[b-greek] Re: Romans 5:15

From: Iver Larsen (iver_larsen@sil.org)
Date: Thu Mar 28 2002 - 06:28:41 EST

> >
> >Yes, and in more traditional grammatical language, THi is an
> article in the attributive position making the whole phrase THi ...
CRISTOU an attribute
> >of CARITI.
> >--
> >
> >Carl W. Conrad
> >Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
> Let me endorse and add a little to what Carl has said. He is correct of
> course in his comments. This THi is definitely not a relative
> pronoun, but the use of the article in an attributive construction. An
adjective can
> occur in the attributive intermediate position (between the
> article and its noun) or the attributive post position (after the noun to
> it refers) - and in the latter construction the article in front of the
noun is
> repeated after it in front of the adjective. So that you get two
> occurrences of the article: once in front of the noun and a second time
> after it in front of the adjective. In place of the adjective you
> can also have an adjectival expression. The verse cited in this
discussion, 2
> Timothy 2:1, is an excellent example of the normal construction with the
> noun's article repeated for the following attributive adjective or (here)
> adjectival expression.

> The THi is the attributive post occurrence of the notional article which
> would have occurred in front of CARITI if it had one. Thus (as Carl has
> pointed out) it ties the phrase TOU hENOS ANQRWPOU IHSOU CRISTOU
> closely to CARITI as an attributive expression.
> Ward

I don't think there is any substantial disagreement between us, but we are
using different frames of reference to describe the same thing.

In normal descriptive linguistics, a noun phrase is a head noun plus a
number of modifiers, such as adjectives, demonstrative or possessive
pronouns, numerals, etc. However, a whole clause can also function as an
attributive expression that modifies a head noun. Such a clause is sometimes
called "rankshifted" because it is a clause that functions as an element
within a noun phrase.

For instance, the following two expressions are both noun phrases in
1) A very old man
2) A man who was very old

The difference between English and Greek is that Greek can use the article
to tie the "phrase" (in linguistics called a clause because it corresponds
to a semantic proposition) to the head noun as an attributive expression.
The English article cannot do that. We have to use a relative pronoun to tie
a clause to a head noun. So, when I say that the Greek article in these
constructions functions as a relative, I am not saying it is a relative
pronoun in Greek, it is still the article. But, it functions as you say to
tie a phrase/clause to its head as an attributive expression, and this is
how we think of the function of the relative pronoun in English as well as
in general linguistics.
That is also why such constructions usually need to be translated by
relative clauses in English.

Iver Larsen

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