Re: Acts 4:2

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sat Mar 11 2000 - 20:23:28 EST

At 6:03 PM -0500 3/11/00, Mike Sangrey wrote:
>In Acts 4:2 we have
>The last THN strikes me as interesting. I understand, correct me if I'm
>wrong, that what that does grammatically is make the EK NEKRWN phrase
>attributive to ANASTASIN. So, we have a 'from-[the]-dead resurrection'.
>Why? Why go to that bother? Would it not have been simpler to just say
>or even

This is precisely the question recently raised about "Definite noun with
anarthrous attribute" a week ago (March 4-6); we didn't get too far with it
but noted that there are several instances of a prepositional phrase that
appears to be attributive although not linked to a preceding noun by means
of an article. In the course of that discussion I called attention to the
celebrated Pauline proof-text for faith-righteousness (Rom 1:17, Gal 3:11,
also cited in Heb 10:38): hO DE DIKAIOS EK PISTEWS ZHSETAI, where Paul
quite evidently understands EK PISTEWS attributively with the substantive
hO DIKAIOS rather than with ZHSETAI as it appears to have been intended in
its original LXX context). By that standard, it would indeed have been
acceptable and understood in Koine to write THN ANASTASIN EK NEKRWN or THN
ANASTASIN EK TWN NEKRWN with the understanding that the prepositional
phrase is attributive to THN ANASTASIN.

However, to revert to Mike's question, in terms of more traditional Greek
grammar (classical Attic, certainly), if EK NEKRWN is not specifically
linked to THN ANASTASIN by an article, it ought to be understood as
predicative rather than as attributive, and in this instance we would have
to understand it as adverbial, construed with KATAGGELLEIN; that would
yield as a sense: "and to proclaim in Jesus from the dead the resurrection."

As I think matters were left in the brief exchange of messages on this
subject a week ago, there probably should be some research into this
question. Robertson's big grammar discusses this on pp. 782-4 and you might
look there.

As for Luke's writing in Acts 4:2, the text in question, my general
impression is that Luke, although his style may vary from one context to
another, more frequently writes in the style of Greek taught in the
schools, and I would guess that this sharp distinction between predicative
and attribute position was indeed taught in the schools still in Luke's


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 WWW:

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