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

George F Somsel gfsomsel at yahoo.com
Sat May 17 08:52:26 EDT 2008

I can think of no instance offhand where the masc pronoun is used to reference the PNEUMA hAGION, but this does not mean that it would not have been done according to the practice with regard to other words.  
[Page 410] VIII. Concordin Gender. Here we deal only with nouns, for verbs have no gender. But gender plays an important part in the agreement of substantive and adjective.
(a)Fluctuations in Gender. The whole matter is difficult, for substantives have two sorts of gender, natural and grammatical. The two do not always agree. The apparent violations of the rules of gender can generally be explained by the conflict in these two points of view with the additional observation that the grammatical gender of some words changed or was never firmly settled. All the constructions according to sense are due to analogy (Middletonin Syntax, p. 39). 
Robertson, A. (1919; 2006). A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research (410). Logos.
καὶ ἐλθόντες εἰς τὴν οἰκίαν εἶδον τὸ παιδίον μετὰ Μαρίας τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ 
Here we see a neuter noun παιδίον [PAIDION] referenced by a masc pronoun αὑτός.  This seems to be particularly common with neuter nouns.

… search for truth, hear truth, 
learn truth, love truth, speak the truth, hold the truth, 
defend the truth till death.

- Jan Hus

----- Original Message ----
From: Leonard Jayawardena <leonardj at live.com>
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2008 1:07:32 AM
Subject: [B-Greek] Are masculine pronouns used to refer to TO hAGION PNEUMA in the GNT?

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.
s 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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