[B-Greek] 1Jn 3:12b number mismatch
George F Somsel
gfsomsel at yahoo.com
Tue Jun 6 08:51:30 EDT 2006
It is a well established practice which is frequently violated in the NT as Robertson notes in the following that the neut pl subject takes a sg verb. This rule, however, was not completely abandoned.
2. Neuter Plural and Singular Verb. But the êïéíÞ fails to respond to the Attic rule that a neuter plural inanimate subject takes a singular verb. Homer indeed was not so insistent and the modern Greek has gone back completely and exclusively to the use of the plural verb in this instance as in others.﻿﻿ The N. T., like the êïéíÞ (KOINH) in general, has broken away from the Attic rule and responds more to the sense, and also more often regards a neuter plural as really plural. It never was a binding rule, though more so in Attic than in Homer. In the vernacular êïéíÞ (KOINH) the people treated the neuter plural like other plurals. (Radermacher, N. T. Gr., p. 96.) Usually a neuter plural in the N. T. that has a personal or collective meaning has a plural verb.﻿﻿ So ἐðáíáóôÞóïíôáé ôÝêíá (EPANASTHSONTAI TEKNA) (Mt. 10:21), [Page 404] ôὰ äáéìüíéá ðéóôåýïõóéí (TA DAIMONIA PISTEUOUSIN) (Jas. 2:19), ἔèíç ἐðéæçôïῦóéí
(EQNH EPIZHTOUSIN) (Mt. 6:32), ôὰ ðíåýìáôá ðñïóÝðéðôïí (TA PNEUMATA PROSEPIPTON) (Mk. 3:11). But the only rule on the matter that is true for N. T. Greek is the rule of liberty. The papyri show the same variety of usage.﻿﻿ So does the LXX. In the examples given above the MSS. often vary sharply and examples of the singular verb occur with all of them, äáéìüíéá (DAIMONIA) more frequently with the singular verb, as åἰóῆëèåí äáéìüíéá ðïëëÜ (EISHLQEN DAIMONIA POLLA) (Lu. 8:30), but ðáñåêÜëïõí (PAREKALOUN) in next verse. So in Lu. 4:41 we have äáéìüíéá ἐîÞñ÷åôï (DAIMONIA ECERXETO) and a little further on ὅôé ᾔäåéóáí (HiDEISAN). In Jo. 10:4 we see a similar change in the same sentence, ôὰ ðñüâáôá áὐôῷ ἀêïëïõèåῖ ὅôé ïἴäáóéí (TA PROBATA AUTWi AKOLOUQEI hOTI OIDASIN). The same indifference to the Attic rule appears about things as about persons. Thus ἵíá öáíåñùèῇ ôὰ
ἔñãá ôïῦ èåïῦ (hINA FANERWQHi TA ERGA TOU QEOU) (Jo. 9:3) and ἐöÜíçóáí ôὰ ῥÞìáôá EFANHSAN TA hRHMATA) (Lu. 24:11). In Rev. 1:19 we find ἃ åἰóὶí êáὶ ἃ ìÝëëåé ãåíÝóèáé (hA EISIN KAI hA MELLEI GENESQAI). The predicate adjective will, of course, be plural, even if the verb is singular, as öáíåñÜ ἐóôéí ôὰ ôÝêíá (FANERA ESTIN TA TEKNA) (1 Jo. 3:10). Cf. Gal. 5:19. Winer﻿﻿ and (to some extent) Blass﻿﻿ feel called on to explain in detail these variations, but one has to confess that the success is not brilliant. It is better to regard this indifference to congruity as chiefly an historical movement characteristic of the êïéíÞ (KOINH) as shown above. Even the Attic did not insist on a singular verb with a neuter plural of animate objects when the number of individuals was in mind. The neuter plural was in origin a collective singular. In 1 Cor. 10:11 the MSS. differ much
between óõíÝâáéíåí (SUNEBAINEN) and ïí (-ON).
Robertson, A. (1919; 2006). A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (403). Logos.
I believe this has been discussed previously on the list so you will probably find it in the archives.
Oun Kwon <kwonbbl at gmail.com> wrote:
hOTI TA ERGA AUTOU PONHRA HN TA DE TOU ADELFOU AUTOU DIKAIA
With plural ERGA, PONHRA, and DIKAIA, the verb should be in plural.
Here HN is singular. Is it a kind of Gk typo?
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