hO QEOS in Mt 1:23b

Steven Craig Miller scmiller at www.plantnet.com
Sat Nov 27 11:50:37 EST 1999

To: Ken Hall,

<< Does Matthew 1:23b use of the definite article [for hO QEOS] denote 
specific identity (articular) to the noun it preceeds or is there an 
exception in the Greek grammar of this text? >>

I'm not for sure I understand your concern, but I'll take a stab at 
addressing this issue.

Stanley E. Porter, in his "Idioms of the Greek New Testament" (1992), writes:

<< When the article is used, the substantive may refer to a particular 
item, or it may represent a category of items. When the article is not used 
used, the substantive may refer to the non-particular or qualitative 
character of an item, or it may refer to an individual item >> (104).

Thus an articular substantive can be deemed to have been used either (a) to 
denote an individual person or thing; or (b)  to denote a category of 
items. This latter use of the article is sometimes called the "Generic 

Also, the substantive QEOS, although not technically a proper name, often 
comes very close to be used as such in the NT. Thus in the NT QEOS often 
has the article, expect when following a preposition or when used in the 
genitive case to modify an anarthrous substantive.

Matthew translates Emmanuel (Immanuel) as: MEQ' hHMWN hO QEOS. What does 
this mean? Some scholars have suggested that the Hebrew name Immanuel (at 
Is 7:14) was a cry of terror: "May God be with us!"; others have suggested 
that it was a war cry: "God is with us!"; and others have suggested that it 
was an ancient cultic cry. Matthew has omitted the verb and so it is 
possible to assume either ESTIN or Hi. Some scholars seem to understand 
MEQ' hHMWN hO QEOS without any verb so as to imply that Jesus is: "God with 
us." This last interpretation I would personally find very unlikely since 
no where (else) does Matthew refer explicitly to Jesus as "God."

-Steven Craig Miller
Alton, Illinois (USA)
scmiller at www.plantnet.com

"O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this" 
(Shakespare, "Much Ado About Nothing", 4.2.60-61).

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