[B-Greek] Articular infinitives: distinguishing subjects from objects

Kenneth Litwak javajedi2 at yahoo.com
Wed Nov 26 22:32:13 EST 2008

   Articular infinitives, like all infinitives, of course take subjects in the accusative case.  For example, we have Matt 13;4 with a "circumstantial" articular infinitive:
EN TW SPEIREIN AUTON ("while he sows/was sowing*")

  My question is whether every accusative that immediately follows an articular infinitive must be the subject and if not, how does know that it is the direct object instead?  For example, Heb 8:3 would seem to follow the articular infinitive with a direct object:
PAS GAR ARCIEREUS EIS TO PROSFEREIN DWA TE KAI QUSIAS ("every high priest in order that he might offer gifts and sacrifices")  
Are there any rules that can be applied to determine whether what I find is a subject or an objectg?  This case _seems_ easy because I think I know that gifts and sacrifices would not make sense as the subject of the articular infinitive. Is that the only rule, that the sentence only makes sense if one takes the accusative as the subject or the direct object?  I'd like a better guideline than that because one person's "that makes sense" is another person's "what were thinking?" as anyone can tell by comparing any two commentaries.  Thanks.


* I've been pondering whether we should translate present tense verbs in narratives as "historical presents" or not.  Could it be that we do the gospel writes, especially Mark, a disservice by destroying the vividness of the text by changing the tense to a past tense?  I don't think that all Greek narrative is written in the present tense like this, so its use has to be deliberate.


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