Bad Grammar ? and John 15:26, 16:7-8, 13-14

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu
Wed Jan 30 07:49:30 EST 2002


At 7:06 AM -0500 1/30/02, Edward Otte wrote:
>John 15:26, John 16:7-8, and John 16:13-14 contain references to the
>spirit of truth. The word PNEUMA is, of course, neuter in gender and a
>very fundamental rule in Biblical Greek is words related to nouns are
>declined to agree with their antecedents. The above mentioned verses
>however seem to defy that convention. An example is verse 13 where the
>text is EKEINOS TO PNEUMA. Clearly this is a masculine demonstrative
>pronoun with a neuter article and a neuter noun. Moreover, the verbs in
>these verses also are masculine. An example, again, is verse 13 EKEINOS TO
>PNEUMA THS ALHQEIAS ODHGSEI.
>
>So beyond the obvious theological implications, is there some exception to
>a rule that justifies this non-agreement? I do know that some exceptions
>exist with agreement of number but not gender. Also, other than the
>obvious theological possibilities, are there any other compelling reasons
>to construct a sentence in this manor?

I don't think there are any theological implications at all; in each of
these instances EKEINOS refers to hO PARAKLHTOS, and in each of these
instances, TO PNEUMA is part of a phrase in apposition to EKEINOS--there's
no "bad grammar" here at all.

Text:
15:26 hOTAN ELQHi hO PARAKLHTOS, hON EGW PEMYW hUMIN PARA PATROS, TO PNEUMA
THS ALHQEIAS, hO PARA TOU PATROS EKPOREUSETAI, EKEINOS MARTURHSEI PERI
EMOU. After two appositival elements, the first a phrase, the second a
relative clause, EKEINOS refers back to the subject of the first clause, hO
PARAKLHTOS.

16:13 hOTAN ELQHi EKEINOS, TO PNEUMA THS ALHQEIAS, hODHGHSEI hUMAS EN THi
ALHQEIAi PASHi. OU GAR LALHSEI AF' hEAUTOU, ALL' hOSA AKOUSEI LALHSEI KAI
TA ERCOMENA ANAGGELEI hUMIN. Here TO PNEUMA THS ALQEIAS is appositional to
EKEINOS; if EKEINOS were directly referring to to PNEUMA, it would have to
be EKEINO TO PNEUMA.

In 16:7-8 there is not a single occurrence of TO PNEUMA. While it is
perfectly clear that the Johannine Jesus identifies hO PARAKLHTOS with TO
PNEUMA THS ALHQEIAS, it is also clear that the pronouns and adjectives are
determined strictly by the grammatical gender of PARAKLHTOS and PNEUMA, not
by any considerations of some supposed metaphysical gender of the Spirit.



-- 

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University (Emeritus)
Most months: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at artsci.wustl.edu OR cwconrad at ioa.com
WWW: http://www.artsci.wustl.edu/~cwconrad/



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