A shoot off from hHTIS

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Mon Jan 14 03:38:03 EST 2002


From: Iver Larsen
Yesterday I quoted Blass-Debrunner 132 which states that if the pronoun is
subject, it takes its agreement from the predicate noun, but not as
consistently as in Latin. Paragraph 132 has two points. In the first point
they give one questionable example with hOUTOS and two counter-examples with
TOUTO. In a note they give a number of questionable examples of this for
various pronouns. One example is the Matt 7:12 with hOUTOS that Carl
mentioned, the rest are with hHTIS. In the second point they mention the
fairly fixed form hO ESTIN, it is/it means.

I wanted to check if the data of the GNT in general supports the claim of
132, and it does not seem to do so. Whether this was a rule of Classical
Greek that does not apply to Hellenistic Greek, I don't know, but I doubt
it.
Although hOUTOS is normally anaphoric, it may be kataphoric in special
cases, and in these cases it is reasonable to expect hOUTOS to depend on a
following noun for its gender and number.
But it seems to me from the data that the relative pronoun and indefinite
relative pronoun are always anaphoric, and the hypothesis that they would
for no obvious reason take their number and gender agreement from a
following noun is a claim that contradicts the anaphoric nature of the
pronouns.

I have looked at many cases of the indefinite relative pronoun where the
gender and number is clearly taken from the preceding context, and a few
disputed cases. In some of the disputed cases two analyses appear to be
possible, one of them being BD 132 (kataphoric agreement), the other BD 296
(anaphoric agreement ad sensum).

Since the indefinite relative pronoun in the NT is often used in a way
similar to the ordinary relative pronoun, I checked all the occurrences of
the relative nominative pronoun hOS followed within 3 words of a form of
EIMI.

There were no occurrences of the feminine hH, but then there are only 3 or 4
examples of the nominative feminine relative in the NT. They all have
anaphoric agreement. (There are many more examples of nominative hHTIS which
I assume is based on pragmatics because the feminine relative hH could be
confused with several other word forms when accents are not marked. In other
words, hHTIS is used instead of hH in order not to confuse hH with one of
the other hH's.)

There were 18 occurrences of hOS. All of these had anaphoric agreement, and
none of them supported the BD 132 hypothesis. In fact, there were 7 clear
counterexamples which I'd like to list here:
Rom 16:5 hOS ESTIN APARCH
1 Cor 4:17 hOS ESTIN MOU TEKNON
2 Cor 4:4 hOS ESTIN EIKWN(F)
Eph 4:4 hOS ESTIN hH KEFALH
Col 1:15 hOS ESTIN EIKWN
Col 1:18 hOS ESTIN ARCH (hOS gets its number and gender from AUTOS 8 words
before)
Col 2:10 hOS ESTIN hH KEFALH

There were 31 occurrences of the neuter nominative hO followed by a form of
EIMI. Most of these were of the form hO ESTIN. None supported the BD 132
hypothesis, but there were two possible counterexamples. They are not
decisive because of the fairly fixed nature of hO ESTIN.

Eph 1:14 TWi PNEUMATI THS EPAGGELIAS TWi hAGIWi, hO ESTIN ARRABWN(m)
Col 1:24 hUPER TOU SWMATOS AUTOU, hO ESTIN EKKLHSIA(f)

To sum up my current thinking, I am questioning the validity of BD 132 as a
general grammatical rule, because there are many counter-examples, and most
if not all potential supporting examples could be analysed differently.
There are a few cases where we have anaphoric agreement ad sensum and if a
predicate noun is involved, the relative will agree with that predicate
noun. There may be anticipation involved in that the author is already
thinking of the predicate noun when he is choosing a gender and number for
the relative. The ad sensum case is obviously more fluid than the regular
cases. I would put 1 Tim 3:15, Eph 6:2 and 1 Cor 3:17 in this group together
with Acts 16:12 and Gal 4:26 mentioned in BD 132.
In Eph 3:13 it seems to me we have agreement ad sensum without a simple
identification with the predicate noun.
In Phil 1:28 I think we have a regular anaphoric agreement where the
relative picks up a noun from the preceding context and gives further
comment on it. It does not seem possible to apply the agreement ad sensum
here.
BD 132 lists Col 3:5 as a supporting example: KAI THN PLEONEXIAN, hHTIS
ESTIN EIDWLOLATRIA, but I would simply take hHTIS as referring back to
PLEONEXIA.

Iver Larsen




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