Co-ordination between God and Christ

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Martin Harris
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Joined: December 14th, 2011, 9:24 pm

Co-ordination between God and Christ

Post by Martin Harris » April 26th, 2012, 9:04 am

I've recently come across the Granville Sharp rule. I've read a lot about it, including some chapters of Wallace's book. I also read a thread in this forum on one particular aspect of the subject
I felt intuitively uneasy about Wallace's approach and the reason is as follows:
The principle of co-ordination (omitting the article from the second and subsequent substantives in order to create a linkage between the nouns) seems a useful way to create noun phrases and is of general application, not merely when a singular and personal entity is involved. It seems to me that Granvile Sharp's and Wallace's bottom-up approach just created a syntactical rule for the sake of a rule (and to prove a theological presupposition) when no rule was necessary. It was surely predictable that one very obvious way of co-ordinating nouns was when a singular person was involved. All the so-called exceptions are really just a way of isolating the one case where this was true.
Singular is obvious because a group cannot be one and the same entity even if it is one and the same group;
Personal is because personal nouns can take either gender and so eliminates the problem of nouns that are gender specific;
Not a title or personal name is because personal names are usually individual anyway and so would naturally be two distinct persons;
And so on for the other minor rules.
Much was made of the number of actual examples where the rule held. Again, when you formulate the rules the way they have been, it is only natural to expect the non-eliminated cases to be one and the same personal entity. Wallace, if I remember, stated that only 4% of ancient Greek texts had been analysed and conceded it was possible that more exceptions to the rule could be found, however in my view no further analysis is required because it is predictable what would would happen if 100% of the texts were examined: most would conform to the so-called rule and a few more exceptions would be found.
But all this rule making tends to overshadow the original principle and I see no reason why there should not be other reasons for applying co-ordination. The disputed texts are an example of this: the juxtaposition of God and Christ in the New Testament could as well be for the reason of placing two otherwise distinct entities into one co-ordinated entity of deserving-equal-worship-for-co-operating-in-the-work-of-salvation as it could be of wanting them to be one and the same entity.
Can you see any flaws in this reasoning?

As to Titus 2:13, one of the principal texts in issue, προσδεχόμενοι τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν τῆς δόξης τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ καὶ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

my feeling is that the relatively impersonal τοῦ μεγάλου θεοῦ is sufficiently distinct from the more personal σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ as to eliminate the possibiity that these are intended to have the identical referent. Rather, they are being contrasted.I take τὴν μακαρίαν ἐλπίδα καὶ ἐπιφάνειαν to mean that the appearing is what the hope consists of (as in English 'nice and tasty' means 'nicely tasty') and hence not semantically two co-ordinated nouns. More importantly, the καὶ connecting θεοῦ with σωτῆρος is governed by ἐπιφάνειαν in the same way: in other words, this is not an example of co-ordination of nouns but of concepts: the appearance of the great an impersonal glorious God is manifested by the appearance of the personal named individual Jesus Christ who is our saviour. This is much the same idea as in Colossians ch. 1 where the Jesus is described as the image (eikwn) of the invisible (aoratou) God. And again, the idea comes through in 1 John 1 where Jesus is spoken in terms of what our eyes have seen and our hands handled.

Is this analysis of the sentence structure correct?

One further minor point, the ἡμῶν clearly belongs with σωτῆρος not with μεγάλου θεοῦ. I would have expected in the normal TSKS structure that this would appear immediately after θεοῦ. This would lend credence to the view that this verse is not such a structure and that really, ἡμῶν is actually functioning as a definite article anyway.

Do you agree?

Martin Harris
Posts: 6
Joined: December 14th, 2011, 9:24 pm

Re: Co-ordination between God and Christ

Post by Martin Harris » May 25th, 2012, 6:53 am

Any takers?

Jonathan Robie
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Joined: May 5th, 2011, 5:34 pm
Location: Durham, NC

Re: Co-ordination between God and Christ

Post by Jonathan Robie » May 31st, 2012, 8:13 am

First off: I think one reason you got no takers is that the title isn't a grammatical one, and we're often reluctant to stir up theological controversy in B-Greek, we want to focus on the Greek language. Perhaps if you'd used the title "The Granville Sharp Rule" and asked if it's valid, you would have gotten more uptake.

Also, there's extensive discussion of this question in a previous thread. Lots of good discussion in that thread.

Here's my answer: I don't know. I used to be very convinced that the Granville Sharp rule was not valid, now I suspect it might be. Daniel Wallace has provided a lot more data and analysis in this article: ... sharp-rule
ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;

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