[b-greek] Re: Phil 1:28 hHTIS (closure)

From: Carl W. Conrad (cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu)
Date: Mon Feb 11 2002 - 10:11:02 EST

Inasmuch as I promised to return to the questions involved here upon my
return to my retirement home in North Carolina, I want to make some final
remarks upon the matter after having reviewed the resources that I was
determined to check before responding to Iver's final challenge. I'm sure
he's gone ahead by now with his conclusion regarding hHTIS in the verse in
question; I just want to note that this must stand as another item whereon
we cannot reach the same conclusions after surveying all the evidence and

At 10:19 PM +0100 1/13/02, Iver Larsen wrote:
>Dear Carl,
>Since the issue is important beyond Phil 1:28 as you say, let me try to
>bring us a bit further if I can. Thanks for your comprehensive response
>which I have read with interest.
>I may end up accepting your analysis, but I am still looking at an
>alternative analysis which seems to me to be more consistent with the rest
>of Greek grammar and less arbitrary.

One of the points I've argued in the past and shall continue to argue is
that the corpus of the GNT, however convenient a body of
grammatically-tagged literature for analysis, is not a sufficient database
for resolving issues even of Hellenistic Greek grammar, and that quite
apart from the fact that Hellenistic Greek is a language in transition and
needs to be looked at not solely from a synchronic but also from a
diachronic perspective. While I hope that within my lifetime I may see the
successor to BDF in print as a grammar of Hellenistic Greek based upon a
fully adequate examination of the evidence available through TLG,
inscriptions and papyri, even the existing BDF (or the German-language BDR)
is based upon the broader and diachronic perspective that i think is
essential. For that reason, I tend to have a great deal of respect for BDF.

 I'll make reference to the
>Blass/Debrunner (BD) grammar which is the only one I have access to at the
>moment, since most of my books are in another country where I normally live.
>Your analysis is found in their paragraph 132 which states that if the
>pronoun is subject, it agrees with the predicate noun, but not as
>consistently as in Latin. I don't know how inconsistent this is in Greek.
>When an analysis suggests inconsistencies there is at least the chance that
>an alternative analysis is also possible. The alternative analysis would be
>based on BD 296, see below.

Here is what I argued previously (Sun, 13 Jan 2002 08:31:57 -0600, subject:
"Re: Phil 1:28 hHTIS (longish)":

>> What I would
>> affirm is that (a) the antecedent of a relative pronoun/clause is to be
>> sought in the text which precedes it and its clause, (b) that generally
>> this antecedent is a noun with which the relative pronoun clearly "agrees"
>> in gender and number, but (c) the relative pronoun may occasionally have a
>> demonstrative force and, although referring to content that
>> precedes it and its clause, may take its number and gender from a
>"postcedent" substantive
>> that may be understood as either its subject or predicate word. In such an
>> instance, I think, we might say that the relative pronoun is
>> functioning as a demonstrative, and that its sequential and logical sense
>in its context
>> is, "and this/that is {x}. And I think that when this happens the
>> principle of concord is pretty much that for a demonstrative in a similar

I would add that I think that hOSTIS in particular is more likely to have
that demonstrative force and be subject to concord with the predicate noun.

>> e.g.:
>> Jn 3:19 hAUTH DE ESTIN hH KRISIS ...
>> Sometimes the demonstrative may be anaphoric to what has been stated in
>> preceding discourse, and still take its concord from the postcedent noun.
>> For instance, in Mt 7:12,
>> hOUTOS refers back to the moral principle that we now term "the golden
>> rule," but it takes its gender and number from the first of the nouns
>> following in the group hO NOMOS KAI hOI PROFHTAI.
>I agree with your (a) and (b), but would add something to (b), namely that
>at times the relative does not agree with a specific noun in the preceding
>context but with an implied noun which can be associated with that context
>(paragraph 296 in BD talks about this constructio ad sensum for the relative
>You have managed to find one instance of hOUTOS out of many others that does
>seem to support your thesis (and BD 132). But I think an alternative
>analysis is possible, the constructio ad sensum that I just mentioned. The
>ESTIN is not here a marker of equivalence and to translate it with English
>"is" is not very meaningful. NIV says "for this sums up the Law and the
>Prophets". TEV says "this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the
>teachings of the prophets." The word "this" seems to refer back to the
>golden rule, as you say, or this principle (NOMOS) which may be derived in
>some way from the OT, that is, the Law (also NOMOS) and the Prophets.

This strikes me as questionable in probative force; yes, of course, ESTIN
here is not quite so simply a copula, any more than is "is equivalent to"
quite the same as indicating mathematical equivalence of two quantitites.
Nevertheless, hOUTOS in the above would certainly seem to take its number
and gender from the predicate noun NOMOS.

What you've argued essentially is that ALL relative pronouns must be
understood as somehow anaphoric, either in agreement in number and gender
with a specific antecedent substantive or in terms of BD(F) #296, the
so-called "constructio ad sensum"--and you've argued that the examples
cited in BD(F) #132 (of agreement of the relative pronoun with the
predicate noun of the clause in question) ought really to be explained
otherwise. After reviewing the grammars and re-thinking the evidence, I
simply cannot agree.

I remember being troubled in the first place by your view that hHTIS in
Phil 1:28 must have as its antecedent PISTEI in verse 27, rather than to
ENDEIXIS, the predicate noun of the clause to which hHTIS is subject; it
seemed to me then and it still seems to me that there is indeed backward
reference in hHTIS, but not so much to the noun PISTEI in verse 27 as to
the solid stance of the Philippian congregation in its resistance to their
foes. You have explained your understanding of how that PISTIS as a
doctrine must somehow be an ENDEIXIS of the salvation of the Philippian
believers and the perdition of the foes, but I still don't find that view

For what it's worth (and I don't know whether it's worth that much after
all) I wonder whether some of the disagreements that Iver and I have had
over Greek grammar may be based ultimately upon philosophical--especially
epistemological--assumptions about linguistics as a "science." This is
certainly NOT a difference in theological stances, even if Iver is
theologically more conservative and I am theologically more liberal. I can
readily understand that linguistics as a SCIENCE should be able to offer an
accounting for all linguistic phenomena under the simplest headings and
explanatory accounts (in this instance: all relative pronouns must somehow
logically reflect the number and gender of an explicit or implicit
antecedent noun). For my part, I don't think that language, as a mode of
human behavior, is any more WHOLLY regular than is human behavior
otherwise; I think that as individuals and groups we may strive to be
consistent in our behavior, strive always to cross our T's and dot our I's
and say "it is I" rather than "it is me"--but we never wholly conform
either to the grammar we were taught or to the grammar that we find our
peers using, a grammar that is so often at odds with the grammar which we
were taught.

And with that "concluding unscientific postscript," I'd like to bring my
own discussion of this particular question to a final closure.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months:: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad@artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad@ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/

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