Re: kai

From: clayton stirling bartholomew (
Date: Wed Oct 13 1999 - 17:24:20 EDT

clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:

> Bart's question raises another question. What is a Greek sentence? We
> talked about this on b-greek back in '97 but there is no simple answer.
> In my following remarks I will use the word "clause" since I consider
> the concept "sentence" a bit problematic.
> The LXX starts a lot of "clauses" with KAI since Hebrew often begins a
> clause with a verb prefixed with Waw. This doesn't really tell us if
> this is "acceptable" Greek. But NT Greek does at times mimic the LXX. A
> number of KAI initial clauses are found in the Apocalypse which is well
> known for strict adherence to the norms of Greek syntax.
My comments need a clarification.

I should add that I make a distinction between a clause initial KAI and
a KAI which joins clauses. No one is going to raise a problem about KAI
joining clauses, but where we find KAI at the beginning of a clause and
it is clearly not joining with a preceding clause then we have what I am
calling a clause initial KAI. This of course is just a means of avoiding
the sticky problem of defining what a Greek "sentence" might be.

There are also cases where KAI joins clauses in a very loose manner, so
loose that it begins to look like a sentence from William Faulkner. In
these cases KAI is sometimes used to carry forward a narrative without
really indicating any grammatical or semantic connection between the
clauses. This use of KAI may fall into a nebulous category similar to
the use of the word "LIKE" at the beginning of an English sentence which
was popular among Gen-X people not too long ago.

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

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