PRWTH in Luke 2:2

Carlton Winbery winberyc at
Thu Oct 1 02:38:48 EDT 1998

Jim Ware wrote;

>I agree that, if hAUTH were an adjective modifying APOGRAFH, it ought to
>be in explicit predicate position with an articular APOGRAFH.  In fact, I
>am taking the view that, whenever the demonstratives hOUTOS and EKEINOS
>are adjectival, they are in explicit predicate position with an articular
>noun, and that they cannot serve as an adjective to an anarthrous noun (at
>least in the NT).  In all other cases the demonstratives have a
>pronominal function.  I don't know of any exceptions to this, although I
>may be mistaken.  If this is so, then hAUTH would function as a pronoun in
>Luke 2:2.  Both hAUTH and APOGRAFH are nominative; APOGRAFH is anarthrous
>and thus grammatically indefinite, whereas hAUTH is a pronoun and thus
>grammatically definite.  Therefore I would take hAUTH as the subject
>nominative, and APOGRAFH are the predicate nominative, according to the
>rule of thumb that in copulative constructions with one definite noun and
>one indefinite, the definite noun (or pronoun) is the subject, while the
>indefinite substantive is the predicate.  I don't see any problem with
>taking APOGRAFH as the predicate of EGENETO, since GINOMAI can take a
>predicate, as discussed above.  And, it seems to me, the construction
>hAUTH APOGRAFH PRWTH EGENETO requires us to take it this way.  Thus the
>sense would be: "This was the first census taken when Quirinius was
>governor of Syria."  But perhaps there are possible exceptions to this
>normal use of the demonstratives of which I am unaware.  I too
>am seeking enlightenment!
Some interesting occurances of the demonstrative in Luke/Acts:

1) Luke 1:36  KAI hOUTOS MHN hEKTOS ESTIN "this is the sixth month", The
demonstrative is clearly subjective.

2) Luke 2:2 hAUTH APOGRAFH PRWTH EGENETO "This first enrollment happened .
. ." (or) "This became the first enrollment when Quirinius was govenor of

3) Luke 8:41 KAI hOUTOS ARCWN THS SUNAGWGHS hUPHRCEN  "This one was ruler
of the synagogue."  Clearly the demonstrative is subject.

4) Luke 24:21 TRITHN TAUTHN hHMERAN AGEI AF' hOU . . . "It has passed these
three days" ??? This is a can of worms, but it certainly appears that the
demonstrative is modifying the noun.  Some take AGEI like an indefinite

5) Acts 24:21 PERI MIAS TAUTHS FWNHS hHS . . . "concerning this one shout
which . . ." Is not the demonstrative modifying a noun without the article?

Nos. 2, 4, and 5 seem to me to be egs. of the demonstrative modifying a
noun without the article being present to the noun.  Interestingly all
involve numbers or ordinals.

Thanks to Accordance!

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359
winberyc at
winbery at

More information about the B-Greek mailing list