[B-Greek] Absent Definite Article strips Personality from The Holy Spirit

Elizabeth Kline kline_dekooning at earthlink.net
Mon Jun 15 17:56:28 EDT 2009

On Jun 15, 2009, at 11:35 AM, Elizabeth Kline wrote:

> A brief review of the presence/absence of the article with QEOS in
> comparison to PNEUMA in the GNT doesn't reveal any substantial
> differences. QEOS as  PNEUMA has referential ambiguity in the GNT.
> QEOS is used frequently without the article. Any argument about PNEUMA
> without the article might also be applied to QEOS.  G.Cooper[1]
> p.397 states "(hO) QEOS God and (hO) ANQROPOS are conceptions
> both personal and generic. Therefore with them a conflict is set up
> between the usage natural for proper nouns, i.e. omission of the
> article, and that natural for generically conceived individuals, i.e.
> use of the article. As a result the article is used, or omitted,
> usually though not always without any distinction."
> The way I read Cooper, any attempt to tie the article with QEOS to
> notions like personal/impersonal fails before it gets started.
> Elizabeth Kline
> [1] G.Cooper (Greek Syntax, four volumes) devotes 200 pages (v.1 & v.
> 3) to discussion and illustration of the greek article.

On Jun 15, 2009, at 12:54 PM, Vasileios Tsialas wrote:

> The word "God," on the contrary,
> is
> rarely used to denote anyone else but the Father of Jesus Christ,
> the Creator
> of the universe. Syntactically, many times it stands like a proper  
> name.
> This
> is not the case with "spirit".

Thank you Vasileios . I am aware that QEOS and PNEUMA are not a  
perfect match. While QEOS without the article is referentially less  
ambiguous in the GNT than PNEUMA, they both appear to perform in a  
similar way relative to the presence/absence of the article. The  
original question wasn't about lexical semantics, it was about the  
presence and absence of the article with PNEUMA. A passage worth  
contemplating is Matt 3:16

Matt. 3:16 βαπτισθεὶς δὲ ὁ Ἰησοῦς εὐθὺς  
ἀνέβη ἀπὸ τοῦ ὕδατος· καὶ ἰδοὺ  
ἠνεῴχθησαν [αὐτῷ] οἱ οὐρανοί, καὶ  
εἶδεν [τὸ] πνεῦμα [τοῦ] θεοῦ  
καταβαῖνον ὡσεὶ περιστερὰν [καὶ]  
ἐρχόμενον ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν·


The brackets [TO] PNEUMA [TOU] QEOU indicate the lack of the articles  
in Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. The parallel accounts in the other  
gospels have the article. Did Sinaiticus and Vaticanus omit the  
article? Didn't these scribes know how to read Greek? Didn't they  
understand that the lack of the article here completely changes the  
meaning of this text? Our presuppositions about everything will for  
most part determine how we handle this evidence. B.Ehrman would  
probably find an orthodox corruption:-) I don't have his book on hand,  
just a wild guess.

Look at John

John 1:32 Καὶ ἐμαρτύρησεν Ἰωάννης λέγων  
ὅτι τεθέαμαι τὸ πνεῦμα καταβαῖνον  
ὡς περιστερὰν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ καὶ  
ἔμεινεν ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν.  33 κἀγὼ οὐκ  
ᾔδειν αὐτόν, ἀλλ᾿ ὁ πέμψας με  
βαπτίζειν ἐν ὕδατι ἐκεῖνός μοι  
εἶπεν· ἐφ᾿ ὃν ἂν ἴδῃς τὸ πνεῦμα  
καταβαῖνον καὶ μένον ἐπ᾿ αὐτόν,  
οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ βαπτίζων ἐν πνεύματι  

Here we have both an articular TO PNEUMA and what we would expect in a  
prepositional phrase, PNEUMATI without an article. The presence and  
absence of the article here would not lead us to suggest different a  
different referent for TO PNEUMA and PNEUMATI. Following G.Cooper's  
extensive  treatment of this topic, the presence or absence of the  
article with what others have called global VIPs does not tell us if  
the referent is personal or generic. PNEUMA hAGION  like QEOS has the  
status of a global VIP in the GNT. For that reason it can function as  
a "proper name" even though that is not best terminology to use.  The  
referent of TO PNEUMA TO hAGION would appear to be identical with the  
referent of PNEUMA hAGION.

Elizabeth Kline

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