Re: adjectives

Date: Tue Jun 09 1998 - 13:06:05 EDT


You have rasied a good discussion point. The use of amartwlo" in Luke 7:37
broaches a valid question. As you have implied, it is a masculine form
adjective used with a feminine substantive noun. Certainly, the general rule
of agreement directs that a femine noun requires a feminine adjective.
However, this is again one of those exceptions where language in reality
proves itself something less than a perfect taxonomy--but lends itself to
interesting exploration.

> R. takes the word>in Lk 7:37 as a substantive.

I believe we have a predicate adjective. (Robertson)"The predicate presents
an additonal statement, is indeed the main point, while the atributive is an
incidental description of the substantive about which the statement is made"
(R. 656). This might be an adjective used as a noun: there are times when
the adjective is used in "its original substantive character" as a full
functioning noun: in the case of Lk. 7:37 we have a "women" and she is a
"sinner," possibly demonstrating the substative function of the adjective.
(Dana & Mantey 131(2)0.

>But this does still not explain the formation of the case ending.

When the adjective is used as a noun, recovering in essence its original
substantive character, the masculine gender is used. In this circumstance
the noun must designate something existing in reality or in real experience;
perceptible by the senses:

                i.e. Jn. 6:69 "thou are the Holy One of God."D & M pg. 118: 131(2)

Just to muddy the water for discussion: Perschbacher [New Analy. Grk. Lex.]
lists ajmartwloj" in a dual gender function: masculine and feminine. Harper's
Lexicon also suggests the same usage.

Usage of the word:
The form amartwlo" appears five times: Lk 5:8; Lk 7:37; Lk. 7:39; Jn 9:24;
Jn 9:25.
The genitive plural form is used 12 times: amartwlwn
The Accusative plural is used 2 times: amartwlou"
The nominative plural is used 9 times: amartwloi
The dative singular form is used 5 times amartwlw/

A feminine form does not appear anywhere in the New Testament.

>Moulton goes on to say that this usage is in accord with the sole or
predominant usage in earlier Greek

Indeed: Checking in M & M: Voc. of the Grk. NT, M & M left little doubt that
the word means "sinner" as we understand it in English today.

In summary, the form amartwlo" is an exception to the rule of agreement in
Luke 7:37. Yet, do we just accept that as fait accompli ? An answer remains
to be explored. As so many have implied on the list, we are indeed exploring
new grammatical frontiers. In the process, we cannot legitimately ignore the
sound findings of historical grammatical study, yet with new technologies we
are in a better position than ever to pursue age old questions with new

Grace & Peace,

Paul James Moore
ThD, NT (Greek)
Greek Instructor: MSU Continuing Education
Wichita Falls, Texas

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