[B-Greek] question regarding 1 Tim 6:10
rngrogers at embarqmail.com
Thu Apr 1 11:46:58 EDT 2010
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From: <yancywsmith at sbcglobal.net>
To: "greek B-Greek" <b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 01, 2010 12:21 AM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] question regarding 1 Tim 6:10
Mark is correct to infer that Paul's meaning cannot possibly be
that the love of money is actually the root of 100% all evils,
despite the fact that the linguistic meaning is precisely that.
But we must allow Paul the freedom we give ourselves, to quote
and shape and exaggerate and skew linguistic and speaker meaning.
Interesting, "the love of money cannot possibly the root of 100%
of all evils" and yet "the linguistic meaning is precisely that."
This does not sound like a positive endorsement of linguistics to
me. May I suggest another approach. Pick up a good Greek Grammar,
like Dan Wallace's GGBB and look up Predicate Nominatives
starting on page 40.
Since we are dealing with a predicate nominative construction and
FILARGURIA is articular and hRIZA is not, hRIZA is the unknown
and FILARGURIA the known, FILARGURIA is only a subset of hRIZA,
how much easier could this sentence be to translate? I see no
need to visit a museum, look at ancient paintings or marble
statues. The text tells us what it wants us to know and Greek
Grammar shows us how to exegete the text.
II. Predicate Nominative
The predicate nominative (PN) is approximately the same as the
subject (S) and is joined to it by an equative verb, whether
stated or implied. The usage is very common. The equation of S
and PN does not necessarily or even normally imply complete
correspondence (e.g., as in the interchangeability of A=B, B=A in
a mathematical formula). Rather, the PN normally describes a
larger category (or state) to which the S belongs. It is
important to keep in mind, however, that there are two distinct
types of S-PN constructions; these will be discussed below.
1. The Kinds of Verbs Used
The verbs used for this “equation” are, most frequently, εἰμί,
γίνομαι, and ὑπάρχω. In addition, the passives of some transitive
verbs can also be used: e.g., καλέω (φίλος θεοῦ ἐκλήθη [“he was
called the friend of God”] in Jas 2:23), εὑρίσκω (εὑρέθημεν καὶ
αὐτοὶ ἁμαρτωλοί [“we ourselves were even found to be sinners”]
Gal 2:17), etc.
2. Translation of Subject-Predicate Nominative Clauses
English translation requires that the S be translated first. Such
not the case in Greek. In John 1:1, for example, θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος
should be translated “the Word was God” rather than “God was the
Word.” But since Greek word order is far more flexible than
English, this creates a problem: How do we distinguish S from PN
if word order is not a clear guide? The following section will
offer a detailed solution.
3. The Semantics and Exegetical Significance of the
Subject-Predicate Nominative Construction
a. Two Kinds of Semantic Relationships
The significance of the S-PN construction affects more than mere
translation precisely because S and PN do not normally involve
total interchangeability. The usual relationship between the two
is that the predicate nominative describes the class to which the
subject belongs. This is known as a subset proposition (where S
is a subset of PN). Thus the meaning of “the Word was flesh” is
not the same as “flesh was the Word,” because flesh is broader
than “the Word.” “The word of the cross is foolishness” (1 Cor
1:18) does not mean “foolishness is the word of the cross,” for
there are other kinds of foolishness. “God is love” is not the
same as “love is God.” It can thus be seen from these examples
that “is” does not necessarily mean “equals.”
But there is another, less frequent semantic relationship between
S and PN. Sometimes called a convertible proposition, this
construction indicates an identical exchange. That is to say,
both nouns have an identical referent. The mathematical formulas
of A=B, B=A are applicable in such instances. A statement such as
“Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player in NBA history”
means the same thing as “the greatest player in NBA history is
Michael Jordan.” There is complete interchange between the two.
These two kinds of relationships are graphically represented in
the chart below.
Semantic Relation of Subject and Predicate Nominative
Thus in examining S-PN clauses, two fundamental questions need to
be answered: (1) How can we distinguish between S and PN since
word order is not an infallible guide? and (2) what is the
semantic relationship between the two: Is the S a particular
within the larger class of the PN, or is it interchangeable with
b. How to Distinguish Subject from Predicate Nominative
The general principle for distinguishing S from PN is that the S
is the known entity. This principle is valid for both kinds of
S-PN constructions. In Greek equative clauses, the known entity
(S) will be distinguished from the PN in one of three ways
The significance of the following three rules is that when only
one nominative substantive has such a grammatical “tag,” the
semantic relationship will be that of particular (subject) to
class (predicate nominative). That is, the construction will be a
1) The subject will be a pronoun, whether stated or implied in
2) The subject will be articular.
3) The subject will be a proper name.
c. The “Pecking” Order
What if both S and PN have one of these three tags? Which is the
S? And what is the semantic relationship? First, when both
substantives bear such grammatical tags, the “pecking” order is
1) The pronoun has greatest priority: It will be the S regardless
of what grammatical tag the other substantive has.
2) Articular nouns and proper names seem to have equal priority.
In instances where one substantive is articular and the other is
a proper name (or where both are articular), word order may be
the determining factor.
d. The Semantic Relationship: Convertible Proposition
Second, the semantic relationship in such instances is that of a
convertible proposition. That is to say, when both substantives
meet one of the three qualifications for S, then they become
interchangeable. (See examples in the preceding section.)
Daniel B. Wallace. (1999; 2002). Greek Grammar Beyond the
Basics - Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (40). Zondervan
Publishing House and Galaxie Software.
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