Parsing of Gal 3:11

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Tue Oct 2 16:01:18 EDT 2001


Moon Jung asked:
<snip>
> can we say that the reason clause
> usually comes after the assertion clause? I mean ".... because ...."
> rather than "because ...., ....".

If we limit ourselves to hOTI with the meaning "because, for" indicating a
reason or grounds relationship, I would say a definite yes to your question.

I looked up all the instanced of hOTI glossed with "because" in the GNT
database that I am using. There were 366 occurrences. In 97 percent of these
the structure is as you have said:
".... because ...."

Of the few instances of the other structure "because ...., ...." more than
half of them (seven) were in John's gospel and two in Revelation. There
might be a Semitic influence involved. John is particularly fond of hOTI. Of
the 366 instances in the whole NT, 25 % or 90 to be exact occur in John's
gospel and 48 in Revelation.

When this second and unusual (marked) order occurs, it appears that there is
a special emphasis on the reason. To show this we might look at all the
places outside of John where this marked order with hOTI occurs:

LUK 19:17 hOTI EN ELACISTWi PISTOS EGENOU, ISQI EXOUSIAN ECWN EPANW DEKA
POLEWN
1 Cor 12:15 EAN EIPHi hO POUS, hOTI OUK EIMI CEIR, OUK EIMI EK TOU SWMATOS
1 COR 12:16 KAI EAN EIPHi TO OUS, hOTI OUK EIMI OFQALMOS OUK EIMI EK TOU
SWMATOS
GAL 4:6 hOTI DE ESTE hUIOI EXAPESTEILEN hO QEOS TO PNEUMA TOU hUIOU AUTOU
EIS TAS KARDIAS hUMWN

Even in John's Gospel and Revelation, it seems likely that the preposed hOTI
clause was preposed in order to emphasize the reason. For those who would
like to look them up I list the references I found:

John 1:50, 8:45, 14:19, 15:19, 16:6, 19:42, 20:29
Rev. 3:10, 16

Iver Larsen




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