Re: Concord of Gender and Number

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Thu Aug 20 1998 - 01:31:41 EDT

Carl W. Conrad wrote:
> >
> The fundamental rules are not complex. Normally an adjectival modifier or
> pronoun is going to agree with its noun or antecedent in number, gender,
> and case, although a pronoun will take its case primarily from its function
> within its own clause. Normally a singular subject will take a singular
> verb and a plural subject will take a plural verb (in older Greek a dual
> subject may take a dual verb, of course).

What about apparent lack of concord in gender with a neuter adjective? Let's
revisit the Matt 12:6 question about the referent of MEIZON/MEIZWN. Let's
assume just for the sake of the concord discussion that this adjective refers
the Christ. If we knew without a doubt that this referred to Christ, would the
neuter form cause us consternation?

Apparently it did cause a number of scribes consternation or we would not have
the alternate reading MEIZWN. But was their consternation justified? Simply
stated, is the use of MEIZON to refer to Christ a violation of concord because
of gender?

For what it's worth (not much), I do not think the scribes consternation was
justified. I read MEIZON as an indirect and somewhat figurative reference to
Christ which is intentionally vague. The neuter gender is appropriate to the
purpose, it provides vagueness. It is quite possible that MEIZON may have a
broader referent like the King and his Kingdom. There are also other
alternatives worth considering.

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

A good time was had by all at Martha's Vineyard. Although Flem Snopes had to leave early for some private business of some sort.

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