[B-Greek] Subject, or appositive to the subject indicated by the person inflection?

Randy Leedy Rleedy at bju.edu
Thu Mar 2 14:29:38 EST 2006

It seems to me that I have seen in numerous grammar books the idea that
the nominative that is commonly called the subject of a finite verb is
actually an appositive renaming and specifying the subject indicated by
the verb's personal ending. I am not aware of any widespread tendency,
though, to insist on this complication in naming the use of the
nominative with 3rd-person verbs. Any grammarian who insisted on calling
it an appositive to the subject contained in the verb's person
inflection, it seems to me, would have no need at all of a
nominative-case usage category named "subject."

But what about 1st- and 2nd-person verbs? For example, Eph 4:13 has
MECRI KATANTHSWMEN hOI PANTES... ("until we all arrive"). I don't see
any grammatical reason that I should not call this nominative the
subject, even though English does not provide a construction in which
"all" can function directly as subject of a first-person verb. It seems
to me that the person information that fills the English subject slot is
in Greek contained in the verb ending, freeing the Greek subject slot to
accept a subject specifier that the English slot cannot accept without
losing the person information. A colleague of mine takes the opposite
view, that a nominative with a 1st- or 2nd-person verb cannot be
construed as its subject. I have not yet found the question directly
addressed in any of the half dozen or so Koine grammars on my shelf.

I would appreciate any educated opinions and especially any pointers to
any sort of grammar or linguistics literature where the question is
treated explicitly.

Blessings in Christ! (Acts 3:26),

Randy Leedy
Professor of New Testament
Bob Jones University Seminary
Greenville, SC
RLeedy at bju.edu

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