Re: The degree of indefiniteness of hOSOI clause in Gal 3.10

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Fri Feb 04 2000 - 06:26:16 EST

At 10:53 PM -0600 2/3/00, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>Dear B-greekers,
>in Gal 3.10 we read:
>It would be typically translated as:
>WHOEVER are (or As many as who are )from the works of the law are under
>I wonder if hOSOI clauses always refers to an indefinite group
>who satisfies the condition expressed in the clause, rather than
>a specific or concrete group, who satisfies the condition.
>I want to know if the hOSOI clause
>CANNOT be translated as "those who are under the law" because of the
>inherent indefiniteness of hOSOI. I wonder if hOSOI EX ERGWN NOMOU in 3.10
>cannot refer to the same group as TOUS hUPO NOMON in 4.5 (those
>who are under the law).

I think that the more professional Koine grammarians may offer a more
precise answer to this than can I from my own more classical Attic
perspective, but I would offer these observations:

(1) in Attic Greek, if a hOSOI clause is intended to be indefinite, it has
an AN and a verb in the subjunctive; the above-cited example from Gal 3:10
has simply hOSOI and an indicative verb; in my opinion, therefore, the word
hOSOI here is little more (if anything more at all) than a relative
pronoun--and therefore I don't think it is indefinite at all; if there's a
nuance of difference between hOSOI and a simpler hOI, perhaps it's this:
hOSOI means "all those who ..." whereas hOI is less explicit: "the ones who

(2) in Modern Greek hOSOS/H/O is itself the regular relative pronoun,
having replaced completely (I think--but I'm no expert at modern Greek
either) the ancient accented hO/S, hH/, hO/--and I'm inclined to think that
many instances of hOSOS/H/O in Hellenistic/Koine Greek anticipate that
complete shift in usage.

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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