Re: Degree of indefiniteness of hOSOI clause in Gal 3.10

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Feb 05 2000 - 20:18:48 EST

At 7:04 PM -0600 2/5/00, Moon-Ryul Jung wrote:
>Dear Warren,
>thanks for the information. Please allow me to ask some clarifying
>> You might be happy to know that hOSOS/H/O lives on in Modern Greek in its
>> historic role as a correlative of quantity.
>What is "a correlative of quantity"?

It's a quantitative adjective that pairs with another in clauses, one of
which has the demonstrative, the other the relative; e.g. TOSOS/hOSOS,
TOIOUTOS pairs are qualitative rather than quantitative.

>> In MG, hOSIOS can still highlight indefiniteness by the using the
>> with (KAI) AN. Amazing, isn't it, the persistence of this language?
>So, the original relative pronoun, hO, is replaced by POU, but hOSIOS
>has survived?

Not hOSIOS (that means "holy") but hOSOS has survived.

>>Returning to
>> Moon's original question, then, the Gal. 3:10 use of hOSOI plus indicative,
>> when viewed through a synchronic lens of language development, would seem to
>> point to a low degree of indefiniteness.
>I wanted to know the hOSOI clause in Gal 3:10 single out a historical
>entity rather than potentially existing entity. By "low degree of
>do you mean that the hOSOI clause refer to an entity which is potentially
>existing, but which may be realized at any moment?

I should let Warren answer this, but my own inclination is to say that the
sharper distinction made in classical Attic Greek between the "potential"
or "indefinite" indicated by hOSOI + AN + subjunctive and the actual
persons/things indicated by hOSOI + indicative has been MORE-OR-LESS
eliminated in Koine--so that we cannot be sure in the case of a hOSOI +
indicative in the GNT which is meant. My guess is that in Gal 3:10 Paul
probably means to be indefinite--to say that, if there are any such, then
this applies to them. But I may be wrong about that. It's just my
impression that it's like the distinction between subjunctive and
optative--some sharp distinctions in a language at one phase are phased out
even as others come into being. I don't believe that linguistic change
moves homogeneously in the direction of simplification.

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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