hOS GE in Rom 8.32

Iver Larsen iver_larsen at sil.org
Tue Mar 26 02:54:09 EST 2002

> Yes, my understanding also was that GE emphasized the word it
> follows. And,
> as you indicate, BDAG affirms this when it says, "enclit.
> particle, appended
> to the word or words it refers to." What confused me in the entry, though,
> was the specific treatment of Rom 8.32. Under a.B (small a, beta), GE is
> designated "intensive." Then, before the citing of Rom 8.32, it
> is given the
> gloss "even." Rom 8.32 is then cited in the Greek, with the following
> translation: "who did not spare even his own son." It seems here
> to indicate
> that GE intensifies TOU IDIOU hUIOU. But this follows GE. Hence my
> confusion. I'm still wondering what to make of that.
> ============
> Steven Lo Vullo

You have a excellent point. BDAG is confusing and can hardly be correct. A
slightly fuller quote says:
"enclit. particle, appended to the word it refers to; it serves to emphasize
this word".

"Enclitic" means that it has a linguistic status between a suffix and a
word. Grammatically, it is a separate word, but it has no independent word
stress and functions phonologically as a suffix.
However, a clitic does not have to grammatically or semantically modify the
word it is appended to. It can modify a phrase or clause. (E.g. Amharic has
a clitic modifying a phrase and Finnish has a clitic modifying a clause.) I
believe BDAG is mistaken in claiming that it emphasizes the word it is
appended to. Usually GE is appended to conjunctions like EI, ARA, ALLA. One
does not emphasize conjunctions (or relative pronouns as in Rom 8:32). It
seems better to say that it indicates emphasis to the clause (proposition)
it is part of. It would correspond to English "indeed, surely, really".

To translate it with "even" in Rom 8:32 is questionable. KAI would have had
that function if it came before TOU IDIOU hUIOU. The sense is more like
"Indeed/amazingly, he did not spare his own son!" If you would like to you
use English "even" it should come before the verb: "he who did not even
spare his own son."

Iver Larsen

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