Re: PRWTH in Luke 2:2

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed Sep 30 1998 - 06:28:28 EDT

At 1:35 AM -0500 9/30/98, Timo Flink wrote:
>Carl wrote:
>>know, equivalent formulations; the impossible formulation is hH hAUTH
>I beg pardon for my ignorance, but why is hH hAUTH APOGRAFH
>impossible? In Roman 11:30 we have THi TOUTWN APEIQEIA and in 2.
>Peter 1:15 we have THN TOUTWN MNHMHN.
>Am I missing something in my grammar here???

These two instances you've cited are very different because TOUTWN in both
Rom 11:30 and 2 Pet 1:15 are genitive plural pronouns directly dependent
upon nouns in a different case. What I've cited as impossible is a form of
hOUTOS (or EKEINOS) in the "attributive" position between an article and a
noun in the same case. When a demonstrative pronoun is used other than as a
substantive, it must be in a "predicative" position relative to the
article-noun phrase.

I will take this occasion to comment, to my old fellow-student Jim Ware,
that I'm still puzzled by the question he put yesterday morning about how
substantival and adjectival use of the demonstrative must differ in
meaning. I think he's probably right, but in the little time I've been
checking grammars I can't find the sort of clear discussion of the subject
that I'd like to see. That is to say, I'm still puzzled by the actual
relationship of the elements in the phrase hAUTH APOGRAFH PRWTH EGENETO--as
I would NOT be puzzled if it were hAUTH APOGRAFH PRWTH HN. That is to say,
what disturbs me is that EGENETO here does not seem to me to be a copula
like EIMI but rather an eventive verb; for that reason APOGRAFH doesn't
seem to me to be a predicate noun, and I'm thinking (out loud,
electronically ...) that it really OUGHT to construe as the noun to an
adjectival hAUTH--BUT, if that were the case, the phrase really OUGHT to be
written: hAUTH hH APOGRAFH PRWTH EGENETO, where I'd clearly understand
PRWTH as adverbial: "This census first took place ..." This may be an
instance of a construction that I've been looking at for so long that what
is obvious utterly escapes me. I'm still seeking enlightenment.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649 OR

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