[b-greek] RE: John 20:28 and Smart's rule.

From: Iver Larsen (alice-iver_larsen@wycliffe.org)
Date: Fri Feb 02 2001 - 06:27:17 EST

> > Hi all-
> >
> > Thomas addresses Jesus and declares hO KURIOS MOU KAI hO QEOS MOU =
> > (vocative).
> >
> > Does the vocative in this case mean strictly speaking that Thomas is =
> > addressing Jesus as Lord and God, or are we permitted to interpret =
> > Thomas' reply as a general exclamation NOT addressed to Jesus, i.e. =
> > "Wow! My God! Look, the holes in your hands and side!"
> >
> > Tom

No, Tom, that is not possible.

> Tom,
> You might want to check the archives from last October/November 2000
> where this construction was dicussed at length. They can be found at
> the B-Greek home page: http://metalab.unc.edu/bgreek.
> The rule is stated as:
> "In native [not translation] KOINE Greek when the copulative
> KAI connects two substantives of personal description in regimen
> [i.e. both or neither have articles] and the first substantive
> alone is modified by the personal pronoun in the genitive or
> repeated for perspicuity [Winer 147-148;155] two persons or
> groups of persons are in view."
> There is no example in the GNT where this construction has one person
> in view.
> I was asked off-list to provide all the examples which support this
> rule in the GNT, and did email it to the individual, but had never posted
> the list to B-GREEK. The categories are as follows:
> Possessive pronoun repeated for perspicuity (21) - (Mt 12:47,49;
> Mk 3:31 ,32 ,33 ,34 ; 6:4 7:10 ; 8:20, 21 Lu 8:21 ; Jn 2:12
> ; 4:12; Ac 2:17; Ro 16:21 ; 1Th 3:11 ; 2Th 2:16 ; 1Ti 1:1;
> 2Ti 1:5; Heb 8:11; Re 6:11) [Heb 1:7 is a LXX quote and is
> therefore translation Greek.]
> Single possessive - both substantives anarthrous (10) - (Mk 3:35;
> Ro 1:7; 1Co 1:3; 2Co 1:2; Ga 1:3; Ep 1:2; Php 1:2; 2Th 1:1,2;
> Phil 1:3)
> Single possessive pronoun - both substantives arthrous (12) -
> (Mk 6:21; 10:7,19; 16:7; Lk 2:23; 14:26; 18:20; Jn 11:5; Eph 6:2;
> Ac 7:14; 10:24; Re 11:18)
> Sincerely,
> Dan Parker

Allow me to make a comment from a semantic and modern linguistics point of view.
In looking up some of the references cited above, I noticed that many of them
were referring to mother, father or relatives, e.g.


No one needs a rule to see that the nouns father, mother, brother, and sister
refer to different persons. Whether or not the nouns are modified by a personal
pronoun does not determine whether they are different in terms of reference. The
linguistic reason that the pronoun is not repeated is that it is carried over
from context and that the nouns are considered a natural unit. KAI connects two
or more words at the same level and that is why the sense of a modifier can be
carried over, unless there is a change or an additional aspect.

In English you can say:
1) His father and mother came
2) His father and his mother came
3) His father and also his mother came

When two nouns are joined by "and" in English, the normal expectation is that
they refer to different entities, but that does is often not the case with the
Greek KAI. (It is one of the common misunderstandings, propagated by literal
Bible translations into English.)
1) and 2) have the same referential meaning. The second suggests a slight
separation between the mother-father unit. If they were divorced, 2) would be
more likely than 1). 3) suggests that it was even more surprising that his
mother came. It would be unclear and unnatural to leave out the pronoun and
say: 4) His father and also mother came. (A modern theological interpretation of
this would be that a certain person was somehow both father and mother to him.
Has anyone suggested a Smart's rule for English?)

Seriously, I can't imagine anyone claiming that the present or absence of the
second "his" in these sentence determines whether the two nouns refer to one
person or two different persons. Sure, the nouns refer to two different persons,
but not because of the pronoun used.

I am not prepared to enter into a discussion with Dan or others about Smart's
rule, but for the sake of those who are interesting in understanding how
language works, especially the Greek language, I suggest you forget about this
rule. IMO, it's a red herring.

Now, on John 20:28 I have a comment on the use of KAI in

In Greek KAI has both the function of joining two elements on the same level and
it has the function of adding a new element or aspect. (KAI can also mean
"also".) The reason that MOU is repeated here is not that KURIOS and QEOS refer
to two different entities, but the second description of Jesus as QEOS adds a
significant new aspect to the first description of Jesus as KURIOS. The
disciples were used to refer to Jesus as KURIOS. It was almost like "Sir". But
the second description adds the new belief that Jesus was indeed "God" or if you
prefer the "Son of God". (Verse 28 should be read in the context of verse 31.)
The added aspect could be shown in English by "You are not only my lord, but you
are my God." Because of this additional aspect John 20:28 is more like 3) above,
and that might help us to see why the pronoun MOU is there.

Iver Larsen
Kolding, Denmark

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