Re: PRWTH in Luke 2:2

From: James P. Ware (
Date: Tue Oct 06 1998 - 09:36:03 EDT

Carlton Winbery wrote:

> 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
> Syris."
> 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
> verb.
> 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.

I'm not sure if this is not perhaps solving a riddle (no. 2, Luke 2:2) by
a pair of enigmas (nos. 4 and 5). Robertson takes no. 4 (Luke 24:21) as
a "predicate accusative" i.e. not "this third day" but "this a third day"
(701). BAGD, however, does take TAUTHN here as attributive (2nd ed., AGW,
4). BDF takes the demonstrative in no. 5 (Acts 24:21) not as
attributive to the noun, but predicate, and as equivalent to hH FWNH HN
MIA hAUTH. Robertson opines that this construal of Acts 24:21 is
"possibly correct" but suggests that indeed "a lapse from the uniform
idiom" may occur here. But if so, he adds, "it is the only NT example of
such an attributive usage without the article" (702). Carlton's
observation that these passages contain numbers or ordinals is intriguing.
All of the other passages of which I am aware which might possibly involve
an attributive function of the demonstrative without the article include
either a numeral, ordinal or quantity description of some sort (e.g. 2
Peter 3:1, Acts 1:5, John 2:11, 21:14). However,
Robertson (701-702) and BDF (292, 226) construe the demonstrative
in these instances as pronominal (substantival) with a predicate noun or
adjective (2 Peter 3:1, John 2:11, 21:24) or as predicate itself (Acts
1:5), but in none of them as attributive to the noun. We seem to have no
undisputed instance of an attibutive demonstrative sans article in the NT,
but Acts 21:24 which Carlton cites does seem to be the strongest

Jim Ware

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