From: Carl W. Conrad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Oct 13 1999 - 07:00:37 EDT
At 5:32 AM -0500 10/13/99, Steven Craig Miller wrote:
>To: Carl W. Conrad,
><< All three, I think; it's quite common, even when a verb must be
>understood with several subjects, for it to be construed only with the
>nearest one. But I would suggest that this not be considered so much a
>singular verb with a plural subject as an instance of ellipsis, where the
>singular verb actually expressed with the third subject is to be understood
>with each of the other two subjects, so that we are to understand: ELEOS
>hUMIN PLHQUNQEIH KAI EIRHNH PLHQUNQEIH KAI AGAPH PLHQUNQEIH. But that would
>look awkward in Greek as in English; it needs to be stated only once to be
>understood with each of the other subjects. Alternatively one could
>understand an ESTW or ESTWSAN with ELEOS and EIRHNH as implicitly present,
>but I think it's easier to understand PLHQUNQEIH as referring to all three
>That seems to be a reasonable enough explanation of Jude 2, although I
>think it simpler to think of it in terms of a Pindaric construction (a
>compound subject with a verb in the singular). For example,
>hEWS AN PARELQHi hO OURANOS KAI hH GH (Mt 5:18).
>Similarly, we have:
>hOTI SARX KAI hAIMA BASILEIAN QEOU KLHRONOMHSAI OU DUNATAI (1 Cor 15:50).
>With these two examples, I doubt one would want to think that they are mere
>ellipsis, since with "heaven and earth" and "flesh and blood," it appears
>that it is the totality which is being emphasized.
>KAI HN hO PATHR AUTOU KAI hH MHTHR QAUMAZONTES (Luke 2:33).
>Here we have a compound subject with a single verb and a plural participle!
Good example, although I don't really think this is quite the same thing;
it IS a matter of agreement, of course, but it involves the periphrastic
imperfect which is more common in Koine than earlier; of course one might
expect HSAN ... QAUMAZONTES with more careful writing, but this is pretty
clearly an instance of "constructio ad sensum," which is hardly a real
grammatical category in its own right--rather a way of referring to a sort
of grammatical anacoluthon wherein the speaker/writer starts with one
conception of the construction and changes halfway through to a different
conception of it. This is far more common than we acknowledge, I think--and
I suspect that we all do it conversationally very frequently without real
peril of being misunderstood. I suspect too that when passages like the
above (Lk 2:33) are read aloud the inconcinnity of HN and QAUMAZONTES goes
unnoticed, although it may "glare out" at you when you read it on a page.
>So, while your interpretation of Jude 2 as an ellipsis is reasonable
>enough, I see nothing wrong with just assuming that it is a Pindaric
>construction. What do you think?
Quite honestly, I think it's "six of one and half a dozen of the other";
I'd see the "Pindaric" construction as essentially elliptical; Greek, more
than some other languages, tends not to spell out what is obvious, tends to
add new elements to a construction already introduced and omit the elements
already used and implicitly carried forward; the process can work both
ways: with all the elements stated in the first of parallel repeated
constructions or with one or more of those understood elements in the
earlier ones held until the last of the parallel repeated constructions.
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
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