Re: concatenation of genitives

From: James P. Ware (
Date: Fri Feb 27 1998 - 21:52:26 EST


Thanks for the very relevant citation of Richard Young. Your paraphrase
of Young's analysis of the question, using 2 Co 4:4 as an example,
reflects what I had always taken to be the case (I repeat the most
relevant parts below). Surprising as it may sound, the research I have
been doing has been leading me to a different conclusion. I now think the
relation of multiple genitives to the other elements within the
noun-phrase in which they are embedded is syntactically encoded by the
respective position of the genitives within the noun-phrase. I believe
these syntactic patterns (I think there are several of them), when they
occur, are determinative for meaning (i.e. for the grammatical
relationship of the genitives to the noun-phrase as a whole). I don't
think it is up for grabs. So I think Young is wrong about 2 Cor 4:4.
That's my theory at any rate--whether it will hold any water remains to be
seen! I'll be interested to see your further comments and those of others
on the list.

Thanks again for your helpful and perceptive comments!

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

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