From: Iver Larsen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Fri Nov 30 2001 - 03:51:48 EST
From Iver Larsen - just a few comments below:
> > I will cite Dale Wheeler (from his brief compendium of grammar in
> > Accordance) and let him comment further on this if he chooses:
> > ==================
> > ARTICULAR (ARTHROUS) CONSTRUCTIONS:
> > II. With Substantives: Dependent or Modifying Use; Used to Sharpen
> > the Identity of a Substantive in some way:
> > B. Generic:
> > 1) Definition: Distinguishes One Class or Group from Another;
> > English
> > normally uses the Indefinite Article, "a," "an," to indicate this
> > idea for Singular Substantives; Supply "as a class":
> > 2) Uses: Matt 18:17; Luke 10:7; John 2:25; 1Tim 3:2
Paul Dixon said:
> I question the above definition, especially as related to Lk 18:13. Is
> the class of sinners really being distinguished here, or is it the
> individual? It seems the contrast in the passage is really between the
> self-righteous Pharisee and this man, not between two groups of people.
> It is interesting that Dale does not cite the Lk 18 passage as an
> example, or does he?
I would say the definition is OK, and we need to note the word "normally"
and "singular". Normally English uses the indefinite article in the singular
to indicate a generic class, but it may at times use the definite article
for the same meaning in the singular. Plural forms should be studied
But I agree with Paul that Lk 18:13 is not a case of the article being used
as a generic class marker. The tax collector uses HAMARTWLOS to describe
*himself*, not describing the characteristics of the concept of a sinner. No
contrast is implied by the use of the article, but may be indicated by other
means in the context.
> > Look at these examples.
> > Mt 18:17 EAN DE KAI THS EKKLHSIAS PARAKOUSHi, ESTW SOI hWSPER hO
> > EQNIKOS
> > KAI hO TELWNHS. Would you prefer to translate this, "... let him be
> > to you
> > just as THE Gentile and THE tax-collector" (assuming that some
> > particular
> > Gentile and some particular Tax-collector is meant).
> The problem I have is simply this. Is there no difference between hWSPER
> hO EQNIKOS and hWSPER EQNIKOS, and between hWSPER hO TELWNHS and hWSPER
> TELWNHS? Should we translate them both the same way, giving the
> impression there is no difference, or do you think the author had a
> distinction in mind? If so, then perhaps we should try to retain that
> distinction in our translation.
As a Bible translator I appeal to you to make a clear distinction between
exegesis and translation. Yes, there is a difference in meaning between the
Greek forms. But how it is to be translated depends on the language. Whereas
Greek uses the definite article to indicate class descriptions, English
normally uses the indefinite article for the same purpose in the singular.
> Besides, don't we do the same in the English language, as the translators
> recognize elsewhere? Consider Mt 6:2 and 6:5, for examples. 6:2 says
> hWSPER hOI hUPOKRITAI, translated consistently as, "as the hypocrites."
> And, 6:5, hWS hOI hUPOKRITAI, translated "as the hypocrites." No, I
> have no problem translating 18:7 as "just as the Gentile and the
The plural forms function differently from the singulars, so you cannot draw
a conclusion about the singular from a plural form. And Matt 6:2 and 6:5 are
not examples of the generic class use of the article anyway.
Whereas you have no problem using the article in English in Matt 18:7, it
appears from the way all modern English versions have translated it,
including the very literal NASB, that the more natural English rendering is
with the indefinite article. In Danish, it would certainly be impossible to
use the definite article in the sense of class description.
> > Lk 10:7 AXIOS hO ERGATHS TOU MISQOU; this is pretty clearly a
> > principle,
> > generally so understood as a dominical saying. Do you suppose some
> > particular workman is indicated by the article with ERGATHS?
> This is not a good example for your argument, since the definiteness of
> the TOU is retained in the translation, "his."
This seems to be a case where English can use both the definite and
indefinite. The NASB uses the definite article "the laborer is worthy of his
wages". NIV does the same: "the worker deserves his wages". CEV says: "A
worker should be given his pay". I cannot judge which is better English. TEV
and NLT change to plural "workers should be given their pay", although this
may motivated by their desire to avoid the masculine pronoun "his" for the
sake of gender sensitivity.
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