Grammatical categories and Luke 6:12b

Glenn Blank glennblank at
Thu Aug 23 19:24:09 EDT 2001

>From: "Iver Larsen" <iver_larsen at>
>To: Biblical Greek <b-greek at>
>Subject: [b-greek] Re: Grammatical categories and Luke 6:12b
>Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2001 10:20:49 +0200
Mike asked
>> > If the head noun to a genitive is a verbal
>> > noun (in the semantic sense), then MUST the genitive be either
>> > objective or subjective? 

Moon answered

>> My hypothesis would be:
>>  The things that can go with a verb are the subject, the object,
>>  adverbial modifiers denoting the time, the place, the reason, the manner
>>  of the event or the process denoted by the verb. These things, i.e.
>>  the subject, the object, the time, the place, the reason, and the manner
>>  can be denoted by the genitive of a verbal noun.

Iver responded

>I am not sure this would hold for Greek, but I have not studied this
>particular question sufficiently.
>The verb/predicate is the nucleus of the clause. It verb root can generally
>have one, two or three arguments, in syntactical terms corresponding to
>subject, object and indirect object and/or complement. The verb/predicate
>not complete without its obligatory arguments, even if they are left
>implicit at times. On the other hand, expressions that denote time, place,
>reason are secondary elements in the clause. They are optional rather than
>obligatory in relation to the predicate. Because of that they are often
>attached to the predicate-argument unit by way of a preposition in Greek.
>(Some languages use verbal affixes rather than prepositions.) Because of
>secondary nature of these adjuncts I am doubtful that they can be expressed
>with a genitive.
>If you can give me some examples, I am ready to revise my hypothesis. These
>thoughts are based more on general semantics, than on a detailed study of
>Greek genitives.

James 5:15 comes to mind as an example:  hH EUXH THS PISTEWS.  Normally,
faith does not pray; nor does one pray to faith.

But Iver's observation of the distinction on the clause level between
obligatory arguments and secondary adjuncts is appealing and I would suspect
might have bearing on phrase level parallels:  perhaps we can say that *in
the absence of semantic factors to the contrary* (as the factors in James
5:15),  we should lean toward a subjective or (in the case of transitive
verbs) objective understanding of the genitive adjoined to a semantically
verbal noun.

Relating this to Luke 6:12b, then nothing in the semantics would hinder an
understanding of QEOU as the object of PROSEUXA, so since PROSEUXOMAI takes
a direct object, one would favor interpreting QEOU here as an objective
genitive (Jesus is already the semantic "subject" of EUXH), even though
other interpretations are conceivable (manner, means,  etc.).

On the other hand, PROSEUXOMAI does not obligatorily take a direct object. 
So is the genitive of PROSEUXH less likely to be objective than a genitive
with say BAPTISMOS?

glenn blank
Pensacola FL     

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