phenomena in other languages, or any general treatments
or discussions of modern linguists that might be relevant?

Thanks in advance for any help that anyone can give me.

Jim Ware

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