Re: PRWTH in Luke 2:2

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Thu Oct 01 1998 - 02:38:48 EDT

Jim Ware wrote;

>I agree that, if hAUTH were an adjective modifying APOGRAFH, it ought to
>be in explicit predicate position with an articular APOGRAFH. In fact, I
>am taking the view that, whenever the demonstratives hOUTOS and EKEINOS
>are adjectival, they are in explicit predicate position with an articular
>noun, and that they cannot serve as an adjective to an anarthrous noun (at
>least in the NT). In all other cases the demonstratives have a
>pronominal function. I don't know of any exceptions to this, although I
>may be mistaken. If this is so, then hAUTH would function as a pronoun in
>Luke 2:2. Both hAUTH and APOGRAFH are nominative; APOGRAFH is anarthrous
>and thus grammatically indefinite, whereas hAUTH is a pronoun and thus
>grammatically definite. Therefore I would take hAUTH as the subject
>nominative, and APOGRAFH are the predicate nominative, according to the
>rule of thumb that in copulative constructions with one definite noun and
>one indefinite, the definite noun (or pronoun) is the subject, while the
>indefinite substantive is the predicate. I don't see any problem with
>taking APOGRAFH as the predicate of EGENETO, since GINOMAI can take a
>predicate, as discussed above. And, it seems to me, the construction
>hAUTH APOGRAFH PRWTH EGENETO requires us to take it this way. Thus the
>sense would be: "This was the first census taken when Quirinius was
>governor of Syria." But perhaps there are possible exceptions to this
>normal use of the demonstratives of which I am unaware. I too
>am seeking enlightenment!
Some interesting occurances of the demonstrative in Luke/Acts:

1) Luke 1:36 KAI hOUTOS MHN hEKTOS ESTIN "this is the sixth month", The
demonstrative is clearly subjective.

2) Luke 2:2 hAUTH APOGRAFH PRWTH EGENETO "This first enrollment happened .
. ." (or) "This became the first enrollment when Quirinius was govenor of

3) Luke 8:41 KAI hOUTOS ARCWN THS SUNAGWGHS hUPHRCEN "This one was ruler
of the synagogue." Clearly the demonstrative is subject.

4) Luke 24:21 TRITHN TAUTHN hHMERAN AGEI AF' hOU . . . "It has passed these
three days" ??? This is a can of worms, but it certainly appears that the
demonstrative is modifying the noun. Some take AGEI like an indefinite

5) Acts 24:21 PERI MIAS TAUTHS FWNHS hHS . . . "concerning this one shout
which . . ." Is not the demonstrative modifying a noun without the article?

Nos. 2, 4, and 5 seem to me to be egs. of the demonstrative modifying a
noun without the article being present to the noun. Interestingly all
involve numbers or ordinals.

Thanks to Accordance!

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359

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