Re: hO QEOS in Mt 1:23b

From: Steven Craig Miller (
Date: Sat Nov 27 1999 - 11:50:37 EST

<x-flowed>To: Ken Hall,

<< Does Matthew 1:23b use of the definite article [for hO QEOS] denote
specific identity (articular) to the noun it preceeds or is there an
exception in the Greek grammar of this text? >>

I'm not for sure I understand your concern, but I'll take a stab at
addressing this issue.

Stanley E. Porter, in his "Idioms of the Greek New Testament" (1992), writes:

<< When the article is used, the substantive may refer to a particular
item, or it may represent a category of items. When the article is not used
used, the substantive may refer to the non-particular or qualitative
character of an item, or it may refer to an individual item >> (104).

Thus an articular substantive can be deemed to have been used either (a) to
denote an individual person or thing; or (b) to denote a category of
items. This latter use of the article is sometimes called the "Generic

Also, the substantive QEOS, although not technically a proper name, often
comes very close to be used as such in the NT. Thus in the NT QEOS often
has the article, expect when following a preposition or when used in the
genitive case to modify an anarthrous substantive.

Matthew translates Emmanuel (Immanuel) as: MEQ' hHMWN hO QEOS. What does
this mean? Some scholars have suggested that the Hebrew name Immanuel (at
Is 7:14) was a cry of terror: "May God be with us!"; others have suggested
that it was a war cry: "God is with us!"; and others have suggested that it
was an ancient cultic cry. Matthew has omitted the verb and so it is
possible to assume either ESTIN or Hi. Some scholars seem to understand
MEQ' hHMWN hO QEOS without any verb so as to imply that Jesus is: "God with
us." This last interpretation I would personally find very unlikely since
no where (else) does Matthew refer explicitly to Jesus as "God."

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)

"O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this"
(Shakespare, "Much Ado About Nothing", 4.2.60-61).

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