Re: concatenation of genitives

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Fri Feb 27 1998 - 08:39:08 EST

Note also that Richard Young (Interm. NT Greek, p24 bottom) briefly discusses
chains of attributive genitives. He cites 2 Cor 4:4 as a difficult example.


The main problem here is determining what THS DOXHS modifies. There are three
options. Young argues that this cannot be solved by any hard and fast rule of
word order. One is required to do a analysis of the whole argument before a
decision can be reached. Young also points the reader to a discussion of
genitive chains in an old SIL textbook (page 359, John Beekman and John
Callow, Michael Kopesc, "The Semantic Structure of Written Communication, SIL

Semantics plays a big part in this kind of analysis. One cannot simply state
that we have an articular accusative followed by three articular genitives and
therefore, the genitive in position one . . . blah blah blah.

It isn't that simple. In this case (2 Cor 4:4), it is semantically possible
that THS DOXHS might be modifying any one of the other three constituents. So
one is required to look at the entire passage with reasonable care and then
start postulating semantic probabilities. If this sounds like a subjective
process, that's because it is a subjective process.

The interrelationship between syntax and semantics is rather a fuzzy business
in NT interpretation. Most NT scholars operate with some kind of "model" that
helps them bridge between syntax and semantics but there are a number of
models and this causes problems, even on the b-greek list.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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