[B-Greek] Are masculine pronouns used to refer to TO hAGION PNEUMA in the GNT?

Leonard Jayawardena leonardj at live.com
Sat May 17 01:07:32 EDT 2008


This was prompted by the following sentence in Jonathan Bailey's post titled "hOS in 1 Timothy 3:16": "I'm familiar with laxity of gender concord throughout the GNT, and particularly common in John or really anywhere where the PNEUMA HAGION is referred to as masculine." The view expressed in the second part of the above sentence seems to be that masculine pronouns are used in reference to the holy spirit in the GNT. I am not sure whether there is laxity of gender concord throughout the GNT generally, but I *am* sure that masculine pronouns are *never* used in the NT when the antecedent is the holy spirit.  I have briefly commented below on the two cases that require some attention. In John 14:26, the antecedent of EKEINOS is hO PARAKLHTOS and that of the relative pronoun hO is TO PNEUMA TO hAGION, which is in apposition to hO PARAKLHTOS. EKEINOS agees with hO PARAKLHTOS in gender. Similarly, EKEINOS in John 16:13 reaches back to hO PARAKLHTOS in v. 7. TO PNEUMA THS ALHQEIAS is in apposition to hO PARAKLHTOS v. 13.  The use of PARAKLHTOS in reference to the holy spirit in the GNT is only an example of personification and does not imply that the holy spirit is a person. Natural gender is sometimes employed in the GNT: "I appeal to you for my child [TEKNOU, from TEKNON], whom [hON] I have begotten in my imprisonment" (Philemon 10). I think that the fact that the NT writers never used masculine pronouns to refer to the holy spirit in spite of this possibility of the use of natural gender with neuter nouns is a powerful linguistic argument that they did not believe in the personality of the holy spirit.  Leonard JayawardenaSri Lanka
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