Articles that don't match adjacent word

Grammar questions which are not related to any specific text.
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Joined: May 4th, 2018, 4:53 pm

Articles that don't match adjacent word

Post by mmorris »

What is the significance when an article is followed by another noun that does not match in case, number and gender? Is there a specific grammar rule for this?

Such as Καισαρείας τῆς Φιλίππου in Matthew 16:13
Ἐλθὼν δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὰ μέρη Καισαρείας τῆς Φιλίππου ἠρώτα τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ λέγων Τίνα λέγουσιν οἱ ἄνθρωποι εἶναι τὸν Υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου

and τὰ Καίσαρος in Matthew 22:21
Λέγουσιν Καίσαρος Τότε λέγει αὐτοῖς Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ

Stephen Carlson
Posts: 3065
Joined: May 11th, 2011, 10:51 am
Location: Melbourne

Re: Articles that don't match ajacent word

Post by Stephen Carlson »

These examples exhibit the substantivizing power of the article, where it can turn almost any modifying expression into a substantive. In particular, an article followed by a genitive can mean "the thing/which belongs to [or 'of']". This kind of article can also work with adjectives, prepositional phrases, etc., for a similar effect. There is also a special "quotative" use, which is used to refer to a word as a word.

So τὰ Καίσαρος means "the things which belong to Caesar" or "the things of Caesar."

In Matt 16:13 τῆς Φιλίππου means "[which is] Philip's"; we just make the genitive (in Latin form) part of the name: Caesarea Philippi.
Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia
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