Re: 2 Peter 2:2 relative pronoun - which antecedent?

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Wed May 26 1999 - 08:46:34 EDT

At 8:33 AM -0400 5/26/99, Timothy Duke wrote:
>After a long time without a computer, I return to b-greek!
>2 Peter 2:2 reads:
>My question is this: which is the antecedent: POLLOI or AUTWN? Most
>commentaries I have access to confidently assert POLLOI, but do not give
>any reasons. but I would have thought that AUTWN, being closer, would
>certainly qualify as well.
>How can I decide? Are there general rules to follow when gender and number
>do not nail it? Which grammatical textbook discusses this????

One does have to read this closely in context and be sure also what is the
antecedent of AUTWN, but that, I think, must be the YEUDODIDASKALOI in the
hWS KAI clause of verse 1. And I would agree with you that the more likely
antecedent of DI' hOUS is AUTWN, those false teachers: they, after all, are
the authoritative figures, aren't they, who in this future context are to
be the factor in so much distortion and leading astray? I am assuming that
AUTWN is to be construed as possessive genitive dependent upon TAIS
ASELGEIAIS, and NOT as partititive genitive dependent upon POLLOI; it seems
to me TAIS ASELGEIAIS really needs this possessive qualifier for the
sentence to be clear; otherwise we have "And many of them in their train
will follow licentiousness."

The only thing that is just a little odd here is the use of the dative
ASELGEIAIS for a behavior when EXAKOLOUQEW seems more normally to require a
dative of persons; but, no doubt, this is an instance of a metonymy wherein
the behavior of persons = persons thus behaving.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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